Posts Tagged ‘security’

What’s Meaningful Use, Anyway?

June 26th, 2013

You’ve probably heard the words “meaningful use” thrown around…  but what is it?  Basically, it’s using electronic health record technology to: 1) Improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities; 2) Engage patients and family; 3) Improve care coordination, and population and public health; and 4) Maintain privacy and security of patient health information.  

Using electronic health records in a meaningful way will result in better clinical and public/population health outcomes, increased transparency and efficiency, and more robust research data on health systems that can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs.  Meaningful use sets specific objectives that eligible professionals and hospitals must achieve to qualify for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Incentive Programs

A few years ago, Congress authorized about $25B in incentive payments to hospitals and healthcare providers to encourage them to electronically exchange health information in a meaningful way. The project is called Meaningful Use. There are several criteria that folks need to meet, some of which are related to public and population health. These include the capability to electronically transfer information into immunization registries, cancer registries, and other specialized registries; the electronic transmission of laboratory reports to the public health surveillance system; and rapid electronic transmission of sentinel indicators to monitor for public health events prior to formal diagnosis.   

Over the past few years, we’ve been working with our partners at Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology, Arizona Health-e Connection, and AHCCCS to develop our infrastructure to receive these messages and support providers in the community to meet the Meaningful Use criteria.  Earlier this month we helped to put on a full-day workshop for 90 hospital and vendor participants to introduce the required standards, tools and processes to fulfill the Meaningful Use objective related to electronic laboratory reporting. There were also short sessions on other public health Meaningful Use topics. 

This workshop provided valuable resources to providers in the community and demonstrated great collaborations across multiple agencies in Arizona. Materials from the workshop and more information about our efforts to assist providers in achieving Meaningful Use are posted on our website.

Strategic National Stockpile Readiness

February 27th, 2013

The CDC’s “Strategic National Stockpile” is a large quantity of medicine and medical supplies that are available to states in case there’s a public health emergency (flu outbreak, asteroid, etc.) severe enough to cause local health supplies to run out.  Once federal and local authorities agree that the stockpile is needed, meds and supplies are delivered to any state in time for them to be effective. Each state is responsible for receiving and distributing the stockpile assets to local communities fast. 

Our Public Health Emergency Preparedness shop is responsible for the overall planning and execution in AZ.  The Plan (which isn’t posted on-line for security reasons) provides a step by step approach to accessing and distributing pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other medical equipment and products stored by the Feds.  Our Plan is evaluated yearly by the CDC.  The review covers every aspect of our plan… including how we communicate with the public, work with our healthcare and Agency partners as well as how we plan to work with vulnerable populations should SNS assets be needed. 

This year we got a score of 93% from the CDC…  and our partner counties (Pinal and Maricopa) received similar scores- demonstrating that the plans work together effectively to serve the public when they need to be activated.  We’ll be testing these plans during a full-scale exercise this week.  Congratulations to our preparedness rock-stars Teresa Ehnert, Marcus Castle, Stacey Cain and the whole emergency preparedness team! 

By the way…  we received and executed stockpile assets (antiviral medications and other healthcare supplies) during the 2009 H1N1 Influenza pandemic.  Our turnaround time from the minute we received the first shipment until everything was at its local destination was less than 36 hours- an impressive testament to our ability to plan and execute during a public health emergency. 


Licensing Does Whatever it Takes

March 20th, 2012

The opening of a new hospital last week in Florence was anything but usual for folks in our Licensing Division.  Since the hospital will also take care of prisoners, the staff had to work closely on the floor plan to make sure it met both medical and security needs.  The hospital had to be able to serve all patients, but needed to have extreme security to protect health and safety of all patients as well.  Thanks to their hard work – there are now twice the number of hospital beds available in Florence!  

Thanks to the licensing architects in Special Licensing: Rohno Geppert, Lois Adams, Savita Chandragiri, Connie Belden, Shirley Newman, and Nancy Klaum from Medical Licensing as well as Tom Salow and his team in Rules- Good Work!

ACPTC Security Enhancements

August 12th, 2010

Last October a person that was awaiting a civil commitment hearing escaped from our Arizona Community Protection and Treatment Center ACPTC, which provides for the civil commitment of people who have a mental disorder that predisposes them to commit sexual acts that pose a danger to the health and safety of others.  Fortunately the person that escaped was apprehended by an alert law enforcement officer. 


That event triggered a thorough investigation by ourselves with help from our partners at the Arizona Department of Corrections.  We concluded that the escape happened because of a combination of physical security weaknesses along with some operational problems.  We were able to fix the operational problems right away- but it took until this week to finish the physical security enhancements.  We completed major security enhancements this week including miles of new razor wire, new security cameras, night-time lighting improvements, motion detectors on the fences, and new visual security technology.  We were able to keep the labor costs way down by using qualified inmates from the Arizona Department of Corrections for much of the labor.


This transition time has been difficult for our team at the ACPTC because daily patterns needed to be changed so that we could complete the security enhancements safely.  Thank you all out at the ACPTC for your hard work day-in and day-out during the transition.