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HIPAA, HITECH & HIT Legal Issues, Developments and Other Pertinent Information Relating To The Creation, Use and Exchange of Electronic Health Records

Category Archives: EHR and PHR

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There’s An App For That Health Information – But is it HIPAA-Covered?

Posted in EHR and PHR, Health IT

“Maybe” is the take-away from recent guidance posted on OCR’s mHealth Developer Portal, making me wonder whether the typical health app user will know when her health information is or is not subject to HIPAA protection. The guidance is clear and straightforward and contains no real surprises to those of us familiar with HIPAA, but… Continue Reading

Complex New Healthcare Relationships Create New Challenges in Electronic Health Records

Posted in EHR and PHR, Health IT

My partner Elizabeth G. Litten and I were interviewed by Marla Durben Hirsch in the FierceEMR article “Healthcare Attorneys: New Business Relationships Will Create New EHR Problems.” It is always a pleasure for us to talk with Marla because she provokes our thinking in new areas.  While the full text can be found here as… Continue Reading

ONC Dispels EHR Certification Myths

Posted in EHR and PHR

Confused about EHR certification? You’re not alone. In a post to the federal HealthIT Buzz blog entitled Perpetually Perplexed by Regulatory Interpretations? Separate the Fact from Fiction,  Steven Posnack , the Director of the Federal Policy Division of  the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has debunked five common misunderstandings related… Continue Reading

MGMA Study Reports Most Physicians Are Satisfied With Their EHR Systems

Posted in EHR and PHR

A study conducted by MGMA indicates most doctors surveyed who have implemented electronic record systems are satisfied or very satisfied, and many report increased productivity and reduced costs as those systems are optimized, according to Modern Healthcare.  The full MGMA study may be downloaded here (registration required).  This report is highly recommended reading. The study, funded by… Continue Reading

AHA Submits Comments to ONC on EHR Certification Rule

Posted in EHR and PHR

 The American Hospital Association (AHA) weighed in with a 16-page comment letter requesting changes and delays in the standards for certification and implementation of electronic health records published by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on December 30, 2009.  In the comment letter, AHA asked ONC to clarify the allocation of… Continue Reading

Certifying EHRs for “Meaningful Use”

Posted in EHR and PHR, Health IT, Meaningful Use

On November 2, 2009, the Texas-based Drummond Group Inc. announced in a Press Release that it will submit to become a certifying body upon the release of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) requirements for certifying bodies for Electronic Health Records (EHR).  ONC is currently working on the scope and definition… Continue Reading

“In The Event That I Can No Longer Make Decisions For Myself, I Wish …” – Storing Advanced Directives on GoogleHealth

Posted in EHR and PHR, Google Health

Google Health and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Caring Connections have partnered to allow patients to store and access their advance directives on line.  Advance directives are essentially "directions" that a person gives to their medical professionals about what interventions they wish to have provided or withheld under specific circumstances — especially in emergencies and at… Continue Reading

Relationship of “Meaningful Use” of EHR, and the Department of Veterans Affairs

Posted in EHR and PHR, Governance Issues, HITECH Act, Meaningful Use

[Installment 5 – Governance Considerations from HIT for the Board and Other Hospital Stakeholders]  This is the fifth in a series of blog posts that relate to the governance concerns surrounding developments in HIPAA, HITECH and HIT.  The other week, two separate and apparently unrelated events occurred on consecutive days with respect to electronic health records… Continue Reading

Will Too Much “Meaning” = Not Enough Use?

Posted in EHR and PHR, HITECH Act, Meaningful Use

When I first reviewed the Matrix and other documents released by the HIT Policy Committee’s “Meaningful Use” Workgroup, my initial reaction was “When did defining ‘Meaningful Use’ of EHR morph into attempting to use EHRs to ‘meaningfully’ reform the entire healthcare delivery system.”?  More simply put, the Workgroup’s initial recommendations seemed to me to be over-ambitious. The term… Continue Reading

“Meaningful Use” Definition Recommendation Due out June 16th

Posted in EHR and PHR, Meaningful Use

The HIT Policy Committee is suppose to unveil its recommendations on the definition of "Meaningful Use" of electronic health records (EHRs) on June 16th, reports Health Data Management.  Any approved definition of "Meaningful Use" would then be forwarded to the Office of National Coordinator for further consideration.   What will constitute "Meaningful Use" of an EHR has been the subject… Continue Reading

NYT, NEJM Report Doctors Not “Sold” on EHRs

Posted in EHR and PHR

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act has been called the most significant legislation to ever address health information technology, but it is no cure-all, say many physicians.  The legislation, which was signed into law as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on February 17, 2009, provides $19 Billion… Continue Reading

EHR Demo Applications Due November 26, 2008

Posted in EHR and PHR

Phase I of CMS’s EHR Demonstration project began September 1, 2008.  Physicians selected by CMS to participate in this EHR demo project will be eligible to receive incentives totaling up to $58,000 per physician over five years or $290,000 per practice over five years. CMS’s selected Community Partners are now accepting applications from eligible physicians located in the following… Continue Reading

Best Practices for HealthVault and Google Health

Posted in EHR and PHR, Privacy & Security

At the end of June, Investor’s Business Daily reported that Google, Microsoft, Aetna, Blue Cross/ and 27 other private organizations "agreed on" ground rules for protecting the privacy of the sensitive information" c ontained in personal health records (PHRs). Their Report indicated that the group has been working together for the past 18 months, and on Wednesday, June 26th, released the "hundreds of pages… Continue Reading

LIVE Audio Conference – Keys to Compliance with EHRs

Posted in EHR and PHR, Speaking Engagements & Conferences

On Thursday, July 17, 2008, National Constitution Center Conferences is offering a 60-minute Live Audio Conference called “Electronic Health Records:  Keys To Compliance” during which I will discuss many of the legal issues, challenges and practical solutions to utilizing electronic health records. Some of the topics and questions I will cover include: Electronic Health Records and Security… Continue Reading

And The EHR Demo Project Winners Are…..

Posted in EHR and PHR, New Jersey

In a June 10 HHS News Release, Secretary Mike Leavitt named the 12 communities that will participate in a 5-year national Medicare demonstration project that provides incentive payments to physicians for using certified electronic health records (EHR) to improve the quality of patient care (the "EHR Demo Project").  The communities selected to work with the CMS on… Continue Reading

CMS Gives Qualified “OK” To Hospital Covering Cost Of Customized EHR Software For Physicians’ Use

Posted in EHR and PHR

In its May 28th Advisory Opinion, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) found that a hospital system’s proposal to pay for customized software to facilitate communication between its electronic health record (EHR) system and EHR software used by physicians affiliated with the hospital would not constitute a prohibited compensation arrangement under the Stark Law.  CMS explained that since the… Continue Reading

CMS Launches PHR Test Pilot

Posted in EHR and PHR

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in a Press Release dated May 7, 2008 its new pilot test project in South Carolina that will use an on-line tool called a Personal Health Record (PHR) to give Medicare beneficiaries the ability to collect and then access information about their health or health care services, and… Continue Reading

Is There Proof in the EHR Pudding?

Posted in EHR and PHR

On October 30, 2007, Secretary Mike Leavitt  of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced on HHS.gov a five-year demonstration project that will encourage small to medium-sized physician practices to adopt electronic health records (EHRs).   In the federal government’s Press Release, Secretary Leavitt stated:  “This demonstration is designed to show that streamlining health care… Continue Reading

Microsoft launches website for managing personal health information

Posted in EHR and PHR

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Microsoft Corp. launched "HealthVault," a website designed to allow patients to store and manage their medical and health information, and which is described by Microsoft as "part filing cabinet, part library, and part fax machine for an individual’s or a family’s medical records and notes."    Microsoft’s HealthVault attempts to implement a "centralized model" of… Continue Reading

EMR Adoption Concerns

Posted in EHR and PHR

Concerns continue to mount regarding the recent IRS memorandum declaring that nonprofit hospitals can share their e-health record software and support with physicians without losing their tax-exempt status. A recent report from Leerink Swann & Company contends that a heightened competitive environment in urban areas will be the result of the memorandum declaration, as hospitals… Continue Reading

Study Shows EMR System Can Pay For Itself Within 2 Years

Posted in EHR and PHR

According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), electronic health record (EHR) systems can potentially imbue enough cost reduction to pay for the cost of the system in under two years’ time!   Despite growing enthusiasm and awareness of the benefits to patients, physicians have been slow to adopt EHRs often citing cost as an… Continue Reading