Coalition urges FCC to protect channel for wireless medical devices   01/28/2013
The Federal Communications Commission should protect the 608-614 MHz spectrum band for the Wireless Medical Telemetry Service, the AHA's American Society for Healthcare Engineering and 11 other organizations told the agency Friday. Hospitals operate devices such as wireless heart and blood pressure monitors in the band, known as Channel 37. The coalition applauded the agency's proposal to keep the current Channel 37 allocation, noting that moving WMTS devices to another band would cost hospitals more than $2 billion. However, the group expressed concern that other, unlicensed devices might share the channel with the service. "The potential threat to patient safety created by the widespread use of unlicensed devices operating co-channel to WMTS devices is too great to allow such devices to 'share' this band," the group wrote, commenting on the proposed rule. More than 117,000 health care devices are registered to operate in Channel 37. ASHE, which serves as WMTS coordinator, urges all hospitals and health care facilities that have not done so to immediately register their telemetry equipment at www.ashe.org. For more information, email ASHE's John Collins at jcollins@aha.org.
ONC surveying clinical labs about health information exchange   01/28/2013
The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is surveying a random sample of 14,000 clinical laboratories, including 2,729 hospital-based labs, to better understand their capacity to electronically exchange lab information. Topics include the volume of test results sent electronically, adoption of standards, current systems, and barriers and facilitators for exchange. Survey results will be posted this summer at www.HealthIT.gov. ONC plans to use the findings to monitor progress and develop policies that promote the exchange of structured test results among laboratories and ordering providers.
CORE seeks input on administrative simplification priorities   01/28/2013
Hospitals and others can share their priorities for the next set of administrative simplification operating rules by completing an online survey by Feb. 5. To reduce health care administration costs, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services to adopt operating rules for each transaction standard under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a provision supported by the AHA. The Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange seeks input on stakeholder priorities as it develops the operating rules, which will address health care claims or encounters, health plan enrollment/disenrollment, health plan premium payments, referral certification and authorization, and claim attachments.
2013 AHA Environmental Scan available   01/28/2013
AHA members can access a free webcast on the association's 2013 Environmental Scan, which identifies the critical issues and emerging trends with a high probability of impacting hospitals and health care in the foreseeable future. Topics include consumers and demographics; economy and finance; information technology and e-health; insurance and coverage; political issues; provider organizations and physicians; and quality and patient safety. As presented by AHA President & CEO Rich Umbdenstock and Vice President of Strategic & Business Planning Gene O'Dell in the webcast, the Scan provides the foundation for the AHA's 2013-2015 strategic plan and can help members in their organization's strategic planning process. To access the webcast, go to www.aha.org/research/2013scan.shtml.