ONC seeks committee applicants; One-fifth GI docs 'challenged' in choosing first EHR;

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> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has issued a call for applications to the Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC) and to the Health IT Standards Committee (HITSC). Applications are being accepted for one of the three members of the HITPC appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services. ONC is looking for applications in several areas of expertise for the HITSC. Committee members are not paid, but receive a per diem and travel costs for committee services. Applications are due by Sept. 11. Federal Register Notice (.pdf)

> Nearly 21 percent of gastroenterology/GI practices "remain challenged" to choose and implement a first electronic health record system, and 15 percent of the early adopters seek to replace their system, according to a new survey from Black Book Rankings. EHR vendor gMed has been ranked No. 1 for this physician practice specialty for the past five years. Announcement

> ONC has broadened access to its open data through the health IT dashboard. The data is now accessible in open and machine readable formats. The information offered includes material on the Meaningful Use program, the Regional Extension Center program and Health IT adoption. Website

Health Finance News

> Healthcare spending trends are continuing along their historic lows, according to data from the Altarum Institute, while prices are also near similar levels. During the month of June, healthcare spending was up 5.7 percent compared to a year ago. However, that is a far slower growth rate than the 6.7 percent rate reported during the first quarter of the year, which represented an eight-year high. Article

> Recent drops in petroleum prices could wind up being a boon for hospital supply purchasing. Oil prices dictate the prices of its byproducts, such as plastic. And plastics abound in hospitals because bedpans, catheters and syringes are among the many items in their supply chains that are made out of the material. Article

Health Insurance News   

> Though consumer operated and oriented health plans (CO-OPs) around the country have struggled and even folded, some of their leaders appear to have been well-compensated.  The Louisiana Health Cooperative, for example, announced in late July that it would discontinue selling coverage to the 17,000 residents it serves at the end of the year. But before announcing that it will close, the Louisiana CO-OP paid $3.6 million to businesses linked to its founders in 2013. Article   

> Though both state and federal online health insurance marketplaces have experienced their fair share of difficulties, these websites have gotten better at helping consumers choose health plans, according to experts from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Article  

And Finally... Just don't ask her to divide zero by zero. Article

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