Federal health officials announced a major milestone for the health insurance exchanges, scheduled to open for enrollment on Oct. 1.

With the Sept. 23 compliance deadline for the HIPAA Omnibus Rule inching closer, new revelations about the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) ability to circumvent or crack much of the encryption that guards IT systems, including those for medical records, may stir more questions about the ability to protect and secure personal health information.

Sensors embedded in teeth could tell doctors when people have defied medical advice to give up smoking or eat less. Built into a tiny circuit board that fits in a tooth cavity, the sensor includes an accelerometer that sends data on mouth motion to a smartphone.

The number of doctors who opted out of Medicare last year, while a small proportion of the nation's health professionals, nearly tripled from three years earlier, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Other doctors are limiting the number of Medicare patients they treat even if they don't formally opt out of the system.

Will a key provision of healthcare reform—the establishment of health insurance exchanges—be ready to go by the fall 2013 deadline?

Healthcare reform means a new business model for medicine that puts a premium on patient outcomes instead of services rendered. To gear up for the 2014 implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many physicians are enrolling in pricy online MBAs to prepare themselves for changing reimbursement models that are changing from risk-based to value-based, according to an American Public Media Marketplace report that aired on June 3. Listen to the full story below.

Studies indicating that physicians are spending less time with patients than ever before are fueling the debate about whether EHRs and other IT systems are truly improving patient care or just helping providers rush through face-to-face encounters.

Contrary to some perceptions that immigrants drain money from government programs, when it comes to Medicare, immigrants are in fact contributing billions of dollars more than they use, according to a Health Affairs study set to appear in the June issue.

One in five Medicare patients return to the hospital within a month after discharge, so it isn’t surprising that the federal government is pushing forward an agenda to discourage costly readmissions. This upcoming October, hospitals with chronic readmission problems with patients struggling with heart failure, pneumonia and heart attack will face Medicare reimbursement penalties.

An Elsevier news brief is stressing the need for a business case for evidence-based medicine (EBM) to improve the U.S. healthcare system. The brief culminated from a roundtable discussion of healthcare industry thought leaders at the CMIO Leadership Forum in Chicago last fall.

The holy grail of modern medicine is better heath and better healthcare at a lower cost--the so-called ‘Triple Aim’--but how far along is the United States on its journey? The latest issue of Health Affairs delves into practices from other countries and lessons the United States could absorb as it sets out to accomplish this triple pursuit.  

When it comes to healthcare, is Kaiser Permanente the wave of the future? The all-in-one hospital system epitomizes well-coordinated patient care and is ahead of the curve in embracing cutting-edge health IT, but can the system ultimately lower costs?