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, December 09, 2017

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links – 9th December, 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.

NHS England backs 11 new innovative technologies

Hannah Crouch

27 November 2017
A device which spots early signs of Sepsis is among the 11 new innovations NHS England is promoting.
The projects are being backed as part of the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) programme which is designed to encourage innovative technologies in the NHS.
One of them is RespiraSense, a wireless device which measures breathing and abdomen movements to help detect early signs of sepsis, pneumonia and cardiac arrest.

Safety group urges doctors to stop texting medical orders

Dec 1, 2017 12:13pm
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices urges doctors to stop texting medication-specific orders.
While it may be convenient for doctors and other clinicians, texting medical orders creates serious patient safety issues and must be stopped, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.
In a safety alert, the nonprofit organization said the healthcare industry must ban the texting of medication-specific orders until it identifies and resolves those safety concerns. The Joint Commission this year also reaffirmed its ban on texting orders.
A survey of 778 healthcare professionals identified a number of problems with texting medical orders, including abbreviated language, improper autocorrection and orders without full patient names and a second unique identifier to offset data security concerns, the ISMP said.

New platform lets patients sell their health data

By Rachel Z. Arndt  | November 30, 2017
There's a new app available for healthcare patients to make some money off their medical data.
Falls Church, Va.-based healthcare IT company Health Wizz has created a patient-data-aggregation platform that allows patients to trade and sell their data to pharmaceutical companies, researchers and other organizations.The platform, which was previously available in beta and was relaunched Thursday, runs on a mobile app through which patients can aggregate their health records.

HIT Think 3 ways providers can help clinicians gain timely access to data

Published December 01 2017, 4:21pm EST
In healthcare, access to actionable data is mission critical. But while physicians don’t need the skills of an undercover agent to pull actionable intelligence from their systems, obtaining the right data at the right time is often challenging—particularly in large health systems, such as integrated delivery networks.
Across the country, large health systems have spent millions of dollars on electronic health records (EHRs) and other systems that hold the promise of connecting physicians and hospital leaders to comprehensive patient, financial and administrative data that can better inform approaches to care and revenue cycle processes. In this case, data is shared internally, across facilities and, ideally, with other organizations across the care continuum.

AMIA seeks better standards testing, update to interoperability map

Published December 01 2017, 3:17pm EST
The nation needs a more robust and modern way of testing healthcare information technology standards, as well as an update to plans for the interoperability “roadmap” it’s following to improve the exchange of medical information.
Those suggestions are among several offered by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) in a comment letter sent this week to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
AMIA, in responding to a request for comments on ONC’s Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA), went beyond merely discussing provisions of the advisory to add the organization’s thoughts on the direction of interoperability within the healthcare industry.

Blockchain in healthcare: From possible to probable

The tech’s appeal lies in its digital ledger of transactions and healthcare is on the precipice of adoption to grow networks of secure data.
November 29, 2017 03:04 PM
Blockchain is the digital ledger of transactions that anyone on the network can see — and no one on the network can alter that information. Tracing information back to its original source and every detail in-between is the key to the technology. Healthcare is interested in this idea to change the way we think about data interoperability and security. There are many more applications for the idea that aren’t just about EHRs and money but about patient engagement as well. Read this primer and the 3 basic principles to understand the tech if you are still trying to figure out blockchain and its value to grow networks of secure data in healthcare.
Here are some of the latest developments happening related to blockchain right now.

Newly-Designed Physician EHR Notes May Improve EHR Usability

Researchers redesigned physician EHR notes to reduce information overload and emphasize clinically relevant information.

November 29, 2017 - Showing less data in physician EHR notes may produce more benefits for physician productivity, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (JABFM).
The study by Jeffery Beldon, MD et al. compared different physician EHR note designs to see which design physicians found most efficient, accurate, and usable when attempting to obtain information for ambulatory chronic disease care.
Researchers devised four physician note designs and tested the designs on 16 primary care physicians in random order. Physicians were instructed to find key information in the EHR notes during timed tasks.

Security researchers discover vulnerability in OpenEMR that potentially compromises 90M health records

Written by Julie Spitzer | November 29, 2017 | Print | Email
Researchers at Risk Based Security are warning healthcare providers using OpenEMR to a vulnerability in its configuration that may expose the system to a complete compromise, the firm wrote in a blog post. 
OpenEMR is an open-source EHR management application used in thousands of physician offices and small healthcare facilities around the world, and it hosts data on more than 90 million patients. In the U.S., it is estimated there are more than 5,000 installations of OpenEMR in physician offices, serving more than 30 million patients. It is a PHP-based web application that fully integrates with EHRs and practice management, scheduling and electronic billing. 

Care planning software helps doctors make the right treatment call

Published November 30 2017, 4:50pm EST
Abington Jefferson Health in Pennsylvania is using care planning software, embedded with guidelines, to deliver guidance on treatment directly to clinicians at the patient’s bedside for more than 200 conditions.
The two-hospital delivery system with six clinics, anchored by 665-bed Abington Hospital, is moving away from a paper-based process of monitoring patients by adopting an electronic decision support documentation process that lets clinicians better understand patient needs and implement appropriate intervention programs.
The goal is to have internal professional teams of clinicians all documenting together the same way and expanding documentation to more deeply cover potential patient problems, educational needs of patients and families and interventions specific to the reason for admission, explains Diane Humbrecht, chief nursing informatics officer.

Your Apple Watch Could Tell You When You’re Having a Stroke

A new app combines health tech with artificial intelligence that can warn when danger is imminent.
By Michelle Cortez
November 30, 2017, 9:00 PM GMT+11 Updated on December 1, 2017, 6:15 AM GMT+11
A device that’s embedded in a new wristband for the Apple Watch marries two existing features—the heart rate monitor and activity sensors—and takes them to a new level using artificial intelligence.
The KardiaBand from AliveCor uses a neural network to predict and analyze the wearer’s heart rate based on his or her history and a trove of cardiovascular data from both sick and healthy people. The device measures the heart rate every five seconds and tells users when it’s out of their expected range. It doesn’t apply a generic range—instead, it determines what’s abnormal for you.

Apple's Heart Study app can identify irregular heart rhythms

The app uses Apple Watch's sensor to calculate heart rate and rhythm, and can notify users who might be experiencing atrial fibrillation.
November 30, 2017 8:40 AM PST
Your Apple Watch can now tell you if you have an irregular heart rhythm.
Apple launched its Heart Study app on Thursday, which uses the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor to collect data on a wearer's heart rhythms and then notify them if they might be experiencing atrial fibrillation, or AFib.
Using the Apple Watch, the Heart Study app can notify users if they have irregular heart rhythms. 

EHRs in the cloud: Why smaller healthcare providers are making the leap

Providers say flexible platforms help them to prepare for population health management and value-based care.
November 28, 2017 09:25 AM
Add one more to the growing list of healthcare providers moving their EHRs into the cloud. Coastal Orthopedics in Conway, South Carolina, consolidated its legacy electronic health records and practice management systems into the cloud and is seeing tangible results already. 
Hospitals of various sizes, including University of California San Diego and UC Irvine Health just this month, have opted for cloud-based EHRs recently. On the smaller end of the provider scale, Lost Rivers Medical Center in Arco, Idaho, and Faith Community Hospital in Jacksboro, Texas, have also moved their EHR and related software into the cloud. 
While UCSD and UC Irvine Health are running Epic’s EHR in a private cloud on the vendor’s campus, Coastal Orthopedics went with athenahealth. 

Meaningful Measures specifics emerge: CMS program will track 18 areas

The aim of the core measures is to refocus the agency's regimen of quality metrics on high-quality healthcare and meaningful outcomes for patients, according to the agency.
November 28, 2017 03:52 PM
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday offered further insight into how the Meaningful Measures program works. In a webinar, Jean Moody-Williams, RN, deputy director of CMS' Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, said the initiative to streamline quality reporting was launched in recognition that "there's a fine line between being helpful and being a hindrance."
CMS has heard the feedback from industry stakeholders that there are too many often-overlapping quality measures, and that it's often difficult to see how they relate to each other and how tracking and reporting them is meant to further common goals, said Moody-Williams.

If confirmed, HHS secretary nominee Alex Azar plans to take on EHRs, care delivery reforms

Nov 29, 2017 10:00pm
Though much of the discussion during Alex Azar's confirmation hearing for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services centered on his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, a Senate panel also grilled Azar on payment reforms, the Affordable Care Act and electronic health records. 
If confirmed, Azar told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that he'd want to delve into the regulations and the role that EHRs plays to contribute to the administrative burdens that are at the top of physicians' complaints.

HHS nominee sees potential of big data, pitfalls of EHRs

Published November 30 2017, 7:15am EST
President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services contends that by harnessing the power of big data and predictive analytics, the healthcare industry can be made more efficient and lead to better patient outcomes.
Alex Azar told a Senate committee on Wednesday that Medicare must “shift the focus in our healthcare system from paying for procedures and sickness to paying for health and outcomes.”
Azar testified that if he is confirmed to serve as HHS secretary, one of his four critical priorities at the agency will be to “better channel the power of health information technology and leverage what is best in our programs—and in the private competitive marketplace—to ensure the individual patient is the center of decision-making, and his or her needs are being met with greater transparency and accountability.”

Survey: Financial Costs of a Cyber Attack Increasing Year over Year

November 28, 2017
by Heather Landi
Enterprise organizations that have been impacted by cyber breaches report that monetary losses from cybersecurity events have increased year over year, according to the 2017 U.S. State of Cybercrime survey.
Looking at the financial ramifications of cyber attacks, the survey notes that there are many metrics to measure the impact of an attack, both hard costs and time as well as reputation. One thing that cannot be disputed is the financial costs of a cyberbreach. The survey found that 21 percent of enterprises report that monetary losses from cybersecurity events have increased year over year. In fact, enterprise organizations estimate financial losses at an average of $884,000, compared to estimates of $471,000 from the previous year.
The survey aims to provide a look into the state of U.S. cybersecurity, revealing how security and business leaders are defending their organizations, the top threats they are facing as well as ramifications when an attack occurs. The survey is a collaborative effort between CSO, the CERT Division of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, the U.S. Secret Service and Forecepoint. The survey was published by IDG Communications.

Prescription monitoring programs crucial to fighting opioid epidemic

Published November 29 2017, 7:47am EST
Electronic databases that help states track controlled substance prescriptions are critical to reducing opioid prescribing, according to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
Testifying before a House committee hearing on Tuesday held in Baltimore regarding the Commission’s recent findings and recommendations, Christie told members of Congress that prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) are among the most promising state-level interventions for flagging suspicious prescribing activities.
Christie said that PDMPs are not only effective law enforcement tools but are also aid physicians who can use the databases to see if a patient has opioid prescriptions from other doctors and “stop adding to the problem” of overprescribing of opioids.

HIT Think Why a National Patient Identifier won’t solve matching concerns

Published November 29 2017, 4:43pm EST
Hope for a national patient identifier suffered a blow recently when the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives announced it was pulling the plug on its highly publicized National Patient ID Challenge.
For years, the question of how to accurately identify individuals in a complicated healthcare ecosystem has been a perplexing one for healthcare IT leaders.
Data creation in healthcare has accelerated from torrential to a veritable tsunami, bringing with it many challenges in the identification and reconciliation of patient records because of the various ways systems classify, store and protect information. As data sharing proliferates and the bar for better coordination across the continuum is raised, resolving patient record matching issues grows especially complex—and increasingly urgent.

Hospitals Must Decide on Most Effective IT Spend as Costs Add Up

Gregory A. Freeman, November 27, 2017

After rising in past years, IT budgets are showing signs of flattening out for some hospitals. Health leaders will have to decide whether their goals require spending more.

Health system IT budgets are beginning to settle down after significant increases in the past decade, driven largely by the adoption of electronic medical records and concerns over cyber security, but 2018 could require even more funding for hospitals that want to be cutting edge.
That isn’t the only path, however. Hospital leaders will have to consider the role of IT innovation in their missions and budget accordingly.

Is health IT really ready for a FHIR takeover?

Sponsored Content
The full value of FHIR is still years in the making, says one expert.
November 21, 2017 09:01 AM
Thirty years ago, interoperability was a lot simpler. If you could exchange data between two IT systems, you had interoperability. But in the three decades since, the amount of data and the number of sources of data for an individual or a population have both increased exponentially.
Now interoperability is about accessing data across many systems, both inside and outside the organization, as a single, concordant view, and presenting it to clinicians in a way that is usable and actionable in their workflows. 
FHIR (HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) is quickly becoming the foundation for the future of interoperability. The FHIR standard has the ability to provide vastly simplified, accelerated and effective clinical information sharing between systems, and it’s creating opportunities for tremendous innovations in the healthcare IT industry.    

Opinion The 3 most important data metrics for retaining customers

Published November 28 2017, 2:45pm EST
Nearly everything in modern business, including healthcare organizations, is measurable, but often companies are relying on legacy data that can obscure the truth about what is happening in the business.
Some time ago, broad quantitative metrics were enough to shape the strategy of the business and were often focused on acquiring new customers. But with time, global markets, including hospital markets, have become increasingly competitive and acquiring new clients has become harder and more expensive. Thus, businesses have transformed their operational models to building continuous relationships with customers.

Algorithm outperforms radiologists in diagnosing pneumonia

Published November 28 2017, 7:28am EST
Stanford University researchers have developed a deep learning algorithm that analyzes chest X-rays and can diagnose pneumonia better than expert radiologists.
While chest X-rays are currently the best available method for diagnosing pneumonia, interpreting these images is very challenging because the appearance of the condition in these images is often vague, overlaps with other diagnoses and mimics benign abnormalities.
However, the algorithm—called CheXNet—outperformed four Stanford radiologists in terms of pneumonia diagnoses for both sensitivity and specificity.

Does it matter which EHR your health system uses? This study says yes

Written by Julie Spitzer | November 27, 2017 | Print | Email
Although the goal of the federal EHR certification process is to create a level playing field for quality in support of the meaningful use program, some EHR vendors consistently outperform others, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
A team of researchers, led by Jay Holmgren, a doctoral student in the health policy management track at the Boston-based Harvard Business School, examined national hospital data on EHR products used for meaningful use attestation provided to ONC, and compared those measures against EHR incentive program data reported to CMS. The study was limited to hospital performance on six meaningful use stage two criteria.
Here are the six criteria.
1. Availability of medication computerized physician order entry
2. View, download and transmit technology availability
3. Whether VDT can be used by patients
4. Medication reconciliation capabilities
5. Ability to provide summary of care records
6. Ability to electronically send summary of care records

Judge: Doctor who doesn’t use computer can’t regain license

November 27
CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire judge has denied an 84-year-old doctor’s request to regain her license to practice, which she had surrendered partly over her inability to use a computer.
The state challenged Dr. Anna Konopka’s record keeping, prescribing practices and medical decision making. It said her limited computer skills prevent her from using the state’s mandatory electronic drug monitoring program, which requires prescribers of opioids to register in an effort reduce overdoses.

Using Personal Financial Data to Improve Healthcare

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, November 28, 2017

Using such data as a source of social determinants of health information can boost the accuracy of population risk predictions.

 It’s no surprise when your mailbox is full of credit card offers or coupons and catalogues from your favorite stores. After all, it’s fairly common knowledge that credit reporting agencies like Experian and Equifax (which recently made headlines for a massive data breach) provide your purchasing data to companies for direct marketing purposes.
But what if healthcare providers could tap into that data too? How might it be added to claims and clinical data to better predict population health risk?

The biggest interoperability holdup? There's no business case for it

Although many organizations claim interoperability is a major focus, progress is slow, at best. For HL7 CEO Charles Jaffe, the reason is a lack of financial reward, as for-profit vendors can’t be expected to “connect everyone on their own dime.”
November 27, 2017 08:48 AM
The healthcare industry has struggled to figure out the right way to make interoperability happen for years. Seen as the holy grail for the sector, nationwide interoperability, while touted as a major focus for many, is elusive.
In fact, a Rand report in Health Affairs 12 years ago, praised interoperability for its cost-saving capabilities and safety benefits. But the only way to reap those benefits is with an interconnected system.
Providers also see the benefit. A recent National Health Information Exchange and Interoperability Landscape report found that 80 percent of providers saw increased efficiency and 89 percent saw improved care quality by using electronic data exchanges.

Cerner reportedly finalizing a new partnership with Amazon’s cloud service

Nov 27, 2017 11:57am
One of the nation’s largest EHR developers is planning to announce a new partnership with Amazon’s cloud computing platform.
The new partnership with Cerner is scheduled to be unveiled this week by Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy at the company’s annual conference, according to a report by CNBC, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Surprising Number of Conditions Linked to Celiac Disease

Damian McNamara
November 21, 2017
ORLANDO — Celiac disease is associated with a wide range of medical conditions, including liver disease, glossitis, pancreatitis, Down syndrome, and autism, according to a database study of more than 35 million people.
The rate of celiac disease is almost 20 times higher in people with autism than in those without, reported lead investigator Daniel Karb, MD, a second-year resident at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.
"If you have a patient who is autistic and they have all these unusual symptoms, you might want to screen them for celiac disease," he said here at the World Congress of Gastroenterology 2017.

HIT Think How healthcare organizations can reap value from vast stores of data

Published November 27 2017, 3:00pm EST
The healthcare industry is finally nearing the end of the task of digitizing health records. It has been an arduous and necessary journey worth celebrating. Now, however, healthcare organizations are faced with two major challenges.
First, many organizations are struggling to deliver a reasonable payback on their investments. And second, advances in scientific computing and analytics—things like next-generation electronic health records, genomic sciences, precision medicine, predictive analytics and machine learning, the enterprise imaging revolution, advances in electron microscopy (including cryo-EM), exploring unstructured data such as digital notes and more—have resulted in an unbounded data explosion.


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