News & Commentary

Briefly Noted August 2018


Florida Hospital System is the latest large hospital organization to create a state-of-the-art command center to reduce patient wait times. The nine-hospital system is spending $15 million on its mission control, which hospital officials say will include a “wall of analytics” that will display real-time data in the system, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Other hospitals are doing something similar. Yale New Haven Hospital is building a capacity command center, and the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando built a logistics center in 2012

EHRs were supposed to help ease physician stress, but that’s not the way it turned out, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers with Penn Medicine say that EHRs have actually increased physicians’ workload and heightened the risk of physician burnout. Doctors often feel that it takes more effort to use EHRs, and they don’t really see that they work any better than paper records; in fact they view them as digital remakes of paper charts. The study suggests ways to improve EHRs that include installing a web application to assign automatic medication expiration dates and installing a dashboard that sends automatic alerts to care teams

Sutter Health is keeping mostly mum about the crash of its computer network system on May 14, a mishap that forced many hospitals in Northern California to reschedule appointments and cancel surgeries, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Sutter officials did say that the cause was “the activation of a ‘fire suppression system’ at one of its data centers.” However, Sutter officials “did not answer questions about whether the health system has a backup server, why it took more than 24 hours to revive the network, and what set off the fire suppression system other than to say it was not a fire or a data breach”

It seems as if reports of the demise of the ACA exchanges have been greatly exaggerated. The Wall Street Journal reports that after years of pulling out of the Obamacare marketplaces, health insurance plans have started to re-enter. That’s in part because the health plans are starting to make money because of premium rate hikes that may have finally caught up with the pace of coverage costs. Also, Medicaid health plans—such as Molina and Centene—have always had to make do with less, so they were not as flummoxed by the ACA’s coverage mandates.

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