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E-prescribing Has Similar Error Rate To Hand-Written Prescriptions

About 10% of computer-generated prescriptions included at least one error, of which a third had potential for harm, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

This errors rate matched that of handwritten prescriptions, deflating at least one reason for the federal government’s incentives to switch providers to e-prescribing. The government had provided incentives for switching to e-prescribing; those turned to penalties for not doing so on July 30.

Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of 3,850 e-prescriptions received by a commercial outpatient pharmacy chain across three states over four weeks in 2008. A panel reviewed them for medication errors, potential adverse drug events, and rate of prescribing errors by type and by prescribing system. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Making 2011 “Meaningful”

Today, $27 billion in incentives begin for using electronic medical records, as office- and hospital-based providers begin to register for meaningful use criteria.

Providers must use a certified system according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid meaningful-use guidelines for 90 consecutive days within the first year of the program to qualify. Eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 over five years under the program. There’s an additional incentive for eligible professionals who provide services in a Health Professional Shortage Area. To get the most money, Medicare-eligible professionals must begin by 2012. By 2015, Medicare-eligible professionals and hospitals that do not demonstrate meaningful use get punished. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Interconnected Medical Apps Of The Future

health 2.0 masthead.jpgAt this past October’s Health 2.0 meeting in San Francisco, many great new ideas about the future of healthcare were presented with a special emphasis on technology. For a great overview check out the keynotes by Jeff Goldsmith & Tim O’Reilly. The conference, organized by Matthew Holt & Indu Subaiya started in 2007 and bills itself as the “the leading showcase of cutting-edge technologies in healthcare.” Those not lucky enough to attend the conferences can follow along on the Health 2.0 blog.

Besides exploring the overarching themes of the future of healthcare in general and health IT in particular, many innovative companies, young and old, gave on-stage demos at the conference. One demonstration in particular stood out for me. This was the demo by the Accelerator Apps Network which showed the future of interconnected companies and applications seamlessly exchanging patient information. The Health 2.0 Accelerator Apps Network is a non-profit industry consortium launched by the Health 2.0 company. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Health IT And Job Security

Hospitals nationwide are racing against the clock to ensure their health IT systems meet meaningful use guidelines. The incentive? Money, of course. Systems that meet certain criteria make doctors eligible for up to $44,000 in bonus money from the government.

As mentioned on this blog previously, implementing an electronic health system is difficult. The usability of the current generation of electronic health records (EHRs) is still relatively primitive, especially when compared to other industries, and the disruption in workflow is undeniable. Worse, there seems to be a lack of trained IT professionals to do the job.

In a recent piece from American Medical News:

60% of hospital IT executives believe tech staffing shortages, which some estimate to be a shortfall of 50,000 qualified IT professionals, will definitely or possibly affect their chances to achieve meaningful use.

It’s a problem. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

Implementing An EHR: 5 Quick Tips

Dr. Jay Anders, the CMIO of EHR vendor MED3000, offered a few tips during a Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) session on implementing an EHR successfully:

1. Make a clear communication pathway. Everyone needs to know what’s going on, from the physicians to the receptionist.

2. Clearly identify the needs of every physician who is going to use the EHR. The needs of an internal medicine doctor aren’t the same as a dermatologist. Make sure the EHR meets those needs.

3. Get a physician champion for the EHR who will be responsible for talking about the project to peers and answering questions, and be the first person to implement it. Pay that person for his or her time spent in championing duties.

4. Some people need more time than others. Don’t let a resistant doctor stop the implementation. Develop a plan for dealing with resisters that includes how you’ll respond to negative comments, how to implement other colleagues despite the resister, and how to sell the benefits of the EHR to the resister.

5. Expect the EHR implementation to be time-neutral. Most EHRs don’t save time; their value is in improved patient care and documentation, which leads to better reimbursement.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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