Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 19 November, 2010.

Here are a few I have come across this week.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and a paragraph or two. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.


Mobile technology can help improve global health: Gates

(AFP) – 1 day ago

WASHINGTON — Mobile technology can help improve global health with cheap diagnostic tools, patient reminders and making immunization programs more efficient, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Tuesday.

"The mobile phone is pretty interesting for lots of things," Gates said in a keynote address at the mHealth Summit here, a gathering of public and private sector groups and companies involved in mobile technology and health.


Government to identify new technologies targeting 14 health conditions

November 04, 2010 | Molly Merrill, Associate Editor

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA – ECRI Institute has been awarded a multi-year contract from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish the first national Healthcare Horizon Scanning System. The new system will serve to identify and monitor new healthcare technologies that promise significant impact on patient care and health outcomes.

Officials say the goal of horizon scanning is to provide a comprehensive, systematic, transparent process for identifying, tracking and monitoring new healthcare technologies, including drugs, medical devices, procedures, services and care delivery innovations that could signal important changes in patient care, health outcomes, or the healthcare system.

The horizon scanning process will contribute to AHRQ's deliberations for allocating resources for patient-centered outcomes research, and be a resource for the public more broadly.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wireless Technology Could Slash Health-Care Costs

Sensing and monitoring devices are crucial for keeping long-term hospital expenses down.

By Lauren Gravitz

After an endocrinologist in Walnut Creek, California, diagnosed a middle-aged male patient with hypertension, she put him on a regimen of Diovan, a medication that lowers blood pressure, and sent him home with supplies: a waterproof stick-on patch and a bottle of microchips.

The patch adhered like a Band-Aid to the patient's abdomen and measured body temperature and other vital signs. The microchips, which were stuck to the outside of otherwise ordinary-looking pills, sent a signal to the patch when stomach fluids activated them, indicating that they'd been swallowed. Then, whenever the patient got within range of his smart phone, data collected by the patch was uploaded to the Internet over a Bluetooth connection. The data was aggregated and fed into a user interface, and with the patient's permission, the results were made available to the doctor.

The physician saw that her patient was taking his Diovan with near-perfect consistency, every morning at almost the same time. Until, suddenly, he stopped. When she discovered that, she gave him a call. "Is anything wrong?" she asked.

"It's funny you should ask that," the patient said. "My dog just died."


Look out, your medicine is watching you

NEW YORK | Mon Nov 8, 2010 5:29pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novartis AG plans to seek regulatory approval within 18 months for a pioneering tablet containing an embedded microchip, bringing the concept of "smart-pill" technology a step closer.

The initial program will use one of the Swiss firm's established drugs taken by transplant patients to avoid organ rejection. But Trevor Mundel, global head of development, believes the concept can be applied to many other pills.


Can U.S. Mobile Health Efforts Survive the Wonks and Skeptics?

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , November 9, 2010

Health workers around the world are using mobile devices and wireless technologies to track infectious diseases, conduct research, treat patients, and bring access to modern healthcare to patients in developing nations, remote regions, and rural villages in ways never before possible. So what's keeping the U.S. from doing the same?

Bureaucrats who won't invest in unproven programs, policy wonks who fret about lack of regulation, and a widespread skepticism and lack of understanding of the benefits of mHealth, for starters, according to an international panel of experts and government officials at the mHealth Summit in Washington, DC, this week.

"American doctors don't know anything about mHealth," said K. Ganapathy, PhD, president of the Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation in India. And while that might be a bit of an overstatement, the general consensus among panel members is that if the U.S. wants to catch up with the rest of the world, it had better start paying better attention to mHealth—and building upon some of the many pilot programs taking place in other countries.


Holographs could be 'game changer' for business

Researchers taking holographic images from sci-fi to real-world applications

Sharon Gaudin

November 4, 2010 (Computerworld)

A CEO needs to meet with workers in a remote office, but instead of boarding a plane, she simply employs her hologram.

That scenario could be reality in the not-so-distant future, according to researchers at the University of Arizona. Scientists there have developed a new type of holographic telepresence that's designed to project a three-dimensional, full-color, moving image without viewers needing to sport 3D glasses.

While the technology could be used in TV or movies, it also could be used in advertising, telemedicine and mapping, as well as in everyday corporate meetings.

"Holographic telepresence means we can record a three-dimensional image in one location and show it in another location, in real-time, anywhere in the world," said Nasser Peyghambarian, who led the research effort at the university. "Let's say I want to give a presentation in New York. All I need is an array of cameras here in my Tucson office and a fast Internet connection. At the other end, in New York, there would be the 3D display using our laser system."


Ascending the HIMSS Ladder

By Gary Baldwin

Health Data Management Magazine, 11/01/2010

The HIMSS Analytics "EMR adoption model" is arguably the industry's most widely recognized scale of accomplishment when it comes to measuring clinical I.T. deployments. Expressed in seven stages, which are designed to logically build upon each other, the adoption model is one measure of how well-or how poorly-the industry is faring in the move toward the digital hospital. To date, only a small percentage of hospitals have ascended to the top two tiers of the model. In this article, CIOs at three of these front-running hospitals, one from Stage 7 and two from Stage 6, discuss how they accomplished their feats-and what remains to be done.


EUROPE: EU patient mobility law to spark eHealth revolution

Whatever the final version is of the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive, it will only work if there is a revolution in health technology. New EU laws allowing patients to travel across borders for health care will be a driver for the development of e-health services in Europe. Incompatible IT systems are a major obstacle that unless overcome, will make the directive almost impossible to implement.

It is not just incompatibility between countries, and the language problem, but in many EU countries there are several incompatible systems within each hospital. Sharing test results and medical imaging between hospitals can prove challenging. Language and terminology differences, as well as data protection concerns, make sending information between member states a problem.


Report: Health I.T. Superstores Coming

HDM Breaking News, November 10, 2010

Just as Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters evolved from financial news outlets to comprehensive national financial networks with information, analytics and trading platforms, a handful of health information networks will emerge with national scope to connect regional information exchanges and transactions processing platforms.

That's a prediction of Marlin & Associates, a New York-based financial and strategic advisory firm focused on acquisitions and divestitures of technology companies. In a new report, the consultancy contends the health I.T. market is in the early phases of a "massive" consolidation that will result in a handful of "mega firms that form Healthcare IT superstores" or health information networks.



By Mary Mosquera

Monday, November 08, 2010

Federal agencies are forging what some experts call “industrial-strength health information exchanges,” high-level, standards-based HIEs that will provide public- and private-sector healthcare providers the tools necessary for sophisticated clinical information sharing.

Working under the auspices the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) community, a group of 26 health agencies and offices, they have developed increasingly detailed versions of “Connect,” a set of software tools and standards that drive some of the most sophisticated HIEs now operating.

Connect-powered HIEs are now up and running between the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, and with private-sector healthcare providers whose clinicians treat military patients. Other non-clinical, health-related agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Social Security and Food & Drug administrations, are also Connect users.


Implementation of Telehealth in Community Clinics

November 2010

In 2007, the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) funded the Telemedicine to Improve Access & Efficiency in California Clinic Networks project to explore the role telehealth could play in improving specialty care access for patients of community health centers (CHCs). Three participating CHCs — Open Door Community Health Centers (Open Door) based in Arcata, La Clínica de La Raza (La Clínica) based in Oakland, and the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers (Southside) in South Los Angeles — provided different settings for the programs.

  • Open Door is a rural CHC with nine sites in northwest California. Under the CHCF grant, Open Door upgraded and expanded its extensive existing telehealth infrastructure, including adding a school-based clinic and a number of specialty programs for behavioral pediatrics, diabetes education, and psychiatry.
  • La Clínica is a clinic organization with 26 sites across three urban/suburban counties in Alameda County. Under the CHCF project, La Clínica launched a store-and-forward teledermatology program at seven of its sites.
  • Southside is a network of seven independent clinic organizations in urban South Los Angeles, with 18 community- and school-based sites. Southside implemented a teledermatology program at several of its sites.


Sandlot's Texas Health Information Exchange Reaches 1.5 Million Patients

By: Brian T. Horowitz


Sandlot's health information exchange hits its goal of 1.5 million EMRs in Texas to work toward continuity of care.

Sandlot, a health care IT company in Fort Worth, Texas, has announced that its SandlotConnect Health Information Exchange database of Electronic Medical Records now includes 1.5 million patient records.

HIE databases allow physicians, hospitals and clinics to share medical records from various providers and public health authorities to analyze population data to improve community health.


Groups to develop health IT curriculum

By Andis Robeznieks

Posted: November 10, 2010 - 11:30 am ET

Three not-for-profit healthcare groups have joined forces to promote health information technology education at colleges and universities nationwide. Goals for the collaborative effort to develop a model curriculum for healthcare IT management education include having materials ready for classrooms by fall of 2013.

The participating organizations are the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education and HIMSS. The AUPHA’s membership includes some 500 colleges and universities; the CAHME is an accrediting body for healthcare leadership and management graduate education.

Family health history a powerful, underused tool

By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard, Ap Medical Writer Mon Nov 8, 3:19 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Make Grandma spill the beans: Uncovering all the diseases that lurk in your family tree can trump costly genetic testing in predicting what illnesses you and your children are likely to face.

It may sound old-fashioned, but a Cleveland Clinic study comparing which method best uncovered an increased risk of cancer helps confirm the value of what's called a family health history.

All it costs is a little time questioning your relatives, yet good family health trees are rare. A government survey estimated less than a third of families have one - and time-crunched doctors seldom push their patients to remedy that.


AMA adopts new social media policy

Written by Editorial Staff

November 9, 2010

The American Medical Association (AMA) has adopted a new policy on professionalism when using social media. The policy, announced during the AMA's semi-annual policymaking meeting in San Diego, aims to help physicians maintain a positive online presence and preserve the integrity of the patient-physician relationship.

“Using social media can help physicians create a professional presence online, express their personal views and foster relationships, but it can also create new challenges for the patient-physician relationship,” said AMA Board Member Mary Anne McCaffree, MD. “The AMA’s new policy outlines a number of considerations physicians should weigh when building or maintaining a presence online.”


Saudi Arabia’s e-health plans bank on other nations’ failure

In order for Saudi Arabia’s e-healthcare plans to succeed, there is a need to understand where other nations have failed. So says Mohammed Alyemeni, Advisor to the Minister of Health and General Supervisor of ICT, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s five-year project, which is the largest healthcare technology project ever attempted in the nation, is looking to incorporate elements addressing quality of care, cost containment, health system management and research needs.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beyond 'Meaningful Use': EHR Data in Research

Those involved in current electronic health record implementations or preparing for "meaningful use" reporting may find it difficult to think beyond these challenging goals. Yet a medical practice or hospital with an EHR is in a unique position to utilize this resource for research and not just quality reporting. EHRs offer a source of rich clinical data for use in research. Several examples are emerging from the secondary use of EHR data.

Use Cases

EHRs can be the basis of disease registries. Traditional registries require time-consuming manual data abstraction, and it often takes many months to obtain data. EHRs make data readily available to study the characteristics of a large cohort with a specific condition and provide a unique opportunity to advance medical science.

A recently developed cohort of chronic kidney disease that emerged from a registry of 57,000 patients can serve as a model for studying conditions seeing growing incidence levels.


Call for single body to set standards

08 Nov 2010

The UK needs to set up a single non-government organisation for health informatics standards to replace the range of bodies that currently exist, eHealth Insider Live 2010 heard this morning.

Tim Benson, founder of healthcare computing business Abies, told the conference that there was currently a “mish-mash of standards bodies”; including international standards bodies, industry bodies, UK non-governmental organisations and UK government organisations.

He said: “The existing structure is dysfunctional and what we clearly need is a single, UK, non-governmental organisation to be responsible for informatics standards.

"There needs to be central funding and these other organisations need to be told point blank that they have no future.”


AMIA: Time to revisit government regulation of health IT

By Joseph Conn

Posted: November 11, 2010 - 9:00 am ET

The American Medical Informatics Association has called for a national discussion about whether federal regulation of health information technology systems could help promote patient safety.

The association on Thursday stopped just short of calling for federal regulation of the health information technology industry in a five-page report endorsed by the AMIA's board of directors.

The report, "HIT Vendors, their customers and patients: New challenges in ethics, safety, best practices and oversight," was the product of a task force impaneled by the AMIA board in September 2009 and composed of eight representatives from academia and the IT industry.


Stolen Printouts Result in Large Breach

HDM Breaking News, November 11, 2010

Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is notifying 44,000 emergency department patients of a possible breach of their personal health information.

The hospital was the victim of an identity theft ring, which the U.S. Postal Service has been investigating for several months. A hospital employee in the ED stole as many as 1,500 pre-printed patient data sheets that included such information as name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and initial diagnosis. "This was not a compromise of the computer systems that the hospital uses to protect patient information," the hospital contends in a statement. "Through cooperation with a federal investigation, Holy Cross identified the individual involved, who admitted improper conduct and was immediately terminated."


Poll Finds Strong Support For Greater Medical Privacy

By Juliana Gruenwald

November 10, 2010 | 3:46 PM

A new poll released Wednesday found most of those surveyed say doctors, health technology systems, health insurance companies, hospitals and labs should not be allowed to share or sell patients' health information without their consent.

The online interactive survey of 2,000 adults was conducted by Zogby International for the health privacy watchdog group Patients Privacy Rights.

The poll found 97 percent of those surveyed said doctors, health technology systems, hospitals and labs should not be allowed to sell or share their personal health information without consent, while 98 percent want the same standard applied to insurance companies.


Why Do Evaluations of eHealth Programs Fail? An Alternative Set of Guiding Principles

Trisha Greenhalgh1*, Jill Russell2

1 Healthcare Innovation and Policy Unit, Centre for Health Sciences, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, United Kingdom, 2 Division of Medical Education, University College London, London, United Kingdom

Summary Points

  • We argue that the assumptions, methods, and study designs of experimental science, whilst useful in many contexts, may be ill-suited to the particular challenges of evaluating eHealth programs, especially in politicised situations where goals and success criteria are contested.
  • We offer an alternative set of guiding principles for eHealth evaluation based on traditions that view evaluation as social practice rather than as scientific testing, and illustrate these with the example of England's controversial Summary Care Record program.
  • We invite PLoS Medicine readers to join a debate on the relative merits of “scientific” and “social practice” approaches to evaluation and consider the extent to which eHealth evaluation is in need of a paradigm shift.


Advanced Visualization Goes Enterprisewide, Sort of...

Written by C.P. Kaiser

November 4, 2010

Server-side processing permits 3D image manipulation to take place on a central server before being transmitted to a thin client. This is one innovation that will help facilities meet meaningful use criteria regarding the integration of advanced visualization imaging into the EMR. But there are still some technical challenges ahead.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has mandated that facilities integrate advanced visualization imaging from CT, MRI and nuclear medicine into their EHRs/EMRs by 2015.

Rasu B. Shrestha, MD, medical director of interoperability and imaging informatics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, sees this as an opportunity to change a healthcare culture that has historically separated EMRs and imaging. “It’s not only about retrieving images directly from the EMR, but also about addressing some of the fundamental flaws of delivering siloed medicine,” says Shrestha.


Health IT Group Tackles Data Exchange

Federal policy committee examines different scenarios for sharing patient information across hospitals, clinics, insurers, and states.

By Anthony Guerra, InformationWeek

Nov. 5, 2010


Healthcare provider directories that could facilitate the exchange of patient data were discussed at the federal government's Health IT Policy Committee information exchange workgroup meeting this week.

To better envision exactly what the directories should look like, along with which organizations would be allowed in, who would do the admitting, and what some business models could look like, workgroup member Walter Suarez, MD, MPH, described a number of possible use cases. Two of those specifically related to hospitals.

In the first such scenario, a hospital discharge summary (i.e. clinical document architecture, or CDA) is sent from a hospital electronic health record (EHR) system to the clinic EHR where the patient's primary care provider practices. The clinic's EHR receives the discharge summary, incorporates the data, and sends an alert to the primary care provider.


One-third of medical practices haven't done security risk assessments

November 8, 2010 — 12:56pm ET | By Neil Versel

While 75 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed by HIMSS, the Medical Group Management Association and Intel have conducted security risk assessments as required by the federal EHR incentive program, a full third of medical practices have not. Yet, 85 percent of the 272 health IT and security professionals surveyed said they currently share data electronically.


First DataBank launches FIRSTLight

08 Nov 2010

First DataBank, the provider of drug databases and clinical decision support, has launched a web-based product that will allow clinicians to access reliable medicines information anywhere.

The FIRSTLight product, which has been launched at eHealth Insider Live 2010, will allow clinicians to log-in from any desktop; no matter where they are or whether they have access to a clinical system.

The standalone product includes information about how and when to use or not to use a medication. It also includes information on ingredients, doses, and the test measures and observations required.


Sweden to go-live with online records

08 Nov 2010

Sweden will provide patients with online access to their electronic medical records before the end of the year, the deputy director of the healthcare division of Sweden’s Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has confirmed.

Speaking at eHealth Insider Live 2010, Daniel Forslund said that the records would be accessed through a new website and technology platform based on the country's 1177 service, which already provides patients with health advice.

Forslund told E-Health Europe after his presentation: “It has taken a while to launch the service and to get the security right. But by the end of December, we will provide patients in two large municipalities with access to their records online.”


EHI launches EHI Intelligence

08 Nov 2010

E-Health Insider has launched an online subscription research service called EHI Intelligence providing previously unobtainable information about the systems in use across the NHS.

The heart of the new service is the EHI Intelligence NHS Trust Database; a fully searchable online database holding unique data about the core systems in use by NHS organisations.

The database launches today with information about the systems in use in all 131 NHS foundation trusts. Research into the systems in use in other trusts is already under way.




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