Saturday, January 21, 2017

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links – 21st January, 2017.

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.
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NIST updates outline first-ever cybersecurity measurements

Jan 13, 2017 11:10am
NIST's updated cybersecurity framework includes new metrics to quantify the impact of cybersecurity efforts.
For the first time, organizations seeking an objective way to quantify cybersecurity performance can use updated federal guidelines aimed at measuring the impact of cybersecurity interventions and business objectives.
The updated draft guidelines (PDF) released this week by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) include specific updates regarding cybersecurity metrics, considerations supply chain risk management and common terminology used to communicate with outside partners and vendors.
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EarlySense, ResMed share promising data on digital health sleep monitoring

January 12, 2017
Two digital health companies focused on sleep published data this week that highlighted the efficacy of their respective platforms, bringing continued attention to the space after a CES week where sleep was a major focus. A whitepaper by Pricewaterhouse Cooper showed that ResMed’s myAir improved CPAP adherence while a paper in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that EarlySense’s new consumer system EarlySense Live performed comparably to polysomnography.
ResMed’s myAir is an app that launched last year allowing CPAP users to track their treatment via an app and giving them access to their daily sleep patterns and coaching tips. The new whitepaper looked at data from over 23,000 patients in Germany and the United Kingdom, 1,800 of whom used myAir. 
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ONC Announces Phase 2 Winners of Consumer, Provider App Challenges

January 12, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced the Phase 2 winners for the Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge and the Provider User Experience Challenge. 
ONC designed these challenges last year to "spur the development of market-ready applications that would enable consumers and providers to aggregate health data from different sources into one secure, user-friendly product."
Challenge submissions were required to use Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and open application programming interfaces (APIs), which are both strongly supported by ONC. Phase 1 winners of the challenges were announced last summer; applicants were required to submit a series of plans for their proposed apps, including designs or screenshots, technical specifications, business/sustainability plans, and proposed provider and/or electronic health record (EHR) vendor partners to test their work. Both challenges then moved Phase 2, where the apps themselves were evaluated.
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The policy implications of using big data in healthcare

01/12/2017 05:52 pm ET
Adi Gaskell A London-based innovation scout
The growing importance of big data in healthcare is something I’ve touched on a lot in the last few months. It should perhaps come as no surprise therefore, that the European Commission have recently released a paper that examines the issue in depth, including the key areas it is being used, and some of the policy implications involved.
The paper looked at a number of solutions in key policy areas, including:
  • supporting the sustainability of health systems
  • improving the quality and effectiveness of treatment
  • combating chronic disease
  • supporting healthy lifestyles.
One of the more well known examples analyzed by the researchers was the E-Estonia national identity scheme, which includes within its remit a digital patient record.
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Health information exchange: E pluribus unum?

Can one model for health data exchange emerge from the diverse HIE ecosystem that exists?
January 11, 2017 03:17 PM 
The state of health information exchange (noun and verb) is complex, to say the least. The past decade-plus has given rise to a patchwork of approaches: public and private exchanges; statewide, regional and local networks; national vendor-based interoperability groups such as CommonWell and Carequality. And more.
If it's a bit of hodgepodge – and far from the seamlessly interconnected "learning health system" aspired for in ONC's Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap – this cobbled-together system is a whole lot better than the shelves of dusty manila folders that represented the health data ecosystem in the not-too-distant past.
But there's always room for improvement. John Kansky, president and CEO of the Indiana Health Information Exchange, said there's a better way forward from the existing conflicting and confusing state of HIE in the U.S. 
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Digital Health at CES 2017, Las Vegas

Digital Health News' US correspondent Lindsey Birnsteel, provides a hands on report on the very latest digital health trends from the Consumer Electronics Show, 2017, Las Vegas.
Lindsey Birnsteel
9 January 2017
If you are into the very latest consumer technology and gadgets, then CES is the big one. The 2017 show boasted more than 177,000 attendees and nearly 4,000 exhibitors.  And once again technologies, apps and sensors to support health and fitness were a key trend.
Digital health technologies have grown dramatically at CES as wearables and smart health technologies have taken centre stage in the consumer market. Digital Health News combed through the crowds to find what’s trending in digital health and which companies are leading in their field.
From a quick glance digital health companies from the US, France and not surprisingly Asia (Korea, Singapore and China) dominate the floor.
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May announces £67.7 million for digital mental health

Laura Stevens and Ben Heather
9 January 2017
Prime minister Theresa May has announced £67.7 million of funding for digital mental health services.
May made the announcement in a speech at the annual Charity Commission lecture in London on Monday, which outlined a broader package of funding and policy aimed at improving support for people suffering from mental health problems.
This would include new mental health support within secondary schools, in the community and within the workplace.
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mHealth roundup: Health apps to cut costs, improve care

by Judy Mottl 
Jan 12, 2017 9:05am
Mobile apps are ubiquitous in wellness and healthcare, driven by consumers eager for healthcare information at their fingertips. Hospitals, health systems and health insurance companies have embraced them as a way to provide better, faster and more cost-effective care and treatment.
A top focal point for app makers has been management of chronic illness, such as diabetes, as the population of patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes swells. Health and fitness are also a prime focus for payers and providers and are popular with consumers.
But app makers are working to expand beyond those entry-level functions to tackle everything from patient care and management to back-end operations and streamlined business processes.
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Why healthcare organizations and vendors need to embrace APIs

Published January 12 2017, 2:51pm EST
Application programming interfaces give access to data created by others, enabling a computer programmer or someone working on a computer to call up another program and get it to do a particular task, explains Brian Murphy, an industry analyst at Chilmark Research.
It is a technology the healthcare industry desperately needs and is slowly moving toward, he contends.
APIs are not new, having been invented in the 1950s. But Google, Facebook and other social media put them on the map in recent years. Most notably, APIs power all the apps on your smartphone.
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What providers can learn from 2016’s security incidents

Published January 12 2017, 3:03pm EST
Cue the year-end articles saying that this was the worst year to date for data breaches. Follow that with more dire predictions for 2017. Layer in one-size-fits-all recommendations to mitigate these risks. And finish with technology solutions that you must have.
If you read all of this you might come away thinking that if your company is not using AI and machine learning, buying threat intelligence, building a threat-hunting team, installing a next-generation antivirus solution, deploying an endpoint product and reducing your attack surface, all of those bears people talk about outrunning may already be in your network.
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Use of mobile EHR apps can boost productivity

January 12, 2017
Many primary care physicians mainly rely on desktop computers, taking time during or between patients to sit at their desks to enter data, according to healthcare IT consultant Rick Shepardson.
Mobile, however, could help physicians boost their productivity, he and other experts said.
“It can help make better use of a physician’s time,” said Amelia Coleman, M.Ed., director of the practice management consulting group at MBA HealthGroup, who added a growing number of physicians are interested in using mobile devices at their practices.
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Proof-of-concept for VA’s Digital Health Platform leverages analytics

Published January 10 2017, 6:52am EST
Healthcare analytics vendor Apervita is participating in a proof-of-concept to demonstrate the viability of a Department of Veterans Affairs Digital Health Platform (DHP), designed to integrate veteran data from VA, military and commercial electronic health records—as well as apps, devices, and wearables— so that the information is available to providers in real time.
Managed by Georgia Tech, the VA proof-of-concept seeks to demonstrate the power of real-time analytics to deliver higher quality, more efficient and flexible care as part of the envisioned DHP architecture. The cloud-based platform is meant to create a new paradigm for the delivery of healthcare services with a modern, integrated system that incorporates best-in-class technologies and standards.
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HHS Sec. Burwell's advice to Dr. Tom Price: Prioritize cybersecurity

Written by Tamara Rosin (Twitter | Google+)  | January 10, 2017 | Print | Email
In her farewell remarks at the National Press Club Monday, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell warned Republican lawmakers that repealing the ACA could be "a step backwards" for the U.S. healthcare system. She had more pointed advice for nominated HHS Secretary Rep. Tom Price, MD, R-Ga., regarding the issue of cybersecurity.
"This is very important and I would tell my successor it has to be prioritized," she said in response to a question on how to address cyberattacks in the healthcare industry. "People don't want to spend money on it. They don't want to spend time on it. It is extremely important that you put in place the protections as much as you can."
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IBM Watson, FDA to explore blockchain for secure patient data exchange

The initial focus for blockchain will be oncology-related data exchange

Senior Writer, Computerworld | Jan 11, 2017 5:01 AM PT
IBM's Watson Health artificial intelligence unit has signed a two-year joint-development agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to explore using blockchain technology to securely share patient data for medical research and other purposes.
IBM Watson Health and the FDA will explore the exchange of patient-level data from several sources, including electronic medical records (EMRs), clinical trials, genomic data, and health data from mobile devices, wearables and the "Internet of Things." The initial focus will be on oncology-related information.
"The healthcare industry is undergoing significant changes due to the vast amounts of disparate data being generated. Blockchain technology provides a highly secure,
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Patient advocate: caregiver's viewpoint as critical as the doctor's

Kristina Sheridan is among the growing legion of caregivers who have come to believe that involving input from patients and their families can be a game-changer when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. 
January 10, 2017 07:02 AM
When it comes to managing chronic conditions, healthcare providers are often missing incisive input from two very important sources — the patient and caregiver.
“It’s interesting what perspective we’ve gained — it is realizing that patients and caregivers are the true experts in managing chronic conditions,” said Kristina Sheridan, who left her engineering job in the aeronautics industry to become a healthcare advisor and today is a department head for McLean, Va.-based MITRE Corp. “My 12-year-old daughter Kate (now 21) was the only one who could explain what she was going through.”
When Kate was 12, in fact, the situation became complicated such that even repeated visits to doctors did not get them any closer to finding the root cause of what was bothering her. 
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Hospital Impact: Trump policies could escalate EHR privacy fears, threaten quality and patient safety

Jan 11, 2017 11:41am
When patients are afraid to share information, it creates inaccurate and incomplete data, affecting care quality or even causing harm.
One of the biggest EHR-related issues of 2016 has been cybersecurity. The industry has been plagued with ransomware attacks, hacked EHR systems, threats to networked medical devices and sloppy internet use that leaves patient records vulnerable and exposed to the public. 
All of which has made patients leery of the ability of EHR-using providers to keep their records confidential, and understandably so. While even the most careful of entities can be hit with a security breach, all too many of them have been careless, not taking even some of the most basic safeguards. 
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Detailed EHRs offer opportunity for personalized care

Jan 11, 2017 10:50am
Kaiser Permanente and Geisinger Health System are in the early stages of incorporating and utilizing detailed patient information that can inform future treatments.
Health systems around the country are incorporating new patient information into electronic health records in an effort to provide more customized patient care as the healthcare industry attempts to keep pace with a constant stream of potentially useful health data.  
Kaiser Permanente and Geisinger Health System are in the early stages of incorporating and utilizing detailed patient information that can inform future treatments, according to NPR. Kaiser is working toward a system in which physicians can pull up information about a disease based on specific factors such as age. Although currently operating as a prototype, the system is looking to incorporate patient reported information that can offer a more complete perspective of different treatment options.
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Secondary commercial market for patient data rife with privacy concerns

Jan 11, 2017 11:02am
Data “re-identification” is a growing threat as cybersecurity concerns continue to plague the healthcare industry.
By signing a privacy form at their doctor’s office, patients often assume their medical data is protected. In fact, it’s often redirected into a commercial market where data miners resell that information for marketing purposes.
The influx of computerized patient data has fueled this “health data bazaar” over the last decade, allowing wholesalers to buy and sell information collected from various medical sources, according to a report released by The Century Foundation. The practice is legal because patient data is stripped of any identifying information, which meets the privacy requirements outlined under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
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Privacy, security issues cause consumers to distrust HIT

Published January 09 2017, 7:25am EST
A new survey of more than 12,000 Americans has found that 57 percent of consumers are skeptical of the overall benefits of health IT such as electronic health records, mobile apps and patient portals, in light of recent high-profile data breaches and a perceived lack of privacy protections by providers.
The national survey, conducted from September to December by market research firm Black Book, also revealed that 70 percent of Americans distrust health technology. That’s significantly lower than a 2014 survey by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, in which only 10 percent by respondents said they distrusted HIT.
“We saw that distrust number in particular with consumers and mental health records and pharmacies,” says Doug Brown, managing partner at Black Book. “They feel that there’s some kind of leakage of information, even if it’s not cybersecurity-related.”
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C-suiters: Keep an eye on these technologies in 2017

Jan 10, 2017 1:44pm
From Pepper, the emotional interactive robot, to the new da Vinci Xi Integrated Table Motion to pipeline vaccines, ECRI Institute highlights 10 healthcare technologies C-suiters should keep an eye on in 2017.
The organization's annual watch list outlines technologies that hospital leaders should bring into their hospitals—and which ones to keep out. But separating the facts from the hype isn't easy, they note.
Pepper, for example, might be a pass thanks to its hefty price tag. But other emerging technologies, such as vaccines for chronic conditions such as diabetes, hold promise.  
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DirectTrust outlines health IT uncertainties in 2017

Jan 10, 2017 7:01am
Uncertainty is the only given that 2017 will bring for health information technology, according to a new report from DirectTrust.
The organization, an alliance of participants in the Direct Exchange network for health information exchange, pointed to five health IT trends to watch in 2017, with a focus on the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Republican promises to repeal ACA will fuel that uncertainty, especially if months of debate and controversy ensue without a replacement plan, writes president and CEO David C. Kibbe, MD.
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Mon Jan 9, 2017 | 6:35pm EST

St. Jude releases cyber updates for heart devices after U.S. probe

Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) moved to protect patients with its St. Jude heart implants against possible cyber attacks, releasing a software patch on Monday that the firm said will reduce the "extremely low" chance of them being hacked.
The company disclosed the moves some five months after the U.S. government launched a probe into claims the devices were vulnerable to potentially life-threatening hacks that could cause implanted devices to pace at potentially dangerous rates or cause them to fail by draining their batteries..
The Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Homeland Security said that St. Jude's software update addresses some, but not all, known cyber security problems in its heart devices.
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How best to include patients in clinical communications

Published January 10 2017, 4:04pm EST
Maintaining effective communication across the spectrum of care is crucial to the quality and efficiency of care delivery, yet communication disconnects plague the healthcare industry.
Poor clinical communication has been a prime cause of medical errors as detailed in successive Institute of Medicine reports. The problem may be far worse—a report by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine lists medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Medical communications are a generation behind any other mature industry. It is a crippling industry-wide flaw that has consequences for workflow, duplication and waste. It is a leading contributor to medical errors, care mis-coordination, and provider and patient frustration. It consumes scarce capital. And it is preventable.
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How to mitigate middleware security vulnerabilities

Published January 06 2017, 3:40pm EST
Middleware has great potential for mitigating healthcare IT interoperability issues. However, because it mediates network services to applications, middleware can also create major security issues—possibly enough to offset any benefits.
A need for healthcare providers to have easy access to patient data fueled the push for the widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHR) systems. In the days of paper records, patients would often show up at doctors’ offices or, worse yet, hospital emergency rooms with no paper trail; if they had never been to that facility before, their medical records were not available, leaving their new providers scrambling to treat them with an incomplete or non-existent medical history.
The goals of EHR systems were to increase the quality of patient care and reduce medical errors and costs by making patient medical data accessible to all healthcare providers they saw, regardless of where they were located or whether the patient had seen them before.
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IBM names 5 game-changing innovations

Big Blue casts the annual crop of 5 in 5 promising tech’s as breakthroughs expected to change the world as we know it.
January 05, 2017 02:13 PM
IBM revealed its roster of emerging technologies poised to have considerable impact on the world within five years. And three of them are healthcare-related.
The tech stalwart said it bases the 5 in 5 market and societal trends as well as technologies from IBM’s Research labs around the world that can make these transformations possible.
1. With AI, our words will be a window into our mental health. In five years, what we say and write will be used as indicators of our mental health and physical wellbeing. Patterns in our speech and writing analyzed by new cognitive systems will provide tell-tale signs of early-stage developmental disorders, mental illness and degenerative neurological diseases that can help doctors and patients better predict, monitor and track these conditions.
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HL7 CTO: How to set healthcare on FHIR

Wayne Kubick addresses the need for healthcare industry leaders to think differently and create a defense mentality to support FHIR’s power. And the biopharma industry just might be the best place to start.
January 06, 2017 07:25 AM 
HL7’s CTO Wayne Kubick said that the challenges FHIR faces are more cultural than technological. 
The current state of healthcare and the way clinical studies are conducted exists in separate systems and paper-based processes. And the datasets compiled from older systems are difficult to read or gather any tangible information.
FHIR can eliminate many of these issues, but the industry is reluctant to embrace change, according to HL7’s Chief Technology Officer Wayne Kubick.
“The FHIR platform is robust and I don’t think we’ve seen limitations to what FHIR can do," Kubick said. "The real challenge is to identify what it can do and what will give the industry the greatest benefits."
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Obama disappointed in medical data-sharing progress

Jan 9, 2017 10:37am
In a video interview, President Barack Obama says sharing data from electronic medical records is an area that hasn’t improved as much as he would have liked.
President Barack Obama says interoperability and data-sharing efforts haven’t gone as well as he had hoped they would under his signature healthcare reform law.
In a video interview with Vox, Obama said efforts to cut healthcare costs by reducing readmissions have been a success, fueled by financial incentives, common-sense, low-tech interventions such as follow-up phone calls and bipartisan support for value-based care efforts.
We’ve started to see “some real movement” when we pay for outcomes, he said. 
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What an interoperability leader predicts for 2017

Published January 09 2017, 3:15pm EST
David Kibbe, MD, CEO at DirectTrust, which offers the Direct Project secure messaging software, believes five overarching trends will influence the health information technology industry during 2017. His opinions are personal and do not reflect those of member organizations within DirectTrust.
Policymaking: Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and move Medicare toward fixed contributions could lead to months of inaction, during which investments in health IT and new innovations may lag.
IT momentum remains: While uncertainty discourages change, Kibbe doesn’t see major shocks to the health IT economy. “The themes of using health IT to improve care coordination, to manage patient populations through better collection and data use, and the value of advances in telemedicine will continue to be heard and supported by both the private sector and the federal government in a bipartisan fashion,” he says. Further, the newly enacted 21st Century Act will increase the transparency of health IT vendors and their products, while also discouraging the blocking of health information.
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How to make sure a telehealth program pays off

Published January 09 2017, 3:27pm EST
As the cost of healthcare increases and access decreases, hospitals and healthcare providers are searching for alternative methods of care delivery to supplement the existing care pathways. Over the last decade, telehealth technologies have emerged as a means to solve many of the concerns around access and cost.
Despite various barriers to growth – from reimbursement and regulatory barriers, to concerns around adoption, or lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of telehealth programs—data indicates that telehealth adoption is on the rise and shows no signs of slowing down.
As investors continue to fund the development of telehealth technologies, the number of hospitals using telemedicine is also increasing. According to the 2016 HIMSS Analytics Telemedicine study, about 45 percent of existing hospitals use some form of telehealth, which is expected to increase to about 53 percent by 2020. Still, many healthcare providers across the country are struggling to demonstrate both the financial and clinical value these programs bring to their hospitals and patients.
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EHR usage still too slow

Long-term care providers are feeling pressure to implement an EHR, despite facing hurdles like costs and resources. Many complain about a lack of options allowing interoperability with hospitals and o
Nursing homes and their counterparts in assisted living and other senior living settings may be sluggishly dipping their toes into the waters of electronic health records. 
But that hasn't stopped a highly motivated and, arguably, savant-level vendor community from building what many see as a linchpin of the new caregiving world.
Despite the bells, whistles and some amazing new features and efficiencies, however, adoption is not going fast enough for many.
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US IoT Working Group: IoT personalizes care, reduces cost in healthcare

Written by Jessica Kim Cohen | January 06, 2017 | Print | Email
The Internet of Things Working Group, co-chaired by U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.), has released its year-end report.
The working group was established to identify benefits and challenges facing IoT consumers and stakeholders, issues affecting deployment of IoT technologies and the potential role of the federal government in advancing IoT technology. In off-the-record roundtables, the working group determined IoT can personalize patient care, increase healthcare access and reduce overall costs.
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Physicians, patients at odds over value of health data

Jan 6, 2017 9:51am
Physicians and patients are at odds over the value of personal health data.
It’s a big disconnect: The vast majority of physicians say healthcare data is overwhelming, redundant and doesn’t make a difference in care quality. But most patients say their primary care physician's office should store any personal health data they ask them to.  
That’s according to a new Black Book research survey in which 94% of physicians said they’re deluged with what they think is useless data, while 91% of their tech-savvy patients want them to have more of it.
The survey also found that patients don't completely trust the privacy and security of health information technology such as electronic health records and patient portals.
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2017 emerges as pivotal year for FHIR interoperability standard

Published January 05 2017, 7:09am EST
Health Level Seven International’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) application programming interface is moving closer to becoming a mature standard, with the “normative” version slated for release sometime in 2017.
Standards are widely perceived as providing the greatest potential for achieving national health IT interoperability in the near future. In particular, FHIR is seen by industry stakeholders as a promising solution to the complex interoperability challenges that are confronting healthcare organizations.
Standard for Trial Use (STU) 3 is the next release of the FHIR specification before it reaches a normative level, which is defined by HL7 as content that has been subject to review/production implementation in a wide variety of environments, has been “frozen” and is considered to be stable.
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Patients don't trust health information technology

Jan 5, 2017 11:03am
A whopping 96% of consumers worry about the security of their financial information as data passes from providers to payers.
More than 50% of consumers are skeptical about the benefits of healthcare information technologies, including patient portals, mobile apps and electronic health records. And fully 70% of Americans distrust health technology, up sharply from just 10% in 2014.
High-profile cybersecurity incidents were part of the reason patient respondents don’t think providers are keeping their information private and secure, the Black Book research survey of more than 12,000 adults found.
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Global telemedicine market to hit $113B+ by 2025: 4 trends to note

Written by Anuja Vaidya (Twitter | Google+)  | January 03, 2017 | Print | Email
The global telemedicine market is anticipated to grow rapidly through 2025, according to a Grand View Research report.
Here are four market trends to note:
1. The global telemedicine market is expected to reach $113.1 billion by 2025.
2. Increasing incidences of chronic conditions and the rising demand for self-care are boosting market growth.
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The global state of eHealth: emerging trends and regulatory developments

What developments are shaping the interactions between technology and health? A look at how the rapidly growing E-Health space is advancing human welfare

Health and medicine specifically, have always been a domain at the forefront of human technological advancement, as motivated by the need to survive and adapt to infirmity.
The field is then understandably flourishing more than ever upon exposure to the new levels of innovation that the digital age brings, as evidenced by the rapid emergence of eHealth as a definitive startup category in its own right with an industry valuation of just over $85 billion in 2014.
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Enjoy!
David.

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