EHR safety concerns uncovered, addressed with daily huddle

Faced with the daunting challenge of opening a new hospital and simultaneously going live with a new electronic health record system in 2013, the leaders of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in College Station, Texas, created a daily “safety huddle” involving dozens of representatives from nearly all clinical and other areas of the facility. The meetings helped bring to the fore EHR-related quality and safety concerns that could be rapidly addressed to protect patients.

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Survey quantifies time burdens of prior authorization

What do you do 37 times in a given workweek? If you are a fervent coffee drinker, perhaps that is how often you refill your trusty travel mug. But if you are like the physicians recently surveyed by the AMA, 37 may be the number of prior-authorization requests that you and your hardworking staffers complete each week. That is just one of the alarming results of a new survey that demonstrates the toll prior authorization is taking on patients, physicians and medical practices.

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21 principles to reform prior-authorization requirements

The utilization-management requirements that gobble up physician and staff time while interrupting or delaying appropriate care need to be dramatically reshaped to ensure they are clinically valid and implemented in a way that is transparent, timely, efficient, flexible and standardized. That is the resounding message set forth in a comprehensive set of 21 principles released Wednesday by the AMA and a coalition of 16 other organizations representing physicians, medical groups, hospitals, pharmacists and patients.

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Don’t let smartphones distract from care

The odds are good that you’re reading this on your phone right now. The overwhelming majority of physicians, residents and medical students own smartphones and many use them to keep up with medical news, communicate with colleagues and consult clinical reference tools that help them deliver better care. But these pocket computers also have the potential to distract from medical care in ways that can be harmful. There are three ways you can ensure wise clinical use of your smartphone.

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Lifelong health: Physician-led effort focuses on teens

Did you know that September was National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month? It was also Sexual Health Awareness Month, and National Suicide Prevention Week also took place in September. Throughout the year, there are many such occasions that relate to issues affecting adolescent health, but there is no similar nationwide event that targets teen health as a whole. Physicians are trying to change that.

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Precision medicine: When to order somatic cancer panel testing

Somatic cancer panel testing, also called cancer genomic panels or tumor molecular panels, can simultaneously look for dozens or even hundreds of genetic variants driving cancer growth and expand patients’ treatment options by identifying targeted therapies. They represent a major advance in cancer care, but the circumstances under which such tests should be used vary depending on several factors. Discover more about this fast-developing area of precision medicine and test yourself with interactive case studies.

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Interoperability breakthrough: 5 things physicians should know

An agreement formed by two health-information connectors represents a major advance for nationwide interoperability, potentially enabling more than 15,000 hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations to share data. This would allow, for example, a Miami physician to access the electronic records of a patient from Seattle who presents at the emergency department while vacationing. Here are five things physicians should understand about what this collaboration will mean for health-data sharing and care delivery.

The lede to my latest story at AMA Wire. The whole shebang.