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HealthCare.gov

Posted on December 26, 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.

If you haven’t been to HealthCare.gov for a while, go and check it out. If you didn’t know better, you’d think that HealthCare.gov was built by a company and not the government. This is true all the way down to the HealthCare.gov Blog featured on the home page. I applaud Todd Park and the others at HHS who took a different approach to how a government website should look and feel. They even have a scrolling set of stories about patients and benefits. You’d think they have something to sell us.

Well, I guess they do have something to sell. They are definitely trying to sell us on ACA (aka Obamacare) and the benefits that come from Obamacare. Although, the tools that I found most interesting were the Insurance Options Wizard which walks you through all the options you have to getting insurance. Not to mention a whole set of tools to try and help people understand using insurance. Although, I’m pretty sure most of that’s not going to be read. So, hopefully it’s got a good dose of search engine optimization applied so that it will show up in search engines where it might get a chance at being read.

We’ve written about the “Comparing Care Providers” part of HealhCare.gov before. It’s pretty gutsy for a government organization to go there at all. Certainly they are taking a pretty high level approach to their “comparison” but we’ll see how much they dig into it going forward. Will those doctors that are part of an ACO that’s striving to be reimbursed on the quality of care be listed different than other doctors? It will be interesting if tools like these start to differentiate which patients go to which providers.

I do wish that the website did more to get patients involved in their healthcare. Here’s what I said in my “All I Want for Christmas…” post on EMR & HIPAA:

More Empowered and Trusted Patients – Imagine where the patient was a full participant in their healthcare. That includes being trusted and listened to by their doctor and a patient who thoughtfully considers and listens to their doctor. This is not a one sided issue. This is something that both patients and doctors can improve. There are as many belligerent patients as their are arrogant doctors. We need a good dose of humility, care and trust re infused into healthcare. I think they only way we’ll get there is for the lines of communication to open up on an unprecedented level.

Seems like HealthCare.gov is one place that could help reach this goal. I guess in some ways the physician comparison engine could work towards this. How cool would it be if they listed which of the physicians used EHR and which EHR that physician used? Reminds me of “Got EMR?” ad campaigns I first wrote about about 6 years ago.

EMR or Not, we’re quickly heading to a world where doctors are differentiated on the technical services they provide their patient. Doctors are starting to be judged by their medical website and the services they provide on that website. Do they accept online appointment requests? Do they accept online payments? Can the patient communicate electronically with the clinic? Can the patients receive their patient records electronically?

It will start with a handful of doctors and then start to spread. Plus, it will be accelerated if HealthCare.gov or some other website starts to highlight those doctors who offer these type of services and those that don’t.

Healthcare Mandate and Healthcare Reform Infographic

Posted on March 26, 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.

The US news world is covering this week’s supreme court hearings on the constitutionality of the healthcare reform law, also known as the Accountable Care Act (ACA). No doubt the ruling of the supreme court could have a really major impact on healthcare reform in this country. As best I can tell, all things seem to be pointing at the law remaining in place, but when you’re dealing with a few people deciding something this important things can change quickly.

I’ll admit to not being an expert on the details of ACA and healthcare reform. Plus, each side is spitting out so much rhetoric that it’s hard to really get a hold of the real details of what is going to happen with this new law and what the long term impacts from it will be. Seems like rational thought and reason is going out the door as emotions and partisan lines take over.

I did see this healthcare reform infographic from AHIP hitting my Twitter stream a few times. It analyzes an important nuance of ACA and healthcare reform. If you cut out the mandate for health insurance and leave in the other ACA market reforms, then as this graphic shows the insurance premiums go up and the uninsured increases as well.

This is basic rules of health insurance really. The ACA market reforms basically add a bunch of unhealthy patients to the insurance companies patient list. That’s why insurance companies were denying them coverage in the past. It seems the hope is that the health insurance mandate would also add a group of healthy patients as well since they could help offset the cost of the expensive patients.

This doesn’t have all that much to do with EMR, but it’s an incredibly important topic in healthcare that could fundamentally change the landscape. So, I thought it worth talking about.

One thing should be made clear. The ACA is different than the ARRA/HITECH legislation. I believe there is a little bit of healthcare IT money in the ACA, but when you talk about EHR incentive money you’re really talking about ARRA/HITECH. Only ACA is going to the supreme court. ARRA/HITECH could be effected by future legislation, but is a separate and distinct bill.