As we observe Veterans Day, we salute the Americans who have defended our ideals, past and present. On our HIT List this week, there’s no camouflaging the challenges and opportunities that technology brings to the healthcare industry. Top-of-mind topics include analytics, healthcare and tactical tips for CIO success.

  1. Analytics drive success. By embracing analytics, a large New York medical practice has boosted physician productivity and reduced costs, operating at nearly 13% below the American Medical Group Association median for practice overhead. The practice analyzes data from more than 2,200 processes and procedures, and shares strengths and weaknesses in clinical staff performance via dashboards. How are you using IT to improve operational efficiency?
  2. Can private payers be far behind? The nearly 1,200 pages detailing 2015 Medicare payment guidelines contain good news for telehealth fans. Medicare will start paying physicians for remote chronic care management and remote patient monitoring of chronic conditions, and expand covered telehealth services to include wellness and behavioral health, among others. Will private insurers follow suit?
  3. Once again, pleading for change. Disappointing Stage 2 attestation numbers have inspired officials from the AMA, CHIME, HIMSS and MGMA to renew their calls for CMS to change meaningful use reporting requirements. So far, fewer than 17% of hospitals and only 2% of eligible professionals have attested to Stage 2 capabilities. Are you on track?
  4. A good idea, but… A new final rule published by CMS says the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will still promote the adoption and implementation of certified EHRs in the home health setting but stops short of explicitly encouraging their use. However, even if voluntary criteria were put in place, EHR adoption would likely be limited by the fact that home health agencies are not eligible for HITECH financial incentives. CMS does suggest some possible IT funding sources for home health. Will it catch on?
  5. Serious mHealth game changers. Since few EMR vendors are making major progress connecting wildly popular mobile devices with their systems, enterprise technology vendors are taking the mHealth lead. For example, Apple and IBM are partnering to create a mobile-first platform that puts the power of Watson analytics into a smartphone, and then allows users to interact with it at the point of care like Apple’s Siri. Looking forward to having mobility better integrated into your clinical workflow?
  6. Not your father’s rubber band. Microsoft has thrown its hat — well, its black rubber wristband, actually — into the proverbial ring, joining the wearables frenzy. Along with tracking heart rate, sleep patterns and calories burned, the Microsoft Band displays text messages, Facebook posts and a barcode scanner. Healthcare providers may be most interested in whether or not the Band’s online platform will be able to deliver quality data. When it comes to the clinical value of wearables, are you a believer or a skeptic?
  7. CIO survival tips. Embrace “shadow IT.” Prioritize and delegate. Aim to be more collaborative than directive. This is just some of the advice experts at a recent conference offered to beleaguered healthcare CIOs struggling to keep pace with both fast-changing challenges and fast-changing technology. See what other tips they have to share.
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