Technology

ITUpdate for December 2014

» University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers are examining the effect of the Music and Memory program on dementia patients. The team is monitoring the mental state of 1,500 Alzheimer's and dementia patients at Wisconsin nursing homes who receive iPods. The program will be expanded to an additional 150 Wisconsin nursing homes in 2015.

Improved voice recognition may be a boon for providers

Improved voice recognition may be a boon for providers

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Scientists are working to teach computers to recognize not only words but also the myriad meanings, subtleties and attitudes those words can convey.

ITUpdate for November 2014

» Nurses are increasingly relying on mobile devices, social media and the Internet, according to a survey from Wolters Kluwer Health. Their results, released in September, said 65% of nurses are using mobile devices at work for professional purposes at least 30 minutes a day, with 20% using them for 120 or more minutes. Half of the respondents said their organization blocks Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube on company networks.

Online tool helps providers target ICD-10 preparations

Online tool helps providers target ICD-10 preparations

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As providers get back into gear for the ICD-10 changes to hit in 2015, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a free online tool to help healthcare facilities determine where more time and effort will be needed to prepare for the transition.

ITUpdate for October 2014

» The personal information of roughly 4.5 million patients was compromised during a series of cyber-attacks against hospital group Community Health Systems, the organization reported Aug. 18. The attacks are believed to have occurred in April and June. Stolen information includes names, addresses and Social Security numbers; no credit card or medical data was lost, officials said. CHS officials said they were working with authorities, and have plans to offer identity theft protection services to victims.

Dated technology can cause communication rifts: study

Dated technology can cause communication rifts: study

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Outmoded methods of communication between caregivers may be responsible for significant amounts of wasted time during shifts, resulting in inefficient patient transfers and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue each year, according to a new survey.

ITUpdate for September 2014

» The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched a technical assistance program, called the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program, in July. The goal is to help with payment and delivery system reform. It was created through a collaboration with the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, along with the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office and other centers.

mHealth apps may end up hurting consumers: expert

mHealth apps may end up hurting consumers: expert

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Mobile health apps need more oversight, according to a July article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

ITUpdate for August 2014

» David R. Hunt, M.D., FACS, the medical director of Health IT Adoption and Patient Safety in the Office of the National Coordinator, urged uniform standards for health IT at the LTPAC HIT Summit in Baltimore. Patient safety is "completely embedded in the concept of a shared vision of interoperability," he explained. It is "indistinguishable from the delivery of quality healthcare." However, providers should resist the urge to consider the reduction of errors as being the same as mitigation of harm.

EHR 'solutions' research retains relevance: panelist says

EHR 'solutions' research retains relevance: panelist says

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The CIO Consortium & Nurse Executive Council's white paper, "Electronic Health Record Solutions LTPAC Providers Need Today," still has relevance to long-term care providers working through new technology, panelists said at the Long Term and Post Acute Care Health IT Summit.

ITUpdate July 2014

» The McKnight's Technology Awards will accept entries until July 12.

CFOs see Internet, wireless as viable tech investments

CFOs see Internet, wireless as viable tech investments

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Executives are typically allocating between 2% and 3% of their operating budgets for technology, according to a recent Ziegler survey. More assets are devoted within the capital budget, with an average of 12% of those blueprints devoted to technology.

ITUpdate June 2014

» An app developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the U of I at Chicago allows healthcare providers to analyze a patient's gait. GaitTrack uses eight motion parameters after a person takes a short walk. The app can provide data more cheaply and accurately than a medical accelerometer, and can be installed on a smartphone. Results were published in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health.

Smartphone worm could put LTC facilities' data at risk

Smartphone worm could put LTC facilities' data at risk

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The proliferation of wireless devices and seemingly limitless supply of apps have advanced communications capabilities to wondrous new heights. But there is a dark side as well, typified by the vulnerabilities to cyber-attack and having vital information stolen by hackers that a research team at Syracuse University has found.

HHS says providers should use tool for risk assessment

HHS says providers should use tool for risk assessment

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The HHS Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Office for Civil Rights are making a new security risk assessment tool available to help small- to mid-sized providers conduct their own risk assessments.

ITUpdate

» HIMSS Analytics alleged that too many providers rely on outdated and inefficient practices to back up and archive resident-related information. The organization surveyed 150 senior IT professionals nationwide. They found that processes tend to be inconsistent when it comes to safeguarding data and meeting long-term compliance requirements.

ICD-10: LTC must get ready

ICD-10: LTC must get ready

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The procrastination is over for the conversion to ICD-10 coding. After the third postponement of the start date last year, officials are adamant about starting the new format Oct. 1.

ITUpdate

» Gregory L. Alexander, Ph.D. will address "How tech tools are changing the face of LTC," at an upcoming webinar. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern) on March 26. This presentation is part of the McKnight's Online Expo. Attendees will be eligible to earn up to five free NAB-approved continuing education credits at the expo. To register, visit www.mcknights.com/expo2014.

Interoperability experts see bright future including LTC

Interoperability experts see bright future including LTC

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In the 10 years since the Bush Administration launched its healthcare interoperability initiative by creating the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, a lot of progress has been made toward the goal of an interconnected healthcare continuum.

ITUpdate

» The government's five-star system for rating nursing homes does not reflect the quality of life experienced by residents with preserved cognition, according to newly published research.

Internet connections are just getting started, experts say

Internet connections are just getting started, experts say

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If last month's International CES show had a strong message for providers, it was this: Being connected to the Internet is about to take on a whole new meaning.

ITUpdate

» Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) has introduced legislation that aims to cut federal outlays by increasing the use of health technology in federal programs. Under the proposal, a 19-member commission would be established to collect information and make spending cut recommendations for Medicare, Medicaid and other federally supported healthcare programs.

Nonprofits continue to hike digital efforts, survey finds

Nonprofits continue to hike digital efforts, survey finds

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The nation's largest not-for-profit long-term care providers have implemented electronic health records, but there is still much room for growth when it comes to the sharing of digital data, according to a recently released survey.

ITUpdate

» HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the failings of healthcare.gov. Sebelius said the government has spent about $118 million on the website itself and another $56 million on other IT around the system.

Engineers developing robots with nurse aide-like abilities

Engineers developing robots with nurse aide-like abilities

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Investigators at Cornell University's Personal Robotics Lab are developing robots that can accurately predict and respond to human actions. Such machines could potentially offer a new level of comfort to people requiring assistance with their daily activities.

ITUpdate

» The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently issued the latest version of the Minimum Data Set 3.0 Resident Assessment Instrument User's Manual. The latest publication took effect Oct. 1. The MDS 3.0 will begin to track distinct calendar days of therapy and will include a co-treatment minutes item. In Section O0420, the manual update includes coding instructions and examples for the distinct calendar days of therapy requirement. The co-treatment item — found in Chapter 3, page O-17 — calls on providers to "enter the total number of minutes each discipline of therapy was administered" in co-treatment sessions over a seven-day period.

Newly unveiled artificial leg uses mind control to function

Newly unveiled artificial leg uses mind control to function

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Nursing home residents with an amputated leg might soon gain new walking independence, thanks to a motorcycle accident victim and researchers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

ITUpdate

» A new system from researchers at MIT and Israel's Technion and Tel Aviv University can confirm computer programs running on the cloud are working properly. The system ensures there is no malicious code that could compromise legitimate applications. The researchers presented study results from their system at the International Cryptology Conference. Their system would mean, for example, that medical data in a huge database could be searched for any patterns indicating a violation of patient privacy.

New Wisconsin data network breaking through old barriers

New Wisconsin data network breaking through old barriers

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In what may be a sign of things to come, Wisconsin nursing homes, hospitals and other providers will soon have the ability to exchange patient information with a database operated by a nonprofit organization.

ITUpdate

The government will press for action on a certification program for electronic health records used by long-term care providers, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has announced. A certification program would assure long-term care providers that an EHR product meets certain quality standards.

Medicare, Medicaid likely to start requiring tech tool use

Medicare, Medicaid likely to start requiring tech tool use

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As sharing of electronic health information becomes standard across all care settings, using technology may become a prerequisite for providers to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, according to a newly released government strategy document.

ITUpdate

» The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has unveiled a new webpage with information and resources for long-term and post-acute (LTPAC) providers.

Feds unveil plan to improve tech safety via partnerships

Feds unveil plan to improve tech safety via partnerships

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Healthcare technology can greatly help or harm the care residents receive. Recognizing this dichotomy, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has issued a health IT safety plan.

ITUpdate

» The second annual McKnight's Excellence In Technology Awards program will accept applications through July 12. In all, 15 honors will be given to the highest-scoring providers. Awards will recognize efforts that improve care quality, resident dignity, resident-staff interaction, transitions and overall innovation. Judging will be conducted by an independent panel. There is no cost to enter. For more information, visit http://awards.mcknights.com.

Grants to help LTC operators coordinate care with hospitals

Grants to help LTC operators coordinate care with hospitals

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Four Maryland long-term care facilities stand to benefit from new technology grants that target medical information.

ITUpdate

EHR problems are "worse than we know," a new report from the ECRI Institute contends. Transitioning from paper to electronic health records is creating problems, and "we're only now beginning to understand the extent," says ECRI's Karen Zimmer. "Mistakes are bound to go unnoticed for months or even years." The ECRI report documented 171 health IT problems that caused or could have caused patient harm.

Partnership's mission is to help seniors get plugged in

Partnership's mission is to help seniors get plugged in

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Social media, email and other forms of communication technology offer senior citizens a virtual world of information, entertainment and correspondence with friends and family. Yet these can be strange, unfamiliar formats for many older people.

Report: IT for long-term care on the rise, needs nurturing

Report: IT for long-term care on the rise, needs nurturing

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Information technology adoption and exchange of health information across the long-term care and post-acute continuum "has not yet reached broad scale adoption," but "promising" IT potential exists for providers to improve care while reducing costs, say new report findings from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

ITUpdate

A growing number of healthcare providers are adopting mobile technologies, a new study by IT trade organization CompTIA has found. A survey of 375 healthcare providers reveals that 60% of respondents currently use smartphones and more than 50% say their staff members currently use tablet computers. Of the survey respondents who have a mobile device capable of supporting applications, one in five use health- or medical-related apps daily.

ITUpdate

» Health information technology helps nursing homes coordinate care and better protect resident privacy, says noted researcher Gregory Alexander, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri's Sinclair School of Nursing. Alexander reached his conclusions through his work as co-principal investigator of a CMS research project. Funded through a $14.8 million grant, the project's goal is to reduce re-hospitalizations among nursing home residents.

Having heads in the cloud is good for LTC, says IT expert

Having heads in the cloud is good for LTC, says IT expert

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In a new report titled "The State of the Cloud," technology products vendor CDW found that the percentage of healthcare organizations implementing or maintaining cloud-based computing increased from 30% in 2011 to 35% in 2012.

IT Update

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 www.mcknights.com/expo2013.

Researchers say: IT systems are an 'unfulfilled promise'

Researchers say: IT systems are an 'unfulfilled promise'

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The healthcare industry's deployment of information technology systems has fallen short of the expectations projected by the RAND Corporation in 2005.

Enforcement of privacy rules now delayed until March 31

Enforcement of privacy rules now delayed until March 31

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has pushed back enforcement of two electronic healthcare transaction rules by three months, the agency announced in January. That gives providers until March 31.

OIG report seeks increased safeguards in the EHR arena

OIG report seeks increased safeguards in the EHR arena

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The move to electronic health records recently had a red flag thrown in front of it by a report from the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Tech driving improvements, as well as workflow changes

Tech driving improvements, as well as workflow changes

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Technology payoffs such as automation and electronic health records are allowing healthcare providers to better manage care and information.

CMS expanding the reach of young telemedicine program

CMS expanding the reach of young telemedicine program

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is increasingly looking to telemedicine as a way to improve care while reducing fiscal outlays.

'Magic carpet' may curb falls  among senior living residents

'Magic carpet' may curb falls among senior living residents

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University of Manchester Researchers recently demonstrated a technology-enhanced "magic carpet" that may detect or prevent falls among nursing home residents.

Approved sensor can reveal whether medicine is taken

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The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has given marketing approval to an ingestible pill that monitors medication adherence. Proteus Digital Health Inc. makes the Ingestion Event Marker (IEM), which was approved for use in Europe in 2011.

Experts: Push EHR progress even if feds won't help pay

Experts: Push EHR progress even if feds won't help pay

Long-term care providers might not be eligible for federal meaningful use incentives for electronic health records. But that does not mean that facilities should ignore these tools, experts stress.

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