This blog is totally independent, unpaid and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Saturday, March 02, 2013
Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 2nd March, 2013.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and few paragraphs. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.
By Anthony Brino, Associate Editor, Healthcare Payer News and Government Health IT
The San Diego-based software company Humetrix has released a cross-platform version of its iBlueButton app that lets patients and physicians exchange medical information at the point of care with iPhones, iPads and Android smartphones.
Humetrix, which won the federal government’s Blue Button mashup innovation challenge, calls the multi-platform personal health record app the first of its kind, with secure QR-code data transfer.
"iBlueButton puts patients’ health in their own hands and, in doing so, not only solves the problem of having your health records when and where they’re needed, but dramatically improves patient-physician communication at the point of care," Bettina Experton, MD, Humetrix CEO and an adjunct professor of medicine at the University of California San Diego, said in a media release.
Despite incentives, just 1 in 6 uses the new technology, study finds
By Serena Gordon
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Although doctors who are using electronic health records in a meaningful way are eligible for a $44,000 bonus from the U.S. government, many still haven't adopted the new technology, a new study shows.
Overall, just one in six doctors has adopted electronic health records significantly enough to qualify for the bonus, the study found.
"These are the doctors that have attested to using the electronic health records. My guess is that more people are on the journey [to using electronic records] than have attested to it. But, there are still some physicians who haven't started using electronic health records at all," said the study's lead author, Adam Wright, a senior research scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Improving the quality and safety of patient care has always been a primary concern for imaging professionals, and they often are on the lookout for technical innovations and other solutions that can help them reach that goal.
For instance, doctors at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia recently looked into how clinical decision support tools could help them to reduce unnecessary patient scans. Research presented at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine last May found that use of such technology led to a near 10 percent decrease in the number of CT scans performed, according to Angela Mills, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the university's hospital.
Electronic prescribing through computerized physician order entry averted 17.4 million medication errors in the U.S. in a single year, according to researchers publishing in the Journal American Medical Informatics Association.
The authors analyzed data from 2006 to 2008, including the American Hospital Association's 2008 electronic health record adoption database to estimate the reduction in medication errors that they said could be attributed to CPOE.
"Processing a prescription drug order through a CPOE system decreases the likelihood of error on that order by 48 percent," the authors wrote. "Given this effect size, and the degree of CPOE adoption and use in hospitals in 2008, we estimate a 12.5% reduction in medication errors, or 17.4 million medication errors averted."
The majority of UK GPs believe that email consultations are not an appropriate means of communicating with patients, and almost 80% have yet to do so.
A survey of 1,000 GPs for eHealth Insider by doctors.net.uk shows that GPs are skeptical about the appropriateness, safety and reliability of such communications - despite official enthusiasm for the idea.
The survey suggests that much work will need to be done to convince GPs of the benefits of email consultations as one of a range of alternatives to face-to-face visits, which form a key ambition in the government’s 2012 NHS information strategy, 'The Power of Information'.
The overwhelming majority of GP practices are not ready to implement the government’s flagship NHS IT pledge to give patients online access to their records by 2015.
An exclusive survey for eHealth Insider, conducted by doctors.net.uk, found that 43% of just over 1,000 GP respondents said “we haven’t started to address this yet” when asked how ready they were to facilitate patient access to records.
A further third (29%) said their IT systems still needed work or that the relevant functionality had not been switched on, and a quarter (24%) said they simply did now know how ready their practice was. Just 4% said “our IT system is ready, and is already live.”
Healthcare reform, accountable care organizations, readmissions and reimbursement rates are just a few of the challenges facing today's healthcare leaders, according to a new report from ECRI Institute, a non-profit evidence-based practice center.
Balancing costs and savings potential for new technologies also weighs heavily on their shoulders, the Feb. 19 report says. A new Watch List from ECRI Institute provides a roadmap to 10 technology issues that healthcare leaders should have on their radar in 2013 and beyond.
ECRI Institute's "Top 10 C-Suite Watch List: Hospital Technology Issues for 2013" reflects ongoing impacts of healthcare reform initiatives and new technology developments, according to a news release by ECRI. Some of the technologies represent significant capital investments, such as PET/MR. Others, including mobile health, metabolic surgery and low-dose computed tomography lung screening, may greatly affect operations and care patterns.
Recent comments made by a number of leaders throughout the industry show clear discontentment with the state of health information exchanges. As William Yasnoff, MD, PhD, president of the Health Record Banking Alliance, recently pointed out, the current nationwide network of health information exchanges is an "unmitigated disaster," due primarily to obstacles in privacy, stakeholder cooperation and financial stability.
Four experts sat down to discuss current data exchange trends and best practices at the eHealth Initiative Annual Conference. Among the panelists were Chris Hobson, MD, CMO at Orion Health; Arien Malec, VP of strategy and product marketing at Relay Health; David Horrocks, president of Maryland HIE Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP), and Eric Thieme, VP at the Indiana Health Information Exchange.
With more electronic health record systems continuing to fall short of providers' expectations, a new report by Black Book Rankings suggests that 2013 may indeed be the "year of the great EHR vendor switch."
After polling some 17,000 active EHR adopters, report officials found that as many as 17 percent of medical practices could be switching out their first choice EHR by the end of the year.
“The high performance vendors emerging as viable past 2015 are those dedicating responsive teams to address customers’ current demands,” said Black Book’s managing partner Doug Brown, in a news release.
This could be the "Year of the Great EHR Vendor Switch," according to a new Black Book Rankings survey indicating that up to 17 percent of physician practices plan to ditch their current electronic health record system.
Unmet expectations in system features, implementations, deliverables and client support issues are blamed for the dissatisfaction, according to an announcement that tells of dozens, if not hundreds, of software firms underperforming badly enough to lose major market share.
With a nod toward the importance of strides in healthcare technology, the Obama administration is planning a long-term effort to examine the human brain and build a map of its activity. The project is being compared to the Human Genome Project in a recent New York Timesarticle.
Slated to be unveiled as early as March, the project will be a collaboration of federal agencies, private foundations and neuroscientists and nanoscientists, all looking "to advance the knowledge of the brain's billions of neurons and gain greater insights into perception, actions and, ultimately, consciousness," according to the Times.
In the wake of reports that the push to go digital in healthcare hasn't produced the promised results, a literature review of economic evaluations of health IT systems finds an array of methods, but generally positive conclusions.
Researchers from the University of Victoria in British Columbia looked at 33 papers that sought to pin down the value the systems provided, not just the cost. Their research is published in the Journal of theAmerican Medical Informatics Association.
The papers included 12 economic analyses, five input cost analyses and 16 cost-related outcome analyses and covered primary care electronic medical records (seven papers); six computerized provider order entry systems (six); medication management systems (five); immunization information systems (five); institutional information systems (four); disease management systems (three); clinical documentation systems (two); and one health information exchange network.
by Helen R. Pfister and Susan R. Ingargiola, Manatt Health Solutions
Mobile devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets have the potential to increase the quality and efficiency of health care by, among other things, making it easier for health care providers to access patient information when and where they need it. Because health care providers are increasingly using these devices, the HHS recently released a new set of online tools to help providers comply with their obligations under HIPAA when using mobile devices.
HHS' tips are designed to be particularly helpful to smaller health care providers, such as independent physician offices and health centers, but they should be of interest to health care providers of all sizes.
Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , February 19, 2013
It seems like every other physician I meet these days has a tech-powered start-up in the works, or an idea for one.
Take Joseph Kvedar, MD, profiled in our December 2012 issue as one of the HealthLeaders 20. Founder and director of the Center for Connected Health at Partners HealthCare in Boston, no sooner did that honor fall on his shoulders than he launched his start-up, Wellocracy. It's a side project while he continues as director of the Partners Healthcare nexus for all things connected health.
"For some time, I've felt like our ability to really get connected health adopted has been limited by our view of it through the lens of patient care," Kvedar told me at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show. "I had really thought with great interest about a way to reach consumers, so that was always in my head. And then another observation over the years was that patients, although we sometimes had to coax them to participate in telemonitoring programs, once they get on they didn't want to come off. Patients find it very comforting. They've connected in. They feel cared for."
Call it "connected independence" or "sustainable aging," but the impact is clear: Today's seniors are a growing population, and they're demanding more from an already-taxed healthcare system as they strive to stay in their own homes and out of the hospital.
This population represents one of the biggest markets for telehealth, serving not only the seniors but their family members and other caregivers, physicians, senior service agencies and assisted living communities. Mobile devices and platforms are giving seniors the opportunity to connect at all times with their caregivers and share health data, while allowing clinicians to monitor their patients around the clock and take action before a medical crisis occurs.
This story was produced in collaboration with The Philadelphia Enquirer
Computer mistakes like the one that produced incorrect prescriptions for thousands of Rhode Island patients are probably far more common and dangerous than the Obama administration wants you to believe, says Drexel University’s Dr. Scot Silverstein.
Flawed software at Lifespan hospital group printed orders for low-dose, short-acting pills when patients should have been taking stronger, time-release ones, the Providence-based system disclosed in 2011. Lifespan says nobody was harmed.
But Silverstein, a physician and adjunct professor of healthcare informatics who is making a name for himself as a strident critic of electronic health records, says the Lifespan breakdown is part of a much larger problem.
“We’re in the midst of a mania right now” as traditional patient charts are switched to computers, he said in an interview in his Lansdale home. “We know it causes harm, and we don’t even know the level of magnitude. That statement alone should be the basis for the greatest of caution and slowing down.”
When William Yasnoff, MD, president of the Health Record Banking Alliance (HRBA), declared that "our nationwide network of health information exchanges is an unmitigated disaster" in a NHINWatch Perspective column last month, his assessment that HIEs are failing became a hot topic of discussion. Critics and supporters weighed in. Farzad Mostashari, MD, national health IT coordinator, emphasized the return on investment of current HIEs at the Jan. 29 joint meeting of the federal advisory Health IT Policy and Standards committees.
As the debate continues, Irene Koch, executive director of the Brooklyn Health Information Exchange (BHIX), points out, "Evolution is still happening with all of the systems and the standards." Provider buy-in and a commitment to care coordination from all stakeholders (patient, provider and payer), which is critical to making health information exchange successful, regardless of model, are also in the early stages of development, she said.
A Yorkshire project proves the cost benefits of telehealth, says a report on the scheme by think-tank 2020health.
The report evaluates the Yorkshire and the Humber Telehealth Hub, which was set up in 2011 as a partnership between Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Hull and South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The aim was to reduce hospital admissions and prove cost benefits. Despite struggles with clinical engagement and very low uptake in some areas, more than 2,000 patients were enrolled.