ONC publishes info on public attitudes about EHR privacy, security; Arizona networks affiliate;

News From Around the Web

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released its latest data brief, this one on public attitudes of the privacy and security of electronic health records. More than four-fifths of people surveyed (84 percent) agreed that their privacy and security were reasonably protected in EHRs. Not surprisingly, the support for EHRs was "significantly" higher from those who believed that their records were protected. They were also more likely to support health information exchange. Brief (.pdf)

> Arizona Health-e Connection (AzHeC) and Health Information Network of Arizona (HINAz) have decided to formally affiliate. AzHeC will handle policy, develop education, and implement other programs, such as the state's regional extension center. HINAz will serve as the state health information exchange network. Announcement (.pdf)

Health Finance News

> Patients, fed up with the facility fees that many hospitals and healthcare systems impose on them, may soon refuse to pay the charges, the Miami Herald reported. Facility fees continue to grow in popularity among hospitals, particularly those that acquire medical practices. A change in Medicare rules a decade ago also makes it easier for providers to bill for physician services separately from other operations, according to the newspaper. However, the additional fees rankle many patients, who are usually unaware of the charges until they receive a bill. Article

> Hospitals and emergency room physicians are reducing the use of high-tech imaging in order to cut healthcare costs, the Wall Street Journal reported. Facilities such as Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston rely on decision support software to refine when physicians order CT scans and other imaging services. As a result, the organization cut the number of CT scans per 1,000 ER patients by a third over the past five years, with no effect on the quality of care. Not only do ERs avoid the costs of such scans or potential repeats of tests due to false positives, they also don't subject patients to radiation dyes. Article

Health Insurance News

> Coventry Health Care ranked third among companies delivering bad customer experiences, according to a new survey from customer experience research and consulting firm Temkin Group.  The survey of 10,000 U.S consumers also found health plans have much room for improvement when it comes to responding to a bad experience. More than 30 percent of customers said health plans did a poor job recovering from a bad experience, while only 17 percent said they delivered good service recovery. Article

> A proposed Medicare bill could slash federal spending by $1.3 billion while decreasing the rate of diabetes among beneficiaries by more than a third, according to a study released by the American Diabetes Association and the National Council of Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA of USA). The bill would improve Medicare population health by preventing nearly 1 million cases of diabetes by 2024, the study found.  The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act would allow benefit payment for the National Diabetes Prevention Program for beneficiaries diagnosed with prediabetes. This program consists of a group-based, 16-session lifestyle intervention program, for which the average cost to insurers is $440 per person, the study noted. Article

And Finally... Why can't this happen to politicians? Article