Failure to Coordinate EHR Adoption with Mandated HIPAA Electronic Upgrades May End Up Costing EHR Adopters Much More Than the New Incentives

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Melamedia Seminar Outlines Strategies For Receiving EHR Incentive Payments Without Getting Stuck With Huge HIPAA & Other IT Integration Bills Later.

The large number of dollars in federal financial incentives to adopt electronic health records (EHRs) may end up costing healthcare organizations substantially more than those enticements because of other uncoordinated IT mandates, according to Melamedia, LLC, which is sponsoring a May 13 audio seminar that discusses strategies for avoiding this danger.

The most glaring example of the risk: HIPAA transactions (ANSI 5010) must be upgraded by Jan 1, 2012, and ICD-10 coding must be used by Oct 1, 2013.

The danger is that organizations - lured by the federal money - will rush to install EHR systems by 2011 with little or no thought as to how those systems will function with their other computer systems that will require major upgrades within the following two years.

For many organizations and policymakers, the EHR and HIPAA initiatives remain uncoordinated, according to many healthcare IT experts. The environment is such that large and small healthcare organizations could easily become frustrated, which, in turn, could hamper both EHR and HIPAA adoption and compliance and quality. Those who lived through the initial HIPAA transformation are still smarting over the costs of simply adding an additional field into their computer record systems.

Make no mistake, the EHR and HIPAA initiatives are separate but related expansive and expensive computer system upgrades. Not surprisingly, there is substantial confusion. For example, HIPAA billing information is already used for quality purposes. So how will healthcare entities distinguish between EHR quality measurement systems from those using HIPAA billing data?

One big risk is that without proper planning and forethought, healthcare organizations may fall prey to the expected army of EHR entrepreneurs who will make promises they cannot keep.

The bottom line: Healthcare organizations cannot rely on EHR vendor assurances that the HIPAA billing component can simply be tacked on to an EHR systems. Nor can they assume that their clinical, administrative and practice management systems will work seamlessly without planning.

Just as important, these initiatives will require the involvement of HIPAA privacy and security officers because the EHR initiative and HIPAA updates will expand the amount of information collected and shared as well as create new security issues that come with any major change in electronic systems.

Moreover, while the economic stimulus package included new controls on patient data, the EHR initiative and HIPAA are not the only laws that will have an immediate effect on EHR systems. For example, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued proposals establishing a formal definition of "family histories" and new controls on the collection and use of this commonly sought information under the Genetic Nondiscrimination Information Act (GINA).

So the ultimate danger is that healthcare organizations may be thousands of dollars-wise in pursuing EHR incentives but hundreds of thousands of dollars foolish in trying to meet their other compliance and IT mandates.

To assist healthcare organizations in maximizing their investments in EHRs and other IT initiatives, Melamedia, LLC, publishers of Health Information Privacy/Security Alert, is sponsoring:

Coordinating EHR Incentives with HIPAA and Other Major HIT Initiatives


** How HIPAA mandates for ICD-10 and ANSI 5010 are related to EHRs;
** The differences in timelines between the EHR incentive program and the HIPAA electronic transaction upgrades;
** Key issues in deciding on an EHR system, including what assurances should be sought to ensure a system will match up with existing practice management systems and ANSI 5010 and ICD-10;
** Who should be involved in a hospital system's team to implement all of these IT initiatives;
** The key technology challenges facing healthcare systems and providers;
** The effects of health system choices on provider plans for EHRs;
** The degree to which a provider can or should rely on a hospital/hospital system for guidance in selecting an EHR;
** How a healthcare system should approach its budget to deal with these systems;
** How hospital systems should evaluate where they are in the process of going electronic in making EHR decisions; and
** How privacy and security issues affect both EHR and HIPAA transaction standards adoption.

** EHR Managers & Planners
** Billing and Administrative Managers
** HIPAA Compliance Executives
** Privacy Officers
** Security Officers
** HIM Professionals
** Healthcare Providers
** Hospital Administrators
** Health Insurers
** EHR Vendors & Consultants
** PHR Vendors
** HIT Professionals
** HIOs, HIEs, and RHIOs
** Practice Management Professionals
** Third Party Administrators
** Healthcare Attorneys and Consultants
** Government Health Agency Officials
** Research Administrators


Stanley Nachimson, Principal, Nachimson Advisors, is a former Senior Technical Advisor for CMS's Office of Electronic Standards and Services where he led the development of HIPAA Security and Transaction Standard regulations and interpretations

Robert Barbour, JD, MHA, CPHIMSS, Vice President for Physician Services for Bon Secours Hampton Roads

Ahbay Mainkar, Associate VP, Finance - Revenue Cycle Technologies for Montefiore Medical Center

Dennis Melamed, editor of Health Information Privacy/Security Alert; adjunct professor in the Drexel College of Medicine.


All seminar participants will receive a certificate of participation
The seminar qualifies for 1.5 credits from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)


Wednesday, May 13, 2009
1 pm - 2:30 pm EASTERN


To register, visit


The CD recording with all course materials are excellent educational and briefing resources.

To order, visit


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Katalin Sugar
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