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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 |

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 |

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 |

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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EruditeLifestyle's curator insight, March 12, 8:22 AM

Soon you''ll be getting checkups from a friendly Bot!

What is Modifier 51 in Healthcare Billing?

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

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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4 Technology Drivers in Healthcare in 2017

4 Technology Drivers in Healthcare in 2017 | Healthcare and Technology news |

As 2016 begins, everyone is wondering what the next big breakthrough will be, especially in the realm of healthcare technology. Here are 5 key trends that we believe are driving the growth and development of an exciting, healthier future.


1. Consolidation and Complete Care

The consolidation already taking place in the healthcare industry will continue through 2016 and beyond. According to a study by Deloitte approximately 50 percent of current health systems will likely remain in 10 years. As more mergers and acquisitions happen, payers will need to manage complex system integration.
When a healthcare entity acts as both insurance company and care provider, they take on the full responsibility of a each patients care and ultimately hope to improve the overall health of the populations they serve.


2. Privacy and Security

A focus on personal health records (PHRs) and other data will continue to be a key focus, as it has been in years past. While stringent technology regulations are already part of HIPAA requirements, increased consolidation and need for easier information sharing will increase this demand.

Telehealth systems are one example of how this demand is being met. They provide access to healthcare professionals via phone or video as a cost-effective option for individuals who may be in remote areas or otherwise unable to meet their provider in person.


3. Collaboration and Care Coordination

The need for increased collaboration will change how healthcare is delivered. Integrated care can only be achieved with technology platforms that incorporate behavioral, medical and non-medical services within the same system.

All parties must willingly share data and give access to a range of information to ensure the right diagnosis for each patient are made.




4. Mobile Technology and Internet of Things (IoT)

Data generated by connected devices is proving increasingly valuable to care managers and patients. Real-time visibility into patient health offers tremendous benefits, including better patient engagement and behavior change for patients. On top of this, health insurance organizations are starting to factor in data from fitness devices when reviewing policy premiums.


These are just some of the macro trends affecting healthcare, and the technology that is emerging in the marketplace. 2016 and beyond will prove to be an exciting time for technology to adopt new technology advancements into our lives.

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ghizlane hzm's curator insight, February 18, 11:52 AM

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Are we ready for data-driven ‪healthcare? 

Are we ready for data-driven ‪healthcare?  | Healthcare and Technology news |

In the world of big data and analytics it is important that every sector gets a sip of ‘being data-driven’. The global market is looking for space which will increase their reach and reduce pressure in utilizing resources in a cost efficient way. The health industry is under pressure to reduce costs but at the same time to provide an improved patient care. As most trends in this century rely on data, each day gives you an entirely new digital experience. Analysis of digital data has improved the fields of research and predictive analysis. The increased use and availability of internet drives the potential of any sector, including the medical sector.

There is no doubt if the medical sector must be data-driven to meet the needs of the future. Although the healthcare sector is the most sensitive sector which forces anybody to compromise on money, it has not grown fully fledged compared to others. It’s time that the medical sector finds a universal platform to connect the physicians and the people. This will be possible only If the healthcare gets a status of ‘being data-driven’ globally. The main advantage is the segmentation of complex data to an organized format which can be used by physicians across the world.

The healthcare analytics technology uses data for an overall analysis in the field of medicine. Even the developing nations have emerged towards utilizing medical technologies to improve their medical care. A drastic improvement in the life style of the people being more health conscious has led to opportunities for health sector to be data-driven. People wish to have a short hospital stay, easy meetings with doctors, safe patient data and a high-quality treatment. Additionally, benefits are needed on quick data exchange, error-free information transmission and cost efficiency. As needs have become more with the transformation of customers to a digital customer, it is important that information can also be more digitized and hence more standardized. Data application has promising scope of improving the patient-doctor bond through use of EHR (Electronic Health Records) and patient portals. More cloud based technologies have been developed with an improved concern towards safety and security.

To thrive in this technologically strong world, it is largely important that healthcare organizations must become data driven. This move will help the sector attain a sustainable growth with a motive to analyze large amount of data for making an outcome based decision making. The organizations must properly understand the existing demands and work towards bringing up more data-driven predictive models to focus more on improving healthcare standards. The application of data analytics will have a great role in improving the health service as a whole along with providing services on a long term basis.

When there is enough resources and knowledge in the country why not utilize them effectively to deliver clinical and financial benefits so as to meet medical challenges. It is important to drive responsibility for the health organizations to improve the outcomes using health systems, bringing clinical and financial data together to analyze the overall productivity. Data driven organizations can apply clinical analytics to gain more effective insights so that changes can be easily put into action.

Data-driven technologies will always be the ones that will be sought for in the coming generations. It is important that the stepping stone has to be laid earlier than doing it once competition begins. It is important to note that that a ‘smart’ healthcare sector with an improved quality will replace the conventional methods undoubtedly. HITaaS will put in place the unorganized healthcare sector and will allow a smooth flow of medical data connecting the people around the world.

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How Nurses are Transforming Healthcare

How Nurses are Transforming Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news |

The role of the nurse has traditionally been overshadowed by the role of the doctor.

However, nurses today are playing new roles in coordinating care. From working with multiple providers, to managing caseloads of patients with intense care needs, and helping patients transition out of hospitals and into the home or other settings, they are transforming the way healthcare is given.

They are working as health coaches to prevent illness and promote wellness. They are charting new paths in emerging fields like telehealth, informatics, genetics and genomics, and as scientists and leaders in society.

Here are three ways nurses are pushing forward Healthcare in 2016.


Better Education

According to Susan Hamer, workforce development director for NIHR Clinical Research Network “Research has demonstrated that a well-educated nurse workforce leads to better patient outcomes. Nurses qualifying today may still be in the workforce in 2050. The more educationally able the workforce is, the better it is for patients and communities.”
Nurse training is now undergraduate level and leads to a degree on registration. The level of knowledge, the ability to reflect and challenge as well as appreciate the need for medicine to be evidence-based is essential.

As Edna Astbury-Ward, registered nurse and senior lecturer at the University of Chester said: “The need for nurses today to be highly trained, well-educated, critical thinkers is a requirement enabling them to make complex clinical decisions that 50 years ago would almost certainly have been made by doctors.”


Increased Role Variability

When a patient arrives at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) now, he or she is assigned an Attending Registered Nurse (ARN) for the duration of the hospital stay and after discharge. 

The ARN builds a relationship with the patient and his or her caregivers, and ensures that all members of the patient’s health care team follow a shared care plan. Unlike other RNs, ARNs are designed to promote continuity of care, ideally with a five-day, eight-hour work schedule.


The ARN is just one of the many new roles for nurses in a changing health care system. These new roles are empowering nurses to play a greater role in improving patient experiences and population health and lowering costs. 

Nurses in new roles are doing that by reducing unnecessary and costly hospital readmissions and preventable medical errors, providing more affordable, more convenient, and more patient-centered primary care in community-based settings, and more.


Empowering Technology

Wireless communication is an aspect of technology in nursing practice that helps to improve patient care and reduce physical stress for nurses. 

When a patient needs assistance, they can call the nurse’s assigned smartphone instead of pushing a button on the call light. The call is directed to the nurse wherever they may be. This not only saves the nurse thousands of steps per day running to answer call lights; it also improves efficiency. 

The nurse can bring pain medication in one step instead of walking to the patient’s room and then back and forth to get the medication. This saves steps and wear and tear on the body, which has been one factor in helping older nurses remain active in the field.

This one small innovation in technology is further empowering nurses to better deliver care.


In 2014, The Campaign for Action created the Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing Award to celebrate nurse leadership and the importance of efforts by nurses to improve health and health care.

The award recipients have worked to help medically fragile children, neurologically impaired individuals, and low-income women in rural areas, among others. Their work is helping to improve the quality of medical care, protect health care workers, reduce Medicaid costs and recruit and encourage minority nursing, to name a few. 


In 2016, nurses are well-educated through universities that focus on care coordination and critical thinking, as well as clinical skills.
They care for higher-acuity patients with increasingly complicated care needs in the course of shorter lengths of stay. Nurses today are technologically savvy critical thinkers who coordinate care across a broad spectrum of healthcare. 

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Hemanshi Nimavat's curator insight, April 14, 5:42 AM
My mother is an Mental health nurse, the responsibilities she has in her field are to make sure the patient are taken care of their needs, to make sure the patient feel safe in their unit. The example can be used is : If a patient goes out in-voluntarily to visit a family and does something harmful to their self and have been brought back, then the staff needs to make sure the in-voluntarily assessment are to be removed from the patients file.!

Should healthcare be allowed to Block Information?

Should healthcare be allowed to Block Information? | Healthcare and Technology news |

It’s not just the intellectual capital of vendor products or the need to ensure the security of PHI, or to maintain patient confidentiality; there are very real needs to share data securely among systems (and providers) for the benefit of decisions made on behalf of patients. Clearly, there is no single standard in healthcare, nor does semantic interoperability exist. What does the Security Rule say about flexibility in its implementation? HIPAA regulations for security of PHI is required. Is flexibility in the rule to enable the flow of information between providers, or integration, that can be enabled to provide improved quality of care for patients? Take a listen to Carlos on the Security Rule Flexibility Principle (and visit HIPAA Survival Guide on YouTube for other short videos).


An a recent article in Health Data Management, it stated “IT vendors are not helpful when it comes to integrating.” They either require complex Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), “flatly refuse to transmit the data,” or require additional fees for exchanging data. Also, in my experience, providers were required to purchase additional software for secure transmission of health data. Why are there so many ways to get from point A to point B? It’s expensive, time consuming and an uphill battle at best.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is promoting full interoperability even though it was NOT part of the attestation of certified EHRs at the onset of Meaningful Use nor its subsequent updates. CMS has sponsored “a major PR effort to get vendors to sign the toothless Interoperability Pledge” plus the MACRA rule now requires that providers attest to “not blocking information.” Providers have previously complained that EHR vendors were unwilling to share data or they charged cost prohibitive fees to make sharing possible. 

There are situations where the need for claims information is necessary for patient conditions, and a vendor has required significant programming efforts before enabling integration. Why continue these practices? Not only are they difficult to address, but in many cases (and in this example) may negatively impact decisions by practitioners due to lack of a complete medical history. 

Moreover, lack of common semantics is a key inhibitor to interoperability. Without a single standard at the granular level of patient data, too much time is spent assimilating data from various formats into a single standard. Health Data Management says “we’re not talking about producing breakfast cereal.HIMSS Electronic Record Association reported that “Value-based payment and delivery system reform remains the biggest driver of interoperability." Let’s hope that is the case. 

Lack of interoperability and its resolution is long overdue. Fortunately, ONC Health IT Certification Program recently passed Enhanced Oversight and Accountability and amended the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to create “Title XXX – Health Information Technology and Quality” (Title XXX) to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency through the promotion of health IT and electronic health information exchange.[iv] It’s like Mother telling Child. You must do what I say or there will be consequences. Yes, the ONC can take certification away from those who do not comply. Is this what we need to exchange or share healthcare information – a big stick approach? Seems that way.

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The New Wave of Health Care Technology 

The New Wave of Health Care Technology  | Healthcare and Technology news |

While medical science has always benefited from technological advances, the past few years have witnessed a complete transformation. From monitoring patients via wearables, to the availability of high-technology diagnostic and therapeutic equipment—technology has revolutionised the way healthcare is delivered.

Healthcare technology is the cornerstone of an industry that is pushing its digital boundaries to ensure high-quality care and reduced patient safety concerns.

It can no longer be defined as the simple amalgamation of technologies to store, share, and analyse health information. We are transitioning to an age where healthcare IT systems are no longer siloed by the department, location, service type, or data type. In a bid to keep up with rising patient expectations, the focus is on ensuring that a company’s IT mechanism supports and streamlines the delivery of integrated, multidisciplinary care.

In 2016, the year of the digitally-empowered patient, healthcare IT is poised to permeate our lives deeply—beginning with the widespread shift towards value-based care.

An Industry in Transition

The increasing consumerization of healthcare, coupled with technological advances in the field, has shifted the burden of decision making to the consumers. Consider the switch to a value-based pricing model which is completely refashioning established business models. Undoubtedly, the mandate for the industry, globally, is now to deliver better care at lowered costs—shrinking business margins further.

Providers are now looking for innovative ways to reduce the cost of care while improving patient outcomes. Moreover, factors such as meaningful use compliance requirements are driving more providers to adopt electronic health record (EHR)/electronic medical record (EMR) technologies. The emergence of advanced analytical models is influencing payers and providers to adopt population health management (PHM) and care management technology, which in turn arrest revenue leakage.

Established players have started investing in care delivery assets, and are looking at advanced products and new pricing structures. The focus is on developing new distribution and digital channels, and leveraging disruptive technologies—spanning the Internet of Things (IoT), social, mobile, Big Data analytics, and Cloud—to architect an environment of seamless, connected healthcare. Technology is helping companies adapt quickly to changing market realities, and is enabling customer self-service in areas spanning price transparency, benefits, billing, premium, and claims.

Industry leaders are crafting unparalleled customer service experiences through a comprehensive care continuum—ensuring healthcare providers and payers are able to realize tangible cost and efficiency benefits.

Adopting the Right Technology

To deliver real-time, analytically-charged care insights to the patient and the caregiver, the healthcare industry is currently focusing on:

An IoT architecture and platform, bolstered by the Cloud computing and Big Data analytics

According to a new report, the healthcare IoT market segment is slated to hit $117 billion by 2020. Listed as one of the top trends in 2016 by Gartner, an IoT-enabled ecosystem would ensure remote monitoring for continuous patient care, and help deliver value-based care—focusing largely on prevention rather than ‘fixing’. With sensors collecting comprehensive physiological information and using the Cloud and analytical capabilities to store and analyse the information, caregivers would benefit from acute insights. They would be able to provide the most cost-effective treatments, proactively identify individuals who would benefit from preventative care, and identify predictive events through wide-ranging disease profiling. By embedding sensors in devices, and ensuring remote monitoring and support, organisation can also reduce their equipment downtime.

The mounting importance of mobility, social media, and customer-centric solutions

Millenials, the most sought after demographic today, are constantly gathering data about their health—via wearables and their smartphones. In 2016, there has been a record 25.4% increase in the shipment of Fitbit. The modern-day wearable, and by default the digital customer, is not limited to only ingesting or gathering data—the emphasis has shifted to evaluating health parameters, and leveraging mined insights, to enable better healthcare.

A digital patient is always connected, always informed, and therefore—empowered. He is accustomed to screening doctors’ profiles prior to a visit, with 86% patients in a recent survey responding that they research symptoms online before scheduling visits. The same survey revealed that 84% believe they should have access to their medical e-records. Supporting this claim, a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) states that in 2016 care will irrevocably shift into the consumers’ hands—driving down costs, and facilitating ‘anywhere, anytime’ monitoring, diagnosis and treatment. The study shows that health apps have some of the highest numbers of downloads.

Leading healthcare players such as pharmaceutical companies are already launching mobile apps that disseminate relevant content, and educate consumers on their health-related queries. Linked to this phenomenon is the sudden insistence on social media presence. Hospitals are using social media to create awareness, introduce new products/services, and accumulate customer feedback.

The Way Forward

It is clear that technology is changing the way patients are interacting with healthcare providers and how the latter is transforming: there are widespread implications in terms of diagnostics, treatments, and delivery of care. The patient is now engaged with the rise of e-health data, advanced computing power, pervasive smartphone adoption, and a digitised, integrated workflow. While digital is reducing human involvement at various stages, it is also paving the way and freeing up bandwidth for more substantial value adds in the healthcare sector. However, as touch points proliferate, the industry must be geared towards safeguarding sensitive health information and other risks. A structured approach, balanced by the right technology insight, can pave the way for innovative, brighter, and exciting business opportunities.

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ghizlane hzm's curator insight, February 18, 12:04 PM
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New Efficient Techniques for Health Monitoring Using Multiple Wearables 

New Efficient Techniques for Health Monitoring Using Multiple Wearables  | Healthcare and Technology news |

As body-worn sensors are becoming cheaper and easier to use, there arises the possibility of complex continuous health tracking using numerous devices all at once. Because they can use quite a bit of power as well as computing resources, to really make them practical one has to limit their energy and resource expenditure. Researchers at North Carolina State University have been working on making sure that such sensors only transmit important readings and organise these readings within data structures that will provide the most utility to clinicians.

Their approach is to continuously classify different states that the wearer is in, whether it be walking, running, or sitting, and to then transmit only data that doesn’t seem to fit what the person seems to be doing. So an increase in one’s heartbeat while sitting may be a sign of arrhythmic tachycardia, but if the same thing happens as a person starts running then the same heart readings can be ignored.

The researchers had grad students wear suits full of sensors and tested different data capture schemes to minimize power and data consumption while gathering interesting readings. For example, they identified that six seconds is enough time to classify what the person is doing at any one time. This means that every six seconds the system should update its readings and focus on spotting changes relevant to the new state.

The team will be presenting their research titled “Hierarchical Activity Clustering Analysis for Robust Graphical Structure Recovery,” at the 2016 IEEE Global Conference on Signal and Information Processing, Dec. 7-9 in Washington, D.C.

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5 Amazing Healthcare Technology Innovation

5 Amazing Healthcare Technology Innovation | Healthcare and Technology news |

1.   Interoperability between Health Systems

Interoperability solutions for exchanging patient information across care settings is one particular technological development that will shape the future of healthcare organisations.


Value-based care and health information exchanges are an increasingly important part of the overall healthcare landscape, and the ability for all providers – from general practitioners and specialists to post-acute care organisations, etc. – will only grow as a critical component of care delivery in the future.

These types of solutions have only started being developed in the past few years by companies such as referral-MD, that are changing how healthcare companies communicate by including post-acute care providers in critical interoperability workflows, as these providers are expected to be a big part of health care cost containment.


By including post-acute care in interoperability strategies, healthcare organisations can ensure that critical patient information across all care settings will be connected, providing a more detailed patient picture for more specific treatment plans and improved patient care.

The statistics are damning, hospitals lose $75+ million per year per 100 affiliated physicians due to referral leakage, a burden that can be reduced by proper referral network management that companies such as referral-MD can help monitor.  Hospitals are just starting to get make changes in their budgets to include programs that can truly help patients receive better care, and save their staff’s time in the process.

Not only are hospitals affected but so are small-to-mid sized practices, with many having to juggle 100's of speciality offices with different workflow requirements, without an electronic way to exchange information, the process breaks down, information is not accurate, and time is wasted.

2. Robotic Nurse Assistant

I have many of friends that are nurses that are injured every year from having to move or lift patients in bed or after an emergency from a fall.  The problem is very common and many of times there is not someone around that is strong enough to lift a patient immediately after one of these occurrences.

There are many variations from a full robot such as RIBA (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance) developed by RIKEN and Tokai Rubber Industries and assisted hardware such as HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) robot suits delivered by Cyberdyne.



RIBA is the first robot that can lift up or set down a real human from or to a bed or wheelchair. RIBA does this using its very strong human-like arms and by novel tactile guidance methods using high-accuracy tactile sensors. RIBA was developed by integrating RIKEN's control, sensor, and information processing and TRI's material and structural design technologies.

A company by the name of HAL is a robotics device that allows a care worker to life a patient with more stability and strength and helps prevent injuries to our nurses.



3. Artificial Retinas

The United States typically defines someone as legally blind when the person’s central vision has degraded to 20/200, or the person has lost peripheral vision so that he sees less than 20 degrees outside of central vision. Normal vision is 20/20, and people can usually see up to 90 degrees with their peripheral vision. An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are considered legally blind.

This has led to companies like Nano-Retina to develop a sophisticated and elegant solution intended to restore the sight of people who lost their vision due to retinal degenerative diseases. The miniature Nano Retina device, the NR600 Implant, replaces the functionality of the damaged photo-receptor cells and creates the electrical stimulation required to activate the remaining healthy retinal cells. NR600 consists of two components; a miniature implantable chip and a set of eyeglasses worn by the patient.



Very interesting technology for those that are always sitting in front of the computer like myself, hopefully it will not be needed by me, but it's great that companies are advancing for those that suffer this debilitating illness.

4. Tooth Regeneration

Hey Kids, here is some candy!  All kidding aside, this could be an amazing advancement if the technology holds true in the coming years.

Colourful fish found in Africa may hold the secret to growing lost teeth. In a collaborative study between the Georgia Institute of Technology and King’s College London, researchers looked at the cichlid fishes of Lake Malawi in Africa, who lose teeth just to have a new one slide into place. Their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, identifies the genes responsible for growing new teeth and may lead to the secret to "tooth regeneration" in humans.

"The exciting aspect of this research for understanding human tooth development and regeneration is being able to identify genes and genetic pathways that naturally direct continuous tooth and taste bud development in fish, and study these in mammals," said the study’s co-author Paul Sharpe, a research professor from King's College, in apress release. "The more we understand the basic biology of natural processes, the more we can utilise this for developing the next generation of clinical therapeutics: in this case how to generate biological replacement teeth."

Another study from a Harvard team successfully used low-powered lasers to activate stem cells and stimulate the growth of teeth in rats and human dental tissue in a lab. The results were published today in the journal Science Transnational Medicine.  Stem cells are no ordinary cells. They have the extraordinary ability to multiply and transform into many different types of cells in the body. They repair tissues by dividing continually either as a new stem cell or as a cell with a more specialised job, such as a red blood cell, a skin cell, or a muscle cell.

alt="tooth regrowth">Dentures and dental implants may soon become a thing of the past. Stem cell research is making it possible to regrow your missing teeth! This is a much-needed medical advancement, especially considering that by age 74—26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth.


5. Light-bulbs that Disinfect and Kill Bacteria

Hospitals are known to be potentially dangerous place with lot's of people with different elements and diseases.  One company, Indigo-Clean has developed a technology using visible light that continuously disinfect the environment and bolsters your current infection prevention efforts.

How it works

  1. The 405 nm emitted from Indigo-Clean reflects off of walls and surfaces, penetrating harmful micro-organisms
  2. The light targets naturally occurring molecules called porphyrins that exist inside bacteria. The light is absorbed and the excited molecules produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) inside the cell
  3. 405 nm creates a chemical reaction inside the cell, similar to the effects of bleach
  4. The Reactive Oxygen Species inactivates the bacteria, preventing it from re-populating the space



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A robot will likely assist in your future surgery

A robot will likely assist in your future surgery | Healthcare and Technology news |

Dr. Umamaheswar Duvvuri has used a snake-like robot to perform more than a half dozen throat surgeries over the past month. Simply put, the robot is more accurate than Duvvuri could hope to be. Duvvuri, director of head and neck surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), said the Flex Robotic System surgical robot he's been using has sub-millimetre accuracy; it can "snake" its way to any place in the body and it causes less damage to soft tissue.

As far back as 2008, studies showed that patients undergoing minimally invasive heart-bypass surgery using a robot had a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, fewer complications and a better chance that the bypassed vessels would remain open.

Last year, a Florida hospital proved robots could enable surgeons to remotely operate on patients. The Florida Hospital Nicholson Center in Celebration successfully tested lag-time created by the Internet for a simulated robotic surgery in Ft. Worth, Texas, more than 1,200 miles away from the surgeon at the virtual controls. Being able to perform remote surgeries would allow specialists to attend to any patient, anywhere in the world.

The Nicholson Centre's simulator mimics procedures performed by a da Vinci robotic surgical system, the most common robotic equipment in use today; it's involved in  hundreds of thousands of surgeries every year worldwide.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the da Vinci Surgical System from Intuitive Surgical in Sunnyvale, Calif. in 2000. Since that time, the da Vinci has been adopted by hospitals in the United States and Europe to treat a range of conditions. The system's console gives the surgeon a high-definition, magnified 3-D view of the surgical site.

Robots can also be used to deliver high doses of radiation with sub-millimetre accuracy anywhere in the body. The Accuray CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is one such system developed in 1990 by a professor of neurosurgery and radiation oncology at Stanford University. Approved by the FDA in 2001, the CyberKnife system can treat tumors anywhere in the body and has been used on 40,000 patients worldwide, according to the company.

While still needing skilled medical personnel to oversee them, surgical robots are increasingly showing up table-side in operating rooms, and they may some day allow people with only basic medical knowledge to perform operations outside of a hospital setting.

By 2020, surgical robotics sales are expected to almost double to $6.4 billion, according to a recent report by Allied Market Research. That would represent a 10.2% annual growth rate between 2014 and 2020.

In 2014, the gynecological application segment accounted for 28% of the surgical robotic systems market share; it is expected to maintain its dominance throughout the next four years.


The increasing need for automation in healthcare and growing demand for minimally invasive surgeries are driving the surgical robotic systems and procedures market, according to Allied. In addition, a rise in cases of colorectal cancer, neurological disorders and gynecological diseases, among others, would boost the adoption of robotic surgical systems well adapted for minimally invasive procedures.

"Surgical robotic systems offer less post-surgical complications and reduce labour cost," the study said. "Due to this, large-scale hospitals based in developed and developing economies are now favouring automated surgical/hospital services, which ultimately drives the market growth."


Roto-Rooter to the rescue

The Flex System is the first robot-assisted flexible endoscopic platform of its kind and the first to receive FDA approval with the word "robot" in its name, according Howie Choset, a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) Robotics Institute, where it was invented.

The Flex System lets surgeons operate through non-linear winding paths, and through a single-site access into the body. The endoscope maneuverability comes from numerous mechanical links with concentric mechanisms. Each mechanism can be placed into a rigid or a limp state. By employing "follow-the-leader" movement with alternating rigid or limp states, the endoscope can be directed into any shape through the relative orientations of its linkages.The Flex Arm robot is so easy to use, even a non-surgeon can learn it in 20 minutes, according Choset. As a result, the Flex System could some day allow military medics in the field to perform minimally invasive surgery on wounded soldiers, Choset said. CMU has conducted studies with medical residents where the students used the Flex Arm system once a day for five days. "While everyone started off at different levels of skill, they pretty much came to same benchmark within three tries," Duvvuri said.

"What this told us is that anyone can learn to use this and it takes about three tries to learn how to use it in a surgically meaningful way," he added.

Once the Flex Arm robot maneuvers its way to a site within the body, surgeons can then deploy articulating instruments three millimetre in diameter, which further extends their reach to perform procedures.

"We've used it to tackle patients with tumors on the back of the tongue or oral pharynx region," Duvvuri said. "The typical [endoscopic] devices tend to be straight stick linear devices. When have to operate on the back of tongue, because it's curved, they tend to be more limited in what they can do."

Duvvuri also recognises that surgical robots have their limitations. For example, a 5-in. tumor wouldn't be a good candidate for robotic surgery as it would require a much larger hole in a patient's body to be removed.

"I see these robots as tools," Choset said. "As those tools get better and better, you don't need as much specialisation to do a task. Some procedures today [such as colonoscopies] we might call routine procedures and they are being done by non-surgeons, so surgeons are freed up to do more complicated tasks.

"I also do see robots being able to provide more feedback and visualisation so physicians can make more informed decisions," Choset added.

While Choset doesn't see robots making medical decisions, he does expect them to  improve accuracy during minimally invasive operations, damage less tissue and reduce the possibility of infection. As a result, they also hold the promise of decreasing costs from patient readmission.

For example, heart bypass surgery traditionally requires that a patient's chest be opened by way of a one-foot long incision. A da Vinci robotic surgical system can perform the same operation by using three or four one centimetre incisions in the chest. Smaller incisions mean less tissue damage and a faster recovery.

Since the Affordable Care Act of 2010 created both the Hospital Re-admissions Reduction Program and a new pay-for-performance system based on quality of care --  not the number of procedures -- robots could end up paying for themselves.

Snehal Chougule, a marketing executive with market research firm Allied Research, said a hospital that spends from $1 million to $2 million on a da Vinci robotic system, not including a $150,000 maintenance contract, could recoup its costs within two years.

"Hospitals consider many factors while offering robotic surgery, such as patient benefit, hospital competition and hospital costs. The trend toward robotic surgery also brings up such issues as overall healthcare spending, the comparative effectiveness of treatment options and the pace of technology adoption. Thus, it is worth to invest in surgical robots, despite of its high cost and comparative scant research," said Chougule said.

For example, Chougule said, one hospital with around 300 beds bought a surgical robotic system for $1.8 million and then used it to perform 650 surgeries last year. The number of surgeries is likely to reach 750 patients this year, as more prospective patients learn the technology exists. 

While the particular hospital was last in its market to buy a surgical robot, it became a leader by performing twice as many robotic surgeries as other area hospitals and boasted the second-highest volume in the state, Chougule said.

"Many physicians say capturing the market share can be the biggest advantage of investing in the robot. So, if some hospitals can market this and can be first in their area to do so, then it will be easy to get money back in couple of years because they are getting patients and recognition for being advanced hospitals as well," he said.

As robot-assisted surgery achieves greater adoption, UPMC's Duvvuri sees the next step as semi-autonomous or robotic-guided surgery. For example, a CT scan could provide a robotic system with an overview of a patient's vasculature.

"So perhaps you overlay that image on a tumor and a robot guides the surgeon to stay away from no fly zones," Duvvuri said. "So while I see a greater role for robotics, I don't know that they will ever replace human surgeons."

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How your contact lenses could talk to your phone

How your contact lenses could talk to your phone | Healthcare and Technology news |

Your contact lenses or a sensor implanted in your brain could some day send health updates to your smartphone and even your doctor.


A new technology called inter-scatter communication that's being developed at the University of Washington would allow small devices, such as contact lenses, implantable sensors and credit cards, to communicate with everyday devices, like smartphones and smart watches.

"Wireless connectivity for implanted devices can transform how we manage chronic diseases," said UW researcher Vikram Iyer, in a statement. "For example, a contact lens could monitor a diabetics blood sugar level in tears and send notifications to the phone when the blood sugar level goes down."

Researchers at the Seattle university built a few proof-of-concept demos for applications that previously had been impractical or impossible to create. One demonstration was for a smart contact lens and another was for an implantable neural recording device that could communicate directly with a smartphone or watch.


The research is funded by the National Science Foundation and Google Faculty Research Awards. Google has shown particular interest in the technology and was conducting its own research into smart contact lenses that can test diabetics' blood glucose levels two years ago.

Using wireless chips and miniaturised glucose sensors embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material, the smart lenses were being designed to test blood sugar levels in the user's tears.

When it announced the research in 2014, Google said its scientists were experimenting with using LED lights in the lenses to alert users if their glucose levels were off.

The UW research could solve the communications problem for many devices, including sensors and credit card, as well as contact lenses.


The inter-scatter communication works by converting Bluetooth signals into Wi-Fi transmissions over the air that can be picked up by a smartphone or smart watch. That enables these devices, which have very little power, to communicate with other devices without any extra equipment.

UW's research team, which is made up of computer scientists and electric engineers, said that by using common mobile devices to generate Wi-Fi signals, they can use 10,000 times less energy than they would using other communication methods.

"That means that we can use just as much bandwidth as a Wi-Fi network and you can still have other Wi-Fi networks operate without interference," said electrical engineering doctoral student and researcher Bryce Kellogg, in a statement.

Aside from the medical applications, the UW researchers said that inter-scatter communications also could be used to enable smart credit cards to communicate with each other.

For instance, if two people want to split a restaurant bill, they might simply tap their cards together to share the information.

"Providing the ability for these everyday objects like credit cards – in addition to implanted devices – to communicate with mobile devices can unleash the power of ubiquitous connectivity," said Shyam Gollakota, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at UW.

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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 |

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 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 |

“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 |

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.!

3 Things To Watch For In The Changing Healthcare Landscape

3 Things To Watch For In The Changing Healthcare Landscape | Healthcare and Technology news |

High Technology


Nowadays, technology has made the world to evolve at a higher pace and healthcare is one of the industries that has benefited. Today, high tech is being used to improve healthcare analysis as well as diagnosis. Also, digital and remote pharmacy solutions are now offered by savvy plan sponsors as an approach of virtualizing pharmacy and reaching patients where they are. Some of the services they have provided include remote monitoring, home delivery, telehealth, mobile application and much more. Telemedicine software has already been introduced but telehealth is still being developed and soon it will be implemented. There are several laws and regulations that are being created and others are changed so that telehealth technology can be spread worldwide. According to statistics, about 65% of nurses, physicians, and other healthcare experts are using telehealth or are planning to use it in the future. The reason why high technology it expected to bring changes in the healthcare landscape is because:


1.) It will increase availability and accessibility of services:Technology will make services be more available and this means that more patients will be treated. This will be beneficial to patients with disabilities or elderly people as they won’t need to move from one place to another just because they want to see a doctor. People living in the rural will also easily get answers to any questionable side effects and be treated. Through technology, the number of patients will reduce since most of them will be treated where they are.


2.) The total quality of care will improve: The best thing about high healthcare technology is that it will improve the quality of care because doctors will have more available time. The ease and efficiency of telehealth services will make the level of healthcare to go up. There are several people who have usedtelemedicine services and most of them have said that the quality of care is higher than or similar to the in-person visit.


3.) It will reduce costs: Advancement in technology in the healthcare landscape will help lower the overall cost on the entire industry. Because technology makes services be easily available, more patients will be treated in a well-organized and efficient manner that will eventually reduce the costs. According to research, if US corporations use telemedicine then it could possibly supply more than 5.5 billion a year in healthcare savings.


In future, it is expected that there will be the use of robotics in surgery as this will highly reduce complications. The accuracy and efficiency of technology in the healthcare landscape will help in simplifying and reducing a lot of problems.


Growing Workforce


Many health experts agree that healthcare industries will not look the way it is today and this is mainly because most of them will shift their focus to prevention and treatment, to population health, to low-cost approaches, to more personalized care etc. This will force practitioners to develop different approaches that can help them provide unique services which can be of great value to their customers. There are many physicians that usually work with very sick patients and they have specialized in certain types of patients, disease types, or techniques of treatment. In the near future, there will be social workers, nutritionists, exercise psychologists, care coordinators, physical therapists, health coaches and much more that will be making sure that people suffering from chronic disorders manage their risk factors and the healthy continue staying healthy.




There will be more care coordinators who will be trained to help patients in self-management to prescribed treatments. Physicians or nurses will be working under close supervision and tablets will be used as a form of communication between them and their supervisors during patient encounters. The assistants can be trained in 4-6 weeks to work with patients who have been diagnosed with a specific disease in EDs, hospitals, home visits or even over the phone. Today, patients usually visit the hospital every 3-5 months if they have a serious disease and see a doctor for about 20 minutes. In the future, we expect clinical aides to work with such patients and this eliminates the need to see a doctor after every 5 months. This is expected to happen in the future but some institutions have already started practicing it and they have found it is effective and convenient.


Fewer People in Hospitals


Due to high-tech and growing workforce in the healthcare industry, there will be fewer people in hospitals. Patients will be given immediate answers wherever they are and they will find it easier to just stay home and get instructions from a doctor through a mobile app, phone call etc. Everything will be readily available, thus, people won’t see the need of booking for an appointment with their doctor, take time off from work and then go to the hospital.


Insurance companies have already implemented the necessary changes so that high cost or high-risk patients can stay out of the hospitals. This measure will affect hospitals and patients but will be helpful to insurance companies since they will be saving money. Managers have already been hired to monitor patients that are considered to be high cost and make sure they maintain a healthy lifestyle so that they won’t end up in hospitals. The high-tech and growing workforce will keep people healthy and help them stay out of hospitals; this is beneficial to patients but what about the nurses, doctors as well as support staff in hospitals? This means that some of them might lack jobs or few people will want to be doctors or nurses.

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Is Bad Design ruining Healthcare Apps?

Is Bad Design ruining Healthcare Apps? | Healthcare and Technology news |

No matter which way you approach it, healthcare is a hard market to break into.


If you want to be a doctor, plan on a good 13-20 years of study and focus to get there. If you want to be a healthcare app or  technology developer, you might need to consider the same amount of effort.


Not neccesarily in years, but certainly in focus to to make something useful.


According to a report from Allied Market Research, the global mobile health market is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 33.5% between now and 2020. While this sounds exciting, it does not necessarily mean that positive health results from these apps will be measured at the same pace.


One of the key challenges of any app developer is engagement. Getting people to download your app is one hurdle, but once downloaded, the true challenge is engagement. How many of your user base are actually getting results from the app you’ve created?
This is the exact same challenge in Healthcare. Patient engagement is the buzzword that all healthcare practitioners find elusive and frustrating.


However, when done right, healthcare apps have huge potential for changing lives.


UX Designer Jen Maroney agrees: “During my 13 years of working in the healthcare space I have never before had such a rich opportunity to directly affect health behavior.”


From Utility to Usability

As the web has grown to encompass our whole lives, the focus has shifted from simple utility to usability. What this means in simple terms is that it matters just as much how you get a result, as whether you get the result at all.


Think of Amazon’s ‘One Click’ or Apple’s obsession with minimalist design. The simplistic, narrow focussed usability create massive usefulness.


According to Don Norman, author of bestseller The Design of Everyday Thingsdesign is not often considered high on the list when engineers are first creating a new product.


“The reasons for the deficiencies in human-machine interaction are numerous. Some come from the limitations of today’s technology. Some come from self-imposed restrictions by the designers, often to hold down cost. But most of the problems come from a complete lack of understanding of the design principles necessary for effective human-machine interaction.”


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How Medical Assistants are Changing Healthcare

How Medical Assistants are Changing Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news |

The past 10 years has changed how medical assistants work with their office physicians and how they interact with patients.

Medical assistants are trained in both clinical and administrative work. This multidimensional skill set is unique to medical assistants, and it often sets them apart from other healthcare professionals. Hospitals are relying on the knowledge and abilities of medical assistants more and more each year.

According to the American Medical Assistants Association “Medical assistants are the most versatile allied health professionals. They are cross-trained to perform clinical and administrative responsibilities.”

This key role in medical clinics is projected to grow. Based on studies undertaken by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all other healthcare occupations.

Here are three key ways that Medical Assistants are changing and improving healthcare:


Increased Patient Engagement

Medical assistants today take more of a proactive role in caring for patients by answering questions on the phone or through patient portals. They are a key link in transferring messages from the doctor to the patient, and they are more knowledgeable about each patient’s status because of this interaction.

Patricia Ingerick, reporting for HealthITOutcomes says “Communication is the primary mechanism through which a guiding care provider can help move the unengaged to become engaged. In many outpatient settings today, the Medical Assistant is the care team member charged with the communication aimed at engaging patients”


Decreased Downtime

In most modern ambulatory clinics, medical assistants take on the following tasks:

– Recording patient history and personal information

– Measuring vital signs, such as blood pressure

– Helping physicians with patient examinations

– Delivering patients injections or medications as directed by the physician

– Scheduling and managing patient appointments

– Collecting and Preparing laboratory test samples

– Entering patient information into EHR systems

These tasks provide a smooth transition of care from Physician to Medical Assistant, and ensure that the patients wait time is reduced.


Better Patient Support

Assistants who specialize have additional duties. For example, Podiatric medical assistants make castings of feet, expose and develop X-rays, and assist podiatrists in surgery.

Ophthalmic medical assistants help ophthalmologists provide medical eye care. They administer diagnostic tests, measure and record vision, and test eye muscle function. They also show patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses; and they apply eye dressings. Under the direction of the physician, they may administer eye medications. They also maintain optical and surgical instruments and may assist the ophthalmologist in surgery.

According to a US News report “A routine visit to the doctor is really a visit with an entire team, including a growing number of medical assistants. Medical assistants are likely the first and last faces you’ll see during any medical appointment, either in your doctor’s office or at a larger medical organization. “

As the aging baby boomer population needs more medical support, there will be increasing demand for more medical assistants, and the valuable service they provide.


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A Valuable Liaison: Healthcare and Technology 

A Valuable Liaison: Healthcare and Technology  | Healthcare and Technology news |

Health care is and always has been a lucrative field. Nowadays, technological proficiency is mandatory to get into the health care industry. Aside from making research and keeping medical records easier, it has also made treatments and procedures more viable.


In Doctors’ Offices

Technology in the field of health care takes many forms. In medical business offices, it can take the form of health information technology. To know who does this in your doctor’s office, look at the people employed there who are not medical professionals. They would take care of appointment setting, billing and record keeping. Technology has come far in this field and made work a lot easier for these professionals. With everything being digital now, there is no need to locate disparate paper charts or paperwork for random procedures. It is all easily found at the push of a button.


In Hospital Settings

When it comes to hospitals, there are loads of staff who are not medical professionals. From transcriptionists to billing and even hospital administration, technological advances have also made their jobs easier.

Take transcriptionists, for example. In the old days, they would have tape recordings of the doctors’ comments to transcribe and then would have to document them on a typewriter, using paper that would then go into the patients’ charts. Now, they are voice recordings on the computer and the recordings are transcribed digitally, into a computer, and then sent into the patients’ digital charts. This has also made the process more environmentally friendly since there is less paper involved.

As far as hospital administration goes, technology brings all of the aspects of the business together in a single place. At the touch of a button you can have information about meals that are scheduled, X-rays, surgeries, who called in and why, what bills are due and more. This has greatly enhanced the amount of work that a hospital administrator can get done in a single day.


What is to Come

All of that and more is what has already happened with technology in the world of health care and that doesn’t even begin to touch upon actual technological medical breakthroughs. However, all of this technology that is now in place is also being used to improve health care, not just in the US but around the globe, with the use of evidence-based practices.

The US happens to be one of the nations considered to be the most technologically advanced, but even with that, our health care system is ranked dead last out of the developed countries. Because of this, it is imperative that the health care industry takes critical measures to ensure that patient outcomes and service delivery are drastically improved. This can be done by using the technology at hand and developing new technology.


What You can Do

If you are considering a career in health care or health care administration, you might take a look at the health tech industry. New technology is constantly being developed and new ideas are always welcome. This is the perfect place for someone who wants to help people when it comes to health care, but doesn’t actually want to be involved on a physical level with patients. Engineers are always needed and will be for the foreseeable future when it comes to the technology needed for the health care industry.



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The Biggest Innovations in Health Care Technology.

The Biggest Innovations in Health Care Technology. | Healthcare and Technology news |

A new technology has jump-started the technique in neuroscience known as optogenetics where neuroscientists target a single neuron in the brain of a mouse merely by turning on a light. This is done by using a light activated gene and inserting it into the genome of a mouse to be able to easily identify when the particular neuron is firing in the brain.
Optogenetics is a hot topic amongst the medical community today, surrounded by both praise and criticism. Its purpose is to control a brain's activity with light. This could have far reaching benefits with humans to help better understand the complex network of neurons that make up the brain. A stronger understanding could help humans better grasp how we create thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Identifying these neurons may sometime help people detect flaws or deformities in the various neurons in the brain that cause devastating mental disorders like schizophrenia, Parkinson's and depression. By controlling the activity of specific neurons, neuroscientists will begin to learn how each type of neuron contributes to the overall functions of the brain. The firing of a neuron through lighting may someday be a technique to finding the answers to some of the many open questions mankind has wondered about themselves both medically and physiologically since the dawn of time or this technique may not be able to work with humans due to its invasive nature in its current applications with rats. Time will tell as to whether this approach is effective, but nevertheless, the study of the human brain using light will help neuroscientists on the path to better understanding the neurons and how they work across this complex organ.

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CONTOUR NEXT ONE Bluetooth Connected Glucose Meter Cleared by FDA 

CONTOUR NEXT ONE Bluetooth Connected Glucose Meter Cleared by FDA  | Healthcare and Technology news |

Ascensia Diabetes Care, a company based in Basel, Switzerland, won FDA clearance to bring to the U.S. market its CONTOUR NEXT ONE blood glucometer. The device has Bluetooth wireless connectivity that allows diabetics to upload their readings to a paired app on their iOS or Android smartphones.

The CONTOUR DIABETES app provides historical charts of blood sugar levels and lets patients understand how their diet and physical activity impacts those. This works best if the patient religiously enters the details of his/or her food intake and all the activities that take place throughout the day. All the readings and entered information can be uploaded to the “cloud” and reviewed on a computer. Reports can be emailed to one’s physician or family members to make sure everyone is on the same page and helping to keep the symptoms of diabetes in check.

The device works just fine on its own without the app, displaying readings on a built-in screen. An indicator on the left side of the device turns green, yellow, or red depending on how out of normal range the last reading was. Ascensia claims this is one of the most accurate blood glucose meters on the market, achieving ±8.4% accuracy on 95% of readings when it was compared against laboratory equipment in a small trial with human subjects.

The CONTOUR NEXT ONE will be available for purchase in the U.S. early next year and the app will show up on Apple App Store and Google Play for downloading.

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5 Ways Technology Is Transforming Health Care

5 Ways Technology Is Transforming Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news |


How are tech nerds getting involved in health care? Here are five ways:



1. Crunching data to offer a better diagnosis and treatment:


             Just call the computer “Dr. Watson.” Researchers at IBM have been developing the supercomputer known as Watson (which, in February 2011, beat out "Jeopardy" champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter to win $1 million, which was donated to charity) to help physicians make better diagnoses and recommend treatments. Doctors could potentially rely on Watson to keep track of patient history, stay up-to-date on medical research and analyse treatment options. Doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York are expected to begin testing Dr. Watson later this year.

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2. Helping doctors communicate with patients:


                    Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has developed Omnifluent Health, a translation program for doctors and others in the medical field. The suite of products includes a mobile app that lets doctors speak into the app — asking, for example, if a patient is allergic to penicillin — and translate the message instantly into another language. Given that there are 47 million U.S. residents who don't speak English fluently, the program could be a boon for doctors who would otherwise need to rely on translators and medical assistants to communicate with their patients.


3. Linking doctors with other doctors:


                  Could social networking help doctors work better together to take care of their patients? That’s the premise behind Doximity, a social network exclusive to physicians. Through Doximity, doctors throughout the United States can collaborate online on difficult cases. It’s received $27 million in funding and counts among its board members Konstantin Guericke, a co-founder of LinkedIn.


4. Connecting doctors and patients:


                 New York City startup Sherpa offers patients medical consultations online and over the phone, potentially saving a trip to the ER. The medical advice doesn’t come from just anyone, but from some of the city’s top medical specialists. Employers such as Tumbler have signed onto the service.



5. Helping patients stay healthy:


           A growing number of mobile apps and gadgets aim to help people stay active, sleep well and eat healthy. Among them are Fit-bit, a pedometer that tracks daily sleep and activity and uses social networking and gaming to motivate its users. Lark is a silent alarm clock and sleep monitor that tracks and analyses a person’s quality of sleep over time, offering suggestions to help the person get better rest (it has since expanded to track daily activity, too). And there are dozens upon dozens of calorie-counting, food-monitoring and menu-tracking apps to aid the diet-conscious.

It's clear that technology is giving the health care industry a much-needed upgrade, from medical translation tools to mobile apps that help patients live healthier lives. Though much is still in the early and experimental stages, the advances in technology could help save money in health care costs and improve patient treatment.

Patients who can connect with their doctors more easily, for instance, won't need to make expensive and perhaps unnecessary trips to the ER or specialists. Doctors will be able to collaborate with other physicians and experts in new ways and use computers to analyse patient and medical data, allowing them to provide better and more efficient treatment for their patients. As technology continues to expand the horizons of medicine and medical interaction, it's becoming clear that we're entering a new era of health care — or as some people are beginning to call it, Health 2.0.

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Do no harm: an oath for health IT developers

Do no harm: an oath for health IT developers | Healthcare and Technology news |

As health professionals, nurses, doctors, and even pharmacists are held to a high standard of making sure everything they do is above board. They can lose license for failing to comply with ethical guidelines. Even though software engineers in health IT have a far greater reaching impact on patients, no equivalent code of conduct exists for developers.The National Institute of Health (NIH) recently granted the Mayo Clinic $142-million to create a bio-bank as part of the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program. Aiming to enroll at least a million volunteers willing to share their health data in order to advance precision medicine, the program serves as a reminder of the security risks is health IT yet security in the health care sector continues to lag behind.

Collecting health data is moving fast, which begs the question should health IT programmers working on similar projects be held to the same ethical standards as doctors and other medical professionals? 

In order to prioritise security in health IT, programmers  should be required to take the Hippocratic oath just as health professionals do, especially as more bio-banks are created.


"Software engineers and physicians need to work together to ensure the health and safety of patients first and the ingenuity of efficient health technology second," said Dr. Andrew Boyd, assistant professor in the department of Biomedical and Health Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

"Algorithms are literally impacting millions of lives, and there needs to be a better way to empower developers to say this might be legal but this isn't doing right by the patient," said Boyd. A strong advocate for developers being held to the same professional standards of ethics as health care providers, Boyd said that security in health IT is a huge concern.

Harrington, executive partner, ISE said, "When I think about what our research demonstrated, it is that the fundamental business function in health care isn't consistent with the Hippocratic oath."

In all of the hallways of every hospital Harrington visited, it was clear that those who deliver the care follow this ethical practice in terms of interaction with patients, protocols, and sensitisation to ensure that patients don't leave more sick than when they arrived.

"In a cyber context, there are so many ways in which a patient could suffer harm or fatality," Harrington said, which is why key parallels pertaining to threat modelling can be drawn between hospitals and bio-banks. 

"The primary assets that I would envision are protected by bio-banks--repositories for human samples for use in medical research--could be compromised," Harrington said.

Requiring software engineers to take the developers' equivalent of the Hippocratic oath, said Harrington, "Would realign their priorities to patient health. On time delivery, hitting 'go to market' timelines, cost considerations. These are all business decisions related to the development of that solution."

Developers need to be cognizant of those things, but the development practices should be considered with an awareness that what they are building could impact patient health.

The risks to patient health, explained Michael Borohovski, CEO and co-founder, Tinfoil Security, extent beyond actually causing the patient harm or pain.

"Imagine for a moment that there was a test for pancreatic cancer, wasn’t well test and the false negative rate was pretty high. 50/50 right/wrong. If that were the case and patients rely on it, now they go for another year potentially living with cancer not knowing that they have it. Not actively harming a patient by being mistaken on diagnosis or testing.

Mistakes that are made due to speed with a primary focus on rushing to market, particularly with the study of human genomes, can have serious damages to patients, but the business goal for developers is make a profit in addition to helping people.

"The Hippocratic oath might be a bit of a stretch. . It’s a little different in that doctors are exclusively there to help patients. They don’t have a duty to share holders. Their duty is to shareholders not to the patients or to the people whose data they store. Implicit in that duty to shareholders there is the responsibility to find and patch vulnerabilities," Borohovski said.

What needs to change, then, is the culture around security. Given that no software can ever have 100% security, "Companies need to adopt a culture of responding to security vulnerabilities quickly and with vengeance," he continued. 

The current culture and restrictions on security researchers, Borohovski said, "Don't incentivize researchers to be ethical. Reporting a vulnerability could get you thrown in jail." 

For developers that are working with sensitive data or storing sensitive data, it be-hooves them to do everything they can to find vulnerabilities. "Redefining the culture to make it easier to report will allow researchers to make more concerted efforts to find vulnerabilities," Borohovski said.

Calling for a change in culture as opposed to holding developers to a higher ethical standard might be an easy scapegoat, though. 

Grant Elliott, founder and CEO of Ostendio said, "We would simply be happy for them to meet general industry standards. Healthcare as an industry is significantly behind. The imperative or incentive to try and meet these basic security requirements doesn’t seem to be as urgent for many reasons."

 In the health care industry, the correlation of security risks are not as clear as they are in other sectors, like retail or banking. People know of the Target breach, so they can avoid shopping at Target, there is an obvious bottom line impact, said Elliott.

"That association isn't as clear in health care," said Elliott. "There are a lot of things that are done in the name of good medicine and in the name of the patient. For doctors, nurses, physicians, their first priority is patient wellness, and they need ready access to data. Any security controls can possible get in the way and hinder their core purpose."

How do developers go about fixing the issue when there really is no incentive for them to do so? Elliott said, "What is the incentive to impact change? Who is enforcing them to do this well? There is obviously some regulatory component, but who is making sure that when they build product they are building in security from day one?"

Unfortunately, there are many developers right now that won’t do anything unless they are forced to do it, said Elliott. "Many will do the minimum they have to do. Fundamentally the smaller companies need to try to get larger organisations to have a much more aggressive process that will trickle down," he continued.

While vendors continue to profit from rushing products to market, patients--whether it is their data, health, or cells--will remain at risk. 

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Dust-size sensors could heal you from the inside

Dust-size sensors could heal you from the inside | Healthcare and Technology news |

Want to skip wearing your Fit-bit or Jawbone when you’re out for a run or hitting spin class?

More importantly, think one day that people with epilepsy could live symptom free or a paraplegic could walk again? Or a soldier who’s lost a leg could control a robotic limb with his thoughts?All of those cases could happen because scientists are developing sensors the size of dust particles that would work inside the body to keep track of how much we’re exercising, to stimulate the brain or muscles, or to monitor how certain organs are working.

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have built dust-sized, wireless sensors that could be implanted in the human body, monitoring everything from muscles to nerves and organs.


The sensors, which have been dubbed "neural dust," have been implanted in the muscles and peripheral nerves of rats, but scientists already believe they could be used to stimulate muscles and nerves, possibly treating inflammation or epilepsy.

“I think the long-term prospects for neural dust are not only within nerves and the brain, but much broader,“ said Michel Maharbiz, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley, in a statement. “Having access to in-body telemetry has never been possible because there has been no way to put something super tiny super deep. But now I can take a speck of nothing and park it next to a nerve or organ, your GI tract or a muscle, and read out the data.“

According to the university, the sensors fit into a 1 millimetre cube, which is about the size of a grain of sand.

However, researchers are working to shrink them down even smaller, down to a cube of 50 microns per side. That’s about 2 thousandths of an inch, or half the width of a human hair.

Once the sensors are that small, researchers say they could be implanted inside the brain, as well as in muscles or nerves.

The sensors would be powered by a piezoelectric crystal, which can convert ultrasound vibrations outside the body into electricity that is used to run the sensor’s on board transistor.

Piezoelectricity is the charge that builds up in certain solid materials, such as bone, DNA and crystals, because of applied mechanical stress.


In lab tests, so far, the sensors have been covered in surgical-grade epoxy. However, scientists are working on what they call "bio-compatible thin films," which could one day cover the sensors and last as long as a decade inside the body.

“The original goal of the neural dust project was to imagine the next generation of brain-machine interfaces, and to make it a viable clinical technology,” said UC Berkeley neuroscience graduate student Ryan Neely, in a statement. “If a paraplegic wants to control a computer or a robotic arm, you would just implant this electrode in the brain and it would last essentially a lifetime.”

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