» 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. 

»  As part of a Norwegian research project, more than 50 dementia patients have been using global positioning systems (GPS) for periods varying from several weeks up to a year. The results show that the navigation technology helps dementia patients and their families achieve “an increased sense of security, freedom and quality of life.” Researcher Dag Ausen calls the project “a major step forward to record that these users can now demonstrate the effects and benefits over time.”

» The CMS Innovation Center is helping 15 health systems in 15 states put together “medical neighborhoods” comprising various healthcare providers. A collaboration of vendors, including TransforMED, VHA and Phytel, will coach the systems through the transformation. The pilot project will cost $21 million and affect approximately 157,000 patients. The goal, over three years of the demonstration, is to decrease healthcare costs by nearly $50 million within the 15 communities, improve patient health by 15% and improve the patient experience by 25%.

» The Department of Health and Human Services announced its 2013 agenda for health information technology. It will focus on interoperability of systems to enable electronic information exchange across providers. The agency requested providers submit policy recommendations.

» A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 55% of Americans consider establishing state-based health insurance exchanges to be a “top priority” for health policy in their state this year. “Although governors are largely splitting across partisan lines on the changes, the public is not — people like the idea,” says Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation.