Ilovebenefits’s Blog

Just another weblog

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

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

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

Implementing Meaningful Use

Respondents in a recent study were asked to estimate the change in provider productivity resulting from the implementation of all 25 of the meaningful use criteria, not including the temporary decrease in productivity that occurs with any implementation of a new EHR.   The study found:
  • 67.9 % said that physician productivity will decrease
  • 31% said that physician productivity will decrease more than 10% 
  • 45.9% said that the proposed requirement that 80% of all patient requests for an electronic copy of their health information be fulfilled within 48 hours would be “difficult” or “very difficult” to achieve
  • 53.5% said that the proposed requirement that 10% of all patients be given electronic access to their health information within 96 hours of the information being available would be “difficult” or “very difficult” to achieve
Source: “MGMA data show ‘meaningful use’ requirements will lead to decreased physician productivity unless changed,” MGMA Press Release, March 4, 2010, 

March 11, 2010 Posted by | health information technology, healthcare, Technology | , , | Leave a comment

Meaningful Use has Implications For Patients, Not only Providers

Editor’s note: What about the impact on patient health and outcomes?


Survey: Meaningful use compliance reduces physician productivity
A Medical Group Management Association survey found that 67.9% of responding doctors said fulfilling the 25 meaningful use requirements to qualify for stimulus incentives slows their work flow. Doctors surveyed said implementing a certified electronic health record to enable at least 10% of patients to access their medical records within 96 hours of data availability is the most difficult meaningful use measure to meet. Modern Healthcare (free registration)(3/5)

March 8, 2010 Posted by | Electronic health records, health information technology, healthcare | , , , | Leave a comment

NQF Issue Brief on HIT Privacy

Privacy: From Barrier to Enabler of Health Information Technology (HIT)
Good healthcare depends on good information. This issue brief emphasizes the importance of HIT adoption in making sure the right information about the right person is delivered—in usable form—to the right place at the right time. If implemented carefully, EHR systems will appreciably improve the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of American healthcare, leading to widespread and sustainable quality improvement.

March 6, 2010 Posted by | Electronic health records, health information technology, healthcare | , | Leave a comment

Lab Data Exchange

CMS says electronic data exchanges are OK under 1988 clinical labs law
Medical testing labs are allowed to exchange electronic test data under the 1988 Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, which established quality standards for testing labs, according to the CMS. The agency issued the guidance to clarify CLIA’s effect on the government’s efforts to implement health information exchanges and networks. Government Health IT (3/4)

March 6, 2010 Posted by | Electronic health records, health information technology, healthcare | , , | Leave a comment