Health IT Roundup—Microsoft recruits former Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO; Connecticut alters telehealth prescribing

OPINION: Forget Windows; Microsoft is now all about the cloud
Microsft added two industry experts to its healthcare team with a plan to help providers shift to the cloud. (iStockPhoto)

Microsoft adds healthcare heavyweights

Citing recent efforts to “accelerate health innovation through artificial intelligence and cloud computing,” Microsoft has recruited two industry experts to help flesh out new strategic partnerships.

Jim Weinstein, the CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock from 2010 to 2017, was named vice president of Microsoft Healthcare and head of innovation and health equity. Weinstein will work with providers to help with their transition to the cloud.

“He will be my partner in developing the strategic vision for Microsoft Healthcare, and will provide leadership that is grounded in decades of health industry experience,” Peter Lee, corporate vice president at Microsoft Healthcare said in an announcement.

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Josh Mandel, formerly of Verily and a health informatics researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, was named chief architect at Microsoft Healthcare, where he’ll help health systems use the cloud to become more “more agile and interoperable.” (Announcement)

HIMSS, AMDIS weigh in on Patients Over Paperwork

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS) threw its support behind the federal government’s Patients Over Paperwork initiative, highlighting several ways in which technology can help reduce burden.

In a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma and National Coordinator Don Rucker, M.D., the two organizations said they share the belief that “much of the work that clinicians face today is unnecessarily burdensome.”

They added that “greater demands” will be placed on technology to ensure the right information gives providers the ability to streamline and improve care.

“Innovations focused on advanced visualization and clinical decision support solutions will become a larger part of the health information and technology infrastructure moving forward and should be capitalized on to help address burden issues,” the wrote. “In many ways, the current health information and technology regulatory burden actually distracts and pulls resources away from our ultimate goals.” (Letter - PDF)

Connecticut eliminates ban on controlled substance via telehealth

Effective July 1, providers in Connecticut will be able to prescribe controlled substances via telehealth to patients that have a psychiatric disability or substance abuse disorder.

However, as Foley and Lardner attorney Nathanial Lacktman writes in Health Care Law Today, providers still need to be mindful of the Ryan Haight Act, a federal law that requires a threshold in-person examination, with some exceptions for telemedicine.

The move was backed by the Connecticut Psychiatric Society. Immediate Past President Melissa Welby, M.D., said the law would be a benefit to rural patients in the state living in regions where there is a shortage of psychiatric providers. (Health Care Law Today)