Patient portals, direct messaging, and medical identity theft will keep healthcare execs on their toes in the new year. As healthcare CIOs are well aware, 2014 promises to be the year of "the perfect storm." The potential impact of ICD-10 and Meaningful Use Stage 2, coupled with the transition to value-based reimbursement and new-care-delivery models, promise to overwhelm their budgets and burn out their already overworked staffs. Nevertheless, there are some other trends healthcare CIOs should pay attention to in 2014, partly because of their bearing on the main events.

This article appears in this week’s magazine under the title, “Goodbye to the Surgical Mask.” It has been updated from the online version. Our hospital bill is about to get a thorough examination. Acting on the suggestion of her top data crunchers at the department’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released an enormous data file on May 8 that reveals the list—or “chargemaster”—prices of all hospitals across the country for the 100 most common inpatient treatment services in 2011.

We, as physicians, can respect that random or even selected audits are appropriate to check that Eligible Providers (EPs) are following the rules to receive the extra money offered by CMS for implementing Meaningful Use of EHRs.

But tell me again why some providers have been selected three times in a row?

Doctor with MoneyAccording to the Medical Group Management Association, practices should spend 1-3% of revenue on marketing. That could mean anything from newspaper ads to online marketing to paying someone to manage your web presence and social media activities.


A GIS collects, analyzes, and delivers images of geographic-based information. An energy analyst might use a GIS to spot oil and gas exploration sites, a homeland security analyst might use the technology to spot potential terrorist targets, and a medical research center might tap a GIS to spot health-problem hotspots. Duke Medicine, which incorporates Duke University School of Medicine, the Duke University School of Nursing and the Duke University Health System, wanted to go a step further.

Physicians play a critical role in a healthcare organization's financial success. Without proper coding and documentation, hospitals miss out on critical revenue. Physicians must be educated on the importance of proper documentation and coding, and trained on how to do it. Without additional training, physicians commonly provide services that aren't coded and billed for, or omit certain required documentation, leading to denials — both of which hurt a hospital's bottom line.


In the past five years, physician Electronic Health Record (EHR) adoption has surged, reaching all corners of the country. The percentage of physicians e-Prescribing via an EHR has accelerated from 7 percent in December 2008 to 66 percent as of December 2013.

Follow this link for an animation of e-Prescribing acceleration from 2008 through 2013:

Practitioners are continuing to invest in electronic health records (EHRs), specifically to improve access for patients, according to an article published June 13 in Medical Economics. The author of the article, Donna Marbury, reports on the initial findings of an ongoing survey by EHR consulting firm Software Advice. The results indicate that 35 percent of EHR users report investing more money in patient portals in 2014.

The rise of electronic health records is a double-edged sword for businesses and the health care industry. Although they make recordkeeping much simpler and reduce the risk of errors, they also are an inviting target for cyber thieves. “The health care industry is arguably the most heavily regulated in the area of privacy and data security," said Al Saikali, a partner and co-chair of Shook Hardy & Bacon’s Data Security and Data Privacy Practice Group, based in Miami.

Data attacks on healthcare organizations have increased a whopping 100 percent from just four years ago, a reality that has chief security and information officers in a dash to stay ahead of the data protection curve.