It certainly seems that if the Chicago Cubs can finally beat the “Curse of the Billy Goat” and make it to the World Series for the first time in 71 years, anything is possible — in sports or health IT. Dare we hope that includes achieving interoperability, including telemedicine in MACRA, and meeting some of the other challenges highlighted in this week’s HIT List?

  1. Easier said than done. Everyone agrees that interoperability across different EMRs is essential to better patient care, but getting there from here continues to prove challenging. The latest KLAS survey shows that a mere 6% of healthcare providers report they can access data from exchange partners on different systems in a way that improves patient care. The question seems to be how we can best address the challenges of reasonable access, location of records and ease of use within clinical workflow.
  2. 6 ways technology is revolutionizing care. No question, digital innovations are ushering in a new era of healthcare. For one, FDA-approved robots are now roaming hospitals, checking patient vital signs and managing their charts. Number two, technology-assisted care (TAC) is helping to address addiction and substance abuse issues. Third, tech tools such as real-time monitoring and virus-killing robots are helping to contain infectious disease outbreaks. See what other tools are changing the face of 21st century medicine.
  3. Switching gears. Disappointed that the recently finalized MACRA rule basically excludes telemedicine from its Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), advocates are redoubling efforts to get Congress to expand Medicare’s reimbursement policy, aiming to include legislation in a post-election omnibus appropriations bill. The good news is that CMS permits telemedicine in its new Comprehensive Primary Care Plus model, next-gen ACOs and other alternative payment models.
  4. Matching tech to 2.0 needs. The aging of America provides an exciting — and daunting — opportunity to reimagine care delivery and the technology that can make it possible. That’s the takeaway from the recent Aging 2.0 conference, where aging experts and senior care industry leaders focused on ways to better match digital tools to future needs, ranging from making sense of sensor data to managing multiple chronic conditions to supporting caregivers. Let the innovating begin!
  5. Legally speaking. It’s high time hospitals and physicians started establishing policies for EHRs as legal records, as part of a comprehensive risk mitigation strategy. The fact is, using EHRs as evidence in malpractice lawsuits involves a lot of hassle and uncertainty compared to the paper records of the past, attorneys say. Check out the new challenges EHRs pose in court, starting with the reality that EHR printouts can be thousands of pages long.
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