#PNN In Other News

Here are some other local, state or national stories we are reading that may impact you, your practice or your patients.

Is it 1970 or 2019? 9 in 10 in healthcare industry still using fax machines, survey finds | A new survey finds that healthcare organizations are still heavily reliant on 1970s technology, with 89% using fax machines and 39% using pagers. And despite living in a mobile-reliant society, healthcare organizations rely heavily on landline phones to communicate, according to a new report by TigerConnect, a healthcare communication platform. “Adoption of modern communication solutions has occurred in every other industry but healthcare,” said Brad Brooks, CEO and co-founder of TigerConnect, in a statement. The report was based on an online survey conducted in July of almost 200 respondents who work in the healthcare industry, including physicians, nurses and ancillary providers, C-suite executives, information technology professionals, administrative staff and others. The survey confirms the broken state of communication in healthcare, finding 52% of healthcare organizations experience communication disconnects that impact patients on a daily basis or multiple times a week, the company said.

CMA tells DOJ proposed CURES regulations will negatively affect patient care | The California Medical Association (CMA) recently submitted commentson draft regulations regarding access to and use of the information within California’s prescription drug monitoring dataset, known as CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System). These regulations would implement AB 1751, which established statutory authority for CURES to engage in interstate data sharing. The bill also required the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue regulations on health practitioner access to CURES and the conditions in which a law enforcement agency may obtain CURES information. CMA has serious concerns regarding these regulations and has submitted comprehensive comments detailing those concerns. In issuing these proposed regulations, the DOJ fundamentally fails to consider CURES as a clinical decision-making tool that is intrinsically linked to the provision of patient care. In its comments, CMA urges the DOJ to consider the negative impact that these proposed regulations may have on patient care if it neglects to expressly prioritize CURES as a clinical tool as well as a law enforcement tool.

VA Sees 17% Increase in Veterans Accessing Telehealth in FY 2019 | More than 900,000 veterans used telehealth during the past fiscal year, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The more than 2.6 million connected health episodes recorded by the VA includes some 294,000 mHealth connections through the VA Video Connect App, an increase of 235 percent over FY 2018. And more than 200,000 of those virtual visits were telemental health sessions, accounting for about two-thirds of all visits. The statistics, reported last week by the VA, represent a steep increase in telehealth use in the first year of the VA’s “Anywhere to Anywhere” program, launched in mid 2018 under former VA Secretary David Shulkin. Since then, the VA has put into place a string of programs aimed at improving access to care for the nation’s 20 million veterans, including 5 million in rural areas, as well as those who can’t or don’t want to go to the roughly 900 VA hospitals and clinics scattered across the country. Earlier this year, the administration noted that it had surpassed 1 million video visits during the previous year. “VA is committed to offering Veterans the health care they deserve, whenever and wherever they need it,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a press release. “We want every Veteran to have a choice to schedule an in-person, telephone or video visit with their providers depending on their preferences for health care delivery.”

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