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.
Quote Of The Year
Quotes Of The Year - 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."
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If healthcare information technology is going to realize its full potential, the industry must overcome the challenges of interoperability, which are impeding the free flow of data, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD.
Price made the remarks Thursday at the opening of the 2017 Health Datapalooza conference in Washington.
“Interoperability and the free flow of data are absolutely crucial to making the benefits as big as possible for our system and to make certain that we’re helping as many patients as we can,” Price said.
U.S Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Thursday said what many doctors are thinking: “We need our physicians to be patient-facing, not computer-facing.”
But that doesn’t mean he’s opposed to robust health information technology.
Price, speaking at the Health Datapalooza Conference, said he supports efforts to achieve true interoperability between electronic health records and other systems, but not at the expense of physician face-time with patients.
“The promise of health IT is so great, but we must recognize that a one-size-fits-all, inflexible system for our nation’s patients and physicians simply will not work,” he said, according to Politico.
While the resounding opinion is that the Department of Veterans Affairs should replace the proprietary VistA with a commercial EHR, perhaps choosing Cerner as the Defense Department did, that idea does not hold so true within the open source community.
“When you look at the big trends in the IT industry, open source is used everywhere. In fact, some of the most successful mega IT systems have a significant open source component,” said Seong Mun, CEO of the Open Source EHR Record Alliance. “We believe it’s the right methodology to get to where we need to go.”
VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, is expected to decide in July.
Juliet Bauer is on a mission to make individual’s experience of online NHS services as compelling as possible, break down current barriers and help achieve a decisive shift to digitally delivered health services.
Juliet Bauer, joined NHS England as director of digital experience last November with responsibility for the flagship NHS.uk project, from a six-year spell as a digital leader at the Times Newspaper and a spell at health start-up Supercarers.
She is the third member of NHS England’s digital leadership team, alongside Will Smart and Professor Keith McNeill, NHS England’s CIO and CCIO. But arguably, with responsibility for making the NHS a cutting edge provider of compelling digital services, hers is the toughest brief of all.
Few of the hundreds of mobile apps for cancer survivors were appropriately developed or tested, according to a new study.
In “Achieving Value in Mobile Health Applications for Cancer Survivors,” published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, researchers from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California conclude that “basic developmental and incremental testing steps have been skipped in the majority of cases.”
“Unfortunately, some applications for cancer survivors have been put on the app stores with what appears to be limited testing, and no clear involvement of cancer survivors in development or evaluation,” study author Ingrid Oakley-Girvan wrote in an email. “The number of apps is a constantly moving target; we do not currently have funding to evaluate which applications have been adequately tested.”
Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic is now offering its health information on demand via Epic patient-facing apps such as MyChart and MyChart Bedside, according to an announcement this week.
In the press release Mayo officials said it is offering this embedded content option to Epic’s healthcare clients “as a way to help other providers share expert health information with their patients.” More than 4,000 comprehensive health topics spread across more than 18,000 pages of Mayo Clinic content are available, including symptom, condition, disease, life stage, and healthy living information.
April 27, 2017 - A recent Kalorama Information Report names Cerner Corporation, McKesson, and Epic Systemsas the top three EHR vendors dominating the market in 2017.
While these EHR vendors hold a majority of the market share, researchers stated small competitors can still succeed in the industry. Frustrated physicians, dissatisfied hospitals hopping from vendor to vendor, and substantial shifts in government and healthcare policy can all play in favor of small vendors.
"A few companies have more than half the market, but it's still true to say no company, not even the largest healthcare IT firms, have even a fifth of this market," said Publisher of Kalorama Information Bruce Carlson. "We think that is because there's still usability, vendor-switching, lack of mindshare in the market and customers are aching for better. Healthcare still involves a lot of local markets and then with EMR there is a web opportunity to sell direct to smaller hospitals and physicians."
Robert Plant (@drrobertplant) is an associate professor at the School of Business Administration, University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.
Our medical histories are vital to us as patients, to the physicians who treat us, and to the insurance companies that cover us. This data needs to be managed under a mandate of control, privacy and accountability. The framework we’ve built around this undertaking here in the U.S. is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA sets standards for the protection of health information. However, from a security perspective it is arduous and cumbersome.
Accessing medical data is clunky, requires a high overhead, and is prone to human error. That’s because information is typically not located in a single database but rather distributed among many actors who own and exchange the data for each patient as required. The data model is fragmented and vulnerable, since basic computer security protocols are often lacking. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services does not require universal encryption but rather orders institutions to use a level of security that is merely “reasonable and appropriate.”
Digital healthcare company, Babylon Health, have raised about £50 million to further develop its artificial intelligence clinical diagnosis capabilities.
Babylon says the new AI tool will help clinicians by providing them with a diagnosis of more routine conditions. Planned capabilities include using natural language processing to take notes in patient consultations.
Speaking to Digital Health News, Ali Parsa, founder and chief executive of Babylon, claimed the new diagnosis tool could potentially cut the cost of a consultation by 80%.
As cyberattackers target healthcare, hospitals are grappling with whether to pay the ransom.
As hospitals and health systems battle the growing threat of ransomware, CEOs are coming face-to-face with an increasingly tricky decision about whether to pay the ransom.
Each option is accompanied with its own baggage, former FBI agents and cybersecurity analysts told FierceHealthcare in exclusive interviews, which leaves health systems victimized by ransomware attacks facing a web of complexities and few desirable outcomes. Pay the ransom, and hospitals open themselves up to future attacks and help fund criminal enterprises or potentially feed money into overseas terrorist organizations. Refuse to pay, and the hospital loses access to vital IT systems that could compromise patient lives.
Written by Jessica Kim Cohen | April 26, 2017 | Print |Email
An EHR-based surveillance system may help city officials better understand the health of their population, according to an article in American Journal of Public Health.
A research team of epidemiologists, health IT experts and clinicians led by NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYU School of Medicine in New York City developed NYC Macroscope, a surveillance system that aggregates data from EHRs representing more than 700,000 primary care patients in the city. The researchers used this system to surveil chronic health conditions.
Nearly every day, it seems, the media report a massive cyberattack on a healthcare organization. Nevertheless, most physician practices still don’t safeguard their electronic patient information properly.
News accounts of security breaches tend to focus on big healthcare systems, but that doesn’t mean that small and medium-sized practices are safe. In fact, cyber thieves view poorly protected medical records in these practices as easy pickings.
“Lots of hackers target smaller businesses because they won’t have the necessary expertise on staff to fully secure their system,” says Gerard Nussbaum, JD, an independent healthcare consultant based in Chicago.
Ransomware incidents have surged 50 percent from a year ago, educational institutions are becoming a playground for cyber espionage, and 68 percent of healthcare security threats are internal, according to Verizon's 2017 Data Breach Incident Report (DBIR).
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is soliciting public comments on a proposed industry-wide measurement framework designed toassess the implementation and use of healthcare interoperability standards.
“Stakeholders’ current capabilities to measure interoperability standards vary significantly across the health IT ecosystem,” states the document. “This framework aims to help health IT developers, health information exchange organizations and healthcare providers move towards a set of uniform measures to assess interoperability progress.”
The acceleration of cloud adoption in healthcare is amazing. Organizations have stopped asking if they are moving to cloud services and started comparing notes on when. And the motivating drivers are shifting from operational efficiency to strategic considerations, ranging from augmenting much-needed skills and expertise to elastic access to world-class computer and data science capabilities.
Cloud’s role in healthcare IT has grown significantly in the past several years, responding to changing market dynamics and emerging trends. Escalating consumerism, regulatory impacts, increasing digitalization, value-driven healthcare, and resulting healthcare delivery transformation all contribute to cloud’s current expansion in the healthcare space.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the global adoption for cloud services in healthcare is expected to grow from $3.73 billion in 2015 to nearly $9.5 billion by 2020. Other research organizations have identified similar fast-track growth in cloud capabilities, across all industries, including healthcare.
Even with AI's diagnostic power, human clinical judgments will reign supreme.
As artificial intelligence becomes more powerful and more ingrained in healthcare, the new technology will have to find ways to fit into an industry that has long relied on human judgment.
Venture capitalists should be particularly mindful of this intensifying dynamic that will influence AI adoption in the clinical environment, wrote Kapila Ratnam, a partner at NewSpring Capital, in an op-ed for MedCity News.
According to a recent KLAS report, adoption of Cerner’s and Epic’s EHR-based sepsis detection is higher than all other sepsis solutions combined, with customers of both reporting improved outcomes, including mortality reductions. The new report reveals sepsis detection and treatment is taking a big step forward as providers increasingly utilize surveillance and monitoring technology available through EMR vendors and third-party providers.
“We have been using (the Cerner sepsis) product for seven months with excellent results”, reports an IT Director. “The protocols and criteria are very inclusive and thorough. Reducing septic shock and sepsis is very beneficial to us and our patients. The solution has reduced length-of-stay numbers, mortality, and readmissions.” While Cerner’s sepsis solution is easily deployed, Epic users report the need for significant in-house effort for implementation and integration into workflows. Use of sepsis solutions by other EMR vendors lags, though MEDITECH recently developed a solution for sepsis.
When it comes to 77% of global ransomware attacks, these four industries take the greatest hit, according to a global threat trends report released today.
Ransomware is rapidly on the rise and four industry sectors are taking the largest hit, accounting for 77% of the action, according to NTT Security's 2017 Global Threat Intelligence Report released today.
The business and professional services sector accounted for 28% of the ransomware attacks, followed by government at 19%, and healthcare and the retail sectors both coming in at 15%, the report noted.
Like all healthcare CIOs, Joel Vengco, chief information officer at Springfield, Massachusetts-based Baystate Health, has no shortage of pressing projects competing for his attention.
Whether it's working to drive operational efficiencies across the $2.5 billion health system, improving the usability of an array of applications for clinical end users, spearheading community engagement and patient outreach for population health management or working on analytics and "knowledge management," it all make for a busy workday.
That's all in addition to the imperative of constant innovation: Beyond just being Baystate's CIO, Vengco is the founder of TechSpring, an innovation center based at the health system where IT vendors are given secure access to real patient data to speed the development of new technologies.
Direct-to-consumer telehealth initiatives are often slow to catch on, experts say.
As more healthcare providers are launching telehealth programs, hospital executives and vendors have a few words of wisdom—namely, exercise patience.
Direct-to-consumer telehealth is making a push to offer more healthcare services to patients that are intrigued by the convenience of the technology. Last month, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center expanded its AnywhereCare initiative statewide. Northwell Health (formally North Shore-LIJ) made a similar pivot, rolling out a consumer-facing telehealth model in January.
Physicians and other healthcare providers greatly underestimate the willingness of patients to disclose their sexual orientation, a new study has found.
While nearly 80% of healthcare professionals believed patients would refuse to provide information about their sexual identity, in reality, only 10.3% of patients reported they would not provide the information if asked, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Adult children with access to a parent's medical information can help providers—if the patient is comfortable sharing the information with them.
Sharing physicians’ notes with adult family members can improve elderly patients’ care, but privacy concerns make them reticent to do so.
Amid high-profile reports of medical record breaches, concern over the confidentiality of the medical information contained in physician records remains high. At the same time, hospitals can present unique dangers for elderly patients, some of which can be mitigated by including caregivers in decision-making and in the discharge process.
HIPAA-compliant options are helping healthcare systems relay important information using familiar platforms and devices.
Websites, patient portals, and lower-tech communications such as interactive voice response outreach still dominate the healthcare industry. The industry has been slow to wake up to the societywide tectonic shift to mobile messaging as a preferred communication mode, both from provider to provider and from provider to patient.
Indeed, to turn the old Marshall McLuhan adage on its head, the message is the medium. According to a 2015 study from Juniper Research, instant messages (IM) sent on platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat were poised to overtake email as the most popular digital communication channel.
If you are curious about virtual doctor visits, then the following information can answer the most common questions. Seeing a doctor online is becoming more popular, so you want to become familiar with the process.
Whether you are too busy to make an appointment with your regular doctors, or they cannot find room for you in their schedules, virtual doctor visits are an option in some cases. You can skip the long drive and busy waiting room by using telemedicine.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine allows patients to see doctors in a virtual setting through their computer, phone or other device. It usually connects patients with medical staff in real time and allows them to interact through video or phone calls. Medical professionals can offer advice, diagnose problems, suggest treatments and answer questions.
Access cannot be freely granted to data—such is the reality of the world today. Unnecessary risk is created if a vendor is allowed to freely access, use or otherwise interact with data. Why go down the risk-filled road when issues can be identified and addressed?
This question is central for healthcare entities, whether covered entities contracting with business associates or business associates contracting with subcontractors. The direct liability all of the way up and down the chain of access now firmly entrenched in HIPAA means no entity on any level can escape notice.
If risk exists on all levels, what can be done? Asking questions prior to full engagement of a vendor is the first step. Do not assume that a vendor is providing all necessary information, or even any of the relevant information when pitching services. Instead, have a questionnaire ready to go that can pull in baseline data.
As the opioid crisis reaches epidemic proportions, new data show that physicians are prescribing opioids to fewer patients, and they are also being stingy when it comes to prescribing drugsto treat opioid dependence.
Athenahealth, a cloud-based electronic health record vendor, analyzed data from more than 2 million patient visits from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2017.
While prescription opioid misuse has emerged as an urgent public health crisis, what researchers found is that opioid prescriptions have been steadily declining over that time period.
Global vice president John Daniels said the new requirements for its Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model are truly aspirational and provide a glimpse at the future with non-scored options as well.
HIMSS Analytics on Friday revealed updated criteria for achieving Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model certification in 2018.
“It’s both evolutionary and a big change. We’re not taking any criteria away but now we’re adding to it,” said HIMSS Analytics Global Vice President John Daniels. “EMRAM is a truly aspirational model.”
The dean Stanford Medical School believes data will be the bedrock of medicine in the future.
Building on the key tenets of precision medicine, Stanford Medical School believes algorithms will transform healthcare into an industry that is more predictive than reactive.
In fact, the school is so invested in the promise of data analytics and artificial intelligence, it launched a new department 18 months ago that focuses specifically on biomedical data, Lloyd Minor, M.D., dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine, told the Wall Street Journal, adding that there is a “huge demand for data scientists” in the healthcare industry.
Physicians say wearables could change chronic care for the better, but not if they aren't accessible to everyone.
Physicians view digital apps, remote monitoring and wearables as new and exciting tools to help care for patients with chronic conditions, but many are still wary that technology is inaccessible to low-income populations.
Atomwise, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate drug discovery for diseases like Ebola, multiple sclerosis, and leukemia, today announced the launch of its Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen (AIMS) program. The program is free and open to any university-affiliated scientist in the U.S. or Canada who is supported by a principal investigator and has the means to test molecules.
“Our goal is to apply to healthcare the transformational performance that we’ve seen AI have in domains like self-driving cars, voice recognition, game playing, and language translation,” wrote Atomwise CEO Abraham Heifets, in an email to VentureBeat.
Since launching in 2012, Atomwise has partnered with several pharmaceutical groups and universities, including Merck, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University, the Scripps Research Institute at the University of San Diego, and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Heifets claims to have projects with 27 labs that are either completed or in flight, and he now wants to open up his platform to others.
A survey by Nemours Children's Health released at the American Telemedicine Association's Telehealth 2.0 conference finds that parents like telehealth for primary care visits, but not for chronic care management.
April 23, 2017 - Parents surveyed by a national pediatric health network say they know about telemedicine and are willing to use it to address primary care issues, but they’re hesitant to use it to manage chronic conditions.
That divide separates two of the larger markets for telemedicine – virtual visits for primary care and remote monitoring for chronic care – and points to a challenges faced by healthcare providers as they look to establish sustainable telemedicine platforms. In short, telehealth is gaining widespread support among consumers for one-off episodic visits, but it has yet to be embraced for long-term care coordination.