IT Update

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» Timothy Bickmore, Ph.D., will address how computerized characters can provide support to providers during an upcoming free webinar. “Avatars in senior care settings” will begin at 1 p.m. ET on March 20. The presentation is part of the McKnight's Online Expo. Attendees will be able to earn up to five free NAB-approved continuing education credits. To register, visit

» A new study shows that some clinical decision support tools provided by third-party vendors don't integrate well with electronic health records, leading to widespread frustration for healthcare providers. KLAS Research asked 249 providers about their use of electronic order sets, care plans and drug databases, which are supposed to be embedded within EHRs, to achieve the goal of promoting evidence-based medicine and limiting variations in care. About half of the respondents said they used third-party order sets for reference only because they couldn't integrate the prebuilt order sets with their EHRs. By contrast, only one-fifth of providers using care plans from third-party vendors were using them for reference only. 

» This year should see large-scale IT projects continue as states implement Health Insurance Exchanges and modernize Medicaid Management Information Systems, including upgraded eligibility and enrollment systems that can be shared across agencies ahead of the Affordable Care Act's planned Medicaid expansion in 2014. Medicaid data analytics also will be a driving theme as states look to manage the data from provider networks to reduce costs. State health information exchanges will also looking beyond connectivity and interoperability toward analytics and care coordination.

» HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
 and other officials are touring the country to promote the Affordable Care Act as states prepare to take action on Medicaid expansion and promote the re-naming of health insurance exchanges. The “full-throttle” marketing campaign was launched to sign up as many as 43 million uninsured and publicize the new name of the federal exchanges, now known as Health Insurance Marketplaces, on the re-launched website


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