Editor's Desk: T.W.I.G. Notes

By Tom Sullivan
11:31 AM

Gearing up for National HIPAA 5010 Testing Week? Or are you too deep into meaningfully using an EHR to think about 5010 just yet? And what other health IT issues are on your list?

Potential good news on that EHR front came yesterday during a HIT Standards Committee meeting, wherein members endorsed “a single set of vocabulary standards and a single guide for putting them in place for each area of quality reporting measures,” and said the committee will recommend that ONC include those in stage 2 of meaningful use.

That milestone, which John Halamka said during the meeting is ‘truly momentous’ won’t happen immediately, of course, and neither will the patient-centered medical home, but Senior Editor Mary Mosquera this week concludes her two-part series Improving patient care, the next 5 steps.

In the nearer-term, though, next week is CMS National HIPAA 5010 Testing Week, August 22-26. The idea is for payers, providers, and clearinghouses to powwow and test some HIPAA 5010 transactions back and forth. While CMS told me it is hoping for more than 3,000 participants, health entities currently face something of a paradox: A number of them are still waiting for the software updates that make HIPAA 5010 transactions possible. Without those software updates, how much testing can they even conduct?

HIPAA 5010 is but one serving on the overflowing health IT plates this summer. Proving some insights into the others, HIMAA Analytics published a list of The Top 9 health IT trends to watch in 2011 and beyond. Some of those are likely suspects, others a little more surprising. Not on HIMSS list is vendor M&A, perhaps because that is worth tracking all the time. The latest: General Dynamics plunked down nearly $1 billion for Vangent, and in return obtained it’s analytics, BPO, EHR, and HIE solutions.

The VA, meanwhile, cranked up its cool factor with Directive 6515, which encourages its own to interact with the pubic via social media tools, the likes of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, among those.

A rather bold statement, indeed, and one that might bump social media projects up the agenda at other agencies and health entities. What’s on your list?