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e-News | December 2014

e-News | Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum - November 2014


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Quality Forum CEO Presents At GC3 HiMSS

Cindy Munn, CEO of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, was among the presenters at the 2014 Gulf Coast HiMSS Chapters’ Annual Conference, Dec. 4-5, in New Orleans.
Munn’s presentation, “Building on Big Data: The Role of HIEs in Health Care Analytics,” centered on the increasing amount of data available through the digitization of health care and the corresponding evolution of health information exchanges (HIEs) to meet the growing demand for analytics solutions capable of mining that data.
Munn described the differences between private and state HIEs, the challenges to data implementation strategies and the potential value of data in reducing costs and improving quality and outcomes.
“Having this data and not using it is like having 10 gallons of gas and no car – it doesn’t get you anywhere,” she said. “HIEs are increasingly becoming cost-efficient, effective solutions for health care providers and systems to put their data to use.”
Prior to her presentation, Munn was interviewed by Joe Lavelle and Todd Schnick of for a podcast to be broadcast soon. To listen to a pre-conference broadcast and see photos of Munn’s interview, click here.

LaPOST Launches Online Training

A new web-based training series is now available for health care professionals who would like to learn more about the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) document.
The four-part video series, entitled “Conversations Change Lives,” provides education about advance care planning in Louisiana. Susan Nelson, MD, LaPOST Coalition Chair, hosts the series and guides users through each lesson, from defining advance care planning to explaining the process of completing the LaPOST document.
Each video is followed by a series of questions that review concepts and information presented during the lesson. A certificate is issued to participants who successfully complete the training.
“The LaPOST Coalition is excited to offer this new educational opportunity to health care professionals across our state,” says Nelson. “We hope this video series will help to increase awareness and understanding of advance care planning and the critical role the LaPOST document plays in giving Louisiana patients with serious, advanced illnesses a voice during the end of their lives.”
For more information about the LaPOST training series, visit and click on the “e-Learning” icon under “Quick Links”.

LHIT Resource Center Reaches Meaningful Use Milestone

The Louisiana Health Information Technology (LHIT) Resource Center, the state’s Regional Extension Center (REC), has reached its grant target of 1,042 health care providers demonstrating meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
Cindy Munn, CEO of the Quality Forum, which manages the LHIT Resource Center, called the achievement “an important milestone for the state’s growing health information technology infrastructure.”
“The adoption of EHRs is a critical component in efforts to drive quality improvements and reduce costs for the residents of Louisiana,” Munn said. “Our state has made great strides in building an electronically-enabled health care system. This milestone is a testament to the success of those efforts and to the commitment of our state’s health care providers to the delivery of safer, more comprehensive care to their patients.”
Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director for the Quality Forum, added, “It has been our pleasure and our privilege to work side-by-side with our state’s most innovative, forward-thinking health care providers over the past four years to drive EHR adoption in Louisiana. This achievement represents thousands of hours of hard work from these providers, their staffs and our project coordinators. We are so grateful for their dedication, and we are excited about the future they are helping to build for Louisiana’s health care system.”
The LHIT Resource Center was established in 2010 as one of 62 RECs in the nation. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the REC was tasked with driving the adoption and meaningful use of EHRs among health care providers in Louisiana.
For more information about the LHIT Resource Center, click here.

Study Finds Low Health Literacy Among Older Americans

A recent study says the current advancement of health care through modern technology is leaving older Americans behind.
The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, draws a link between the elderly’s use of the Internet and their knowledge of health information.
Using data from a previous health and retirement study, researchers found that of the 1,400 people surveyed, less than 10 percent of elderly individuals with low health literacy used the Internet to get health information, compared with 32 percent of those with higher health literacy.
The data also revealed that health literacy has a greater impact than cognitive function on seniors searching the Web for health information.
Lead researcher Helen Levy weighed in on the findings, saying, "Health information technology, like any innovation in healthcare, offers both the promise of significant benefits and the risk that these benefits will not be shared equally."
To learn more about the study, click here.

CMS Forms New Data, Analytics Office

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has created a new office to oversee improvements to health care data collection and dissemination.
The Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA) will be headed by Niall Brennan, who currently serves as Acting Director of the Offices of Enterprise Management (OEM).
Officials say OEDA will help CMS “better harness its vast data resources to guide decision-making and develop frameworks promoting appropriate external access to and use of data to drive higher quality, patient-centered care at a lower cost.”
CMS hopes the creation of OEDA will lead to more data transparency within the agency. It recognizes the increasing amount of data it collects from an expanding list of federal health care programs as the driving force behind the office’s creation.
“As we work to shift the focus from volume of services to better health outcomes for patients, coordinating care, and spending dollars more wisely, the need to analyze data across multiple programs and provide greater access to this data will only intensify,” CMS says.
To learn more about OEDA, click here.

ONC: Patients Want EHRs Despite Privacy Concerns

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has released the initial findings of a study it conducted as a way to “monitor national perceptions regarding security and privacy” as more health care facilities adopt EHRs and health IT practices.
The study found that more patients favor the use of electronic health records, despite having concerns about the safety of their personal health information.
Of the more than 2,000 people surveyed, researchers found that nearly 70 percent of patients whose providers used EHRs were worried about privacy, compared to 75 percent whose providers used traditional paper records.
In terms of security, 74 percent expressed concern about their EHR, compared with 83 percent who had security concerns with their paper records.
However, ONC noted that the majority of those surveyed still preferred their providers use an EHR.
"In spite of the fact that a majority of Americans expressed concerns regarding the privacy and security of both their medical records and with sharing of their medical records, support for EHRs and electronic health information exchange remained consistently strong," said ONC Senior Adviser Vaishali Patel.
For more information about the survey, click here.

LaPOST Issued Funding To Provide Advance Care Planning Education

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a grant to help educate nursing homes across the state on advance care planning and the LaPOST document.
LaPOST is a voluntary, physician’s order that allows patients with serious, advanced illnesses to outline the medical treatment they wish to receive during the end of life.
Representatives from LaPOST plan to use the money to develop tools that will help nursing home employees, residents and their families understand the benefits of having a LaPOST document, the importance of end-of-life care planning and how to have such conversations with loved ones.
Susan Nelson, LaPOST Coalition Chair, says, “We are excited about the opportunity this funding presents us to further educate nursing homes staff across Louisiana about LaPOST. Through our efforts, we hope to equip residents and their families with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their medical treatment options.”
Nelson says the overall goal is to make LaPOST a standard of practice throughout every nursing home in Louisiana.
For more information about LaPOST, click here.

ONC Outlines 10-Year Vision For Quality Improvement

ONC recently unveiled its 10-year vision report for quality improvement, highlighting the importance health IT adoption plays in achieving that goal.
The report complements ONC’s 10-year interoperability roadmap, which aims to eliminate the barriers of health information exchange while improving patient care and quality through health IT.
ONC recognizes the progress it has made in the last decade toward quality improvement, noting that all states provide some form of health information exchange services and that six out of 10 hospitals exchange health data with outside facilities.
But officials realize there is more room to grow, and to guide that growth, ONC has outlined milestones to reach in the next three, six and 10 years.
By 2017, ONC hopes to improve the alignment of quality reporting programs to support data capture.
By 2020, clinical data will shift from provider-centered to patient-centered and will be standardized and optimized for interoperable sharing.
By 2024, ONC strives to have a fully interoperable health IT system, saying “citizens will enjoy better health, high-value and high-quality care, with improved safety and high useable technologies and resources.”
For more information about the report, click here.

FYI: Michael Efferson

Michael Efferson serves as Implementation Services Manager for the Louisiana Health Information Exchange.
As a certified Project Management Professional, Michael Efferson delivers over 20 years of experience providing consulting and professional services to national and regional healthcare organizations.
A former director, he possesses a strong background in IT services and EHR implementations. His achievements include developing and implementing customer-centric healthcare strategies and overseeing change management.
Michael joined the Quality Forum team in May 2014.


      • Cindy Munn,Quality Forum CEO, was mentioned in an article published by the Healthcare Journal of New Orleans Nov. 6, about her presentation at the Gulf States HIMSS Conference, held Dec. 4-5 in New Orleans. The article also referenced Bernie Clement, CIO,Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, as a featured panelist for the conference. Thibodaux Regional is a participant inLaHIE. To read the article, click here.
      • KATC-TV published a story on its website Nov. 14 about the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) implementing the LaPOST document in nursing home reporting. You can read it here
      • Acadian Ambulance published an article Nov. 7 announcing the addition of Dr. Charles Burnell to theQuality Forum Board of Directors. Burnell serves as the Medical Director for Acadian. You can view the article here.
      • The Mountain State Health Alliance announced Nov. 10 in an article that Tony Keck, a founding member of the Quality Forum, has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer for the system. To learn more about Keck’s new position, click here
      • Quality Forum staff attended AtlanticLive’s "Inventing the Future of Health" town hall event Nov. 12 at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The event in Baton Rouge marked the beginning of AtlanticLive’s nationwide tour, where challenges facing America’s health care system will be examined on the state level. For more information about the event, click here.
      • The Healthcare Journal of New Orleans published an article in its November/December issue announcing the 2014-2015 Quality Forum board members. To view it, click here
      • Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn authored a piece that appeared in both the Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge and the Healthcare Journal of New Orleans forecasting trends in health IT for 2015. You can read it here.
      • A link to LaPOST’s new e-Learning page was published in the Hospice and Palliative Care Daily Nov. 17. You can visit the e-Learning page here.
      • Bonny Kennedy,Lead Implementation Specialist with the Quality Forum, wrote a blog published Nov. 11 detailing how a personal health crisis inspired her to become a more engaged patient. The blog post has received more than 1300 hits online and has been shared numerous times on social media. It was also featured in the Nov. 19 edition of Healthcare IT Daily. You can view it here. To read Bonny’s story, click here.
      • The Quality Forum was mentioned in a bio for Karen DeSalvo, MD, as part of a blog she wrote for The Huffington Post on Nov. 27, entitled, “Giving That's Truly Worthy of Our Thanks: Combatting Ebola Overseas and Keeping Our Communities Safe.” You can read it here.
      • The Healthcare Journal of New Orleans posted an article Dec. 3 about LaPOST’s new online training series for health care professionals. You can read it here.
      • The Advocate published a story Dec. 3 about the LHIT Resource Center reaching its milestone of health care providers demonstrating meaningful use. To read the full article, click here.
      • The Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge also published an article about LHIT Resource Center Dec. 5. You can read it here.
      • Louisiana Medical News announced the new Quality Forum board members and officers for 2014-2015 in its December news bulletin. Click here to view the post.
      • Quality Forum staff members Jamie Martin and Jillian Washington appeared in the December edition of The Best of Times magazine. The photo was taken Oct. 23 during Senior Day at the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport.

      e-News aims to bring you a monthly summary of news about the Forum, its initiatives and related topics as we work together to shape health care in Louisiana. Your comments regarding current stories as well as ideas for future content are appreciated. Please address your feedback to Linda Morgan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..