In September, the federal government plans to release a comprehensive, online database of payments made to health care providers in an effort to promote transparency in the health care sector, the AP/Washington Post reports (AP/Washington Post, 7/9).

Most providers associate clinical documentation improvement (CDI) with the transition to ICD-10 coding, however, CDI — a process in which care providers receive feedback from specialists who review clinical documents — may also deliver clinical and financial benefits for healthcare organizations.

The main benefit of CDI is the feedback loop that it creates. It can fill the gaps in care including those found in documentation, coding, quality, and many other aspects involved with the overall care management of a patient.

Team-based coordinated care is a foundational piece of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model, and, when coupled with the use of an electronic health record (EHR) system, primary care physicians have the best opportunity to improve the quality of care they offer to their patients. That's the key finding from new research titled "The Patient-Centered Medical Home, Electronic Health Records, and Quality of Care," published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Prior to March 31 of this year, I was fully prepared for the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s (HFMA’s) 2014 Annual National Institute (ANI) conference to be “ICD-10apalooza” — a last-ditch scramble for providers, payers, and vendors to get all their ducks in a row before the ICD-10 deadline hit. However, after the SGR Doc-Fix bill delayed the ICD-10 transition for another year, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this year’s meeting.

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.