• GAO Report Says EHRs Could Improve Care in Integrated Health Systems 
In a new federal report entitled: “Health Care Delivery: Features of Integrated Systems Support Patient Care Strategies and Access to Care, but Systems Face Challenges”, the General Accountability Office (GAO) concludes that the implementation of electronic health systems could very well improve patient care within integrated health care delivery systems (IDSs). The GAO report says that quality could be improved by:

● Improving communication among physicians, patients and staff
● Increasing the use of clinical information and population data
● Supporting care coordination, care protocols, and disease management

“According to officials at some IDSs, using EHRs facilitates care coordination because EHRs make patient clinical information more readily available to providers and improve communication among providers, staff, and patients.” the report said. “Officials at some of the IDSs reported that using EHRs with e-prescribing and CPOE capabilities reduces errors and lowers costs. Read the full GAO Report here.

• Berwick Testifies Before Senate Finance Committee 
In his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on November 17th, Donald Berwick, M.D., M.PH., Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services focused on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, stating that as many as 2 million Americans are already benefiting from the law’s provisions. Dr. Berwick said that CMS had reorganized in ordered to better implement the new law, and that states now stand to gain from improved Medicaid services as well as enhanced technology provisions related to improved Medicaid administration..The CMS Administrator managed to avoid predicted controversy among Senate Republicans, as Senators were only given five minutes each for questioning. Chairman Baucus suggested that Dr. Berwick may be brought back for a longer hearing after the Thanksgiving recess. Read Dr. Berwick’s testimony