Monday, January 30, 2012

BYOD: Physicians' Use of Mobile Devices Seen As Improving Care, but Bringing New Risks

Attorneys Mike Overly and Chanley T. Howell of Foley & Lardner LLP discuss the ways in which personal mobile devices will influence healthcare delivery

Physicians' use of personal mobile devices to treat patients could improve efficiency and reduce cost to providers, but also could pose liability and security risks, attorneys with Foley & Lardner LLP said Jan. 23 during a webinar hosted by the law firm.

Speaking at Foley's webinar on “Emerging Issues in Health Information Technology,” attorneys Mike Overly and Chanley T. Howell, partners at Foley & Lardner, identified how new mobile device trends could both benefit and hurt health care organizations.

On the benefit side of the trend, use of personal devices, such as smart phones, iPads, and other mobile devices, allows physicians to be in communication 24/7 with patients and other physicians, and enables “tremendous” cost savings, Howell, with the firm's Jacksonville, Fla., office, said.

For some hospitals or physician practices, allowing the use of personal mobile devices also can give the organization a competitive business advantage, Howell added.

According to Howell, this growing “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend should be addressed by health care organizations immediately by drafting policies that are easy for employees to understand and anticipating issues that could arise in the future.

Liability Risks
Despite the benefits, liability risks associated with employee use of personal mobile devices are increasingly becoming an issue that needs to be addressed by new health care organization policies, Overly, with the firm's Los Angeles office, said.

According to Overly, the BYOD trend could create liability risks due to:
• personal devices mixing business and personal data;
• risks to information security in personal devices;
• software licensing issues;
• risks associated with shared use of a device with nonemployees; and
• potential risks of an employee disposing of the device inappropriately.

Additionally, mobile device applications used in health care settings that are created by international companies also could pose risks to physicians and consumers, because international data use agreements are different than domestic data use agreements, Overly said.

January 30, 2012

amednews: AMA offers online CME to help with health IT

The Web-based tutorials will educate physicians about analyzing workflow in their offices before they buy any systems.

Pamela Lewis Dolan, Jan. 30, 2012.

The American Medical Association has released three online tutorials aimed at helping physicians implement health information technology into their practices.

The tutorials include videos, downloadable tools and best practices for health IT in a physician practice. They are being offered when many doctors are looking at technology for the first time because of federal incentive programs aimed at increasing physician adoption and use of health IT tools.

Each seven- to 10-minute tutorial is focused on understanding workflow and what changes to expect with new technologies.

The three tutorials offered are:

  • E-prescribing. This series will explain the benefits of electronic prescribing and the quality, safety and efficacy compared with paper prescribing. The series identifies opportunities to improve medication management and efficiencies through e-prescribing.

  • Pre-visit planning. This tutorial will help physicians implement technology that provides full patient information before a visit. Benefits, including reduced waiting times and improved efficiencies, will be explained.

  • Point-of-care documentation. This will guide doctors in making decisions about the hardware used during an office exam. It also will explain the information that should be collected during an exam, as well as the format used to document it.

The AMA said the tutorials will explain the best ways to implement new technology.

"Physician practices may need to redesign and reorganize their office routines so that they can successfully and efficiently adopt health IT," said AMA President Peter W. Carmel, MD.

The CME-accredited tutorials are free. They are an addition to the AMA's library of CME-accredited tutorials, including those launched in May 2011 aimed at helping physicians earn incentives for e-prescribing and meaningful use of EMRs.


CME-accredited tutorials on health information technology from the American Medical Association (

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let NAMSS Help you Reach your Goal To Become Your Own Advocate in 2012

MSPs perform an integral role in keeping health care organizations running smoothly and ensuring the highest-quality patient care. All too often, however, MSPs do not have access to the types of development courses that will help them progress in their careers. Designed for MSPs at every stage of their career, NAMSS’ newest classroom course, Becoming Your Own Advocate, is a comprehensive interactive program designed to help you increase your professional credibility and achieve your goals within your organization. Visit our website for more information on this live offering on January 27 and 28 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Aria Resort and Casino.

For more information visit our website:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Credentialing for Multiple Accrediting Bodies: Help is Here!!!

Do you perform credentialing for entities with more than one accrediting body and need help in keeping all the various accreditation standards straight? We hope that this upcoming webinar series with NAMSS and Stanford University Medical Center’s Debra Green will help you. Visit our website for more information:

To further complement this webinar series, NAMSS also offers “The NAMSS Comparison of Accreditation Standards” which provides you with “plain-language” interpretations of the credentialing standards in a side by side format for easy comparison of The Joint Commission, NCQA, Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, DNV, URAC, the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, as well as the Medicare Conditions of Participation. Visit our website for more information on this handy reference:

Update on The Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Alert on Health Care Worker Fatigue

The Joint Commission has issued a sentinel-event alert saying drowsy health professionals are likelier to be involved in adverse events than their well-rested counterparts. The commission advised the more than 6,500 hospitals and other health care organizations it accredits to take steps to mitigate the risks of such fatigue

Nine ways to give rest to the weary health care worker

In a December 2011 sentinel-event alert, the Joint Commission offered advice to help health care organizations prevent fatigue-related adverse events:

  • Review policies to ensure that they address extended work shifts and hours.

  • Assess hand-off procedures to ensure that they protect patients adequately.

  • Invite staff to take part in designing work schedules to minimize potential
    for fatigue.

  • Offer tips to fight fatigue, such as doing things that involve physical action, talking with other people, taking short naps and drinking coffee only when tired.

  • Educate staff about sleep hygiene and the effects of fatigue on patient safety.

  • Offer opportunities for staff to express concerns about fatigue.

  • Use a system of independent second checks for critical tasks and complex patients.

  • Consider fatigue as a potential contributing factor when reviewing all adverse events.

  • Ensure that the nap room is cool, dark, quiet and comfortable; provide eye masks and ear plugs; and let workers turn off pagers between shifts.

Source: "Sentinel Event Alert Issue 48: Health care worker fatigue and patient safety," The Joint Commission, Dec. 14, 2011

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

NAMSS' Comments on CMS' CoPs Proposal

December 22, 2011

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Department of Health and Human Services
Attention: CMS-3244-PRIN 0938-AQ89

Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Reform of Hospital and Critical Access Hospital Conditions of Participation

To Whom It May Concern:

The National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) represents medical services
professionals who, together with the organized medical staffs, manage credentialing and privileging of licensed independent health care providers in hospitals and health care plans across the country. NAMSS supports policies and practices that promote safe credentialing and privileging, and are also efficient and cost-effective. CMS-3244-P proposal is in line with the way in which the majority of medical staffs currently operate, especially with regard to the authority that medical staffs have in evaluating and recommending clinical privileges for non-medical staff members.

NAMSS appreciates many components of the proposed rule, particularly its efforts to
defer to state scope of practice statutes and provide individual hospitals with more
flexibility for purposes of credentialing and staff structure. As with current practice for many institutions, this update distinguishes between the authority of a hospital’s medical staff and its human resources department. CMS further clarifies this categorization by recognizing instances in which practitioners do not fit the traditional categories.

NAMSS response to Medical Staff (482.22)

1) NAMSS commends the progress that CMS continues to make in providing
hospitals the opportunity to grant privileges to non-medical staff practitioners – in
accordance with specific state scope of practice laws. This proposal would
benefit hospitals in rural, poor, and underserved areas. It would also facilitate
hospitals’ use of telehealth services.

2) NAMSS appreciates CMS’ move to defer to hospitals in credentialing and
managing advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) by allowing hospitals to
categorize APRNs as either medical staff or general hospital staff. NAMSS also
supports the provision enabling hospitals to privilege practitioners without
making them members of the organized medical staff and to establish categories
that define staff and non-staff practitioners. This would help hospitals address
workplace shortages, provide more flexibility to critical access hospitals, small
hospitals, and hospitals in poor urban areas. It would also enable states to better
address primary care provider shortages.

3) Although one single governing body in a multi-hospital system does provide for
economies of scale, and is a reality in some systems, it is important to reaffirm the
ability of the local sub-boards to enact policies and handle issues that directly
contribute to sound patient care decision making, thus avoiding potential harmful
delays due to distance and corporate bureaucracy.

4) NAMSS appreciates that CMS addresses the potential patient care concern of
medical staffs by proposing that physicians and non-physicians will all be
required to comply with standing medical staff regulations. As many hospitals
currently operate, the proposal complies with current hospital and medical staff
regulations. These clarifications, in addition to the Joint Commission’s language
on conflict resolution, reaffirm CMS’ commitment to the important roles that
physicians and the organized medical staff have in staffing responsibilities, which
ensure safe patient care.

Simplifying the credentialing process would greatly assist medical staff professionals in improving practitioner quality and transparency while alleviating unnecessary steps. NAMSS commends CMS for taking steps to eliminate redundancies in current credentialing practice and looks forward to working together to improve health care delivery.


Kate Conklin, BS, CPMSM, CPCS, CPHQ