Much of the tone regarding healthcare at this year's international Consumer Electronics Show focused on ensuring the safety of consumer data shared via wearable devices and other technologies, with both HIMSS (via its Personal Connected Health Alliance) and the Federal Trade Commission speaking out about looming privacy risks.
Still, that didn't take away from the bevy of innovative new tools on display in Las Vegas last week.
Throughout 2014, telemedicine continued to make inroads for patient care efforts. For instance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in its final physician fee schedule rule posted last fall, agreed to cover a majority of services proposed in July, including psychotherapy and annual wellness visits.
When it comes to ICD-10, a feeling of déjà vu is beginning to creep over me. Not only are interest groups both for and against the implementation out in full force, apparently another delay could be attached to a "must-pass" $157 billion spending bill for the departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services that expires next week.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT certainly appears to be an agency in disarray. After all, not only will ONC be without its top two officials by the end of next month--with National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo named acting assistant secretary for health at HHS last week and Deputy National Coordinator Jacob Reider announcing he will head back to New York in November--the agency also has lost four other top officials. Since July, it has seen Joy Pritts, Lygeia Ricciardi, Judy Murphy and Doug Fridsma depart.
For a company whose founders claim they have no interest in healthcare, Google certainly has a lot of irons in that particular fire.
Government leaders, healthcare providers and patient advocates alike have made it clear that engaging patients in their own care will continue to a top priority in the health industry going forward, particularly as payment models shift to reward improved outcomes over volume. Not everyone in the health industry, however, believes that more engagement equals better results.
It's telling that the recent announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalizing Oct. 1, 2015, as the new ICD-10 deadline was met mostly with skepticism, at least by hospital CIOs and provider organizations with whom I spoke last week. Still, there appears to be one big difference between this delay and the last one: Right up front, CMS announced plans for readiness testing for providers, including end-to-end testing.