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Call Intermountain a consultant on Cerner's big-bucks military EHR bid

When Cerner Corp., the Kansas City, Mo.-based electronic health-record developer, announced last week that Intermountain would be helping a consortium of IT firms, including Cerner, in its bid to win a 10-year, estimated $11 billion deal to replace the Military Health System's multiple EHRs, the most obvious question was what exactly would be Intermountain's role in the bid.

Consultant is “probably the single best word” to describe Intermountain's role with Cerner, Intermountain Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. Stanley Huff said in an interview after the announcement.
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Industry skittish about Open Payments database launch

With less than a week to go before the CMS unveils a new database describing payments made by industry to doctors and teaching hospitals, anxiety is high for the many people and organizations with their reputations on the line.

The Open Payments Program database is a requirement of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a provision in the Affordable Care Act. It's scheduled to become public for the first time Sept. 30.
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ACOs struggle with advanced IT, interoperability, survey shows

Many accountable care organizations are struggling with advanced IT functions and interoperability, a survey of 62 ACOs conducted in July and August 2014 by Premier and the eHealth Initiative shows.

“Most ACOs are still at the stage of basic care-coordination capabilities,” said Bryan Bowles, Premier's vice president of population health solution management, Wednesday on a call discussing the survey. “The challenges of blending disparate data have hindered uptake of more advanced functions.”
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Diabetes progress limited, raising questions about social factors, study finds

While new evidence appears to show the diabetes rate among U.S. adults beginning to level off after being on the rise for years, rates among certain minority groups as well as the poorly educated have continued to increase, raising questions as to the role social factors may play in determining such health disparities.

The overall diabetes rate among adults was relatively unchanged between 2008 and 2012, rising slightly from 7.9 per 100 persons to 8.3, according to a new study published online Tuesday in JAMA.
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Online reviews influence parents' choice of pediatricians

1:30 pm, Sep. 24 |

More parents are using online reviews to choose a pediatrician for their children, but few parents ever write a review themselves.

About 74% of parents participating in the National Poll on Children's Health conducted by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., said they were aware of online physician-rating sites, and 28% reported that they used them to select a primary-care doctor for their children.
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Public wants more Medicare benefits, not less

7:15 pm, Sep. 23 |
Tags: Tags: PolicyMedicare
Budget-hawk policymakers and pundits determined to cut and restructure Medicare may have a hard time bringing the American public around to their preferred approach, judging from a new report on public attitudes from the nonpartisan Center for Healthcare Decisions.

The center conducted 82 three-hour guided discussions in California over the past year with 810 participants in small groups of eight to 15 people, including seniors, young adults, healthcare professionals, and community leaders. The center used an interactive tool called MedCHAT and a public deliberation process to help participants consider 12 categories of Medicare coverage. The participants had to eliminate or restrict benefits if they wanted to establish new ones.
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Narrow networks draw few complaints from consumers: study

Narrow networks were a popular health insurance option on the exchanges in the first enrollment period, with half of all plans for individuals offering limited groups of lower-cost providers, and new research shows consumers generally aren't griping about the products.

Researchers at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute studied narrow-network plans sold on the individual-market exchanges last year in six states: Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia. Health insurers have said the healthcare reform law is spurring them to offer more narrow networks, which they say save them money and lead to lower monthly premiums in exchange for a smaller number of in-network hospitals and physicians.
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Will Dr. Emanuel opt for death at 75? Maybe not

6:45 pm, Sep. 22 |

Nobody has ever accused the famous Emanuel brothers—Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel of University of Pennsylvania, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, or Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel—of humility. And no one who reads Dr. Emanuel's new essay in the Atlantic Monthly, “Why I Hope to Die at 75: An argument that society and families—and you—will be better off if nature takes it course swiftly and promptly,” will accuse him of that trait now.

Emanuel, 57, an oncologist and bioethicist who played a role in crafting the Obamacare legislation, tries to convince readers of the rightness of his own preference to only live to 75 and go out while he's still making solid professional contributions and his family and friends can remember him as a vigorous and productive person. He wants everyone to consider adopting his view, though he acknowledges that his physician father, now in his late 80s, is still happy despite having slowed down a lot.
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New research again points to impact of climate change on public health

6 pm, Sep. 22 |

On the heels of large protests held in several cities Sunday that called for action against climate change, new research adds to the chorus of voices that argue the issue should raise concerns over its associated public health risks.

A study published Monday in JAMA examining evidence going back two decades found indications of an association between climate change and adverse effects on health conditions.
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New doubts raised about e-cigs and smoking cessation

3:15 pm, Sep. 22 |

New doubts are being raised over claims about the use of electronic cigarettes as a tobacco-cessation alternative for cancer patients.

A study published in the Sept. 22 issue of the journal Cancer found e-cig use among cancer patients who also smoke tobacco increased dramatically between 2012 and 2013, from 10% to 38%.
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