Allina employee fired to inappropriate EHR access; CMS updates attestation calculator;

News From Around the Web

> Minneapolis-based Allina Health has fired an employee after discovering she had inappropriately accessed the health system's EHR system to view the records of more than 3,000 patients. The violations had occurred over a period of several years. Affected patients have been notified and are being offered free credit monitoring. Article

> CMS has updated its Stage 1 Meaningful Use attestation calculator. The changes include removal of core measures no longer required for Stage 1 and updating to measure the requirements in accordance with Stage 2. Stage 2 of the program is still slated to begin in 2014. Website

> Patients are more concerned about how their data in EHRs would be used for secondary purposes such as research than who was using it, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. The sensitivity of the data itself, such as genetic information, was not a significant concern. Abstract

Health Finance News

> The Healthcare Financial Management Association has issued new guidelines for hospitals to better communicate with patients regarding their financial obligations. The guidelines offer recommendations for providers both during patient admission and discharge, and seek to clarify the best times to talk to patients regarding any sums owed. HFMA officials said a combination of healthcare finance experts and patient advocates developed the guidelines. Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt oversaw the year-long process. Article

> Despite millions of Americans gaining insurance coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals may still have to more effectively manage bad debt.  Many individuals who purchase coverage through the health insurance exchanges are likely to purchase the lower-cost bronze health plans, which have higher out-of-pocket costs, including for ER visits and hospital stays, according to the Nashville Business Journal. The publication cited data linking higher out-of-pocket cost plans to higher levels of uncollected debt. Article

Mobile Healthcare News

> A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, has found that adverse drug events and interactions can be prevented by doctors who use their mobile devices to look up medication information when making prescriptions for patients in nursing homes.  In a survey of more than 550 nursing home physicians, almost 90 percent said they avoided at least one potentially harmful drug reaction in the previous month by using their mobile devices to look up prescription drug information, as reported in a HealthDay article. Article

> Ninety-five million Americans are now using mobile phones for health information or tools, according to Manhattan Research's Cybercitizen Health U.S. 2013 study. The U.S. mobile health audience jumped 27 percent from 75 million people a year ago. "Smartphones have become, for many, an indispensable source of healthcare information--38 percent of online smartphone users agree that the device is 'essential' for finding health and medical info," states an announcement.  Article

And Finally... Do we have to rely on Facebook for everything? Article