News Release

October 6, 2015

Arlington, VA (October 6,2015) – HIMSS reaffirms its commitment to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost effectiveness of healthcare by achieving widespread secure, electronic exchange of health information. ONC’s Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap is intended to put our Nation on the path to a Learning Health System–where standardized, electronic health information is securely available when needed for patients and providers to engage and drive actionable outcomes.

HIMSS supports the four critical pathways identified in the Roadmap that focus on using consensus-based standards, enabling the shift in payment policies from fee-for-service to value-based models, and aligning federal and state privacy and security requirements that enable interoperability. And we support ONC’s commitments that accompany the Roadmap.

To ensure the right person has the right information about the right patient at the right time, HIMSS’s leadership in interoperability testing, IT certification, and patient data matching remains strong.

Carla Smith, MA, FHIMSS, CNM
Executive Vice President
HIMSS North America

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University of Missouri Health Care is one of the latest two health systems to receive the global HIMSS Enterprise Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence for healthcare technology innovations that are improving patient outcomes.

Launched in 1993, the Davies Awards program has promoted electronic health record-enabled improvement in patient outcomes by sharing case studies and lessons learned from a wide range of initiatives.

“At MU Health Care, we know that better health is a journey in which technology plays a bigger role than it ever has before,” Mitch Wasden, CEO and chief operating officer of MU Health Care, said in a press statement. “That’s why we’re committed to using technology to inform and transform how we care for our patients. We’re proud that this commitment has placed MU Health Care among a handful of health systems to earn the prestigious HIMSS Davies Award this year.”

In partnership with the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, MU Health Care submitted four case studies to demonstrate a robust use of information technology to improve patient care:

  • Case study No. 1 demonstrated a return on investment throughout MU Health Care operations such as medication administration, population health management and emergency department efficiency.
  • Case study No. 2 demonstrated a 25 percent reduction in the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections at MU Health Care.
  • Case study No. 3 used health information technology to improve communications, minimize delays and streamline the process for operating room starting procedures.
  • Case study No. 4 ensured that data captured by various medical devices was accurately and efficiently integrated into a patient’s electronic medical record.

“Earning a HIMSS Davies Award is no small task,” said Bryan Bliven, chief information officer at MU Health Care and executive director of the Tiger Institute. “Receiving this award validates our emphasis on using and developing information technology solutions to maximize patient care.”

Davies Awards represent the highest level of achievement for electronic medical records excellence that HIMSS offers. The award is open only to organizations that have achieved HIMSS Analytics Stage 6 or Stage 7 designation for advanced electronic medical records. MU Health Care achieved Stage 7 designation in November 2013 for its transition from paper to electronic patient records in outpatient clinics.

MU Health Care has reached several milestones in the adoption of information technology to improve patient care. In July, MU Health Care was recognized for the fifth consecutive year as one of the nation’s “Most Wired” health systems in the 2015 Most Wired Survey by the American Hospital Association.

In February, MU Health Care gave patients the ability to view physician notes online after a visit. The notes include clinical observations, diagnostic test results and other details of a patient’s care, which are automatically synced with the MU Healthe patient portal. The portal is an online secure tool that allows patients to manage appointments, securely message providers, request prescription refills, access immunization history and more.

In August 2014, MU Health Care became the first academic medical center and the ninth health system in the country to meet federal Stage 2 meaningful use.

The othe health system to score an Enterprise Davies Award recognition is Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, a public teaching hospital specializing in comprehensive mental health and addictions services for those with complex, serious and persistent mental illness. The Whitby, Ontario-based system has 15 specialized inpatient units and extensive outpatient and community services.

Ontario Shores conducted a systematic implementation of clinical practice guidelines over a five-year period for the assessment and treatment of patients with schizophrenia, and was able to leverage its EMR to provide real time access to a full spectrum of evidence-based guidelines, increase clinician adherence to clinical best practices and track adherence to practices and provide meaningful feedback to physicians and clinical managers, according to HIMSS.

It was also able to make advances against hospital-acquired infections (mental health care facilities face unique challenges in reducing HAIs due to the large amount of time patients spend in communal areas). Ontario Shores utilizes an Infection Prevention and Control status board supporting an innovative symptom surveillance workflow to identify at-risk patients and initiate precautions in the absence of a physician order. It was able to reduce outbreak days from 47 in the year prior to implementation to seven in the year following implementation.

“Ontario Shores is the first Davies Award Enterprise recipient in the Behavioral Health Space in some time and the first Canadian hospital to receive this award,” said Jonathan French, director of health information systems at HIMSS and program director of the HIMSS Davies Enterprise Committee. “Ontario Shores has leveraged technology to ensure their patients receive the correct treatment and care at the correct time. They have reduced medication errors and infections that threaten the health of their patients, while improving their quality of life through improved mental health.

“The replicable workflows they have developed that intertwine real time data delivered by the EMR directly into care delivery are an outstanding example for behavioral health facilities looking to improve care delivery through the use of technology,” he added. The Davies Committee and HIMSS congratulate the team members of Ontario Shores on improving the outcomes of their patient population through the effective use of health IT.”

Both health systems will be honored at the 2016 Annual HIMSS Conference Exhibition, Feb. 29 to March 4, 2016, in Las Vegas.

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Change is constant. In business, companies are bought and sold every day. Processes must be altered, inefficient practices identified and eliminated.

Periods of change are when organizations are most vulnerable to security breaches – especially healthcare entities and the technology vendors that serve them. The addition of new hardware, devices, software, and applications to the larger IT network creates numerous opportunities for mistakes. For instance, it is common for organizations to overlook vendor default passwords on newly-added devices or programs. In many cases, these default passwords can be found easily on the Internet by hackers seeking to steal valuable information such as protected patient data. The unprotected devices are their entry point.

The scary truth is that only a little more than half of organizations apply the necessary change management principles to their IT assets. According to a study of configuration management for cloud-based infrastructures, 80 percent of outages impacting mission-critical services will be caused by people and process issues and 50 percent of those outages will be caused by issues related to handing off the system to new personnel.

During this time, the system is ripe for unplanned and/or unapproved alterations. To put this into perspective, the cost of such downtime is approximately $8,000 per minute for the healthcare provider, not to mention the cost to an IT vendor’s reputation.

Change for the better
The answer to this problem lies in making sure that the organization’s approach to managing change contains a plan for the integration of all IT services, particularly those that may put valuable patient data at risk. However, many healthcare IT organizations lack the resources to fully address the staffing needs required during organizational change. At these times, it may be smart to enlist the support of an expert managed services company that specializes in healthcare “cloud” security and management. These vendors possess the expertise necessary to help IT vendors and healthcare providers alike recognize and address system vulnerabilities before they become exploited.

They will also offer services tailored specifically to the needs of change management. One such service is configuration management, which assures (among other responsibilities) that vendor-supplied credentials are changed to unique passwords. These managed data service experts can also handle security, monitoring, patch management and other professional services. They can also help to manage a secure transition of valuable data to new systems and aid in the integration of multiple databases. After the initial integration, managed services can include real-time monitoring, intrusion detection and prevention, data encryption and regular scans to detect new compliance risks.

Another useful resource is the IT Process Institute’s Visible Ops Handbook. This comprehensive guide provides direction to IT vendors on many aspects of managing organizational change and translating that to the IT infrastructure. This includes such security measures as reducing access to systems that can be modified, the importance of documenting all information related to IT assets, how to build a RACI, how to create a repeatable build library and making continuous improvement a part of the daily culture.

However it is accomplished, healthcare IT vendors must learn to recognize periods of change are tried and true opportunities for data breaches. Having plans and policies in place for change management is key to thwarting them.

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Healthcare IT News and HIMSS Media are accepting speaking proposals for the Big Data Healthcare Analytics Forum, which will be held in New York City, June 18-19.

The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. ET on March 31. Click here for more information and to submit a proposal.

Submissions are limited to healthcare provider and payer organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions. Presentations should be practical, actionable, and solutions-based.

Case studies are a priority for this event.

Approximately 250 payer and provider organizations will attend the forum, one of two that HIMSS Media and Healthcare IT News will present in 2015,

Session proposals should focus on how provider and payer organizations are using analytics to transition from volume-based to value-based healthcare.

Specifically, we want presentations that clearly demonstrate how payers and providers are using analytics to, among other things, improve clinical care, patient safety, succeed at population health, reduce readmissions, treat high-risk patients, streamline operations, and reduce the cost of healthcare.

The NYC agenda will be finalized by mid April.

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Harold D. Tamayo, Chief Financial Officer–engagement partner, Tatum

A lot has been discussed about revenue cycle management (RCM) which is the process that manages claims processing, payment and revenue generation, and often entails the use of certain technologies to keep track of the claims process at every check point; however, RCM itself has lacked the interoperability, security and the analytics necessary to understand how to improve the process through appropriate quality measures to keep up with changing reimbursement models and business needs.

According to the article “Visibility key to efficient revenue cycle management,” published in Healthcare IT News, “denials represent the 10 to 20 percent of the claims that cause 90 percent of missed revenue opportunity. Much of the issues around claim denials drive some practices to accumulate claims which obviously lead to missed collections and longer accounts receivable intervals. Other practices assign staff to work denials and get them turned around more quickly. However, the best approach is to analyze denials, determine their root cause, and implement action plans to eliminate the cause.”¹

RCM: Driving Improvement in Healthcare

Improving RCM processes is one way any practice can improve the delivery of healthcare in their organization. The revenue cycle involves numerous tasks of the billing and collection processes which need a methodical approach to find levers to be improved — providing solutions that confirm eligibility, account balances, appointment scheduling, deferred services and cost transparency will drive improvements in the process. Developing analytics and reporting with key performance indicators to monitor the RCM process is fundamental to make revolutionary improvements and drive out inefficiencies in the system. Without such measurements an organization is likely to find itself simply rather stacking on new applications that create additional silos, generate more issues with interoperability and increase costs.

Every step in the RCM process has the potential for administrative waste: excessive paperwork, back-and-forth interactions between provider and payer, contracts with each payer and varying forms of information exchange with each payer. Managing the business of healthcare through improvements in the RCM process, allows healthcare providers to dramatically reduce costs in the administrative processes associated with RCM.

Putting costs and volume of claims into perspective, according to the article from MGMA in Practice Blog “How to avoid ‘unclean’ claims”, “the average cost to rework a claim is $25”.² Furthermore, according to CAQH index report, for healthcare plans covering 100 million lives, there were over 1 billion claims in 2013.³ In addition, in the article at Huff Post Politics online version, “Of all the claims submitted to it last year by health care providers and policyholders, Blue Cross denied 7.6 percent. Cigna denied 21 percent. MVP was in the middle at 15.5 percent”.4

As a finance executive, I can speculate that the inefficiencies and possibilities for savings from having a better revenue cycle management process in the US healthcare system are in the hundreds of millions.  In my opinion, with the right process in place and use of technology the administrative burden in the revenue cycle management can be greatly reduced.


1 John Andrews, Contributing Writer.  “Visibility key to efficient revenue cycle management “.IT Healthcare News.  September 16, 2010.
2 Amber Taufen, MGMA assistant editor.  “How to avoid ‘unclean’ claims”.  MGMA in Practice Blog.  March 28, 2014.
3 CAQH.  “2013 U.S. Healthcare Efficiency Index, Electronic Administrative Transaction Adoption and Savings”.  Revised May 5, 2014.
4 Wendell Potter, consultant.  “The Higher Health Insurers’ Claim Denial Rate, the Higher the CEO Pay”.  Huff Post Politics. April 23, 2013.

Harold D. Tamayo MBA, MSc, serves as a Chief Financial Officer–engagement partner with Tatum a leading practice providing Companies with hands on senior operating executive finance leadership.


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