Highlight on California: Courts Side with Providers in Golden State Data Breaches, For Now

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on December 08, 2014

Two recent cases decided by two California appellate courts shed some light on what one source describes as “judicial reluctance” to award damages to individuals whose information was potentially leaked in a security breach. At least this was the result in these matters where the plaintiffs could not prove anything beyond minimal harm stemming from the breaches. Considering these decisions as well as the sharp increase of reports of breaches of security information in California and across the country, the question is raised, to what extent will these precedents be followed in other jurisdictions? Moreover, will the results change if the plaintiffs are able to prove more than minimal harm and what does that entail? Read further >


AMIA 2014

Howard Strasberg MD MS
Written by Howard Strasberg MD MS
on November 24, 2014

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the AMIA Annual Symposium in Washington, DC. I’ve attended this meeting most years for the last 20 years, and it continues to be a great opportunity to learn about what’s new in medical informatics and to network with old and new friends and colleagues. The keynote address was given by Dr. Amy Abernethy, who discussed the importance of learning from the streams and rivers of healthcare data to make better and better decisions. She asserted that even after death, patients live on through their data, which can help other people. Read further >


Highlight on Hawaii: Can a Turn to the Business Realm Cure the Aloha State’s Ailing Exchange?

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on October 24, 2014

The Hawaii Health Connector, the state’s Health Insurance Exchange, announced the appointment of its new executive director recently. Jeffrey Kissel, the former CEO of HawaiiGas, will become the Exchange’s third director within the last year when he replaces current interim director, Tom Matsuda. Besides leadership turnover, the Exchange in Hawaii has experienced several other issues since its creation in 2013, including funding and provider shortages. Unlike other Exchange directors, Kissel does not have a background in the health or insurance industry. So will this change be the cure for what ails the Hawaii Exchange as the upcoming enrollment season approaches? Moreover, to what extent have other state Exchanges’ successes or failure stemmed from leadership in those Exchanges? Read further >


LinkedIn as a Professional’s Publishing Platform?

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on September 26, 2014

Like many lawyers, accountants, knowledge workers, and other professionals, I maintain a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn’s investor presentations, which I recommend reading, reveal ambitions far beyond being merely a social networking space for knowledge workers. In addition to wanting to be the professional network for connecting all of the world’s professionals, LinkedIn also wants to “be the definitive professional publishing platform.” Read further >


Clinical Decision Support on FHIR

Howard Strasberg MD MS
Written by Howard Strasberg MD MS
on September 22, 2014

Last year, I wrote about the federal (US) Health eDecisions (HeD) initiative, which resulted in various standards for clinical decision support (CDS), including an XML schema for representing a “knowledge artifact” and a Virtual Medical Record (VMR) for representing patient data. In HeD, knowledge artifacts can be event-condition-action rules, order sets, or documentation templates. Since that time, a new federal initiative has been underway called the Clinical Quality Framework (CQF). This initiative seeks to harmonize standards for CDS and clinical quality measurement (CQM). With respect to patient data models, the CDS domain has the VMR, but the quality domain has something called the Quality Data Model (QDM). One of the goals of CQF is to harmonize VMR and QDM into a single model called Quality Improvement and Clinical Knowledge (QUICK). Read further >


IPF Quality Reporting: CMS Plunges Ahead Without NQF Endorsment

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on September 01, 2014

On August 6, 2014, CMS issued the Inpatient Psychiatric Facility (IPF) Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS) Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Final Rule. In addition to adjusting rates and addressing ICD-10 implementation, the Final rule also included changes to the IPF Quality Reporting (IPFQR) Program. The IPFQR applies to both inpatient psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric units within acute care and critical access hospitals. Read further >


Bill Would Stretch Medicare Telemedicine to Physical Therapy, Bigger Populations

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on August 15, 2014

Expanding the use of telemedicine under Medicare is the goal of a recently proposed piece of bi-partisan legislation. The bill, known as the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014, is designed to create more parity between telemedicine and traditional in-person care. U.S. Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced the bill. In reference to their motivation, Thompson said, “By expanding telehealth services, we can make sure the best care and the best treatments are available to all Americans, no matter where they live.” Read further >


Enabling Comparative Effectiveness Research with PCORnet

Howard Strasberg MD MS
Written by Howard Strasberg MD MS
on July 11, 2014

In the United States, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was created by Congress as part of the Affordable Care Act (2010) to fund comparative effectiveness research. This type of research compares different treatments to determine which treatments work best for which patients. To conduct such research on a national scale, there needs to be a way to combine the data from hospitals, clinics and patients around the country. To facilitate this type of data aggregation, PCORI recently launched a clinical research network called PCORnet. This network is described in the current issue of JAMIA by the authors Fleurence, Curtis, Califf, Platt, Selby and Brown. Read further >


Closely-Held ‘Corporate Christians’ Win Crusade Against Contraceptive Coverage

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on July 07, 2014

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that HHS regulations requiring employer-sponsored health plans to include all FDA-approved contraceptives among the preventive services covered without cost sharing could not be applied to for-profit corporations with religious objections to some of the contraceptive methods. The Court ruled that the regulations violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which requires that federal government requirements that substantially burden religious freedom must serve a compelling interest and be the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. The Court rejected the government’s arguments that the corporate employers were separate from their owners and that for-profit organizations do not “exercise religion” (Burwell v Hobby Lobby, June 30, 2014, Alito, S). Read further >


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