iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

State Board information available to consumers

A newly released report of the Informed Patient Institute, done in conjunction with Consumer Reports,  that evaluates what type of information is available to consumers on medical board websites nationwide. Medical boards are state government agencies established to protect the public from the unprofessional, improper and incompetent practice of medicine. Seeking Doctor Information: A Survey and Ranking of State Medical and Osteopathic Board Websites in 2015 http://www.informedpatientinstitute.org/Seeking%20Doctor%20Information%20Online.pdf

After evaluating 65 state medical and osteopathic board websites, the report concludes that the information you find on these sites varies greatly—and all can be improved to make it easier to access information about doctors.  In some states, a site may be easy to use, but have little information about a doctor.  In others, the information may be comprehensive, but is hard to find.

Sixty-one criteria were used to evaluate the boards including their search capabilities, complaint process, general board information, and what types of information about board disciplinary actions, hospital actions, malpractice, Federal actions and criminal convictions could be found on an individual doctor.  Each website was rated on a scale of 1 to 100.  The results ranged from a low of 6 (for the Mississippi Board) to a high of 84 (for the Medical Board of California).  All of the state medical board websites were rated using the signature Consumer Reports Red and Black circles. The report also includes over 20 recommendations for making medical board websites more consumer-friendly. The report is also available at Consumer Reports’ Safe Patient Project, and is mentioned in the latest version of Consumer Reports magazine cover story on doctors.

EHRs: My How Things Have Changed

According to a recent analysis:

  • 74.1% of office-based physicians had a certified electronic health record (EHR) system in 2014, up from 67.5% in 2013.
  • The percentage of physicians who had a certified EHR system ranged from 58.8% in Alaska to 88.6% in Minnesota.
  • 32.5% of office-based physicians with a certified EHR system were electronically sharing patient health information with external providers.
  • Among physicians with a certified EHR system, 14.0% shared patient health information electronically with behavioral health providers, 13.6% with long-term care providers, and 15.2% with home health providers.

Source: “Adoption of Certified Electronic Health Record Systems and Electronic Information Sharing in Physician Offices: United States, 2013 and 2014,” NCHS Data Brief No. 236, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 2016, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db236.htm

We must all do better for patients . . . ultimately for our families and ourselves

According to a recent report:

  • Medication errors affect 3.8 million patients annually
  • In 2014, 59% of hospitals entered at least 75% of all medication orders electronically
  •  In 2013 and again in 2014, 36% of potentially harmful medication orders that were entered electronically did not trigger an appropriate warning
  • 13.9% of potentially fatal medication orders that were entered electronically were not flagged

Source: “Despite Improvement, New Report Reveals Technology to Prevent Medication Errors Fails Too Often,” The Leapfrog Group News Release, April 9, 2015, http://www.leapfroggroup.org/policy_leadership/leapfrog_news/5268377

Medical Identity Theft: how did it happen and how did people find out

What privacy?

According to a recent analysis of over 80,000 health-related web pages:

  • 91% of health-related web pages send HTTP requests to third party advertisers and data brokers
  • 70% of these requests include information about specific symptoms or diseases
  • Google collects user information from 78% of pages, comScore collects from 38% of pages, and Facebook collects from 31% of pages

Source: “Your Privacy Online: Health Information at Serious Risk of Abuse,” Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania Press Release, February 20, 2015, https://www.asc.upenn.edu/news-events/press-releases/your-privacy-online-health-information-serious-risk-abuse

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Taking Hold

CMS Says 77% of Eligible Hospitals Have Attested to Stage 2 MU
 
The attestation rate for hospitals eligible to attest to Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program currently stands at 77 percent, according to Elisabeth Myers from the CMS Office of E-Health Standards and Services. READ MORE »

61% of American workers rate the health care system as poor or fair

Here is a message to our health providers

According to a recent survey of American workers:

  • 29% rate the 2014 health care system as poor
  • 32% rate the 2014 health care system as fair
  • 27% rate the 2014 health care system as good
  • 10% rate the 2014 health care system as very good
  • 1% rate the 2014 health care system as excellent

Source: “EBRI’s 2014 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey: Workers’ Ratings of Health Care System Continue to Fall ,” Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Press Release, September 18, 2014, http://www.ebri.org/pdf/PR1095.WBS.18Sept14.pdf

 

Open Payments website launches

The federal government today launched a highly anticipated website detailing at least $3.5 billion in financial ties in a five-month period between medical device and drug companies and physicians and teaching hospitals.

The Open Payments website is the first public repository of national data describing financial relationships between industry and healthcare providers. Critics of these payments say these payments can inappropriately influence clinical decisions.

The database was required by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was spearheaded by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Why can any physician opt out of maintenance of certification requirements

ABIM weighs issues with MOC grandfatheringThe American Board of Internal Medicine says it is looking at problems with its Maintenance of Certification language and reporting with respect to grandfathered physicians who can opt out of MOC requirements. The American Board of Medical Specialties website does not list grandfathered doctors as meeting MOC requirements, something Dr. Mack Harrell, president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, calls “a scarlet letter.” Clinical Endocrinology News (8/22)

Provider should follow the wishes of the patient their caregiver(s)

Survey shows many people get unwanted, excessive careA survey of 1,007 adults ages 50 and older found 12% reported they or a family member had experienced unwanted medical care and 19% categorized treatments they or a family member had received as excessive. The study, sponsored by the nonprofit group Compassion & Choices, found 82% said it was very important to honor end-of-life medical wishes, and 50% supported withholding physician or facility pay if treatments did not adhere to those decisions. Healio (free registration) (7/31)

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