Consortium News

  • 25 Jun 2015 4:32 PM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)

    Jun 25, 2015, 4:02pm EDT, Jessica Bartlett, Boston Business Journal

    John Polanowicz was appointed to the role of executive vice president of Network, Insurance and Physician Operations for Steward Health Care.


  • 25 Jun 2015 3:27 PM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)

    June 25, 2015, 6:03am EDT, Jessica Bartlett, Boston Business Journal

    Arcadia Healthcare Solutions has acquired Illinois-based Sage Technologies, an acquisition valued at $28 million that will expand the Boston-based consulting firm's headcount by over 40 percent.


  • 25 Jun 2015 3:23 PM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)

    Jun 25, 2015, 3:05pm EDT Jessica Bartlett Boston Business Journal

    A major tenant of federal health insurance reform has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and reactions throughout Massachusetts have been mostly positive.


  • 25 Jun 2015 11:13 AM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)

    The Supreme Court ruled today that President Obama’s health care law may provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance.


  • 24 Jun 2015 2:35 PM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)
    Eight people, including an individual from the Bronx, N.Y.-based Montefiore Medical Center, have been indicted for stealing and using patients’ personal identifying information to make thousands of dollars in purchases at department stores and retailers in Manhattan.

    Read story...

  • 24 Jun 2015 11:15 AM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)

    Information security professionals are moving toward practices that secure the data itself rather than securing the device. What are these practices and what are their strengths and pitfalls?

    Learn more...

  • 24 Jun 2015 11:08 AM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)

    By adopting opioid guidelines, tracking data on performance, educating the clinical care team, and communicating with patients, Atrius Health is changing its culture to effectively manage chronic pain and opioid prescriptions for their patients in order to prevent unnecessary addiction.

    Learn more...

  • 16 Jun 2015 5:23 PM | Anonymous

    From   |   June 16, 2015  
    Denny Brennan, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium and David Delano, Project Director for the Mass eHealth Collaborative

    Many healthcare providers and payers – large and small – are advancing toward ICD-10 readiness after two to three years of planning, assessment, design, implementation, testing and contingency planning. These organizations have substantially reduced their exposure to ICD-10 financial, technical and operating risks.

    Many other organizations, however, have delayed their ICD-10 preparation; for these organizations, the risks posed by opting to hold off on implementation are much greater. The limited time remaining reduces their tolerance for errors and delays in executing this transformation successfully.

    Agile methodologies streamline and simplify complex technical projects where complexity is high, requirements are fluid and time is short. By incorporating agile elements in their ICD-10 implementation, health care organizations can speed attaining the essential levels of training, documentation and coding required to survive October 1st and build an effective program for enhancing these competencies in the months that follow.

    For two years, ending March 31 of this year, the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium (MHDC) convened 88 of the Commonwealth’s payers and providers to meet the challenge of achieving ICD-10 compliance well in advance of this October’s deadline. With the program management support of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC), the ICD-10 Project spanned all facets of ICD-10 preparation (e.g., assessment, design, testing, and implementation).

    Among the many strategies, tactics, methods and insights produced by the ICD-10 Project were seven agile approaches that could substantially reduce wasted effort and improve the productivity of ICD-10 implementations for organizations who have delayed their conversion to the new standard, specifically:

    1. Know the time, not how the watch is built. When time is tight and success is measured in achieving rapid and increasing ICD-10 effectiveness, traditional project management tools and methods will slow progress to a halt. Replace project management software, presentations and progress reports with more and briefer daily project status meetings to accelerate progress and keep the team on track.

    2. Aim, fire, ready. If you were relocating to France on October 1st, and did not yet speak any French, you would not adopt a traditional French curriculum today to meet your communications needs four months from now. Chances are you would learn the basic French words and sentences necessary to meet your basic needs when you arrive and build your knowledge of syntax, case and conjugation over time. Traditional ICD-10 programs are not unlike traditional French curricula. They place a greater emphasis on comprehensiveness — assessment, governance, process documentation and project management — than on utility. While this level of structure is useful to support long-term transformation, it will impede the rapid, iterative methods that build essential competence more efficiently. Dedicate some of your ICD-10 program “infrastructure” to “rapid action” initiatives that will enable your organization to acquire a basic level of ICD-10 competence as quickly as possible.

    3. Get real. For many organizations, ICD-10 remains the imposition of an uncertain, complex future rather than new codes to describe the same work. While both perspectives are true, only the latter is actionable. The more organizations incorporate ICD-10 into daily operations, the more staff and physicians will consider it something useful and worth caring about. Start coding, if only as notes, an increasing number of patient encounters. Create ICD-10 flash cards and “cheat sheets” that users can affix to their workstations. Conduct weekly team briefings to review the new codes, their documentation requirements and other relevant information.

    4. Get help. Organizations just starting their ICD-10 transitions will have very limited, if any, access to external validation and testing with commercial and government health plans, given the testing deadlines and long lead times. Numerous online resources enable the rapid look-up, verification and validation of ICD-10 codes. Check with your clearinghouse or billing service to determine what on-line ICD-10 resources they provide. Knowing that you have validated your coding and that your clearinghouse or billing service is ready to, and can, receive and process your ICD-10 codes will reduce your technical risks substantially.

    5. If you stopped today, what would you have accomplished? No organization can risk being “almost ready” on October 1st. Conventional ICD-10 implementations are long on gradual and systemic improvement and short on frequent and closer-to-real-time deliverables. Rapid, repeated small-scale successes trump gradual systemic improvement when time is short. If during your weekly team meeting, you hear many gerunds (e.g., proceeding, studying, evaluating, determining) used to describe progress, you need to fix the cause of delay or shrink the scope of work to ensure more tangible progress and results reporting.

    6. Team up. Co-located and collaborating teams produce results superior to those based on working in largely segregated processes with unique goals. Assemble a multidisciplinary team with clinical, financial, technical and operational smarts. Have the team work in the same room (or very close), ensuring frequent interactions and face-to-face meetings over delegation of responsibilities and email communications.

    7. Just in case. No matter where organizations are at this point in their conversion efforts, they should have a contingency plan for October 1st in place before then. Work through failure scenarios, e.g., documentation shortfalls, system failures and coding inaccuracies, to determine how the organization will manage these situations should they arise on, or after, the deadline.

    Agile approaches to achieve ICD-10 readiness speed new programs and enhance existing programs that are at risk of failing to meet the Oct. 1 ICD-10 deadline. The increase in organizational focus and speed will support achieving necessary ICD-10 readiness and support working beyond the October 1st deadline as productively as possible.

    Denny Brennan is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium. David Delano is Project Director for the Mass eHealth Collaborative.

  • 15 Jun 2015 4:19 PM | Anonymous

    retrieved from   |   Jun 15, 2015                                                       

    Those health IT investments have accelerated as providers seek to mine data to meet quality and cost targets under new value-based payment models such as accountable care contracts. This has heightened demand for professionals capable of leading sophisticated data-analysis programs that identify waste and find opportunities to improve the health of enrolled populations.

    Skilled, experienced IT managers hold the upper hand in the job hunt, said Dr. Nicholas Marko, Geisinger’s chief data officer. “Microsoft wants people who are generally bright and good at math. Google wants those people. Amazon wants those people,” he said.

    Another factor driving staffing needs is consumers’ expectation for easy-to-use interfaces based on their experiences with online retail, banking, travel and other goods and services. They want that from healthcare providers as well. “We think our electronic health record is, and should be, as accessible as our financial data,” said Patricia Dombrowski, executive director of the Health eWorkforce Consortium at the Bellevue (Wash.) College Life Science Informatics Center near Seattle. “That is so far from the case in healthcare,” she said.

    In addition, data-security breaches have intensified competition for experts in health IT security. Health insurers Anthem, CareFirst Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Premera Blue Cross, and health systems including Partners HealthCare, Community Health Systems and Advocate Health Care all have reported stolen data and cyberattacks.

    Allina Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis is considering creating a new chief information-security officer position, said Susan Heichert, chief information officer for the system. But the competition for qualified candidates is intense. “With all the breaches in the news, starting with Target, that makes the job market heat up,” she said.

    Health IT jobs are projected to increase 15% to 37% by 2020—far faster than employment growth for other types of jobs. Computer information-security analyst jobs are projected to increase “much faster than average” through 2020, growing by more than one-third, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    n 2013, executive-level IT professionals averaged $189,435 in salary, up 6.1% from the prior year, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

    Not-for-profit hospitals, which account for most U.S. hospital operators, typically cannot compete on salary.

    An analysis by of an annual salary survey conducted by Computerworld and IDG Enterprise found the healthcare sector paid less to IT directors and IT managers than the manufacturing, legal, insurance, computer and consulting sectors. For IT directors, the gap between those industries and healthcare was $12,000 to $31,000. For IT managers, the gap ranged from $3,000 to $22,000.

    Smaller healthcare organizations particularly struggle to compete, offering lower average salaries than larger organizations, HIMSS data show. The average IT salary in 2013 at healthcare organizations with less than $5 million in revenue was $106,216, compared with $143,715 at organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue.

    “Healthcare’s not going to win a bidding war with anybody,” said Marko, who has recruited a half-dozen mathematicians and programmers and two computational biologists for not-for-profit Geisinger’s ambitious big- data division.

  • 15 Jun 2015 4:07 PM | Anonymous

    Retrieved June 15, 2015 from

    The Bethesda, Md.-based Aledade, a healthcare technology company started by Farzad Mostashari, M.D., the former National Coordinator for Health IT, has raised $30 million in venture capital funding with the aim to fuel accountable care organization (ACO) growth.

    Mostashari launched Aledade last June with $4.5 million in seed funding from New York City-based venture capital firm, Venrock. This round of funding was led by the Chicago-based ARCH Venture Partners, and includes an additional investment from Venrock.

    Aledade will put the funding to work in support of physicians transitioning to outcome-based care across the country. Specifically, according to officials, Aledade will establish new ACOs and expand existing ones; continue building prevention-focused applications and practice-centered software platforms for partner practices; initiate value-based arrangements with commercial health plans; and hire additional team members to help primary care practices deliver better care and better health for patients at lower cost.

    One year after the company’s launch, Aledade has expanded initially from New York, Maryland, Delaware, and Arkansas to include West Virginia, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, and Florida. The company is on course to triple the number of covered Medicare beneficiaries in Aledade ACOs from approximately 25,000 last year, to more than 75,000 in over 100 physician practices by the end of 2015, it says.

    “There is a revolution happening in healthcare, and we are finding that doctors across the country are ready to embrace this change, but need a partner to help them get there. Aledade is that partner,” Mostashari said in a statement. “We’re helping independent physicians achieve better outcomes for their patients—and be compensated for it. The demand for our services has been overwhelming. This funding will help us reach more doctors, and continue to provide them an expanding array of services to better run their business and care for their patients,” he said.

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