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HITECH Act Compliance is a Team Sport:  Is your team HITECH ready?

 April  2010 Issue No. 9
In This Issue
Education and Training: How content is presented significantly impacts its consumption
Change is Hard: EHR Implementations, Compliance Touch Points & Chaos Theory.
Featured Article
This month's featured article is entitled: "Change is Hard: EHR Implementations, Compliance Touch Points & Chaos Theory." It
picks up where last month's featured article left off, by continuing our discussion of the kind of change that the HITECH Act has ignited.

In short, it continues our discussion of the convergence of law, policy and technology and focuses on the complex challenges that convergence implicates vis-a-vis change projects. The reason we have chosen to revisit the fundamentals of change is that it is mission critical to know the enemy that confronts you, otherwise you have very little chance of success.

We are certain that most in the healthcare industry by now understand that change is coming, but how to "attack" this change remains fraught with ambiguity (i.e. too many decisions to make and not enough time to make them). While there are no easy answers, there are certainly insights to be gained by reviewing what has worked for others in similar situations. We hope that our pain might be your gain.
HITECH Switch On Education and Training: How content is presented significantly impacts its consumption.

There has been a significant rise in interest regarding data analysis and visualization  of late, and for good reason, it is far less expensive today to deploy the infrastructure required to support these concepts. Expect this trend to influence healthcare in a big way over the next five years.

When these concepts are discussed it is usually within the context of business intelligence ("BI"), decision support systems ("DSS"), and statistical analysis. However, data visualization in particular is a much broader concept which can be applied equally to data that is comprised mostly of text. and need not be relegated solely to the presentation of numbers.

Death by PowerPoint

HITECH Switch On Nearly all of us have been subjected to the mind numbing experience of being shown slide after slide of textual information, sometimes in narrative and other times in an endless stream of bullets (thank God for small favors).

In fact, truth be told, many of us have delivered such noxious presentations and experienced the rolling of eyes, the yawns, and occasionally the snoring. It doesn't make for a fun day.

Compliance/EHR Education

HITECH Switch On Education is going to be a significant part of any EHR/compliance change project. It will take many forms, and certainly, if done effectively, does not mean solely after the fact "this is how we will do things around here" type of training.

Stakeholder education should be an integral part of any change project right from the onset. Human beings tend to accept change they helped shape, or at a minimum, where they were at least invited to the table.

Ignore the people issues at your own risk.


HITECH Switch On The fact of the matter is that most of us not only want to be informed but we also want to be entertained while consuming information. This is not simply because we have become the YouTube generation,  but there is also evidence that many people learn better through visualization. In general, the more engaged we are the better we learn.

In this issue, instead of a guest article, we will explore various low cost but highly engaging ways of presenting information. If past is prologue, you should find ample opportunities to experiment given the level of education required for any EHR/Compliance initiative.

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Dear Carlos,

Welcome to the April 2010 HITECH / HIPAA Compliance Newsletter. The featured article this month is entitled: "Change is Hard: EHR Implementations, Compliance Touch Points & Chaos Theory." This article discusses the challenges that providers face when implementing software and processes that touch a number of organizations and disciplines.

It builds on earlier newsletters (see the September 2009 Issue regarding agile methodologies) and discusses why healthcare presents the canonical example as to the need for new approaches. It also leverages sources from outside of healthcare in order to illustrate that much can be learned from what other industries have experienced during times of rapid change. Why chaos theory? You will need to read the article to discover its relevance.

HITECH / HIPAA Newsletter

This month instead of a guest article we will share a presentation we did at the World Health Congress entitled: HITECH and Meaningful Use ("MU"): Why HIPAA is no longer a paper tiger." We have several reasons for doing this including experimenting with a new medium (i.e. not Powerpoint slides) for presenting information. An education program will be a significant component of any successful change effort and many of you may find this medium both effective and accessible.
HSG Announcements
HITECH Survival Guide

We are now actively promoting what we believe to be is the best of breed HIPAA compliance tracking system ("CTS") on the market. We performed a significant amount of due diligence over the last couple of years and this is the one solution that is clearly ahead of the pack and economically priced to be within the reach of even the smallest covered entities and business associates. To see a demo of the product click here.

We are also pleased to announce the availability of our Breach Notification Framework. Section 13402 of the HITECH Act requires that HIPAA covered entities and their business associates provide various notifications following a breach of unsecured protected health information. Our Breach Notification Framework offers guidance for complying with HITECH's Breach Notification requirements.

Our EHR Library remains one of our most popular downloads. Here you will find content that will help you select the right EHR package for your practice or facility.
Contract DraftingWe continue to be excited regarding the marketplace feedback of our Business Associate Agreement: a HITECH Ready Model Contract (Buy Now). 

The HIPAA regulations and the HITECH Act mandate that a CE establish a written contract with a BA in a number of instances, including whenever a BA "manages" PHI on behalf of a CE. Our Model Contract includes provisions that meet the requirements of HIPAA/HITECH and is fully annotated with links, where appropriate, to the relevant statutory/regulatory authority that underpins each Contract clause. 

Our Model Business Associate Contract, Roadmaps, and other offeringsare now available in the HSG Store.

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Want to stay updated throughout the month then follow Debbie on Twitter by clicking on the badge below.  If you would like to read more regarding the authors' views on HIT and compliance click here and here and subscribe to their blogs.


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HITECH Survival Guide Wordle  
Change is Hard: EHR Implementations, Compliance Touch Points & Chaos Theory
HITECH Puzzles We understand that this newsletter has introduced concepts (e.g. wicked problems and agile methodologies) that may be foreign to healthcare providers. There are several reasons why we have felt compelled to do so: 1) we are bona fide geeks and can't help ourselves; and 2) more importantly, we believe that maybe (just maybe) some of our readers might benefit from our lessons learned (the hard way) in other industries.

In past lives we have had the opportunity to wear many hats. We lived through (and manged to survive) the dot com bubble bursting, the migration from mainframes to PC's, and the rise of the Internet. All of this before changing careers in mid life to law and nursing respectively. During that time we witnessed more failed technology projects than we care to remember. In fact, we wrote a book about our adventures in technology called Silicon-StoriesHITECH Puzzles.

The key "take away" is that most technology projects fail because of people and process challenges that have very little to do with the underlying technologies and almost everything to do with the kind of social complexity that we often write about (i.e. which lies at the heart of wicked problems). An EHR implementation includes so much more than technology that to call it a technology project is itself is a misnomer. An EHR implementations is more aptly described as a change project.

This article will first illustrate why change of this magnitude is inherently chaotic. There are simply no cookbooks, no maps, no videos, no books, no webinars, no conferences and certainly no newsletters that are capable of providing a step by step approach applicable to all providers or even most. Each solution will be different than the next because each organization is different.

We understand that an industry whose very foundation rests on the scientific method will have a difficult time accepting the fact that heuristics is the best we can do. In fact, for many within healthcare it is clearly anathema to suggest that sufficient study of the problem will not only lead to poor results, it will lead right off the cliff to certain failure. The "form a committee to form a committee to study the problem" will lead to death by a thousand cuts. We have seen this movie before and it doesn't have a happy ending.

In short, to solve a wicked problem you must fail fast in order to succeed. Why? HITECH Breaking Ground Because problems this complex can't even be defined, let alone solved, without a better understanding of where we are today as compared to where we need to be. To solve a wicked problem you must act more and study less. That is the point that Lee Iacocca made when he took a chainsaw to the Mustang. Get busy doing! Break some ground!

Read more..
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HITECH Puzzles We help companies safely and securely do business on the web, in accordance with applicable law. How? By helping them reduce risk. Privacy and security compliance issues are merely a subset of legal issues that online businesses face. This is equally true for eCommerce sites as it is for healthcare providers, facilities, and vendors.

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