Volume III, Issue 32

Aug. 8, 2016
Advocate Health Care agrees to $5.5 million HIPAA violation settlement
Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor, reports for Healthcare Finance News on 8/5/16:

Advocate Health Care Network will pay $5.5 million to settle with the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights regarding multiple potential HIPAA violations that involved electronic protected health information, HHS announced.

Settlement is the largest in history against a single entity, HHS Office for Civil Rights says.
A Holistic Approach to Health Care Can Lower Costs and Improve Quality
In an August 4, 2016 H&HN post by Alan Spiro, MD and Adam Perlman, MD, the authors remind us that most health systems in the United States aim to deliver patient-centered care .


According to the authors:

...to accommodate true patient-centered care, the focus of our health care system must shift from only treating disease to also creating health and well-being. This requires adopting a new, integrated model that helps people fulfill their own health needs - an achievement that will ultimately deliver the cost and quality outcomes that health managers seek.
If a major goal of health care is to help people live with vitality for as long as they can, we must address the factors - as many as possible - that affect the course of their life-health trajectory. These factors include nutrition and exercise, managing stress and competing priorities, economic forces, and hurdles preventing access to care.
In addition to treating illness, health care's goal must, therefore, be to promote well-being and prevention as well as to provide support in virtually all aspects of people's lives. Such a holistic approach is at the very definition of patient-centered care and requires treating the body, mind and spirit using whatever combination of tools is most appropriate. By helping people fulfill their own health care needs in this way, we can achieve lower cost and higher quality.
Web-Based Handoff Tool Demonstrates Reduction in Rates of Medical Errors
I n a JAMA report, published online 8.1.16 and authored by Stephanie K. Mueller, MD, MPH, Catherine Yoon, MS, and Jeffrey L. Schnipper, MD, MPH, researchers state:

Communication among health care personnel is vulnerable to error during patient handoffs (i.e., the transfer of responsibility for patient care between health care professionals). Handoffs occur with high frequency in the hospital and have been increasing following restrictions of resident work hours...In this study, we implemented a web-based handoff tool and training for health care professionals, and evaluated the association of the tool with rates of medical errors in adult medical and surgical patients.

According to Shefali Luthra, reporting on the research report for KHN:

The number of medical mistakes was cut in half the year after the hospital introduced the software tool and taught employees how to use it. There were 77 errors identified between November 2012 and February 2013, compared with 45 in the following year.

Dr. Stephanie Mueller, the study's main author and an associate physician in primary care and general internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, stated:

"This shows that [an electronic patient record] can help mitigate medical error."



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Florida Health Industry Week in Review is published every Monday by FHIcommunications

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