The HIMSS13 Conference in New Orleans, one of the biggest gatherings of Health Information Technology professionals of the year, was host to speakers, panel discussions, and one pretty large announcement from some of the big names in the electronic health record industry.
An acronym for “Accountable Care Organization”, an ACO is a model of healthcare delivery in which a group of healthcare providers agree to accept payment for their services based on the aggregated health outcomes of the patients they see, as opposed to the total number of services performed. ACOs reward providers in a “fee for health” model, as opposed to a traditional “fee for service” model. Although the term ACO can apply to a variety of types of organizations, regulations for establishing ACOs to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program specifically were included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
ARRA: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also called “The Stimulus Package” or “The Stimulus Bill.” Of the $850B in the bill, $51B is pegged for the health care industry and $19B of that will be used to incent medical practices to adopt EMRs/EHRs.
CCHIT: the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology is a private organization that certifies EMRs and EHRs based on 475 criteria spanning functionality, interoperability and security. CCHIT does not evaluate ease of use of products, financial viability of the company offering the software; or the quality of customer support offered by the software vendor. Whether or not CCHIT will be THE certifying organization to approve “qualified EMRs” will be announced at the end of the year. (Can be pronounced “SEA-CHIT” or each letter can be pronounced as in “C.C.H.I.T.”)
Comparative Effectiveness: Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) compares treatments and strategies to improve health. For CER, HITECH provides $300M for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, $400M for the National Institutes of Health, and $400M for the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. (more…)