Health IT Roundup—Minnesota hospital filmed patients without consent; Are providers ready for the death of faxes?

EHR data sharing
Interoperability challenges in data sharing and EHRs are holding things back. (Getty/andrei_r)

Is health IT staff ready for the death of the fax machine?

Seema Verma, administrator at CMS, has called on doctors' offices to eliminate the use of fax machines by 2020. While this might seem like common sense for people outside the industry, providers today are still protective of their fax machines. The near-obsolete solution allows providers to retain control of their records and transfer those records, when necessary, in a HIPAA-compliant way.

Yet the world is changing, and CMS is intent on moving providers away from faxes and toward interoperable EHRs. But before offices can make that jump, health IT staff have some work to do. (Forbes article)

Minnesota hospital taped patients, violating their privacy rights: CMS

A CMS investigation concluded that Fairview Southdale Hospital violated patient privacy rights by videotaping patients without their knowledge or consent. The Minnesota-based hospital was found videotaping psychiatric evaluations in the emergency room.

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One patient brought the practice to light during a lawsuit with the hospital. The patient was brought to the hospital against her will—the focus of the suit—but later found the security camera footage over the course of the suit.

The patient said the “videotape was ‘horrifying to her’ and there was no marking in the room to tell her she was being recorded,” CMS noted in its report. (HealthIT security article)

FDA faces criticism over speedy Apple Watch approvals

The FDA granted approval for new medical apps designed for the Apple Watch in two de novo letters last week—a move that is raising some eyebrows among observers. Since Apple filed its two applications on Aug. 9 and 14, that means the FDA made its determination in under 30 days—unheard of for the agency.

“FDA’s goal with regard to reviewing de novo submissions is for FDA to ‘issue a decision within 150 FDA days of receipt of the submission for … 50 percent of de novo requests received in FY 2018,’” Bradley M. Thompson, an attorney, told Health Data Management. “To be clear, that means it’s expected that the other 50 percent will take longer than 150 days. FDA cleared not one but two Apple de novo reviews in fewer than 30 days. That’s remarkable.” (Health Data Management article)

Interoperability, EHR challenges headline subcommittee hearing

Healthcare stakeholders testified before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee last week on the interoperability problems that are challenging to value-based care models. Primarily, challenges in data sharing and EHRs are holding things back.

For instance, Nishant Anand, M.D., chief medical officer for Adventist Health System, told the committee that most physicians at his organization operate on more than 30 different EHR platforms on a regular basis.

“This makes it increasingly difficult to share patient information between the providers that make up our network,” said Anand in his testimony. “The result is a consumer experience that is difficult and cumbersome, tests and treatments that are duplicated, and vital lifesaving information that is not always available.” (Health Data Management article)

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