IOM report calls for action to promote a learning health care system   09/06/2012
Achieving higher quality care at lower cost will require health care stakeholders and policymakers to promote continuous learning and improvement by capturing and broadly disseminating lessons learned from every care experience and research discovery, a report released today by the Institute of Medicine concludes. The report recommends actions to improve the nation's capacity to digitally capture and share clinical and financial data; integrate the best clinical knowledge into care decisions; involve patients and families in health and health care decisions;  promote community-clinical partnerships to improve health; improve care coordination and communication within and across organizations; streamline care delivery; promote and reward continuous learning and improvement; and increase transparency on health care system performance.
GAO fills vacancy on Health IT Policy Committee   09/06/2012
U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro today appointed to a vacancy on the Health Information Technology Policy Committee Christopher Boone, director of outpatient quality and health IT for the American Heart Association. Boone will fill one of three committee positions held by advocates for patients or consumers. Created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the committee advises the National Coordinator for Health IT on policies and standards for a nationwide health information infrastructure, including standards for the exchange of patient information. The head of the Government Accountability Office appoints 13 of the committee's 20 members, who also include hospital representatives.
AHA Schedule H Project extended through Oct. 15   09/06/2012
The AHA encourages hospitals to participate in year two of its Schedule H Project by submitting a copy of their 2010 Schedule H forms to a secure Ernst & Young website, now available through Oct. 15. Participants in the project will receive a report summarizing the response of similar hospitals to questions such as total community benefit levels and percentages, bad debt expenses and community building activities. No participant's name or identifying information will be disclosed as part of any feedback or report. AHA will use the gathered information to advocate for needed improvements to Schedule H and to oppose changes to Schedule H or tax exemption based on misinformation about hospitals' commitment to providing benefits to their community. For more on the Schedule H Project, contact AHA Member Relations at (800) 424-4301. To view last year's Schedule H benchmark report, based on 600 Schedule H forms representing nearly 900 hospitals, visit
West Nile virus cases climb 25%    09/06/2012
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week reported 1,993 human cases of West Nile virus in 2012, about 25% more than the previous week. More than 70% of the cases have been reported from six states (Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Michigan), with 45% from Texas. Just over half of the patients developed severe cases affecting their nervous system. West Nile virus is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. This year's outbreak, which includes 87 deaths, is the largest since the virus was detected in the U.S. in 1999. To avoid mosquito bites, CDC advises people to use insect repellents and take other recommended precautions.