eHRs by 2014?

How’s the $19-B eHR Mandate Going?

By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

In 2004, President Bush declared that all Americans’ health records will be digital by 2014. Upon taking the office 2 years ago, President Obama also adopted the popular, HIT industry-supported bi-partisan goal. Will the mandate make a difference – even if we kick in our grandchildren’s money?

Not without the cooperation of doctors and patients. What were you thinking, Mr. Presidents?

Looking Pretty Doubtful

Yesterday, even FierceHealthIT editor Neil Versel declared,

“It’s looking pretty doubtful that the Bush/Obama goal of 2014 will happen, whether you’re shooting for ‘most’ or ‘all’ Americans.”

http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/amia-2010-five-10-years-away-always-seems-five-10-years-away/2010-11-15#ixzz15TianByl

My Two Cents

In my opinion, the eHR mandate was doomed on delivery when the consumer-friendly 1996 HIPAA Rule was amended in 2003 – taking control of healthcare from patients and doctors and granting it to reckless healthcare stakeholders who cannot be held accountable for harming Americans.

Assessment

In 2003, our privacy was sold for bi-partisan contributions. If Americans don’t trust digital health records, they’ll be worse than worthless. They’ll be dangerous.

Conclusion

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1 in 7 Hospitalized Medicare Beneficiaries Harmed by their Health Care?

According to a New Government Report

By Marian Wang

ProPublica, Nov: 16, 2010, 3:30 pm

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One out of every seven hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries experiences an “adverse event,” which means the patient is harmed as a result of medical care. That’s according to a study released today [1] by the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general. The “adverse events” contribute to an estimated 15,000 patient deaths [2] each month and add at least $4.4 billion [3] to the government’s annual Medicare expenses, the report projected. These findings were based on a nationally representative random sample taken from the nearly 1 million Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospitals in October 2008.

The report’s findings were “consistent with previous studies” but “nonetheless disturbing [4],” Carolyn Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, said in a written response to the report.

Medicare and Medicaid chief Donald Berwick, in a separate response, said that his agency is working to improve care not only for hospitalized patients, but is also trying to address “issues in dialysis centers and ambulatory and long term care settings.”

Inspector General Report

It’s interesting that he mentions this. Because the inspector general report only covered hospital care, the statistics it contains don’t include many of the adverse events we’ve reported on in a particular subset of Medicare beneficiaries—patients receiving care in dialysis clinics [5].

Examples:

But, the report did highlight the story of one hospitalized dialysis patient who almost died when the tube feeding blood back into his body dislodged—an incident that as we’ve noted, is potentially deadly but also preventable [6]: [O]ne beneficiary had excessive bleeding after his kidney dialysis needle was inadvertently removed, which resulted in circulatory shock, a transfer to the intensive care unit, and emergency insertion of a tube into the trachea (windpipe) to ease breathing. When the tube was removed the following day, the patient aspirated (inhaled foreign material into his lungs), which required a life-sustaining intervention.

Assessment

Of the adverse events it identified, the inspector general’s report judged about 44 percent to be preventable. The inspector general called on both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to broaden the definition of adverse events and better measure such incidents, noting that “to date, no adverse event reporting system exists, and there are no Federal standards regarding State systems.”

Link: http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/read-govt-report-showing-1-in-7-hospitalized-medicare-beneficiaries-harmed-

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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