KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Technology Aids, Such As Electronic Alerts, May Help Prevent Missed Diagnoses

But the authors of the analysis of past studies on electronic-based patient safety efforts say few of those studies have tracked direct improvements to patient health, Reuters reports.

Reuters: Patient Safety Efforts May Prevent Diagnostic Errors
Electronic alerts and other technology-based aids may help prevent costly missed or delayed diagnoses, according to a new review of past evidence. … But, according to the researchers behind the new analysis, most studies have not tracked whether patient safety efforts aimed at preventing such mistakes directly improve patient health down the line, or considered their costs and possible harms (Pittman, 3/5).

Modern Healthcare: CMS Launches eHealth Website
The CMS launched the eHealth initiative this week as a central repository for information on the federal government's digital record-keeping and electronic prescribing initiatives. The page provides a central location to search the CMS site for details of the major digital health initiatives, including the $22 billion electronic health-record incentive program, the hospital inpatient quality reporting system and the e-prescription incentive program. … Although the digital records initiatives were launched by different laws in recent years, Tagalicod framed them as part of an overarching eHealth infrastructure "that will transform our healthcare system by capturing and tracking health information electronically" (Daly, 3/5).

Modern Healthcare: Sequester Will Hit EHR Incentive Program
The fiscal trap that members of Congress and the president set for themselves will punch a 2% hole in one of the federal electronic health-record incentive payment programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a federal official has confirmed. The cuts, called the sequester, include an across-the-board reduction in Medicare payments. EHR incentive payments distributed under Medicaid won't be affected. On March 1, President Barack Obama signed an order for sequestration that set in motion automatic federal budget cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the legislative effort passed by Congress with cuts promoted at the time to be so draconian that they would compel both Republicans and Democrats to reach a budget compromise (Conn and Zigmond, 3/5).

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