Slideshow Top 10 Most Read HDM Stories of 2015

Published
  • December 20 2015, 9:26pm EST

Top 10 Most Read HDM Stories of 2015

What stories most resonated with Health Data Management readers during 2015? The list includes the hottest buttons pushed in the past year: ICD-10, the new Department of Defense EHR, the emerging promise of IBM Watson, continued controversy over the Meaningful Use program, HIPAA fines and sanctions, and more. From No. 10 down to No. 1, let’s take a look.

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10: Halamka: Stage 3 Meaningful Use Should be Eliminated

When CIO John Halamka at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center talks, a lot of people listen. After Stage 3 was finalized with a comment period, he made clear that the action was not only generally unhelpful but downright counterproductive.
“Stage 2 hasn’t even been optimized, and for now, laying on the requirements for Stage 3 is too much, too fast. It’s not that I oppose the further adoption of IT and innovation, but only 12 percent of doctors have made it over the Stage 2 finish line, and now we’re going to make it even harder. Does that make sense?”

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9. Will Cerner Sink or Swim under the Weight of the DoD EHR Contract?

In mid-summer, Cerner won the big prize with the initial Department of Defense EHR contract valued at about $4.3 billion and the total value approaching $9 billion. But are the vendor and its partners up to the mammoth task?

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8. CMS Opens its Data to the Private Sector

In early June, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, under strong industry pressure for assistance in navigating through the new healthcare landscape of affordable care and value-based reimbursement, finally announced it would make its data available to innovators and entrepreneurs. Previously, the data was accessible only to researchers not intending to build commercial products. CMS also allowed companies to combine the government data with private data.

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7. Bill Reintroduced to Shorten 2015 MU Reporting Period

The House bill introduced in January would have given providers a three-month electronic health records Meaningful Use reporting period in 2015 if quickly enacted, which it was not. But it was a series of legislative and stakeholder pressure points that compelled CMS—after a wait of several months—to make modifications to Meaningful Use, which stakeholders didn’t like anyway.

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6. Partners HealthCare Employees Duped into Revealing Patient Data

In November 2014, a group of employees fell victim to “phishing” emails and compromised protected health information for about 3,300 patients. But the breach was not publicly announced until five months later, and Partners did not publicly explain why. It is possible that the delay was at the request of law enforcement agencies. Maybe the story resonated because if it could happen to an organization as sophisticated as Partners, it could happen to anyone.

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5. House Bill Seeks ICD-10 Grace Period

In June, with the coding deadline rapidly approaching, legislation came forth in the House for a two-year ICD-10 grace period “so providers can focus on patient care instead of coding and receiving compensation for their care while ICD-10 is being fully implemented.” Sponsor Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) said the grace period would allow implementation kinks to be worked out “without threatening the quality or availability of healthcare for Americans who live in small towns or rural areas.” The bill was not enacted, but Medicare, some Medicaid programs and some commercial payers implemented varying degrees of grace periods.

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4. Lahey Hospital Fined $850K for HIPAA Violations

HIPAA sanctions from the HHS Office for Civil Rights have come more rapidly since Deven McGraw became the enforcer in late June, and the sanctions have come with messages to the industry. The Lahey breach occurred when a laptop was stolen from an unlocked treatment room. The breach was relatively small compared with other incidents that have resulted in sanctions. But Lahey was found to not only have poor processes for securing devices, but also demonstrated widespread non-compliance with HIPAA rules, which included lack of conducting risk analyses, a major focus for OCR in 2015.

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3. IBM CEO: Watson Health is ‘Our Moonshot’ in Healthcare

IBM in April formalized its health application of the Watson supercomputer with a new business unit—Watson Health. It offers cloud-based access to help providers, researchers, insurers and patients use Big Data, analytics and mobile technology to achieve better health outcomes.

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2. Cerner Surprises in Beating Epic for DoD EHR

After Cerner was announced as winning the prime contract for the new Department of Defense EHR, when virtually all the betting money was on Epic, the questions started on the wisdom of the selection. Epic has been beating Cerner for the bulk of large delivery system contracts in recent years, and starting with its Kaiser contract when it was a young company has shown the ability to significantly ramp up and do a massive job. But Cerner brought an impressive team to the table that included government contractor Leidos, consultancy Accenture and dental vendor Henry Schein.

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1. CMS Offers New ICD-10 ‘Cheat Sheet’ for Physicians

Three weeks before the ICD-10 deadline, CMS launched a series of new guidance documents covering multiple specialties and focusing on selecting the appropriate coding. The guidance for family practice alone was 31 pages, giving common codes for specific services across a dozen types of treatment, and then giving the specific codes for specific services within each treatment type. CMS isn’t always very helpful with its guidance; in this case, it really was.

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