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HLN and Oregon Health Authority Present Optional Approaches to Oregon's School Immunization Reporting Process at Atlanta Conference

At the 2018 National Immunization Conference (NIC) held in Atlanta May 15-17, HLN co-presented Diverse Stakeholder Perspectives to Improve Oregon’s School Immunization Reporting Process in collaboration with the Oregon Immunization Program (OIP). Aaron Dunn, Oregon’s Immunization Program Manager, and Marcey Propp, HLN Project Manager, presented the project context, approach, and outcomes as part of the segment for Improving measurement and reporting to foster clear vaccine communication. The project context included antiquated technology, the growing complexity of vaccine requirements, and excessive, redundant and unnecessary workload that culminated in making the current school immunization reporting process unsustainable.

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Too Many Poor Excuses

I am so tired of reading yet another story about how we -- Americans -- cannot afford things. Not luxury items, not splurges, not nice-to-have items. Increasingly, it seems like too many of us can't afford what most people would consider basics -- food, housing, child care, transportation. And health care, of course. A new study by the United Way ALICE Project (a collaboration of United Ways in 18 states) found that 51 million households can't afford a basic monthly budget that includes food, housing, health care, child care, and a cell phone. That is 43% of all U.S. households.

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Feature Overlaps Between Immunization Information Systems and EHRs

Immunization Information Systems (IIS) have been around for nearly twenty years. Their functionality, completeness, and usefulness have all increased over this time. IIS and electronic health record (EHR) systems have always had unique features, as well as some overlapping features, and the deployment of EHRs has enhanced the local immunization capabilities of clinician practices. Several critical clinical features that are considered to be core functions of IIS are beginning to be supported by EHRs. This article will review and discuss five such critical features: online data entry, clinical decision support for immunization, reminder-recall, practice-level assessment of up-to-date status, and patient access to their immunization data.

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Edge computing and the importance of open infrastructure

The "edge" is diverse, dispersed, often independently owned and operated, and comes with a set of constraints not addressed in the average data center. Old sci-fi films painted a picture of how computers would permeate every facet of life in the future. It has come to pass, and it happened almost without us noticing: having PCs at home became commonplace, our mobile phones turned into small smart devices, and our cars began making decisions for us, controlled by thousands of sensors and controllers. Self-driving cars, augmented and virtual reality, smart homes and more all underscore our rapidly emerging dependence on distributed computing infrastructure.

12 Students Picked to Work on OpenMRS Projects as Part of the Google Summer of Code 2018 Program

Congratulations and a warm welcome to the 12 students selected for Google Summer of Code 2018, and extended thanks to our fantastic group of OpenMRS project mentor volunteers, as well as all students that submitted applications this year! A total of 1,264 students from 64 different countries have been accepted to work with more than 200 open source projects for GSoC 2018. Since 2007, OpenMRS has enjoyed participating in this great program, and we’re thrilled to be involved again this year, marking our 12th year of participation. We’re looking forward to working with a diverse set of students and mentors across a range of exciting and impactful projects.

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On the Need to Improve User-Centered Design (i.e. Design Thinking) for Healthcare IT Usability

The lack of usability of electronic health records (EHRs) and healthcare IT applications, in general, has been in the news a lot again. This time it is a research report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on March 27. The study analyzed voluntary error reports associated with EHR systems and found that problems with EHR usability may have directly resulted in patient harm. Unfortunately, this situation is all too common in the healthcare industry. Numerous health care systems are designed and created ad hoc, or with a very engineering-centric approach. End users are dissatisfied and often systems or workflows are abandoned and/or dangerous work-a-rounds created. A lot of people are saying Healthcare IT needs a disruption. What HealthIT needs is to begin to learn about and understand the needs, goals, and methods of the actual end-users, like doctors, nurses, medical assistants, etc.

Mainstream Academia Embraces Open Source Hardware

Twenty years ago, even staunch proponents of free and open source software like Richard Stallman questioned the social imperative for free hardware designs. Academics had barely started to consider the concept; the number of papers coming out annually on the topic were less than could be counted on someone's fingers. Not anymore! Not only has the ethical authority of Stallman embraced free hardware and free hardware design, but so has the academic community. Consider the graph below, which shows the number of articles on open source hardware indexed by Google Scholar each year from 2000 to 2017. In the last 17 years, the concept of open source hardware has erupted in ivory towers throughout the world. Now more than 1,000 articles are written on the topic every year.

US Core Data for Interoperability Task Force Delivers its Recommendations

On April 18, 2018 the HHS Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) US Core Data for Interoperability Task Force delivered its recommendations on the draft US Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) and Proposed Expansion Process which had been published for public comment back in January 2018. HITAC promptly accepted the Task Force’s recommendations. The Task Force focused almost exclusively on the process for identifying the USCDI rather than the proposed USCDI data itself. I especially appreciated their introduction of some key concepts related to how USCDI should be organized and understood.

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Why the VA Should Stick with VistA and Not Waste $16 Billion on an Attempt to Replace It

This VA leadership lull provides an opportunity for reflection. Specifically, it’s worth asking while we have the time whether Cerner is the right path for the VA to take. While the decision may seem like a no-brainer to some, the VA’s situation is unique and arguably calls for a singular approach to both existing organizational issues and a major healthcare IT decision. Specific to the Cerner decision, what should the new VA secretary consider?

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Signatures are No Longer Required for Credit Card Transactions...How Come Most Medical Records Exchanges Still Require Fax Machines?

If you live in the U.S., you've probably had the experience of paying for a meal using a credit card. The server takes your card, disappears to somewhere in the back, does something with it that you can't see, and returns with your card, along with two paper receipts, one of which you need to sign. Everything that happens to me, I think, what is this, the 1960's?As of last week, the major credit card companies -- American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa -- are no longer requiring that signature. As a Mastercard person told CNET, "It is the right time to eliminate an antiquated practice."

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