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Vol. 11 No. 23, November 5, 2014


EHR Clinical Decision Support Functions Linked to Better Care Quality
Meaningful use standards that require clinical decision support functions could significantly improve quality of care, according to a study recently published in the American Journal of Managed Care. Under the 2009 US economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from the 2006 to 2009 National Ambulatory and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care surveys on adult primary care visits to practices that met the requirement for Stage 1 of the meaningful use program. These practices had EHR systems with at least one of five CDS functions: electronic problem lists, lab result reports, notifications for out-of-range labs, reminders for preventive care, or Warnings for drug interactions.
The study found that 86% of patients who visited primary care clinics with all five types of CDS functions had controlled blood pressure, compared with 82% of patients who visited clinics with at least one missing function and 83% of patients who visited clinics that had disabled at least one function.
Further, researchers found that CDS functions were associated with blood pressure control and fewer visits for adverse drug events, CDS functions were associated with better performance on indicators of quality of care and clinical decision support functions related to such quality measures and decisions to disable CDS functions were associated with reduced quality of care improvements (Health IT Analytics, 10/31).
However, the researchers said they were unable to determine an association between disabling particular CDS functions and cancer screening, health education or influenza vaccinations because of limited data. 


SPUD Sound Pick-Up Device Hopes to Replace Paramedics’ Conventional Stethoscopes
Stethoscopes that most clinicians use have remained essentially the same for decades. They’re not exactly rigid, but their flexibility is limited in emergency situations when accessing a person’s chest is a challenge. A company called Stethoscope Technologies has developed a sound pick-up device (SPUD) that’s basically just a chestpiece that can be connected to any pair of headphones.
The device is intended for use by paramedics who will be able to slide the SPUD down the person’s neck and onto the chest without removing layers of clothing. The attached headphones, having a cord much more flexible than on traditional stethoscopes, can remain comfortably on the person doing the auscultation and hopefully allow for a much quicker diagnosis of whether the heart is beating.
The device is not yet available as a finished product, and the company is looking for investors to begin manufacturing the device.

Digital Health Certification Services Review Complete
Canada Health Infoway and Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) announced the completion of a joint review that evaluated digital health certification services in Canada. The implementation of the following seven key initiatives will enhance Infoway certification services, building on the strong foundation already in place. This work is underway and will be completed over the next three years:
  • Evolve governance mechanisms and operations.
  • Review and enhance the certification offering for privacy and security.
  • Review and enhance the certification offerings for interoperability and quality management.
  • Enhance services through a regular review process to reassess and update product types, certification requirements and test procedures.
  • Monitor trends in the digital health environment and participate in mobile healthcare application certification initiatives.
  • Market and raise the profile of Infoway's Certification Services offerings to key stakeholders.
  • Promote Infoway's Certification Services to certification bodies in other countries.
Lithuania, Moldova Agree to Enhance Cooperation in Healthcare Sector
Lithuania and Moldova have agreed to enhance communication on the topic of healthcare and science, to exchange expert groups and information on healthcare reforms, informs LETA/ELTA. This has been foreseen in the plan for 2015-2016 adopted by the Lithuanian Health Minister Rimante Salaseviciute and the Moldovan Health Minister Andrei Usatii. Based on the plan both countries have agreed to enhance co-operation in the area of healthcare.
Representatives of Lithuanian and Moldovan healthcare systems will be able to share experience regarding the EU directives under implementation and ongoing healthcare reforms in the areas of primary healthcare, healthcare funding and insurance, public health, promotion of healthy lifestyle and prevention of addictions, control and prevention of contagious diseases, pharmacy etc.
Australian e-Health Records Breached Twice in the Last Year
Australia's Office of the Information Commissioner (OAIC) has released its Annual report of the Information Commissioner’s activities in relation to eHealth 2013–14, complete with a report on two data breaches in the systems used to store personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHRs). The first was notified in December 2013 and “involved a technical change made to the system that meant that healthcare providers could view consumers’ personal health notes.”
The second breach looks nastier and came to light in May 2014. “This breach involved consumers logging into their MyGov account and using their identify verification code (IVC) to access their own PCEHR and link their PCEHR to their MyGov account,” the report explains. “In some instances they also accidentally set up access to another consumer’s PCEHR while still logged into their own MyGov account, linking that second consumer’s PCEHR to their own MyGov account. This resulted in the landing page of the first consumer’s PCEHR showing two ‘Open your eHealth record’ buttons, which provided links to open both consumers’ PCEHRs.”

New e-Learning Module for Healthcare Professionals
A new e-learning module, specifically designed to help healthcare personnel understand the effects of violence on healthcare, their own rights and responsibilities and ethical dilemmas they may face in armed conflicts and other emergencies, was unveiled by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today.
"With this module, we aim to reach out to healthcare personnel across the globe," said Bruce Eshaya-Chauvin, medical adviser of the "Health Care in Danger" project. "Anyone connected to internet can use or download the module, which includes interviews with experts in the field, learning activities and other media." The module is intended for all professionals involved in the delivery of healthcare, whether civilian or military, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, drivers and hospital administrators.
Australia: Telemedicine Celebrates 10 Years of Sending Images of Skin Rashes and Lesions to Dermatologists
Telemedicine is celebrating 10 years of sending images from a remote location for specialist diagnosis. The Tele-derm service was been developed by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the Rural Health Outreach Fund (RHOF). It means dermatologists based in major hospitals can tell the patient quickly if they have just a rash, eczema or even skin cancer, melanoma. The Dean of Medicine at James Cook University in Townsville, Professor Richard Murray, says you can send a digital image of your skin lesion rather than having to book and attend a specialist.

Nikon Small World 2014 Micrography Winners Announced
Nikon Small World has announced winners of this year’s contest of microscopy images. The top prize goes to Rogelio Moreno of Panama for capturing the open mouth interior and corona of a rotifer. Capturing the perfect moment when the rotifer opened its mouth for the camera required extreme patience from Moreno, who watched for hours waiting for his opportunity. With the rotifer in constant motion, he utilized the flash to freeze the movement as soon as the mouth opened – still leaving him with only a one- or two-second window to take the photo, and possibly only one shot to get it right. He also used differential interference contrast (DIC) to enhance the coloration in unstained, transparent samples, and to provide a more detailed image of the rotifer.
HIMSS Analytics Honors Three Healthe at Cerner clinics With Stage 7 Ambulatory Awards
HIMSS Analytics awarded three Healthe at Cerner clinics, located in Kansas City, Mo. with Stage 7 Ambulatory Awards. Developed in 2011, the EMR Ambulatory Adoption Model provides a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for ambulatory facilities owned by hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics™ Database. These facilities include physician practices, clinics, outpatient centers and specialty clinics. Tracking their progress in completing eight stages (0-7), ambulatory facilities can review the implementation and use of IT applications with the intent of reaching Stage 7, which represents an advanced electronic patient record environment. During the third quarter of 2014 only 4.37% of the more than 27,000 ambulatory clinics in the HIMSS Analytics® Database received the Stage 7 Ambulatory Award.

Find Out What's New and Happening at Canada Health Infoway


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