Saturday, October 18, 2014
Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 18th October, 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.
Posted on Oct 10, 2014
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
The Federal Trade Commission has some news for health IT vendors whose zeal for competitive marketshare outweighs their willingness to share data: they're watching, and will step in where necessary.
"We are working with ONC staff to identify potential competition issues relating to health IT platforms and standards, market concentration, conduct by market participants, and the ability of health IT purchasers to make informed buying decisions," wrote FTC officials in a blog post this week.
Healthy competition "is central to improving health care quality and outcomes, reducing costs, and improving the consumer experience," write Tara Isa Koslov, of FTC's Office of Policy Planning; Markus Meier, of its Bureau of Competition and David R. Schmidt, of its Bureau of Economics.
October 10, 2014 | By Dan Bowman
Several challenges persist when it comes to development and adoption of digital health tools. To that end, a pair of Commonwealth Fund reports published this month outline strategies to boost such innovation, and examine how some organizations currently are taking advantage of new technologies.
In the former report, "Taking Digital Health to the Next Level," the authors say that because many who enter the healthcare industry do so from other industries, ideas and solutions often aim to resolve "low-hanging fruit" challenges such as dietary intake. In that same vein, they say, entrepreneur and developer workflow knowledge often is minimal, meaning innovations designed aren't as effective as current tools in need of updating.
By: Aditi Pai | Oct 9, 2014
Connected healthcare device sales will exceed $3 billion globally by 2019, according to a report from analysis firm Juniper Research.
Juniper explains that the connected healthcare devices it looked at include blood pressure cuffs, oximeters for diabetes, and sleep monitors for sleep apnea.
Publish date: OCT 09, 2014
By: Ken Terry
Considering the dissatisfaction that many physicians have expressed about electronic health records (EHRs), you might think that most doctors hate these systems. But, according to an exclusive Medical Economics survey, 55% of physicians are fairly or very satisfied with their EHRs, and 54% believe they have helped improve the quality of care.
Forty-five percent of respondents said that EHRs have had a positive financial impact on their practices. Most of that is probably related to the Meaningful Use incentives from the government, says Michelle Holmes, MBA, a Seattle-based principal with ECG Management Consultants. “I don’t think it’s the norm for people to say the profitability of their practice is better after EHR implementation than before it, from a productivity and cost perspective.”
By: Brian Dolan | Oct 9, 2014
The Commonwealth Fund published a report recently focused on how those working to bring digital health services to market can help such technologies overcome the market barriers they currently face.
The firm’s writers defined digital health as “tools as those that can be used in health care to compress large amounts of information (e.g., words and images) on small storage devices for easy preservation or transmission via the internet or other telecommunications networks. A related term, connected health, refers to the use of technology (often consumer technologies) to provide health care remotely.”
After interviewing 16 providers, investors, startup founders and others working in digital health, the researchers came up with five over-arching recommendations for those working to help digital health services find adoption.
The ONC and the Federal Trade Commission have come together in an effort to foster competition in the health IT market.
During a March workshop, the FTC and the ONC heard various stakeholder complaints about the state of the current health IT market, including missing or inaccurate information about products' prices and limitations, a lack of interoperability among products and vendors that purposefully restrict data flow between systems.
Neil Merrett Published 10 October 2014
Consultation paper identifies need to address reliance on paper systems and digital exclusion as key challenges for new health and social care ICT strategy
A five year ICT strategy to modernise Northern Ireland's health and social services has been detailed as part of a new consultation paper unveiled by the country's Health and Social Care Board (HSCB).
The paper is the last of three strategic documents to be published by the HSCB since 2011 and outlines a draft plan to overhaul the provision of health and social care in order to address the dual changes of "limited increases in funding" and public demand for more accessible electronic services. As part of a wider consultation process , the HSCB has said it will be accepting recomendations and responses to the draft strategy until Friday January 9, 2015.
OCT 9, 2014 7:03am ET
The long-term care industry in November is changing its standard for electronic prescribing, as the federal government is requiring that those who e-prescribe must use the SCRIPT standard of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs.
Many long-term care facilities that have been e-prescribing have used Health Level Seven standards because SCRIPT has not supported LTC and other post-acute care workflows. However, version 10.6 of SCRIPT better supports workflows and is the standard that the industry must adopt when e-prescribing, says Terri Weckle, senior vice president of strategic products at PointClickCare, a vendor of clinical, financial and administrative software serving 9,000 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.
October 7, 2014 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Providers are on the path to interoperability, but they're not necessarily crediting their vendor for it, according to a new report from KLAS Research.
In the report, EMR Interoperability 2014: Where are We on the Yellow Brick Road, KLAS says that 82 percent of 220 providers interviewed said that they felt at least "moderately" successful at interoperability, but it was due to their own efforts, not those of their vendor. Only 6 percent had achieved advanced interoperability.
Health information exchanges were the top interoperability platform, with 20 percent of providers using them to achieve interoperability. However, almost one-third (32 percent) stated that no interoperability feature or platform had made an impact to improve care delivery.
October 9, 2014 | By Dan Bowman
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT on Wednesday awarded a contract to Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based RTI International to design a roadmap to its health IT safety center.
The focus of the safety center, an idea initially proposed by the Institute of Medicine in a report published in November 2011, will be the collection of benchmark data on health IT-related adverse events in an effort to improve patient safety. The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act report, released jointly in April by ONC, FDA and the Federal Communications Commission, included a recommendation to create the safety center, for which $5 million was allocated in ONC's 2015 proposed budget.
October 9, 2014 | By Susan D. Hall
Echoing previous surveys, eHealth Initiative's latest poll of health data exchange organizations finds them struggling with interoperability issues.
Cost and technical challenges are the key barriers to interoperability, respondents said. The three most-cited issues were the cost of building interfaces to connect disparate systems, getting consistent and timely response from EHR vendor interface developers and technical difficulty of building interfaces.
Overall, 135 organizations responded, including 74 community-based health information organizations, 25 statewide efforts and 26 healthcare delivery organizations.
9 October 2014 Lis Evenstad
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has become the tenth trust to sign up to take the Lorenzo electronic patient record system from CSC and estimates the project will cost £33m over ten years.
The trust, which plans to go live at the end of 2015, submitted a business case to the Health and Social Care Information centre's CSC LSP Programme Board, which has been approved. It expects the project will deliver a return on investment of 3.3.
CSC was contracted to deploy Lorenzo to all trusts in the North, Midlands and East of England as part of the National Programme for IT. However, the company struggled with the development of the system, which became subject to serious deployment delays.
OCT 8, 2014 7:40am ET
A coalition of 58 patient organizations, providers and vendors sent a letter Oct. 7 to members of Congress urging them to pass legislation this year to “provide clarity and certainty for appropriate, risk-based oversight of health information technology.”
The urgent appeal to lawmakers is in direct response to a proposed strategy and recommendations for a risk-based regulatory framework for health IT publicly released in April and developed by the Food and Drug Administration, the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT and the Federal Communications Commission. Based on functionality and risk, the draft regulatory framework for HIT focuses on what a product does regardless of the platform on which it operates.
Author Name Jennifer Bresnick | Date October 8, 2014 |
The vast majority of healthcare providers believe that EHR interoperability and fluid health information exchange are critical for delivering high quality patient care, cutting costs, and improving the experience of frustrated and weary clinical staff, according to a report by peer60, but just over half believe that government mandates such as meaningful use are the best way to achieve a connected healthcare system.
The survey of 350 healthcare leaders included top executives, informaticists, nursing staff, and IT professionals using a number of the top EHR vendors in the field: Cerner, Allscripts, Epic, McKesson, NextGen, and Meditech, among others. Ninety-one percent of the participants believed that EHR interoperability can improve clinical outcomes, and 89% said the same of fiscal outcomes. A whopping 97% believe that they would see greater adoption of interoperability features if they were more readily available in their current health IT systems.
10/8/2014 09:36 AM
California Supreme Court will decide whether the state's medical board breached patient privacy when it used data from a state prescription database to discipline a physician.
To combat "doctor shopping," "pill mills," and addiction to medications such as pain and anti-anxiety pills, many states have created databases that track the doctors who prescribe and patients who take these medications. Used by pharmacies and practices to ensure consumers aren't seeing multiple physicians to get controlled substances, these databases also have become a tool for law enforcement -- and at least one medical board's investigative arm.
But could investigators' access to these records, which also include non-controlled medications, jeopardize patient privacy, especially when data segues from deidentified to clearly identified information and patients are called upon to hand over their complete medical records as part of an investigation? How are patients affected? And could the evolving new healthcare model -- which demands more synergies between clinicians and consumers -- be damaged if doctors cannot openly discuss topics such as weight?
Posted on Oct 08, 2014
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
It may not come as any surprise: Electronic health record vendors don't play well with others. At least that's according to healthcare providers who say, in the lion's share of cases, their EHR is not interoperable with others.
So finds a new report put out by health IT research firm KLAS, which underscores a less than ideal reality: In excess of $25 billion in EHR incentives has been paid out to providers and hospitals to subsidize these behemoth EHR systems, which, in most cases, don't talk to each other. In fact, less than half of providers say their EHR vendor is interoperable with other vendors, according to the KLAS data.
Perhaps even equally as striking is the fact that only 20 percent of providers are "optimistic" about vendor collaboration initiatives – for instance the CommonWell Health Alliance, which bills itself as an independent trade association composed of health IT vendors.
October 8, 2014 | By Dan Bowman
Close to 60 health IT stakeholders--including the American Medical Informatics Association and Health IT Now--want to see congressional involvement in clarifying appropriate risk-based oversight of health IT.
In a letter sent to Congress on Oct. 7, 58 organizations said that now is the time for legislation "that achieves the complementary goals of protecting patients, ensuring safe and effective care and fostering innovation in the rapidly growing health IT field."
Oct 07, 2014
Patient access and feedback to their EHR can improve accuracy of medication lists, according to a study published in eGems (Generating Evidence and Methods to Improve Patient Outcomes).
A group of researchers from NORC at the University of Chicago, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Geisinger Health Systems analyzed the impact of Geisinger’s online platform, launched in 2011, that allows patients to provide feedback on their medication lists before a doctor’s visit. Any feedback is routed to a Geisinger pharmacist, who reviews it and follows up with the patient before changing the medication list shared by the patient and the clinicians.
Computerworld | Oct 8, 2014 1:23 PM PT
A Dallas man who became the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. has died. And while the hospital that treated him has retracted a claim that its electronic health records (EHR) system contributed to a lapse in his diagnosis, experts are skeptical that the system worked properly.
Data integration is often underestimated and poorly implemented, taking time and resources. Yet it
The problem isn't that the patient's recent travel to West Africa hadn't been documented. Instead, it's that a physician would have had to search the EHR for that history in order to find a link to Ebola, according to Judy Hanover, research director at IDC Health Insights.
OCT 7, 2014 7:28am ET
Eric Topol, M.D., chief academic officer of San Diego’s Scripps Health, has seen the future of medicine—a future based on a fundamental shift in who accesses and owns medical data—or what he calls the “rebooting” of medicine.
“You are your data but more importantly each individual needs to own their data. That’s where we need to be,” Topol told an audience at last week’s AHIMA conference in San Diego. “People deserve the respect that comes from data because the information science that we’re into now and going into much deeper has to be taken on by patients.”
Posted on Oct 06, 2014
By Tom Sullivan, Editor, Government Health IT
The venerable IT giant Hewlett-Packard announced on Monday that it is splitting itself into two companies.
A newly christened Hewlett Packard Enterprise will house software and services, networking technologies, as well as its big iron servers and storage, while the other entity, HP Inc., will consist of its PCs, notebooks, tablets and, of course, printing systems.
Posted on Oct 07, 2014
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
When announcing his company's seismic $1.3 billion acquisition of Siemens Health Services this past summer, Cerner CEO Neal Patterson noted the deal was meant, in part, to help the electronic health record giant chart a course for the "post-meaningful use" era.
Buddying up with a company as broadly skilled as Siemens was meant to be a strategic pivot toward "the next decade," said Patterson. "The alliance we're creating will drive the next generation of innovations that embed information from the EMR inside advanced diagnostic and therapeutic technologies."
Well, perhaps "post-meaningful use" isn't quite the mot juste.
3 October 2014 Sam Sachdeva
GP practices could take an “opt-out by default” stance to the care.data programme without breaching the Data Protection Act, the Information Commissioner’s Office has said.
Speaking at the Emis National User Group conference in Nottingham, Dawn Monaghan, the public services strategic liaison group manager for the Information Commissioner’s Office, addressed queries from GPs about whether they could opt all of their patients out of the controversial programme.
The care.data programme will extract data sets from different organisations, starting with GP practices, and link them to an expanded set of Hospital Episode Statistics within the 'safe haven' of the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
7 October 2014 Lis Evenstad
A third of GP practices in England are now live with the Electronic Prescription Service Release 2, the Health and Social Care Information Centre has said.
A spokesperson from the HSCIC told EHI that it is aiming for more than 40% of GPs to be live with EPS R2 by the end of March 2015 and that “based on current progress we estimate that 70% of GPs will be live by end of December 2016.”
EPS R2 allows practices in England to produce prescriptions electronically. These are digitally signed and sent to the pharmacy chosen, or “nominated”, by the patient.
October 7, 2014 | By Katie Dvorak
The health industry has reached a tipping point for telemedicine to become a standard of practice nationwide, according to panelists speaking at U.S. News and World Report's Hospital of Tomorrow conference in the District of Columbia on Tuesday.
The panelists, whose work with the technology range from teleradiology and teleICU to telesurgery and teleoncology, spoke about its growing role in healthcare and the hurdles that remain for implementation.
Billing, reimbursement and licensure still remain the biggest barriers to expansion of the technology, the panelists said.
October 7, 2014 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Is anyone else as concerned as I am about Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas' actions these past few days?
And I'm not just talking about the clearly troublesome misdiagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan, who was sent home from the hospital's emergency department despite having the Ebola virus. He's now fighting for his life.
I also am referring to the hospital's waffling of the mistake.
(Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O) already knows who your friends are and the kind of things that grab your attention. Soon, it could also know the state of your health.
On the heels of fellow Silicon Valley technology companies Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Google Inc (GOOGL.O), Facebook is plotting its first steps into the fertile field of healthcare, said three people familiar with the matter. The people requested anonymity as the plans are still in development.
The company is exploring creating online "support communities" that would connect Facebook users suffering from various ailments. A small team is also considering new "preventative care" applications that would help people improve their lifestyles.
In recent months, the sources said, the social networking giant has been holding meetings with medical industry experts and entrepreneurs, and is setting up a research and development unit to test new health apps. Facebook is still in the idea-gathering stage, the people said.
New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System has announced it is the first to fully integrate Apple's new mobile health platform with its Epic EHR system.
On Sunday, the health system successfully imported the first patient's HealthKit data directly into the Epic record.
By Neil Versel Oct. 7, 2014 | 6:50 p.m. EDT
Interoperability of health information systems is a centerpiece of Stage 2 of the federal Meaningful Use incentive program for electronic health records – a phase that began a full year ago for some hospitals – but as the thousands of providers struggling to make the jump from Stage 1 are finding, achieving the vision of an interoperable, nationwide network of EHRs is proving to be elusive.
At a breakout session Tuesday morning at the U.S. News Hospital of Tomorrow conference in Washington, one veteran of health information exchange policy and practice illustrated just how difficult interoperability can be when dealing with an industry as complex as health care.
Micky Tripathi, founding president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, a nonprofit that supports health information "communities," pulled out an old PowerPoint slide from 2003, when he was the head of the fledgling Indiana Health Information Exchange. Then, HIE was seen as a clean circle of data movement from hospital to clinic to laboratory to payer to patient, with a centralized data repository in the middle.
10/6/2014 11:55 AM
Big data's role in healthcare could be hindered by government privacy regulations such as HIPAA, say experts at the Body Computing Conference. Who should own health data?
Big data is good for medical science, but potentially risky for the patient. By amassing and analyzing massive quantities of digital information from multiple sources, including an emerging class of wearable devices and smartphone apps, medical professionals will be well equipped to solve major health problems and warn people of emerging threats like the Ebola virus.
That's the goal, anyway. But big data's role in healthcare may be hindered by government privacy regulations such the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, which regulate the security and disclosure of personal health information by health insurers, medical care providers, and other entities.
This article appears in the September 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Providers are taking many paths—some public but, more and more, private—toward electronic health information exchange.
Despite more than $500 million being spent over the past five years by the federal government to promote HIE, many states have no HIE today, forcing providers to turn to regional or private HIE organizations to realize the benefits of such information exchange.
Those organizations include such entities as Healtheway, descendent of the federal government's Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange; NATE, the National Association for Trusted Exchange, which is attempting to link all state-level HIEs across the United States; and the CommonWell Health Alliance, a vendor-based not-for-profit consortium (of which Epic is not a member). There also is a growing number of EHR vendor-specific HIE networks, such as Epic's Care Everywhere.
OCT 3, 2014 10:14am ET
Adoption of a mobile device-based patient surveillance system cut mortality in British hospitals by 15 percent, according to researchers.
A study published in BMJ Quality and Safety looked at mortality rates for Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, and University Hospital Coventry between 2005 and 2010, during the introduction of the VitalPAC electronic system--developed by The Learning Clinic in London--for recording patient observations. It found a 15 percent drop in mortality in each hospital following the system’s introduction, amounting to a reduction in deaths of more than 370 a year in each hospital.
October 6, 2014 | By Susan D. Hall
In the absence of clinical trials for guidance, physicians and researchers increasingly are looking at the troves of data that exist--on thousands or millions of patients with similar conditions--to set a course for patient care, according to an article in The New York Times.
It cites a case of a 13-year-old girl showing symptoms suggesting kidney failure who was airlifted to Stanford's Packard Children's Hospital. She was diagnosed with lupus, but rheumatologist Jennifer Frankovich had seen similar patients with lupus develop life-threatening blood clots.
Turning to a database of all the lupus patients seen at the hospital over the previous five years, she convinced the care team to administer clot-busting drugs to the girl, who then did not develop blood clots. But there's no way to tell whether Frankovich actually was on the right track, according to the article.
By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 3, 2014
A new study from Pennsylvania hospital system Geisinger Health Plan shows that remote monitoring of congestive heart failure patients can reduce readmissions by 38 to 44 percent and produce a return on investment of $3.30 on the dollar.
The long-term study of 541 patients began in 2008 and just concluded in 2012. Patients used a Bluetooth-connected weight scale from AMC Health that also included interactive voice surveys about shortness of breath, swelling, appetite and prescription medication management, designed to detect acute events before they happen. Weight data and survey answers were transmitted in near-realtime to the patients’ care team, allowing them to respond to warning signs in a timely manner. This is the second study Geisinger has published on this technology.
“Evidence that points to the significant value of remote patient monitoring in enhancing population health management efforts continues to mount,” Nesim Bildirici, president and CEO of AMC Health, said in a statement. “We are thrilled that a second Geisinger study quantifies this benefit for patients diagnosed with heart failure. As the nation’s healthcare system continues its transition to value-based care and shared-risk arrangements gain traction, reducing hospital admissions and lowering the overall cost of care continue to escalate in importance.”
By: Aditi Pai | Oct 3, 2014
Philips received FDA 510(k) clearance for two of its telehealth applications, eCareCoordinator and eCareCompanion. Both apps are part of a Philips program called Philips Transition to Ambulatory Care (eTrAC), which aims to reduce hospital readmissions by providing patients with the tools to make their transition to the home.
“The FDA clearance of the Philips eCareCoordinator and eCareCompanion applications marks the first major step in realizing our vision for a digital health platform that seamlessly integrates data to transform the way we deliver patient care,” Philips Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services CEO Jeroen Tas said in a statement. “These applications address both clinician and patient needs, providing clinicians with better access and analysis around patient data while empowering patients to manage their own health with direct access to care teams. The deeper insights into patient conditions will help enable more efficient and cost-effective care for improved outcomes.”
DALLAS — Health officials’ handling of the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States continued to raise questions Friday, after the hospital that is treating the patient and that mistakenly sent him home when he first came to its emergency room acknowledged that both the nurses and the doctors in that initial visit had access to the fact that he had arrived from Liberia.
For reasons that remain unclear, nurses and doctors failed to act on that information, and released the patient under the erroneous belief that he had a low-grade fever from a viral infection, allowing him to put others at risk of contracting Ebola. Those exposed included several schoolchildren, and the exposure has the potential to spread a disease in Dallas that has already killed more than 3,000 people in Africa.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Email ranks among the most widely used forms of business communication -- and one that is widely subject to cyberattack.
Email attachments may deliver a malware payload. Phishing scams, in which attackers mimic trusted brands, can harvest personal information from unsuspecting users. Assailants may crack email accounts or sniff network traffic to steal plain-text messages in transit.
Health care organizations, however, trail other industries when it comes to email security. Agari, an email security solutions provider in California, recently assigned health care the lowest email security score of all the industries it studied. The company's Q2 Email TrustIndex, published in August, analyzed 14 health care companies and classified 13 of those as "easy targets" for attackers.
Kristen Alexander, head of marketing at Agari, said health care has climbed the ranks as a target for cyber criminals. Patient information is a key attraction.
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Saturday, October 18, 2014