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."

Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 30th June, 2014.

Here are a few I have come across the last week or so.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and a 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.

General Comment

Clearly the big news for the week was the Departure of David Gonski as the Chair of NEHTA and the ascension of Dr Steve Hambleton to the role. I have provided some thoughts on this earlier.
Also interesting is the departure of Jane Halton from DoH to the inner circle of Government, but not, however, as close to the centre as she may have desired.
It is also interesting that it seems the GP Co-Payments seem to have a technical issue that may be pretty expensive to fix!
All in all quite a lively week.

Gonski steps down as NeHTA chair, replaced by Hambleton

High profile corporate and education leader David Gonski has stepped down from his role as the chairman of the National eHealth Transition Authority and will be replaced by the immediate past president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Dr Steve Hambleton.
The changing of the guard comes as the cross-government body tasked with making a national electronic health and medical records scheme a functional reality faces a pivotal year after its funding was extended for just one year in the federal Budget.
The departure of Mr Gonski was widely anticipated as he is ineligible to serve a third term as chairman under NeHTA’s constitution.
Mr Gonski, whose name has since become synonymous with the ambitious education reforms of the former Labor Federal government, became the NeHTA’s chairman in 2008 and is widely credited with keeping the massive and frequently challenged project alive through his quiet but formidable style of diplomacy.

Privacy fears curb e-health’s growth

June 25, 2014
Mark Eggleton
In a twist on the old highwayman demand of “Your money or your life” we finally have an answer when it comes to e-health. Our personal finances win while our health takes a back seat.
Right now most Australians when they want to get a snapshot of their financial situation can go online and find up-to-the-minute information on their bank balance and outstanding debts. We’re pretty comfortable with the level of security afforded our financial details and even happy to give out further details if we’re keen on purchasing goods or services. Unfortunately, we’re a little leery about having our health records available online beyond what’s stored in a computer on our GPs desk.
Security of data was one of the major focuses of the recent Big Data in Healthcare roundtable held by The Australian Financial Review in partnership with GE in Sydney with most participants agreeing it was an issue.

Tech giants launch new e-health network

Christina Farr and Thomas Escritt
Dutch healthcare and lighting company Philips said it was teaming up with Salesforce, one of the biggest cloud-computing companies in the United States, to offer online management of chronic diseases.
The venture will involve a cloud-based software platform that will take data fed from networked medical devices in homes and hospitals to allow nurses and doctors to monitor the health of hundreds of patients simultaneously.
The companies said they would launch two new medical applications, Philips eCareCoordinator and Philips eCare Companion, later in the summer as part of the partnership.
Philips’ chief executive Frans van Houten told journalists in Amsterdam the services would make it easier and cheaper to monitor the health of patients.

Verbal nursing handovers go digital

Dr Leif Hanlen is the Health Team Director at NICTA, Australia’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence in Canberra, where he is currently involved in several projects that focus on large scale ehealth data analysis – and have the potential to improve patient outcomes while also reducing workloads for health professionals.
A recently completed project used the text in hospital radiology reports to identify an infection, invasive aspergillosis, threatening transplant and cancer patients.
“We’re looking at text processing services that help the clinical work flow, rather than trying  to develop a brand new text or health analytics box that adds to the clinical burden,” he says.
One key project involves recording and classifying the clinical data transferred in a typical nursing hand-over to improve accuracy of information and reduce the administrative burden.

Jane Halton leaves Health for Finance, Treasury still open

Prime Minster Tony Abbott has announced another round of musical chairs at for Canberra’s public service chiefs, but put off naming a replacement for outgoing Treasury head Martin Parkinson.
High profile Secretary of the Department of Health, Jane Halton will take on the role of nailing down government expenses as the head of the Department of Finance as a replacement for David Tune who has opted to retire from the Australian Public Service and will finish-up his term at the end of this week.
The move by Ms Halton to Finance, for a five year appointment, is likely to fuel continued speculation that she is a likely successor to incumbent APS chief and Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Ian Watt.

System to track GP visits ‘a big ask’

Fran Foo

Technology Reporter
TAXPAYERS will have to pay “hundreds of millions of dollars” to build a centralised database for 25 million people that would update in real time to cater for the Abbott government’s proposed $7 medical co-payment scheme, IT experts say.
The government has proposed that people pay $7 each time they visit a GP, get an X-ray or a blood test from July next year. A patient who visits a doctor and needs a pathology test and an X-ray will be slugged with $21 in upfront fees.
The $7 fee is applicable to everyone except concession card holders and children under 16 who will pay for the first 10 services combined.
The controversial plan has drawn the ire of consumers and many in the healthcare fraternity who say it marks the demise of universal access to healthcare in Australia.

New breast cancer tests finds more cancers than traditional mammograms

Date June 26, 2014

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

Adding three-dimensional mammograms to normal mammograms can catch breast cancer earlier, a new study has found.
But experts warn that the study, while promising, does not show 3D mammograms provide any long-term benefits over traditional screening, which is provided free to all women aged over 40 in Australia.
The study analysed data from more than 450,000 examinations, some of which were only done with mammograms and others that used the combination test, which captures multiple images of breast tissue that are built up to provide a 3D image.
The combined test caught 41 per cent more cancers than traditional mammography alone, according to the research, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and funded by Hologic, which produces 3D mammography machines.

Fitness bracelets ‘a dying business’, says Misfit CEO

  • Katherine Rosman
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • June 25, 2014 7:02AM
IN another sign that the shine is coming off the much-ballyhooed wearable hardware market, health-tracking device maker Misfit is announcing today that its software and its iOS app will be compatible with the smartwatch from competitor Pebble.
Pebble says the partnership is part of its longstanding strategy to make its watch a dynamic tool for those who like to monitor fitness and health metrics. But for Misfit, the move is partially influenced by the anticipation of Apple’s rumoured plan to release a smartwatch later this year.
The Shine is sold in Apple stores, which makes the device particularly vulnerable.
“If you buy one of these [Apple] devices you’re not going to buy an activity tracker,” says Sonny Vu, Misfit’s chief executive, adding that he predicts Android-powered watches will undo the fitness bracelet market. “Why should we cling on to a dying a business?”

Data from wearable devices could help

  • Elizabeth Dwoskin and Joseph Walker
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • June 26, 2014 12:00AM
MANY runners and fitness fanatics have been quick to embrace wearable wireless tracking devices for measuring physical activity and calories burned. Now, a growing number of physicians are formally studying whether such “wearables” can improve patients’ health by spurring people to get moving.
Amy Wheeler, a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, hopes that wireless tracking devices can help motivate her obese patients to do what they haven’t been able to on their own: lose weight.
Last year, Dr Wheeler was one of a group of US doctors who gave FitLinxx pedometers to 126 patients with Type 2 diabetes, often related to poor diet and excess weight.
The pedometers tracked how many steps the patients took and linked to a software program that calculated whether they met their exercise goals. Based on their progress, data from their electronic medical records and whether it was sunny or rainy, patients would receive motivational tips via text message.

Ambulance Victoria rushing data to hospital as well

Date June 24, 2014

Trevor Clarke

Ambulance Victoria has joined the big data movement by establishing a real time data exchange system to provide hospitals greater visibility of incoming patients' needs.
The organisation has been working with four hospital emergency departments in the state for the past two months to trial the new arrivals system.
“That is a real time reporting stack where we take a half million events, including GPS coordinates, and present that out to the hospitals on a large monitor in the [emergency department] so they know, for example, that an ambulance is arriving and it is a priority one and the estimated time of arrival is 10 minutes," Ambulance Victoria manager of enterprise architecture, John Dousset, told IT Pro.
The data comes from Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), which runs the 000 number. This feed provides 500,000 transactions or “events” every day and includes information such as when an ambulance is dispatched and arrives, along with GPS coordinates of ambulances in motion (every 300 metres) or stationary (every 15 minutes). The information is fed to emergency departments at Monash, Austin, the Northern and St Vincent hospitals. 

Robot ‘legs’ help people walk

  • AP
  • June 28, 2014 12:00AM
US health regul­ators have approved a first-of-a-kind set of robotic leg braces that can help some disabled people walk again.
The ReWalk system functions like an exoskeleton for people paralysed from the waist down, allowing them to stand and walk with assistance from a caretaker.
It consists of leg braces with motion sensors and motorised joints that respond to subtle chan­ges in upper-body movement and shifts in balance.

Apple, Google, Samsung vie to bring blood sugar apps to wearables

Date June 24, 2014 - 8:54AM

Christina Farr

For decades, medical technology firms have searched for ways to let diabetics check blood sugar easily, with scant success. Now, the world's largest mobile technology firms are getting in on the act.
Apple, Samsung and Google, searching for applications that could turn nascent wearable technology like smartwatches and bracelets from curiosities into must-have items, have all set their sights on monitoring blood sugar, several people familiar with the plans say.
These firms are variously hiring medical scientists and engineers, asking US regulators about oversight and developing glucose-measuring features in future wearable devices, the sources said.
The first round of technology may be limited, but eventually the companies could compete in a global blood-sugar tracking market worth over $12 billion by 2017, according to research firm GlobalData.

Governments' IT projects needn't cost the world. Here's how we can do better

Australia has ambitious targets to improve the relationship between citizens and the government: all correspondence will be able to be conducted online by 2017
The man responsible for the UK government’s technology, Liam Maxwell, walks around with a very simple motto stickered onto his smartphone and Macbook: “What is the user need?
Maxwell is Her Majesty’s government’s chief technology officer but his outlook, attitude and clothes he wears are far closer to Steve Jobs than to Sir Humphrey.
His job as part of the efficiency reform group – created in 2010 when the UK government was facing its largest deficit since the second world war – is to equip government departments with the right technology to deliver great digital services and to cut IT spending. But it’s more accurate to say his real mission is closer to reimagining the role of government and its daily relationship with citizens.

In your face: booming biometrics puts security ahead of privacy

Date June 25, 2014

Natasha Singer

The row over covert use of computer face recognition technology was kicked off in 2001 and there's no end in sight, writes Natasha Singer.
Who he? A New York supported at the infamous 2001 "snooper-bowl" final where police used embryonic face-recognition technology on the crowd - and launched a mighty row.
Joseph Atick watched the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Centre in Washington as if he owned the place. In a way, he did. He was an organiser of the event, a conference and trade show for the biometrics security industry. Perhaps more to the point, many of the wares on display, like an airport face-scanning checkpoint, could trace their lineage to his work.
A physicist, Atick is a pioneering entrepreneur of modern face recognition. Having helped advance fundamental face-matching technology in the 1990s, he went into business and promoted the systems to government agencies looking to identify criminals or prevent identity fraud.
‘‘We saved lives,’’ he says. ‘‘We have solved crimes.’’

Astronauts to build giant telescope

  • The Times
  • June 23, 2014 12:00AM
SCIENTISTS are planning a space telescope so large it will have to be built by astronaut construction workers because no rocket is capable of lifting it from the Earth in one launch.
The Atlast, or advanced technology large-aperture space telescope, is being designed to take the first direct images of Earth-sized planets orbiting distant stars, allowing experts to analyse their atmospheres to see if alien life might have evolved on them.
The challenge of gathering light from such tiny and distant objects will, however, require a mirror measuring up to 16m in ­diameter — larger than anything of its kind yet built.
This means it would have to be assembled in space more than 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, four times further than the moon.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

There Is Something Really Odd Going On Here. There Are A Lot Of Questions To Answer!

A day or so ago we had this announcement appear.

New Chair for NEHTA

Created on Thursday, 26 June 2014
After completing six years in office, David Gonski AC has concluded his role as the Chair of the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
Mr Gonski has served two consecutive terms as Chair and in accordance with NEHTA’s constitution is not eligible for a third term. 
The Board of Directors would like to sincerely thank Mr Gonski for the leadership he has shown in his role as Chair.
Mr Gonski became Chair in 2008 and was responsible for revitalising the board and galvanising cooperation between the governments of Australia to deliver urgently needed infrastructure and standards for health information.
NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming is pleased to announce that Dr Steve Hambleton MBBS FAMA, immediate past president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has been appointed the new Chair of NEHTA.
Dr Hambleton was elected Federal President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) in May 2011, after serving a two-year term as Federal Vice President. He was most recently one of three panel members responsible for conducting the Government’s review into the personally controlled electronic health record system.
The clinical expertise and leadership Dr Hambleton brings to this role will be vital in ensuring that eHealth becomes widely adopted in clinical settings across Australia.
Here is the link:
The best commentary I have seen is here:

Gonski steps down as NeHTA chair, replaced by Hambleton

High profile corporate and education leader David Gonski has stepped down from his role as the chairman of the National eHealth Transition Authority and will be replaced by the immediate past president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Dr Steve Hambleton.
The changing of the guard comes as the cross-government body tasked with making a national electronic health and medical records scheme a functional reality faces a pivotal year after its funding was extended for just one year in the federal Budget.
The departure of Mr Gonski was widely anticipated as he is ineligible to serve a third term as chairman under NeHTA’s constitution.
Mr Gonski, whose name has since become synonymous with the ambitious education reforms of the former Labor Federal government, became the NeHTA’s chairman in 2008 and is widely credited with keeping the massive and frequently challenged project alive through his quiet but formidable style of diplomacy.
His succession by Dr Hambleton is a clear sign that NeHTA’s stakeholders – which essentially comprise of state health authorities, the federal government and the medical sector – have opted for a stronger influence from clinicians who have repeatedly taken both NeHTA and the Federal Department of Health to task over the usability of the technology that NeHTA is creating.
More here:
I have been mulling and discussing this for a couple of days now and I am more confused now than I was when the announcement first appeared.
Among the questions are:
1. Why is this announcement made my Peter Fleming and not by the Minister for Health and Sport (Mr Dutton)?
2. Why has this announcement been made in the absence of a Government Response to the PCEHR Review where the dissolution of NEHTA was recommended?
3. What does this announcement mean for the various projects that NEHTA is presently involved in?
4. What will the role of NEHTA in any planned new Governance Framework for e-Health in Australia or is there going to be no change?
5. How is the e-Health industry in Australia meant to plan for the future while questions regarding the future of e-Health are so up in the air?
6. Does this announcement mean that, other than a new chairman the NEHTA Board is to remain the same - led by the same - but rapidly changing Board - that has brought us such successes as NASH and the AMT.
7. How, without a radically different Board, is a distinctly part time Chairman going to make any real difference to NEHTA?
8. Where is the press release from the new Chairman explaining his plans and future direction he sees for NEHTA?
9. Would not it be more effective in terms of making a difference to have a properly qualified clinician CEO rather than Chairman or even change both and a few other board members?
10. What is to be the fate of the rest of the obviously improved e-Health Governance Framework that the new Chairman recommended with his two colleagues in the PCEHR Review?
For what it is worth my view is that this announcement and the way it has been made, as well as the lack of answers to the questions I raise is a reflection of the apparent chaos in e-health.
A simple step the new Chairman could take that would make a real difference is to have the detailed minutes of each NEHTA Board Meeting promptly made public so stakeholders can much more properly understand just what is going on.
I look forward to some answers to my 10 questions - but an cynical enough to believe that while change may be apparent little will change!
What do you think?

AusHealthIT Poll Number 224 – Results – 29th June, 2014.

Here are the results of the poll.

Is It Right For Investment In The PCEHR Still To Be Continuing Before The Government Has Responded To And Decided What It Will Do With The Program?

Yes 15% (7)

Probably 9% (4)

Neutral 0% (0)

Probably Not 30% (14)

No Way 45% (21)

I Have No Idea 2% (1)

Total votes: 47

Seems most think we should not spend until the decisions are made.

A lower number of votes but a clear outcome with few fence sitters this time as well.

Again, many thanks to all those that voted!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 28th June, 2014.

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.

Stan Huff: Current HIT Paradigm Isn’t Working

JUN 19, 2014 8:56am ET
Intermountain Healthcare has devoted an enormous amount of resources for ground-up development of decision support algorithms and protocols to fire against its patient population. That effort has paid off in decreased mortality and marked improvements in clinical outcomes for segments of that population.
But it’s not enough, not nearly enough, according to Stan Huff. M.D., the health system’s chief medical informatics officer. “We have about 200 clinical decision support programs running every day against patients, but without exaggerating, there are 5,000 algorithms that we could be doing, and should be doing,” Huff says. “The costs of analyzing problems, working with clinicians to develop solutions, and testing the solution via clinical trials and IT betas is absolutely enormous. And we, like everyone else, are targeting a small set of high-profile, high-cost disease states. For the rest of our patients, we’re not doing much.
“If someone gave us a lot of money, I can see how we could get from 200 protocols to 300, but we’ll never get to where we need to be under the current paradigm. Intermountain should be doing what Mayo Clinic or Regenstrief are doing right now, and vice versa. I’m not talking about ideas, I’m talking about executable programs.”

Speech recognition proving its worth

Posted on Jun 20, 2014
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
While wary clinicians remain a big hurdle, nine out of 10 hospitals plan to expand their use of front-end speech deployment, according to a new KLAS report.
The study, "Front-End Speech 2014: Functionality Doesn't Trump Physician Resistance," found that 50 percent of providers polled cited skeptical end-users as one of the biggest barriers to more successful uptake of speech recognition.
Nonetheless, the ROI from the technology was clear for these hospitals, according to KLAS. Facilities interviewed saw a higher impact in nearly every category measured in the report: reduced transcription costs, reduced documentation time and more complete patient-narratives.

Breach response tips from experts

Posted on Jun 20, 2014
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
Some 90 percent of healthcare organizations have reported at least one data breach in the past two years, with more than a third seeing more than five breaches. Responding to these breaches in the proper manner proves integral not only to reining in costs and avoiding litigation but also to maintaining the integrity of the organization.
Gerry Hinkley, partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman's healthcare practice, says breach response is where many make major missteps, mistakes that can easily be avoided. 
Hinkley, who spoke at the HIMSS Media and Healthcare IT News Privacy and Security Forum June 16 in San Diego, works with myriad organizations on proper breach response, many of which have faced legal action due to post-breach slip-ups on their part. One of the biggest takeaways? "Don't give in to individuals who want to sugar coat this," he said. "You do much better really saying what happened up front ... individuals respect that."

Global e-prescribing market to reach $887 million by 2019

June 20, 2014 | By Susan D. Hall
The global market for e-prescribing systems is expected to grow from $250.2 million in 2013 to $887.8 million by 2019, according to a report from Transparency Market Research.
Government incentive programs are among the factors driving the market, which is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 23.5 percent over five years, according to an announcement. The report foresees an immense potential for the growth in implementation of electronic health record systems that include e-prescribing.

FDA won't regulate medical device data systems

June 20, 2014 | By Dan Bowman
Draft guidance published Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seemingly paves the way for smoother medical device interoperability by lowering the burden on developers of medical device data systems (MDDS) to comply with agency requirements.
The guidance notes that "additional experience" with MDDS since down-classifying such tools from Class III devices, which are considered high-risk, to Class I (low-risk) in February 2011 prompted FDA's decision to "not enforce compliance with ... regulatory controls." Such tools, the guidance notes, are not intended to control or "alter the functions ... of any connected medical devices,"

Stakeholders Tout Potential of Health IT, Highlight Remaining Challenges

by Anika Kempe, iHealthBeat Staff Writer Friday, June 20, 2014
WASHINGTON -- At the 2014 Government Health IT Conference & Exhibition in Washington, D.C., this week, lawmakers, federal officials, health care providers and patient advocates emphasized the potential of health IT to improve the health care system. However, the burden on health care providers and the need for better patient engagement need to be addressed, they said.

Lawmakers Support Health IT, but Push for Some Policy Changes

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a medical doctor and self-proclaimed "huge advocate for health IT, EHRs and EMRs," said he recognizes the value and potential of big data and health IT.
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said that he took longer to embrace the benefits of health IT, noting that his "experience with health IT was not always a good one." However, he cited Hurricane Katrina -- which destroyed many paper medical records -- as a "firsthand example of why electronic health records are important." Burgess explained that many of those displaced by the hurricane came to his home state of Texas to receive care. Shortly thereafter, he visited New Orleans and saw firsthand the state of the city, and many water-sodden paper health records.

Analytics Help Patients Follow Doctors' Orders

6/19/2014 04:36 PM
Community Health Plan of Washington's most vulnerable patients are doing a better job of sticking to their treatment plans -- thanks to big data, analytics, and hospital partner Health Integrated.
Ignoring doctors' orders often lands patients in the hospital, perhaps suffering from a new complaint or worsening medical problem that takes longer and costs more to treat.
Each year, about 125,000 people in the United States with treatable ailments die because they don't take their medication correctly, according to a New England Journal of Medicine report (registration required). More than half the 3.8 billion prescriptions written annually are taken incorrectly or not at all, the article said. Poor compliance is linked to between 33% and 69% of drug-related adverse effects that result in hospital admissions. And the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported (registration required) that poor compliance is associated with approximately one-fourth of nursing home admissions.

FDA Offers Guidance on Social Media, Web Communications

Greg Slabodkin
JUN 19, 2014 7:21am ET
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed draft industry guidance to ensure that social media and Internet communications relating to medical products are clear, accurate, truthful, and do not mislead the public.
Concerned that patients and healthcare providers regularly get information about FDA-regulated medical products through social media and other Internet sources, the agency drafted two separate draft guidances with recommendations to help manufacturers accurately communicate online about prescription drugs and medical devices.
“We developed these new guidances, in part, to respond to requests for best practices from companies and other stakeholders,” states a blog posting by Thomas Abrams, director of the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We gave careful thought to our draft recommendations, and we understand technology will continue to evolve. So we worked across FDA Centers and Offices to develop best practices that can be applied to existing online Internet sites — and those that have yet to be developed.”

5 unique EHR contract stipulations

June 17, 2014 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
It's well established that vendor electronic health record and related contracts heavily favor the vendor to the detriment of the provider. Many of them limit the vendor's liability, require that the EHR software be taken "as-is," prohibit class-action lawsuits or require arbitration.
"They all limit their liabilities ... and [allow] the vendor much legal leeway," Carl Bergman, a consultant who serves as managing partner of EHRselector.com, a free service that enables providers to compare different ambulatory EHR products, tells FierceEMR.
They're also hard to find, making review and comparison virtually impossible.

Google Glass links to EHR

Posted on Jun 19, 2014
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
Look, Ma, no hands! EHR company drchrono is incorporating Google Glass in its platform. The idea is to create the first wearable health record -- one that is always mobile. Drchrono offers its EHR free on the iPad, iPhone and cloud. Adding Google Glass to its platform would enable physicians to work hands-free, its officials say.
"The iPad was a new consumption device that changed the world, and now we are seeing that doctors want to use more and more hands-free technology,” drchrono CEO and Co-Founder Michael Nusimow said, in a news release. "Glass is one of the first of its kind to do this. A physician wants to practice medicine and not be burdened with all of the paperwork that goes on in the practice. We knew this would be an important app to integrate into our EHR platform, and we're excited to now offer this to doctors using drchrono."
Nusimow imagines a future where the doctor has an iPad, iPhone, laptop and Glass all connected through a mobile EHR platform so they can operate efficiently and spend more one-on-one time with patients instead of processing paperwork.

HSCIC review finds data release 'lapses'

17 June 2014   Jon Hoeksma
The Health and Social Care Information Centre’s Partridge review has found “lapses” in how its predecessor organisation shared patient data.
The issues uncovered by the review of releases by the NHS Information Centre include two instances in which it was impossible to discover who information had been released to. 
The review, undertaken by HSCIC board member Sir Nick Partridge, sets out a series of measures to guarantee greater openness and reassurance to the public, stricter controls over data use, and better clarity for data users.

VA telehealth efforts cut patient costs

June 19, 2014 | By Dan Bowman
Home-based telehealth programs help military service members receive better care at lower costs than service members who only receive in-person care, according to figures touted this week by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials.
Between 2009 and 2012, annual healthcare costs for veterans treated via telehealth fell 4 percent one year after starting use of such programs.
Additional figures, presented this week at the HIMSS Government Health IT conference in the District of Columbia by Adam Darkins, chief consultant for telehealth services at the VA, showed that veterans who participated in telehealth programs also had lower hospital admission rates and emergency room visits, FCW reported.

Power To The Health Data Geeks

June 16, 2014 3:52 AM ET
A computer programmer and a kid in a Batman suit walk into a pancake house ...
“ Like all great health care breakthroughs, it happened at the International House of Pancakes.
- Dave Vockell, CEO, Lyfechannel
It sounds like a joke, but it really happened, and now the programmer — — has a to bring to market. It's an app to help seniors talk to their doctors about medical care.
"Like all great health care breakthroughs, it happened at the International House of Pancakes," he says, half-jokingly.
Venture capitalists are pouring more money than ever into digital health startups — more than $2 billion so far , according to the venture capital firm Rock Health. These investors are betting that entrepreneurs can help doctors, hospitals and insurers become leaner — which the Affordable Care Act strongly encourages.

10 Key Findings from HHS' Latest Data Breach Report

Written by Akanksha Jayanthi (Twitter | Google+)  | June 18, 2014
HHS has released its latest data breach report to Congress, summarizing breaches of unsecured protected health information for 2011 and 2012.
Here are 10 key findings from HHS' report.
1. Between 2011 and 2012, HHS received 458 reports of data breaches affecting 500 or more individuals. In total, approximately 14.69 million individuals were affected by breaches during those two years.
2. The number of data breaches affecting more than 500 people in 2011 and 2012 accounts for 64.5 percent of all data breaches affecting more than 500 people since the required reporting began in September 2009.

Google Glass Gains Momentum In Healthcare

6/18/2014 10:44 AM
Google Glass plays a growing role in healthcare as developers incorporate the device into medical and personal health software.
A week before Google is expected to release Google Fit at its I/O conference, several vendors unveiled Google Glass-related healthcare products. Shipments of the smart glasses could reach 6.6 million units in 2016, compared to the measly half-million units sold in 2012, according to IHS Research.
Apps are crucial to the success of Google Glass, and healthcare developers are rising to the challenge, enabling new and existing applications to work with Google's powerful eyewear. EHR developer drchrono this week began accepting beta test applicants for a Glass-enabled version of its cloud-based software. Wearable health records (WHRs) will become the preferred way for providers to interact with health data, CEO Michael Nusimow predicts in an interview. "We are definitely ahead of the curve, but since we started asking doctors to sign up for our beta program, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and excited about using Glass in their practices," he says.

What scares security officers the most

Posted on Jun 17, 2014
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
It's not just the thought of having a data security breach that scares Kaiser Permanente's Jim Doggett. It's the far-reaching damage such an event could wreak that really keeps him up at night.
Doggett, the chief security officer and chief technology risk officer at the 38-hospital Kaiser Permanente, who kicked off the HIMSS Media/Healthcare IT News Privacy and Security Forum in San Diego this week, said that these days, if an organization reports a data breach, they're going to see serious repercussions.
"What scares me more is the impact of these," he said.

Royal Free, London's first to exit NPfIT

18 June 2014   Sam Sachdeva
The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust has become the first Cerner Millennium trust in London to exit its National Programme for IT contract.
Will Smart, Royal Free’s director of IM&T, told EHI the trust successfully migrated its data from BT’s London data centre to Cerner’s data centre last weekend, after arranging with the Health and Social Care Information Centre to leave its contract early as a “proof of concept” for other trusts.
The HSCIC has covered the trust’s exit costs, in an apparent indication of how it may approach the wider funding of NPfIT contracts coming to an end.
Royal Free was one of the first London trusts to deploy Millennium. It went live with the system in 2008, and has gone on to use its MPages to give clinicians customisable views of its data, and to run Millennium on tablets. 

Legislators seek ideas to improve digital healthcare landscape

June 18, 2014 | By Katie Dvorak
A white paper released Tuesday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee seeks information on how to improve the digital healthcare landscape.
The 21st Century Cures initiative, launched last April by the committee, aims to "accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery cycle to get promising new treatments and cures to patients more quickly," according to the white paper.
Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), commenting on the paper, said that technology has great potential to help our healthcare system evolve. "As we work toward a path to cures, we must always be improving and evolving, embracing the technologies of today as we pursue the treatments for tomorrow," Upton (pictured) said.

ADA: Merck launches registry for type 2 diabetes

Will collect information from 20,000 patients across four countries
Merck & Co is to launch a global registry of patients with type 2 diabetes in order to evaluate their experience of treatment in a real world setting.
Comprising 20,000 patients sites across the US, German, France and Japan, Merck said the registry will collect data from 900 sites, such as diabetes clinics and health centres, to help provide real-world evidence to advance care in type 2 diabetes.
It follows a similar project announced earlier this year by Lilly, which is teaming up with the research organisation T1D Exchange to build a registry for type 1 diabetes.
Merck's interest in diabetes currently includes the DPP-4 inhibitor Januvia (sitagliptin), one of the world's 20 best-selling drugs, and the company also intends to develop a biosimilar version of Sanofi's Lantus (insulin glargine) in partnership with Samsung Bioepis.

AHIMA Endorses Learning Health System Core Values

Greg Slabodkin
JUN 17, 2014 9:37am ET
Taking a page from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s recently released 10-year interoperability roadmap, the American Health Information Management Association has endorsed the core values of a “learning health system” designed to share secure, high-quality data with the goal of improving patient health.
According to AHIMA, a national-level learning health system represents a “transformative vision of data, information, and knowledge sharing to empower all stakeholders to routinely engage in virtuous cycles of continuous learning and improvement” based on 10 core values: person-focused, privacy, inclusiveness, transparency, accessibility, adaptability, governance, cooperative and participatory leadership, scientific integrity, and value.
  • June 17, 2014, 11:42 AM ET

Health Care Plays Catch-Up with Big Data

My wife has spent her entire career in health-care management and when she talks about it, my brain tends to go numb. When I speak about Big Data and analytics, my wife tells her colleagues that she thinks I am in the CIA. I think she means NSA.
When it comes to data and health care, what I’ve never understood is why I must repeat my medical history every time I see a medical professional. Don’t they keep this stuff on file? So, it surprises me when I am told by many very smart people that health care and life sciences are the next frontier for Big Data. While financial service firms have been collecting, organizing, analyzing, and acting on data for decades now, health-care firms are trying to leap from the Stone Age to the Information Age in real time.
To understand the Big Data opportunity, as well as the challenges, confronting the health-care system, I sought out two executives who have spent long careers in the financial services industry before coming to health care. I also spoke with a senior clinician and professor at Harvard Medical School, to elicit the perspective of a practicing physician.

Can Google Succeed with Health Apps?

JUN 17, 2014 7:52am ET
Search engine giant Google wants back into the healthcare market with its Google Fit mobile platform to collect and analyze data from wearable health apps. But, will it work?
Naveen Rao, a patient and consumer engagement industry analyst at Chilmark Research in Cambridge, Mass., gives an idea of the market forces that will impact Google as it enters the wearable health apps market. For starters, Apple and Samsung sell smartphones and can market their own apps to their customers.
Apple’s recent announcement of its Healthkit initiative got a lot of buzz, Rao notes in comments sent to Health Data Management, “but I’m more interested in how this will interplay with Samsung’s SAMI platform. The ‘vehicles’ for these platforms to go to market are phones and wearables, so while Google may be the best positioned of the three to build a consumer friendly data management platform, it remains to be seen how they can productize it.”

IT blamed in Athens EHR debacle

Posted on Jun 17, 2014
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
Who's to blame when EHR implementations go south? There's often enough fault to go around. But when the fallout is bad enough, sometimes self-interested parties are all too ready to point fingers.
In late May, we covered the story of a $31 million Cerner rollout at Athens Regional Health System in Georgia that didn't go as planned.
Thanks to what was described by clinicians as a rushed process, doctors nurses and staff were up in arms about a series of medication mistakes, scheduling snafus and other communication glitches.

From HIE to HR, cloud finding favor

Posted on Jun 17, 2014
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
Eighty percent of respondents to the inaugural 2014 HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey say they currently use cloud-based IT services. Still qualms about performance and privacy persist.
Lower maintenance costs, faster deployment and the ability to step in when staffing resources are scarce are the cloud's top three selling points, according to the poll, which finds that of the organizations currently making use of the cloud, nearly all of them plan to expand their use.
Half of the cloud adopters are hosting clinical applications in the cloud, primarily using software-as-a-service tools, according to HIMSS Analytics. Typical cloud services include health information exchange, the hosting human resources applications and backup and disaster recovery.

EHR uptake disrupts mobile growth

Posted on Jun 17, 2014
By Bernie Monegain, Editor
Athenahealth and Epocrates, an athenahealth service, released a mobile trends report that shows nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists emerging as the most engaged users of mobile technology today.
The third annual Epocrates Mobile Trends Report examines mobile technology adoption and use patterns among healthcare providers.
More than 1,200 healthcare professionals from across the Epocrates member base, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and, for the first time, retail and hospital pharmacists, shared opinions on mobile device usage and its impact on the medical profession and clinical workflow.

EHR Implementation Disrupts Mobile Growth, Report Finds

June 19, 2014
The push towards electronic health record (EHR) implementation has slowed mobile adoption among clinicians, according to a new report from athenahealth, a Watertown, Mass.-based provider of a cloud-based EHR system, and Epocrates, an athenahealth service.
The third annual Epocrates Mobile Trends Report included more than 1,200 healthcare professionals from across the Epocrates member base, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and for the first time—retail and hospital pharmacists—shared opinions on mobile device usage and its impact on the medical profession and clinical workflow.

Avon calling

In the first of EHI’s series on information sharing across healthcare communities, Lis Evenstad visits Bristol to see its Connecting Care programme in action. The project has just received tech fund support as an integrated digital care record ‘exemplar’, but it has been working since 2011 to join up 13 organisations – and has another four in its sights.
16 June 2014
Getting an NHS trust to share data with a local authority is a challenge. Getting 13 health and social care organisations to share data, with the appropriate governance arrangements in place might, to some, seem almost impossible.
But don’t you dare mention that word to Andy Kinnear, the director of business intelligence and informatics at NHS South West Commissioning Support Unit, because he has done exactly that.
The Connecting Care programme in Bristol, which went live in December last year, shares real-time patient data between GPs, community providers, local authorities and three acute trusts.
Further plans will bring in the local ambulance trust, a mental health trust, an academic health science network and another council, bringing the total number of organisations involved to 17.

Survey confirms telehealth ignorance

11 June 2014   Lis Evenstad
People in the UK are unaware of telehealth and telecare
More than 90% of people in the UK do not know what telehealth and telecare technologies,defined as 'health and safety devices' is, research from the government’s Technology Strategy Board has found.
The researchers, who surveyed more than 2000 people in the UK, also found that more than 70% of people are not aware of health and care apps available on smartphones and tablets.
The survey was done by the Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles at Scale, or DALLAS programme, which was set up by the government in 2011 to enable more independent living for people through the use of digital technology.

Halamka envisions use of online sites to share health records

June 17, 2014 | By Katie Dvorak
People use social media, Wikipedia and other such sites to share information about current events and their day-to-day lives. Now, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka envisions a world where similar sites are used to share medical information.
Halamka, a FierceHealthIT Editorial Advisory Board member who also serves as co-chairman of the federal Health IT Standards Committee, said that sites similar to social media platforms could allow doctors to "tweet" on patients' conditions and make Wikipedia-esque entries on their care, according to an article in The Boston Herald.
The websites would be HIPAA-compliant and would have security protections, Halamka said at a meeting being held by JASON, an independent group made up of scientists who advise the government on science and tech matters.

DoD releases update to electronic health record plan

  • By Adam Mazmanian
  • Jun 16, 2014
The Department of Defense is one step closer to making its final pitch to industry for a modernized electronic health record system. The third draft of the DoD Healthcare Management System Modernization (DHMSM) solicitation was released June 12, and "promises to substantially reflect our final requirement," according to a covering letter from program manager Capt. John Windom.
When longstanding plans for a joint DoD-Veterans Affairs Department health record system broke down in February 2013, DoD opted instead to acquire its own system.

Big Data, My Data

by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn Tuesday, June 17, 2014
"The routine operation of modern health care systems produces an abundance of electronically stored data on an ongoing basis," Sebastian Schneeweis writes in a recent New England Journal of Medicine Perspective.
Is this abundance of data a treasure trove for improving patient care and growing knowledge about effective treatments? Is that data trove a Pandora's black box that can be mined by obscure third parties to benefit for-profit companies without rewarding those whose data are said to be the new currency of the economy? That is, patients themselves?
In this emerging world of data analytics in health care, there's Big Data and there's My Data ("small data"). Who most benefits from the use of My Data may not actually be the consumer.

Q&A: Karen DeSalvo on EHR, Audits, and Buggy Software

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , June 17, 2014

In Part Two of an in-depth interview, National Coordinator for Health Information Karen DeSalvo, MD, discusses EHR certification, modular functionality, meaningful use audits, and glitchy software.

At the annual Health Datapalooza in Washington D.C., recently, I spoke with Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, one-on-one for the first time. This is the conclusion of that conversation. Read Part One.

VistA and Epic: A tale of two systems

Posted on Jun 10, 2014
By Edmund Billings, MD, Medsphere Systems Corporation
Two Platforms, Two Approaches
Over the last few weeks, access to VA healthcare for veterans has been all over the news.  At the same time, the DoD is moving to procure a replacement EHR system.  So it seems there is no time like the present to review a recent RAND case studies report entitled “Redirecting Innovation in U.S. Health Care: Options to Decrease Spending and Increase Value.”
The case studies include a chapter comparing America’s two most broadly deployed EHRs:  The VA’s VistA and Epic.  The tale RAND tells is not one of different EHR technologies, as both VistA and Epic both employ the MUMPS programming language and file-based database. Rather, it is about how different origins, business models and practices have dramatically influenced the respective systems.  As the report itself says, the contrast offers “useful insights into the development, diffusion, and potential future of EHRs.”

iOS changes will address HIPAA risk

Posted on Jun 16, 2014
By Evan Schuman, Contributing Writer
Imagine if almost everyone walking into your hospital – patients, doctors, visitors, salespeople – was carrying an active homing beacon, which broadcast, unencrypted, their presence and repeatedly updated exact location to anyone who chose to listen.
That's where things stand today, courtesy of the mobile MAC address signal (it stands for media access control), a unique ID coming from every smartphone, tablet and wearable device.
But not for long, given upcoming changes to how Apple products will handle MAC address broadcasts –  a move almost certain to be copied by Google's Android.
Apple's iOS 8 change, focusing initially on how MAC addressing interacts with Wi-Fi scans, will shift to using "randomly, locally administered" MAC addresses. The result, according to Apple: "The MAC address used for Wi-Fi scans may not always be the device's real – universal – address." (That description is on page 18 of an Apple PDF, available here.)

Hospital IT execs increasingly embrace the cloud

June 16, 2014 | By Dan Bowman
Hospital IT executives increasingly turn to the cloud to lower maintenance costs while trying to meet their growing technology needs, according to a new survey published today by HIMSS Analytics.
Of the 150 respondents to the survey--a majority of whom were hospital CIOs--close to 83 percent indicated that they use cloud technology; half of those providers said they use the cloud to host clinical applications. The exchange of patient data and disaster recovery efforts also were among top reasons for both current and future use by providers.
Privacy and security were top of mind for providers both already using cloud technology and those considering adoption. Close to 60 percent of respondents said that physical security of a cloud service provider would factor into their cloud purchasing decisions. The same number said that a vendor's willingness to enter into a business associate agreement was also important. Provider business associates can now be held accountable for data breaches under HIPAA

Closing the loop between hospital and home

June 13, 2014Eric Wicklund - Editor, mHealthNews
Researchers at the University of Missouri are working on a home-based monitoring solution for seniors that automatically synchs with the hospital, a key step in the effort to allow more people to "age in place" while reducing avoidable hospitalizations.
The "closed-loop healthcare" system is more than a decade in planning, and was displayed during this week's SmartAmerica Challenge Expo in Washington D.C. Its goal is to allow seniors to live in their own homes while being monitored by healthcare providers and other caregivers, and to allow the instant transfer of biometric data from home to hospital.
Researchers say this set-up would enable healthcare providers to react more quickly in the event of an accident at home, as well as enabling them to spot medical concerns before they become acute. They point to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study that estimates the U.S. spends $31 billion each year on preventable hospitalizations among adults, many of which could be avoided "through better integration and coordination."

EMR Market to Reach $18.3B by 2018

Written by Akanksha Jayanthi (Twitter | Google+)  | June 13, 2014
The global electronic medical market is poised to reach $18.3 billion by 2018, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9 percent, according to a MicroMarketMonitor news release.
In 2013, the global EMR market was valued at $11.8 billion.