How Data Validation Will Make Your Life Easier

As a clinician, you want to know if data being entered into the system is accurate, clean, correct and useful. Data validation often called “validation rules” or “check routines” are built into systems such as EHR systems. These rules check for correctness, meaningfulness, and security of data. For example, the system would automatically disallow or question a user trying to enter eligibility results into the patient’s address field. Validation rules may be automated because the software company uses a data dictionary, or data may be checked by an explicit application program validation logic. To participate in quality reporting, such as meaningful use, PQRI or ePrescribing reimbursement incentive programs, you want…

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Vendors and Physicians Partners in Meaningful Use?

The secure exchange of health information is dependent on both the practice and EHR vendors facilitating the secure electronic transactions and extracting data for reporting quality measures. Even early adopters of EHR systems must ask vendors if they will be ready for meaningful use reporting. The vendor’s response will impact cost, implementation timeline, workflow processes, reporting, and patient safety. A sampling of questions to ask include: Of my current health information exchange partners (labs, hospitals, pharmacies, imaging centers) where have you already built bi-direction interfaces with your EHR system? Does your system send e-prescribing alerts based on the content in the patient’s medication history? Does your system identify whether the…

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Word of the Day: Pay-for-Performance

Pay-for-Performance: The use of incentives to encourage and reinforce the delivery of evidence-based practices in the health care system transformation that promote better outcomes as efficiently as possible.

Word of the Day: Interoperability

Interoperability: The ability to exchange and use information (usually in a large heterogeneous network made up of several local area networks). Interoperable systems reflect the ability of software and hardware on multiple machines from multiple vendors to communicate.

Word of the Day: Electronic Media

Electronic Media: Electronic storage media including memory devices in computers (hard drives) and any removable/transportable digital memory medium, such as magnetic tape or disk, optical disk, or digital memory card; or transmission media used to exchange information already in electronic storage media. Transmission media include the Internet (wide open), extranet (using Internet technology to link a business with information accessible only to collaborating parties), leased lines, dial-up lines, private networks, and the physical movement of removable/transportable electronic storage media. Written communications sent via facsimile (not from one computer to another) and verbal information exchanges are not considered electronic media.

What’s In Your Personal Health Record?

The 800-pound gorilla at the center of health information transformation is the patient. This sleeping giant is slowly emerging from hibernation, and watch out when it wakes up. Folded into ARRA’s HITECH Act are provisions that require health care providers to “Provide patients and families with access to data, knowledge, and tools to make informed decisions and to manage their health.” If you are a caregiver, or manage a chronic disease, this policy will have a profound effect on you. While my sister and brother battled terminal aggressive cancers, it was their caregiver who carried the pharmacological list of medications, nutritional supplements, allergies, adverse reactions, near fatal overdoses, sleep patterns,…

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Privacy and Security in Disasters or Emergencies

Families searching for loved ones in a presidential-declared disaster, whether a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or unnatural disasters, should not have to also overcome HIPAA privacy roadblocks. As our nation winds down mid-western tornado season and steps up Hurricane season, review the guidance issued by DHHS after hundreds of thousand of Hurricane Katrina and Rita displaced citizens tried to locate loved ones. Privacy and Security in Disasters or Emergency Guidance If the president declares an emergency or disaster and the secretary of HHS declares a public health emergency, the secretary may waive sanctions and penalties against a covered hospital that does not comply with certain provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule,…

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ARRA Stimulus Funds

On Thursday, May 28, 2009, the Office of the National Coordinator released guidance on the new Health IT Regional Extension Centers (HITRC). Section 3012 of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), as added by the HITECH Act, authorizes a Health Information Technology Extension Program to make assistance available to all providers, but with priority access to Health IT for the uninsured, underinsured, historically underserved and other special-needs populations, and use of that technology to achieve reduction in health disparities. The major focus for the Centers’ work with most of the providers that they serve will be to help to select and successfully implement certified electronic health records (EHRs). Assistance is…

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Word of the Day: Data Storage

Data Storage: Computer storage is the holding of data in an electromagnetic form for access by a computer processor. Primary storage are data in random access memory (RAM) and other “built-in” devices. Secondary storage are data on hard disk, tapes, and other external devices.