Bill would boost telemedicine in rural communities
March 11, 2011 (Telemedicine and e-Health News Alert)
South Dakota's Rapid City Journal reports that Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have introduced the Fostering Independence Through Technology Act to promote telemedicine as a means of raising rural healthcare quality. The measure would provide incentives to rural healthcare agencies to implement home healthcare monitoring. Agencies would be compensated based on the Medicare savings they achieved via telemedicine. Previous attempts to pass the bill have failed
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Review of recent studies shows predominantly positive results for health information technology
March 8, 2011 (HHS.gov | ASPA | Newsroom) - A study completed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and published in the journal Health Affairs finds growing evidence of the benefits of health information technology (HIT). Using methods that were employed by two previous independent reviews, the new study finds that 92 percent of articles on HIT reached conclusions that showed overall positive effects of HIT on key aspects of care including quality and efficiency of health care.
In addition, the study finds increasing evidence of benefits for all health care providers, not just the larger health IT “leader” organizations (i.e., early adopters of HIT) that have provided much of the data regarding experience with HIT in the past. The previous reviews identified a gap between “leaders” and non-leaders in demonstrating benefits from HIT.
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Rural Monitor Seeking Interviewees for Rural Spotlight
March 10, 2011 (from Beth Blevins, Editor, The Rural Monitor)
I'm looking for interesting people in rural health and/or human services to interview for the Rural Monitor's Rural Spotlight feature.
Rural Spotlight, which runs in every issue of the Rural Monitor, has recently featured such "rural" personalities as Keith Mueller, John Supplitt, and Tom Morris.
To nominate someone for this feature, send an email to: email@example.com (with "Rural Spotlight" in the subject heading). Also describe in a sentence or two why your nominee would make a good subject, along with a description of what their work/interest is.
I am also looking for topics to ask interviewees about. Past interviewees have discussed:
- health care reform and its potential rural effects
- physical and financial obstacles to rural HIT
- challenges facing rural hospitals
- recruitment and retention of rural physicians
If there are topics you'd like to see covered in Rural Spotlight, please send them to me at the email address given above, with same subject heading, noting why you think your topics are of interest.
Thanks for your time!
Beth Blevins, Editor
The Rural Monitor
Web site: http://www.raconline.org/newsletter/
AHRQ: New Resource Identifies Care Coordination Measures
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a new resource for researchers interested in measuring care coordination, an emerging field of quality measurement. The Care Coordination Measures Atlas is available online and for download in pdf format. It identifies more than 60 measures for assessing care coordination that include the perspectives of patients and caregivers, health care professionals and health system managers. To help users easily identify measures that are relevant to their work, the measures are mapped to a conceptual framework for understanding care coordination measurement. In addition to researchers, measure developers, Accountable Care Organizations and others responsible for measuring care coordination will find the Atlas useful in identifying currently available measures to assess care coordination activities, as well as gaps in existing measures that can be addressed in future work.
» ACCESS THE CARE COORDINATION ATLAS
AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange Focuses on Personal Health Records
March 8, 2011 (NIH News) - The RxNorm standard clinical drug vocabulary produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) now contains more accurate and complete connections between National Drug Codes (NDCs) and standard nonproprietary names of medications recommended for use in electronic health records (EHRs).
It also includes, for the first time, First DataBank's set of NDCs. First DataBank is a provider of drug databases that are widely used in the health care industry.
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Admissions Data State by State Show Dramatic Shifts: Study Provides Insight into Regional Nature of Substance Abuse
March 14, 2011 (SAMHSA News, Volume 19, Number 1) - The overall rate of admissions to substance abuse treatment across the Nation remained stable between 1998 and 2008. By region, however, a new SAMHSA study shows striking changes and variations in admission rates.
For example, the rate of admissions for alcohol as the primary drug has declined by 15 percent nationally. In contrast, admission rates for alcohol in West North Central states (IA, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, and SD) remained the same.
"This study provides insight into the regional nature of substance abuse,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “By analyzing the shifting trends in the reasons for admission to treatment, policy makers, public health experts, and behavioral health service providers can better direct limited resources in their states and local communities.”
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AHRQ: 2010 National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Reports
March 8, 2011 (HHS - Office of Minority Health) Reports from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that although improvements in the quality of care are being made, gaps based on race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status persist.
» VIEW AHRQ'S 2010 NATIONAL HEALTHCARE QUALITY & DISPARITIES REPORTS