Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Proposed Rule for the Establishment of Certification Programs for Health Information Technology

Dr. David BlumenthalA Message from Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

March 2, 2010

Today the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) outlining the proposed approach for establishing a certification program to test and certify electronic health records (EHRs). The HITECH Act mandates the development of a certification program which will give purchasers and users of EHR technology assurances that the technology and products have the necessary functionality and security to help meet meaningful use criteria. While we are making significant strides toward modernizing our health care system, these efforts will only succeed if providers and patients are confident that their health information systems are safe and functional.

The proposed rule incorporates two phases of development for the certification program to ensure that eligible professionals and eligible hospitals are able to adopt and implement Certified EHR Technology in time to qualify for meaningful use incentive payments. The rulemaking process will take time, so this phased approach provides a bridge  to detailed guidelines to support an ongoing program of testing and certification of health IT.

The first proposed program creates a temporary certification process under which the National Coordinator would authorize organizations to assume many of the responsibilities that will eventually be fulfilled under the permanent certification program. For the permanent certification program, the rule proposes transitioning much of the responsibility for testing and certification to organizations in the private sector.

Publication of the proposed rule on the Establishment of Certification Programs for Health Information Technology is an important first step in bringing structure and cohesion to the evaluation of EHRs, EHR modules, and potentially other types of health IT.  The programs will help support end users of certified products, and ultimately serve the interests of each patient by ensuring that their information is securely managed and available where and when it is needed.

Your input is essential to bringing this important process to fruition.  We encourage your participation in the open public comment period. 

Additional information on both of these programs and how you can comment can be found through the HHS news release issued today and at the http://HealthIT.HHS.Gov website.

The vision of the HITECH Act is unfolding rapidly, and all of us at ONC look forward to continuing to work with you to achieve the meaningful use of EHRs.


David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P.
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

OTN offering expertise, services and solutions to organizations and healthcare jurisdictions around the world

[Another Great Canadian Success Story]

TORONTO, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - As one of the world's largest and most active telemedicine networks, the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) will faciliate more than 100,000 clinical encounters and distance education opportunities for more than 300,000 people across nearly one thousand sites this year. Secure, reliable and responsive, OTN enables improved access to a variety of clinical programs and services for patients and educational opportunities for health care providers.

OTN's continued growth and success has resulted in global requests for its expertise and it has established a division to facilitate the efforts of other jurisdictions to develop their own telemedicine programs and services.

"OTN is now able to offer our expertise, services and solutions to organizations and healthcare jurisdictions around the world," says OTN CEO Dr. Ed Brown. "Using the skills, processes, technologies and services pioneered by OTN in Ontario since 1993, OTN can work with interested health care organizations and jurisdictions around the world to help them deliver a world-class Telemedicine service."

OTN offers a complete and comprehensive range of telemedicine solutions and services. From those just getting started to those considering scaling up an existing telemedicine operation to the next level, OTN can now offer healthcare jurisdictions around the world a comprehensive telemedicine offering so that they are able to focus on patient care.

In addition, OTN continues to respond to its goal of increased adoption of telemedicine by enabling a more efficient, inexpensive way to integrate telemedicine into a health care provider's practice. OTN has integrated Polycom's PC-based Converged Management Application (CMA) with OTN's sophisticated telemedicine tools and practices. "OTN has been a true innovator and leader in the telehealth market for a number of years," said Dr. Deborah Jeffries, director of Healthcare Markets at Polycom. "We're honored to work with the team at OTN, and we're excited to demonstrate our combined solutions at HIMSS10."

Demonstrations will be featured at both the OTN booth No.6210 and the Polycom booth No.6201.

For further information: Rhona Lahey, Government and Media Relations, (613) 867-9498, rlahey@otn.ca

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gartner enters into Agreement to Acquire AMR Research, Inc.

STAMFORD, Conn., December 1, 2009 —    Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), the leading provider of research and analysis on the global information technology industry, today announced that it has agreed to acquire AMR Research, Inc. for approximately $64 million in cash, subject to certain closing adjustments. With projected full year 2009 revenues of approximately $40 million, AMR Research is a leading research and advisory services firm serving supply chain management and IT professionals. The firm is recognized for its research focused on the intersection of business processes and technology for the supply chain professional.

The acquisition of AMR Research is expected to expand Gartner's suite of research offerings and also complement its consulting and events businesses. Moreover, the addition of AMR Research’s experienced sales team should enhance Gartner's ability to further penetrate the vast market opportunity for syndicated research. The combination is also expected to drive operational efficiencies and cost savings.

Gene Hall, Gartner's chief executive officer, said, "AMR Research is an excellent strategic fit for Gartner. The firm is the market leader for research related to supply chain management, which is inextricably linked to IT and has become a central and growing issue for many organizations. We expect the acquisition to give us immediate presence in this market and the ability to generate substantial synergies by selling AMR Research products to Gartner clients and Gartner products to AMR Research clients. The addition of AMR Research’s team of approximately 40 research analysts and 45 sales executives should enable us to offer expanded resources to our clients and increase our opportunities for growth."

The Advisory Board Company and HIMSS Analytics to Collaborate to Solve Health Care IT Challenges

New Suite of Services will Combine HIMSS Analytics’ Deep IT Knowledge and Database with the Advisory Board’s Best Practice Operational and Clinical Expertise

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- (March 1, 2010) – The Advisory Board Company and HIMSS Analytics™ LLC are collaborating to provide a new level of business-oriented information technology (IT) research to health care executives and IT leaders.  Through this affiliation, data from the HIMSS Analytics™ Database will be provided to The Advisory Board Company as the foundation for new and expanded services and projects.

Both organizations recognize that hospitals and health systems now face mounting pressures to reach the full potential of their IT systems and drive broad performance improvement for their institutions. This initiative will help IT professionals meet these challenges by pairing HIMSS Analytics’ deep IT knowledge and rich database with the Advisory Board’s best practice operational and clinical expertise. David E. Garets, President and Chief Executive Officer of HIMSS Analytics, and Mike Davis, Executive Vice President of HIMSS Analytics, will leave HIMSS Analytics at the end of March to join The Advisory Board Company and lead the effort.

“We are thrilled to tap into the deep data resources of HIMSS Analytics,” said Robert Musslewhite, Chief Executive Officer of The Advisory Board Company. “CIOs across our 2,600+ hospital and health system members face key challenges in change management, performance improvement, and transparency.  Together with HIMSS Analytics data, we will provide CIOs and other executives with a new level of support as they work to implement key information systems and drive real gains for their institutions.”

With the proposed rules for meaningful use for the electronic health record now under review, internal and market forces are converging to require more integrated clinical models in order to deliver higher-value health care.  In this context, innovative workflow processes and clinical practice, built upon sound IT choices and strong implementation execution, are critical to future hospital and health system success.  The Advisory Board Company, together with HIMSS Analytics data, will enable hospital and health systems to improve technology adoption by physicians and other important stakeholders, leverage the technology to impact care delivery, and drive continued value from IT investments.

“The addition of HIMSS Analytics’ data on IT processes and environments, costs and management metrics, and purchasing decisions will greatly enrich the work that we do with our member CIOs,” said Musslewhite. “This initiative also provides an outstanding opportunity for us to serve the broader executive suite in a more in-depth way on technology issues that are strategically important to the future success of their institutions.  We are particularly excited about the IT knowledge and expertise that Dave and Mike bring to the Advisory Board.  This is a winning combination, and I am confident that it will create tremendous value for our members and for all the additional members who come on board to take advantage of this work.”

“Successful IT choices require deep expertise on the environment in which the system will operate,” said H. Stephen Lieber, President and CEO of Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). “The Advisory Board’s nuanced understanding of best practices in the clinical and operational setting of hospitals provides a critical perspective to IT leaders.  For our part, HIMSS Analytics is excited about this new chapter in our work.  Together, HIMSS Analytics and the Advisory Board will support IT users, business users, and clinical users across the full project planning and implementation cycle to yield successful IT projects that drive real returns.  We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

For more information or to register for The Advisory Board Company’s Web conference on the new suite of services for health care IT leaders, visit www.advisory.com/public/cio.

About The Advisory Board Company
The Advisory Board Company provides best practices research, analysis, executive education and leadership development, software tools, and installation support services primarily to the health care industry, focusing on business strategy, operations, and general management issues. The Company provides best practices and research through discrete programs to a membership of approximately 2,800 organizations, including leading hospitals, health systems, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, health care insurers, medical device companies, colleges, universities, and other education institutions. Members of each program are typically charged a fixed annual fee and have access to an integrated set of services that may include best practice research studies, executive education seminars, customized research briefs, web-based access to the program’s content database, and software tools.

About HIMSS Analytics
HIMSS Analytics is a wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). HIMSS Analytics collects and analyzes healthcare information related to IT processes and environments, products, IS department composition and costs, IS department management metrics, healthcare trends and purchase-related decisions. HIMSS Analytics delivers high quality products, services and analytical expertise to healthcare delivery organizations, healthcare IT companies, state governments, financial companies, pharmaceutical companies, and consulting firms. Visit www.himssanalytics.org for more information.

A Longwoods Publishing working relationship with HIMSS Analytics will survive this collaboration.