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Health IT & EHR State Summaries

Posted on June 18, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m always happy to look at data. Certainly data can lie, but it can also inform if you are looking at the right data and considering the biases of the data. I applaud ONC for being as transparent as possible with the EHR incentive program data. They have an entire Health IT Dashboard for analyzing the data. I think this is a great step towards accountability for how the EHR incentive money is being spent.

ONC recently announced a set of Health IT Quick Stats and even created a widget (embedded below) that lets you download a 3 page health IT and HITECH summary for your state. I think a few states are missing from the widget and why they grouped them by area I don’t know, but there’s some interesting data in the reports.

I downloaded my home state of Nevada to see how we’re doing with Health IT and HITECH. Here are a few thoughts I had when looking at EHR use in Nevada.

I was amazed that so many REC assisted providers were live with an EHR, but less than half of those had demonstrated meaningful use. We’ll see if that changes after this years attestations.

I do have to question some of the data since it shows the overall access to view lab results electronically as 0% for Nevada. Something is wrong with their data there. They did show office based EHR adoption in Nevada at 23% (39% nationally). I’m not sure how that national EHR adoption number meshes with the $60% I’ve heard thrown around. Different sources of data.

For hospital adoption of EHRs they show Nevada at 36% EHR adoption (35% nationally). It’s nice to see Nevada ahead of the national average in something.

I’ve always told people there were about 700,000 providers in America, so I was glad to see they listed 715,984 health care providers.

Lots more data in there, but those were a few of the things that stood out for me in the Nevada Health IT and EHR report. Take a look at your state and let us know what numbers stand out for your state in the comments.

Government Healthcare IT Dashboard from ONC

Posted on May 14, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One movement that I and I’m sure many of you have seen unfolding by HHS and ONC in particular is what Todd Park calls Data Liberacion. As Todd Park has moved to CTO of the US, I expect he’s going to take the data liberation movement beyond healthcare.

The latest addition to the Healthcare Data Liberation movement by ONC is the Health IT Dashboard that was put up by ONC.

Here’s the description of what’s possible for the website:
The Dashboard currently provides summary information about all ONC HITECH grant programs, and detailed data from the Regional Extension Center, and Community College Consortia to Educate Health IT Professionals programs.

Using ONC’s Health IT Dashboard, you can:

  • Generate maps of health IT adoption statistics for common groups of health care providers & hospitals,
  • Examine the impact of ONC’s Recovery Act grant programs implementation at national and local levels
  • Download and analyze the data for your own research projects.

I haven’t had much chance to dig into the data. As I do, I’ll write future posts on what I find. Also, there’s nothing better than crowd sourcing the look at large amounts of data. So, if you’ve found some data that’s interesting, let us know in the comments.

REC Physician Adoption, EHR Incentive Numbers, and Quality Care Reporting

Posted on November 20, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Time again for the weekend EHR Twitter round up. Some interesting stats in this weekend roundup.


It’s an interesting thing to note that they have 100,000 physicians signed up. The real numbers we need to know is how many of those 100,000 have achieved meaningful use, how many have implemented an EHR, and how many still need to select an EHR. Then, we’d really have an idea of how well the RECs are doing.


These numbers seem a little small for me. However, I think we’re going to have a flood of meaningful use attestation at the end of the year, so these numbers are likely a bit misleading.


This is an interesting point. Plus, it’s even more interesting when you think about care teams that are part of different organizations. The inconsistency becomes even more difficult.

The Arizona REC and HIE at EHR Summit

Posted on November 18, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

While attending the EHR Summit by HBMA, I got the chance to learn more about the AZ REC and HIE. Here are some tweets about the things they said that worth noting with my own comments:

Arizona REC

AZ REC had trouble getting vendors to take their free EHR interns. #EHRSummit11

This was pretty interesting since they said that doctors were more than willing to take on their student interns, but vendors were reticent to take them on. I do love the education program that the AZ REC put together. Internships like this are valuable.

Biggest complaint the HIT students had was access to actual EHR software. AZ REC created a EHR software lab to solve it. #EHRSummit11

This is a really common complaint by the RECs. In fact, I just helped a REC get access to some EHR software to solve this problem. It’s amazing to me that more EHR vendors aren’t happy to provide their software for these education programs.

AZ REC has a list serv of 2500 doctors and a list for vendors. See: http://www.arizonarec.org/? #EHRSummit11

I found it interesting that they had a doctor list and a vendor list. Makes sense.

AZ REC looking at optimizing health IT for ACO’s to be sustainable. I think this will be a common strategy. #EHRSummit11

The idea of REC sustainability is an important one. I think many are looking towards the ACO requirements as one pathway to sustainability. Of course, how stable are ACO’s? One thing seems certain, the relationships the RECs create with doctors could be leveraged for good if done right.

Arizona HIE

The case for the benefits of good information from something like a HIE is easy. The problem is making it actually happen. #EHRSummit11

This was my gut response when the AZ HIE was talking about the benefits of having the information an HIE provides. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say that exchanging information would be a bad thing and produce worse clinical outcomes. Sure, they want to ensure privacy of the data when it’s done, but the benefits of having the best information are completely apparent.

HINAz (AZ HIE) didn’t depend on grants to create the HIE. They focused on the benefits of the HIE to users. #EHRSummit11

This seems like something that’s a bit unique to AZ. Most HIE’s are so focused on the grant funding. In this sense, I think that this might give the AZ HIE a chance to be successful. Plus, I loved that they did actual research into which users benefited from the HIE.

AZ HIE, Hospitals pay 50% of costs, Plans pay 50% of costs. Physicians pay nominal fee to participate (cause nominal benefit). #EHRSummit11

This is where the real fun begins. The hospitals and plans are paying for the HIE since the AZ HIE found that they’re the ones that would benefit from it. They found that doctors received nominal benefits from using the HIE and so they shouldn’t be charged to use it. Of course, the other beneficiaries not mentioned here is the benefit to the patients. I’m sure hospitals and plans will pass the cost on to patients, so I guess that works out in the end.

Meaningful Use Monday – Meaningful Use Resources

Posted on December 27, 2010 I Written By

Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EHR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money.

I’m excited to announce the beginning of Meaningful Use Monday on EMR and HIPAA. I first came up with the idea when Lynn Scheps from SRSsoft commented on one of my previous meaningful use posts. Lynn provided such valuable information, I asked her if she’d be interested in becoming a regular guest blogger on EMR and HIPAA. As they say, the rest is history. Each Monday, Lynn (and sometimes myself) will be covering some topic related to the EMR Stimulus money and meaningful use. We hope you enjoy Meaningful Use Monday.
-John

With the impending start of the EHR incentive program on January 1, the results of a recent Health Data Management poll are troublesome. 72% of respondents feel that the meaningful use guidance provided by the government to-date has been either “inadequate and confusing” or “of little use,” with only 8% categorizing it as good.

It is critical to understand the requirements accurately because the regulations provide “no recourse” for providers whose attempt to demonstrate meaningful use is deemed unsuccessful. So where does a provider go for definitive information and answers to their questions?

  • The most reliable source to-date has been the CMS website and its FAQ page, but as I learned when I submitted a question, the term “FAQ” is meant quite literally: An automated response informed me that only “frequently-asked” questions are answered! So, if your question is not a common one, this source will not provide the information you seek.
  • Vendors and medical societies have offered numerous webinars and educational meetings since the legislation was passed in February 2009, but be aware that presenters have varied in their interpretations of some of the requirements.
  • Regional Extension Centers exist to assist providers, but their focus is limited to hospitals and primary care physicians, and they charge for their services. UPDATE: As has been mentioned in the comments, not all RECs charge for their services.
  • Knowledgeable consultants will be very busy and may also be costly.
  • The most promising source:  CMS has just established the EHR Information Center: 1-888-734-6433. If it operates as well as the ePrescribing and PQRI Quality/Net Help Desk, it will be a great source of information. As of the writing of this post (12/23), however, that number is answered with a recording that refers callers back to the CMS website. Hopefully, the Information Center will be live by the start of 2011.

Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EMR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money.

Workforce and Regional Extension Center Challenges in HITECH Act

Posted on November 10, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I just read one of the best blog posts I’d read in a long time. So much so that I just had to post part of it a link to it on my site. The post is called “Far From Shovel-Ready” by Anthony Guerra. I think you all should go and read the entire post. It’s well thought out and well written. I don’t know Anthony Guerra personally, but our paths have regularly crossed on the internet. I hope one day to have the pleasure of meeting him (maybe at HIMSS?).

His blog post starts out with this statement, “Legislation that took weeks to write will wreak havoc for years.” I’m not quite as certain as Anthony that it WILL wreak havoc. However, I’ve been warning of the possibilities of problems for a while now.

He describes the main points of his post like this:

My unpalatable HITECH morsel of the moment centers, generally, around the lack of healthcare IT workforce necessary to make the legislation’s goals a reality and, more specifically, the bizarre market dynamics that will be precipitated by the half-baked Regional Extension Center (REC) farce.

You can read the article for the rest of the details. However, those interested/worried/concerned about the workforce shortage in healthcare IT will enjoy this part of the article:

This means the fight for healthcare IT talent, which everyone agrees is heating up, will get doubly vicious, with hospitals, large practices, vendors and consultancies — and now 70 RECs — competing on what will be an uneven playing field for scarce talent.

Why uneven? Because the RECs will be able to pay fantasy wages, taxpayer funded wages, to woo the cream of your healthcare IT workforce.

At the recently held annual CHIME conference, I spoke to the CEO of a boutique HIT consultancy who said he, “needed 50 people TODAY,” but had no idea where they would come from. John Glaser, Ph.D., CIO at Partners Healthcare and senior special advisor to ONCHIT, recently wrote that those who employ healthcare IT talent must be sure their wages are fair and their work fulfilling, as poaching season is fast approaching.