Industry Watch – November 2014

Oct. 22, 2014

Health Information Exchange

EHRs get interoperability push

By Bob Robke, Vice President, Population Health Leadership, Cerner

CommonWell Health Alliance sought to fill a void in the way patient records can be exchanged. Its founders felt that patients should expect that wherever they go in our nation’s healthcare system, their health records could follow and that they would have actual, meaningful choice in how and with whom their records are shared.

Since the initiative was announced in March 2013, the alliance has sprung into being – formally and technically. Operationally, CommonWell formalized as a not-for-profit trade association, published our bylaws and elected a Board of Directors. We have expanded our membership from five to 15 companies, representing inpatient, ambulatory, home care, retail pharmacy, perinatal, population health and clinical laboratory, with more joining all the time.

Technically, CommonWell released its specifications and announced in February 2014 that the initial CommonWell services were live at 12 sites in three geographies. This service launch focused on members deploying document exchange capabilities across multiple member companies.

Today, CommonWell is proud to be an industry-defining, not-for-profit trade association open to all health IT suppliers and others devoted to the notion that health data should be available to individuals and providers regardless of where care occurs. Additionally, provider access to this data must be built into health IT for use by a broad range of healthcare providers and the people they serve. These capabilities must be provided at a reasonable cost. Overcoming barriers to data sharing will require systems and processes that are easy to deploy and inexpensive.

This fall, the alliance is transitioning from a targeted initial service launch to generally available services for CommonWell members’ clients nationwide. Cerner, like many alliance members, is working now to make these services a standard part of all our deployments, built directly into our software. This means incorporating the CommonWell enrollment process into all appropriate workflows – from intake and consent capture to the clinical workflow. It means making it available to Cerner clients as part of an affordable offering, and it means incentivizing our clients to move fast and implement alongside our competitor-partners.

At the same time that we move to operationalize what is already built, we look to expand the functions of the service into new workflows and venues that bring value to the patient and provider. Since its inception, CommonWell has been built on a collaborative approach across our membership. Our technical expansion continues to follow this open approach, with both founding members and new members working together to find the best solutions for our clients. 2015 promises to be very exciting times for CommonWell.

Editor’s note: Founding members of the CommonWell Health Alliance also include: Allscripts, althenahealth, Greenway and McKesson.

Information Governance

AHIMA creates information governance framework

Looking for a checklist to help you handle data management in the health IT world? The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) unveiled the eight Information Governance Principles for Healthcare (IGPHC) during its 86th annual Convention and Exhibit in San Diego this past September. Adapted from ARMA International’s Generally Accepted Record Keeping Principles, the IGPHC were written specifically for healthcare organizations. AHIMA represents more than 71,000 health information management and health informatics professionals around the world.

1. Principle of Accountability: An accountable member of senior leadership shall oversee the IG program and delegate responsibility for information management to appropriate individuals.

2. Principle of Transparency: An organization’s processes and activities relating to IG shall be documented in an open and verifiable manner.

3. Principle of Integrity: An IG program shall be constructed so the information generated by, managed for and provided to the organization has a reasonable and suitable guarantee of authenticity and reliability.

4. Principle of Protection: An IG program must ensure that the appropriate levels of protection from breach, corruption and loss are provided for information that is private, confidential, secret, classified, essential to business continuity or otherwise requires protection.

5. Principle of Compliance: An IG program shall be constructed to comply with applicable laws, regulations, standards and organizational policies.

6. Principle of Availability: An organization shall maintain information in a manner that ensures timely, accurate and efficient retrieval.

7. Principle of Retention: An organization shall maintain its information for an appropriate time, taking into account its legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational, risk and historical requirements.

8. Principle of Disposition: An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for information no longer required to
be maintained by applicable laws and the organization’s policies.


IBM offers powerful CEO-level analytics for everyone

If you are itching to crunch some numbers and extrapolate key information from those mounds of data strewn across your Excel spreadsheets and piled within an Oracle database or Google Docs, IBM is launching a new tool that just might zero in on your needs – whether you’re a company bigwig or not.

Watson Analytics, a cloud-based service that provides instant access to powerful predictive and visual analytic tools for businesses, is releasing an entry-level “freemium” version designed to run on desktop and mobile devices. The tool provides self-service analytics for everyman, including data preparation, predictive analysis and visual storytelling. The Natural Language Dialogue feature lets users type in analytics queries in common-sense phrases to uncover patterns and relationships for things like win/loss prediction, customer retention, helpdesk activity analysis and warranty review.

Learn more at


Microsoft ending Windows Server 2003 support

In a move that has the potential to affect 24 million servers that run large and small businesses around the world, Microsoft is ending support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. An estimated 39 percent of all installed Microsoft Server operating systems run this version. Businesses that deal with sensitive or critical information, such as healthcare records or credit card payment data, could fail to be regulatory compliant if they keep running the outdated software.

Insight Enterprises, a Microsoft services partner based in Tempe, AZ, says this IT transition could be more time consuming and complex than the end of support for Windows XP.
After inventorying which servers and applications are operating on the software, Insight Enterprises’ David Mayer, Practice Director, Microsoft Solutions, suggests considering the following options for migration:

  • Software upgradesincluding enterprise-class datacenter and hybrid cloud solutions that can be simple to deploy, cost effective, application focused and user centric;
  • Hardware upgradesWindows Server 2012 requires new powerful hardware that can deliver improved energy efficiency; and
  • Cloud-based solutionsallow businesses to rapidly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters.

Source: Insight Enterprises


Five trends that are reshaping imaging

1. Adding the fourth dimension

GE Healthcare’s Voluson E10 ultrasound system features next-generation HDlive software and adds the element of time to 3D imaging. The result is OB/GYN 4D images with fantastic realism in motion. HDlive Silhouette (for highlighting fetal structures) and HDlive Flow (for viewing spatial anatomy of fetal vasculature) take ultrasound to a whole new level.

2. Seeing how low you can go

Agfa HealthCare’s Fast Forward Digital Radiography Upgrade Program is aimed at speeding the transition from traditional CR to state-of-the-art, lower dose Cesium-based digital radiography for its installed base of more than 50,000 radiography systems. The upgrade, when coupled with Agfa’s next-generation MUSICA image-processing software, can provide dose reductions of 50 to 60 percent.

3. Making old things new again

This summer, Carestream Health celebrated shipping more than 9,000 DRX detectors since launching the CARESTREAM DRX-1, a wireless X-ray detector that quickly retrofits existing analog X-ray rooms or portable diagnostic imaging systems from CR to DR technology. The detectors, which also have a mobile option, deliver high-quality, affordable digital X-ray images in seconds.

4. Sending imaging files via the cloud

eMix Instant Sender, part of eMix Version 2.0, allows a doctor, medical facility or attorney to quickly and confidentially exchange medical imaging exams, reports and other information to any recipient online. This service, which was developed by DR Systems, has eight layers of security.

5. Slimming down and getting flexible

Siemens Healthcare’s Artis one angiography system occupies just 269 square feet, compared to the standard 484 square feet required by ceiling-mounted systems. It features multiple axes capable of moving independently of one another, enabling easy system positioning regardless of where the user is standing. System bonus: Energy usage is 20 percent less than its predecessor.

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