Healthcare IT trends of the week: The Supreme Court votes in favor of Obamacare, debates continue; 2,600 physicians linked in new database; doctors adopt and adapt to IT; medical apps under FDA scrutiny
Each day, the Schwartz MSL Healthcare IT Practice shares news items on topics of interest with our clients. It goes without saying that the big news of the week was the Supreme Court’s decision largely upholding the healthcare law. Here are a few stories about that and other headlines.
Anna Wilde Mathews and others at the Wall Street Journal teamed up to write, “For Health Sector: Forward, March With Court Ruling, Industry Proceeds With Plans for Law's Implementation; One Hitch: Medicaid,” which outlines insights and commentary from insurers, hospitals, drug companies and employers. Michael B. McCallister, chief executive of insurer Humana Inc., summed it up by saying, "We'll just continue to do what we've been doing,"
Dan Bowman of FierceHealth IT reported on the CIO angle of the decision. Stephen Stewart, CIO of Pleasant, Iowa-based Henry County Health Center, said, “Health IT will only become more prominent as a result of this direction….Reform cannot be done without the prerequisite technology. Reform has to happen; it's just a matter of what it looks like. Long term, it bodes well for health IT.’”
Ken Terry wrote a good piece in InformationWeek Healthcare outlining the components that affect health IT. The ACA itself includes numerous components that affect health IT, including: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' shared-savings program for accountable care organizations, which need advanced IT systems; CMS' bundled payment pilot, which involves hospitals and physicians; a value-based purchasing program for hospitals; quality reporting initiative; the comparative effectiveness research program; state health insurance exchanges; administrative simplification requirements that involve standardization of rules for provider-health plan interactions.
Chris Anderson of Healthcare IT News wrote, “SCOTUS: Individual mandate is a tax, constitutional."
“In what was a surprise to many court watchers, the deciding vote to uphold the individual mandate came from Chief Justice John Roberts. In rendering the decision the court did find the individual mandate to be unconstitutional when viewed through the lens of the Interstate Commerce clause, but that finding became moot once five of the jurists concluded that the fine levied against those individuals who refused to comply is a tax.”
In other news…
Physicians at 2,600 hospitals linked in new health care database
“What is being billed as the largest virtual health care community in the world is being launched online. It is expected to be the first of many efforts to put physicians in control of their performance improvement plans and to rely more on data in their day-to-day decision-making. PremierConnect, created by Premier and available June 25, a performance improvement alliance of more than 2,600 hospitals, will give physicians and health care systems easy access to a wide variety of data, including population information and patient-specific data.”
Survey says…Docs adopt and adapt to IT
The second annual National Physicians Survey, conducted by the little blue book and Sharecare, polled 1,190 U.S. practitioners representing more than 75 medical specialties. Results found that two out of three physicians say the integration of electronic medical records (EMRs) is among their practice challenges. Despite that, most doctors (66 percent) acknowledge EMRs will at least improve or have a neutral effect on their future business.
Medical Apps Under FDA Scrutiny
There are 40,000 medical applications available for download on smartphones and tablets, such as those to monitor blood pressure, screen yourself for depression and learn how to eat healthier. And the market is still in its infancy. Yet, the Food and Drug Administration is now trying to temper explosion. Some app developers are bristling at the thought of a rigid regulatory structure, which they fear will stifle innovation in an industry known for rapid growth and flexibility. Alain Labrique, who directs a global project at Johns Hopkins University dedicated to mobile health technology, says that while apps offer an exciting new opportunity in healthcare, "we also want to protect the public and be sure that medical claims are supported by data assessment and some comparison to a gold standard."
Posted by Davida Dinerman on June 30, 2012 at 1:00 PM