Editor's Desk: This Week in Government Health IT

By Tom Sullivan
08:49 AM

What with the accountable care organization final rule due pretty much any day now, possibly even this day, it’s apropos of ACO to look at HIT needs.

Dr. John Loonsk does so in our ongoing series. Part 2: Beyond information exchange asks whether ACOs will follow or surpass HIEs in their ability to analyze data across providers? That follows the HIT of ACOs, Part 1: Analytic Data.

In this week’s interview, meanwhile, CIRA CIO Patrick Ward tells of taking a radiology practice from no IT to HIE and achieving ROI along the way. Mosaica Partners founder Laura Kolkman offers HIEs this advice: Drop the gloves, and leverage RECs to mutual benefit.

“Our healthcare system is in trouble,” ONC head Farzad Mostahsari, MD, said Friday at the TransITions in Care event. “It doesn’t keep people safe and it’s too costly. But I’m incredibly optimistic that this time when we’re going to make this better.” Beginning, Senior Editor Mary Mosquera reports, with the pilot standard for care transition that supports meaningful use stage 2 that was also discussed at the event.

It’s not all ACOs, EHRs, HIEs, and RECs this week, though. There’s that persistent and shadowy matter of ICD-10 again. This time, the question: Will ICD-10 be the next mortgage crisis? No World Borders managing partner Mike Arrigo answers in the affirmative, and does the math to back that assertion up in an argument that is both compelling and provocative – and based on reimbursement and risk rates that calculate how even a slight shift in healthcare wealth could trigger provider and payer bankruptcies, consolidation, mergers.

Before ICD-10, though, lies HIPAA 5010. Are you ready? More important, perhaps, do you even know what that means? Suggesting that many in the industry do not entirely understand, HBMA suggests the time has come to define ‘HIPAA 5010 ready.’ Earlier this year, the matter arose of being ICD-10-ready … or not?
[Update: ICD10Watch's Carl Natale weighs in on the coding discussion with How to stop ICD-10 from becoming a crisis.]

And, now, back to ACOs. Are you ACO prepared? Know what that means? The final rule – widely believed to soften over the previous iteration – will likely shed some light when it arrives. If those regs do manifest today, be sure to check back here for ongoing coverage.

Update: HHS release final ACO regs, cuts number of measures in half, relaxes timetable.

Second day update: Our ACO coverage all in one place.