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» 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. It also could be a first step toward including nursing homes and other post-acute providers in government incentive programs that provide funding for this type of technology. 

» Farzad Mostashari, M.D., said he will step down as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.  He joined the office as deputy national coordinator in 2009. Mostashari delivered his resignation last month in an email to colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services. At press time, the Obama administration was vetting replacements.

» More providers are turning to big data to improve care and the bottom line, a new eHealth Initiative survey of information management executives has found. Almost 4 in 5 respondents indicated that new analytical tools are critical to their organization's future. But even more — 84% --— indicated their institution would face significant challenges applying new technologies. Fewer than half said that their organization has a workable plan for integrating new tech tools. 

» Affinity Health Plan in New York will pay $1.2 million in a HIPAA settlement. CBS Evening News purchased a photocopier leased by Affinity that contained confidential medical information on the hard drive, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

» University of Washington researchers have created a technique for devices to communicate without the use of batteries. The “ambient backscatter” technique picks up cellular and television signals. The implication is that it could let devices communicate independently of power source. For example, a dead smartphone could still send text messages by using an ambient TV signal. Results were presented at the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Data Communication 2013 in Hong Kong.