KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obamacare’s Health IT Rules Bring Challenges, Opportunities

The CEO of a huge software company finds out that the system isn't working perfectly. And, a profile of a company simplifying the system as well as a look at some "hazards" of electronic medical records. NPR reports on how the FDA uses insurance billing records to spot drug side-effects on a large scale.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: HealthcarePays Trying To Simplify Health Care Payment System
The proprietary technology developed by HealthcarePays is helping to simplify the health care payment system, making it more streamlined when reconciling medical claims. “The movement of money is an underlying problem in the health care system,” said Dave Adams, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “It’s difficult for doctors and other health care providers to map out what they should get paid or which patient the payment is for.” The Powhatan County-based company puts electronic payments into a common format that can be received in a doctor’s or dentist’s billing system (Tupponce, 7/20).

The Washington Post: Little-Known InterSystems Grows To Dominate An IT Market In Age Of Obamacare 
Terry Ragon’s knees ache. Age and love of marathons have taken their toll on the 64-year-old billionaire owner of InterSystems, a Cambridge, Mass., database software company. Little known outside the niche its technology dominates, InterSystems underpins health-related information for the national health services of England, Scotland and Wales and the U.S. Defense Department, ... Ragon, [is] mentioning his knees for a reason. “I saw two doctors at two different facilities on the same day,” he says. “Both did X-rays. I can’t believe that the way they like to do them is so different they couldn’t share one. But each one got reimbursed.” The duplication adds time, cost and inconvenience (Coffey, 7/18).

The Boston Globe: Hazards Tied To Medical Records Rush
President Obama and Congress poured $30 billion in taxpayer subsidies into the push for digital medical records beginning in 2009, with only a few strings attached and no safety oversight of the vendors who sell the systems. The move was touted as a way to improve patient care and help rein in medical costs. Five years later, the explosion in the use of the electronic records has created the potential for efficiencies and safety benefits but also new risks for patients, the scope of which still is not fully understood (Rowland, 7/20).

NPR: Big Data Peeps At Your Medical Records To Find Drug Problems
To do a better job of spotting unforeseen risks and side effects, the Food and Drug Administration is trying something new — and there's a decent chance that it involves your medical records. It's called Mini-Sentinel, and it's a $116 million government project to actively go out and look for adverse events linked to marketed drugs. This pilot program is able to mine huge databases of medical records for signs that drugs may be linked to problems (Greenfieldboyce, 7/21).

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