Quote Of The Year

Quotes Of The Year - 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."

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 7th September, 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.

Could mobile health become addictive?

Posted on Aug 21, 2013
By Joseph C. Kvedar, Director, Center for Connected Health
The hype over mobile health is deafening on most days and downright annoying on some.  So it is with some reluctance that I admit that mobile has the potential to be a game-changer in health.  I’ve professed enthusiasm before, but that was largely around the use of wireless sensors to measure physiologic signals and SMS text as a way to deliver messages to patients and consumers.  For several years, the industry has been awash with smart phone apps (by a recent count more than 40,000).  At the Center for Connected Health, we started looking at mobile health as far back as 2008 and could not justify the excitement around smart phones and apps at that time, mostly because our patient population did not demonstrate significant enough adoption of smart phones to justify development in this area.
I felt very unpopular at all of the major conferences.  I talked about our success with text messaging as a tool for engaging pregnant teens in their prenatal care and helping patients battling addiction to stick with their care plan, while others were touting the virtues of their various apps.

Leaders urge FDA to keep up with mHealth

Posted on Aug 30, 2013
By Eric Wicklund, Editor, mHealthNews
A Washington D.C. law firm known for its work with mHealth companies is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to "adopt significant fundamental changes to keep pace with medicine and technology."
The request is part of a 12-page white paper submitted to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology by Bradley Merrill Thompson, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green and the legal counsel for the mHealth Regulatory Coalition. The ONC is seeking public comments as it prepares to develop a health information technology regulatory framework with the FDA and Federal Communications Commission.
The paper, titled "Enhancing Innovation in e-Health through a Systems Approach to Regulation: A Blueprint for FDA Modernization," calls for the FDA to "modernize its regulatory approach to embrace the fact that we are witnessing a transformation of the medical technology landscape from one shaped by individual, discrete products to a new era of complex, connected diagnostic and therapeutic systems that deliver holistic care."

Verizon Survey: Cloud Use Rapidly Accelerating

AUG 29, 2013 3:25pm ET
A new report from Verizon, based on trends among its customers across multiple industries, finds significant acceleration of cloud computing services between January 2012 and June 2013.
With business-critical applications now shifting to the cloud, use of cloud-based storage among its clients has increased by 90 percent with cloud-based memory up 100 percent, according to the telecommunications firm. Deployments of Virtual Machines, which Verizon defines as software applications that run programs like a traditional computer, are up 35 percent.

AHRQ: Can a New App Reduce Returns to the Emergency Department?

AUG 28, 2013 3:16pm ET
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is readying a pilot program to test an emergency department discharge tool.
The goals are to reduce unnecessary visits to the ED, reduce health care expenditures, and streamline and enhance the quality of care, according to a notice published August 27 in the Federal Register.
AHRQ is developing the Emergency Department Discharge Tool, with testing to be done in three Johns Hopkins EDs in Baltimore. The tool will assist in screening the medical record of all adult patients to identify those frequently using ED services, which is a major risk factor for ED discharge failures.

e-Consults speed access; most cases take less than 15 minutes

August 30, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
Remote consultations with specialists were well-received among physicians and provided more timely access and improved communication to determine the best treatment, according to a study published at the journal Telemedicine and e-Health.
The research, conducted in Ontario, Canada, involved a secure, regional web-based e-consultation service called Champlain BASE (Building Access to Specialists through e-consultation), which included a robust firewall and granular access controls.
In all, 406 e-consultations in 16 specialty services took place, most commonly in dermatology, endocrinology, neurology, internal medicine, cardiology and hematology.

CIO salaries lag as work multiplies

Posted on Aug 29, 2013
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
As the healthcare CIOs responsibilities multiply, the CIO pay – typically six figures – lags, according to a new survey from SSi Search, a retained, executive search firm. However, as the survey indicates, for healthcare CIOs, it’s not about the money, it’s about the pressure and the help they need – help that is often hard to find.
The survey results titled "Healthcare’s Million Dollar Man," note that both the HITECH Act of 2009 and healthcare reform have put unprecedented pressure on the CIO and IT team to execute major technology changes within their organizations.
"These are arguably some of the greatest changes to impact modern healthcare in America," the report notes, "and both are dependent on technology."

Health IT spending on pace to top $34.5B

August 29, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
Healthcare IT spending will top $34.5 billion in North America in 2014, according to a new report by research firm Technology Business Research. The Hampton, N.H.-based firm attributes the spending to regulatory mandates' demand for modernization of infrastructure to meet new healthcare guidelines, according to an announcement, and lays out how the money will be spent.
"The wide variety of regulatory mandates and changes coming into force in the near term in the U.S. magnifies the pressure on healthcare providers, commercial payers and public sector agencies to maximize the value and ROI of their IT spend to meet these requirements," TBR healthcare analyst Joseph Walent said in the announcement. "Health IT vendors able to recognize the IT spending habits of the market segments, and adjust accordingly, will be best positioned to secure market share."

Frustrated with your EHR? Forget about building your own

August 28, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
Though physicians largely are unhappy with their electronic health record systems, they should quell the urge to build their own from scratch, according to a post published recently at The Health Care Blog.
Just as a doctor should recognize and hand off when a medical problem falls outside his or her area of expertise, this problem falls far outside that zone, writes Fred Trotter, a technical blogger and author.
He likens it to being able to build a car just because you work on cars and know how one should operate. Even if you are an expert at using and evaluating an EHR, that doesn't mean you can build one, he says. And the consequences of doing a poor job of it likely are far more dire.

Setback for Sutter after $1B EHR crashes

Posted on Aug 28, 2013
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
This story was updated at 2:16 p.m. ET. 
 The nearly $1 billion electronic health record system at Sutter Health in Northern California crashed early this week, leaving nurses and clinical staff unable to access any patient information for a full day. 
On Aug. 26 at approximately 8 a.m., the Epic EHR system crashed, at which time nurses, physicians and hospital staff had no access to patient information, including what medications patients were taking or required to take and all vital patient history data, according to reports from the California Nurses Association, part of National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in the U.S. 
Days earlier, the EHR system was also down for eight hours due to a planned upgrade; nurses could still read medication orders and patient histories but had to record new data on paper to then be re-entered into the system later. 
The Epic EHR went dark at several Sutter Health locations, including Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Eden Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Hospital, Sutter Delta, Sutter Tracy, Sutter Modesto and numerous affiliated clinics.

Mind games: Researchers test first human brain-to-brain interface

August 28, 2013 | By Gienna Shaw
Researchers at University of Washington have developed a non-invasive interface that allows one person to send a signal, via the Internet, that moves a part of another person's body. In this case, one person sent a signal that moved another's finger, according to a University announcement.
Rajesh Rao, a computer science and engineering professor, looked at a computer and imagined moving his right hand to hit a cursor and fire at a target on the screen. Almost instantaneously, assistant research professor Andrea Stocco involuntarily moved his right index finger to push the space bar on the keyboard in front of him, as if firing at the target, according to the announcement. Stocco compared the feeling of his hand moving involuntarily to that of a nervous tic.

HIEs still at odds over data-sharing

August 28, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
Two Kansas health information networks have yet to connect, though they face a December deadline to do so.
The Lewis And Clark Health Information Exchange (LACIE), which primarily serves providers in the Kansas City area, and the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN), which serves most of the rest of the state, have yet to reach an agreement on data sharing.

Report IDs Wins & Losses for Large Hospital EHR Vendors

AUG 27, 2013 3:30pm ET
A new report from vendor research firm KLAS Enterprises examines market share among six electronic health records companies serving the large hospital market.
According to KLAS, Cerner and Epic capture more than 75 percent of large hospital contracts while the others--Allscripts, McKesson, Meditech and Siemens--struggle. With 443 hospitals of more than 200 beds not using a currently marketed EHR, the report looks at factors that will guide their vendor decision processes.

ONC kicks off behavioral health app challenge

By Tom Sullivan, Editor
It’s not so much a developer contest as a call for existing mobile apps — in a rather tight timeframe.
The Office of the National Coordinator on Tuesday opened a new application challenge, this one designed to arm patients with technology that helps them manage behavioral healthcare and extend treatment to more patients.
“The intent of the challenge is to showcase innovative applications that use evidence-based strategies to empower consumer self-management of behavioral health disorders,” Adam Wong, a program analyst at ONC, wrote on the HealthIT Buzz blog
ONC is conducting the Behavioral Health Patient Empowerment Challenge along with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, aka SAMSHA, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Google Glass Medical Pioneers Balance Technology and Marketing

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , August 28, 2013

Some early adopters in the surgical suite are pushing ahead with efforts to capitalize on the promise of Google's revolutionary hands-free tool. Others are taking a slower approach.
When new technology is still in its infancy, years can pass before it is widely accepted among health systems and hospitals, and even longer before the technology is a component of an organization's marketing strategy. A perfect example is the iPad.
The popular tablet computer debuted three years ago and is widely used by consumers, small businesses, and other organizations, such as schools. Hospitals are not on the bandwagon, yet, though. Safety and quality concerns rightly outweigh promoting something that isn't fully vetted for the healthcare industry. So healthcare has some catching up to do before the iPad is widely adopted.

NY Beacon sees progress despite pitfalls

Posted on Aug 27, 2013
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
This week, Healthcare IT News is spotlighting three of the 17 federally-funded Beacon Communities, as the $250 million project draws to a close. We asked them to look back on their accomplishments over the past three years and offer their thoughts about the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead as self-sustaining entities. Today, we profile the Western New York Beacon Community. Read Editor Bernie Monegain's introduction to the series here.
Three years after procuring a $16.1 million HHS grant to bolster local health IT initiatives and diabetic care management, the Western New York Beacon Community has chronicled mixed success – at least in the quantifiable sense. Anecdotally, however, its success becomes much more striking, officials say.
Nevertheless, the numbers do talk, says Dan Porreca, executive director of HEALTHeLINK – the health information exchange spearheading the Beacon project. WNY Beacon has forged partnerships with heavy hitters such as the Veterans Administration and Blue Cross Blue Shield, and has already helped 82 of 98 area practices develop, manage and participate in EHR-based patient registries, which represent data on more than 57,000 diabetic patients. To date, more than half a million patients have given their consent to have their data accessed.

Clinical data analytics next big thing

Posted on Aug 27, 2013
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
The clinical data analytics market is about to get red hot. With the shift toward new payment models and the sheer amount of clinical data contained in electronic health records, more and more healthcare groups are looking to analytics solutions for population health management, according to a new report released Tuesday.
The clinical analytics market report, conducted by Chilmark Research, describes a relatively immature but burgeoning market for clinical analytics solutions, driven primarily by the major new challenge of population health management.
Healthcare groups are now taking myriad approaches to address their analytics needs including combining claims with clinical data. As providers increasingly seek to reduce the risk of the patient populations, this claims-based legacy will be both a starting point as well as a distraction from analyzing much richer clinical data from clinically-housed sources.

Reston firm helps health-care providers ID high-risk patients

By Mohana Ravindranath,

In health care, not all patients are equal.
Some need costly treatment while others are relatively healthy, so providers must often decide who requires more attention and resources.
Reston-based information technology firm Altruista Health is attempting to automate that decision process, using its own predictive algorithm to identify a hospital’s sickest patients. Mining millions of health records, the 75-person company’s software performs a sort of triage, alerting physicians to patients statistically at risk of worsening and then providing treatment suggestions.
Altruista’s clients include hospitals and health-plan providers that pay annual subscription fees per patient, granting Altruista access to a trove of medical data, including health records, lab work and bills.

MU Audit Victim Lives to Tell

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , August 27, 2013

A provider who went through a Meaningful Use audit explains how she got through it, relying on training received at a user group conference, and the help of her state's Regional Extension Center.
Don't be surprised if every third word I write for the next year or so is about Meaningful Use. It's a mountain we all must climb, but we're now well up on the slopes and have already encountered some challenges of late. No wonder that the calls for delay keep piling up.
But I have a snippet of good news on the Meaningful Use front this week. According to industry consultant Frank Poggio, the tally of EHR software certified for the 2014 Edition of Meaningful Use, including Stage 2, now stands at Epic, McKesson (Paragon only), Allscripts, Meditech. HMS, and CPSI.

£575m SPfIT benefits yet to be realised

27 August 2013   Rebecca Todd
The Southern Programme for IT will cost nearly £1 billion by the end of the programme, but had reaped just £26m in benefits by March last year.
The Department of Health is forecasting benefits of £600m by the end of the programme’s life despite very low benefits realisation so far and no further deployments.
An SPfIT Statement of Progress 2012 has been released to EHI under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Audit Office, which used it for a recent note for the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee.
SPfIT is the southern arm of the National Programme for IT. It involved the deployment of electronic patient record system Cerner Millennium to 10 acute trusts and 25 instances of CSE’s RiO to 19 mental health and community trusts. Also, the delivery of Map of Medicine.

Online patient portals aid underserved, undereducated populations

August 27, 2013 | By Ashley Gold
Patient portals have the potential for great utility and value for underserved patients with lower education levels--as long as the technology meets certain criteria--a new study from researchers at City University of New York (CUNY)-Hunter College finds, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
Setting out to test the utility and functionality of portals and assess their use for vulnerable consumers, the study used four focus groups with 28 low education level, English-speaking participants in New York City, aged 21-63. None had more than a high school education, but all had experience with computers and almost all had used the Internet.
Major themes of the study included: enhanced consumer engagement/patient empowerment, extending the doctor's visit/enhancing communication with health care providers, literacy and health literacy factors, improved prevention and health maintenance and privacy and security concerns.

Confusion reigns in clinical analytics market

August 27, 2013 | By Dan Bowman
Increased competition has muddled the "rapidly evolving" market for clinical data analytics solutions, according to a new report published this week by Cambridge, Mass.-based health analyst firm Chilmark Research.
The report, "2013 Clinical Analytics Market Report: Analysis and Trends," examines the role of clinical data analytics in proactive population health management. It profiles 14 vendors--including Aetna/Active Management, the Advisory Board Company, athenahealth and IBM--in hopes of helping providers sift through the sudden myriad of available offerings.

New Alliance Seeks Best Practices to Combat Medical Identity Theft

AUG 23, 2013 3:16pm ET
Six organizations have formed the new Medical Identity Fraud Alliance and seek other stakeholders to join them.
Initial members include AARP, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Consumer Federation of America, ID Experts, Identity Theft Resource Center, and National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. The alliance’s mission is to offer leadership, education and awareness programs that drive development of best practices and technologies, as well as changes in regulations, to reduce the frequency and impact of medical identity theft.
Initiatives will include performing research to assess the cost of medical identity theft and identify trends and patterns, raise awareness and education, develop new policies to reduce fraud, and empower consumers to be the first line of defense. “Fraud is not a competitive issue,” the organization notes on its Web site.

Beacons' bold experiment

Posted on Aug 26, 2013
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD, launched his talk about the Beacon Communities at a meeting last May by talking about Thomas Frieden, MD, a former colleague in New York City, now director of the Centers for Disease Control.
He spoke about Frieden’s personal crusade as a public health official in New York City to save as many lives as possible – a goal he achieved by cutting in half the number of smokers in the city through a series of initiatives that many thought could not be done. As Mostashari tells it, Frieden met with naysayers every step of the way, yet he persevered.
Mostashari saw similarities with the ONC’s Beacon Community Program.
"We recognized that we needed those brave souls –  those people who believe that healthcare can be different," he said. "Those people who could mobilize that belief in their community, and that they could help illuminate the path for everybody else."
The comment describes the Beacon Community Program in a nutshell. The program includes 17 communities that three years ago, with a total of $250 million among them, went to work on helping to transform the U.S. healthcare system. The goal was that they would pave and light the road to transformation for communities everywhere across the country.

Consumer group: States collecting health data without consent

August 26, 2013 | By Susan D. Hall
Federal funds have paved the way for state health departments to store patient information in massive databases --often without their consent, according to a report by the consumer advocacy group the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom (CCHF).
The report says an array of collection systems have been created under the banner of "public health" and fall outside the protections that most people assume HIPAA covers, according to an executive summary. The report details information stored state by state, but is based on data state health departments sent in during a CCHF study from 2005-2006.
It focuses on four common state information-collection systems:
  • Birth defects surveillance systems
  • Cancer registries
  • Newborn screening databases
  • Immunization registries
"What we're trying to tell the public--and what we're trying to show the public--is how state government is capturing medical record information and tracking patients from birth to death, all in the name of 'public health,'" Twila Brase, co-founder of CCHF, told OneNewsNow.

Healthcare IT Struggles to Keep Up With Mobile Health Demands

Healthcare, like most industries, finds its hard to meet the mobility desires of employees (caregivers) and customers (patients). But while healthcare struggles with unique legal and regulatory impediments that other fields don't face, it's also poised to gain much more from what some call a 'mobile revolution.'

By Brian Eastwood
Tue, August 27, 2013
CIO — Many healthcare industry observers say that mobile health (mHealth), telehealth and other eHealth initiatives are on the verge of changing the care delivery model — so much so, they say, that it's about time to drop the prefixes and start referring to the use of technology as plain old "health."
While the industry has been seemingly reluctant to use electronic health record (EHR) software, and reimbursement and regulatory hurdles continue to hinder telemedicine adoption, healthcare has by and large embraced mobile health — in theory of not necessarily in practice.

Healthcare Embracing Mobility Thanks to Physicians, Patients

One reason, of course, is ever-rising smartphone use among both patients and physicians. Patients are using mobile health apps for a variety of health and wellness purposes, from monitoring diet and exercise to controlling diabetes, while "more and more physicians are using their mobile devices as part of caring for patients," says Lynne Dunbrack, program director for Connected Health IT with IDC Health Insights. "Consequently, CIOs do need to focus their attention on this, particularly on mobile security."

Behemoth breach sounds alarm for 4M

Posted on Aug 26, 2013
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
In the second biggest HIPAA breach ever reported, one of the nation's largest healthcare systems is notifying more than four million patients that their protected health information and Social Security numbers have been compromised after the theft of four unencrypted company computers.
Advocate Health System announced that the theft occurred at one of its Advocate Medical Group administrative building in Park Ridge, Ill. on July 15. Patient names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and clinical information – including physician, medical diagnoses, medical record numbers and health insurance data — were all contained on the computers, officials say. 
Health system officials have contacted local law enforcement to investigate the incident but have been unable to locate the computers.
"We deeply regret that this incident has occurred," wrote Kevin McCune, MD, chief medical officer of Advocate Medical Group, in an Aug. 23 letter mailed to affected patients. "In order to prevent such an incident from reoccurring, we have enhanced our security measures and are conducting a thorough review of our policies and procedures." 


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