CMS Launches Website, Experts Discuss Health IT at HIMSS Conference

During the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual conference, CMS launched its eHealth website to provide information about federal health IT initiatives, Modern Healthcare reports (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 3/5).

Details of the New Website

The new website aims to serve as a central location for information about several health IT programs, such as the meaningful use program and the transition to ICD-10 code sets (Vaidya, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/4).

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

U.S. health care organizations are working to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets to accommodate codes for new diseases and procedures. In August 2012, HHS released a final rule that officially delayed the ICD-10 compliance date until Oct. 1, 2014 (iHealthBeat, 3/4).

CMS' new eHealth site also includes a listserv that aims to help address the challenges that health care providers have encountered while working to implement several health IT initiatives at once (Modern Healthcare, 3/5).

Sequester's Effect on EHR Incentives

Also during the HIMSS conference, Elizabeth Holland -- director of the HIT Initiatives Group in CMS' Office of E-Health Standards & Services -- said that health care providers participating in the Medicare part of the meaningful use program could see reduced EHR incentive payments as a result of the sequester.

According to Modern Healthcare, hospitals participating only in the Medicare part of the meaningful use program could lose about $37,500 in incentive payments as a result of the 2% cut to Medicare reimbursements under sequestration. Meanwhile, physicians and other eligible professionals participating in the Medicare portion of the meaningful use program could lose up to $360 in incentive payments.

Medicaid EHR incentive payments will not be affected by the sequester (Conn/Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 3/5).

Expert Says Health Care Should Be Personalized

During a Tuesday keynote address at the HIMSS conference, Eric Topol -- director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute -- said that the health care industry should focus on using IT to personalize health care for patients.

He added that physicians should use technology such as genomic sequencing to tailor care to each patient's unique differences (Terry, InformationWeek, 3/5).

Ford Developing Health Care Tools for Cars

Also during the HIMSS conference, Gary Strumolo -- global manager of health and wellness research, interiors and infotainment at Ford -- said that in-car technology holds potential benefits and limitations for health care.

For example, he said that Ford has developed a car seat that has sensors to monitor a person's heart rate. If the driver is experiencing a high-stress period, the car would turn off dashboard indicators that are unnecessary -- leaving only the speed indicator showing -- and send any calls directly to the person's voicemail.

He said that such technology would depend on the willingness of the driver to use it (Baldwin, Health Data Management, 3/5).

For additional coverage of the HIMSS conference, see today's iHealthBeat feature.

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