- Faster Internet connections and better software provide a better video chat experience than in the past
- With mobile devices, people can consult a doctor from anywhere
- The adoption of electronic health records makes it easier for doctors to access patient records
- Patients are comfortable with asynchronous messaging, which can be more time-efficient for doctors
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 24th January, 2015.
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.
January 16, 2015 | By Susan D. Hall
A multi-stakeholder effort is necessary to create the culture, infrastructure and policies needed to further responsible data-sharing for clinical trials, an Institute of Medicine report finds.
Clinical trials generate vast amounts of data, but much of that information is never published or made available to other researchers. At the same time, protecting the privacy of study participants remains a pressing concern, according to the report.
The authors of the report say that sharing data is in the public interest, and offer a framework for data-sharing based on input gathered from researchers, clinical trial sponsors, patients, advocacy groups, other stakeholders and the public.
January 16, 2015 | By Susan D. Hall
Doctors who use electronic health record systems are only slightly more likely than those who don't to receive the patient information they need for coordinated care, according to research published in Medical Care.
For the study, researchers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality surveyed 4,500 office-based physicians and found that only about 33 percent used an EHR system and shared patient health information electronically. Thirty-nine of respondents had an EHR system but did not share patient data electronically, and about 25 percent did neither.
"The study findings highlight the continuing challenges to using HIT to coordinate care among providers," lead author Chun-Ju Hsiao, of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, said in an announcement.
Healthcare Information Exchanges help reduce redundant imaging services, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.
Physicians are not always able to access previous medical images, so they simply order more imaging. However, imaging is costly and unnecessarily drives up costs. The study looked to see if HIEs were effective in helping physicians reduce repeat imaging.
Researchers conducted the study based on a cohort of 196,314 patients in New York, comparing HIE usage logs to claims data for imaging procedures. Of this group, 34,604 had at least one imaging procedure.
JAN 14, 2015 9:44am ET
(Bloomberg) – IBM is introducing a new mainframe in a bet that clients will need its souped-up speed and security to handle a surge in consumers using smartphones for everything from banking to checking health-care records.
The z13 system can encrypt and analyze data in real time and process 30,000 transactions a second, International Business Machines Corp. announced today. That means faster and safer transactions for consumers on mobile phones. The system is the result of five years of development and a more than $1 billion investment, said Donna Dillenberger, an IBM distinguished engineer who helped develop the machine.
The mainframe is one of IBM’s signature hardware products that will help sell related software and services, and it’s debuting at a critical time for the Armonk, New York-based company. Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty is trying to find new sources of revenue growth from mobile offerings, cloud computing and data analytics as demand for its legacy hardware wanes.
January 12, 2015 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Transitioning to electronic health records can improve clinical quality measurement, but not necessarily across all measures and not in the short term, according to a new study in eGEMs (Generating Evidence and Methods to Improve Patient Outcomes).
The researchers, from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Montefiore Medical Center, reviewed whether small, independent medical practices improved in the performance of nine clinical quality measures--such as Body Mass Index recorded, blood pressure control and smoking cessation intervention offered--when they adopted EHRs. The researchers reviewed the paper and electronic charts for 6,007 patients in 35 small primary care practices for the study.
The results were mixed.
Posted on Jan 15, 2015
By Mike Miliard, Editor
"Although computers and EHRs can facilitate and even improve clinical documentation, their use can also add complexities," according to a new paper from the American College of Physicians, which offers its take on usage strategies and better system design.
"In the past decade, medical records have become increasingly synonymous with electronic health records," write the authors of the new report, "Clinical Documentation in the 21st Century," published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
In the not-too-distant future, EHRs – and the clinical notes contained therein – will evolve: "Existing technology, such as registries, portals, connected home monitoring devices and provider- and patient-controlled mobile devices, as well as technology not yet in use or even built, is likely to integrate with or possibly even replace the EHR (as currently conceptualized) as a primary vehicle for viewing and recording clinical documentation," they write.
14 January 2015 Lyn Whitfield
The Welsh Government has announced that £3 million will be spent on rolling out a system to enable hospital staff and GPs to share information, including tests and clinical correspondence.
The Emergency Department Clinical Information Management Scheme is the latest element of Wales’ plan to create a suite of national IT systems for its health service to be given the go-ahead by ministers.
It will be introduced in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwyg and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Boards initially; but all health boards will be expected to adopt the system eventually.
Health and social services minister Mark Drakeford said in a statement: “The development of the Emergency Department Clinical Information System is a major step forward, which will eventually allow information sharing across all emergency departments and minor injuries units across Wales.
By: Jonah Comstock | Jan 14, 2015
Physician adoption of smartphones and tablets is higher than it’s ever been, but poor communication between IT departments and doctors keeps those devices from being effectively used, according to a new report from Spyglass Consulting. The report estimates that 96 percent of doctors have smartphones, but only 10 percent are actually willing to use their mobile devices to access electronic health records.
“There are inadequate mobile EMR tools,” Gregg Malkary, the founder and managing director of Spyglass told MobiHealthNews. “When lot of organizations think about BYOD, they go ‘We’re just going to use desktop virtualization tools from organizations like Citrix, leverage our Citrix licenses and there you go, we’ve now provided you the ability to access your clinical systems.’ The irony there is that Citrix provides a poor user experience that’s difficult to use, it’s difficult to navigate, and it crashes, therefore physicians don’t want to use it. … So docs are not enamored with the tools being provided by hospital IT. And when you ask a lot of organizations we spoke to about what their future plans for mobility are, many aren’t planning extensive investments moving forward, because they’re not part of meaningful use.”
ECRI Institute has released its "2015 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List," a compilation of topics, questions and answers for hospital leaders to be attuned to in the upcoming months.
Here are the 10 topics for C-suiters to be watching over the next year, according to ECRI Institute.
1. Disinfection robots: Will they effectively defeat healthcare-associated infections?
2. 3D printing: Is it just a buzz or should hospitals invest?
Author Jennifer Bresnick | Date January 14, 2015
Simplifying the process of billing and financial data management in the healthcare industry could save up to $375 billion per year in unnecessary costs, claims a new study published in BMC Health Services Research, which amounts to approximately 15% of total healthcare spending in the United States. The massive reduction in costs would require a thorough overhaul of how financial data is created, transmitted, and used from its start in the physician’s office through its journey to payers and back again. The maximum savings would only be achieved by the adoption of a single nationwide payer system, an unlikely prospect for the country at this time.
However, with the approach of ICD-10 putting revenue cycle management and financial analytics in the spotlight, the research suggests that the industry can take some steps towards administrative simplification that would make some progress towards cutting significant costs.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Anyone watching this month's 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas could be forgiven for wondering about the long-term utility of certain products being touted at the event, such as the stress-relieving device MyBrain Melomind and the smart pacifier Pacif-i.
Another point of contention for some might be CES' continued emphasis on wearable technologies -- especially those focusing on health and wellness. While the media and investors are excited about the future of health wearables, research suggests consumers are less enthusiastic. For example, a widely cited report published by Endeavour Partners in 2014 suggests that long-term engagement with wearables, including activity trackers, is low. Meanwhile, a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study highlights the financial headwinds that may limit widespread adoption of wearables. Nearly two-thirds of consumers would be willing to use these devices -- but only if they are provided at no cost by employers.
Posted on Jan 14, 2015
By Bernie Monegain, Editor-at-Large
Athenahealth, which built its reputation among ambulatory practices by doing the work doctors don't have time to do, is about to buy itself entry into the hospital market. On Wednesday it announced its acquisition of RazorInsights, which provides cloud-based EHRs to rural, critical access and community hospitals.
"Our team is landing there tonight and will have new ID cards, cell phones, computers tomorrow morning -- and next month, they're going to move into athena Atlanta," said athenathealth CEO Jonathan Bush.
In addition to positioning athenahealth to serve a new segment of the healthcare market, athenahealth expects this acquisition to accelerate its work to advance connectedness across the care continuum – what Bush typically calls building the national healthcare IT "backbone."
January 14, 2015 | By Susan D. Hall
Telehealth and Google Glass are among 10 healthcare technologies to watch in 2015, according to the ECRI Institute's latest Hospital C-Suite Watch List.
The list, according to ECRI, highlights "a blend of novel, new, and emerging technologies that will demand attention and planning over the next 12 to 18 months" with an eye toward helping decision makers understand the hype versus the evidence about whether to adopt them.
January 14, 2015 | By Susan D. Hall
Consumers are excited about telehealth and providers have the financial incentive and technology to make it a reality, Skip Fleshman, a partner at Asset Management Ventures, writes at Forbes.
Though the technology has been around for years, Fleshman says it might be the biggest trend in digital health in 2015. Why now?
Among the reasons he cites:
JAN 13, 2015 7:29am ET
The American College of Physicians has issued policy recommendations for improving clinical documentation within electronic health records, which have become overloaded with extraneous data.
“Although computers and EHRs can facilitate and even improve clinical documentation, their use can also add complexities; new challenges; and, in the eyes of some, an increase in inappropriate or even fraudulent documentation,” argues a new ACP policy paper published in Annals of Internal Medicine. “At the same time, many physicians and other healthcare professionals have argued that the quality of the systems being used for clinical documentation is inadequate."
ACP makes the case that EHRs have made “defensive documentation easier, which some would interpret as better documentation and others would interpret as a source of ‘note bloat,’ in which key findings and actions are obscured by superfluous negative findings, irrelevant documentation, and differential diagnoses, all of which make the record difficult and time-consuming to read." According to the paper, this has resulted in longer notes but without the increased documentation improving patient care.
January 09, 2015 | Madelyn Kearns - Associate Editor
There’s no denying that, as a whole, wearables had a big year in 2014. As IDTechEx reported last month, the market was worth an estimated $14 billion heading into 2015, and that’s without the help of an Apple product. Of course, that won’t be the case this year, with the Apple Watch (pictured) slated for an end-of-March release, an unveiling that BI Intelligence anticipates will kick-start market growth and account for 40 percent of all smartwatch shipments in 2015.
Not only is the introduction of Apple Watch expected to revitalize the market financially, but as David Piece of The Verge noted, the iOS wrist-piece should also spice up innovation and competition.
“Apple’s greatest asset is its ability to convince the world that its ideas are the right ideas. Smartwatches have a marketing problem, and the industry needs Apple to solve it as only it can. So the industry is waiting,” Pierce wrote.
By Rick Kam, President and co-founder, ID Experts
I recently looked up the origin of the word patient. According to one source, it “comes from the Latin ‘patiens,’ from ‘patior,’ to suffer or bear.” I found this definition disturbing, because I believe that most patients actively participate in their health care.
Patients have little or no control over the privacy of their data, however, that’s the provider’s job. That is a whole lot harder than it used to be, given the increase in PHI-related data security incidents.
Strategies for managing incident response have not kept pace with evolving threats and changing regulations, which puts patient data and health at even greater risk.
Here are 10 strategies for both covered entities and their business associates to safeguard patient information in 2015 and beyond:
Posted on Jan 07, 2015
By Sherwood Chapman, Invidasys
2015 is all about cloud platforms for healthcare IT, which means the New Year will bring dramatic changes to the cloud landscape. Three factors that are reshaping the cloud moving into 2015 are cost, customization, and collaboration.
1) Cost. Cost is a significant consideration when talking about cloud technology because most healthcare IT systems are expensive. The software is costly and the number of servers that providers need to purchase gets prohibitively expensive. Moving into the cloud means moving into a completely foreign pricing model for most healthcare IT firms, with a fully virtualized cloud environment that does not require space or additional servers, which can help eliminate costs.
Multi-tenancy is also a way to control cost in the cloud. With multi-tenancy, healthcare IT firms can create a single instance of a database server to serve all of their clients /tenants. The application has to be architected to be secure within a multi-tenant environment, but as the healthcare IT firm crafts its applications to be a multi-tenant application, they can share more pieces of the infrastructure puzzle.
From QOF to patient access and rows over NPfIT, to integrated care, patient access and rows over care.data. The issues covered by EHI Primary Care over ten years have both changed and stayed eerily the same. Sam Sachdeva reports.
13 January 2015
A look back at the inaugural EHI Primary Care newsletter could lead you to conclude that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The first edition, published in February 2005, led with a story about GPs encouraging an overhaul of the Choose and Book e-booking service; a decade later, its successor is only now undergoing extended testing ahead of a planned go-live in spring this year.
The newsletter also carried an article about an award for a group of GPs installing a system to enable patient access to their records, an issue that is a focal point for the latest plan to reform the health service, NHS England’s ‘Five Year Forward View’, and the IT strategy meant to support it, the National Information Board’s ‘Personalised Health and Care 2020’.
However, it would be a mistake to think that little has changed between issue one and issue 500.
13 January 2015 EHI staff
The future of primary care computing lies in integration with other systems, and in new technologies to enable patients to both access their own records and contribute to them.
That is the prediction of suppliers and industry experts, asked for their views on the past and the next ten years of GP IT to mark the 500th edition of the EHI Primary Care newsletter.
Ric Thompson, the managing director of Docman, points out that greater integration between hospital, community, primary and social care is being pushed as the solution to the NHS’ growing financial problems. But it won’t work without shared records.
January 13, 2015 | By Katie Dvorak
Despite the increase of cyberattacks and hacks on the healthcare industry, patients are still willing to share their health data anonymously, according to a new Truven Health Analytics/NPR poll.
However, the rate at which patients are OK with sharing information decreases with age, according to the poll of 3,000 Americans. Millennials--those 35 and younger--were the most willing to share data at 61 percent, while only 48.8 percent of Baby Boomers were willing to do so.
Overall, 53 percent of respondents were willing to share data anonymously, with 96 percent OK with it as a way to reduce costs, and 95 percent willing to share information to reduce costs for treating diseases.
Sharing data, even with security risks as a concern, is a responsibility patients should undertake, according to Beth Seidenberg, M.D. She writes at Wired that de-identified data is driving the most important advancements in medicine: population-based data discoveries and health-management tools.
January 12, 2015 | By Katie Dvorak
Healthcare organizations are vulnerable to cyberattacks in many ways, with a big threat being a company or hospital's own employees, according to Ari Baranoff, assistant special agent in charge for the U.S. Secret Service's Criminal Investigative Division.
"Your workforce is a potential vulnerability to your network," Baranoff tells Healthcare IT Security. "Constantly educating your workforce and testing your workforce on their cyberhygiene is very important."
Even if employees mean no harm, just by browsing the Internet or checking their email they can put networks at risk, Baranoff says. It's especially dangerous if these activities are done using the same system that houses electronic health records or other hospital information.
January 12, 2015 5:12 PM ET
Extracting medical care from the health care system is all too often an expensive exercise in frustration. Dr. Eric Topol says your smartphone could make it cheaper, faster, better and safer.
That's the gist of his new book, The Patient Will See You Now. Lots of people are bullish on the future of mobile health to transform health care, but Topol gets extra cred because of his major medical chops: Former head of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic and present director of the Scripps Translations Science Institute in La Jolla, Calif.
We caught up with Topol during his book tour to ask him just what mobile, digital health care would be like. Here's an edited version of our conversation.
January 12, 2015 | By Katie Dvorak
As cyberattacks on the healthcare industry increase in intensity, hospitals and healthcare providers must establish a cybercentric framework.
For providers who don't have such a framework in place, Christopher Paidhrin, security administration and integrity manager in the compliance division of Pacific Northwest-based PeaceHealth, says it is important to do two things: Create a spreadsheet that can stimulate ideas and don't forget about business associates and vendors, including the flow of information into and out of the organization is imperative.
A good security risk template to consider is the National Institute of Standards and Technology's cybersecurity framework, he writes at HealthcareInfoSecurity.
January 12, 2015 | By Susan D. Hall
Training through electronic media and devices could help prepare more healthcare professionals, addressing possible shortages of doctors and nurses around the globe, according to a new review from the World Health Organization.
The research, carried out by Imperial College London, reviewed 108 studies and found that undergraduate students acquired knowledge and skills through online and offline e-learning as well as, or better than they do, through traditional teaching, according to an announcement.
The study separately evaluated the effectiveness of online learning, which requires an Internet connection, and offline learning, delivered through methods such as CD-ROMs or USB sticks. Both were found to be effective.
Posted on Jan 12, 2015
By Erin McCann, Managing Editor
To all the skeptics who thought Google Glass wouldn't make it in the healthcare world: Think again. Venture capital investors have suggested they believe otherwise, after handing over another $16 million to a San Francisco-based healthcare startup powered by the technology.
The company, Augmedix, which bills itself as the world's first Google Glass startup, has now secured $23 million in venture funding to date. The $16 million round announced today was co-led by the company's seed investors Emergence Capital and DCM Ventures. Already, the Google Glass service is being used by five health systems nationwide, including the 40-hospital Dignity Health in San Francisco.
Founded in 2012, Augmedix utilizes the Google Glass wearable technology to help clinicians reduce the time they spend with electronic health records and paperwork to spend more time with patients. Started by Stanford graduates Ian Shakil, chief executive officer, and Pelu Tran, chief product officer, the company already has some 100 employees nationwide. The venture cash will be used to ramp up product development, ink new partnerships and further expand operations, officials say.
January 7, 2015 | By Adi Kamdar
You must comply with a new law that was just passed, but doing so means you are probably violating one of our patents. So you might as well pay up now.
This is essentially what a demand letter sent by MyMedicalRecords, Inc., an electronic health records provider with numerous broad patents, could have said in its letter to a youth treatment center in Oakland.1 We received this letter on Trolling Effects in December 2013. It falls in the category of threats from patent holders who decide to go after companies for abiding by new rules or regulations—doing so, they allege, infringes one or more of their patents.
Late last month, Judge Otis Wright of the Central District of California invalidated five claims in one of MyMedicalRecords’ patents in a case involving Walgreens, Quest Diagnostics, WebMD, and more. Wright’s decision [PDF] is one of many new cases that have implemented the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank, a groundbreaking decision that basically says: you can’t make an abstract idea patentable by simply adding “do it on a computer.”
January 12, 2015 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has thrown out MyMedicalRecords' (MMR) patent claim against Walgreens and other companies on the grounds that the purported patent is based on an abstract idea and thus patent-ineligible.
MMR had sued Walgreens, the lead defendant in this case, alleging that its 466 patent is built on proprietary, patented technology, and that Walgreens infringed on the patent by making, using, offering for sale and/or selling its methods and systems. Other defendants named in the consolidated lawsuit included Quest, WebMD, Jardogs and Allscripts. Walgreens settled its suit with MMR in early 2014.
According to the court, MMR had claimed a patent on a method of collecting, accessing and managing personal health records (PHRs) in a secure and private manner using conventional computer components and the Internet. MMR did not claim to have invented the computer components; the patent relates to the idea of providing access to and storage and maintenance of healthcare records in secured, organized files.
January 9, 2015 by Gabriel Perna
A spokesperson for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) confirmed that the high-ranking politician will seek a review of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) State health information exchange (HIE) program.
The news was first reported by Politico.
The spokesperson did not go into detail on what Sen. Alexander is hoping to accomplish with the review. He is working with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) on the request. The HIE program, which ended last year after four years, saw the ONC dole out nearly $600 million in grant funding to 56 states and territories to establish statewide HIEs.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Meaningful use Stage 2 requires physicians to ensure that at least 5% of their patients seen within the reporting period communicate with them online. That requirement is bound to increase the number of physicians and patients engaged in secure messaging. But most doctors are still unenthusiastic about secure email, partly because they fear that messages from patients will overwhelm them and reduce their productivity.
A study recently published in Health Affairs, however, shows that this worry may be groundless. The study examined secure email use from 2001 to 2010 in 70 practices affiliated with Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). The researchers found that the number of messages received by participating physicians increased with the number of patients enrolled in BIDMC's PatientSite portal. Nevertheless, the average number of messages per enrolled patient leveled off quickly, and the average number of messages received by individual physicians remained fairly modest.
Secure messaging is still not widely accepted by doctors and patients. In 2010 -- the year when the BIDMC study was done -- just 9% of doctors nationwide had patient portals that allowed secure messaging. In 2013, a Frost & Sullivan survey found that 40% of doctors had patient portals, usually attached to their EHRs, but were not necessarily using them.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Saturday, January 24, 2015