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Jeff Byers
 - Unicorn

There are many models and scopes of accountable care organizations (ACO). Addressing standardization obstacles and working toward clinical integration are just two of the challenges standing in the way of success.

Research published June 12 in BMJ found that an internet-based, nurse led treatment program in addition to usual care for vascular risk factors had a small effect on lowering some vascular risk factors in patients with the disease.

Healthcare organizations are using social media as a tool to connect consumers and providers, according to a May white paper from CSC. And despite what some may believe, social media is not, as CSC purports, a flash-in-the-pan; rather, healthcare should get used to it.

The American Medical Association (AMA), along with state and national medical specialty societies, have sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing serious concern about an onslaught of overlapping regulations that affect physicians. Programs with overlapping timelines include the value-based modifier, penalties under the e-prescribing program, physician quality reporting system and EHR incentive program, along with the transition to ICD-10.

Although the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a promising innovation, rigorous evaluations and comprehensive implementation analyses are needed to assess effectiveness and refine the model to meet stakeholders needs, according to an article in the February edition of the American Journal of Managed Care.

By leaving out ineligible providers in reform efforts, the nation risks building a new digital divide where key providers, who already have low levels of electronic clinical data, may fall further behind, according to an article published in the March edition of Health Affairs.

Sixty percent of physicians believe healthcare reform will have a negative impact on overall healthcare, according to survey results from The Doctors Company, a physician and surgeon medical liability insurer.

With oral arguments set for March 26-28 in the Supreme Court for the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the courts decision could have a significant effect on the 2012 presidential election since PPACA is already a hot-button issue, according to a perspective paper published online Feb. 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Critical access hospitals (CAHs) face a litany of challenges including fewer clinical capabilities and lower care process performance compared with non-CAH facilities, according to research published July 6 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

 - David May, MD, FACC

Cardiology practices now have opportunities to input their EHR data into clinical registries as U.S. healthcare moves toward a more accountable, quality-based model. The American College of Cardiologys (ACC) PINNACLE Registry could serve as a possible foundation for providers to gain a better understanding of their operations and ultimately help their bottom line.