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Epic at work on new tech to avert falls

Epic at work on new tech to avert falls | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare IT giant Epic is working on a clinical decision tool aimed at helping healthcare providers reduce the risk of falls in unsteady patients. The technology is expected to be ready and available to Epic's EHRclients by year's end.


Longtime Epic customer Kaiser Permanente will roll out the tool at its facilities across the country and will also make its evidence-based falls prevention program widely available to other health systems and health plans.

The technology is called STEADI, an acronym for Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries. The tool is being designed based on CDC's guidelines for falls assessment. The goal is to make it easier for healthcare providers to screen for falls, intervene to reduce risk and provide follow-up care.


The announcement came at the end of a White House Fact Sheet released this morning regarding The White House Conference on Aging, which President Barack Obama is hosting today.


The sweeping conference agenda focuses on issues facing Americans as they plan for retirement. Many of the measures proposed build on the Affordable Care Act and on efforts to improve Medicare and Medicaid.


"In a year that marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, the White House Conference on Aging is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these programs, highlight new actions to support Americans as we age and focus on the powerful role that technology can play in the lives of older Americans in the decade ahead," the White House announced.

Federal data to be released

The Administration announced that by September 2015, federal data sets relevant to aging and to elderly Americans would be made easily available on Data.gov, the repository for the U.S. government's open data. This resource will continuously be updated with datasets on aging, much like it is for other important Administration priorities such as climate, public safety and education. 

Health IT efforts

Like Epic's several of the planned initiatives surrounding the aging initiative have healthcare IT underpinnings. These are put forward by the private sector:


  • As part of its annual HackFest, LeadingAge, an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations and businesses representing a broad field of aging services, will partner with Hewlett-Packard using HP's 3D immersive computing platform and Federal open data to challenge innovators to create technology-driven tools to improve the lives of older adults and their families.
  • The employer coalition ReACT (Respect a Caregiver's Time), Care.com and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are joining forces to generate the tools employers need to effectively support employees who are caregivers. MIT and Care.com will jointly conduct a case study based on MIT's approach to employer-supported elder care. 
  • Uber is announcing pilot programs in Florida, Texas, Ohio, Arizona and California that will partner with senior community centers and other advocates to provide free technology tutorials and free or discounted rides to older Americans to increase access to transportation options and support mobility and independence.
  • Airbnb has conducted research to support and understand the experience of older Americans in their travels and in their use of technology and is partnering with communities to enhance accessibility and the user experience for older populations. 
  • Walgreens has made advancements in its digital technologies to connect individuals with its telehealth services provider, which offers 24/7 access to U.S. board-certified doctors.  Seniors also can track their health behavior with personal wellness smartphone technologies from Walgreens and WebMD.
  • Peapod has adopted "best in class" Web accessibility standards to ensure that all individuals, including those with disabilities and those who are unable to shop at traditional stores, can use its website and mobile applications. 
  • Honor, a tech-enabled company that matches seniors with care professionals, will offer $1 million in free home care across 10 cities in the country and work with established care providing organizations in those communities to ensure this care goes to helping older Americans. 
  • The University of Washington's School of Nursing and the HEALTH-E (Home-based Environmental Assisted Living Technologies for Healthy Elders) initiative are introducing an Aging and Technology Laboratory, which includes hardware and software tools to support participatory design of technology for older adults.  The laboratory will allow scientists, engineers, and others to engage older adults and their families to accelerate the generation of new solutions to support aging.
  • The Stanford Center on Longevity will develop a State of Longevity Index to be released in early 2016 that will measure how well the U.S. is doing to improve the prospects for long-term well-being in financial security, physical health, social connectedness, educational attainment, and age-friendly communities. 
  • IDEO is announcing the launch of "The Powerful Now," a project to build a cross-sector collaboration around positive aging for all.


Among the planned government initiatives are.


  • Facilitating state efforts to provide workplace-based retirement saving opportunities: About a third of the workforce lacks access to a workplace retirement plan, the White House notes. That's why, in every budget since taking office, the President has put forth proposals to provide access for 30 million Americans to workplace-based retirement savings by requiring employers not currently offering a retirement plan to automatically enroll their workers in an IRA.  But in the absence of Congressional action, the states are leading the charge.
  • Launching Aging.gov – today: The intent is to provide older Americans, their families, friends and other caregivers, a one-stop resource for government-wide information on helping older adults live independent and fulfilling lives.
  • Modernizing federal rules that affect long-term care, healthy aging and elder justice: Steps announced today include: a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed rule to update, for the first time in nearly 25 years, the quality and safety requirements for more than 15,000 nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities to improve quality of life, enhance person-centered care and services for residents in nursing homes, improve resident safety, and bring these regulatory requirements into closer alignment with current professional standards.
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Partners Goes With $1.2B Epic Installation

Partners Goes With $1.2B Epic Installation | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

After living with varied EMRs across its network for some time, Boston-based Partners HealthCare has decided to take the massive Epic plunge, with plans to spend an estimated $1.2 billion on the new platform. That cost estimate is up from the initial quite conservative spending estimate from 3 years ago of $600M, according to the Boston Globe.


As is always the case with an EMR install of this size, Partners has invested heavily in staff to bring the Epic platform online, hiring 600 new employees and hundreds of consultants to collaborate with Epic on building this install. The new hires and consultants are also tasked with training thousands of clinicians to navigate the opaque Epic UI and use it to manage care.


The move comes at the tail end of about a decade of M&A spending by Partners, whose member hospitals now include Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, McLean Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and the North Shore Hospital.


The idea, of course, is to create a single bullet-proof record for patients that retains information no matter where the patient travels within the sprawling Partners network. Partners can hardly manage the value-based compensation it can expect to work with in the future if it doesn’t have a clear patient-level and population level data on the lives it manages.


Even under ideal circumstances, however, such a large and complex project is likely to create tremendous headaches for both clinical and IT staffers. (One might say that it’s the computing equivalent of Boston’s fabled “Big Dig,” a gigantic 15-year highway project smack in the middle of the city’s commuting corridor which created legendary traffic snarls and cost over $14.6 billion.)


According to a report in Fortune, the Epic integration and rollout project began over the weekend for three of its properties, Brigham & Women’s, Faulkner Hospital and Dana Farber. Partners expects to see more of its hospitals and affiliated physician practices jump on board every few months through 2017 — an extremely rapid pace to keep if other Epic installs are any indication. Ultimately, the Epic install will extend across 10 hospitals and 6,000 doctors, according to the Globe.


Of course, the new efforts aren’t entirely inward-facing. Partners will also leverage Epic to build a new patient portal allowing them to review their own medical information, schedule appointments and more. But with any luck, patients will hear little about the new system going forward, for if they do, it probably means trouble.

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Innovation Pulse: Can platforms foster an ecosystem of IT advancement?

Innovation Pulse: Can platforms foster an ecosystem of IT advancement? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Meet the new linguistic mashup: "plecosystem," meaning a technological ecosystem comprising different platforms.

I first heard the phrase spoken by John Mattison, MD, Kaiser Permanente's chief medical information officer. Platforms are coming from technology leaders such as Apple, IBM, Google and Microsoft.

"The best prospect from one of these players is that it's a platform," said Steve Savas, managing director of clinical services at Accenture. Rather than trying to create apps that target specific conditions or diseases, the tech stalwarts are building platforms on top of which independent developers can build those very targeted apps. "And that's the place they could have the biggest impact."

IBM and Apple, for instance, have been forthright in saying that "the art of the possible" figures prominently into their plans to foster an ecosystem of applications on top of HealthKit, the iOS and Apple hardware platform. And they do stand to profit handsomely if independent software developers give hospital chief information officers reason to buy armadas of iPads.

"I think the innovators would welcome it from Apple, Microsoft or others because then there are standards and the uptake costs for adopting new innovative technology drops precipitously and it can create an ecosystem around it, much like the app ecosystem around the iPhone," Savas said.

Such a plecosystem, of course, presumes that these new platforms go the way of the iPhone and iPad – stimulating waves of original applications – and don't follow the iPod, which devoured the MP3 market and effectively squashed innovation in that realm.

We're already seeing evidence of the potential for this new plecosystem in mobile health. Provider-centric apps geared for Apple's HealthKit have emerged, ranging from American Well's AmWell, which enables live video visits with doctors, to Patient IO, an app with which physicians can send specific treatment reminders directly to patients.

While the Mayo Clinic has aligned with Apple and Epic in a high-profile triptych, other leading providers are also innovating on Apple's platform. The Cleveland Clinic, for example, has a quiver of apps that run on top of both iOS and Android to target specific conditions including cancer, epilepsy, heart disease, sleeping problems and general wellness.

Electronic health record makers are hopping on board, too. In addition to Epic, athenahealth and Cerner revealed plans to integrate with Apple's platform almost immediately after HealthKit launched; over the summer Apple was also rumored to be in talks with Allscripts.

What's more, with industry analyst firms such as Black Book projecting that the provider landscape will see widespread switching to new EHR vendors, more and more EHR makers are going to tune their software for tablets, phablets and smartphones.

Let's just speculate, for instance, that Apple manages to arrange things such that iPads and iPhones, pre-loaded with mobile-optimized software from Allscripts, Epic or a small and controlled choice of EHRs, are sold and supported by IBM. Well, that's a pretty compelling product.

Likewise, Microsoft and Dell could roll together something similar on the Windows platform. Same goes for Google's Android. Apple products, despite their cool factor, are not for everyone, after all.

Regardless of platform – Android, iOS or Windows – as those configurations become available are you really going to buy your next EHR any other way? And what are your patients going to demand, moving forward, when it comes to consumer-facing products?

We're about to find out. For instance, enough people asked for new means of connectivity and more touch points with doctors that Ochsner Health System integrated its Epic EHR within weeks of HealthKit's release, according to Richard Milani, MD, Ochsner's chief clinical transformation officer.

Much like Ochsner, Duke Medicine integrated Epic with HealthKit right away because it has been trying to better understand how patients are doing on a day-to-day basis at home rather than just during the rare office visits when doctors see them.

"Technologies like HealthKit open the door to patients choosing to share data," said Ricky Bloomfield, MD, director of Duke's mobile technology strategy. "That will let doctors make more informed treatment decisions in cooperation with them."

That last point is where the platform surpasses any single digital nanny or wellness app feeding a wearer's health data into the black hole so many proprietary vendor databases truly are.

Indeed, the overarching plecosystem theme here is the integration of those apps and devices within EHRs and clinical decision support tools, as Mattison told me when I met him at the Healthcare IT News Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum in Boston this past November.

That will enable "doctors to lead more with empathy, and to understand values and outcomes to deliver what patients want, not what we think is best for them," he said.

Right now, the plecosystem momentum is powerful – even though Apple, IBM, Google and Microsoft are just getting started – and there's every reason to believe it will get stronger in the months ahead.

"The platform approach," said Accenture's Savas, "will proliferate the innovators."


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Jeri Garner's curator insight, March 22, 2015 7:55 AM

EHR are getting smarter and consumers need them to be, but it needs to be easy and available at the touch of a button. Clinicians and CXO's don't have time to sit around analyzing data. The technology needs to make it easy for those caring for the patients to make the right decision at the right time, and drive improved patient outcomes and financial gains. .

Cameron's curator insight, March 25, 2015 8:34 PM

This is a great step for technology, this will indefinitely impact the health industry as well as change the way we live our lives. The author goes in-depth with the possibilities of the platform, letting the readers know that this technology is achievable. It is innovating ideas like these which make millions/billions in the long run.

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CVS to connect with health systems via Epic

CVS to connect with health systems via Epic | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

CVS Health has partnered with four health systems nationwide to provide them patient prescription and visit information, securely sharing data through its Epic electronic health record system.

CVS has entered into new clinical affiliations with Sutter Health in California, Millennium Physician Group in Florida, Bryan Health Connect in Nebraska and Mount Kisco Medical Group in New York.

Through the partnerships – which bring the number of clinical collaborations for CVS Health and MinuteClinic to nearly 60 major health systems – these organizations' patients will continue to have access to clinical support, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, officials say.


These providers will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists, with the aim of improving patients' medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation encourages collaboration between the health systems and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations.


Affiliate organizations and MinuteClinic practitioners will also work together on planning strategies around chronic care and wellness, officials say: If more comprehensive care is needed, patients can follow up with their primary care provider and have access to the services at the health care provider as appropriate.


"In this era of health care reform, we are pleased to work with these health care organizations to develop collaborative programs that enhance access to patient care, improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs in the communities they serve," said CVS Health Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, MD, in a press statement.

MinuteClinic, CVS/pharmacy and participating providers will work to streamline and enhance communication through their EHRs, such as the electronic sharing of messages and alerts from CVS/pharmacy to the health care organizations' physicians regarding medication non-adherence issues. MinuteClinic will electronically share patient visit summaries with patients' primary care physician when they are part of an affiliate organization and with the patient's consent.


"By allowing our electronic health records and information systems to communicate and share important information about the patients we collectively serve, we will have a more comprehensive view of our patients, which can aid in health care decision making and help ensure patients adhere to important medications for chronic diseases," said Brennan.

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Cerner big data platform gets new client

Cerner big data platform gets new client | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Truman Medical Centers and the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Center for Health Insights have teamed up on a new initiative that will harness data from electronic medical records, de-identifying it and digesting it into a database that can help inform better care decisions.

Both organizations will partner with EMR giant Cerner to leverage its Health Facts data warehouse platform to drive the analytics initiative. Health Facts extracts data from both clinical and financial IT systems, de-identifies the data, standardizes terms through mapping to common nomenclature and has the ability to create adverse drug events and outcomes reports.

The platform, as Cerner officials described, will allow the two-hospital TMC to use its current clinical and financial data and transform it into a usable form that can be leveraged to improve patient safety and care outcomes. What's more, TMC officials anticipate the data analysis can also be used to reduce specific health disparities and reduce costs for certain procedures.

Specifically, with the platform TMC officials will be able to use the generated reports and compare one's organization's performance with other clients who use the warehouse. The warehouse already includes millions of EMR records from inpatient, ED and outpatient visits from patients nationwide.

"The centerpiece of this partnership provides tools to accelerate clinical and translational research and ultimately provide better health outcomes," said Lawrence Dreyfus, UMKC vice chancellor for Research and Economic Development, in a Feb. 18 press statement. "We couldn't be more excited about the prospects that this partnership holds for healthcare decisions that ultimately improve care and reduce costs."

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