How corralling EHR data can improve practice efficiency; Computer crash stymies EHRs in Canadian clinics;

News From Around the Web

> Physician practices should put the data in their electronic health record systems to use in their own offices, according to an article in American Medical News. The data can help practices better organize their business systems, participate in new payment models, evaluate clinical benchmarks and measure productivity. Article

> A computer crash earlier this month knocked out the EHRs of 202 medical clinics throughout Alberta, Canada, Medicine Hat News reported. The lock out lasted several hours, "crippling" work and costing the physicians financial loss. Article

Health Finance News

> The American Hospital Association is asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reconsider its revisions regarding the admission of patients previously in observation care, and to begin financially penalizing recovery audit contractors for any errors they make in denying claims. CMS was prompted to change its rules regarding observation care after complaints from hospitals that inpatients admitted for a day or two were being unfairly targeted by RACs. As a result, many patients were being kept in observation care days at a time. Under the proposed CMS rule change, any admission that is more than one utilization day--crossing two midnights--would be considered reasonable and medically necessary. Article

Provider News

> The Office of Inspector General has asked CMS to take a series of actions to thwart inappropriate Part D prescribing. According to a new report from OIG, more than 700 general-care physicians wrote potentially dangerous and unnecessary prescriptions for elderly and disabled patients in 2009. Out of the 87,000 doctors' prescribing records investigated, these 736 cases stood out as "extreme outliers," due to doctors' prescribing high percentages of Schedule II and III drugs and prescribing high amounts of drugs per beneficiary. Out of this group, 108 physicians ordered an average of 71 or more prescriptions per beneficiary, compared to the national average of 13. Article

> As further evidence that expanded physician office hours lower patients' overall health costs, a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that "extended office hours may be the most effective practice change to reduce emergency department use." Researchers found was that the impact of increased physician access could potentially be more substantial in children than adults, as a national survey revealed that children had half as many ED visits if their primary care doctor offered evening hours five or more days a week. Article

And Finally... Trying to pose as your daughter 33 years your junior ... what could possibly go wrong? Article

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