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Proven healthcare solutions - An article in Khaleej Times
US based Pragmedic Solutions specialises in providing proven software packages for helthcare administrators around the world.

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Stitching Up Health Records: Privacy Compliance Lags
The good news about privacy and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is that more than 80 percent of companies involved in health care have technology and processes in place to provide the level of patient-privacy protection required by the 1996 law.

The bad news? All were supposed to have done so by April 2003. More bad news? The percentage hasn't changed since last summer, meaning about 20 percent of health care companies are "unable or unwilling to implement federal privacy requirements," according to a twice-yearly survey of health care payers and providers conducted by Phoenix Health Systems and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, or HIMSS.

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Study: Medicare, Insurers Reluctant to Pay for Telehealth
Sam Burgiss, former head of the University of Tennessee Telehealth Network, remembers how videoconferencing changed one patient's life.

He lived alone and had congestive heart failure. Every quarter, he'd spend several days in the hospital, but, in 1998, nurses started monitoring him through videoconferencing. Through remote monitoring equipment, blood cuffs, scales and patients themselves can send information through the Internet.

This patient held instruments up to a camera for nurses to read, and over the following year, he ended up in the hospital just once, for a 24-hour observation.But despite such advances, remote patient monitoring is far from routine.

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HIPAA Security Compliance Deadline Draws Near
Health care payers and providers have two weeks until security rules protecting electronic health information kick in. Accordingly, trade and government groups have released an array of tools to help them make sure they are complying with the law.

The deadline of April 20 is set by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and covers all but the smallest of health plans.

Although some small payers and providers are still scrambling to meet the deadline, most are well on their way to compliance, if not already there, said Chris Noell, vice president of business development at Solutionary Inc., which helps companies manage their security needs. "There hasn't been a last-minute rush; we were seeing as much demand six months ago as we are today," he said.

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Microsoft Targets Health Insurers
In an effort to make good on its commitment to the health care industry to be present from "lab to bedside," Microsoft announced another series of partnerships aiming at the health care industry.

At the World Health Care Congress from April 17 to 19, Microsoft released its vision for "knowledge driven health plans" in conjunction with 22 companies that will provide solutions based on its framework. Unlike other segments of the health care industry, health insurers have proven themselves much more motivated and adept at incorporating IT.

In the last several years, the industry has undergone rapid consolidation and has come under pressure to effectively integrate IT. Among health plans, "there has been enormous disruption and a lot of competitive threat," notes Dennis Schmuland, M.D., director of Microsoft's health plan industry solutions.

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PRAGMEDIC eNEWSLETTER

Survey: HIPAA Compliance Drops, Patient Concerns Grow
IT compliance officers are trying to comply with health care privacy regulations, but they're not getting the resources needed, AHIMA says.

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Microsoft Prescribes Digital Pharma Framework
At the Pharmaceutical Technology Congress this week in Philadelphia, Microsoft announced a full-scale strategy for addressing the IT needs of the pharmaceutical industry. Microsoft originally launched its health care and life sciences group ten years ago.

"Microsoft has stepped up and said we think we can have impact in the pharmaceutical industry," said Microsoft Enterprise Sales and Industry Strategist Paul Mattes. "Microsoft is not dipping into it in a transient way."

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Health Tech Advance Can Lead to Errors
Computerized systems that reduce certain medication errors increase the risk of others, concludes a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

CPOE (computerized physician order entry) is widely hailed as an important solution for reducing medical errors. However, the study, led by Ross Koppel at the University of Pennsylvania, listed over twenty ways that CPOE made medical errors more likely to happen. In particular, medicines could be ordered for the wrong patient, sent to the wrong place, or delayed for more than 24 hours.

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