This year's stories outline HIT industry challenges
From the potential end of the Meaningful Use program to the election of Donald Trump as president, the nation’s providers encountered unexpected turns in the road in 2016. This list compiles our most-read stories of the year, highlighting many of those major upheavals in the industry.
Thousands of new ICD-10 codes slated for October release
March 15, 2016
Even though the transition to the new ICD-10 codes went well in October 2015, there was still concern about how the addition of new codes would affect billing, making this our top-read story of the year.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have given the green light to adding 3,651 ICD-10 hospital inpatient procedure codes and about 1,900 ICD-10 diagnosis codes, beginning in fiscal year 2017.”

Read the story here.
EHR meaningful use to end in 2016, CMS leader says
January 13, 2016
The new year started out with a bang, when Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, predicted the demise of Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program. It was a bit premature, but Slavitt’s statement presaged changes that would become clearer during the year.

“The Meaningful Use program will be ending some time in 2016, confirmed Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”

Read the story here.
Mayo Clinic picks one telemedicine vendor to ease use for clinicians
August 26, 2016
When the Mayo Clinic makes an IT move, providers take notice. This story discussed the Rochester, Minn.-based organization’s plan to consolidate onto one telemedicine services provider.

“The Mayo Clinic has consolidated its emergency telemedicine services from using 11 vendors to just one as it seeks to grow its service offerings nationwide with greater efficiency and costs savings. InTouch Health, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based telehealth network and services vendor, has been selected to replace the myriad companies that previously provided telemedicine services from Mayo to more than 45 hospitals across nine states.”

Read the story here.
McKesson reportedly mulling sale of its HIT unit; Why McKesson may sell its health IT business
June 3 and 6, 2016
In the summer, reports indicated that McKesson was looking for a buyer for its technology solutions unit, and the company confirmed later in June that it was exiting much of its health information technology product lines.

“As reports surfaced about McKesson considering the potential sale of its technology solutions unit, industry observers suggest that some factors might be aligning for the healthcare giant to reassess its stake in the healthcare IT business.”

Read the stories here and here.
Medicalized smartphones put health data in hands of patients
July 1, 2016
Predictions by futurist Eric Topol, MD, always draw attention, and this story drew attention to the shift in the use of technology currently underway in the world, with bigger advancements yet to come.

“The world is on the verge of a fourth industrial revolution, characterized by artificial intelligence, robots, big data, and deep learning and analytics, but medicine is still stuck at the beginning of the third industrial revolution, which has already brought digital capabilities to billions of people worldwide.”

Read the story here.
Trump election puts future of value-based care in doubt
November 9, 2016
One of the biggest surprises of the year came on Election Day, when Republican Donald Trump outdueled Hillary Clinton to win the presidential election. The results cast doubt on the future of value-based care, a key component of the Affordable Care Act, which Trump vowed to dismantle.

“The future of value-based care initiatives is now in doubt as a result of the surprising victory of President-elect Donald Trump, and with Republicans retaining control of both the House and the Senate in 2016 elections. Given that they now control the legislative process, Republicans may act on promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Many value-based care initiatives came into being as a result of the ACA, so it’s unclear which, if any, of the nascent efforts to study new reimbursement mechanisms will survive any efforts to scale back the 6-year-old ACA.”

Read the story here.
AMA CEO calls digital products modern-day ‘snake oil’
June 13, 2016
The American Medical Association has made great strides in embracing healthcare IT in recent years. However, the professional organization is remaining vigilant in calling out shortcomings in technology that has made it difficult for doctors to use.

“In a June 11 address to AMA’s House of Delegates at its annual meeting in Chicago, CEO James Madara, MD, blasted the current technological landscape, calling it a “digital dystopia” that has generated tools that lack the medical evidence necessary to demonstrate the efficacy of the technology.”

Read the story here.
Challenges posed by accountable care drive new data uses
August 18, 2016
Accountable care, and its impact on healthcare organizations, remained one of HDM’s most-read topics for the year. This article explained how data and analytics are expected to impact care delivery.

“Accountable care organizations are gaining prominence as one of the nation’s leading approaches for making the shift to value-based care. Providers in these ACOs are facing a variety of business challenges, including gathering and using data to improve care. In many cases, ACOs are finding they need to incorporate data from a variety of sources, placing new importance on activities such as master data management, analytics and population health management applications.”

Read the story here.
CMS Headquarters
CMS proposes MU changes, 90-day EHR reporting period for 2016
July 6, 2016
Providers pressured federal agencies to make it easier to report data related to the Meaningful Use program, and in mid-summer, CMS acknowledged that it would ease reporting requirements.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Wednesday announced that it is streamlining electronic health record reporting requirements for eligible professionals and hospitals in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.”

Read the story here.
Advocate Health Care hit by $5.55 million fine for HIPAA violations
August 4, 2016
The HHS Office for Civil Rights picked up both the pace and the impact of penalties for HIPAA violations, and in August, it lowered the boom on Advocate Health Care for noncompliance with the law. The action was announced by OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels.

“Advocate Health Care, the largest delivery system in Illinois, on Thursday was hit with the largest fine ever levied on a healthcare organization charged with HIPAA violations.”

Read the story here.
HHS hits Catholic organization with $650,000 HIPAA fine
July 5, 2016
This action against a not-for-profit Catholic organization in Philadelphia drew murmurs from the healthcare IT industry, primarily because the fine resulted from the loss of an unencrypted iPhone and the size of the penalty.

“The HHS Office for Civil Rights has levied a $650,000 fine and a corrective action plan against Catholic Health Care Services, a business associate of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

Read the story here.
Use of telemedicine grows in long-term care settings
September 6, 2016
Healthcare organizations were paying more attention to the care patients receive after hospitalization, realizing its importance in reducing readmissions. This article highlighted the use of telemedicine to accomplish this.

“The use of telemedicine is expanding to long-term care settings, where frail patients are likely to have emergency care needs, and caregivers need quick assessments from outside medical professionals to enable them to intervene as soon as possible.”

Read the story here.
Does blockchain have a role in healthcare?
June 8, 2016
The use of blockchain technology in healthcare piqued the interest of technology executives, realizing that it may be able to solve some of the problems that providers have struggled with.

“It’s the technology that’s most closely associated with the Bitcoin, and it’s been playing a growing role in the financial industry. Now, there’s a growing realization that blockchain technology could help answer many of the vexing questions in healthcare regarding keeping better track of patients’ electronic records and improving the security with which they’re shared.”

Read the story here.
VA gets $233M from Congress for EHR upgrade with conditions
January 4, 2016
The Veterans Administration plan to modernize its EHR system came with limitations imposed by Congress, indicating that the agency needed to make progress in improving its digital capabilities.

Congress has provided $233 million in its final fiscal year 2016 omnibus bill for continued modernization of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ VistA electronic health record system. However, the appropriation signed into law by President Obama comes with restrictions.

Read the story here.
Health IT grows in importance in final MACRA rule
October 17, 2016
The new reimbursement system that will be used to pay physicians treating Medicare patients will place a heavy emphasis on healthcare IT in order to achieve targets set out by the program.

“The final MACRA rule announced on Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services includes a new Quality Payment Program tying physician payments to quality of care, which will require providers to rely heavily on healthcare information technology, according to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt.”

Read the story here.