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

By Tom Sullivan
11:01 AM

This being National Health IT Week, ONC celebrated by kicking off its patient engagement campaign, while HHS proposed allowing patients direct access to lab results, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered an update on meaningful use

HIMSS, for its part, marked the National HIT Week with a virtual forum on one of the more contentious topics in all of healthcare today, that being accountable care organizations, aka the ACO. Crack Social Media Producer Kelly Mehler recapped Twitter posts originally appearing during a session, Value of Care Coordination, led by IBM’s Harry Reynolds.

Diana Manos reports today on ostensibly odd bedfellows AT&T, Microsoft, and Premier, among many others, coming together to form the Accountable Care Community of Practice, with the intent to help healthcare providers participate in ACOs. [Related Q&A: The wide, deep gulf between ACO regs and reality.]

Among the other contentious topics this week: ICD-10. Dr. Peter Muir told Government Health IT in an interview that conducting meaningful use before ICD-10 is akin to “getting everybody together at the table, then taking one leg off each chair.”

Providing some wood screws for those seats, CMS posted HIPAA 5010 and ICD-10 widgets to its site. Downloadable to desktops or mobile devices, the timelines are also available as plain old printable PDFs.

Over at the ICD10Watch blog, meanwhile, Carl Natale examines what really went wrong in Canada with ICD-10 and, more important perhaps, what the U.S. can glean from our northern neighbors. Likewise, a guest post by Ben Michelson harks back to the ICD-9 conversion – recalling some 18 months of post-compliance confusion – and suggests lessons to mind today.

On the truly somber side, John Loonsk, MD examines health IT lessons learned since 9/11. It wasn’t just the attack, but an ensuing series of events that, particularly when taken together, “demonstrated the need for a broadly interconnected health system that includes many different health-related organizations exchanging critical and processable information.”

That description resembles a Nationwide Health Information Network, at least conceptually. U.S. policy makers and healthcare professionals, meanwhile, continue mapping the future of NwHIN.