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Sebelius’ ACA Highlights Need a Dash of HIT Benefits for Parents

Posted on January 3, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

As a mother of young children, I have the pleasure of trying to squeeze in routine, pediatric dental appointments during Christmas and summer breaks. This time around, I had the added pleasure of taking my daughter to a new dentist – one within the same group she’s been going to for all of two years, but at a different location. Though I had her dental records transferred from the previous office, I still had to fill out a plethora of new patient forms upon arrival at the new location. Needless to say, the smile I gave the receptionist as she handed me a sheaf of papers asking me for redundant information was somewhat thin.

I passed the time flipping through the pages of a recent Parents magazine, and imagine my surprise when I came across an interview with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius regarding the Affordable Care Act and its implications for women and families. I thought it was a good idea on the part of Parents editors to have Sebelius explain – succinctly and briefly – the highlights of the ACA, especially pertaining to preventive services and the supposed affordability of health insurance once health insurance exchanges get up and running in 2014.

Being that I had just wasted 15 minutes of time filling out duplicate paper forms, I felt that a sidebar on the benefits of healthcare IT might also help out harried mothers like myself. Bullet points would include:

* Do your mental health a favor and avoid filling out paper forms in waiting rooms while your children “entertain” others with their shenanigans/arguments. Do business only with “digital” docs – those who utilize electronic medical records, enable sign-in via the Web before you arrive at the office, and are willing to communicate via email. Those that offer telemedicine services (provided your insurance will cooperate) are an added bonus if your family lives somewhat off the beaten healthcare path.

* Healthcare will become more affordable once consumers start making an effort to patronize providers that have a reputation for high patient satisfaction and quality scores. Get engaged via websites like Healthgrades.com to start sifting through local MDs’ scores and reviews.

* Assuming you’re a connected parent – one that routinely uses a smartphone and/or tablet, ask your healthcare provider about apps specific to any wellness or illness issues your children may be experiencing. I certainly wouldn’t mind switching out my children’s Toca Boca screen time with educational health games and stories.

These were just a few of the items running through my mind when my daughter’s dental hygienist asked if she had x-rays last time around, adding that those hadn’t come over yet from the other office, and the process of looking them up was overly complicated.

As Seth Meyers says on SNL, “Really?!”

Final Meaningful Use Rules Released Tuesday at 10 AM EDT

Posted on July 12, 2010 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.

This just came in. The wait is finally over. I guess I know what I’m doing tomorrow.

CMS AND ONC TO ISSUE FINAL RULES ON MEANINGFUL USE AND STANDARDS AND CERTIFICATION FOR ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS INCENTIVE PROGRAM

WHAT: CMS and ONC will host a press briefing to announce the final rules on Meaningful Use and Standards and Certification under the HITECH Act’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive program.

WHO: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Donald Berwick, M.D, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Administrator
David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
Regina Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A, Surgeon General

Dial In: Call in: 800-857-6748
Verbal Passcode: HHS

To watch the webcast live visit www.hhs.gov/live

Secretary Sebelius Releases $27.8 Million in ARRA Funds for HIT

Posted on September 30, 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.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced awards totaling $27.8 million to health center-controlled networks and large multi-site health centers to implement electronic health records (EHR) and other health information technology (HIT) innovations. The funds are part of the $2 billion allotted to HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to expand health care services to low-income and uninsured individuals through its health center program.

“The increased use of health information technology is a key focus of our reform efforts because it will help to improve the safety and quality of health care generally while also cutting waste out of the system,” said Secretary Sebelius.

“These funds to expand and upgrade electronic health records systems will make a huge difference for health centers struggling to provide health care to the growing number of people in need,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.

“Broad use of health information technology has the potential to improve health care quality, prevent medical errors, and increase the efficiency of care provision,” added David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “This program supports the Department’s overall efforts to assist physicians and hospitals in adopting and becoming meaningful users of health information technology.”

Eighteen grants totaling more than $22.6 million will support EHR implementation. Grants totaling more than $2.6 million will help four grantees implement a variety of HIT innovations, including the creation of health information exchanges among different providers and the incorporation of HIT at dental delivery sites. Another five grants totaling over $2.5 million will help health centers devise plans to use existing EHRs to improve patient health outcomes.

Read more about the release of HIT grants and the list of grants that were given on the HHS website.