This blog is totally independent, unpaid and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Weekly Overseas Health IT Links – 22nd December, 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.
National Coordinator Vindell Washington said ONC is working to establish a platform on top of which others can innovate.
Vindell Washington, MD, is aiming to do as much as he possibly can as National Coordinator to advance interoperability and eradicate EHR data blocking before the new Presidential administration steps in.
Washington, the top official at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, spoke at the Connected Health Conference in the morning and then in the afternoon held a session to show off a demonstration of the FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) protocol in action.
Study finds use of health wearable devices may pose consumer and privacy risks.
By Amy Wallace | Dec. 15, 2016 at 11:30 AM
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Researchers have uncovered new risks to privacy and security with the use of personal health wearable devices like fitness bands, "smart" clothing and high-tech watches.
A report released Thursday by researchers at American University and the Center for Digital Democracy is raising privacy and security concerns related to personal health wearable devices used to monitor heart rates, sleep patterns, calories and stress levels.
Healthcare improvement company Premier released a guide to help acute care providers navigate the potential challenges of working with post-acute care teams.
A new set of guidelines offers key strategies to ensure that hospital and health system partnerships with other providers are effective at improving care across the continuum.
Healthcare improvement company Premier Inc. released the guide to help acute care providers navigate the potential challenges of working with post-acute care teams. A recent survey found that despite ongoing and far-reaching provider alignment, post-acute care is a missing piece in care coordination, even though it’s often crucial to positive patient outcomes.
Telemedicine proponents, no doubt, are pinching themselves. After many years of promoting the concept and helping the technology advance to its current state of sophistication, it appears to be nearing the Promised Land.
Professional organizations and payers are giving telemedicine a stature that has eluded it for decades. For example, a recent survey by the Federation of State Medical Boards found that telemedicine was the most important regulatory topic for state medical boards in 2016, beating out resources related to opioid prescribing and the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.
This past June, the American Medical Association adopted a set of guidelines for the ethical use of telemedicine by physicians and the telemedicine industry, an admission that telehealth is one of many ways in which digital technology is reshaping the way patients receive care. The adoption of guidelines comes after years of physician concern about the impact telemedicine might have on patient care.
Some of the top-rated health apps aimed at people with chronic medical problems don’t do a very good job of actually helping to manage those conditions, a recent study suggests.
Doctors reviewed 137 of the most highly rated or commonly recommended apps available for Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android software that target people with high health costs or substantial medical needs. Often, though, the doctors gave these popular apps poor marks.
“I think that the lack of correlation between consumer app store and doctors' ratings is likely due to competing priorities between the two groups,” said lead study author Dr. Karandeep Singh of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Introducing telephone GP consultations has proved effective but video has shown less tangible benefits, says an NHS England report.
Evaluating the £50 million Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund, also known as the Challenge Fund, the review found interoperability and IT provider limitations were key barriers to implementing technology.
Set up by David Cameron in 2013, this report evaluates the money provided between April 2014 and March 2015 across 20 pilot sites covering 1,100 practices. However, this evaluation was only released in October.
Siloed electronic systems have contributed to the NHS failing to learn important lessons from preventable deaths, according to a Care Quality Commission report.
The report, published on Tuesday, highlights “significant concerns” about how “missed opportunities” have prevented the service from learning from the mistakes from the past.
Specifically, the report, titled ‘Learning, Candour, and Accountability’, says trusts often do not do enough to involve, and listen to, the families of patients who have died. Of 27 investigations the CQC examined, only three could demonstrate that they had considered the families’ perspective.
A lack of staff training and time also raised concerns about the quality of some investigations, the report adds.
A billion-pound framework aimed at improving health IT in London and the South has gone live, with a score of trusts already lining up to procure new kit.
The Clinical and Digital Information Systems (CDIS) Framework covers an estimated £800 million to £1.3 billion of IT work in London and the South. However, the framework is also available to health and local authorities used across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Developed by London Procurement Partnership, it is a refresh of the framework contract created by the ‘2015 consortium’ of 38 community and mental health trusts that needed to buy new systems and support before the end of their national contracts last October.
Current health IT systems aren’t equipped to adequately manage population health, prompting researchers to call on health leaders to close those gaps by expanding data collection efforts.
To do this, healthcare leaders must embrace new data sources that integrate behavioral and social factors with existing clinical data, according to a commentary published in The American Journal of Managed Care. MACRA has placed more pressure on providers to use health information technology systems to address population health needs through laws, but existing data collection and analytics systems are ill-equipped to manage that task because they focus solely on health outcomes data rather than a broad range of influential factors such as housing, nutritional habits, socioeconomic status and geographic location.
Legislation recently passed in Congress that President Obama is expected to sign into law is designed to better support providers working in remote and underserved regions and expand the use of telemedicine.
But a major goal of the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes Act is to expand across the nation a telemedicine program called Project ECHO that started in New Mexico, with the hope that Medicare will start to better support telehealth technologies, says Thomas Ferrante, an associate attorney in the law firm Foley & Lardner. Medicare, he notes, only paid about $17.6 million for telehealth in 2015 while other private and public payers have increasingly expanded reimbursement for services provided remotely.
Remember the blue book? Starting as early as junior high school, teachers handed out that pale blue 8-by-8-inch booklet when each student had 50 minutes to handwrite as fast as possible everything they knew about a particular subject. Urban legend suggested teachers issued grades based upon the number of pages filled rather than the content contained in the illegible scribble.
Handwriting does not allow for cut and paste. There’s no verbatim copying from multiple pages of Wikipedia to “enhance” spontaneous brilliance. The essay length was determined by the knowledge of the student and the quickness of the pen.
Before healthcare information technology (HIT) and electronic medical records (EMR), clinicians wrote their notes similarly. Limited by the strength and stamina of their dominant hand, and their knowledge of the patient’s condition, clinical documentation represented a singular clinician’s assessment of the patient. When written well, these notes followed the format designed by Larry Weed, MD, more than 50 years ago—the problem-oriented medical record—that included for each problem subjective and objective descriptors coupled with an assessment and plan (otherwise known as SOAP notes).
Western European hospital IT market is expected to reach a revenue of $10.72 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of over 5.1% from 2016 to 2020.
Key healthcare IT solutions such as eHealth, telehealth, telecare, remote monitoring, medical device connectivity, PHM, digital patient engagement, integrated care, healthcare data analytics, and business intelligence solutions.
Western European hospital IT market is witnessing a strong growth owing to increased adoption of hospital-centric IT systems to comply with regulatory guidelines. The growth in the industry can be ascribed to government initiatives and increased funding towards healthcare digitization to reform existing traditional healthcare practices.
Science has always issued medical promissory notes. In the 17th century, Francis Bacon promised that an understanding of the true mechanisms of disease would enable us to extend life almost indefinitely; René Descartes thought that 1,000 years sounded reasonable. But no science has been more optimistic, more based on promises, than medical genetics.
Recently, I read an article promising that medical genetics will soon deliver “a world in which doctors come to their patients and tell them what diseases they are about to have.” Treatments can begin “before the patient feels even the first symptoms!” So promises “precision medicine,” which aims to make medicine predictive and personalized through detailed knowledge of the patient’s genome.
Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said that while patients are more active in their care, the system is still unsatisfying.
Patients are unhappy there is no central location for their health records, and they are also frustrated at trying to access and share them, according to a new survey from health information network Surescripts.
The 2016 Connected Care and the Patient Experience survey also revealed that patients expect to see digital care settings in the near future through the use of telehealth and other technologies.
“Despite major medical and technological advancements in our country, and the fact that patients are more active consumers of care, healthcare is still inefficient, complex and unsatisfying for them,” Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said.
A predictive modeling experiment allows Paris hospitals to track admissions 15 days ahead of time.
A group of hospitals in Paris is exploring the use of data analytics and machine learning to predict patient admissions down to the hour.
Four hospitals within the city’s public hospital system are trialing a new data-driven approach that combs through 10 years of admissions data and deploys refined algorithms to predict admissions rates during certain times of the day, according to Forbes' contributed post.
AMA CEO James Madara says mHealth apps need to be evidence-based and reliable.
The CEO of the American Medical Association (AMA) is urging physicians to take on a greater role in mHealth app development and use in an effort to ensure there are reliable, evidence-based apps available to patients.
Although most physicians are enthusiastic about the potential for mHealth apps to improve patient outcomes, AMA CEO James Madara told The Bio Report that more widespread physician involvement in mHealth development will ensure apps are clinically reliable and patient-focused.
ONC's B. Vindell Washington said government regulations around health IT is complex because the country is complex.
B. Vindell Washington has some advice for the incoming Trump administration when it comes to coordinating health information technology programs on a national level: It’s more complicated than it looks.
“One reason that healthcare and government regulations are complex is because we have a complex country,” Washington, head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, told Healthcare Dive.
“There are differences in the way that healthcare is delivered in Sioux falls or Tulsa or San Diego or where I live in Baton Rouge," he added.
Four health information technology vendors on December 13 successfully demonstrated use of the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) data exchange standard to import data into electronic health records systems, then enable healthcare consumers to access a consolidated list of their medications.
The vendors included Allscripts, CareEvolution, Cerner and Epic. They transmitted third-party applications for consumers created by CareEvolution, Medisafe and RxRevu. Through discussions that originated this past June, these vendors and others discussed ways to use patient apps to enable consumers to request their medication information from their providers, says Tricia Lee Wilkins, pharmacy advisor and health IT specialist in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which coordinated the demonstration.
Facial recognition can do some pretty impressive things, but could similar technology help diagnose a genetic disease simply by analyzing a person’s features? Known as dysmorphology, such an achievement is theoretically possible — but it tends to involve a skill only acquired by extremely experienced medical specialists who have a lifetime of data to draw on.
That’s what AI software called Face2Gene, developed by the company FDNA, is now attempting to do as well — by analyzing images of patients’ faces to arrive at possible diagnoses. The company is hoping that its resulting app, which lets doctors snap an image of a patient and receive a suggested diagnosis, could help transform this field.
“One in 10 people suffer from a rare disease,” CEO Dekel Gelbman told Digital Trends. “Many of these are life threatening, and often extremely difficult to diagnose. These patients and their families suffer a great burden while trying to find answers to their symptoms, averaging seven years and seven doctors. FDNA helps healthcare providers find answers faster in hopes of saving lives and improving patient quality of life. We accomplish this through using the best technology in the world — based on a combination of facial analysis, deep learning, and artificial intelligence and partnering with clinicians, researchers, labs, and ultimately with drug development companies that share our goal.”
Behavioral health providers, in particular specialty addiction treatment organizations, often lack resources and infrastructure to implement technology tools that could improve care, survey data shows.
The use of health IT to advance behavioral health, in part by integrating it with general medical care is lagging.
Greater use would not only facilitate care coordination, but could fulfill the goals of MACRA and other value-based care initiatives, a survey of more than 8,000 commercial health plan products shows.
The survey, conducted in 2010 and published in the December 2016 issue of the American Journal of Managed Care, notes that behavioral health providers were not eligible for incentives under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), nor under the earlier 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
Significant legal- and market-based barriers continue to stand in the way of meaningful health information exchange between healthcare providers in states across the country.
To address these impediments, the National Governors Association has developed a roadmap to help governors, senior health policy officials, state lawmakers, state health IT officials and state legislative counselors evaluate and implement changes to increase the flow of clinical information between providers while protecting patient privacy.
Specifically, NGA’s roadmap is intended to highlight the policies and processes states should consider to increase the flow of clinical information between providers.
The NGA has released a new roadmap for states to improve interoperability among providers by moving away from fee-for-service payment models and altering state laws to align with HIPAA.
With a range of legal and market barriers preventing providers from effectively sharing patient information, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) is urging states to consider a structured approach to interoperability that also maintains data security.
States can facilitate a better approach to clinical data-sharing by amending laws to align with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), creating standardized consent forms and incentivizing information exchange through payment reform, according to a new roadmap released by the NGA.
Artificial Intelligence may now help humans predict dementia risks among healthy elders.
In a statement released by the University of Finland, a team of medical doctors and engineers in Finland and Sweden has created a machine learning method that could assess potential dementia threats among cognitively normal individuals from age 65 to 79. The software containing massive amounts of data could also display a detailed risk profile in a visual format designed for easy interpretation.
According to World Health Organization figures, there are 47.5 million dementia patients worldwide in 2015 and it is projected to increase to 75.6 million by 2030. In fact, the number of dementia cases is expected to triple by 2050. Because of these figures, experts have been studying effective measures to prevent the widespread of the cognitive disease.
Quest Diagnostics Inc. said it is investigating a breach of one of its web applications, by which the health records of 34,000 individuals were accessed.
The company said information was accessed by an unauthorized third party on Nov. 26 that included lab results and in some cases, phone numbers, but didn't include social security numbers, credit-card information, insurance or other financial information. The affected application is called MyQuest by Care360.
Quest said it is working with a cybersecurity firm to assist in the investigation and in further evaluating the company's systems. The company is notifying individuals affected by the breach by mail.
Cigna has introduced a mobile feature that it hopes will lead consumers to raise their rates of engagement with their healthcare providers.
Like a stubborn virus, the necessity for logins and passwords clings to us all. But advances in mobile phone technology and the initiatives of healthcare payers are making headway.
Last month, Cigna became the latest payer to add authentication via fingerprint to its patient-facing mobile app. Now the MyCigna app can take advantage of the same biometric technology that banking apps, Dropbox, Amazon, and others have enabled through mobile platforms such as Apple's Touch ID.
With more than 30 million members in the U.S. alone, Cigna's goal was to decrease the number of those members who don't follow through on steps to seek preventative care, says Stephen Cassell, Cigna's global branding officer at the company's Bloomfield, CT headquarters.
As healthcare providers explore new ways to incorporate telemedicine into routine care, one Boston health system is focusing on opportunities that create value for both patients and practitioners.
Partners Healthcare, which includes Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, has been targeting the use of virtual visits for the last several years through the Center for Connected Health, with particular emphasis on psychology, pediatric critical care and cardiology.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital has broadened its virtual footprint by identifying which clinical services would benefit from virtual visits, which technology tools are available to facilitate those visits, and how it will assist physicians in providing better care, according to a post in Harvard Business Review by Adam Licurse, M.D., medical director for telehealth at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Partners Healthcare Center for Population Health.
In July 2015, federal contractor Leidos teamed with electronic health records vendor Cerner and consulting firm Accenture Federal to win the coveted Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract. The deal, worth anywhere from $4.3 billion to more than $9 billion, depending on add-on work, will replace the aging EHR system at all U.S. Military Health System installations at home and abroad.
Department of Defense officials delayed the initial deployment of the EHR, dubbed MHS Genesis, from December 2016 until February 2017. But the delay only applies to the pilot site, Naval Hospital Bremerton in Bremerton, Washington.
In fact, Cerner President Zane Burke is not fazed at all by the pushback.
The National Governors Association (NGA), via an Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)-funded agreement, has released a roadmap for states to improve interoperability.
Under a cooperative funding agreement between ONC and NGA, the National Governors Association aimed to identify potential steps that could improve the flow of electronic health information within, and among states. Today, ONC announced in a blog post, that under that agreement, NGA has released a comprehensive road map for states to improve interoperability: “Getting the Right Information to the Right Health Care Providers at the Right Time: A Road Map for States to Improve Health Information Flow Between Providers.”