iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

Are your health records safe

According to a recent survey, 72% of U.S. adults are concerned that their online healthcare records are vulnerable to hackers, down slightly from 76% last year. Source: New University of Phoenix Survey Reveals Majority of U.S. Adults are Concerned Their Online Healthcare Records are Vulnerable to Hackers, University of Phoenix press release, September 28, 2016.  

10% of organizations are considered ‘ahead of the curve’ in data maturity


According to a recent Vanson Bourne Global Data Protection Index:

10% of organizations are considered ,ahead of the curve, in data maturity.
8% of U.S. businesses are ,ahead of the curve,, the study found.
56% of organizations keep the IT environment on premise, while 29% use a public cloud.
27% of respondents indicated they would use backups for data protection.
20% indicated it would be easier to achieve backup and service-level agreements for disaster recovery.
The U.S. is ranked 14 of 18 countries when it comes to data maturity.
Source: U.S. Healthcare Industry Lagging on Data Protection, Healthcare IT News, August 22, 2016

Improving Patient Care Through Patient Reported Information

Further research is needed to establish best practices for integrating patient-reported information into practice through innovative health IT, according to AHRQ-funded research. Part of a journal issue that examined clinical decision support and the concept of usability, “Evidence into Action: Improving User Interface to Improve Patient Outcomes,” includes AHRQ-funded studies that highlight lessons learned by developing and testing health IT interfaces, such as websites, apps, and dashboards. The tools examined in this special issue were purposed to improve patient care. Select to access the special issue of eGEMS (Generating Evidence and Methods to Improve Patient Outcomes).


It is time that patients have complete access to their records

Only 39% of patients say their medical providers directly exchange medical records, while 25% of the patients must deliver a paper copy to the other provider themselves, according to a recent survey. Source: “Are Patients Ready for EHR Interoperability? IndustryView | 2015,” Software Advice, September 28, 2015,

The importance of having one’s own medical information is growing

In 2013, more than half (54.9 percent) of patients said it was important to them that they get their own medical information electronically, a jump from 2008, when 44.3 percent of patients said so, according to recent findings from AHRQ’s newly released Chartbook on Care Coordination.  Having electronic access to their medical information mattered more to younger patients (18 to 34) than to patients 65 and older. However, having their doctors and other health providers share medical information electronically with each other for care coordination was most important to older patients, followed by middle-aged (35–64) and younger patients. Patients across all ethnic groups and educational levels want their doctors and other health care providers to be able to share medical information electronically, the chartbook shows.  From 2008 to 2013, the percentage of Black patients who said sharing medical information electronically was very important grew from 37.2 percent to 47.6 percent; among Whites, the percentage grew from 42.6 percent to 54.6 percent; and Hispanics, from 40.1 percent to 53.2 percent. For more information on the Chartbook on Care Coordination, part of AHRQ’s National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports, please visit:

Now that we beyond the tipping point and see the benefit, let’s get on with it

According to a recent survey of registered nurses who use Electronic Health Record systems (EHRs):

  • 71% would not consider going back to paper-based medical records
  • 72% agreed that EHRs improve patient safety and avoid medication errors
  • 43% agreed that EHRs eliminate duplicate work
  • 33% agreed that EHRs give nurses more time with patients

Source: “Nurses Agree EHRs Improve Patient Safety,” Allscripts News Release, May 6, 2015,

EHRs: More work to be done

AHRQ Study: Many Electronic Health Record Systems Have Limited Capabilities in Graphing Lab Results

A new AHRQ-funded study found that many electronic health record (EHR) systems have significant limitations in their graphing capabilities for laboratory test results, which could have serious implications for clinical decision-making and patient safety. The study evaluated the graphical displays in eight EHRs using 11 evaluation criteria based on literature and expert opinion. For example, researchers evaluated labeling and data distribution in the test results graphs for accuracy and clarity. Researchers found that many commonly used EHRs did not meet several of the evidence-based criteria aimed at improving provider understanding of laboratory data, with no EHR meeting all 11 criteria. The authors recommended that as EHRs become more widely implemented and used in clinical decision-making, policymakers need to ensure that these systems clearly and accurately display lab results. The study, “Graphical Display of Diagnostic Test Results in Electronic Health Records: A Comparison of Eight Systems,” was published online March 19 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The next big issue: use of socioeconomic status in health care

Socioeconomic status, functional ability affect readmission risk, data show Socioeconomic status and functional capacity at home influence a patient’s risk for readmission, and adjusting for these factors addresses some variation in clinical readmission rates, according to research reported in Health Affairs. The Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act, introduced by Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, would address differences in patient populations that affect readmission risk. The Hospitalist

Patient-generated data in comparative effective research will enhance quality of care

Patient-generated data and comparative effectiveness research hold the key to greatly improving both individual and population health, according to a study published in Health Affairs . Read more here:


Price Variation among Cities for Common Medical Services

Imaging if the price of milk or eggs varied as do medical services. . .

According to Castlight Health, analysis of in-network price differences in a U.S. commercially insured population shows within the 30 most populous U.S. cities, prices vary greatly for the same service:

Up to 23x for a lipid panel in Dallas (from $15 to $343)

Up to 12x for a CT scan (of head/brain) in Philadelphia (from $264 to $3,271)

Up to 11x for an MRI (of lower back) in New York City (from $416 to $4,527)

Up to 4x for an adult preventive primary care visit in Phoenix (from $40 to $195)

Castlight Health also ranked the most expensive and least expensive cities in the 30 most populous U.S. cities for four common outpatient services:

-For a lipid panel, Indianapolis came in most expensive (average price $89) and Pittsburgh the least (average price $19)

-For a CT scan (of head/brain), Sacramento came in most expensive (average price $1,404) and Orlando the least (average price $611)

-For an MRI (of lower back), Sacramento came in most expensive (average price $2,635) and Seattle the least (average price $907)

-For an adult preventive primary care visit, San Francisco came in most expensive (average price $251) and Miami the least (average price $95)

Source: Castlight Health

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