Saturday, March 12, 2016

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 12th March, 2016.

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.

Google's AI outfit focuses on health tech

Rebecca McBeth
1 March 2016
Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind has launched a new division to work with NHS clinicians on developing technology to improve patient care.
DeepMind Health’s first project is an iPhone app designed to help identify patients at risk of dangerous complications.
Developed with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, Streams will help clinical staff detect cases of Acute Kidney Injury, which is a contributing factor in up to 20% of emergency hospital admissions.

NQF issues guidance on measurement of HIT patient-safety efforts

March 4, 2016 | By Susan D. Hall
The National Quality Forum (NQF) has issued a new report on health IT safety and how it should be measured.
The 99-page guidance offers a framework for determining the effect of health IT on patient safety and prioritizes key measurement areas, according to an announcement.
The guidance is the product of a committee of 22 health IT and safety experts that the NQF convened on the topic. It is based on three high-level concepts:
  • Safe health IT: To ensure that health IT is accessible and usable as needed and that health IT data are complete, accurate, secure and protected.
  • Using health IT safely: To ensure that features and functionality are used as intended and that there are procedures in place to monitor and detect problems.
  • Improving patient safety: To ensure that health IT is used to reduce patient harm and improve safe patient care.

Telehealth Could Deliver Over $6B in Healthcare Savings Yearly

The global adoption of telehealth technologies will potentially allow governments to make substantial savings on healthcare, while delivering important medical services to both rural and under-served communities, according to business intelligence provider GBI Research.
The company’s latest report* states that the telehealth market is being driven by the accelerated development of mobile technology and applications, a greater need for cost-effective healthcare, rising populations, and increased government funding.

Could Twitter Be a Recruitment Tool for Cancer Trials?

Study suggests it has untapped potential for linking patients to clinical trial enrollment websites
THURSDAY, March 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Twitter might help boost the number of cancer patients who enroll in clinical trials of potential treatments, a new study suggests.
A number of cancer centers and cancer care groups use Twitter, the online social networking service, to provide health information and education. But it wasn't known how much information about cancer clinical trials was available on Twitter.
To find out, researchers analyzed more than 1,500 tweets that contained the term "lung cancer" during two weeks in January 2015.

National efforts take aim at reaching semantic interoperability

Published March 03 2016, 7:41am EST
As the healthcare industry grapples with the daunting challenges of achieving interoperability, stakeholders are focused on solving the fundamental problem of ensuring that all parties “speak the same language,” through the use of common data models and vocabularies.
Semantic interoperability, the ability of two or more healthcare systems to share clinical information and use it meaningfully, is a critical requirement for enabling population health management and the rapidly approaching transition from fee-for-service to value-based care models.
However, the lack of a universal terminology standard is a major barrier to communication between different electronic health record systems and the ability to derive clinical meaning from EHR data imported or queried from elsewhere.

HIT Think What are healthcare CIOs losing sleep over now?

Published March 02 2016, 12:10pm EST
Liz Johnson has led a variety of informatics efforts at Tenet Healthcare, where she’s now chief information officer for acute care hospitals and applied clinical informatics. In her role, she provides information services and applied clinical informatics leadership for Tenet’s hospitals.
Johnson also has risen in her roles at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), where she particularly has keen interest in policy initiatives and frames CHIME’s responses to federal policy, which carry significant weight in influencing HIT regulation. In 2017, she’ll be CHIME’s board chairman, leading the organization as it continues efforts to expand its influence.
Johnson recently answered questions from HDM Editor Fred Bazzoli on her expectations for the coming year.

Hurley Medical’s EHR analysis is playing a key role in Flint’s water crisis

By John Morrissey
Published March 03 2016, 7:24am EST
Without the power of electronic health records, the discovery of high levels of lead in the water supply of Flint, Mich.—and subsequent proof that its children were accumulating high levels of lead in their blood—is a tragic story that might not even be known to this day
Acting on a hunch, a pediatrician at Hurley Medical Center ordered an analysis of blood test records that compared blood lead levels in small children before and after the city switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in a cost-saving move.
The results, calculated from hundreds of specific records that were identified and then geographically mapped, took just two weeks. The stark evidence showed a doubling, and in some places a tripling, of lead levels in 1- and 2-year-olds—ages in which the neurotoxin can cause significant developmental damage. Those results led to a shutdown of the Flint water supply and reestablished the lake water source.

GAO: Obtaining EHR data a challenge to identifying adverse patient safety events

February 29, 2016 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
Pulling data from electronic health records to efficiently identify adverse events is one of the "key challenges" hospitals face in reducing such events, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The report, part of a study of six selected hospitals from April 2015 through February 2016 regarding implementing evidence-based practices, found that all of the hospitals faced the same challenges in using EHRs to reduce adverse patient events.
Obtaining data on adverse events requires substantial time, resources and investment in EHR systems. In addition, hospitals needed to use multiple vendors to obtain the data, had trouble reconciling the electronic records with paper ones, and had to deal with EHR data that was inaccurate.

Fast-growing medical scribe industry poses risks to patients, and to product design

Soon there will be one scribe for every seven doctors. What will that mean for EHRs?
March 02, 2016 09:35 PM 
LAS VEGAS – As electronic health records have proliferated in recent years, so has the use of medical scribes. That's an unwelcome development for two big reasons, said two chief medical information officers at HIMSS16 on Wednesday: patient safety and EHR usability.
Scribes are unlicensed individuals hired and trained to enter clinical information into EHRs at the direction of physician. The scribe industry has grown quickly since HITECH Act spurred massive EHR adoption.
More than 20 companies provide scribe services in 44 states, according to data provided by S. Luke Webster, MD, system CMIO at CHRISTUS Health, and his colleague, George Gellert, MD, associate system CMIO. A tally in 2014 estimated that 10,000 scribes were working in the U.S. That number is doubling annually, with more than 20,000 expected this year.

Safety collaborative releases copy and paste safety guide

March 1, 2016 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
The Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety, a collaborative convened by the ECRI Institute, has released its safe practice recommendations for using the copy and paste function in electronic health record systems.
The copy and paste function can increase efficiency, create continuity of care and save time, but it also holds risks if not used correctly, including compromising the integrity of the record and creating bloated notes, according to an announcement.
The toolkit, the Partnership's first release in a series of evidence-based recommendations to improve health IT safety, provides four recommendations regarding copy and paste.

ONC finds significant disparities in use, access to online medical records

March 1, 2016 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
The number of people using IT for their health needs increased "significantly" between 2013 and 2014, but socio-demographic disparities remain, according to the latest data brief from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
The data brief shows that the percentage of individuals offered online access to their medical records grew by over one-third to nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) in 2014. Not surprisingly, individuals whose provider had an EHR were offered online access to their medical record three times more than the rate of those whose provider did not have an EHR, 22 percent compared to just 9 percent.
However, the differences varied widely based on income, education, race and proficiency in English. More than half (53 percent) of people with incomes above $100,000 were offered access to their information, compared to 27 percent of those that had incomes of less than $25,000. Sixty-six percent of those with incomes over $100,000 actually viewed their record, compared to 36 percent of those whose incomes were less than $25,000. Fifty-two percent of those with more than a four-year college degree were offered online access compared to 19 percent of those who were not high school graduates.    

Better research required for effective use of teleheath

March 3, 2016 | By Susan D. Hall
Telehealth research tends to be overly positive, as it is often based on short-term projects, according to a paper published at Journal of Medical Internet Research, which suggests that future research should study the impact and effective use of telehealth.
"Future research is needed to identify additional factors that promote telehealth acceptance, such as human-technology interaction, organization of the healthcare system and social factors," write members of the Transatlantic Telehealth Research Network.
The authors point to barriers to telehealth for chronic care including reimbursement, the need for extensive care teams to work with patients, effective data management from various devices, the ability to apply predictive analytics and application of data into clinical practice. Efficient business models must emerge if technology-driven healthcare services are to grow.

St. Luke's Marc Chasin: CIO now an active member at the leadership table

December 11, 2015 | By Katie Dvorak
The hospital chief information officer is at the intersection of technology and clinical care more than ever before, says Marc Chasin, M.D., CIO of St. Luke's Health System.
As a physician, that's where his passion is, he tells FierceHealthIT in an exclusive interview.
"I actually feel now that my role is an active participant in the transformation of care and the way that healthcare is going from volume to value," adds Chasin, who also serves as the Boise, Idaho-based health system's chief medical informatics officer.

E-observations reduce cardiac arrests in Scottish hospital

Rebecca McBeth
2 March 2016
NHS Fife has seen a significant reduction in cardiac arrests in one of its hospital’s busiest areas after deploying an electronic observations and early warning system.
The health board became the first in Scotland to deploy a full scale electronic track and trigger system when it went live with Patientrack at its Victoria Hospital six months ago.
The Medical Admissions Acute Unit has seen the number of cardiac arrests fall by as much as two thirds since deploying the technology.

Concerns Emerge Over Electronic Records Errors In ERs

Shefali Luthra of Kaiser Health News Mar 2, 2016
The mouse slips, and the emergency room doctor clicks on the wrong number, ordering a medication dosage that’s far too large. Elsewhere, in another ER’s electronic health record, a patient’s name isn’t clearly displayed, so the nurse misses it and enters symptoms in the wrong person’s file.
These are easy mistakes to make. As ER doctors and nurses grapple with the transition to digitalized record systems, they seem to happen more frequently.
“There are new categories of patient safety errors” in emergency rooms that didn’t exist before the push to use electronic record systems, said Raj Ratwani, who researches health care safety and is the scientific director for MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare in Washington, D.C.

Judy Faulkner: 'Good software is art'

In a frank conversation with Healthcare IT News, the Epic CEO says her company gets a bad rap. But the numbers show it more than stacks up.
March 01, 2016 07:48 PM 
LAS VEGAS – For Judy Faulkner, the quest for interoperability started in 2004.
“We were the first,” she pointed out in an interview with Healthcare IT News, on Tuesday in a meeting room at the Epic booth. As she walks into the small space, she is in search of chocolate, and she finds it.
She settles into one of the sofas, prepared to make her way through a series of questions.
The interview begins with the topic of interoperability because Epic has a reputation – among some circles – of being a “closed system.” 

ONC proposes direct review of health IT certification to improve interoperability

Medical records should be able to “to speak and listen in the same language,” officials say in HIMSS16 session.
March 01, 2016 01:53 PM 
LAS VEGAS - Health IT products will be certified directly by the Office of the National Coordinator under a proposed rule change, officials announced in the National Coordinator Spotlight session Tuesday at HIMSS16. Senior members of the ONC described the change as necessary to make sure that medical record sharing becomes a reality.
Elise Adams, acting director of policy at ONC said, “it’s crucial that we certify technology,” in emphasizing the importance of improved interoperability. Medical records should be able to “to speak and listen in the same language,” she said.

Ponemon: Healthcare Cyber Attack Averages One Per Month

By Elizabeth Snell on March 01, 2016
Healthcare cybersecurity can improve as healthcare organizations are averaging about one cyber attack per month.
LAS VEGAS - Healthcare cybersecurity must improve, as organizations average about one healthcare cyber attack per month, according to a recent Ponemon survey.
In The State of Cybersecurity in Healthcare Organizations in 2016, Ponemon also found that 48 percent of those surveyed said their organizations have experienced an incident involving the loss or exposure of patient information during the last year. However, only half of respondents also said that their organization currently has an incident response plan in place.
For the survey, 535 IT and IT security practitioners in small- to medium-sized healthcare organizations in the U.S. were interviewed. Furthermore, 64 percent are employed by HIPAA covered entities, while 36 percent work for business associates of covered entities.
"Based on our field research, healthcare organizations are struggling to deal with a variety of threats, but they are pessimistic about their ability to mitigate risks, vulnerabilities and attacks," Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of The Ponemon Institute, said in a statement. "As evidenced by the headline-grabbing data breaches over the past few years at large insurers and healthcare systems, hackers are finding the most lucrative information in patient medical records.”

Karen DeSalvo: ONC launching 3 app developer challenges to advance FHIR

The funding will go toward patient- and provider-facing apps, as well as a ‘store’ where consumers can download them.
March 01, 2016 05:00 PM
LAS VEGAS – National coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, announced three new developer challenges that aim to advance interoperability through the emerging Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard Tuesday morning at HIMSS16.
The “challenge grants” have three streams: a consumer-facing, vendor neutral app based on FHIR, a provider-facing app, and a discovery place where people can go to download those apps. 
DeSalvo said the intent is “to create a world that is more Internet-like,” more akin to the technological advancements that Americans are accustomed to in banking, retail and so many other industries. 

Meet the R2D2 of hospital technology

BY Jenny Gold, Kaiser Health News  March 1, 2016 at 4:16 PM EST
Meet the Tugs — a team of 27 robots now zooming around the hallways of the new University of California-San Francisco hospital at Mission Bay. They look a bit like R2D2, dragging a platform around behind them. Instead of drones, think of them more as little flatbed trucks, ferrying carts of stuff around the vast hospital complex — food, linens, medications, medical waste and garbage. And they do it more efficiently than humans.
“This one is going up to one of the floors. It’s carrying meals that were ordered in probably the last 20 minutes,” said Dan Henroid, who is in charge of this elite fleet, as he pointed to a robot motoring by him.
Henroid, who is also director of nutrition and food services for the USCF Medical Center, says each Tug travels about 35 miles each day. Over the past year, they have made more than 157,000 trips through the hospital.

Halamka: Meaningful Use has run its course

Published March 01 2016, 7:03am EST
Never one to mince words, John Halamka, MD, CIO of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center issued a wide-ranging call to action for healthcare information technology, including electronic health records, big data and analytics, cloud and mobility solutions.
Delivering the opening address at a pre-conference symposium entitled “Are We There Yet? Health Information Technology’s Report Card,” Halamka declared that the Meaningful Use program has “run its course” and that the healthcare industry must move away from the EHR Incentive Programs to outcomes based payment models for clinicians and hospitals while embracing new reimbursement approaches.
While EHRs had been “perfectly engineered” to meet regulatory requirements, he evaluated the performance of these systems to date giving them a C+ grade overall. The problem, according to Halamka, is that in order for a clinician to get through a patient encounter and be Meaningful Use Stage 2 compliant they must enter 141 structured data elements to calculate electronic quality measures that “probably aren’t going to be used.”

ONC's Steve Posnack: New Interoperability Proving Ground 'like for FHIR'

Project aims to highlight interoperability successes and bring the community together to address challenges.  
February 29, 2016 06:16 PM 
LAS VEGAS – Steve Posnack of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT likened ONC’s new Interoperability Proving Ground to online dating sites.
“There’s a lot going on around interoperability, we just have to prove it,” Posnack, director of ONC’s office of standards and technology, said on Monday morning.
That is the intention of the Interoperability Proving Ground Posnack unveiled last week and outlined at HIMSS16 – to highlight interoperability successes and bring the community together to address challenges.

ONC releases report to Congress on HIT progress, barriers

March 1, 2016 | By Katie Dvorak
In its annual report on the state of HIT to Congress, the Office of the National Coordinator looks back at the progress it made in 2015 and at the barriers that still need to be overcome.
The ONC says throughout 2016, it will continue to "build the economic case for interoperability," coordinate with industry stakeholders to increase enhance consumer access to data, and to care and discourage health information blocking, among other goals.
Efforts that the agency highlights in the report made last year include broad, sweeping initiatives like the Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020 and its Interoperability Roadmap, as well as its growing role in areas like patient engagement, delivery system reform and precision medicine.  

LIVE FROM THE CHIME-HIMSS FORUM: Are CIOs Prepared to Facilitate OpenNotes?

February 29, 2016
by Mark Hagland
At the CHIME-HIMSS Forum on Monday, much discussion revolved around the OpenNotes initiative
In his speech to attendees at the CHIME-HIMSS Forum on Monday, Marc Probst, the CIO at the Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, and incoming chairman of the board of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) strongly emphasized some of the policy-oriented initiatives the association is pursuing, among them its National Patient ID Challenge, its exploration of partnerships for personalized medicine, and its new partnership with the OpenNotes initiative.
Just last week, CHIME had announced its partnership to accelerate information-sharing between patients and providers. In its Feb. 25 announcement, the association had quoted CHIME president and CEO Russell Branzell as stating that “We are seeing a tremendous swing toward value-based care and consumerism in healthcare. Patient engagement is a big part of that movement, but to be true partners in their care, patients must have access not only to their basic health records, but the notes that clinicians make during appointments. This partnership with OpenNotes is a terrific opportunity to promote innovative change in medical practice designed to increase patient engagement,” he was quoted as saying in the announcement.

Burwell: EHR giants Epic, Cerner, Meditech among those taking pledge to standardize health IT

The vendors, as well as organizations like HIMSS and AHIMA, will support standardized APIs and will make patient access easier, the HHS secretary says.
February 29, 2016 09:53 PM
Nearly every big name in healthcare technology has pledged to use standardized APIs, to make patient access easier and to not block information, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced during her HIMSS16 keynote Monday night.
“Companies that provide 90 percent of electronic health records used by hospitals nationwide as well as the top five largest private healthcare systems in the country have agreed to implement three core commitments,” she said.
Companies that offer the most EHRs – Cerner, Epic and Meditech  -- were among those that took the pledge.

HHS, Epic, Cerner, More EHR Vendors Make Interoperability Pledge

By Jennifer Bresnick on February 29, 2016

The healthcare industry is coming together to combine their efforts to make health data interoperability a core competency for providers and vendors, HHS says.

LAS VEGAS – At a keynote address during the 2016 HIMSS Conference and Exhibition, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced a broad industry initiative to further health data interoperability, information sharing, and patient engagement.
More than a dozen professional organizations, the five largest healthcare systems in the country, and electronic health vendors representing 90 percent of the EHR market in the United States have all agreed to implement three core principles to reduce information blocking, increase patient access to their own health data, and embrace national interoperability standards, including those related to privacy and security.
 “These commitments are a major step forward in our efforts to support a healthcare system that is better, smarter, and results in healthier people,” Burwell said.  “Technology isn’t just one leg of our strategy to build a better healthcare system for our nation – it supports the entire effort.”

Medical Device Vulnerabilities High on CIO's List of Worries

Scott Mace, March 1, 2016

The CIO of a California hospital shares security horror stories from his experience in the telecom industry and calls unsecured devices "a big, big, big problem."

As HIMSS gets underway, the healthcare IT world is still shaking from last month's audacious privacy breach at a California hospital. Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital paid a $17,000 ransom to a criminal enterprise that broke into the hospital's system, encrypted data, and demanded an even larger payment.
While the concept of "ransomware" is not new, the very public ransom payment by Hollywood Presbyterian once again ratchets up the pressure in healthcare executive suites and boardrooms to do something different, and soon, to protect healthcare's digital assets.

Room for error: EHRs in the ER pose safety risks

March 1, 2016 | By Zack Budryk
As electronic health records (EHRs) become a part of healthcare's "new normal," particularly in the emergency department, experts are concerned the new status quo is introducing more opportunity for medical errors, according to Kaiser Health News.
Medical errors are already the nation's third-leading cause of death, and widespread adoption of EHRs has created new ways for mistakes to be made, such as a nurse entering the wrong symptoms or a doctor clicking on the wrong number and overprescribing a medication.
In ED settings, KHN notes, the pace is so fast that many healthcare workers must power through processes they may not have had sufficient time to learn; in other cases, ED-based EHR programs previously were developed independently of the hospital's main system, but are being replaced by newer, unfamiliar hospital-wide systems.

Credit card tech may solve health identity and payments issues

Published February 26 2016, 12:29pm EST
Can the same technology that is used to reduce fraud with counterfeit credit cards be used to deal with security issues involving healthcare identity, authentication and payments?
That’s the question before the Smart Card Alliance, which believes that smart card technology can address both concerns.
A just-released white paper from the alliance offers the premise that EMV chip technology can be used to address identity authentication issues within healthcare, just as it is being used to deal with credit card fraud.
The paper was developed by the Health and Human Services Council of the Smart Card Alliance.

Texting can help smokers quit the unhealthy habit, reveals new research

February 29, 2016 | By Judy Mottl
Text messaging can help college-age smokers quit the unhealthy habit, and is an economical and easy-to-deploy technology, according to a study published at the Journal of American Medical Association's (JAMA) Internal Medicine.
While the study's authors, from Link√∂ping University in Sweden and the Cambridge Institute of Public Health in England, write that since they were able only to assess the short-term effects, the results were comparable with traditional interventions, the text-based program "has the potential to improve the uptake of effective smoking cessation interventions" in the long-term.
The research involved a 12-week clinical trial that collected data from 1,590 college-age smokers in Sweden, split into two groups, who all had a goal of quitting smoking within one month of enrollment. The group receiving messaging were sent 157 support texts; the control group was sent one text every two weeks thanking them for participating in the study.


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