Healthcare and Technology news
37.3K views | +9 today
Follow
Healthcare and Technology news
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scoop.it!

How nine out of ten healthcare pages leak private data

A study by a Timothy Libert, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that nine out of ten visitsto health-related web pages result in data being leaked to third parties like Google, Facebook and Experian:

There is a significant risk to your privacy whenever you visit a health-related web page. An analysis of over 80,000 such web pages shows that nine out of ten visits result in personal health information being leaked to third parties, including online advertisers and data brokers.

What Libert discovered is a widespread repetition of the flaw that the US government's flagship Healthcare.gov website was dragged over the coals for in January.

The sites in question use code from third parties to provide things like advertising, web analytics and social media sharing widgets on their pages. Because of the way those kinds of widgets work, their third party owners can see what pages you're visiting.

The companies supplying the code aren't necessarily seeking information about what you're looking at but they're getting it whether they want it or not.

So if you browse the pages about genital herpes on the highly respected CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) site you'll also be telling marketing mega-companies Twitter, Facebook and AddThis that you've an interest in genital herpes too.

It happens like this: when your browser fetches a web page, it also fetches any third party code embedded in it directly from the third parties' websites. The requests sent by your browser contain an HTTP header (the annoyingly misspelled 'referer' header) that includes the URL of the page you're looking at.

Since URLs tend to contain useful, human-readable information about what you're reading, those requests can be quite informative.

For example, looking at a CDC page about genital herpes triggers a request to addthis.com like this:

GET /js/300/addthis_widget.js HTTP/1.1
Host: s7.addthis.com

Referer: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Herpes/default.htm

The fact that embedded code gets URL data like this isn't new - it's part of how the web is designed and, like it or not, some third parties actually rely on it - Twitter uses it to power its Tailored Suggestions feature for example.

What's new, or perhaps what's changed, is that we're becoming more sensitive to the amount of data we all leak about ourselves and, of course, health data is among the most sensitive.

While a single data point such as one visit to one web page on the CDC site doesn't amount to much, the fact is we're parting with a lot of data and sharing it with the same handful of marketing companies.

We do an awful lot of healthcare research online and we tend to concentrate those visits around popular sites.

A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 72% of internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year. A fact that explains why one of the sites mentioned in the study, WebMD.com, is the 106th most popular website in the USA and ranked 325th in the world.

The study describes the data we share as follows:

...91 percent of health-related web pages initiate HTTP requests to third-parties.  Seventy percent of these requests include information about specific symptoms, treatment, or diseases (AIDS, Cancer, etc.). The vast majority of these requests go to a handful of online advertisers: Google collects user information from 78 percent of pages, comScore 38 percent, and Facebook 31 percent.  Two data brokers, Experian and Acxiom, were also found on thousands of pages.

If we assume that it's possible to imply an individual's recent medical history from the healthcare pages they've browsed over a number of years then, taken together, those innocuous individual page views add up to something very sensitive.

As the study's author puts it:

Personal health information ... has suddenly become the property of private corporations who may sell it to the highest bidder or accidentally misuse it to discriminate against the ill.

There is no indication or suggestion that the companies Limbert named are using the health data we're sharing but they are at least being made unwitting custodians of it and that carries some serious responsibilities.

Although there is nothing in the leaked data that identifies our names or identities, it's quite possible that the companies we're leaking our health data to have them already.

Even if they don't though, we're not in the clear.

Even if Google, Facebook, AddThis, Experian and all the others are at pains to anonymise our data, I wouldn't bet against individuals being identified in stolen or leaked data.

It's surprisingly easy to identify named individuals within data sets that have been deliberately anonymised.

For example, somebody with access to my browsing history could see that I regularly visit Naked Security for long periods of time and that those long periods tend to happen immediately prior to the appearance of articles written by Mark Stockley.

For a longer and more detailed look at this phenomenon, take a look at Paul Ducklin's excellent article 'Just how anonymous are "anonymous" records?'

It's possible to stop this kind of data leak by setting up your browser so it doesn't send referer headers but I wouldn't rely on that because there are other ways to leak data to third parties.

Instead I suggest you use browser plugins like NoScript, Ghostery or the EFF's own Privacy Badger to control which third party sites you have any interaction with at all.

What the study hints at is bigger than that though - what it highlights is that we live in the era of Big Data and we're only just beginning to understand some of the very big implications of small problems that have been under our noses for years.


more...
Lava Kafle's curator insight, March 3, 2015 5:40 AM

#DidYouKnowThis #HealthCare #Cyber #Security #threats #leaks #vulnerabilities #Mitigation #strategy @deerwalkinc #bigdata #thirdparty

Lava Prasad Kafle's curator insight, March 23, 2015 1:15 AM

@deerwalkinc

Instead I suggest you use browser plugins like NoScript, Ghostery or the EFF's own Privacy Badger to control which third party sites you have any interaction with at all.

What the study hints at is bigger than that though - what it highlights is that we live in the era of Big Data and we're only just beginning to understand some of the very big implications of small problems that have been under our noses for years.

Scoop.it!

U.S. needs to raise investment, shift medical research priorities

U.S. needs to raise investment, shift medical research priorities | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The U.S. is losing its lead in global medical research, and many of the projects that do get funded overlook common diseases that afflict millions of people, according to a new analysis.

Experts point to falling public and private spending on the kind of basic research that leads to new discoveries, and a lack of innovation in delivering healthcare, in a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association that’s part of a series on the future of medicine,

"With respect to U.S. public financing there has not been the political will to make biomedical research a priority in the same way that it was in the 1970s with the war on cancer or in the 1980s with the war on AIDS," said lead study author Dr. Hamilton Moses, of the Alerion Institute and Alerion Advisors LLC in North Garden, Virginia.

At the same time, private U.S. companies have concentrated investment in advanced clinical trials rather than on the basic research that’s needed to tackle some of the chronic conditions like diabetes that afflict the greatest number of people, Moses told Reuters Health in an interview.

Overall U.S. investment in biomedical and health services research grew just 0.8 percent a year from 2004 to 2012, down from a 6-percent annual growth rate between 1994 and 2004, Moses and his colleagues found.

Government funding in the U.S. fell to 49 percent of the world's public research investment by 2011, down from 57 percent in 2004.

U.S. industry, which accounted for nearly half of corporate investment worldwide in 2004, slipped to 41 percent of private funding in 2011.

Asia, aided largely by China, tripled investment to $9.7 billion in 2012 from $2.6 billion in 2004.

In the U.S., public funding concentrated on cancer and rare diseases, with less than half of government investment targeting 27 common diseases – including chronic obstructive lung disease, injuries, stroke, dementia and pneumonia - that account for 84 percent of deaths in the U.S. and significant disability.

Cancer alone accounted for 16 percent of total funding from the National Institutes of Health and was the target of one in four medicines in clinical trials, the study found.

"With cardiovascular disease, the number one killer, some of the large pharmaceutical companies have really pulled back in this area," said Dr. Kenneth Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development in Boston, Massachusetts.

"The industry has changed over the last few years and there has been tremendous pressure to reduce research and development costs that has resulted in a tremendous shift away from high-volume, low-cost medicines toward seeking a billion- dollar drug that treats a very, very small population," said Kaitin, who wasn't involved in the study.

Health services research, which looks at issues around access to care as well as quality and costs, has accounted for less than 0.33 percent of national health expenditures between 2003 and 2011, the study found.

Private insurers ranked last (0.04 percent of revenue) and health systems 19th (0.1 percent of revenue) among 22 industries in their investment in innovation in this area, the authors note.

"This is concerning in terms of trying to tackle improved quality of care and improved access to care, and in terms of bending the cost curve," said Glen Giovannetti, a global life sciences expert at Ernst & Young in Boston.

"There's lots and lots of research done on drug development and much less done on whether one course of treatment is better than another," said Giovannetti, who wasn't involved in the study.

With respect to both biotech and health services research, there is an acute need to increase research investment and to create more reliable funding mechanisms, said Dr. Victor Dzau, president of the Institute of Medicine, a division of the U.S. National Academies of Science.

Dzau, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study in JAMA, said the danger of disparate, unreliable funding streams is that it forces scientists to work in fits and starts, often abandoning promising basic research.

"If you think about all of the major advances in health care services, biomedical research, and diagnostics, there is no question that it's based on innovation and relied at the start on basic research," Dzau told Reuters Health.

"When we decided to put a man on the moon that was an aspirational goal, and we as a nation should be able to recognize that this is now an important moment in medical research," Dzau said. "We aren't saying give money for money's sake. We are saying set priorities, and give researchers at least five years of stable funding to pursue specific goals."



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

As Medicaid Rolls Swell, Cuts in Payments to Doctors Threaten Access to Care

As Medicaid Rolls Swell, Cuts in Payments to Doctors Threaten Access to Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Just as millions of people are gaining insurance through Medicaid, the program is poised to make deep cuts in payments to many doctors, prompting some physicians and consumer advocates to warn that the reductions could make it more difficult for Medicaid patients to obtain care.

The Affordable Care Act provided a big increase in Medicaid payments for primary care in 2013 and 2014. But the increase expires on Thursday — just weeks after the Obama administration told the Supreme Court that doctors and other providers had no legal right to challenge the adequacy of payments they received from Medicaid.

The impact will vary by state, but a study by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, estimates that doctors who have been receiving the enhanced payments will see their fees for primary care cut by 43 percent, on average.

Stephen Zuckerman, a health economist at the Urban Institute and co-author of the report, said Medicaid payments for primary care services could drop by 50 percent or more in California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, among other states.

In his budget request in March, President Obama proposed a one-year extension of the higher Medicaid payments. Several Democratic members of Congress backed the idea, but the proposals languished, and such legislation would appear to face long odds in the new Congress, with Republicans controlling both houses.

Dr. David A. Fleming, the president of the American College of Physicians, which represents specialists in internal medicine, said some patients would have less access to care after the cuts. It would make no sense to reduce Medicaid payments “at a time when the population enrolled in Medicaid is surging,” he said.

Dr. George J. Petruncio, a family physician in Turnersville, N.J., described the cuts as a “bait and switch” move. “The government attempted to entice physicians into Medicaid with higher rates, then lowers reimbursement once the doctors are involved,” he said.

But Nicole Brossoie, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Human Services, which runs the state’s Medicaid program, said the increase was not meant to be permanent. “The enhanced rates will not be extended in New Jersey,” Ms. Brossoie said. “It was always understood to be temporary.”

The White House says Medicaid is contributing to the “largest coverage gains in four decades,” with 9.7 million people added to the Medicaid rolls since October 2013, bringing the total to 68.5 million. More than one-fifth of Americans are now covered by Medicaid.

But federal officials have not set forth a strategy to expand access to care with enrollment, and in many states Medicaid payment rates for primary care services, like routine office visits and the management of chronic illnesses, will plunge back to 2012 levels, widely seen as inadequate.

For the last two years, the federal government has required state Medicaid agencies to pay at least as much as Medicare pays for primary care services. Family doctors, internists and pediatricians have thus received Medicare-level payments for primary care, with the federal government making up the difference in costs.


The impending cuts are larger in states like California that have the widest gaps between Medicaid and Medicare rates.

A survey by the Ohio State Medical Association found that some Ohio doctors began accepting Medicaid patients because of the rate increase in 2013. Ohio doctors who were already participating in the program said they had accepted more Medicaid patients after the rate increase. And almost 40 percent of Ohio doctors indicated that they planned to accept fewer Medicaid patients when the extra payments lapsed.

Under federal law, Medicaid rates must be “sufficient to enlist enough providers” so that beneficiaries have at least as much access to care as the general population in their geographic area. In practice, doctors say, this standard is murky.

The Obama administration told the Supreme Court last month that health care providers had no legal right to enforce the “equal access” requirement in court. This section of the Medicaid law provides guidance to federal and state officials in setting Medicaid rates, but does not allow health care providers to sue state officials to enforce it, said Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the solicitor general of the United States.

The case, Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, was filed against Richard Armstrong, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, by five providers of residential habilitation services to children with disabilities. They argued that Idaho’s payment rates fell below federal standards, and they sued to enforce federal law, invoking the supremacy clause of the Constitution, which makes federal law “the supreme law of the land.”

The court sidestepped the issue in a similar case from California in 2012. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said then, in a dissenting opinion, that “nothing in the Medicaid Act allows providers or beneficiaries (or anyone else, for that matter) to sue to enforce” the equal-access provision.

Matt D. Salo, the executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, which represents state officials, said his group had not lobbied for an extension of the Medicaid fee increase. “It has rewarded providers who were already doing the right thing, but did not bring in a flood of new providers,” Mr. Salo said.

The higher payments for primary care have been available in the traditional fee-for-service Medicaid program as well as in managed-care plans, which typically pay doctors a fixed amount per patient per month.

Joseph A. Reblando, a spokesman for Medicaid Health Plans of America, a trade group, said, “The fee increase was a good idea in concept, but it was built on an antiquated system in which doctors were paid a separate fee for each service.”



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Mentoring, Telemedicine Offer Paths to Better Rural Health Care Access -- AAFP News

Mentoring, Telemedicine Offer Paths to Better Rural Health Care Access -- AAFP News | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

One doesn't have to look too hard to find long-standing obstacles to providing rural health care: too few primary care physicians in sparsely resourced areas and limited support for specialty care referrals. And even as new technologies are enabling greater access for patients and enhanced training to improve care coordination, old education and payment standards persist..

Long-distance Mentoring

In 2003 in New Mexico, gastroenterologist Sanjeev Arora, M.D., was treating patients with hepatitis C virus infection -- many of whom faced an eight-month waiting period to see him. Moreover, some had to drive as much as 250 miles each way for their appointments. Patients were dying of liver cancer and other ailments because they could not obtain timely care.

"I knew if we had treated them earlier, we could have cured them," he said.

Ultimately, Arora realized that the best way to manage patients with complex chronic conditions was not simply for the subspecialty physician to see patients around the clock. Rather, an entire network of health care professionals could be trained to provide needed care. The idea of spreading that knowledge gave birth to Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), where Arora serves as executive director.

ECHO is a mentoring network that seeks to teach primary care physicians and other health care professionals how to care for specific chronic conditions. To make this "telementoring" system work, subspecialty physicians provide guided instruction to primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

"We know that chronic disease management is a team sport," Arora said. "You become a mentor as opposed to a doer."

Such interactive training sessions are a necessity in a changing medical environment, according to Arora, who said he thinks the traditional graduate medical education (GME) curriculum is no longer effective.

"The system of GME where we educate residents and fellows and just send them out there isn't going to work in a knowledge-based workforce," Arora said. "Academic medicine needs to take responsibility for training the entire health care workforce for their entire career."

Arora said funding for such career training efforts should be considered an infrastructure investment similar to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a publicly funded institution.

Perinatal Care Via Telemedicine

In rural states such as Arkansas, some residents must drive for hours to meet with a physician. Forty-four percent of the state's population resides in rural areas, and the number of obstetricians, in particular, is inadequate to meet population needs. Curtis Lowery Jr., M.D., medical director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences ANGELS (Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System) program, outlined how telemedicine has helped to close the gap in regions without enough physicians to provide care for women with high-risk pregnancies.

"It's very difficult to get physicians to go to the (Mississippi) Delta," said Lowery, who is also chair of the university's department of obstetrics and gynecology. "They feel alone, like they are on an island with no support. So we use technology to support them."

When the ANGELS program started in 2003, there were only three maternal/fetal specialists in a state that saw 45,000 deliveries each year. Initially, a few telemedicine hubs were set up around the state with local government support. Thanks to an infusion of $102 million in federal funding, however, the program soon expanded to cover the entire state.

Instead of expecting rural patients to meet physicians in urban areas, telemedicine enables physicians to connect with those patients by teleconference. A 24-hour call center is available for patients and physicians to coordinate care. And telemedicine efforts that originally focused on management of high-risk pregnancies have expanded to include care protocols for patients with stroke or sickle cell anemia, as well as those in need of surgical consultations.

Much as the influx of patients newly insured under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has initially added to overall health care system expenditures, wider adoption of telemedicine will also likely lead to increased costs in the short term as more patients are seen via this method. But, Lowery predicted, the system will ultimately save costs on travel and the long-term care that becomes necessary when appropriate preventive and management services are unavailable.

Still, for telemedicine to achieve its full potential, Lowery said changes that permit payment for telemedicine consultations are needed.

"The biggest problem with the adoption of telemedicine is the payment," he said. "We need to change the way we pay and need to be able to pay for new systems. In my career, I've done thousands of telephone consultations, but I've never been paid for one."

Effecting this change is particularly difficult, Arora chimed in, when one considers the fact that elderly patients -- those in their 80s and 90s -- consume 10 times more health care than an individual in his 60s. And it's certainly conceivable that these older people would be using telemedicine services frequently.

"The payers are terrified," Lowery said. "When a lot more care is given, a lot more money is spent in fee-for-service. That's where we are in telemedicine."



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Should Google Be Allowed to Mine Your Health Care Data?

Should Google Be Allowed to Mine Your Health Care Data? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

On the heels of the I/O keynote on Thursday, Google cofounder Larry Page spilled his guts to Farhad Manjoo from The New York Times. "Right now we don't data-mine health care data," Page said. "If we did we'd probably save 100,000 lives next year." But is that actually a good idea?

Mining health care is a very slippery slope, whether it's done by Google or some government agency or anyone really. The privacy concerns alone have always kept prying eyes out of your health records. But now that technology has advanced to the point where we could anonymize the data and use the information to cure diseases, it's worth revisiting that topic.

The data store is only going to get bigger, too, as gadgets like fitness and health trackers become more ubiquitous. (Google, of course, is leading the charge on this front as well.) While Page's 100,000 figure is probably completely made up—and not even that many lives in the grander scheme of things—it seems pretty clear that a better understanding of health care data is a good thing.

So what do you think? Is it time to chill out about privacy so that Google algorithms can start saving some lives? Or would you rather keep your personal health care data personal?

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

How Medicaid for Children Recoups Much of Its Cost in the Long Run

How Medicaid for Children Recoups Much of Its Cost in the Long Run | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

When advocates talk about the advantages of government health care, they often talk about a moral obligation to ensure equal access. Or they describe the immediate health and economic rewards of giving people a way to pay for their care.

Now a novel study presents another argument for the medical safety net, at least for children: Giving them health coverage may boost their future earnings for decades. And the taxes they pay on those higher incomes may help pay the government back for some of its investment.

The study used newly available tax records measured over decades to examine the effects of providing Medicaid insurance to children. Instead of looking at the program’s immediate impact on those children and their families, it followed them once they became adults and began paying federal taxes.

People who had been eligible for Medicaid as children, as a group, earned higher wages and paid higher federal taxes than their peers who were not eligible for the federal-state health insurance program. And the more years they were eligible for the program, the larger the difference in earnings.

“If we examine kids that were eligible for different amounts of Medicaid over the course of their childhood, we see that the ones that were eligible for more Medicaid ended up paying more taxes through income and payroll taxes later in life,” said Amanda Kowalski, an assistant professor of economics at Yale and one of the study’s authors.

The results mean that the government’s investment in the children’s health care may not have cost as much as budget analysts expected. The study, by a team that included economists from the Treasury Department, was able to calculate a return on investment in the form of tax revenue.

The return wasn’t high enough to pay the government back for its investment in health insurance by the time the children reached age 28, when the researchers stopped tracking the subjects. By that age, the Treasury had earned back about 14 cents for every dollar that the federal and state governments had spent on insurance. But it did suggest that, if the subjects’ wages continued to follow typical trajectories as they aged, the federal government would earn back about what it spent on its half of the program by the time the children reached 60 — about 56 cents on the dollar, calculated using a formula that took into account the time value of money.

The split in spending between the federal and state governments for Medicaid varies by state, but, on average, federal taxpayers pay 57 cents of each dollar. There may also be some return on investment for states that collect income taxes, but the researchers didn’t measure that.

Here’s what that means in real numbers: The average person in the study with no Medicaid earned a total of $149,000 by age 28. For each year a person was eligible for Medicaid, that income went up by $250, and the taxes the person paid went up accordingly.

“What’s exciting about this is how good the outcome variables that they can look at,” said Janet Currie, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton. A few studies have tracked the health outcomes of children who were eligible for Medicaid over time, including one Ms. Currie wrote, but the study’s measures of economic outcomes are new.


The new paper was made possible by a series of policy changes throughout the 1980s and 1990s that slowly expanded Medicaid to cover more and more American children. The changes essentially happened in two phases: First, the federal government allowed the program to include older children, and then individual states approved expansion to those groups. The slow, state-by-state spread of the policy enabled the researchers to compare children who were eligible for Medicaid with a control group of similar children of the same age and family income level who were not eligible for the program. The study looked at children who were eligible for Medicaid, even though not every eligible child actually signed up.




Expanded eligibility had two other important effects closely related to the earnings statistics: Children who were eligible for coverage were less likely to die before reaching 28, and they were more likely to attend college. Those are outcomes that, Ms. Kowalski points out, the government may value even if the program doesn’t return any money to the Treasury.

The study can’t entirely explain how access to childhood health insurance helped low-income children earn more later in life. But Ms. Kowalski has a few theories. One is that it may have helped the girls, in particular, by offering them a way to get contraception (which Medicaid covers to varying degrees in all states) and avoid unplanned pregnancies. The earnings effect was much more pronounced for girls than it was for boys.

The difference may also come from the way that public health insurance changed the budgets of the children’s families, she said. By taking care of health care bills, Medicaid may have freed the parents to make other investments in their children’s development that paid off.

Ms. Currie said that earlier studies of children’s health outcomes also suggest that children with serious illnesses often go on to be sick as adults as well — meaning they are more likely to miss work or have limited career options. Medicaid supports and funds a lot of important preventive health care for very young children. She said the lesson could be that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Now that the earlier expansions have had a chance to spread, nearly every low-income child in the country is eligible for Medicaid, and more than a third of all American children are currently enrolled in either Medicaid or a closely related federal-state program, called the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

“If this is right, then we’re going to be seeing a lot more impact for the kids that are born now and in the future,” said Judy Solomon, a vice president for health policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

A Turning Point? Wearables Could Save 1.3M Lives by 2020 | Hospital EMR and EHR

A Turning Point? Wearables Could Save 1.3M Lives by 2020 | Hospital EMR and EHR | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

For years, wearable health bands have been expensive toys useful almost exclusively to fit people who wanted to get fitter. On their own, wearables may be chic, sophisticated and even produce medically relevant information for the user, but they haven’t been integrated into practical care strategies for other populations.

And with good reason. For one thing, doctors don’t need to know whether an otherwise-healthy patient took 10,000 steps during a run, what their heart rate was on Thursdays in June or even what their pulse ox reading was if they’re not wheezy asthmatics. Just as importantly, today’s EMRs don’t allow for importing and analyzing this data even if it is important for that particular patient.

But as the banners at last week’s mHealth Summit pointed out, we’re headed for the era of the mHealth ecosystem, a world were all the various pieces needed to make patient generated data relevant are in place. That means good things for the future health of all patients, not just fitness nuts.  In fact, a Swiss analyst firm is predicting that smart wearable devices will save 1.3 million lives by 2020, largely through reductions in mortality to in-hospital use of such devices, according to mobihealthnews.

New research from Switzerland-based Soreon Research argues that smart wearables, connected directly with smart devices, projects that using wearables for in-hospital monitoring will probably save about 700,000 lives of the 1.3 million it expects to see preserved by 2020. Even better, wearables can then take the modern outside the hospital. “New wearable technology can easily extend monitoring functions beyond the intensive care unit and alert medical professionals to any follow on medical problems a patient may develop,” according to Soreon Research Director Pascal Koenig.

Not surprisingly, given their focus on monitoring aerobic activities, Soreon projects that wearables can be particularly helpful in avoiding cardiovascular disease and obesity. The firm believes that monitoring patients with wearables could prevent 230,000 deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, and reduce obesity related deaths by 150,000.

And that’s just a taste of how omnipresent wearables use may be within a few years. In fact, Soreon believes that patients with chronic conditions will help push up the smart wearables market from $2 billion today to $41 billion, or more than 1000% growth. That’s a pretty staggering growth rate regardless of how you look at it, but particularly given that at the moment, clinical use of smart wearables is largely in the pilot stage.

What few if any pundits are discussing — notably, as I see it — is what software tools hospitals will use to crunch this flood of data that will wash it on top of the astonishing volume of data EMRs are already producing.

True, at the mHealth Summit there were vendors pitching dashboards for just this purpose, who argued that their tools would allow healthcare organizations to manage populations via wearable. And of course tools like Apple HealthKit and Microsoft Health hope to serve as middlemen who can get the job done.

These solutions will definitely offer some value to providers. Still, I’d argue that wearables will not make a huge impact on clinical outcomes until the day what they produce can be managed efficiently within the EMR environment a provider uses, and I don’t see players like Epic and Cerner making big moves in this direction. When the mHealth ecosystem comes together it’s likely to produce everything analysts predict and more, but bringing things together may take much longer than they expect.



more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Healthcare data: a virtual tsunami | HIMSS Future Care

Healthcare data: a virtual tsunami | HIMSS Future Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Get ready, 'cause it’s coming! Heck, it’s already here – the healthcare data tsunami, that is – and CIOs are just one key group trying to figure out how to swim without going under. 

A recent report from research firm IDC  “pegs the volume of healthcare data at 153 exabytes in 2013. At projected growth rates, that figure will swell to 2,314 exabytes by 2020. To paint a picture, the authors of the report suggest storing all of that data on a stack of tablet computers. By the 2013 tally, that stack would reach nearly 5,500 miles high. Seven years later, that tower would grow to more than 82,000 miles high, bringing you more than a third of the way to the moon.”

One IDC executive says the key to staying afloat is to "Identify who owns the data and build consensus on data definitions . . . Understanding what the data means is key to making data governance and interoperability work, and is essential for analytics, big data initiatives and quality reporting initiatives, among other things."


more...
No comment yet.