Saturday, January 21, 2012
Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 21st January, 2012.
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.
Why do healthcare chiefs keep buying high-priced gadgets and gizmos that don't improve quality of care? It defies logic. So I asked around to see if anyone could explain this phenomenon.
I was intrigued by last week's report from the independent, non-profit ECRI Institute, which uses the science of evidence to advise clients how to avoid bad purchasing decisions. The document lists 10 technologies, many of which ECRI's experts say hospitals should resist or delay, because data showing they improve care is weak or doesn't exist.
We keep hearing that health providers should be cutting costs, not building and spending on glamour and glitz. The Independent Payment Advisory Board is poised to set draconian reimbursement reductions. And comparative effectiveness findings stemming from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute will distinguish those treatments and devices that add value from those that don't.
January 12, 2012 — 5:38pm ET | By Gienna Shaw
Consumerism in healthcare is one of those trends that has been "looming" for an awfully long time. When the experts first predicted that patients would start shopping for providers as if healthcare was any other businesses--making decisions based on price, quality, and brand recognition, for example--the idea was met with skepticism, to say the least.
Over the years, the language used to describe the concept of consumerism morphed: the call for transparency gave way to talk of patient satisfaction to build loyalty, which in turn shifted to cries for a better patient experience to improve quality. And lately the focus has shifted, yet again, to patient engagement and e-patients.
Friday, January 13, 2012
by Kate Ackerman, iHealthBeat Managing Editor
WASHINGTON -- At its annual conference in Washington, D.C., this week, the eHealth Initiative announced a change in focus. Starting this year, eHI plans to concentrate on the role health IT can play in addressing chronic diseases. Specifically, the organization will target cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
eHI CEO Jennifer Covich Bordenick said that after 10 years, it's time for the organization to "sharpen our focus." She told iHealthBeat, "Focusing on chronic diseases is a natural progression of the mission of the group; it brings us one step closer to the end goal." She added, "We are not just talking about technology for the sake of technology. If you want to greatly impact the cost and quality of health care, you must focus on the deadliest and costliest diseases."
Covich Bordenick said reaction from members and other health IT stakeholders about the group's new focus "has been overwhelmingly positive." She said, "When you talk to physicians, patients and providers they get it: You can share social media technologies with cancer patients that help them better understand their disease, highlight apps that doctors can recommend to patients to manage diabetes [and] identify gaps where vendors can develop analytical tools that identify patients at risk for heart disease."
January 12, 2012 — 9:31am ET | By Marla Durben Hirsch - Contributing Editor
With an increased emphasis on patient access to their own health data, electronic health system vendors are offering patient portals to their offerings, according to an article published by the Healthcare Billing Management Association (HBMA).
Patient portals play an important role for electronic health records, according to the article. They enable providers and patients to communicate with each other and help providers meet Meaningful Use requirements.
January 12, 2012 | Healthcare IT News Staff
LAS VEGAS – Ford, Microsoft, Healthrageous and BlueMetal Architects will collaboratively develop new technology to help drivers monitor health and wellness while in their automobiles.
The alliance was unveiled in a keynote “Doctor in Your Car” at the Digital Health Summit at the International Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.
“People are spending more time in their cars, and with the tremendous growth in mobile healthcare solutions, Ford is dedicated to understanding the value of being able to connect to health and wellness-related services while driving,” said Gary Strumolo, manager of Infotainment, Interiors, Health and Wellness at Ford Research and Innovation. “Our connectivity platform – Ford SYNC – provides easy, voice-controlled access to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and therefore it makes sense to research areas that are important to our customers.”
12 January 2012 Shanna Crispin
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has become the second in the UK to buy Microsoft’s Amalga readmissions platform.
Milton Keynes was the first to buy the US-developed system in January 2010. Now the Southampton trust is to use it as part of its work to reduce patient readmissions, which director of organisational development, Jane Hayward, told eHealth Insider were a constant problem.
“We do have patients that have been readmitted 25 times in the last year... 9% of our emergency patients have previously been admitted within the 30 days leading up to that readmission.”
9 January 2012 Shanna Crispin
Humber NHS Foundation Trust has started to introduce the Lorenzo electronic patient record system, even though the future of the contract under which it is being delivered remains uncertain.
The trust became the fourth early adopter for Lorenzo as part of CSC's local service provider contract for the North, Midlands and East of England, when Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust pulled out in April last year.
Pennine Care's decision to leave the early adopter programme was a blow to the National Programme for IT in the NHS in the NME.
January 12, 2012 — 2:00pm ET | By Ken Terry
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have identified 16 prognostic scales that can be used to estimate the life expectancy of older adults with a fair degree of accuracy. They also have created an interactive tool for the same purpose, which is posted at www.ePrognosis.org, according to the New York Times.
While the tool is available to the public, it is designed mainly for physicians who are trying to estimate how much time their patients have left before recommending specific treatments. This kind of estimate can help prevent overtreatment and complications in elderly people who will likely die before they can benefit from therapy. It can also help doctors determine whether patients are robust enough to withstand particular procedures or other treatments.
January 09, 2012 | Michelle McNickle, Web Content Producer
With the onslaught of health IT initiatives such as meaningful use, ICD-10, and ACOs, healthcare organizations can have a hard time keeping up. But one type of software can make a positive impact in a number of different ways, said Fred Pennic, founder of HIT Consultant and senior advisor at Aspen Advisors.
“Business intelligence software can provide organizations with the consolidated data tools necessary to standardize data, reduce data redundancy and costs, comply with industry standards and identify new opportunities to improve efficiency,” he said.
Pennic suggests six ways to use business intelligence software.
NEW YORK |
(Reuters Health) - Switching to electronic health records might help close health gaps between black and white Americans, researchers suggest in a new study.
They say government data on primary care visits from 2007 to 2008 show that when doctors didn't use digital records, there was a racial gap in how many patients had high blood pressure. But there was no such gap among patients treated at practices with electronic record-keeping.
That could be important, because African Americans are more likely to have high blood pressure than whites, which might in turn explain why they also have more heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease, said Dr. Lipika Samal, who worked on the new study.
January 10, 2012 | Mary Mosquera
The Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record program has paid more than $2.5 billion to physicians and hospitals in incentive payments for all of 2011, with December contributing to the steep growth curve.
The final 2011 data won’t be in until early March because physicians can register and attest in the Medicare program until the end of February to receive payment for what is considered calendar 2011, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. States also can take weeks to submit their final Medicaid incentive data.
January 11, 2012 — 11:44am ET | By Dan Bowman
Could machines and algorithms eventually replace doctors, leading to a more automated healthcare process? It's possible, says Silicon Valley investor Vinod Khosla in a TechCrunch post this week, who argues that computers likely will mature from providing bionic assistance and second opinions for doctors to giving first opinions and referrals.
According to Khosla, general checkups for common maladies should take 15 minutes at a maximum, something he said a computer algorithm easily could handle "as well as the median doctor."
"Physically having to go to your doctor's office makes sense for the most part, except that a lot of the basic tests are either visual ... or auditory," Khosla said. "Most of the time a [doctor algorithm] could at least advise you when it is worth visiting based on your normal body functions, your current indications, and your locality's current infections and other symptom trends."
The new year promises to bring greater patient data risks as healthcare organizations increase their use of mobile technology and social media sites.
By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek
January 09, 2012
According to experts in healthcare law and information privacy and security, healthcare IT managers can expect to see more patient data breaches in 2012, along with more lawsuits filed by patients as the availability of patient information exchanged over social media sites and mobile devices grows.
These conclusions, published by ID Experts, offer a glimpse into what health CIOs can expect as they seek to protect patient data during a year that promises more of the same challenges they faced last year. In 2011, the healthcare industry had its fair share of patient data breaches, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) stepped up its oversight activities, handing down fines to healthcare organizations that were lax in meeting their patient privacy obligations.
This article appears in the December 2011 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Until recently, Don Chomsky, MD, cardiologist, spent a lot of valuable work time on the road. In addition to his regular work at Saint Thomas Heart in Nashville, he covers appointments for patients at two outreach clinics in rural Tennessee, which takes up about six days—more than a quarter—of his work month. Both are about an hour and a half drive one-way from Nashville, and that’s when traffic is good.
“I drove out here last Friday, and my hour-and-a-half drive was four hours because of a wreck on the highway,” he says, speaking of his once weekly trip to Winchester, TN. “For us there’s a lot of dead time with these commutes where we could be doing something much more useful than sitting in a car.”
Indeed. Multiply Chomsky’s “windshield time” by dozens more physicians at Saint Thomas or by several hundred at Ascension Health, of which Saint Thomas is a part, and we’re talking about real money and real waste. That’s why hospitals and health systems are getting increasingly sophisticated about ways to reduce waste and improve profitability while at the same time preserving what patients like about their healthcare. If it sounds experimental, that’s because some of this work is, indeed, new.
Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, is the national coordinator for health information technology at the Department of Health and Human Services. In a telephone interview with HealthLeaders Media Mostashari spoke about the challenges his office faces, the importance of patients being involved in their care, and how his office is working to protect patient medical records.
HLM: What are three toughest challenges you plan to tackle in 2012?
Mostashari: Adoption of meaningful use, information exchange and interoperability, and maintaining privacy and security. We want 2012 to be a huge year for meaningful use. I think doctors, hospitals, and vendors are geared up. It will be an enormous year for providers who qualify for the incentive, but more importantly to start to establish the information foundation for delivering care that is inconceivably better in all ways—higher quality, safer, more patient-centered, and more coordinated.
Online medical content vendor WebMD Health Corp. issued a profit warning and announced it’s looking for a new CEO, and maybe a buyer. Its stock price was subsequently down 28 percent in morning trading on Jan. 10.
Wayne Gattinella has resigned as CEO and president, with CFO/COO Anthony Vuolo serving as interim CEO. WebMD announced it had discussions in late 2011 with several potential buyers but has terminated the talks.
January 10, 2012 — 11:40am ET | By Dan Bowman
Why wait for a slow, clunky government report to learn about illness trends in your area when, with the click of a mouse, you can do so in near real time? That's the gist of a report published this week in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, which concludes that targeted Internet traffic can serve as a good predictor of patient activity for hospitals.
Specifically, the study looks at use of Google's Flu Trends (GFT) over a 21-month period, from Jan. 2009 through Oct. 2010 in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins researchers, led by Richard Rothman, MD, PhD, found that the number of searches for flu information on the Internet spiked simultaneously with the number of cases of children who presented with flu-like symptoms at Hopkins' pediatric ED.
January 06, 2012 | Rick Kam and Christine Arevalo, director of healthcare identity management, ID Experts
Happy Leap Year! We’re jumping into a challenging 12 months — lawsuits are up, budgets are down, and advances in technology have made protecting medical data a whole lot harder. Our list of top trends in 2012 reveals difficulties ahead; read and proceed with caution.
1. More data breaches, bigger impact. The new benchmark study by the Ponemon Institute finds that the frequency of data breaches in healthcare organizations surveyed has increased by 32 percent since 2010, with hospitals and healthcare providers averaging four data breaches a year. These data breaches cost the healthcare industry an estimated $6.5 billion.
On a per-provider basis, the cost of data breaches is also high. The average economic impact of a data breach increased 10 percent from last year to $2.2 million, the Ponemon study found. Data breaches also lead to diminished reputation, lower productivity, and loss of patient goodwill—all of which may contribute to patient churn, at an average lifetime value of more than $113,000 per patient.
Just in case some hospital chiefs have millions in the coffers to spend but can't figure out what to buy, a report by the ECRI Institute lists ten high-priced gadgets and systems that bear at least a look.
"Hospitals have very high pressure on their budgets right now," says Diane Robertson, director of ECRI's health technology assessment information service which helped prepare "Top 10 C-Suite Watch List: Hospital Technology Issues for 2012."
"We see them paying more attention to clinical evidence, and more attention to incorporating processes to rationalize their decision-making on where they are going to allocate resources...understanding all the issues, so they're not unaware of something they need to be aware of," she says.
January 06, 2012 | Healthcare IT News Staff
WASHINGTON – Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, has shared seven market trends that will shape telemedicine and telehealth in the immediate future. These trends represent major changes from the existing norm, creating new challenges and opportunities for the industry, he says.
1. A Shift away from reimbursement models
Reimbursement has been the Holy Grail for telemedicine in America but the rapid growth of managed care, Accountable Care Organizations and medical homes are changing the way we pay for telemedicine services. One quarter of all Americans – 73 million patients – are now covered under a managed care health insurance program. With this shift, the focus of decision-making is gradually turning to local and regional healthcare decision makers.
January 05, 2012 | Michelle McNickle, Web Content Producer
IT experts argue daily that more simple interfaces and paper-like workflows are the keys to the success of EHRs. And although that may be true, Shahid Shah, software analyst and author of the blog The Healthcare IT Guy, believes medical device data not only fills the void often found in these systems, but can also ensure their adoption in the months and years to come.
Shah offers five reasons why medical device data is vital to the success of EHRs.
1. EHRs are just a vehicle, not the end goal. Although 2011 was all about meaningful use, said Shah, most don’t realize MU is all about data – not EHRs. For example, the government needs data for cost comparisons, healthcare professionals need it for treatment research and chart management, and patients need it for choosing the right provider and treatment. “Right now, we know Medicare and Medicaid are paying more than 50 percent of the nation’s healthcare costs, but doing so as ‘fees for services’ without regard to what treatments, medications, or tests really work,” he said. According to him, the evidence-based research that goes into figuring out what works and what doesn’t is the foundation of what has been known as Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER), which is being rebranded as Patient Centered Research. “The government needs tons of data for CER, which is designed to inform healthcare decisions by providing evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options."
Many markets outside U.S. posting strong growth
Posted: January 9, 2012 - 12:01 am ET
The healthcare information technology market in the U.S. is booming, but it's much the same story elsewhere.
According to a December report from IDC Health Insights, Framingham, Mass., total global healthcare IT spending is projected to top $97 billion in 2015, up 27% from 2011. The estimates include spending on hardware, software and services for providers and payers. In comparison, U.S. purchases will surpass $54 billion in 2015, up 29%.
The health IT buying binge in the U.S. should come as no surprise. In 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with about $29 billion for health IT incentive programs. According to the CMS, total federal incentive payments jumped 48% between October and November last year to $1.8 billion.
With money tight, congressional appropriators rarely insist that agencies spend money. Yet the omnibus spending bill passed Dec. 17 approved $100 million for a joint Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs effort to develop digital medical records — even though they missed deadlines for requesting the money.
A recent Deltek report projects that the federal health care information technology market will grow from $4.5 billion in 2011 to $6.5 billion by 2016, far surpassing overall federal IT growth estimates.
Rising health care costs, the aging population and anticipated cost reductions and efficiency gains promise to make health care IT one of only a few bright spots in federal spending over the next few years.
Artificial Intelligence is a favourite theme of technologists and science fiction. IBM has come uncannily close to AI with its Watson supercomputer - and health could be one of the first areas to benefit. Jon Hoeksma reports.
29 December 2011
Imagine a doctor’s consulting room in the near future. A hard-pressed doctor is unsure of a difficult diagnosis. She is pretty sure what is wrong with her patient, but would like some support.
She picks up her iPhone6 from a stack of papers and asks calls a trusted colleague for a second opinion, describing the patient’s symptoms.
Her remote colleague listens carefully, asks some useful questions, and very quickly offers a view on the most likely diagnosis. A pretty routine second opinion; except that the remote clinical expert on the phone is the world’s smartest computer.
16 December 2011 Rebecca Todd
A new mobile triaging device has been launched that transmits patient data directly to hospital control centres during individual and mass casualty events.
Safe Triage Pro was developed by Honeywell Intelligent Life Care and Safe Patient Systems. It was successfully trialled by the West Midlands Air Ambulance Service.
Safe Patient Systems medical director David Morgan said the development was sparked by the director of the air ambulance service, when he complained that paper patient records were often not filled out or not put into a database for weeks after an emergency call-out.
Health portals with connected devices are almost common these days; smart clothes and monitoring chips that become part of the body may be the future. Shanna Crispin reports.
2 January 2012
What did you get the health conscious person in your life for Christmas? A monitor to feed information about their exercise levels or blood pressure into an online portal?
These have become increasingly common (and particularly popular with a certain kind of chart-obsessed executive). But researchers are working on far more futuristic ideas – from smart clothes to avatars that can support rehab patients.
Monday, January 09, 2012
by Deven McGraw
Consumers and patients support the electronic sharing of health information and are eager to experience the benefits of widespread adoption and use of electronic health records. Yet a substantial majority continue to express significant concerns regarding the impact of e-health on the privacy and security of their health information. According to a recent survey by the Markle Foundation, the privacy of health information is a significant concern for the American public and doctors who serve them.
Building and maintaining public trust in health IT and health information sharing will be critical to leveraging their benefits to improve individual and population health. The rhetoric from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and HHS has been consistently strong on the importance of respecting the confidentiality of health information; however, with a few exceptions, the pattern has been too much talk and not enough action.
January 9, 2012 — 9:50am ET | By Ken Terry
From the big technology vendors--Microsoft, Google, IBM, AT&T, et al.--comes the drumbeat of exhortations: "to the cloud, to the cloud!" Some industries have already decided that that's the way to go. But healthcare providers aren't so sure, according to a recent report by KLAS Research.
When you examine their reasons, however, it appears that the only question about cloud computing in healthcare is not if, but when.
In a survey that ran the gamut from small clinics to 1,000-bed hospitals, KLAS found that 55 percent of the respondents already had something in the cloud, whether it was clinical applications, storage, e-mail, or picture archiving and communication systems. Nearly a quarter of this group used remotely served electronic health records.
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Saturday, January 21, 2012