Saturday, June 15, 2013

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 15th June, 2013.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and few paragraphs. 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.

What will Google Glass do for health?

Posted on Jun 03, 2013
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
It's probably the most anticipated and potentially transformative new gadget since the smartphone. But unlike the iPhone, Google Glass has also been heralded with a healthy dose of controversy.
Although few folks have yet managed to get their mitts on a pair, lots of people have some pretty passionate ideas about what the technology – which enables hands-free Web and camera access – will mean, for healthcare and society at large.
Earlier this year, Google put out the call "Explorers" who might be willing to test out prototypes of the device. Interested folks were encouraged to head to Twitter and Google+ and say what they'd do if they were lucky enough to get a pair in advance, appending the hash tag #ifihadglass.
The winners were famous and infamous (Neil Patrick Harris, Newt Gingrich, Soulja Boy). Responses ranged from "id travel around the world and film the experience" to "I would help push the limits on #AugmentedReality in #hollywood."

Cleveland Clinic opens EMR to patients

Posted on Jun 07, 2013
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
A half million Cleveland Clinic  patients gained access to more of their healthcare information Thursday – and by the end of the year – they will see all that is in their electronic medical record, including physician notes, via MyChart, the secure online portal.
As Cleveland Clinic officials see it, it’s the right thing to do because it will give patients a more complete picture of their health and empower them to make better, smarter and more economical decisions about their care.
Today patients  can view their after-visit summary, medications list, allergies, immunization records, preventative care details, laboratory results, and radiology reports. If they want to see the rest of their medical records, they must contact the hospital to get hard copies of the EMR.
The new transparent MyChart EMR will give patients access to pathology records, X-ray reports, physician notes, and the list of their current health issues, which physicians use to briefly describe a patient’s health status, recent concerns, and known diagnoses. Patients will be able to view online nearly everything their doctor sees in their EMR, except for behavioral health information, which is prohibited from release by state law.

KLAS Asks: How Usable are EHRs?

JUN 6, 2013 3:42pm ET
A new report from vendor research firm KLAS Enterprises assesses user perceptions of the usability of nine major ambulatory electronic health record products. They include Allscripts Enterprise, athenahealth, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Epic, GE Healthcare CPS, Greenway, McKesson Practice Partner and NextGen.
Providers reporting achieving high usability of their EHR ranged from 55 percent of McKesson users to 85 percent of athenahealth users. Many providers, regardless of the product, put significant investment into making their system more usable.

Privacy experts: Health data security efforts too reactive

June 7, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
Privacy experts spoke about their data breach experiences Thursday at the Healthcare Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., agreeing that what they've experienced likely is just the beginning for what's possible in security fissures at healthcare organizations.
Omar Khawaja, a global project manager for Verizon, noted that 61 percent of breaches his group finds are for payment card information, and pointed out that the reactive system presently in place for combating such breaches is problematic.
"What does 911 look like in cyberspace? Who do you call when you have a breach?" Khawaja asked. "It takes months just to contain the breach."
June 5, 2013

Accord Aims to Create Trove of Genetic Data

More than 70 medical, research and advocacy organizations active in 41 countries and including the National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday that they had agreed to create an organized way to share genetic and clinical information. Their aim is to put the vast and growing trove of data on genetic variations and health into databases — with the consent of the study subjects — that would be open to researchers and doctors all over the world, not just to those who created them.
Millions more people are expected to get their genes decoded in coming years, and the fear is that this avalanche of genetic and clinical data about people and how they respond to treatments will be hopelessly fragmented and impede the advance of medical science. This ambitious effort hopes to standardize the data and make them widely availabl e.

Health informatics jobs growing

Posted on Jun 05, 2013
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
A new report from Burning Glass Technologies shows that the health informatics sector continues to produce jobs.  Since 2007, postings for health informatics jobs have increased 10 times faster than healthcare jobs overall, according to Burning Glass.
Using data from online job postings, Burning Glass, a Boston-based labor market analytics firm, partnered with the Education Advisory Board, a membership-based research company, to examine the health informatics job market.
The study found that healthcare informatics includes a range of positions that involve the collection, handling and processing of clinical information for a variety of purposes, from billing to medical quality assurance. Also, informatics has become increasingly integrated into the management of clinical care.
Friday, June 07, 2013

LIVESTRONG Foundation Seeks To Automate Cancer Tool

The LIVESTRONG Foundation has released a report that shows high user satisfaction with an online tool to help cancer survivors receive post-treatment care plans, and the foundation is launching a study into whether electronic health record data can help streamline the tool.
Experts representing LIVESTRONG and the Commission on Cancer revealed the report findings on Monday during the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual conference.

eHealth - its Time To Connect

Friday, 07 June 2013 12:27 June Shannon
June Shannon reports from the recent eHealth conference in Dublin
eHealth Week 2013, which took place from May 13 to 15, consisted of two main events: A high level eHealth conference organised jointly by the EU Commission and the Irish EU Presidency of the Council of Europe, and the World of Health IT Conference (WoHIT) organised by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Services Europe (HIMSS).
The three-day conference was a unique opportunity to put Ireland at the very centre of the latest developments in eHealth technology and innovation.
Speaking at the event, the Secretary General of the Department of Health Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, said that  Ireland was ideally placed for a new services industry and his vision was one where eHealth would be as strong as the international financial services centre has been for Ireland.

Non-intrusive EHR alert increases flu vaccination rates

June 3, 2013 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Using a "gentle" electronic health record flu prompt not only increased the number of flu vaccinations children received, but also improved the documentation explaining why the vaccine was not administered, according to a study reported in Family Practice News
The study, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, was conducted at four urban community clinics affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital Ambulatory Care Network and Columbia University that serve a low-income Latino population. It stems from an earlier related study that analyzed providers' challenges with flu alerts and highlighted the need for "well integrated" alerts that didn't impede clinicians' work flow.

Telehealth sees explosive growth

Posted on Jun 06, 2013
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
Healthcare providers are taking telemedicine to new heights, with the market seeing growth of a whopping 237 percent within a five-year period, according to a new Kalorama report.
Officials say the telemedicine patient monitoring market grew from $4.2 billion in 2007 to more than $10 billion in 2012. According to the report, the market itself is considered small- to moderate in size but makes up for it with its notable number of competitors and "increasing awareness of effectiveness."

Practices embracing HIE, replacing EHRs

Posted on Jun 06, 2013
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
More than a third of physician practices plan to purchase, replace or upgrade ambulatory EHR systems, according to HIMSS Analytics' newest Ambulatory Electronic Health Record & Practice Management Study. Meanwhile, nearly half of physician groups say they'll join an HIE.
The fifth annual report represents HIMSS Analytics' continuation of the series previously published by CapSite, which was acquired by HIMSS in late 2012. In addition to polling more than 800 physician groups about EHR and practice management technologies, the study incorporates information from the HIMSS Analytics/directory/analytics" Analytics Database to offer an in-depth look at the ambulatory markert.

NHS number to be mandated from 2014

6 June 2013   Lis Evenstad
Trusts will be contractually obligated to use the NHS number as their primary patient identifier from April 2014.
Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s national director for patients and information, wrote on his blog post on NHS Voices that using the NHS number was one of the ”urgent steps” needed to “make the data revolution real.”
“We will require all NHS providers funded by NHS England to use the NHS number as their primary identifier so that all data can be linked and patients identified, with accuracy.

Panel: Big data's role in healthcare remains unclear

June 6, 2013 | By Dan Bowman
Big data is an enigma when it comes to healthcare, as described by a panel on Wednesday at the third annual Health Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by Patient Privacy Rights. On one hand, according to Deloitte principal Deborah Golden, there are infinite positive possibilities for big data use, such as improving patient safety via openly available medication information.
On the other hand, according to Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney, big data also represents big privacy issues.

Mostashari: Clinical quality measurement system needs to evolve

June 6, 2013 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
To meet the industry's goals of providing high quality, safe and affordable healthcare, quality measures need to transition from "setting specific narrow snapshots" to a more broad based, meaningful and patient center based assessments "centered in the continuum of time in which care is delivered," according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week by National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari and other U.S. Department of Health & Human Services officials.
The article stresses the need to identify important clinical measures, discontinue the use of those of little value and "create a portfolio that meets the needs of payers, policy makers and the public." 

27 Statistics on Ambulatory EHRs, Practice Management Solutions

Written by  Anuja Vaidya | June 05, 2013
Forty-six percent of U.S. physician groups plan to join a health information exchange, according to the "5th Annual U.S. Ambulatory Electronic Health Record & Practice Management Study," released by HIMSS Analytics, a non-profit subsidiary of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
The study includes insights from more than 800 physician groups on electronic health record and practice management adoption, vendor share and meaningful use attestation across the U.S. physician market. It also incorporates information from the HIMSS Analytics database.
Shared-Care Model Improves Professional Satisfaction
Findings based on innovations gathered from 23 high-functioning primary care practices
WEDNESDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Shifting primary care practice toward a shared-care model for work distribution and responsibility can improve professional satisfaction, according to research published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.
Christine A. Sinsky, M.D., from Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans in Dubuque, Iowa, and colleagues made site visits to 23 high-performing primary care practices to investigate how these practices distribute functions among the team, use technology to their advantage, improve outcomes with data, and make the job of primary care feasible and enjoyable as a life's vocation.

EHR Makers Answer Doctors' Calls For Mobile Apps

More than 100 EHRs will offer mobile access, native iPad versions or both by 2014, but voice recognition is still missing.
Electronic health record vendors are responding to pent-up demand among doctors for EHRs they can access on mobile devices, including smartphones and computer tablets. According to a new national survey by Washington, D.C.-based Black Book Rankings, 122 companies said they would introduce fully functional mobile access to their EHR products, native iPad versions, or both by the end of this year. Another 135 EHR vendors said that mobile apps were in their strategic plans.
Among the leading vendors that already offer mobile versions of their EHRs are Greenway, NextGen, Cerner, GE, Allscripts and eClinicalWorks. Interestingly, however, drchrono, one of the first iPad-native EHRs, garnered the highest customer satisfaction scores in a follow-up poll of more than 1,400 practices. AdTech Ad

Blumenthal on EHR study: Road to digitalization is challenging

Posted on Jun 04, 2013
By Diana Manos, Senior Editor
Adoption of basic electronic health records has increased from nearly 34 percent in early 2011 to 44 percent by March 2012, according to a new study. Former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, MD, says that despite the challenges, EHR use is inevitable.
“One reason our health care system is in crisis is that most doctors and hospitals collect and manage health information pretty much the way Hippocrates did 2,400 years ago," Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund (CWF), co-writes in a June 4 blog post. "We have substituted paper for tablet and papyrus, but most everything else is the same."

EHR corrections can cause new mistakes

June 4, 2013 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Correcting errors in electronic health records can be trickier to deal with than correcting errors in paper records, according to Georgette Samaritan, senior risk manager and patient safety consultant with Atlanta-based MAG Mutual Insurance Company.
Samaritan, writing an article in Medscape Business of Medicine, noted that unlike errors found in a paper record, correcting an electronic error may completely override the initial error, making it look as if the record never contained a mistake. That, in turn, means that a clinician has no way to show that he or she relied on erroneous data when treating a patient. 

Oschner and Intermountain: Access to big data isn't enough

June 5, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
Two leaders from large healthcare systems agreed yesterday at the Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum in Washington, D.C., that they have the tools in place to harness lots of data. But the challenge, they said, is to better understand it and use what they learn to improve care and outcomes.
Chris Belmont (right), CIO of Oschner Health System in New Orleans, La., spoke about his company's journey into electronic health records and big data, which he said began shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005.  

HIE Participation Doesn't Create Test Savings, Study Says

Physicians in Colorado HIE ordered fewer lab tests and the same number of imaging tests, but costs remained constant.
The use of health information exchanges (HIEs) in ambulatory care is unlikely to produce significant cost savings through reductions in rates of testing, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) concludes. But the researchers emphasized that there may be other economic benefits of HIE from "downstream outcomes of better informed, higher quality care."
The hypothesis of the study -- based on earlier predictions by health policy experts -- was that if physicians had online access to results of tests recently ordered by other doctors, they wouldn't order those tests again for the same patients. If that proved to be true, according to the hypothesis, there should be some cost savings. AdTech Ad

Kaiser's open API to spur new apps

Posted on Jun 04, 2013
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
Kaiser Permanente will launch June 5 its first application interface program, Interchange by Kaiser Permanente. The secure program enables collaboration between Kaiser Permanente and application developers to improve healthcare and health-related experiences in ways that never before have been possible, Kaiser executives say. Interchange makes information that is already in the public domain accessible in a more efficient way, enabling app development outside of Kaiser Permanente, thereby benefitting consumers in the form of a broader variety of apps.
"We're excited to see what developers come up with as we open up secure, public data sets," Phil Fasano, Kaiser executive vice president and CIO, said in a news release. "Imagine being able to download a mobile app so customized that it shows you nearby restaurants that cater to your healthy lifestyle and offers food suggestions based on the amount of activity you have completed in the last week, your nutrition plan and friends' reviews. Once you've finished your meal, a device synced to your app reports your blood-sugar levels and reminds you to pick up insulin, then tells you the nearest Kaiser Permanente pharmacy where you can pick it up. Interchange by Kaiser Permanente is the beginning of that possibility." 
----- implemented this month

3 June 2013   Rebecca Todd
Implementation of the programme to extract and link large amounts of primary and secondary data starts this month.
Guidance for GPs on release one of the programme has been published by NHS England.
Data will be extracted from practices via the GP Extraction Service and linked with Hospital Episode Statistics to create new Care Episode Statistics. This will be done in the ‘safe haven’ of the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
Implementation will start with a small number of practices in June with wider implementation over the rest of the year.

Telemental health efforts face adoption obstacles

June 4, 2013 | By Greg Slabodkin
Although advancements in telemental health (TMH) technologies have rapidly reduced obstacles for their use, significant barriers remain that "plague" the diffusion of TMH from the provider's perspective, finds an article in the peer-reviewed journal Telemedicine and e-Health. According to the article, these barriers fall into three categories: personal; clinical workflow and technology; and licensure, credentialing and reimbursement.
Among the personal barriers cited in the article, many providers are concerned that TMH will inhibit their ability to effectively establish rapport and cultivate a successful clinical relationship with patients, and that successful treatment outcomes may be inhibited by the lack of proximity between that clinician and the provider. However, despite providers' initial concerns, the authors determine that "confidence and buy-in can be significantly improved when clinicians are given the opportunity to actually use telehealth."

Doctors find gift of health IT comes with a dose of reality

New technology can create inflated expectations about what can be accomplished, but setting realistic goals can help alleviate feelings of being let down.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan amednews staff — Posted June 3, 2013
Too much hype about new technology may result in expectations not being met, according to a study by the University of Chicago Medical Center.
In 2010, soon after Apple released the first iPad, the University of Chicago Medical Center launched a program in which it would hand out iPads to all incoming residents. The program was met with great enthusiasm, with a majority of residents saying in a survey that use of the tablet would improve efficiencies and quality of care. Four months later, most agreed that use of the tablet was beneficial, but it didn't live up the initial hype for many. Researchers blamed inflated expectations and say the same can happen with the introduction of any new technology.

Prediction: Wearables to lead the 515 million sensors to ship in 2017

By: Jonah Comstock | Jun 3, 2013  
Research firm ON World released new data from its mobile health and wellness sensor reports, which predicts that in 2017, 515 million sensors for wearable, implantable or mobile health and fitness devices will be shipped globally, up from 107 million in 2012.
March, the firm predicted 18.2 million health and wellness wireless sensor networks would ship in 2017. That number excluded sports and fitness devices, and each network can include up to hundreds of individual sensors, which accounts for the difference between the figures, Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director, explained to MobiHealthNews in an email.

One in 10 Doctors Using Electronic Records at Level Set by U.S.

By Alex Nussbaum
June 04, 2013
Fewer than 1 in 10 doctors used electronic records last year to U.S. standards, according to a survey that shows the challenge facing a multibillion-dollar effort to digitize the health system for improved patient care.
Only 9.8 percent of 1,820 primary-care and specialty doctors said they had electronic systems that met U.S. rules for “meaningful use,” a list of tasks such as tracking referrals or filling prescriptions online. Less than half all those surveyed, or 44 percent, had any system in place, according to the report published by the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
The Obama administration has spent about $15 billion since 2009 to help doctors and hospitals adopt electronic health records, fueling growth for vendors such as McKesson Corp. (MCK) and Cerner Corp. (CERN) In March, the administration said it was considering new regulations, amid complaints that the systems are hard to use and don’t share information easily.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Seniors & Health Care: Telemedicine as an Answer, Licensure as a Problem

The current consumer landscape is inundated with technology and applications enabled by broadband. Our smart phones multi-task as communication devices, forms of entertainment, educational platforms and much more. Constant connectivity has allowed previously isolated communities to remain integrated with larger society and realize benefits that 10 years ago were figments of our imagination.
Whether it be through online banking or a game of Angry Birds, a broadband connected world has allowed for both large- and small-scale innovation that has changed the way we live our lives. Seniors in particular have witnessed a huge shift in accessible technologies and applications.
One of the most critical technological tools for the older adult community is health IT. The amazing innovations in the space have the potential to change lives by encouraging aging in place, providing better health care at a lower cost and easing the daily lives of millions of elderly Americans.

CommonWell Plans EHR Pilot; Denies Data Will Be For Sale

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , June 4, 2013

A joint effort to provide interoperability among the electronic health records systems of competing vendors is proceeding without a great deal of transparency and openness outside of the participating members.
Three months ago this week, Cerner, McKesson, Allscripts, Greenway and athenahealth—rivals all—announced the CommonWell Health Alliance, a joint effort to provide interoperability among their electronic health records systems and others.
Technology companies are good at announcing such alliances, but customers often never see all the benefits promised. Making different technologies interoperate is difficult, and U.S. companies in particular are predisposed to compete with each other, making attempts at interoperability even tougher.

Docs wild about iPad apps

Posted on Jun 03, 2013
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
As physicians continue to switch EHR systems or select a first vendor, a new survey by research firm Black Book Rankings has identified  a “meteoric trend” in favor of mobile EHR applications, especially a marked leaning for iPad apps.
Black Book conducted the user poll as a  follow-up to the 2013 electronic health record study, foretelling the “Year of the Big EHR Switch.” Nearly one in five physician users indicated the high likelihood of shifting systems after disappointing first vendor results. Several new EHR integrated mobile apps have been added to the list of physician must-haves in the replacement market demand.
Today, 8 percent of office-based physicians use either a mobile device for electronic prescribing, accessing records, ordering tests or viewing results, according to the survery. However, 83 percent indicated they would immediately utilize mobile EHR functionalities to update patient charts, check labs and order medications immediately if available to them via their EHR.

Soon, wireless body sensors to treat diabetes, heart failure

London, June 3 (ANI): For decades, the military has used sonar for underwater communication.
Now, researchers at the University at Buffalo are developing a miniaturized version of the same technology to be applied inside the human body to treat diseases such as diabetes and heart failure in real time.
The advancement relies on sensors that use ultrasounds - the same inaudible sound waves used by the navy for sonar and doctors for sonograms - to wirelessly share information between medical devices implanted in or worn by people.

How does consumer-collected health data fit into the research mix?

June 3, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
The proliferation of wearable devices such as Nike Fuelbands and Jawbone Ups that allow people to track their health and fitness by the minute only adds to the mounds of health data being generated, a GigaOM article points out. Combine that with information from electronic health records and insurance claims--among other sources of heath data--and myriad research possibilities emerge.
A new partnership between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology aims to assess the issues and questions that these new pools of health data can address.

5 online interventions to improve patient health and wellness

June 3, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
Medical care is increasingly moving online as the number of health-related sites, apps and remote technologies proliferate. From improving medication adherence to monitoring the health of newborn babies, here are five ways the Internet is helping people manage their health for a variety of conditions:
  1. Getting MS patients walking more. The latest is an internet behavioral intervention that has been proved to help patients with multiple sclerosis increases their daily amount of walking. A trial presented to MedPage Today showed that a simple Internet behavior intervention boosted average daily step counts from 4,000 at baseline to almost 5,500 at its close, according to researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Patients' scores on measures of depression, anxiety, fatigue, and physical ability also improved.

EHR 'proficiency' requirement may have unintended consequences

May 30, 2013 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
I must admit, I was surprised when I read that Massachusetts's healthcare law, passed last summer, includes a provision that requires physicians to demonstrate a "proficiency" in the use of EHRs, electronic prescribing, computerized physician order entry and other forms of health IT as a condition of licensure. The law defines "proficiency" as, at a minimum, sufficient skills to comply with the Meaningful Use requirements. 
I'm surprised not only at the existence of the provision, but also that it's received such scant attention. The law is slated to go into effect in 2015; I was alerted to it via a blog post published earlier this week by a Massachusetts physician who suggests that the requirement be rescinded. The provider, Hayward Zwerling, M.D., said that the government has a "misguided obsession" with dictating what kind of software and functionalities physicians should be using to treat patients.
June 2, 2013 6:48 pm

Jeremy Hunt reveals push for more IT use in NHS

The National Health Service is looking to Silicon Valley as ministers attempt to banish memories of its ill-fated IT programme with a fresh push to turn Britain into a global technology leader.
Poor care in the health service was exposed in the findings of the Francis report into more than 1,000 avoidable deaths at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
As part of the drive to raise standards, Britain will become the first country to allow online access to information about NHS doctors’ surgical survival rates across 10 specialities so prospective patients can compare performance, said Jeremy Hunt, health secretary.


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