Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links – 28th January, 2017.

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.

Tom Price takes aim at the inefficiencies of meaningful use, questions how to pay for precision medicine

The HHS nominee decries a law that has turned physicians "into data entry clerks." Meanwhile, genomics represents a "brave new world," he said – but "the challenges of how we afford to be able to make that available to our society are real."
January 19, 2017 10:52 AM
Rep. Tom Price, MD, the Georgia Republican tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to be the next U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, spent four hours testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee on Jan. 18.
Most of the hearing focused on the expected topics: the future of the Affordable Care Act, the scope of Medicare and Medicaid, Price's questionable investments in medical device and drug companies.
But toward the end of the testimony, Republican Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, MD, asked Price to weigh in on health information technology.

Machine learning could turn a patient's voice into a diagnostic tool

Jan 20, 2017 11:59am
Machine learning could help physicians detect a range of illnesses that can't be diagnosed with more traditional tests, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, according to MIT Technology Review.
It might be easy to diagnose a cold based on a patient’s hoarse voice, but researchers believe subtle vocal changes undetectable to the human ear can identify or predict certain difficult-to-diagnose diseases.
That’s where machine learning could step in, helping physicians detect a range of illnesses that can't be diagnosed with more traditional tests, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, according to MIT Technology Review.

EHRs can reduce unnecessary care; best approach unclear

Jan 20, 2017 11:20am
The ability for EHRs to collect data and intervene with automated alerts offers tremendous potential.
EHRs can be a critical tool in deterring physicians from ordering unnecessary tests. Unfortunately, researchers say the ideal approach is still unclear.
Movements such as the Choosing Wisely campaign have highlighted the impact of unnecessary testing and procedures, although research shows it has not decreased the number of unnecessary tests ordered by physicians.

Scientists use heartbeat to access electronic health records

Researchers have developed a new technology that could use a person's heartbeat as a password to access health records.
By Amy Wallace   |   Jan. 18, 2017 at 12:30 PM
Zhanpeng Jin, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University, has developed a method to use a person's heartbeat as a password to access electronic health data. Photo by Binghamton University
Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Researchers at Binghamton University have created a new method to use a person's heartbeat to access their electronic healthcare records in an effort to protect personal information.
"The cost and complexity of traditional encryption solutions prevent them being directly applied to telemedicine or mobile healthcare," Zhanpeng Jin, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University, said in a press release. "Those systems are gradually replacing clinic-centered healthcare, and we wanted to find a unique solution to protect sensitive personal health data with something simple, available and cost effective."

How new security threats will buffet healthcare in 2017

Published January 20 2017, 3:45pm EST
It’s worth remembering that 2016 was dubbed the “year of data security” after 90 percent of healthcare providers suffered data breaches in the previous two years. In particular, the Anthem breach of late 2014 and early 2015 got everyone’s attention for the sheer magnitude of the hack—estimated at nearly 80 million records.
Looking back, we can say 2016 lived up to its name as the number of records accessed was significantly lower than the year prior. But IT security is a game of whack-a-mole, so if fewer patient records were lost, malevolent forces simply found other ways to make the lives of healthcare CIOs very difficult.
Ransomware, for example, became the dominant security issue of 2016 and made everyone aware that hackers can always just hold your files hostage if they can’t steal them.

UCHealth offers patients enterprise-wide access to physician notes

Published January 19 2017, 7:07am EST
The University of Colorado Health has given patients online access to the clinical notes physicians write at its five hospitals and 350 clinics. However, it hasn’t been an easy path to becoming a transparent healthcare organization, according to C.T. Lin, MD, UCHealth’s chief medical information officer.
UCHealth is part of a growing nationwide movement among providers—called OpenNotes—designed to enhance patient-physician communication by sharing clinicians’ notes with patients and to make their medical records fully transparent. The goal is to bolster overall safety and quality of care by ensuring the accuracy of clinician note-taking, while reducing medical errors and improving medication adherence.
Lin contends that UCHealth is the only provider of OpenNotes in the state of Colorado, and boasts that it is the health system that has adopted the concept more broadly than any other in the country. Last year, he says that the healthcare organization “turned on” OpenNotes for all of UCHealth’s medical and surgical specialties, primary care practices, as well as hospital discharges.

Obama: Health IT interoperability 'harder than expected'

Jon Hoeksma
17 January 2017
It’s not just NHS IT leaders, even the outgoing President Barack Obama has struggled with the thorny problem of healthcare interoperability.
During an interview on Obamacare with new services Vox earlier this month, the commander-in-chief said achieving progress on healthcare interoperability had been frustratingly slow during his presidency.
Obama said the US$27 billion (£23 billion) his government had spent on Meaningful Use since 2009, a programme designed to accelerate digitalisation of the US healthcare system, has delivered mixed success.

New national NHS patient "data lake" proposed based on STPs

Ben Heather
18 January 2017
NHS officials have met with IT suppliers, including Google Deepmind, to discuss a national patient data collection service that will make both pseudonymised and identifiable patient data available for research.
A draft summary of the Interoperability and Population Health Summit in December last year, outlined plans to make NHS regional organisations, likely based on the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), responsible for gathering and controlling patient data. NHS England chief information officer Will Smart convened the event and wrote the summary.
The document said this data will then be fed into a new national “data lake” that will link data sets to one another and make  available either “pseudonymised of identifiable” for research purposes.

Recent Study Identifies How EHR Use Could Increase Spending

While proponents of EHR use tout its ability to decrease healthcare spending for hospitals and clinicians, a recent study suggests otherwise.

January 18, 2017 - A recent study of physician EHR use found that the technology could be responsible for increasing spending in a hospital setting.
Since EHR technology has the potential to benefit the healthcare system overall, the healthcare industry has steadily sought technological advancement and optimization over the past several years. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) in 2009 accelerated the effort in the area of EHR implementation by introducing incentive payments as motivation for individual providers and hospital systems to demonstrate meaningful use of EHR systems prior to the advent of the Quality Payment Program. An estimated $30 billion was allotted to this incentive program.
In 2005, RAND predicted EHR implementation would save the healthcare industry $81 billion a year.
However, researchers in 2012 reassessed the financial benefits of EHR implementation and reported instead an adverse effect on healthcare costs totaling $800 billion. This realization does not counteract the projected benefits of EHRs, but it does raise some doubts as to the true cost benefits possible through EHR adoption.

Phoenix Children’s uses big data to eliminate pediatric medication errors

Jan 18, 2017 12:10am
Phoenix Children's CIO David Higginson explains how the hospital used big data to eliminate dosing errors.
Using data analytics to comb through eight years of patient records, Phoenix Children’s Hospital has eliminated all overdosing medication errors among pediatric patients for the last six years.
By analyzing more than 750,000 patient records and identifying specific dosage thresholds, the hospital developed an automated alert system that informed clinicians when a dose is too high, according to an op-ed by David Higginson, chief information officer at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Healthcare IT News, a HIMSS publication.

Tom Price weighs pros, cons of electronic health records at Senate HELP Committee hearing

Jan 18, 2017 3:55pm
Rep. Tom Price, Trump’s choice for Health and Human Services secretary, went before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday.  
Debate over the value of electronic health records arose at a meeting between legislators and Donald Trump’s choice for Health and Human Services secretary, Rep. Tom Price. 
 “I’m skeptical about electronic health records and their negative impact on productivity,” said Republican committee member Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Wednesday.
Price agreed that electronic health records can hurt productivity.

How Laboratorians Can Lead With Information Technology to Improve Patient Safety

An Interview with Eugenio Zabaleta, PhD

Author: Jaime Noguez, PhD  // Date: JAN.3.2017  // Source: Clinical Laboratory News
Jaime Noguez, PhD, of the CLN Patient Safety Focus editorial board conducted this interview. 
Physicians have always strived to provide individualized and safe care for their patients. But today’s healthcare environment increasingly makes it difficult for them to do so at the level necessary to prevent errors and adverse events. Clinical laboratories are in a unique position to help reduce this risk and use the power of technology to streamline care, catch and correct errors, enable a more rapid response to adverse events, and assist with clinical decisions. 
However, many laboratorians are not sure where to start. In this interview, Eugenio Zabaleta, PhD, provides practical examples of how labs can use technology to enhance the value of laboratory results and improve patient care. Zabaleta is a clinical chemist at OhioHealth Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals. 
How have you used information technology (IT) to improve patient safety? 
Leadership at OhioHealth Mansfield and Shelby Laboratories understand that our laboratory has to play a more decisive role by providing clinical decision support (CDS) for laboratory orders and results. This not only contributes to patient safety but also makes the lab a critical part of the healthcare team. 

Digital transformation forces businesses to rethink cybersecurity

Enterprises are increasingly bringing together security professionals with operations teams and developers.

Senior Writer, CIO | Jan 16, 2017 7:22 AM PT
Seeking to maintain competitive advantage, gain market share and satisfy evolving customer demands, businesses around the globe are pursuing digital transformation. And that digital transformation is forcing reevaluation of cybersecurity strategies, according to a new study by BMC and Forbes Insights.
One of the more significant changes, says Brian Downey, senior director of Product Management, Security Operations and Automation at BMC, is that operations are increasingly being held accountable for security — the study found 52 percent or respondents indicated that accountability for security breaches had increased for their operations teams.
"When I look at it, I think that given the amount of risk out there in the world today and the amount of angles they're getting attacked from, businesses are demanding an increasing level of accountability," Downey says. "In my mind, the operations team is the one that has control over shutting and locking the windows. That's their role. More and more customers feel that way."

How to become a digital champion in the internet of things in healthcare

Guest Contributor
Published: 17 Jan 2017
It is the Internet of Things, but with an enterprise angle. Take that to mean industry vertical applications, development ecosystems, product design, hardware, deployment and more.
Healthcare costs continue to climb around the globe. The advent of the internet of things has the potential to revolutionize the traditional paper-based healthcare treatment through the access of real-time patient data and remote patient monitoring. Connected healthcare, particularly for chronic sufferers, enables improved patient care and encourages patient self-management while at the same time lowering costs.
Consequently, the global IoT market in healthcare was valued at $60.4 billion in 2014, and is estimated to more than double and reach $136.8 billion by 2021.

Top 10 cybersecurity must-haves for 2017

We talked to four security experts to garner insights on changes that must be made within the healthcare industry to avoid repeating 2016's cybersecurity mishaps.
January 16, 2017 12:07 PM
It's not as easy as just pressing a button. But partnering with other organizations on risk analysis, testing, incident response, and activity monitoring can help better position providers for data security in the year ahead.
The healthcare industry was riddled with cybersecurity issues in 2016 as ransomware, human error, IoT flaws and hacking attempts were some of the biggest problem areas.
The good news is that it appears the industry is taking notice and attempting to secure its vulnerabilities. The bad news? There is still a long way to go to protect valuable patient data and keep it out of cybercriminals' hands.

In fight against superbugs, old technology is new again

Spectrometry, developed in the 1940s, has been re-engineered and is back in the spotlight with new uses.
January 16, 2017 12:03 PM
Mass spectrometry, which once entailed breaking up samples into tiny particles and then measuring how they formed and moved, was used in the lab to identify different types of carbon. Today, the technology has been re-engineered for diagnosis of patients at risk for severe infections and to fight superbugs.
Spectrometry represents a billion-dollar market, according to a new report from research firm Kalorama Information's, Mass Spectrometry in Clinical Applications.
The technology has been enhanced with lasers, and can be used for protein analysis, using complicated histograms of the intensity of charges and mass ratios to definitively identify a substance.

Experts face off over the potential impact of ECHO

Jan 17, 2017 12:09pm
ECHO has gained widespread support over the years, but is it living up to its hype?
Is the hype surrounding Project ECHO shrouding the limitations of the program, or are we just beginning to see its true impact? That depends on who you ask.
One of the developers of the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) model, designed to virtually connect primary care providers with specialists to improve treatment of complex health conditions, defended the program against criticism that the evidence supporting ECHO’s framework had been outpaced by the early enthusiasm, and that it may not have a substantial impact on specialized care.

Patients Harbor Little Concern for EHR Security Events

By Sara Heath on January 16, 2017

As EHR use becomes ubiquitous, providers and patients alike grapple with the security risks. However, research shows EHR security events don't deter patients from digitally sharing their health data.

EHRs have become a ubiquitous fixture in doctor’s offices and hospitals nationwide, with adoption levels reaching nearly 90 percent. With that surge comes an increase in EHR security events during which patient data may be put at risk for breach.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, a team of investigators sought to determine how this relationship affects patients and their willingness to contribute their data to the digital tools.

Mercom: healthcare IT funding reached $5B in 2016

January 16, 2017
Last year set some new records for healthcare IT funding, with VC investments reaching over $5 billion and mobile health funding hitting an all-time high, according to a new report from Mercom Capital Group.
In their annual Healthcare IT/Digital Health Funding and M&A Report, the market intelligence firm tracked $5.1 billion in VC funding across 622 deals in 2016, compared with $4.6 billion in funding across 574 deals in 2015.
Since 2010, VC funding towards healthcare IT has risen to $18.5 billion across 2,672 deals, and Mercom identified several notable funding rounds in 2016: China’s Ping An Good Doctor’s $500 million round, Flatiron Health’s $175 million and Jawbone’s $165 million.

At Boston Children's Hospital, an Interoperability Win is Imminent

Scott Mace, January 17, 2017

The hospital runs Cerner, but its affiliated physicians organization is implementing Epic, so new connections are arriving just in time.

Last month's announcement that Carequality and CommonWell are connecting their networks has apparently caught the imagination of health IT leaders at providers across the country.
Perhaps no organizations stand to benefit more in the immediate term than Boston Children's Hospital and its affiliated Pediatric Physicians Organization at Children's Hospital (PPOC). The hospital is running Cerner's EHR, and PPOC is going live on Epic's EHR at 80 practices representing 400 providers this March.
Moreover, the hospital actually runs Epic as well, to manage its revenue cycle.
Such a mixed bag of EHRs is practically a poster child for the need for CommonWell and Carequality to connect, which will first occur via pilots beginning in the first half of this year.

Organizational complexity is the greatest threat to cybersecurity

Published January 16 2017, 6:57am EST
Some 83 percent of organizations believe they are most at risk for cyberattack because of organizational complexities, according to a new survey of organizations by the Ponemon Institute.
“Employees are not following corporate security requirements because they are too difficult to be productive, plus policies hinder their ability to work in their preferred manner,” the study noted. “It is no surprise that shadow IT is on the rise because employees want easier ways to get their work done.”
The study, which was sponsored by Citrix, finds that employees are increasingly putting data on their personal devices, meaning key organization information is accessible from any laptop, phone or tablet left sitting at a desk or coffee shop. And data assets are increasing, putting more information at risk, according to 87 percent of survey respondents.

EHRs help ensure proper patient use of blood thinners

Published January 16 2017, 6:35am EST
Medication adherence is critical for patients, especially when it comes to blood thinners prescribed after they leave the hospital. In particular, electronic health records have demonstrated value in assisting with anticoagulation therapy between outpatient and inpatient settings and across multiple providers.
That’s the finding of a study from the University of Missouri Health Care, which found that using EHRs can improve the care of patients on warfarin, a commonly prescribed blood thinner used to prevent harmful clots, as well as eliminate potential confusion among providers and pharmacists.
Margaret Day, MD, a primary care physician and medical director at MU Health Care’s Family Medicine-Keene Clinic, contends that the use of warfarin can be “potentially very complicated and dangerous,” and that’s borne out by the fact that adverse effects of the drug accounts for 33 percent of annual emergency hospitalizations for patients 65 or older in the United States.

Healthcare industry looks to future of APIs

Jan 16, 2017 11:40am
Across the healthcare sector, enthusiasm is building for application programming interfaces (APIs) to improve organizational performance and provide a better patient experience. Overwhelmingly, clinical and other leaders see APIs as technology-enablers of process change and evolving care models.
That’s the conclusion of a new report from Chilmark Research, which found that providers expect the digital revolution spawned by APIs in consumer apps and in other industries to spread to the healthcare realm. There’s “broad consensus” that the largest health information technology vendors and their large provider clients must lead the way to develop APIs, according to the report.
Many small healthcare companies have had trouble accessing and using API data from larger, more established electronic health record vendors, as FierceHealthcare has reported. But Chilmark predicts the technology will eventually trickle down. It notes that smaller healthcare organizations are dealing with the “tyranny of the moment,” and are still waiting for proof of the utility and efficacy of an API-based infrastructure.
Jan 12, 3:02 PM EST

Testing wearable sensors as 'check engine' light for health

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A next step for smart watches and fitness trackers? Wearable gadgets gave a Stanford University professor an early warning that he was getting sick before he ever felt any symptoms of Lyme disease.
Geneticist Michael Snyder never had Lyme's characteristic bulls-eye rash. But a smart watch and other sensors charted changes in Snyder's heart rate and oxygen levels during a family vacation. Eventually a fever struck that led to his diagnosis.
Say "wearables," and step-counting fitness trackers spring to mind. It's not clear if they really make a difference in users' health. Now Snyder's team at Stanford is starting to find out, tracking the everyday lives of several dozen volunteers wearing devices that monitor more than mere activity.

2016 averaged 1 healthcare data breach per day

Written by Erin Dietsche (Twitter | Google+)  | January 12, 2017 | Print | Email
There was an average of one health data breach per day in 2016, according to the Protenus Breach Barometer, which utilizes information from DataBreaches.net.
Protenus recently collaborated with DataBreaches.net to publish the "Breach Barometer Report: Year in Review."
Here are eight additional findings from the analysis.
1. There were 450 total breach incidents in 2016. The analysis is based on 450 incidents either reported to HHS or disclosed to the media throughout the year. Information was available for 380 of the incidents.
2. More than 27 million patient records were breached in 2016. The breaches resulted in 27,314,647 affected patient records.

When medical records can’t be shared, we all lose

Updated: January 16, 2017 — 11:55 AM EST
Richard Schlisky, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
by Richard L. Schilsky, M.D.
You only have to look as far as your smartphone to appreciate how electronic information, and the ability to share it, has improved nearly every aspect of our modern lives. What used to take hours or days can now be done in seconds through a few taps on our phones—from communicating with friends and family to accessing real-time weather forecasts and traffic, to shopping online. Unfortunately, health care has not kept pace with this progress because many electronic health record (EHR) systems cannot “speak” to each other. 
When EHRs can share information – called interoperability – doctors can more effectively diagnose patients and reduce medical errors, doctors and patients communicate more easily and effectively, and care becomes more coordinated and efficient. 
Today, more than 80 percent of all doctors use EHRs, but different healthcare providers and hospitals use different  software platforms that cannot communicate with each other. In fact, not even all EHR systems built on the same platform are interoperable, because these systems are so highly customized.


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