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Next President Should Require EHR Adoption

The CommonwealthFundwants the nextUS president toensure that allhealth care providersuse electronichealth records (EHRs) andparticipate in health data exchange,according to a new report.

The report, which addresses how thefuture president should handle thecountry's health care system, explainedhow health care payers shouldhelp finance the adoption of healthinformation technology systems. Thereport also noted, however, that if thepayment system is revamped to rewardphysicians for quality care, financialsupport might not be needed topush physicians to adopt EHRs.

"Within 5 years, all providers shouldbe required to use an electronic healthrecord and to participate in a healthinformation exchange network thatlinks information across clinical settings,"according to the report.

James Morgan, chair of the CommonwealthFund's Commission on aHigh Performance Health System, saidthat "further work needs to be done onthe exact mechanisms by which weget" all physicians to use EHRs.

B. Braun's Smart Pump Technology Wins Accolades

B. Braun has been recognizedas "CategoryLeader" in the KLASTop 20 Mid-Year ReportCard for SmartPump Technologyfor 2007. TheKLAS Top 20 Reportis a biannualreport card of vendor performance.

Based on the opinions of health careexecutives, managers, and clinicians, B.Braun Smart Pumps outscored thecompetition, receiving high marks inthe categories "Contracting Experiences,""Keeps Promises," "TechnologyEasy to Implement/Support," and"Works as Promoted."

Gale White, vice president of InfusionSystems, said the recognition echoesthe response the company receivesfrom customers using B. Braun'sOutlook Safety Infusion System suite ofproducts and services. "Our designgoals for the pumps—safety, reliability,and ease of use—reflect what our customersneed and want," said White.

The Outlook 300 Safety InfusionSystem improves department efficiencyby identifying trends in medicationdelivery use and accesses a real-timeview of intravenous (IV) therapy progressfor continuous maintenance. Thesystem also provides immediate accessto DoseGuard dose-limit data forcontinuous safety improvement, tracksmedication-delivery trends to identifyclinical support and training needs, andgives at-a-glance visualization of vitalinformation concerning a patient's IVtherapy.

HHS Awards Grants for Health Care Information Network

The Department of Health and HumanServices (HHS) recently awarded $22.5million in contracts to 9 health informationexchanges (HIEs) for pilot implementationof a Nationwide Health InformationNetwork (NHIN). The contractsare successors to 4 contracts for developingNHIN models.

The new contracts represented a criticalstep toward meeting the Bush administration'sgoal of having electronichealth records for most Americans by2014, according to John Loonsk, MD,director of the Office of Interoperabilityand Standards in HHS' Office of theNational Coordinator for Health InformationTechnology.

In consideration for the grant monies,the HIEs did not have to be operationalwhen they submitted their proposals, butthey had to show that they had assembledthe necessary components for anoperational HIE with substantial participationfrom the medical community andan open government structure. Thegroup will exchange information securelywith one another and within theirorganizations, and they will implementscenarios marked as priorities by theAmerican Health Information Community,an HHS advisory committee.

The groups will work collectivelythrough an NHIN Cooperative organizedby the national coordinator's office. Thecooperative will hold 3 public meetingsand demonstrate its outcomes in the fallof 2008.

MRA Helps Independents IncreaseProfits

McKesson Corp's recently launchedMcKesson Reimbursement Advantage(MRA) is advancing the future of independentpharmacy by connecting independentpharmacies to new solutionsdesigned to help them increase their profitsand offer new sources of revenue.

Amid continued pressure on reimbursementrates due to Average ManufacturerPrice legislation and otherindustry issues, all pharmacy practicesettings need to focus on maximumreimbursement for the drugs they dispenseto patients. Recognizing the importanceof addressing underadjudicated,unpaid, and underpaid claims, chainpharmacies perform real-time validationand processing of claim submission datato optimize reimbursement and minimizeerrors.

Independent pharmacies, however,generally lack the time and resources toperform edits and reconcile claims. Theyalso may lack the time to follow up withthird-party payers to get the money.MRA will provide pharmacies with areimbursement optimization package,comprising financial and analytic services,customer care, and market-leadingpre- and postedits. Pilot data indicate apharmacy can increase its net profit by$150 to $1250 per month using the solution.

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