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Group develops guidelines for CPOE standards

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has developed a set of guidelines aimed at helping providers create drug-prescribing standards for their computerized physician order entry systems.


March 14, 2010 Posted by | drugs, healthcare, Safety | , , , | Leave a comment

Helping with Your Benefits Challenges

Please check out the web site

Healthcare Benefits Network – Experienced healthcare consultants transforming the medical benefits industry.

March 14, 2010 Posted by | Benefits, Cost, Electronic health records, health information technology, healthcare, hospitals, insurance, Pension, Plan design, Prevention and Wellness, retirement, Technology | , , , , | Leave a comment

As a progressive, Obama hews to the Wilsonian tradition

Editor’s note: In interesting read of the ideological leanings of government leaders. By George F. Will

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wilson, once a professor of political science, said that the Princeton he led as its president was dedicated to unbiased expertise, and he thought government could be “reduced to science.” Progressives are forever longing to replace the governance ofpeople by the administration of things. Because they are entirely public-spirited, progressives volunteer to be the administrators, and to be as disinterested as the dickens.

Professor Obama, who will seek reelection on the 100th anniversary of Wilson’s 1912 election, understands, which makes him melancholy. Speaking to Katie Couric on Feb. 7, Obama said:

“I would have loved nothing better than to simply come up with some very elegant, academically approved approach to health care, and didn’t have any kinds of legislative fingerprints on it, and just go ahead and have that passed. But that’s not how it works in our democracy. Unfortunately, what we end up having to do is to do a lot of negotiations with a lot of different people.”

March 14, 2010 Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , , | 1 Comment

Boiling Down the Health Care Discussion

The health care debate is essentially about access and cost. The bills also include a significant language on quality. The quality agenda is highlighted by funding for the National Quality Forum and Health Information Technology. (ARRA also contains significant funding for Information Technology and the structures to support it.)

This post is about change and cost. There can be little doubt that there are significant issues for the uninsured, those that lose coverage between employers, pre-existing condition exclusions, those that can’t afford to pay for their coverage and other related issues. It is also true that we already pay a significant amount in our current premiums for indigent care. The question is, how much care can we afford for those not paying their own way.

That number is somewhere between ‘0’ and ‘100%’. It isn’t 100% since you need productive workers paying taxes to pay for the care of others unable to afford their own care. It is certainly more than ‘0’. Is it 10%, 20%, more?

Second, subject … liberalism vs. conservatism. The original definition of each goes something like this:

Liberals believe that where change is necessary, it should be done quickly. Conservatives believe that things should be changed incrementally to understand the impacts of the changes. If a liberal where in a room which quickly went dark they would be heard to say, ‘lets’ get the heck out of here.’ A conservative would methodically find their way out of the room.

So, how do these two subjects come together? Simply this, the debate currently underway is a ideological one. Should we go quickly or should we go incrementally and how much is affordable. If you can effectively answer those two questions …

March 14, 2010 Posted by | Cost, Federal Government, health information technology, healthcare | , , , , | Leave a comment


  • Upstate New York insurer will cover telehealth
    BlueCross BlueShield in New York will cover a new telehealth service provided by the American Well Online Care platform that links patients to medical assistance via the telephone or Internet starting soon with western New York. Plans are in the works to expand the service to the northeastern part of the state later in the year, the insurer said. InformationWeek (3/10)

March 12, 2010 Posted by | Creative disruption, Health care delivery, health information technology, healthcare, insurance | , | Leave a comment

What are Living Wills? NHPCO Offers Free Advance Care Planning Resources

(Alexandria, Va) – Over the past weeks, Keith Olbermann has shared his personal experience regarding his father’s health crisis on his MSNBC program “Countdown.” On yesterday’s broadcast (03/11/10) Olbermann spoke about the necessity of loved ones talking about the care they would want and completing a living will and appointing a health care proxy.

“Talking with families about health care wishes and completing living wills while you are healthy is about living fully,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.  “Planning ahead and understanding the choices you and your loved ones might have to decide during a medical crisis has nothing to do with the infamous ‘death panels’ that have caused such confusion and distraction about an issue important to every single one of us.”

NHPCO’s Caring Connections initiative offers a range of materials and information free of charge—including state specific advance directive forms—at

Planning ahead is about preparing for the future today. Communicating your end-of-life wishes to your loved ones, appointing a health care power of attorney, and addressing financial issues such as wills and paying for long-term care are just a few of the issues you can address today to plan ahead.

What are Advance Directives?

An advance directive—often called a living will—allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatments and care when facing a medical crisis or at the end of life.

A medical power of attorney—also known as a health care proxy—is part of advance care planning. This allows you to appoint a person you trust as your health care agent (or surrogate decision maker), who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf. Before a medical power of attorney goes into effect a person’s physician must conclude that they are unable to make their own medical decisions.

Advance directives are legally valid throughout the United States. It is important to complete and sign advance directives that comply with your state’s law.  However, you do not need a lawyer to complete and execute a living will or health care power of attorney. Each Caring Connections, state-specific advance care planning packet comes with complete step-by-step instructions. The documents are free of charge.

Visit to learn more about planning for the unthinkable before a crisis. Information is also available from the HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898.

March 12, 2010 Posted by | healthcare | , | Leave a comment

Blood Pressure Control is a Critical Health Consideration

Variable blood pressure raises risk of stroke
Patients with variable blood pressure readings may be six times more likely to have a stroke compared with people who have regularly high blood pressure, study data showed. European researchers said that blood pressure treatment guidelines may need to be revised and that the number of people treated for hypertension could double. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (3/12)

March 12, 2010 Posted by | Chronic conditions, healthcare, High Blood Pressure | , , , | Leave a comment

Is the Rate of Health Care Cost Growth Any Better in Denmark

100 Percent of Primary Care Doctors in Denmark Use Electronic Medical Records, Study Finds

 All primary care doctors in Denmark use electronic medical records and 98 percent have the ability to electronically manage patient care—including ordering prescriptions, drafting notes about patient visits, and sending appointment reminders. In addition, almost all medical communication between primary care doctors, specialists, and hospitals is electronic, according to a new Commonwealth Fund profile of the Danish health care system. Ramping up the use of health information technology (HIT) tools like electronic medical records (EMRs) in the United States, where currently only 46 percent of physicians use EMRs, is an important part of the recent stimulus bill and the health care reform currently being debated on Capitol Hill. According to Denis Protti and Ib Johansen, authors of the report, much could be learned from the Danish system, where HIT use among primary care doctors soared from 15 percent in the early 1990s to more than 90 percent by the year 2000. “Denmark continues to work vigorously toward an efficient, patient-centered health care system and has strategically employed health information technology to help achieve that goal,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. “The Commonwealth Fund’s international health care surveys have consistently shown us that the United States lags behind when it comes to health information technology. However, the promotion of health information technology in the recent stimulus bill and current health reform bills are an encouraging sign. These efforts, combined with some of the best ideas from Denmark’s success—a coherent national policy, financial incentives to adopt technologies, and technical support for providers—could go a long way toward moving this country to a high performance health care system.”

March 12, 2010 Posted by | Cost, health information technology, healthcare, innovation | , , , | Leave a comment

CMS Clarifies Exchange of Lab Data

 March 5, 2010

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued guidance to clarify that laboratory results may be transmitted via health information exchanges.

There has been confusion over whether such transmissions were permissible under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1998, called CLIA. In the guidance, CMS noted that the regulations may be incorrectly perceived as a barrier to HIEs, “but we strongly believe that CLIA can be one of several important levers to optimize health information exchange and realize the goals set by ARRA.”

Unless specifically prohibited under state law, patients also may directly receive lab results, according to the guidance. CMS says the guidance is the first of an expected series of memoranda in support of electronic exchange of laboratory information. The final version of the guidance soon will be available at

March 12, 2010 Posted by | Federal Government, health information technology, healthcare | , , , | Leave a comment

Trust on Issues

March 5, 2010

Fifty-seven percent (57%) believe that passage of the proposed health care legislation will hurt the economy. Just 25% believe it will help. Forty-two percent (42%) favor the President’s health care plan while 53% are opposed. Fifty-five percent (55%) say that Congress should scrap the current health care legislation and start over.

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on eight out of 10 key issues, including healthcare, regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports, but the gap between the two parties has grown narrower on several of them.

March 11, 2010 Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , | Leave a comment