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N.J. bill would require certified health IT

A bill introduced in New Jersey would make it unlawful for health information technology systems to be sold or distributed unless they are certified to meet interoperability standards. Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr., MD, an internist from Willingboro, N.J., who is a strong advocate of health IT, introduced the bill as a way of expediting interoperable health IT systems in the state. The bill initially called for systems to be certified only by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology. But it was amended at the request of the Medical Society of New Jersey and others. CCHIT more than likely will be the certifying body the federal government chooses as the standard for systems physicians must use to meet "meaningful use" requirements to get incentive funds for electronic health records, but it's not a done deal, said Tim Martin, government relations representative for the medical society. (Those meaningful use requirements have not yet been set.) "If they ...

More refining sought for computerized physician order entry systems

Implementing a computerized physician order entry system helped improve efficiencies at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz., but did not reduce medication errors. In some cases, the system actually helped create errors, according to a study by Mayo physicians published in the May Journal of the American College of Surgeons ( According to the study, "Impact of a Computerized Physician Order-Entry System," Mayo's system, installed in stages from May 2007 through April 2008, reduced the time it took for a physician order to be received by a nurse from 41.2 minutes to 27 seconds. This improved process not only allowed patients to get needed medication or tests quicker but also allowed the hospital to reduce staff by 19.6%, saving $445,500. While previous studies have shown that CPOEs decrease medication errors in the hospital setting, the Mayo study looked at those numbers in the inpatient surgical setting. Due to th ...

Health plan requirements cost practices billions, with the per-doctor average near $70,000

Physicians know that the phone calls, faxes and e-mails sent between their practices and health plans take time. Researchers have determined how much time it takes and what it costs. A study published online May 14 in Health Affairs estimates that practices' interactions with insurers cost $23.2 billion to $31 billion a year. The average physician spends 43 minutes per work day -- more than three hours a week -- dealing with health plan administrative requirements. The time physicians, nurses and other practice staff spend interacting with insurers costs an average of $68,274 per physician per year. The survey found that the average primary care physician in a solo or two-physician practice spends 4.3 hours per week dealing with plans, on everything from contracting to reporting quality data. Primary care physicians spent significantly more time, on average, dealing with insurers than do specialists and surgeons. The average primary care physician, across all practice sizes ...