Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Sunday, June 26, 2022

We Seem To Have So Little Traction Being Seen With The #myHR The Time To Give Up Must Be Rapidly Approaching!

This appeared a few days ago.

My Health Record an expensive 'white elephant', critics say

A decade after its launch, only 12 per cent of My Health Record accounts are being accessed.

Andrew Gigacz Journalist

June 20, 2022

A federal government health initiative is now 10 years and has cost upwards of $2 billion. But in the eyes of many, it’s a white elephant and a failure.

Who remembers the cybersecurity and privacy concerns that plagued the introduction of My Health Record, the system that aimed to give healthcare providers up-to-date information at the touch of a button – especially important for older Australians with health issues? And the furore that resulted in new legislation in 2018 to allow you to opt in or opt out at any time?

My Health Record was ‘born’ in 2012 after then health minister Nicola Roxon announced the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) as a “key building block of the National Health and Hospitals Network”.

Going live on 1 July 2012, the PCEHR was part of the government’s policy to develop a lifetime electronic health record for all Australians. Its name changed to a more user-friendly My Health Record, but that did not alter the reputation it had already gained of being not user-friendly.

A decade later, and many are asking if My Health Record has been another government white elephant. The Australian Digital Health Agency’s latest annual report reveals that only 2.69 million of the 23 million people registered for a My Health Record accessed it in 2020-21.

That figure is actually an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year, but that increase was largely driven by people accessing COVID vaccination records and test results.

Why is it that only 12 per cent of registered My Health Record users are actually accessing their records?

A major factor appears to be a serious lack of actual records. Leanne Wells, CEO of the Consumers Health Forum (CHF), said day-to-day health records from consultations, emergency department visits, hospital discharges, pathology and diagnostic testing were still missing from many records.

“These items represent the vital health information that should be shared between health service providers, however, consumers report that their expectations are not met when these are not visible, or are only visible on supply from some, but not all, providers,” Ms Wells said.

While most patients appear to be more than willing for their health information to be shared with and between healthcare providers, the providers are, in general, not doing so.

“The lack of sharing and access to relevant health information causes frustration and concerns about safety and quality of care,” Ms Wells said.

Asked why health providers were not uploading relevant documents, Ms Wells pointed to issues with system design that made uploading records a less than straightforward process for clinicians and GPs in particular.

Alexandra Mullins, a PhD candidate with Monash University’s school of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, conducted a survey in an attempt to identify the barriers prevented a greater uptake in My Health Record usage.

The results of the research, published by the National Library of Medicine, identified several factors, including outdated content, a lack of trust, a low perception of value, no patient record and multiple medical record systems.

Study participants said training and a simple raising of awareness were needed to improve My Health Record use in the emergency departments – a need stressed by physicians.

More here:


At the end of the article the author describes giving the #myHR a try and not being much impressed!

Here is the abstract of the paper referred to above:

Health Inf Sci Syst  2021 Apr 16;9(1):19.

doi: 10.1007/s13755-021-00148-6. eCollection 2021 Dec.

Physicians' and pharmacists' use of My Health Record in the emergency department: results from a mixed-methods study

Alexandra K Mullins  1 Heather Morris  1 Cate Bailey  1 Michael Ben-Meir  1   2   3 David Rankin  2 Mariam Mousa  1 Helen Skouteris  1   4


Purpose: This study aimed to explore pharmacists' and physicians' perceptions of use, barriers to use and the healthcare outcomes associated with use of Australia's national personally controlled electronic health record-known as My Health Record-in the emergency department.

Methods: A mixed methods approach was deployed, including surveys and individual semi-structured interviews. All physicians and pharmacists who work in the emergency department at Cabrini Health (a non-for-profit healthcare provider in Victoria, Australia) were invited to participate. Due to the timing of elective blocks, physician trainees were excluded from interviews.

Results: A total of 40 emergency medicine clinicians responded to the survey. Over 50% (n = 22) of all respondents had used My Health Record in the emergency department at least once. A total of 18 clinicians participated in the semi-structured interviews, which led to the identification of three themes with multiple sub-themes regarding My Health Record: (1) benefits; (2) effectiveness; and; (3) barriers.

Conclusion: Participants reported My Health Record use in the emergency department delivers efficiencies for clinicians and has a heightened utility for complex patients, consistent with previous research conducted outside of the Australian setting. Barriers to use were revealed: outdated content, a lack of trust, a low perception of value, no patient record and multiple medical record systems. The participants in this study highlighted that training and awareness raising is needed in order to improve My Health Record use in the emergency department, a need stressed by physician's. Further observational research is required to explores meaningful MHR use at scale.

Here is the link:


The conclusion says it all I reckon with a large range of problems identified.

All in all the #myHR continues for be an epic and expensive fail! You have to wonder when the light will dawn!


P. S.  For a bit of amusement you can read more here:

Big data in Healthcare- Where is Australia placed?

Aditi Sarkar  Author

Shaghil Bilali  Editor


  • An analysis of big data can provide insights for improved decision-making and making strategic business moves
  • Improved patient outcomes, managing mass diseases, and predictive analysis in healthcare are some of the applications of big data in healthcare
  • More than 90% of Australian residents have a My Health Record, an electronic patient record system

See the full article here:


For myself I have no idea what the author and editor are thinking or on about! Let me kow if you have a clue!


AusHealthIT Poll Number 637– Results – 26th June, 2022.

Here are the results of the poll.

Do You Believe Most Patients See Value And Utility In The #myHR To Support And Co-ordinate Their Care?

Yes                                           6 (10%)

No                                          56 (90%)

I Have No Idea                       0 (0%)

Voters: 62

Very clear cut vote suggesting that very few see much value in the #myHealthRecord in helping them manage their health.

Any insights on the poll are welcome, as a comment, as usual!

A fair number of votes. and a very clear outcome. 

0 of 62 who answered the poll admitted to not being sure about the answer to the question!

Again, many, many thanks to all those who voted! 



Saturday, June 25, 2022

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links – 25th June, 2022.

Here are a few I came across last week.

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.



Epic Virtual Care Solution Delivers Strong Patient Experience, Integration

Epic customers said a unified system where patients can access their EHR data and receive virtual care has enhanced the patient experience.

By Hannah Nelson

June 17, 2022 - Of the fully rated EHR-centric virtual care solutions, Epic’s received the highest overall customer ratings due to the platform’s ability to support a strong patient experience, according to a KLAS report.

Epic customers noted improvements in patient usability now that they can access Epic Telehealth through a web browser rather than a specific app.

Multiple customers also pointed to the “deep integration” benefits of the Epic platform. Respondents said having a unified system that allows patients to schedule appointments, access records, and see their doctor virtually gives patients more power and confidence in the health IT, leading to higher adoption.

Healthcare organizations said this increased adoption has enabled them to treat patients who wouldn’t otherwise have received needed care.



What can lesser-digitised trusts learn from recent EPR deployments?

Recent electronic patient record (EPR) targets have shown more of a focus on the less digitally mature NHS trusts. In light of this, Dr Anna Bayes, international medical director at Altera Digital Health explores what the lesser-digitised trusts can learn from recent EPR deployments.

DHI News Team – 16 Jun 2022

The recent segmentation of trusts as part of NHS England’s Frontline Digitisation Programme shows the relative stage that health providers across the country are at on their journey towards being paper-free at the point of care using digital technology. Whilst only an indicator, the various digital maturity groups highlight trusts that are excelling in digitisation and help stratify those at other stages of their digital maturity. For those procuring or in the early stages of deploying an EPR, this benchmarked data will help ensure their leaders have evidence to support investment decisions.

The need for digital transformation

Historically, digital transformation in the NHS has taken longer than any of the stakeholders would have hoped. Designing, configuring, and implementing a clinical system to optimise clinical workflows for multiple professionals and specialties across a busy acute hospital whilst maintaining 24/7 care was never going to be straightforward. Engaging future users in this work is essential in ensuring buy-in for changes in processes and sustained adoption of new systems. Having the programme led by clinical and operations teams with significant buy in is crucial.  Even after initial deployment, the work is not complete; the journey to full digital transformation is just beginning. The ongoing need for training, and tweaks to configuration and optimisation, requires sustained effort and clinical leadership.



Government publishes final data strategy for healthcare

A new strategy has been launched by the government to drive transformation in health and care by reshaping the way data is used.

Jordon Sollof 13 Jun 2022

The strategy, titled ‘Data Saves Lives: Reshaping Health and Social Care with Data’, was originally published in draft form in June 2021 and a year later, the full document has been published on 13 June 2022. The strategy focuses on seven principles to harness the data driven power and innovation seen during the pandemic to drive transformation.

The seven principles set out are:

·         Improving trust in the health and care systems’ use of data

·         Giving health and care professionals the information they need to provide the best care

·         Improving data for adult social care

·         Supporting local decision makers with data

·         Empowering researchers with the data they need to develop life changing treatments and diagnostics

·         Working with partners to develop innovations that improve health and care

·         Developing the right technical infrastructure

Health Secretary to introduce the strategy

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid will launch the strategy at London Tech Week’s HealthTech Summit.

He is expected to say: “We will improve trust in data, which is the currency that data-driven technologies need to function.



How technology can help providers fight back against the opioid epidemic

A pharmacotherapy expert walks readers through the ways different forms of heath IT can help detect and track prescription drug abuse – and prevent it.

By Bill Siwicki

June 17, 2022 11:15 AM

Healthcare information technology has opened new doors to understanding opioid addiction, but there still are areas where data and innovation can help medical professionals better handle this crisis, contends Reema Hammoud, PharmD, assistant vice president of clinical pharmacy at Sedgwick, a vendor of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a major health crisis that has taken center stage, but the still-rising opioid crisis is a large-scale epidemic that cannot be overlooked. It is a crisis in desperate need of innovative solutions, and certainly technology can be one sector that provides them.

Healthcare IT News interviewed Hammoud to discuss the opioid crisis and IT, specifically, metrics to track potential abuse and abuse mitigation strategies providers can pursue, and the best ways to proceed and how health IT can help when there is no one-size-fits-all approach for pain management or addressing substance use disorder.

Q. You say there are metrics healthcare professionals can use to track potential abuse. What are they, where can they be obtained and what role can health IT play here?

A. It's no surprise that drug abuse in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, the CDC recently released a report that found overdoses involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids surpassed 71,000, which is up 23% from the previous year, as well as a 23% increase in deaths involving cocaine and a 34% increase in deaths involving methamphetamines and other stimulants.



Epic will sign on with TEFCA

The EHR giant says its 2,000 hospitals and 45,000 clinics will now have the ability to participate in the nationwide interoperability framework developed by ONC and The Sequoia Project.

By Mike Miliard

June 17, 2022 10:32 AM

On Thursday Epic announced that it will join the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, and that when the application process opens later this year it will apply to connect to TEFCA as an inaugural Qualified Health Information Network.

The Verona, Wisconsin-based health IT colossus says joining the new information exchange network will enable its vast cross-section of provider customers to broaden and streamline interoperability nationwide, helping "ensure that all people benefit from complete, longitudinal health records wherever they receive care."

Epic says it worked with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, along with TEFCA's recognized coordinating entity, the Sequoia Project, on the project, and plans to collaborate with the other healthcare organizations around the country to "build consensus around the principles and procedures of TEFCA."

The company's data exchange footprint across its own provider base today is large, with customers in its Care Everywhere network exchanging more than 10 million patient charts every day – half of them with organizations that use different IT systems, according to Epic. The majority of these provider clients also share data through the Carequality framework, which includes about 70% of U.S. hospitals.



Study Proves Value of Telehealth in Addressing Rural Health Disparities

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  |   June 17, 2022

A three-year study in rural Alaska has shown that a telehealth program can help children access specialist services for hearing issues much better than the traditional in-person referral process.

A telehealth program in Alaska that enabled rural children to access hearing specialists is proof that the platform can reduce rural disparities in access to care, according to supporters.

The Hearing Norton Sound study, conducted in 15 rural Alaskan communities from 2017-20, allowed children to connect with specialists for diagnosis and treatment of hearing problems. Roughly 1,500 children in the Bering Strait School District in the northwest part of the state participated in the study, and those using telehealth were treated to follow-up care 17.6% faster than those receiving standard primary care referrals.

“This trial has notable broad public health implications,” Susan D. Emmett, MD, MPH, director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Center for Hearing Health Equity, which conducted the study, said in a press release. “While we focused on school hearing screening, the model of specialty telemedicine referral is applicable to other preventable health conditions. Importantly, this novel telemedicine model promotes early access to specialists in an effort to decrease health disparities.”



APIs Need to Enhance Clinical Workflows, Improve Patient Care

To motivate patient and provider adoption, API-enabled apps should focus on improving clinical workflows and advancing patient care. 

By Sarai Rodriguez

June 15, 2022 - Healthcare providers and patients are seeking APIs and apps that can improve clinical workflows and enhance patient care processes, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) App Developer and Data Integrator Perspectives on APIs report.

“Together with the ONC Cures Act Final Rule and CMS Promoting Interoperability Programs, health IT developers are encouraged to support a more interoperable health IT ecosystem,” ONC officials Mera Choi, Stephanie Garcia, Chelsea Richwine, Christian Johnson, and Brittney Boakye wrote in a HealthITBuzz blog.

“As a result, we see a growing number of third-party app developers emerging in the marketplace to create health apps that gather and exchange data from electronic health records (EHRs), devices, and related systems,” the ONC officials continued.

Even though the use of proprietary APIs, standardized APIs (such as FHIR and FHIR Bulk Data Access APIs), and apps by patients and providers is limited, there is an evolving landscape with steady progress towards greater adoption and use of APIs and apps.



Report: Third of top hospitals' websites collecting patient data for Facebook

By Dave Muoio

Jun 17, 2022 05:35am

Facebook has been collecting potentially sensitive health data through a tracker that, until recently, was included in the online scheduling tools of roughly a third of the country’s top hospitals, according to a new report from nonprofit investigative newsroom The Markup.

Called the Meta Pixel, the tracker is an analytics tool Facebook’s parent company offers website owners. In exchange for social media advertising information, the tracker sends the tech company data on users’ IP addresses and webpage activity.

The Markup reviewed the appointment scheduling webpages of 100 leading hospitals and found the Meta Pixel on 33, according to the report. These hospitals collectively saw over 26 million patient admissions and outpatient visits in 2020, per American Hospital Association survey data cited by the publication.

The group also found the tracker within the password-protected patient portals of seven major health systems, five of which they were able to document sending the personal data of real volunteer patients.



Ponemon Institute: Just 16% of enterprises have mature IAM programs

That should be a "wake-up call to C-level executives," says an exec from Saviynt, which sponsored the survey, since it "fuels the risk of rising identity and access-related attacks and their financial consequences."

By Mike Miliard

June 16, 2022 09:15 AM

More than half (56%) of respondents to a recent Ponemon Institute survey reported an average of three identity-related data breaches over the past two years. That could be because so few organizations in healthcare and elsewhere are adequately investing in identity and access management technologies, the report suggests.

The report shows just 16% of respondents having a fully mature IAM plan in place, according to Saviynt, which develops identity governance tools and sponsored the survey. That's defined, the company says, as an organization having fully operational IAM programs with skilled workers and C-level and board executive awareness.

The other 84%? They're "currently dealing with inadequate budgets, programs stuck in a planning phase and lack of senior-level awareness," according to Saviynt.

Of those poll respondents who'd expired identity and access-related cyberattacks, 52% indicated that the breach was due to lack of comprehensive identity controls or policies.



Among Clinicians, Perceptions of Telehealth Affect Remote Care Utilization Rates

Analysis  |  By Christopher Cheney  |   June 16, 2022

A new study compared the telehealth perceptions of mental health, primary care, and specialty care clinicians, as well as use of video versus phone telehealth.


·         Mental health clinicians gave video care the highest rating, and they had a greater preference for treating new and established patients remotely with video.

·         Primary care and specialty care clinicians had a greater likelihood of rating the quality of phone care as at least equivalent to video care for new and established patients.

·         Perceptions of telehealth vary between mental health (MH), primary care (PC), and specialty care (SC) clinicians, with an impact on remote care utilization rates, a new research article says.

Utilization of video and phone telehealth has expanded exponentially during the coronavirus pandemic as a way to limit patient and staff exposure to infection. Clinician perceptions about telehealth may affect utilization—a survey conducted early in the pandemic found Veterans Health Administration PC and SC clinicians were more likely to prefer phone over video care but MH clinicians were inclined to prefer video care.

The new research article, which was published by JAMA Network Open, features survey data collected from more than 800 clinicians in the Department of Veterans Affairs New England Healthcare System, which serves about 260,000 veterans annually. The survey was conducted from August to September 2021.



Technology Optimizes Transfers from Lower to Higher Acuity Care

Analysis  |  By Scott Mace  |   June 15, 2022

A statewide program launched in Arizona during the pandemic allowed hospitals to manage their capacity and track bed use, ensuring that transfers were handled expediently and no hospital 'ran out of space.'


·         During the height of the pandemic, many hospitals across the country struggled to track bed use and transfers so that they always had room available for new patients.

·         In Arizona, a statewide project used a new technology platform to manage transfers and bed use, ensuring that patients were housed in the right place and that hospitals weren't running out of available beds.

·         These types of platforms will become more commonplace as health systems look to technology to close gaps in care and better manage their operations.

The pandemic may have highlighted the shortcomings of the nation's healthcare system in shifting resources and patients to optimize care, but it also spurred the development of new technology and strategies to solve those problems. Health systems are now embracing new platforms that reduce silos and improve both care coordination and management.

HealthLeaders recently sat down to talk to Darin Vercillo, MD, a practicing board-certified hospitalist at Davis Hospital and Medical Center (owned by Steward Health Care) in Layton, Utah, and the medical director of the hospitalist division of the Physician Group of Utah. He's also co-founder and chief medical officer of ABOUT Healthcare, a digital health company that partnered with the state of Arizona during the pandemic to improve surge capacity and bed management throughout the state.



5 Takeaways from the ONC SDOH Learning Forum

Analysis  |  By Laura Beerman  |   June 16, 2022

The agency's latest information exchange series addressed SDOH technical infrastructure and interoperability.


·         The ONC hosted the latest webinar from its SDOH Information Exchange Learning Forum.

·         The June event featured SDOH Technical Infrastructure and Interoperability.

·         Highlights include SDOH data standard advancements, medical-social fragmentation and how strategic interoperability can help, and presentations by three groups working in this space.

The website for the learning forum from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) features its past and future events, including the most recent on Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Technical Infrastructure and Interoperability. The following are five takeaways from that webinar.

  1. The ONC forum spans five topics relevant to payers and all healthcare stakeholders

From the ONC website, the topics include:

  • Governance
  • Technical infrastructure
  • Interoperability
  • Financing
  • Policy considerations

The ONC has provided a primer summarizing this scope.



The Latest in Healthcare Innovation? Tiny Robots

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  |   June 16, 2022

Nanotechnology is moving from fiction to reality, with at least two universities studying the use of miniature robots inside the body to treat diseases and address other health concerns.

Fans of Fantastic Voyage take heart: The innovative nanotechnology featured in the 1966 movie about miniaturized doctors entering a human body may actually be coming true—sort of.

Researchers at both Stanford University and Purdue University have recently published studies on the use of miniaturized robots inserted into the body to treat certain health concerns. The robots could be used to delivered timed doses of medicine, chart the course of a tumor or disease, or even remove obstructions such as blood clots.

While nanotechnology has long been a popular topic in fiction, from Michael Crichton's 2003 novel Prey to the most recent James Bond movie No Time to Die, it's starting to show up in the real world. Several programs over the past few years have focused on the development of pills fitted with digital health sensors that are ingested and used to deliver timed doses of medicine and/or track vital signs and medication results, though the digital health company best known for developing that technology, Proteus, filed for bankruptcy in 2020.



Is Text Messaging the Best Patient Outreach Tool for COVID-19 Vaccines?

Researchers found that text messages were just as effective as phone calls, with both COVID-19 vaccine patient outreach strategies yielding the same response rate of nearly 3 percent.

By Sarai Rodriguez

June 15, 2022 - Using text messaging for COVID-19 vaccine patient outreach was as effective as direct phone calls in getting patients to seek out the vaccine, according to new research published in JAMA Network Open, but is likely the best option considering the limited resources most organizations have.

Despite ample public health efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates, uptake remains sparse, especially for minorities.

As of April 5, 2022, only 57 percent of Black people across the country have received at least one shot, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Lower vaccination rates in these minority populations scan further disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, the researchers stated.



Oracle’s Cerner Acquisition Set to Transform EHR Usability

Oracle and Cerner will modernize the Millennium EHR system through a voice-user interface and integrated telehealth module.

By Hannah Nelson

June 15, 2022 - Oracle's acquisition of EHR vendor Cerner is set to transform EHR usability through the development of a health management information system with a voice-user interface, Larry Ellison, chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle, said in a virtual event on Thursday.  

"Cerner and Oracle have all the technology required to build a revolutionary new health management information system in the cloud," Ellison said. "That system will deliver much better information to healthcare professionals."

Ellison noted that today's health management systems are hospital-centric instead of patient-centric.

"Every hospital or hospital system buys its own and operates its own information system," he said. "Your electronic health data is scattered across a dozen or two dozen separate databases, one for every provider you've ever visited."



Cybersecurity Professionals Identify Top Cloud Computing Security Risks

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) released a report outlining the top cloud computing security risks that cybersecurity experts frequently encounter.

By Jill McKeon

June 15, 2022 - The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) released this year’s “Top Threats to Cloud Computing” report, outlining the most prevalent security concerns that trouble cybersecurity experts today. Researchers observed an apparent shift in perceptions of cloud security responsibilities from the cloud service provider (CSP) to the cloud adopter.  

Some of the most traditional cloud security concerns, such as denial-of-service, CSP data loss, and shared technology vulnerabilities, were rated significantly lower than in years past.

“New, highly rated items in the survey point to cloud adopters as the weak links,” the report noted.

CSA found that many of the top concerns were “directly in the user’s control: identity and access management, cryptography, configuration management, poor coding practices and ignoring cloud direction.”



Health IT execs skeptical of Oracle's lofty vision to build national medical records system

By Heather Landi

Jun 14, 2022 09:30pm

A unified digital health record system for American patients has long been considered the "holy grail" for the healthcare industry. And, like the medieval legend, it's been a quest embarked on by countless health IT leaders and industry groups over decades.

Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison's vision to use the power of Cerner to build a national health records database is a lofty ambition, and it's an aspiration that will take an unprecedented level of collaboration to execute, health IT execs told Fierce Healthcare.

Ellison's announcement last week, on the heels of its $28 billion deal to pick up the electronic health record company, was met by a healthy dose of skepticism by interoperability experts who have been striving for years to build technical "roadways" to make it easier to access and share health data.

"The concept is not new, and the barriers still remain," Patrick Murta, a health IT leader and chief platform architect at digital health company BehaVR, told Fierce Healthcare. "Saying that you're going to build a national database and bringing that to fruition is a different story. This particular model is going to face the same barriers that have been there for many years and there's no easy path to overcome those barriers quickly."



HIMSS22 Europe: ‘Digitalisation must address health inequalities – not cause them’

A panel of experts gathered at #HIMSS22Europe to discuss how to build stronger, more sustainable, and equitable healthcare systems post-COVID.

By Tammy Lovell

June 15, 2022 10:45 AM

There was a sense of hope, combined with an awareness of the challenges ahead, as global health experts convened to discuss the topic of ‘Humanity's Moment for Reimagining Health and Care’ in the keynote session at HIMSS22 European Conference today in Helsinki (15 June).

The speakers were: Adam Niedzielski, Minister of Health, Poland; Elad Benjamin, business leader, clinical data services, Philips, Israel; Maria Hassel, senior advisor and international coordinator, Swedish eHealth Agency; Laura Létourneau, co-head of digital health ministerial delegation, French Ministry of Solidarity and Health; Aki Lindén, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, Finland; Simon Bolton, chief executive, NHS Digital, UK; Isabelle Kumar, former Euronews anchor, disability rights campaigner, president of Autisme, Ambition, Avenir, France; Dr Ilona Lundström, director general, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Finland; Hal Wolf, president and chief executive officer (CEO), HIMSS, US; Marco Foracchia, chief information officer (CIO) Azienda USL di Reggio Emilia, Italy

“Fundamentally there is now an opportunity for Europe in particular to accelerate digital transformation,” said HIMSS president and CEO, Hal Wolf, opening the session. “There is a spirit of innovation, creativity and the opportunity to re-imagine what we do, fundamentally born out of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Reimagining health and care

Dr Ilona Lundström, director general, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, said it was “time for collaboration” as she welcomed delegates to the conference on behalf of the Finnish government.



Europe’s medicines watchdog publishes new report identifying COVID-19 lessons learned

The European Medicines Agency’s annual report looks back on painpoints and progress in 2021.

June 15, 2022 01:35 AM

The report described the continued approval of vaccines to combat COVID-19, the strengthening of cyber-capabilities in the wake of a 2020 attack, and the extension of the agency’s mandate.


In 2021, the European Commission, Parliament and Council gave the EMA greater tools enabling it to both support innovation and respond to emergencies, in an acknowledgement of the agency’s vital role in tackling the pandemic.

The EMA approved five treatments and four new vaccines against COVID-19. It also passed regulation on medical devices—a year later than planned because of the pandemic—and took steps towards developing an information network designed to generate data about health patterns across the continent, called the Data Analysis and Real World Interrogation Network (DARWIN EU).

But 2021 was a challenging year for Europe’s medical regulator. A lessons-learned exercise on its response to COVID-19 said that the EMA needed to improve collection and coordination of health data, and enhance data analytics so as to build public trust in vaccines and other medicines, among other findings.



Top Healthcare IT Priorities: Implementing Zero Trust, Ensuring File Transfers are Secure, and of Course HIPAA!

June 15, 2022

The following is a guest article by Richard Barretto, Chief Information Security Officer Progress.

Files and Documents are a cybercriminal gold mine. 

neglect their most vital assets: files, documents, and records. Securing the data held within these files is the most critical hurdle, especially since these files move around like a college kid on holiday in Europe.

These files are where most Protected Health Information (PHI) is contained, and if not fully protected not only exposes this sensitive data and harms the individual, it opens your organization up to expensive and embarrassing HIPAA fines and actions. This data MUST be protected and SHOULD be encrypted at rest AND in transit.

Healthcare Breaches Cost More Than Just Fines

Healthcare breaches, at $9.23 million per incident, are the most expensive of any industry, according to a IBM/Ponemon analysis reported in a Beckers Hospital Review blog. Meanwhile, “Nearly half (44 percent) of the breaches analyzed in the report exposed customer personal data, including healthcare information, names, emails and passwords,” IBM found.

Here are some examples of sensitive health data that must be protected:

  • Patient appointment reminders
  • Medical reports
  • Big data e.g. medical images
  • Billing and payment data
  • Regulatory compliance reports
  • Compliance reports
  • Claims submissions



HHS Issues Guidelines on Audio-Only Telehealth Use

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  |   June 14, 2022

The Health and Human Services Department's Office for Civil Rights has released guidelines on how healthcare providers can use audio-only telehealth platforms, including the phone, that meet requirements set forth by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Federal officials are cracking down on healthcare organizations using audio-only telehealth platforms – such as the telephone – to deliver healthcare services.

The Health and Human Services Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has released guidance on how providers can use "remote communication technologies to provide audio-only telehealth services" without running afoul of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which focuses on how sensitive health information is disclosed over various communications channels.

“Audio telehealth is an important tool to reach patients in rural communities, individuals with disabilities, and others seeking the convenience of remote options," OCR Director Lisa J. Pino said in a press release. "This guidance explains how the HIPAA Rules permit health care providers and plans to offer audio telehealth while protecting the privacy and security of individuals’ health information.”



HHS offers guidance for HIPAA-compliant audio telehealth

June 13, 2022 By Jim Hammerand

The HIPAA Security Rule does not apply to audio-only telehealth services provided via landline, but does apply to calls over cellular and internet connections. (Imagy by Frederik Lipfert on Unsplash)

The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today issued guidance on providing audio-only telehealth services in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

“Audio telehealth is an important tool to reach patients in rural communities, individuals with disabilities, and others seeking the convenience of remote options,” Office for Civil Rights Director Lisa Pino said in a news release. “This guidance explains how the HIPAA rules permit health care providers and plans to offer audio telehealth while protecting the privacy and security of individuals’ health information.”

HHS said the guidance is meant to ensure patients benefit from audio-only telehealth by clarifying for providers how covered entities can provide telehealth services, as well as by improving public confidence that providers are maintaining patient privacy and health information security.



Unlocking Flexibility in Cloud Data Governance

By Prangya Pandab

A data governance strategy allows an organization to gain greater trust and loyalty from current and future customers and provide flexibility in the cloud.

Storing company data in the cloud can be empowering, and it also allows businesses to pivot rapidly and be proactive while non-cloud enterprises must zigzag. A clear data governance strategy – data management best practices for stewardship and quality – is essential. A data governance policy can help the company earn more trust and loyalty from existing and future consumers while also providing the company with more flexibility in the cloud.

Here are a few significant data governance considerations and benefits.

All of the Data in One Place

A cloud-based database can be highly flexible, but only if organizations don’t develop small, segregated databases that neither IT nor marketing are aware of. Organizations often shift data to other cloud environments for reporting and analysis using various tools. Since all data is kept in the same cloud environment, the business can save money on licensing fees and time training the workforce.

Not to add, having all of the data in one location makes it easy for team members to find the right information to use when tailoring customer experiences, which the consumers will appreciate.



The challenges of telemental health, and how they can be overcome

Mental healthcare may be among the more intuitive specialties to deliver via telemedicine – but privacy demands, technology difficulties and the need for safe places deter some from taking advantage.

Bill Siwicki

June 14, 2022

Of all the medical specialties impacted by telemedicine during the course of the pandemic, perhaps the one with the most wholesale and lasting effects is behavioral and mental health.

Mental health appointments do not typically involve any collection of vitals or specimens, nor do they absolutely require a face-to-face meeting, although therapists can observe physical cues from the whole body in person. Just talking via video, or even just audio, is enough.

We talked with Dr. Janice Johnston, chief medical officer and cofounder of Redirect Health, a telehealth technology and services company, to get her expert observations regarding:

  • The biggest ways telehealth is changing America's treatment of mental health. 
  • What impact increased telehealth accessibility has had on mental health treatment. 
  • The challenges telehealth presents in treating mental health.
  • The improvements that can be made to telehealth for the treatment of mental health.

Q. What are the biggest ways telehealth is changing the U.S.'s treatment of mental health issues?

A. Before COVID-19 and historically in the U.S., there has been a negative stigma around receiving mental healthcare. While there have been a lot of movements and campaigns attempting to try and stamp out the stigma, many people have been deterred from seeking professional help due to a lack of coverage in healthcare plans, high copays and fear.



Digital Transformation in Healthcare Begins with Tackling Legacy

June 14, 2022

Colin Hung

The first step towards a digital transformation isn’t to adopt new technology. To truly transform, healthcare organizations need to first deal with legacy thinking, legacy culture, and legacy processes that surround legacy technology. Get that right and the road to transformation becomes faster and smoother.

Healthcare IT Today recently had the opportunity to discuss the topic of legacy in healthcare organizations with Lisa Esch, Chief of Strategy, Innovation and Provider Industry Solutions at NTT DATA Services.

Legacy is more than technology

Right off the bat, Esch expanded what the term legacy really means: “When we think about healthcare and just even the business of healthcare, there is a lot of legacy there. There’s tradition, there’s legacy systems, and there’s processes. Legacy is more than just IT systems. It’s the people. It’s the culture.”

Consider, for example, the process around assessing the cybersecurity risk of vendors. When Ransomware was only something out of a Hollywood movie script, healthcare organizations would occasionally do an assessment, usually when a contract was about to expire. That approach clearly needs to change given the cyber reality of today’s operating environment.



Consortium Unveils Guidelines for Using Digital Twin Technology

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  |   June 10, 2022

The Digital Twin Consortium has created a framework for the use of digital twin technology, which is just now being adopted in healthcare to help providers improve care management.

The Digital Twin Consortium has unveiled a document designed to help healthcare organizations using the innovative digital health platform to improve clinical care.

Reality Capture: A Digital Twin Foundation lays out the groundwork for using the technology, which essentially uses sensors and AI to create a digital twin of an object, room, building or landscape, for use in planning and design. In healthcare, the strategy focuses on developing a digital twin of a patient, which can then be used to test the effectiveness of treatments before they're tried on the patient.

“Reality capture technologies play an important role in providing context and, depending on the scenario, delivering real, on-time decision support for situational awareness," Dan Isaacs, chief technical officer of the Boston-based organization, said in a press release. "This in turn enriches digital twin predictive accuracy and outcomes. Situational awareness serves to augment event intelligence for timely, high confidence, data driven, and evidence-based decision making."



How to manage artificial intelligence risk and security: Focus on five priorities

GUEST COLUMN by Avivah Litan

In most organizations, artificial intelligence models are “black boxes,” where only data scientists understand what exactly AI does. That can create significant risk for organizations.

Large, sensitive datasets are often used to train AI models, creating privacy and data breach risks. The use of AI increases an organization’s threat vectors and broadens its attack surface. AI further creates new opportunities for benign mistakes that adversely affect model and business outcomes.

Risks that are not understood cannot be mitigated. A recent Gartner survey of chief information security officers reveals that most organizations have not considered the new security and business risks posed by AI or the new controls they must institute to mitigate those risks. AI demands new types of risk and security management measures and a framework for mitigation.

Here are the top five priorities that security and risk leaders should focus on to effectively manage AI risk and security within their organizations:



SIIM: AI can help simplify radiology reports for patients

By Amerigo Allegretto, AuntMinnie.com staff writer
June 11, 2022

KISSIMMEE, FL - Artificial intelligence (AI) can help simplify medical language for patients undergoing chest CT imaging, a presenter explained on June 10 at the Society for Imaging Informatics (SIIM) annual meeting.

In his talk, Pratheek Bobba from Yale University presented a proof of concept showing how publicly available AI algorithms shaped to parameters set by researchers help eliminate medical jargon in radiology reports and in turn, could help patients adhere to health guidelines more.

"We think that patients who can wrap their minds around radiology findings are more likely to be better engaged and have better clinical outcomes," Bobba said.

While radiology reports contain vital health information for patients, verbiage used in reports equate to college-level language. The resulting confusion can lead to patients not adhering to report recommendations, leading to costly, avoidable follow-up visits.

A 2020 study found that lung cancer screening adherence is at about 55% and called for interventions toward patients with lower education levels.



Industry Voices—Why the industry needs to solidify the definition of 'digital therapeutic'

By Daniel Knecht

Jun 13, 2022 02:01pm

Digital therapeutics are here to stay. The promise of improved access to care and novel treatments for conditions with high unmet needs will likely allow this treatment category to flourish, despite some of the challenges and complexities they present.

One of the first complexities is defining digital therapeutics. How are they different from your average wellness app? To start, the sheer number of available assets is notable. While there are over 350,000 digital health apps currently available, there are currently only 48 commercially available digital therapeutics.

Digital therapeutics must provide a form of clinical intervention, from improving a health function to managing a disease, and include both prescription and over-the-counter solutions. Digital health is a much broader category and spans a wide range of uses, from applications in general wellness to applications as a medical device.

Types of digital therapeutics

These novel treatment options represent a diverse landscape of evidence-based digital interventions that can prevent, manage or treat a broad spectrum of physical, mental and behavioral conditions. They are designed to help treat disease by either complementing or replacing other therapies (i.e., pharmacological) and may employ strategies rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy.



Oracle, Cerner plan to build national medical records database as Larry Ellison pitches bold vision for healthcare

By Heather Landi

Jun 10, 2022 08:22pm

Oracle's chairman Larry Ellison outlined a bold vision Thursday for the database giant to use the combined tech power of Oracle and Cerner to make access to medical records more seamless.

Days after closing its $28.3 billion acquisition of electronic health record company Cerner, Ellison said Oracle plans to build a national health record database that would pull data from thousands of hospital-centric EHRs.

In a virtual briefing Thursday, Ellison highlighted many long-standing problems with interoperability in healthcare. "Your electronic health data is scattered across a dozen or separate databases. One for every provider you've ever visited. This patient data fragmentation and EHR fragmentation causes tremendous problems," he said.

"We're going to solve this problem by putting a unified national health records database on top of all of these thousands of separate hospital databases. So we're building a system where the health records all American citizens' health records not only exist at the hospital level but also are in a unified national health records database."



New health data strategy announced for England

NHS will establish TREs and give patients more control over their data.

By Tammy Lovell

June 13, 2022 11:08 AM

Patients in England will have greater access to GP records through the NHS App and power over how their data is used, following the launch of the new health in data strategy.

Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data, published by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) today, contains commitments to simplify the opt-out processes for data sharing and improve access to GP records in the NHS App by November 2022.

Launching the strategy at London Tech Week’s HealthTech Summit, health secretary Sajid Javid announced that following a £200 million investment, trusted research environments (TREs) – a form of secure data environments would be established “to better enable researchers to securely access linked NHS data while maintaining the highest levels of privacy and security.”

He added that the public will be consulted on a new ‘data pact’, setting out how the healthcare system will use patient data.



Telehealth is critical to our healthier future

June 13, 2022 06:00 AM

Sally Pipes

Earlier this month, a group of 17 House Republicans released several ideas for modernizing the healthcare system, improving access to care, and lowering costs.

One of the proposals — safeguarding expanded access to telehealth — could help achieve all three of those goals. Lawmakers would do well to relax permanently the telehealth restrictions that were temporarily waived during the pandemic. Those waivers have eliminated onerous barriers to virtual care. For example, Medicare beneficiaries no longer have to travel to a designated healthcare facility just to connect with their physician online. Waivers have also allowed patients in many states to schedule virtual appointments with doctors licensed in other states.

As a result, telemedicine has exploded. According to a recent report from Doximity, a social network for medical professionals, nearly 70% of patients had at least one telehealth visit last year — compared with just one-quarter of patients before the pandemic. But future access to virtual care is far from guaranteed. Many pandemic-era telehealth waivers could run out after the expiration of the federal public health emergency, which could happen later this year.

It would be a mistake to let virtual care flexibility lapse. Telehealth makes it easier for patients — especially those in rural areas — to get care. In a recent survey from the American Medical Association, more than 80% of physicians reported their patients had better access to care since they began using telehealth.



Medical boards get guidance on setting rules for telemedicine

Tanya Albert Henry

Contributing News Writer

With the COVID-19 pandemic making telemedicine a household word, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has updated its telemedicine policy (PDF) for the first time in nearly a decade. The policy tackles areas such as licensure, standards of care and equitable access to telemedicine.

Put telehealth into practice

The AMA leads the charge to expand advocacy, research and resources that keep physician and patient needs at the forefront of telehealth delivery.

“What FSMB has tried to do here is strike that balance between making sure we open up and create room for innovation for good telehealth and try to discourage the massive growth of the things … that cause harm or that exacerbate inequities,” said Jack Resneck Jr., MD, in an early June AMA webinar on the future of telemedicine that was recorded prior to his inauguration as AMA president at the 2022 AMA Annual Meeting.

Supporting telehealth is a core element of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians. You took care of the nation. It’s time for the nation to take care of you. It’s time to rebuild. And the AMA is ready.