The high ways of medical #marijuana: Not to be confused with the Massachusetts medical information highway #HIT #EMR

This funny post from BIDMC health info chief John Halamka:

The Massachusetts Health Information Highway is abbreviated the MassHIway. Its phone number is 1-800-MassHIway.
Unrelated to IT (or so we thought), Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana. This is an actual transcript of a call we received today

Sean – “Hello, Mass HIway – how may I help you?”

Caller – “Yes, can you tell me how I become a marijuana grower/dispenser?”medical pot portrait

But, seriously folks, HIT is in the news. Dr. Halamka is testifying in DC before the HIT advisory panel. If you don’t know what the term “meaningful use” is, it might be a bit too wonky for you.

And, the Globe reports, behind its paywall, that Westboro-based eClinical Works is expanding into the “patient engagement” business. Here’s the press release.  The high-way caller needs to check out this Globe story, also behind the paywall: New Mexico marijuana program a guide for Mass. Strict model may help Bay State shape its rules

For some reporting on the downside of HIT, check out the Center for Public Integrity investigation. They suggest the rise of electronic medical records has led to a jump in upcoding — threatening any savings that promise to come with HIT.

The series documented that thousands of medical professionals steadily billed Medicare for more complex and costly health care over the past decade — adding $11 billion or more to their fees — despite little evidence that elderly patients required more treatment.

The series also exposed a wide range of costly billing errors and abuses that have plagued Medicare for years — from confusion over how to pick proper payment codes to apparent overcharges in medical offices and hospital emergency rooms — and strongly suggested these problems have worsened with the rapid growth in the use of electronic medical records and billing software.

Here in Massachusetts, the effort is well underway. Here at the expected connections. Again, an HIT jargon alert.

ACO to ACO transmission – two large healthcare systems breaking down silos and exchanging lifetime summary records for care coordination

Provider to Registry transmission  – EHR data sent to a third party for computation of quality and performance metrics

Provider to Plan transmission – EHR encounter data sent from a provider organizations to a payer for care management

Pediatric Care Coordination – EHR transmission between a community provider and a tertiary referral hospital

Suburban to Urban Specialist referral – A PCP at a community site sends referral data to an urban specialist, electronically closing the loop between the two

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