As a clinician, I find the usability of clinical information systems challenging at best, horribly inefficient and fraught with risks at worst. Unfortunately, we as a health IT community have learned to tolerate these challenges. As a result, clinicians find themselves playing detective rather than clinician, as they hunt for information and navigate through a sea of applications, tabs and folders. We are functioning in an environment where we are data rich and information poor. 

Ambulatory medical facilities preparing to implement an electronic health record can take advantage of HIMSS' EHR Readiness Assessment Toolkit. The toolkit provides resources for facilities to analyze the benefits and challenges of implementing an EHR as well as tips on how to properly prepare for the transition. The resources cover topics including change management strategies, financing EHRs, transitioning to ICD-10 and conducting practice assessments.

Health insurers want you to see the doctor, just not in an office or hospital. To cut medical costs and diagnose minor ailments, WellPoint Inc. (WLP) and Aetna Inc. (AET), among other health insurers, are letting millions of patients get seen online first. In a major expansion of telemedicine, WellPoint this month started offering 4 million patients the ability to have e-visits with doctors, while Aetna says it will boost online access to 8 million people next year from 3 million now.

Two U.S. appeals courts Tuesday reached opposite conclusions about the legality of subsidies in the Affordable Care Act, a key part of the law that brings down the cost of coverage for millions of Americans. In Washington, a three-judge panel at the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Internal Revenue Service lacked the authority to allow subsidies to be provided in exchanges not run by the states. That 2-1 ruling in Halbig v.

As David Blumenthal, MD, sees it, Stage 2 is where the rubber meets the road for the Meaningful Use EHR Incentive Program – the government’s grand scheme o drag the American healthcare system, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century.

At the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, doctors are just as likely to store iPads in their white coat pockets as stethoscopes.

The center's clinicians use mobile devices — tablets, smartphones, and occasionally wearable computers such as Google Glass — to access electronic medical records, both at the patient's bedside or in the operating room. Sometimes they use the devices to show patients their X-rays or other images.

Advancements in health IT, enhanced patient engagement, ICD-10 and information governance (IG) all rely on clean, granular and accurate data.

The July issue of the Journal of AHIMA features a story, “Reinventing CDI,” that analyzes the trend of organizations relaunching and reworking data integrity efforts with clinical documentation improvement (CDI) programs.

While healthcare organizations and providers are addressing strategies for engaging patient populations in the pursuit of incentive or value-based reimbursements, payers are actively looking for ways to engage this same population as consumers in the name of healthcare reform.

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Though there are many advantages to the implementation of EHRs, the bottom line is, and always has been, to provide better healthcare to patients. "The plan was that the money would be used in a way that will have a good outcome for patients," said Robert Wah, president of the American Medical Association, speaking of the original intention of the incentive program.

While it is still a little early to have strong data on the effects of the EHR Incentive Program itself, some of the early news about meaningful use and the adoption of EHRs in general is quite promising.

Over the past few months, Kelly Marulanda, who manages a four-physician pediatric practice in Woodstock, Ga., has experienced many changes in her day-to-day responsibilities. One of the biggest: She's spending more time assessing patients' insurance, and explaining how it works.