NIST releases new test tools; Practices with allied health professionals more likely to use an EHR;

News From Around the Web

> The National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed Test Tools for conformance testing of Health IT Modules related to the 2015 Edition ONC certification criteria for electronic prescribing, immunization messaging, syndromic surveillance and reportable laboratory results.Complementary test process documents that describe the testing actions for using these tools were also developed and are now available for a 30-day public comment period ending Jan. 1, 2016. Website

> A study found that physician practices that employed allied health professionals were more likely to have implemented an electronic health record. Seventy-five percent of practices with at least one nurse practitioner or physician assistant had an EHR. They were also 9 percent to 12 percent more likely to have an EHR with advanced capabilities. Study abstract

Health Finance News

> The healthcare sector added 23,800 jobs in the month of November, with hospitals leading the way in terms of creating new positions, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last month, hospitals added 13,400 jobs, the only portion of the healthcare sector to post a five-figure increase in hiring. Article

Health Insurance News   

> More competition in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces generally means lower health plan premiums, according to two new studies published in the December edition of Health Affairs. In one study, researchers studied premiums and insurer competition during the first two years of the ACA marketplaces, concluding that the addition one insurer in a county was associated with a 3.5 percent lower premium for the "benchmark" plan in the federal marketplace. Article

> The federal government announced Monday that it will not have a special enrollment period on around the April 15 tax filing deadline as it has done in the past. Consumers who want to sign up for health insurance on the federal exchange for 2016 must do so by Jan. 31--the end of the current open enrollment period--to avoid a penalty for not having coverage when they file their income tax. Article   

And Finally ... I bet he used a souped up getaway car! Article