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3 Ways Technology has Changed Healthcare

3 Ways Technology has Changed Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Technology is considered to be the driving force behind improvements in healthcare and, when you look at the rate of change and recent innovations, many find it hard not to agree with that observation.

Graduates of health informatics will no doubt agree that technology is impacting many aspects of our lives as breakthroughs in data collection, research and treatments allow medical providers to use new tools and find fresh and innovative ways to practice medicine into the future.

Better and More Accessible Treatment

A number of industry analysts have observed that increased accessibility of treatment is one of the most tangible ways that technology has changed healthcare. Health IT opens up many more avenues of exploration and research, which allows experts to make healthcare more driven and effective than it has ever been.

Improved Care and Efficiency

Another key area that has grown and continues to do so is patient care. The use of information technology has made patient care safer and more reliable in most applications.

The fact that nurses and doctors who are working on the frontline are now routinely using hand-held computers to record important real-time patient data and then sharing it instantly within their updated medical history is an excellent illustration of the benefits of health IT.

Being able to accumulate lab results, records of vital signs and other critical patient data into one centralized area has transformed the level of care and efficiency a patient can expect to receive when they enter the healthcare system.

An increased level of efficiency in data collection means that a vast online resource of patient history is available to scientists, who are finding new ways to study trends and make medical breakthroughs at a faster rate.

Software Improves Healthcare and Disease Control

The development of specific software programs means that, for example, the World Health Organization has been able to classify illnesses, their causes and symptoms into a massive database that encompasses more than 14,000 individual codes.

This resource allows medical professionals and researchers to track, retrieve and utilize valuable data in the fight to control disease and provide better healthcare outcomes in general.

Software also plays a pivotal role in tracking procedures and using billing methods that not only reduce paperwork levels, but also allow practitioners to use this data to improve quality of care and all around efficiency.

Doctors report that they are deriving enormous benefits from the drive toward a total system of electronic medical records; patients enjoy the fact that software has created a greater degree of transparency in the healthcare system.

We have seen many positive changes in health IT and expect to continue witnessing more exciting developments in the future!

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Consumers think that innovation will lead to better diagnosis and treatment

Consumers think that innovation will lead to better diagnosis and treatment | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Innovation in the field of mobile technology has glued consumers to their devices as they can regularly track their health and know about symptoms on the go. On the physician side, there has been some resistance to the adoption of technology. A recent survey by Klick Health revealed that consumers believe that innovation in healthcare would lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

 

The survey in which 1,012 adults participated also found that patient-physician experience would also improve with innovation. Particularly, almost 50 percent of the participants said that innovation would bring improvement in diagnosis and treatment, while 20 percent said that it would help patients better manage their health and 19 percent thought that it would help in prevention of diseases.

 

Consumers are also positive about the impact of technology in their health and 90 percent believe that it would have a huge impact on their healthcare. In fact, 70 percent of the respondents believe that technology will help them manage their personal health.

 

At present, only 50 percent of the participants indicated about the positive impact on health due to innovative technology. Moreover, merely 41 percent confirmed that they have used new technology for their health. The survey results point to the definite gap in consumer expectations and what is being offered to them. If patients are offered innovative technological solutions, there is a high probability that they would utilize those resources to better manage their health.

 

Neuropsychologist Rex Jung from the University of New Mexico pointed, “This survey highlights consumers’ adoption of technology as the main healthcare interface. The findings really reflect a shift in the consumer mindset from being passive recipients of healthcare to more active and autonomous individuals who appear eager to try more creative and innovative approaches to managing their health.”

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How Remote Monitoring Tools, Smartwatch Track Patient Health

How Remote Monitoring Tools, Smartwatch Track Patient Health | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The medical sphere is constantly changing as new technologies continue to expand the opportunities within patient care. Remote monitoring tools, for example, are making a huge impact on the overall quality of patient care and health outcomes among those with chronic medical conditions. Mobile health devices like the smartwatch or smart glasses could also revolutionize patient care.

 

As previously reported by mHealthIntelligence.com, mobile health applications and mobile devices like the smartwatch can actually expand patient engagement. As the federal government continues to push the importance of patient engagement through meaningful use requirements under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, healthcare providers are scrambling to ensure that the right patient engagement protocols are in place to keep consumers accessing their medical data.

 

With the help of mobile health apps, patient portals can be accessed and providers would meet the meaningful use requirements set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Additionally, the smartwatch can be used to boost patient engagement with their health and wellness.

 

“We’re always looking for ways to improve the satisfaction of our patients,” Michael Ash, M.D., Chief Transformation Officer at Nebraska Medicine, said in a public statement. “We recognize that as more of our patients use devices like the Apple Watch, we not only have to be able to use that technology to initially provide convenience for them, but we also have to envision how we can improve patient outcomes via use of the device in the future.”

 

In a new infographic, experts outlined how the smartwatch could benefit the health of consumers over the coming years. Within the next five years, the smartwatch will be able to track vital signs including heart rate and blood pressure, detect blood oxygen levels, monitor stress levels via electrodermal activity, and keep an eye on your sleep patterns.

 

Additionally, wearables like the smartwatch could let the consumer know their blood sugar levels, provide alerts regarding their risk of an oncoming heart attack or stroke, and offer reminders about medical appointments.

 

Additionally, wearable devices could be connected to a hospital monitoring system and, thereby, offer more guidance to physicians with regard to a patient’s health and lifestyle choices. This could offer more information during diagnosis of a medical condition.

 

Along with the benefits of the smartwatch, mHealthIntelligence.com previously reported that remote monitoring tools are a system for ensuring the Triple Aim of Healthcare is met. This means that medical costs are lowered through the use of remote monitoring technology, patient health outcomes are enhanced, and the quality of overall care is improved.

 

Patients could reside at home instead of at the hospital with the help of remote monitoring tools, which can track vital signs including heart rate, respiration, temperature, and blood pressure. Dr. Raj Khandwalla of Cedars Sinai Medical Center spoke with mHealthIntelligence.com to offer his perspective on the use of remote monitoring tools within the healthcare industry.

 

“I personally think that mobile health technology and remote monitoring tools are going to be widespread in the future,” Khandwalla stated. “I think that when you look at the implementation of mobile technology, you have biosensor technology rapidly evolving. You have clinical decision support tools that are being integrated into the electronic health record that help guide decision-making among physicians.”

 

Additionally, Khandwalla spoke about the significant benefits of biosensors and remote monitoring technology for the healthcare field. In particular, biosensors and other devices could be a “game changer” within the medical space, Khandwalla mentioned.

 

“We’ll see changes in outcomes that are – instead of evolutionary – almost revolutionary when we apply data analytics to the output of the biosensors,” he explained.

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10 Great Gadgets for Tech-Savvy Doctors

10 Great Gadgets for Tech-Savvy Doctors | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As technology continuously innovates how we deal with healthcare everyday, it’s vital that doctors stay up to date on new trends. Many of the latest gadgets not only provide great value but are also fun. Here’s our list of 10 tech gadgets for doctors to use at their practice:

1. Digital Stethoscope

The cold, hard stethoscopes that doctors use have now been greatly upgraded. Now, the digital stethoscope is one of the smallest, yet powerful stethoscopes in the world. It’s so small that it fits right in the palm of your hands but can amplify over 100 times. It’s plug and play compatible making it easy for doctors to hear via their headphones or earplugs. It also connects via smartphone, tablet, or computer to record info right into the patient’s EMR!

2. Google Glass

Google seems to have their hands in just about every new piece of technology. Google Glass is a wearable spectacle that’s perfect for many industries. Doctors can enjoy the ease of accessing their patients’ records, collaborating what they are viewing with other doctors via surgery, and checking patients’ vitals. Though Google halted sales of Glass on 15 Jan 2015, many vendors have created specialized software applications & continue to supply the device, and Google itself is reportedly working on a successor.

3. AV300 Vein Viewing System

Doctors can easily examine their patients closely with the AccuVein AV300 Vein Viewing System. This handy gadget makes viewing clumps and other issues with veins simple. It’s lightweight and small, so doctors can carry it around room to room. Since it doesn’t come in contact with the patient, it does not need a protective covering or to be sterilized.

4. EarlySense System 

The EarlySense Proactive enables doctors and their medical staff to capture all a patients vitals in the exam room. Everything from their heart rate to their respiratory rate can be quickly captured and transferred to the EMR system. This not only reduces the time of transferring patient’s room to room, but also reduces mistakes of recording incorrect readings.

5. VScan by GE

Another helpful examination gadget is the GE VScan. The VScan is a pocket-sized ultrasound, allowing doctors to access many systems of the body including the abdominal, cardiac, urology, fetal, thoracic and others. This device helps speed decisions doctors normally would need to make after receiving x-rays. Unnecessary testing is also reduced.

6. Infrared Thermometer

Gone are the days of ten second readouts and probe-covers. Infrared thermometers now give accurate temperatures in one second, with no contact required. They are small and require just AAA batteries. These are perfect to use for fussy children. The Rediscan thermometer (pictured) can also measure the temperature of objects such as milk bottles or bath water.

7. Wacom Intuos

The Wacom Intuos system instantly converts what you write into a digitally readable format. It consists of a tablet which is basically a touch-sensitive pad (without a screen) and a stylus. Doctors can write clinical notes, prescriptions and draw directly on x-rays and charts. The information is digital, and can plug in directly into an EMR system. This method enables doctors to keep all data private as well, without paperwork lying around for others to see.

8. AliveCor ECG monitor

The AliveCor ECG system consists of a heart monitor device that connects to a smartphone app. Patients use it to record their ECG reading, which can be shared with their doctor and integrated into the PHR (patient health record). Doctors use the physician app to monitor patients’ ECGs remotely.  The physician app can also analyse readings and detect aberrations like AF (atrial fibrillation) automatically. Doctors can view trends, act promptly in case of an emergency, and integrate the readings into the patient’s EMR from their end as well.

9. Fitbit

The famous Fitbit is an activity tracker and monitoring device that doctors can suggest to patients to stay fit. It provides motivational tips and helps patients lead a healthy lifestyle. Not only patients, but doctors can also use a Fitbit themselves and practice what they preach! There are many activity trackers on the market, and doctors must try out devices themselves to evaluate their efficacy.

10. Adheretech’s Smart Pill Container

Smart pill containers are not used directly by doctors, but they are an excellent way for doctors to monitor their patient’s prescriptions taken. These containers emit light and sound alerting patients when it’s time to take their medication. If the dosage is skipped, an alert is sent to the caregiver or patient.

A lot of these gadgets are not easily available in India, but you can definitely pick them up in your next visit abroad. Do share this post with your colleagues (and patients) if you found it useful!

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12 medical technology innovations likely to transform healthcare in 2017

12 medical technology innovations likely to transform healthcare in 2017 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

1. 3D Printing is poised to make a big impact in 2017 - and is expected to be worth $1.2 billion by 2020. The first 3D-printed prescription drug received FDA approval in 2015 and medical devices made from 3D printing now include instruments used for surgery or devices implanted into patients. End-use parts, like surgical tools and device implants will become more common in 2017 as sophisticated metal materials for 3D printing are refined and gain approval for human contact. By 2019, 3D printing is expected to be a central tool in roughly one-third of surgical procedures involving prosthetic and implanted devices.i

2. Increased use of 3D visualisation and augmented reality for surgery - In 2016, two of the most intricate surgical practices, ophthalmology and neurology, began experimenting with 3D visual representations of their patients enabling them to operate more effectively and efficiently while also giving medical trainees a clear picture of what they're doing. Augmented reality glasses that display holographic images of human anatomy could also bring the end of cadaver labs at medical schools. Meanwhile virtual reality is also being used to accelerate behaviour change in patients in a way that is safer, more convenient, and more accessible.ii

3. Artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analysis and machine learning are developing in new areas - AI is starting to demonstrate the kind of impact it can have in medicine from accurately interpreting patient records including pathology slides, x-rays, skin lesions and scientific literature. These highly advanced AI systems are capable of employing deep learning algorithms to sort through massive amounts of structured and unstructured data to automatically detect, diagnose and suggest treatments regimes for medical conditions. There are numerous start-up companies working on AI applications in healthcare, with the engagement of the major technology companies who have all made major investments in this the space. A recent 60 Minutes US news segment suggested that AI could find an evidence-based therapy for 30 per cent of patients with cancer that was not identified by their oncologists.iii

4. Blockchain is starting to transform healthcare - blockchain can help organisations bridge traditional data silos, dramatically increase IT and organisational efficiencies, keep business and medical data secure, and streamline patients’ access to medical data. Blockchain offers "long data" as opposed to big data, capturing a full history of a patient's health. A 2016 IBM survey of 200 healthcare executives in 16 countries found that 16 per cent expect to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale in 2017. These companies expect the greatest blockchain benefits in three areas: clinical trial records, regulatory compliance, and medical/health records. They also anticipate widespread business model innovation but believe that regulatory constraints will keep new competitors and models in check.

5. Diabetes drugs and advanced monitoring technology will reduce complications and improve the management of diabetes - Experts predict 2017 could bring a shift in the medicines prescribed and ways of managing type 2 diabetes. Glucose sensing technology is advancing, moving away from low-tech finger pricks of the past to continuous glucose monitoring where a sensor is placed beneath the diabetic’s skin in the abdomen region and could dramatically reduce spikes in glucose levels. These monitoring technologies then link to medication administration devices, and often utilise mobile apps for sharing readings with physician as well as caregivers.iv

6. Drones, will play an increasingly important role in bringing medical care to people in emergencies - helping to link remote communities with distant clinics, and delivering blood, vaccines and other medical products and patient samples to and from regional hospitals.v For example a drone could transport an emergency medical kit along with say smart ‘glasses’ to people stranded in hard to reach places. A person attending the injured individual can then connect to a remote physician who can see the scene and guide treatment until paramedics get there. Another example is a drone that can transport patient samples or medical supplies over distances, using a drone that is fully automated, taking off, flying to its destination, and landing all on its own. This is already happening in Madagascarvi, but regulatory restrictions in many parts of the world don’t yet permit autonomous flying devices.

7. Gamification will come into its own as a healthcare tool - The 2016 worldwide phenomenon, Pokemon Go, showed how a game could be used to encourage people to get outside and become more active. This success is likely to lead to new ‘video games’ being used in 2017 to impact on people’s behaviors and actions. For example, creating healthcare-facing games that feel like, actual video games, can make rehabilitation exercises fun or simulate surgery functions.

8. Liquid biopsies will improve cancer detection and measurement of treatment responses - Analysing tumor genetics is enabling the development of targeted cancer drugs and ushering in the era of less toxic “precision” medicine. More specifically "liquid biopsies” are blood tests that uncover signs of highly abundant cell-free circulating tumor DNA which is shed from a tumor into the bloodstream.vii Several companies are developing testing kits expected to hit the market in 2017. Liquid biopsies are also hailed as a flagship technology of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, a national effort across the US aimed at ending cancer.viii It remains to be seen whether a liquid biopsy will provide accurate detection, but the benefits over solid tissue biopsy include being less expensive and risky.

9. The microbiome will be used to prevent, diagnose and treat disease - the human microbiome is a community of trillions of bacteria, archaea, viruses and other microbes that are an integral for human physiology, including supporting vitamin production and helping provide an efficient immune response. However, unlike their fixed genome, people’s microbiome changes constantly, in response to changes in their environment. Scientific advances during the past fifteen years, among them the Human Microbiome Project, increased our understanding of the interaction between people and their microbiome. Biotech companies are increasingly looking at the microbiome's potential to develop new diagnostics or therapies and probiotic products to prevent microbe imbalances. Over the next 12 months the microbiome is likely to establish itself as one of the health care industry's most promising markets.ix

10. Use of Point-of-care (POC) diagnostics will accelerate - The growth of boundary-less hospitals and community care is increasing the need for rapid results outside of the clinical setting. Key factors include the increasing prevalence of lifestyle and infectious diseases and a move towards home healthcare. 70 per cent of POC testing takes place in provider locations and experts predict this will grow at an average of 15.5 per cent each year.x POC testing delivers precision medicine that will both improve quality and affordability of care at a time when outcomes-based medicine is the new model for healthcare. Providing faster access to test results expedites speed of diagnosis and treatment and can reduce unnecessary hospital associated costs. The ability of POC to rapidly and inexpensively diagnose a significant number of infectious diseases is increasing, with the list now including HIV, human papillomavirus and influenza , to name but a few.

11. Demand for surgical, rehabilitation, and hospital robots will continue to rise - Driven by declining costs, labour shortages, and successful pilot projects; healthcare robots deployed in the years ahead will be involved in surgery, hospital logistics, disinfection, nursing, exoskeletal rehabilitation and prosthetic limbs. Forecasts suggest that healthcare robot shipments will increase from approximately 3,400 units sold annually in 2016, to more than 10,500 units per year by 2021, representing an increase in revenues from $1.7 billion to £2.1 billion over the same time period.xi

12. The adoption of telemedicine will be mainstreamed - with an explosion in easy-to-use, clinical grade, consumer-facing devices that allow patients to administer readings on themselves and which can then be used (and trusted) by care providers. These advances in consumer-facing medical devices will increase the quality of care that is able to be delivered via these remote systems. Telemedicine also allows those who are homebound and/or geographically isolated, to obtain access to the medical attention they need.

While predicting the future is by its nature challenging, one thing all the above predictions have in common is that the developments are made possible by the advances in technology and the emergence of new collaborations and partnerships.

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ECRI: Top 10 Healthcare Innovations

ECRI: Top 10 Healthcare Innovations | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

New technologies are made available with a view to improving patient care as well as reducing costs. For healthcare executives, deciding what to bring into their hospitals – and what to keep out – may not be easy.

 

"Navigating new technologies is one of the biggest challenges we hear about from hospital leaders," according to Robert P. Maliff, director of Applied Solutions Group, ECRI Institute. "They simply can't afford to miss the mark on which clinical advancements to bring in to improve patient care."

 

ECRI has released its annual "Top 10 Hospital C-suite Watch List" that can serve as a guide for hospital leaders in making tough decisions about new and emerging technologies in 2017 and beyond. The list draws upon ECRI's nearly 50 years of experience evaluating and providing technical assistance on the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of health technologies.

 

The topics and tech ECRI found will affect care delivery over the next 12-18 months:

 

1. Liquid biopsies. These are a genetic testing mechanism that uses a patient's blood, plasma, serum or urine, instead of biopsied tissue. Liquid biopsies are easier to obtain and are less risky for the patient. The FDA approved the first liquid biopsy for cancer in June 2016.

 

2. Genetic testing and biosensors for opioid addiction. Genetic tests can help identify individuals at the greatest risk for opioid addiction. Current tests aren't ready for wide use, but are in the pipeline. Also, biosensors (worn like wristwatches) can detect relapse episodes for opioid addicts using skin temperature, electrodermal activity and movement.

 

3. Abdominal surgery initiative. Initiatives that include a web-based, risk-assessment algorithm and patient coaching can prevent poor outcomes and reduce costs of patients facing major abdominal surgery.

 

4. Horizon scanners. Organisations should designate a leader to conduct tests and future planning on technology developments and care processes, as a way to better make decisions on infrastructure, equipment purchases and predict inpatient cases.

 

5. Ultraviolet-C LEDs for disinfection. This latest LED option comes in strips and emits UV-C light with the greatest germicidal effect – and efficient use of power. Developers are also working on sanitising wands and UV disinfecting cabinets for mobile devices.

 

6. AI. The humanoid robot Pepper can interpret human body language and read emotion to respond accordingly to the user, evolving as it learns the person. It can also be programmed to fit an environment.

 

7. Robotic surgery. The latest surgical robot model is designed for complex surgeries. It boasts four robotic arms attached overhead that can be repositioned without the need to undock the robot. It communicates with a new type of OR table, which allows for automatic repositioning.

 

8. Fluorescent endoscopic imaging. Indocyanine green imaging highlights malignant tissue during an endoscopy that is normally undetectable under regular light, making it easier for physicians to distinguish malignant tumours from healthy tissue.

 

9. Immunotherapy and stem cell therapy for Crohn's disease. Ovasave, a new, personalised T-cell immunotherapy, uses antigen-specific regulatory T-cells generated by in vitro exposure to ovalbumin to treat patients with refractory Crohn's.

 

10. Type 1 diabetes vaccines. There are two types of these vaccines: a therapeutic vaccine to slow or stop the autoimmune attack on insulin-producing islet cells for patients with some residual islet function, and a preventative vaccine to create immune tolerance of islet cells in children with an increased genetic risk of developing the disease.

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The future of medicine and the incredible innovations we can expect by 2064

The future of medicine and the incredible innovations we can expect by 2064 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

he Fred Alger Management team reached out to me recently asking what innovative changes I thought the medical and healthcare industry will be going through over the next 50 years. It was for their innovative “Think Further” series:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOgt85cPU8Q&list=UUcpr1hudOhiPOsj-7rwe8Ew&w=520]

As Yogi Berra famously quipped “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” but Alger’s “Future of Medicine” question is an interesting approach to generating ideas so I thought I’d give it a shot.

For the first 50 years in computing we’ve been busy digitizing the areas of human activity such as:

  • Administration (letters and memos are rarely done by hand)
  • Engineering (computations and drawings have been done on machines for a while)
  • Finance & accounting (spreadsheets and software drive most financial tasks)
  • News & press (social media, online news)
  • Literature (e-books, publications)
  • Retail (online stores)

There are many more examples of digitization plus even more examples of how mobile, social, and Internet have changed the world for the better. While the innovations I’ve cited above have brought enormous benefits to humanity, the next 50 years when we digitize biology through genomics, digitize chemistry through early detection systems, and digitize physics through better simulations we’re going to live in a world that might soon look even more like science fiction than it does today. Here’s how:

  • We already have “Dr. Google” through search engines but the coming decades will make medical knowledge, especially differential diagnoses, even better and more accessible to the average patient.
  • In the next decade we’re going to have the first versions of Star Trek’s “Medical Tricorder” and “Biobeds” which will focus on improved digital diagnostics by using digital medical education and improved mobile sensors to teach our devices how to read biomarkers in blood or other human biological specimen and identify disease or other ailments.
  • Over the following decades we’ll use those better diagnostics to create significantly better therapeutics such as personalized drugs. The better our diagnostics get on a personal (patient-specific) basis, the better our personalized therapies will get.
  • Within next couple of decades we’ll be able to use the advanced diagnostics capabilities of genetics and proteomics to create personal simulators of our body so that drugs and their side effects can be tested on a digital version of ourselves instead of running clinical trials in live settings.
  • As computing power increases and digital biological specimens become easier to obtain, we can imagine a world in which computers can run biological research that only humans can do today. And do it more safely and quickly than is possible this decade.
  • We can even imagine a world in which we can detect and correct diseases by touching our smartphones or smartwatches.

Just as we couldn’t imagine 20 years ago that a device we hold in our hands could guide us using GPS systems, there are things we’ll get through digital biology, digital chemistry, and digital physics that would be unimaginable today.

Our biggest struggles with future innovations won’t be around technology – that part will be solved quickly because of a huge pool of talented entrepreneurs and engineers. The biggest risk to our next generation technologies will really be around regulatory, privacy, and security. We already don’t know how to handle mobile medical devices from a regulatory perspective. We barely know how to manage privacy and security with the small amounts of personalized health records and diagnostic data we have now.

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How to Launch a Telehealth Service in your Medical Clinic

How to Launch a Telehealth Service in your Medical Clinic | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Many doctors are looking at how to launch a telehealth service. Doctors today are familiar with the telehealth virtual consultation model. Telehealth a few years ago was a new concept, but today it is becoming as common as using Uber, Airbnb and Venmo.

Doctors want to add the convenience and customization of telehealth services to their medical clinic. There is profit to be made and patients want the ease of remote visits.

The challenge is to know how to get started in a way that doesn’t interrupt your regular workday and can add value to both the patients and the office.

Here are 5 suggestions to help you launch a telehealth service in your medical clinic.

1) Choose a team member to lead

The success of launching a telemedicine service in your medical practice won’t happen by accident. You will need a dedicated team member who leads the project.

Think of it as a new section of your services that will take time, and need tweaking as you go. Choose a person on the team who has a good understanding of both technology and the patient relationship. Find someone who has an interest in moving the clinic forward and making a difference in the lives of patients. These values will be important as the launch will be challenging at first.

One tip is to plan a weekly meeting to review the progress with your telehealth team leader. Talk through the project and any challenges together. This will empower them and make them feel more focussed on main git a success.

2) Understand the rules and terminology

Telemedicine regulations will vary by state to state and insurance payer. It is important to know the specific rules such as your state’s law and the billing guidelines for all of your major insurance carriers. This A-Z Telehealth guide may help you guide your patients and help smooth over any confusion.


3) Decide on a platform

Perhaps the most difficult part of deciding on to launch a telehealth service is which platform to use. Each telemedicine provider will have their own benefits. Some are less expensive but offer little customization. Some offer more customization or better Telemedicine EHR integration than others.

It is important to know how much extra work a new technology will create, alongside any costs. Remember the time you spend working out the bugs is a key factor in the success or failure of your telemedicine implementation.

4) Start slow and test your process

Many offices will think launching telehealth means diving in the deep end and offering it to all patients immediately. All this will do is cause headaches. It is better to start slow, perhaps offering one or two telehealth visit slots per day, to begin with for the first 2-4 weeks. Then you can track the progress, refine the process and slowly and profitability of those telehealth visits.

5) Offer and Market to your best patients first

You probably have a pool of long term patients who are easy to deal with and have more common, easily remedied complaints. These are the ideal group to start with. This is because they are not likely to cause extra challenges above and beyond getting used to the technology. If you have an established relationship, this makes it easier as well, as they are more understanding that this is a new service.

This guide to launch a telehealth service in your medical clinic is just the start. There is no denying it will be a challenge but is well worth the effort. It will offer a new way to care for your patients and grow your profitability. If you think through the steps, and stay the course, teleahealth will become another successful, beneficial offering for your patients.

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Can Doctors Use Skype for Telemedicine Calls?

Can Doctors Use Skype for Telemedicine Calls? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

One of the big questions many people ask is can doctors use Skype for Telemedicine Calls?

Video calling platforms have become a part of everyday life. The concept of talking to someone at a distance via video is no longer a part of science fiction. Today doctor are adopting the idea of virtual visits. Many people assume that doctors can use Skype for Telemedicine calls. But is this actually the case?

The biggest challenge that faces doctors using Skype for Telemedicine calls is that they are legally bound to uphold the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

This HIPAA compliance can be upheld as long as the company providing the service has encrypted data transfer and can securely store protected health information (PHI). This can be upheld via a Business Associate Agreement, which covers a third party technology provider for HIPAA compliance.

According to Dr Erik Kangas, writing for the LUxSci Blog, “Microsoft has started offering a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for Office 365 Online of which Skype is a part.  Microsoft has indicated that Skype is covered under this BAA and thus use of Skype can be ‘HIPAA compliant’ as long as you have Skype for Business and the signed BAA with Microsoft.”

The challenge here is that most patients use the free version of Skype, which does not fall under the umbrella of BAA coverage. Therefore only half of the conversation may be covered under HIPPA compliance.

Therefore if both parties are using Skype for Business, the service is HIPAA compliant. If not, it may not be the most viable option.

As always, it is advisable to seek your own professional legal advice before using technology that may jeopardize HIPAA compliance. Perhaps in time there will be full HIPAA compliance for Skype for Telemedicine calls, but for now it seems that this is not the case.

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Doctor Frank's curator insight, May 31, 7:36 AM

Very interesting article. I for one think telemedicine is hugely beneficial (of course I am a little bias). It could be the future! 

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Tips for Doctors Switching to a new EHR in 2017

Tips for Doctors Switching to a new EHR in 2017 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

When doctors consider switching to a new EHR, there are many variables. It is important to be aware of the pros and cons before switching to a new EHR.

In the past 8 years the growth has EHR adoption has skyrocketed, from 9% in 2008, up to 83% in 2015.

However not all doctors are satisfied with their EHR. In fact due to EHR satisfaction rates droppingin the past few years, many doctors are thinking about switching to a new EHR in 2017.

To assist with this task, here are x tips to help doctors make the switch to a new EHR.

1. Find a simple system

The reality is that most people who operate the EHR system in your practice are not IT trained professionals. They may basic computer literacy (typing, emailing, web navigation) but aren’t likely to be able to manage detailed reports or streams of data.

Looking for an EHR with a user-friendly, customizable interface is a great first step. In basic terms, the harder it is to figure out how to use, the less likely you will get full benefit from switching to a new EHR.

2. Don’t follow old routines

Just because an older EHR system has 5 steps to complete a task, doesn’t mean this should be the accepted norms. Look for an EHR that can automate simple tasks (e.g. reminders, messaging, schedule confirmation) so that your team can focus on more important details.

It is very clear now that paper-based processes aren’t the most efficient, but the same is true for. many long established EHR systems. Look for new innovations and automations to make your workflow and day simpler.

3. EHR Training and Support is essential

If you and your staff are not properly trained when switching to a new EHR, then you are likely going to limit yourself greatly. There are so many nuances and technical shortcuts that proper training and support can offer you. Make sure everyone receives as much training as they need. Keep in mind that support is the invisible value that is a part of implementing a new EHR. in fact, any EHR that doesn’t provide support as a part of the setup or monthly fees is not likely to be a great match for your medical office. The cost saving initially may lead to a loss of productivity and revenue down the track.

4. Look for the ability to connect with patients

While your staff may receive training, often patients have no idea that you have moved to a new EHR system. For them, they may be comfortable with a paper based system, or phone calls to confirm appointments. If this is the case, take special care to coach your established patients through the new EHR process. Doing so will ensure a smooth transition and a better relationship between the doctor, team and patient.

While it may seem costly and time consuming, switching to a new EHR can open up new opportunities to your medical office. It can automate old systems, reduce costs, and even increase revenue. Look at a wide variety, but choose an EHR that is simple, up-to-date and good value for the services provided.

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An EHR wish list for putting genetic data to work

An EHR wish list for putting genetic data to work | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As genetic testing becomes more common, clinicians are trying to determine how best to use the information at the point of care.

"Repeated genetic test results generated over many months or years are impossible to synthesize into a coherent representation of the patient’s condition without using a discrete, comprehensive or end-to-end technology workflow to support care," says Penn Medicine’s Brian Wells in an article at Healthcare IT News.

 

Wells, associate vice president of health technology and academic computing at Penn Medicine, calls for specific features in EHR design to help ensure genetic testing results are useful.

Among them:

  • Storing discrete genetic markers in EHR. Because community physicians typically have less knowledge about genetic data, clinically actionable variants must be separated from those of unknown significance and stored that way in the EHR. The tests must be stored chronologically and stored with other test results to be most useful.
  • Actionable rule-based alerts. Once stored that way, they can inform clinical decision rules to guide testing and treatment. Patient specific rules can be created to guide drug ordering to help ensure the most effective treatment.
  • Ongoing monitoring of patients for new actionable variants. As genetic knowledge evolves, the EHR needs to provide the ability to look back to find patients who might be eligible for new tests and treatments.

In a recent paper, researchers from the Mayo Clinic cited an increasing number of “fumbles” related to genetic screening due to use of out-of-date databases.

They argued that the healthcare industry must become "wiser users of genetic testing and even wiser interpreters of the genetic test results.”  

"The medical community and community at large need to get a better grasp on genetic testing and precision medicine rather than just using them as buzzwords," said Michael Ackerman, a genetic cardiologist at Mayo. "When used properly, these tests are incredibly helpful. But we must become wiser users of genetic testing and even wiser interpreters of the genetic test results so that we can make wise conclusions."

 

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5 Digital Health Trends Changing Care Delivery

5 Digital Health Trends Changing Care Delivery | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

From virtual doctor visits to flu shots delivered via UBER, healthcare delivery is changing. The experts at Accenture Research say 5 key digital health trends are driving these changes.

Accenture's 2016 Digital Health Technology Vision report pinpoints emerging IT developments that will have the greatest impact on companies, government agencies and other organizations over the next three to five years. The findings are the result of interviews with experienced individuals from the public and private sectors, academia, venture capital and entrepreneurial companies. In addition, the Technology Vision team conducted interviews with technology luminaries and industry experts, as well as with nearly 100 Accenture business leaders.

Intelligent Automation

Algorithms that aid clinical decision making are just one example of "intelligent automation." Robots, apps and other advances in automation don't always replace people, says Accenture. Instead, automation allows people to work more efficiently and where they are needed most.

 

The Liquid Workforce

Advances in telehealth are allowing care to be delivered anywhere, while locum physicians and contract IT workers are increasingly used to address healthcare workforce shortages.

 

Platform Economy

Platforms provide the underlying technology that make healthcare more connected, says Accenture. Philips Health is one company betting big on platform-based solutions to connect medical devices and patients from hospital to home.

 

Predictable Disruption

Disruption in healthcare is becoming commonplace and the line between healthcare providers and consumer products companies is increasingly blurred. Apple's foray into health research tools and the connectivity between your wearable fitness tracker and your electronic health record are two prime examples.

 

Digital Trust

As healthcare security risks increase, so do opportunities to earn consumer trust. Organizations must have solid policies in place to protect patient privacy and data. "Furthermore, those policies must be disclosed and understood to ensure the right consent and access to information," says Accenture.

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What is Modifier 51 in Healthcare Billing?

What is Modifier 51 in Healthcare Billing? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

In Medical Billing there is a great deal of Medical Billing Terminology that can be intimidating to deal with when first getting started.

One important term that you must be familiar with is the Modifier 51, sometimes used in conjunction with Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR) claims.

Modifier 51 (which specifically denotes multiple procedures) is used to inform payers that two or more procedures are being reported on the same day.

A claim form (also known as a CMS 1500 form) that has Modifier 51 appended to a CPT code(s) tells the insurance payer to apply the multiple procedure payment formula to the CPT code(s) linked to the Modifier 51, assuming the payer accepts this modifier.

It is important to note that Medicare does not recommend reporting Modifier 51 on your claim; the processing system has hard-coded logic to append the modifier to the correct procedure code.

Before doing any physician billing, it’s very important to understand MPPR.  Some insurance companies will tell physicians not to use the Modifier 51 when submitting their billing, as the payor will apply the discount, however many medical societies recommend that practices append the modifier anyway, making sure that it is appropriate.

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Can technology break the silos in the healthcare sector?

Can technology break the silos in the healthcare sector? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Digital health or the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to provide health services, has the potential to advance the goal of universal health coverage and improve the quality and efficiency of health services, according to a new report published by the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s Working Group on Digital Health.

 

But can technology also break silos between the technology and healthcare sectors? 

 

The study group, co-chaired by the Novartis Foundation and Nokia, noted that key challenges remain in making digital health a reality, including fragmentation in digital health solutions, risks to funding continuity and capital expenditure, workforce capacity constraints, and collaboration problems across the health and ICT sectors. 

“Despite the promise and potential of global connectivity, we cannot lose sight of the fact that nearly four billion people have no access to the Internet. We need to look at innovative cross-sectoral strategies that can leverage the power of high-speed networks to improve education, healthcare and the delivery of basic social services to everyone, especially the poorest people, who need healthcare most urgently,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

 

The report, “Digital Health: A call for Government Leadership and Cooperation between ICT and Health,” recommends that the industry look into at least three things: the importance of senior government leadership with committed financing, effective governance mechanisms with defined roles, and a national ICT framework to facilitate alignment between the ICT and healthcare sectors.

 

“We need continuous committed leadership from government with sustained financial resources to ensure a strong national digital health strategy,” Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation, and Chair of the Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Health.

 

She said many technology-based health initiatives have been introduced in the past but they never reached scale or achieved long-term sustainability because more government support and intergovernmental collaboration are needed to take these initiatives past the pilot stage.

 

“To help solve these challenges and to uncover how we can truly harness the power of information and communications technology (ICT) for health, we need a better understanding of the key elements involved,” she explained in the report.

Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia and Chair, Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Health, added that many technology companies are pushing the frontiers of healthcare to reach the remotest of locations, harnessing the power of mobile devices to help health professionals bring the most efficient medical techniques.

 

“The next step is to share the technology with every corner of the globe. To do that we need the leadership of national governments. Health and telecommunication should be united, working closely with regulators—to avoid potential roadblocks, change old practices and spread new knowledge on how to leverage technology for healthcare,” he said.

 

Case Study: Malaysia

With a population of 30 million, Malaysia is currently implementing the Health Information System Strategic Plan (11th MP). This plan builds on the first Health Information System Strategic Plan (10th MP) rolled out between 2010-2015. 

According to the report, the government is currently scaling of a hospital information system deployed in 25 percent of hospitals, in the process of integrating primary care and oral health clinical information system, rolling out a pharmacy information system and building the Malaysia Health Data Warehouse.

Because Malaysia began using digital health in the late 1990s when the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH) unveiled the first
telemedicine blueprint and created the first paperless hospital in the world, it has adopted a progressive approach.

“The MoH provides digital health leadership, strategy and program implementation in the form of three divisions: ICT, Planning and Telehealth,” the report noted. “MoH’s ICT strategic plan and ensures alignment with the national ICT strategic plan.”

However, even after years of digital health implementation, some challenges still remain. “Our biggest challenges are still the user, change management and training. And clinical leadership is so important! If you don’t get buy-in from the clinicians, the system won’t work. We learned from experience,” said Dr. Fazilah Shaik Allaudin, Director of Telehealth Division at MoH.  

 

Other challenges include monitoring, evaluation, and private sector engagement. “ “We’re still struggling with M&E and how to do it effectively. We haven’t really come up with a mechanism for this yet. We’ve seen hospitals give up on digital systems and go back to paper or situations where the core team involved in implementation leaves and the project dies or loses momentum. How do you keep this when the leader leaves? How to keep the fire burning?” he explained.

 

Case Study: Philippines

The Philippines launched the National eHealth Strategy in 2010. This was followed in 2014 with the release of the eHealth Strategic Framework and Plan for 2004-2020. The overall goal of the plans is to achieve universal health coverage, which means access to affordable health services for all citizens.

Some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) the 2014 eHealth framework set out to do include the increasing use of the DoH/PhilHealth eClaims, deployment of telehealth devices, the establishment of a government data warehouse and implementation of health data standards.

According to the report, a joint memorandum between the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) created the basis for a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities. Each agency has its own IT teams which make it hard to know which team is responsible for what. 

“In our country, the DoST was keen to start working on eHealth but realized that it needed to be led by the health sector as per the WHO-ITU Toolkit. Fortunately, our DoH also shared the same view. From this common ground, the seeds for the multisectoral approach emerged. The key is to get those two persons engaged, one from the DoH and one from the DoST, and involved in the development of the national eHealth strategy” Dr. Alvin Marcelo, Executive Director of AeHIN and former CIO of PhilHealth.

Meanwhile, the creation of advisory groups allowed universities and private-sector representatives to share their expertise and views. 

 

“Cross-sectoral collaboration is not easy. Players come from different backgrounds, with different approaches and priorities, and may understand different things on the basis of the same words or phrases,” affirmed Zhao in the report’s foreword. “Nowhere is this truer than in digital health, where the needs are great, the investments are significant and lives are at risk.”

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Wearable Thermometer, mHealth App Predict Flu Outbreaks

Wearable Thermometer, mHealth App Predict Flu Outbreaks | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

When equipped with both a wearable thermometer and an app, healthcare experts can use mHealth monitoring to quickly predict flu outbreaks.

 

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that a wearable thermometer integrated with an online educational tool can predict influenza outbreaks.

 

When developers from Boston Children’s Hospital integrated iThermometer with a digital app called Thermia and provided these tools to children in China, they were able to predict seasonal flu outbreaks a month before the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of the People's Republic of China.

 

"Delays in clinically reported data and lack of data availability contribute to the challenges of identifying outbreaks rapidly," says John Brownstein, PhD, chief innovation officer at Boston Children's and director of the Computational Epidemiology Lab and the Boston Children's Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA). “As a result, we have more and more opportunities to use real-time, low-cost digital solutions like Thermia to improve disease surveillance."

 

Officials said this was the first time that an mHealth wearable in addition to an online tool preemptively identified an outbreak.

 

Thermia receives a child's temperature reading directly through the iThermonitor, an FDA-approved, patch-like wearable thermometer that is worn under the arm. When iThermonitor detects a fever, parents can access Thermia via the web or a mobile app and answer online questions about the child's current symptoms and medical history.

 

The team analyzed 45,000 data points from China's Thermia users between 2014 and 2016. They discovered outbreaks of "influenza-like illnesses” and detected them in real-time.

 

"The fact that we were able to predict influenza outbreaks faster than China's national surveillance programs really shows the capacity for everyday, wearable digital health devices to track the spread of disease at the population level," said the study's lead author, Yulin Hswen, a research fellow at  Boston Children's Computational Epidemiology Group and a Doctoral candidate at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

 

While the results are a promising development for mHealth and preventative care, the team believes the next step is taking this data and using it to expand usage and policy.

 

"Collectively we are still coming to terms with the data deluge from wearable devices, but it is imperative that we begin to generate value from this data," says the study's senior author, Jared Hawkins, PhD, director of informatics at IDHA. "From a public health perspective -- as we have shown with this latest study -- there is enormous potential for tapping this data for research, surveillance and influencing policy.”

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Technology Is Leading a Healthcare Revolution

Technology Is Leading a Healthcare Revolution | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

If you’re thinking fruit, you’re way off. If you’re thinking device or computer, then you’re on the right track!

Healthcare is in a state of metamorphosis, with a full-on medical revolution unfolding before our eyes. According to global entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, this revolution is being driven by exponential technologies: artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, 3D printing, big data, genomics and stem cells. What does this mean? Well, in the next 10 years, some mind-boggling feats of human innovation are going to completely transform the medical field. They include:

  1. Artificial intelligence-enabled autonomous health scans that provide the best diagnostics equally to the poorest people in Kenya and the wealthiest people in East Hampton.
  2. Large-scale genome sequencing that allows us to understand the root causes of cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases—and what to do about it.
  3. Robotic surgeons that carry out a perfect operation (every time) for pennies on the dollar.
  4. Growing major organs like a heart, liver, lung or kidney instead of waiting for a donor to die.

Diamandis is so committed to this revolution that he has expanded his global XPRIZE competition to the healthcare industry. His competition will encourage the brightest minds in the medical field to develop a Tricorder device that will accurately diagnose 13 health conditions and capture five real-time health vital signs, independent of a healthcare worker or facility and in a way that provides a compelling human experience. This will be made possible through talking to the device, coughing on it or doing a skin prick and the results will be more accurate than if done by a board-certified doctor!

How will this impact the way healthcare providers market themselves? Patients—who are now responsible for an expanded share of medical costs—are searching online for valuable and relevant information. Those medical providers who can quickly and effectively market, promote and publicize these innovative technologies will be that much ahead of the game than their competitors.

It’s amazing to think that the same device that will be promoting these new technologies is the same device that might one day save your life.

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Patients grow comfortable with digital health tools, CDW finds

Patients grow comfortable with digital health tools, CDW finds | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

It’s generally thought that healthy people are more health-engaged than people diagnosed with medical issues. But that’s old health school thinking: most health consumers managing chronic conditions say they’ve become more engaged with healthcare over the past two years, according to CDW’s 2017 Patient Engagement Perspectives Study.

In 2017, 70 percent of patients told CDW they’d become more engaged with healthcare, up from 57 percent in 2016. That’s a 20percent growth in the proportion of patients engaging in healthcare in just one year.

Growing signs of patient engagement are in people driven to access online patient portals for their personal healthcare records:

  • People using an online patient portal provided by healthcare providers, growing from 45 percent in 2016 to 74 percent of patients using portals in 2017
  • More frequently speaking to healthcare providers, by 69 percent of patients
  • More frequently accessing personal healthcare information, by 69 percent of patients.

Underneath these trends is consumers’ growing recognition of the benefits of online access. Nearly 100 percent of patients have experienced benefits from engaging with personal health information online, with:

  • 70 percent of patients becoming more knowledgeable about personal medical information in 2017;
  • 60 percent of patients saving time
  • 50 percent of patients increasing overall engagement with personal healthcare
  • 49 percent seeing improvement in overall healthcare convenience
  • 46 percent of people saving unnecessary phone calls and appointments.

It’s also commonly thought that older patients won’t want or be able to access their online health information. However, by 2017, 53 percent of older patients over 50 years of age said they used a portal at least monthly.

Finally, patients are getting comfortable communicating with providers via digital channels: 83 percent of patients are comfortable communicating via mobile apps, 77 percent are comfortable with texts, 75 percent are comfortable with online chat, and 69 percent of patients are comfortable with video chat.

For this research, CDW interviewed 200 patients diagnosed with a chronic disease. This population was defined as people who had been to the doctor six or more times in the past year (including visits to any primary physician or specialist, but excluding dental care).

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  CDW’s research confirms that not only healthy, younger people engage with digital tech for health: people who are managing medical conditions have also gone digital, especially when it comes to accessing their personal health information via online portals to electronic health records.

CDW also polled healthcare providers on their progress to meeting patients’ digital demands. Sadly, only 29 percent of patients would give their healthcare providers an “A” for their use of tech to engage with them. The bottom line: nine in 10 patients would like to be able to more easily access their personal healthcare records.

This begs the perennial question: who owns our (patients’) data? As patients continue to grow their health consumer muscles, and experience, they’ll be expecting greater and more streamlined accessibility to “their” health information. Those providers who do not respond to this demand may see more digitally-savvy patients move to practices that offer more digital access, apps, and convenient, personalized health coaching services.

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Understanding IoT: Is Healthcare Harnessing the Potential?

Understanding IoT: Is Healthcare Harnessing the Potential? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Digital technology has paved the way for businesses and industries alike to utilise its benefits to incredible calibers, such as providing ergonomic solutions solely by “smart” machines or eliminating tedious methods of organising large quantities of data. However, the healthcare industry in particular can find itself to be most affected by digital technology and the Internet of Things (IoT).

 

By the year 2020, it is predicted that IoT inventions will result in a digital healthcare market of $117 billion, bringing to the table a plethora of inventions that will revolutionise the industry and save millions of dollars. According to analysts, the digital healthcare revolution and its innovative methods will completely change the way society optimises technology.

 

First, it is expected that all patients will soon be able to use “advanced wearable devices” solely for at-home use that automatically sends data to a healthcare provider regarding their condition status thanks to digital sensors worn on the body. This is especially helpful for individuals who have chronic conditions, such as cancer, high blood-pressure, or kidney disease requiring constant dialysis.

 

Additionally, advanced wearable devices prevent patients from making unnecessary visits to the hospital - which in fact, is one of the most expensive elements of healthcare next to hospitals paying professional labour and the pharmaceutical prices of life-saving drugs. As a result, patients will have a 24/7 working support staff of nurses to call in case of any arising concern or emergency. The wearable device connects to a real-time application that establishes a consistent digital dialogue between a patient and their provider. With it, providers implement a sense of security to the patient due to the constant back-and-forth of digital “smart” communication that constantly updates the provider with not only the patient’s status, but the opportunity to instantly administer medication reminders because of careful and accurate observation.

 

If more healthcare systems participated in this system, billions of dollars could be saved for future technological investments and human research. Moreover, the digital partnership and relationship between the patient and provider creates a solidified foundation of unquestionable trust and reliability on the provider. Lastly, this digital communication ultimately depends upon the patient, which in turn can help motivate them to always take responsibility for their health and hold themselves accountable for their health-related actions.

 

Moving on from wearable devices and health system applications, IoT has the ability to create a profound IP cloud network that is able to meticulously organise overwhelming amounts of data; this data comes from not only patient conditions, but provider statuses, the coordination of medications distributed at a pharmacy, and most importantly - a cloud system eliminates the opportunity for error in inventory and workflow with digital interconnections.

 

Apart from the digital communication, IoT opened the doors to radio frequency identification (RFID), which is a type of technology that combines the implementation of electromagnetic (or electrostatic) coupling with radio frequency to identify an object, product, or individual. The main benefits of using RFID are to improve patient safety and reduce costs. For example, an RFID tag is able to monitor the time of a patient’s specific activity, physical location, and overview of their entire health record with a microchip. Unlike tracking patients with a barcode in a psychiatry hospital, for example, multiple RFID microchips embedded on a tag upon different individuals are able to be simultaneously read in one sitting - cutting down time finding each person and manually interacting with them and therefore, efficiently surveilling an entire area of a hospital. These RFID chips also track blood and temperature, making checking vitals less of a time-consuming task. 


 

Last but certainly not least, managing inventory is a completely different matter in comparison, but one that is vital to the functionality of a hospital. The overall chaos of inventory control  diminishes thanks to IoT and puts the responsibility completely on machines to track medications and perfectly interpret and send data to pharmacies.

 

The healthcare industry has not even begun to scratch the surface of the opportunities IoT provides. Smart wearable devices and a constant digital communication between the patient and provider is only the beginning of a promising era for medical technology.

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What are the Top Healthcare Industry Challenges in 2017?

What are the Top Healthcare Industry Challenges in 2017? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare Industry challenges are always going to be evolving alongside the breakthroughs and innovations. In 2017, there are new healthcare industry challenges that go alongside the age-old difficulties.

For doctors, nurses and medical teams, here are 7 of the key healthcare industry challenges they are currently facing in the year ahead for 2017.

1) Retail Care offering increased access

Retail giants like CVS and Walgreens are pushing further into care delivery, continuing to put pressure on traditional providers to increase access to care.

According to Laura Jacobs, writing for Hospitals and Health Networks “The greatest challenge for most organizations will be finding the right pace for adapting to or embracing new [healthcare] payment models.”

Doctors will be required to step up their efforts to optimize the patient experience, beyond measuring patient satisfaction.

2) Behavioral healthcare

The healthcare industry is starting to recognize that Mental Health is important to the well-being of employees and consumers, according to a report from PWC.

The report notes that one out of five American adults experiences a mental illness every year. These conditions cost businesses more than $440 billion each year. Healthcare organizations and employers will look at behavioral care as ‘key to keeping costs down, productivity up and consumers healthy’ the report said.


3) Meaningful Use and Value Based Payments

Eligible providers and eligible hospitals are continuing to work on meaningful use of EHRs.

Value-based purchasing programs are solidly in place, and eligible physicians are starting to experience the penalty phase of CMS’s quality reporting and Meaningful Use initiatives. In fact, CMS revealed that more than 257,000 eligible professional providers who are not meaningful users of certified EHR technology would have their Medicare Fee Schedule cut by one percent.

Eligible physicians also need to comply with CMS’s new Value-Based Payment Modifier program, or face penalties. It’s part of Medicare’s efforts to improve healthcare, but the program adds yet more regulations physicians need to monitor.

All these changes and new reporting requirements can become overwhelming for already busy physicians, which is why the American Medical Association has repeatedly asked for relief.


4) Switching to ICD-10

The much anticipated and maligned change to ICD10 codes in 2015 led to a lot of discomfort for physicians. The increase in codes from 14,000 to 68,000 means a lot of diagnosis criteria must be re-learned.

There is a great deal of planning, re-training and new systems that go along with the upgrade in codes. For doctors, finding the time to do this proved to be a huge challenge, and still is.

5) Data Security

Patient privacy issues, including concerns about data breaches, continue to be a challenge for providers, payers, and consumers.

Providers and payers will need to be aware of the best practices for data security to avoid the type of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations that can negatively impact an organization.


6) Managing Patient volume

While new payment models will are aiming to reduce acute hospital utilization, the continued expansion of Medicaid and the insured population through the public exchanges will seemingly keep demand up.

The rise of obesity and chronic disease and population aging are creating a demand for medical services like never before.

Emergency departments will continue to be overworked until efforts to decant volume through urgent care, better care management or redesigned primary care models begins to take effect..


7) Implementing Telemedicine

The idea of a doctor seeing you via a computer screen may no longer be new, but the adoption of the Telemedicine services by doctors with their own patients is still a struggle.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation shares a vision of how Telemedicine can reduce patient backlogs. “Imagine a world where patients in rural areas far from a nearby doctor can easily find a health care provider to consult with online from the comfort of their own homes; where doctors living in Pennsylvania can help reduce the backlog of patients waiting to see doctors in Mississippi; and where patients can connect to a doctor over the Internet for routine medical purposes with a few clicks of the mouse—like they do when ordering a book on Amazon.”

Finding a balance between in person visits and telemedicine will require doctors to adjust their approach to care. Learning to diagnose remotely also requires new skills and detailed reporting.

Of course, Healthcare Industry Challenges are nothing new. Technology and legislation will continue to change the landscape. Doctors and their medical teams must evolve their approach and focus to meet them.

 

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How The Recent Medicaid Expansion Will Impact Patient Care

How The Recent Medicaid Expansion Will Impact Patient Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Back in 2009, as we all know, Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act, more commonly known as ObamaCare, which included an expansion of Medicaid that each state could choose to adopt. As a part of the expansion, states are required to cover everyone earning 138 percent of the federal poverty level or less.

  

In its original form, the Medicaid expansion was mandatory, but as the bill evolved, it became optional, allowing each state to decide whether to opt in or not. The expansion first went into effect in 2014, but so far, only 25 of the 50 states, as well as Washington D.C., have chosen to expand their programs according to the traditional expansion plan, with an additional 6 states using an alternative expansion method.

 

For the past two years, the federal government has picked up 100 percent of the tab on the cost of coverage for those people who are newly eligible under the new program, but that will be changing soon. At the end of 2016, the government’s coverage will drop to 97 percent, and in 2020, it will drop again to 90 percent.

  

What everyone is wondering now, of course, is where all of this leads. How will this expansion actually impact patient care? Just as with any plan, there are certain to be both positive and negative effects, and in the end, its purpose is to expand and improve the treatment patients receive.

  

Higher access to care for previously uninsured patients

States that have already adopted the expanded Medicaid plan are consistently showing positive results for those patients who have new access to care due to the expansion. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, adults who have gained access to Medicaid since the expansion are 55 percent more likely to have a regular doctor they visit than the adults who did not gain coverage. Preventative care treatments, such as mammograms and cholesterol checks, are also significantly higher (by 60 percent and 20 percent, respectively). Those with new access to Medicaid also were 25 percent more likely to report that they were in good to excellent health than those without.

  

Potential delays in payment

Not all of the potential changes are positive, of course. Medicaid is notoriously slow to reimburse healthcare clinics for services they have provided, meaning even the higher fees the healthcare providers receive may not be enough to offset the added burden of those delays. PatientPop reports that the current benchmark for days in Accounts Receivable is, at most, 50 days, and preferably between 30 and 40 days. This expansion to the Medicaid program, and the corresponding increase in the percentage of patients who use Medicaid, has the potential to increase the amount of time it takes clinics and hospitals to be paid for their services.

  

Patients may not be accepted at medical clinics

Healthcare providers are not the only ones who could be negatively impacted by delayed payments. Not all physicians participate in Medicaid for this very reason. According to some surveys, about half of physicians will accept all new Medicaid patients, significantly lower than the 70 percent who accept all privately insured patients, or those utilizing Medicare. Higher fees paid to physicians, which the Federal government will cover early on, can improve these numbers, but those increased fees carry no guarantee that they will last forever.

  

Increased fees are not guaranteed to be permanent

One part of the expansion is that Medicaid payments to physicians will be similar to the payments from Medicare, which are historically much better than those from Medicaid. Initially, the Federal government will pay for these increased fees, but the Federal government’s share of the load will drop to 97 percent at the end of 2016, and then 90 percent in 2020. These increased fees are not guaranteed to continue indefinitely, and government reimbursement could drop in the future. Outside of the expansion, the federal government pays about 60 percent of the “woodwork” costs for Medicaid patients, and so a significant portion of that financial load falls upon the states.

  

In the end, the Medicaid expansion is a double-edged sword. It has some very significant benefits—most notably the higher rates of patients receiving care and reporting good health. Those benefits come with downsides, which should not be ignored, but if handled properly, more patients can receive access to the care they need.

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5 Things to Do Before Adding Telemedicine to your Medical Clinic

5 Things to Do Before Adding Telemedicine to your Medical Clinic | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As a Doctor, you are paid to have answers.

Answers to uncertainty, answers to pain, answers to how the future will turn out.

However one area where uncertainty looms large for Doctors is how they can get started seeing patients via remote telemedicine services.

The next 5 years are expected to see explosive growth of telemedicine both in use and public awareness. Yet, questions of effectiveness, compliance, and logistics plague each doctors decision to start using a telemedicine service.

Like a wise investor, many physicians have been watching from the sidelines, tracking the ups and downs, do’s-and-don’t’s of colleagues and experts for several years to find the best practice for incorporating telemedicine into their clinics.

If you are on the verge of incorporating telemedicine into your practice, here are 5 Things to Do Before Adding Telemedicine to your Clinic that will help ensure a steadier introduction, and long term success.

1) Know WHY you want to use Telemedicine

Before getting started, spend some time contemplating the change. If you have a desire to increase cash payments in your practice, telemedicine can help. It can also help you with schedule flexibility. And it will also help you keep up with the latest technology and services for your patients.

Decide first about what you’d like to achieve from adding a telemedicine service into your practice. This will ensure that it becomes a part of the practice smoothly, and with a purpose, rather than something you try a few times, and then give up on. Well begun is half done.

2) Set up your Team for Success with Telemedicine

One of the dangers of suddenly offering a telemedicine option in your practice is that the team feel threatened by the change.

Hold a meeting and give them a say in how the process will work, ask for their feedback on what could be a good initial system and best practice. Get clear on the process of billing and setting appointments in the schedule before starting to offer appointments.

Doing this preparation will ensure the team back you up, as you move to the virtual consultation model.

3) Set up your patients for success with Telemedicine

For doctors, a virtual visit has a lot in common with a face-to-face visit. The location and time frame is the same, and the process of diagnosis is similar. It is familiar territory.

However, for patients, it is an entirely new experience. The majority of the population is reasonably comfortable with using video chat functionality. It is your role to give them a sense of comfort and understanding that the process is simple and effective.

Providing some form of how-to guide for your patients can be very valuable. Give patients an overview of what to expect on the call. Let them know what the fee will be, how long the call will be, when you will call, etc.

All these small details will make the process much more comfortable for your patients, and make them more willing to try a Telemedicine visit with you.

4) Have clear Guidelines for what you’ll offer via Telemedicine

Telemedicine offers doctors huge flexibility. But there must be guidelines. Let patients know what you will offer, and what you wont. Patients may have specific conditions that still need face-to-face time, and it is at your discretion which of these diagnoses you can do via virtual visits.

Telemedicine can reduce or replace 70% of routine visits can be replaced. However that doesn’t mean you should outsource your entire day to virtual visits.

5) Start slow and grow with Telemedicine

Remember that you have been practicing successfully without telemedicine for many years, and although there is a huge upside to adding it to your practice, there is no need to dive in the deep end.

You might want to offer the service initially only to your most familiar patients, those managing chronic conditions, or those at a remote location. Treat your initial interactions as a learning opportunity, and learn how you can create effective results.

Remember that technology exists to connect people. The lure of the new can sometimes cloud the focus that you are still simply speaking to your patients, just in a new, more efficient way.

For Doctors, Telemedicine is exciting and scary at the same time. Starting slow, with a clear purpose, a prepared team and informed patients can do a lot to make the transition a successful one.

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Medical Technology Adoption is on the rise in 2017

Medical Technology Adoption is on the rise in 2017 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

In recent years there has been a significant rise in medical technology adoption.  As the tech industry becomes more geared towards healthcare, we have see medical technology adoption grow alongside it.

Medical tech solutions offer convenient, fast, and seamless healthcare solutions for patients. In 2017, many medical patients are now leveraging different forms of Medtech devices.

Consumer health technologies, such as wearables and smartphones, are now common accessories not only to patients in the hospital but also to health-conscious individuals. Mobile devices offer patients an easier way of managing their health virtually through the built in sensors on the handset or band that monitor their heart rate, stress level, sleeping patterns and more.

Here are three ways medical technology adoption is increasing:

 

Acute Care

Cost-efficiency and performance drives the development and adoption of healthcare solutions in hospitals. The introduction of value-based healthcare requires transparency and accountability. This incentivizes doctors to keep their patients healthy, rather than to cure them.

Medical technology adoption of solutions such as Electronic Health Records are growing each year. The EHR provides a digital patient chart with full medical and treatment history.

Already widely used in various industries, the medical sector is also expected to benefit from the use of 3D printing technology. Innovations in this field are expected to help make the practice of organ transplant operations more scalable in the near future.

Another key medical technology area on the rise is robotic surgery, with a focus on minimal access (keyhole) surgeries carried out via telemedicine solutions. This technology has the potential to bring effective healthcare to patients in remote areas.

Ambulatory Care

In terms of medical devices, portability, affordability and patient comfort are expected to become increasingly important, with a focus on early diagnostics and real-time monitoring.

Telemedicine adoption is one key area here: remote patient monitoring allows doctors to check up on their patients’ health status via IoT-enabled solutions (e.g. smartphone apps, wearable devices, etc) to cut their time spent in doctor’s offices.

This medical technology adoption trend adds a further level of integration to connect patients with doctors. Not only does this help support patients’ need to remain independent, but it also helps prevent re-hospitalization and thus contributes to the industry’s efforts to make healthcare more affordable.

Home-Based Care

Healthcare is gradually moving away from the traditional models, and analysts report that patients are increasingly taking ownership of their healthcare needs. Remote and virtual healthcare are gaining importance.

Adding to this trend is the convergence of lifestyle consumer electronics products and healthcare devices. Smartphones with activity trackers, sports apps, wearables, and other products connected to the Internet of Health Things not only allow users to keep an eye on their health stats in a personalized way, but may also help the remote monitoring of patient behavior and health status for patients with chronic diseases.

This medical technology adoption is great news for both patients and doctors. These examples of integrating medical research with device and software development, electronics, and data analytics in 2017 are just the start of a new phase of healthcare.

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Key Questions to Ask Your Prospective Electronic Health Record (EHR) Vendor

Key Questions to Ask Your Prospective Electronic Health Record (EHR) Vendor | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Since the U.S. Government’s mandate to implement electronic health record (EHR) technology in 2014, EHR systems have become the new norm in the healthcare industry. In fact, as of 2015, nearly 87% of in-office physicians have adopted an EHR system, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  

Despite the high adoption rate in recent years, there are still private and public healthcare providers functioning without EHR systems. If your organization has yet to adopt, there are several important considerations to take into account when starting your search.

  

Beginning Your EHR Search

  

With 600 potential EHR vendors to choose from, your first task should be researching which providers are the best fit for your organization type. Does your short list of providers serve clients like yourself?

  

Since healthcare is such an expansive field, industry players have begun specializing in technology for certain types of healthcare providers. For example, vendors can specialize in ambulatory/emergency services, dental practices or behavioral health EHR – to name a few.

  

Once you begin your vetting process with a short list of EHR providers, you should address product-related concerns. Does your staff require mobile capability? Do you prefer an integrated model or a platform with multiple modules?

  

After you’ve weighed the pros and cons of various product offerings, consider the implementation process. How long will the transition and installation take following a signed contract? What kind of support will you receive once installed?

  

A thorough evaluation of your EHR solution options is crucial because it’s a significant investment. Implementation costs can range from $15,000 to $70,000, according to Health IT.gov. By choosing wisely, you can effectively streamline your organization’s administrative and patient relations processes for years to come.

  

Check out the infographic below for more key questions to ask your prospective EHR vendor.

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Epic Systems’ medical oncology module

Epic Systems’ medical oncology module | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

“Hope is the beacon which points to prosperity,” said political and philosophical author Edward Counsel. True to Counsel’s quote, Epic Systems hopes its Epic Beacon software will be the ray of hope in finding, tracking and curing cancer.

 

Epic Beacon is Epic Systems’ medical oncology module, in which physicians can document cancer staging and manage chemotherapy by creating and personalizing treatment plans based on standard oncology protocols, according to Epic’s product catalog.

 

Decision support can suggest protocols as well as dose specific medication modifications based on chart data, and plans are tailored at the patient level, so medication orders can be created and queued up in advance of patient visits for cancer treatment. The plan follows the patient through outpatient doctor’s visits and inpatient hospital stays, which clinicians can track through a treatment summary, easing the patient’s transition to survivorship and lifetime, post-cancer care.

 

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10 Predictions for Health IT in 2017

10 Predictions for Health IT in 2017 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Technologies supporting digital transformation and the internet of things are one of many leading IT trends about to completely revamp healthcare delivery, predict global industry analysts at IDC, a leading IT advisory firm.

IDC’s research initiative identified the top 10 global health IT predictions most likely to impact healthcare enterprises, companies, and departments in 2017, and beyond. Industry analysts also assessed how long it may take these predictions to secure a tangible mainstream influence on the greater healthcare industry.

Security Concerns

According to Lynne Dunbrak, IDC Health Insight’s Research Vice President, focusing on the prevention of ransomware attacks is one of many top priorities for the year ahead.

“Threat factors are increasing in number and scope of attacks because healthcare organizations are perceived by cybercriminals to be soft-hearted,” Dunbrak explained during an on-demand webcast.

“Medical records have a greater black market value than credit card numbers or social security numbers,” she stated. “Depending upon what numbers and statistics you look at, it could be 50 times the value of medical records.”

Engaging Patients

IDC analysts also predicted that the healthcare IT industry will specifically utilize technologies that advance active – rather than passive – patient engagement.

“We’ve been pretty primitive in how we’ve tried to engage patients,” said Cynthia Burghard, IDC Health Insight’s Research Director, Accountable Care Organizations, during the webcast.   “We’ve put up portals. Consumers don’t go there,” she noted.

“Really providing [consumers] with tools they can actively use to manage their health is important,” stated. “But you have to make it easy. You can’t create these form factors that people of my age can’t read. It needs to be very simple and easy to use,” Burghard advised.

IDC researchers also said data collected from wearable devices will advance patient engagement in coming years. Greater emphasis will soon be placed on the application of predictive analytics through artificial intelligence, they added.

“By 2020, adjustments to care plans will be made in real time and it will be as a result of data coming off wearable devices and being analyzed in a cognitive artificial intelligence environment,” said Burghard.

Here is IDC’s full list of top 10 global 2017 healthcare IT industry predictions:

  • By 2018, There Will Be a Doubling of Ransomware Attacks on Healthcare Organizations
  • By 2019, There Will Be a 50% Increase in the Use of Robots to Deliver Medications, Supplies, and Food Throughout the Hospital
  • By 2019, 60% of Healthcare Applications Will Collect Real-Time Location Data and Clinical IoT Device Data and Embed Cognitive Capabilities to Discover Patterns, Thereby Freeing Up 30% of Clinicians' Time
  • By 2020, 20% of Payers Will Offer Personalized Benefits with Options for a Consumer to Dynamically Reduce Premium and/or Alter Deductible/Copay by Disclosing Personal
  • By the End of 2018, Payers Will Have Saved $1 Billion Globally Through Implementation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Tools, Skill Sets, and Process Reengineering
  • In 2017, Patient Engagement Across the Life Science/Healthcare Ecosystem Will Jump from Passive to Active
  • By 2020, 70% of the Developed Nations Will Homogenize Health Insurance with the Rest of the World, Moving to Replace Self/Employer-Based Options with Expanded Government Sponsorship
  • Seeking a Passive Way to Measure Patients' Vital Signs and Other Biometrics, More than 40% of Healthcare Organizations Across the World Will Use IoT-Enabled Biosensors by 2019
  • By 2020, Care Plan Adjustments Will Be Made in Real Time with Cognitive/AI Using Data from Wearable Devices, Resulting in 20% More Patients Being Engaged in Their Health
  • By 2018, Drug Makers Will Double Their Investment in Analytics Focused on HCP Data to Reach Millennial and Gen X Doctors the Way They Prefer It — Electronically
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Gary Alexander's curator insight, March 23, 12:37 PM
Check out the Predictions for healthcare on the internet in 2017.