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8 considerations to fast-track telehealth

8 considerations to fast-track telehealth | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

What is your organization’s overarching telehealth strategy?

 

  • Organizations need a well-defined strategy as the demand for telehealth offerings expands. Definition of what will be offered, its fit with your existing care delivery model, how patients interact with practices and adaptation to regulatory changes will be integral parts to this strategy

 

Who is working on your telehealth rollout?

 

  • Establishing and expanding telehealth requires buy-in from all levels of the organization. Clearly defined roles including executive sponsor, physician champions, marketing and IT are needed.

 

How will patients be scheduled for their telehealth visits?

 

  • Patient virtual care includes phone screens, e-visits or video visits. Organizations need to determine how to manage each option given to patients, how to route patients to the appropriate type of care and how to optimize the patient’s access and scheduling experience.

 

What updates will need to be made to your EHR?

 

  • Deploying telehealth means new appointment types, documentation workflows and billing requirements. Organizations will need to incorporate these changes into their build or maintenance cycles and thoroughly test the functionality.

 

How are you incorporating changes in reimbursement models?

 

  • Changes in telehealth billing and reimbursement are occurring rapidly. Organizations will need to adapt revenue cycle workflows and EHRs. Additionally, organizations should be having conversations with their biggest payers on reimbursement changes.

 

What are the hardware and networking requirements to offer telehealth visits?

  • Telehealth requires a great deal of technical and hardware setup and maintenance. Organizations need to plan for and manage bandwidth, system access and third-party applications and device integration.

 

What is your training plan for schedulers and clinicians?

 

  • Staff need to understand how to manage telehealth visit scheduling and care delivery. Training and tip sheets will be needed for staff managing these visits to ensure a smooth patient and provider experience.

 

How will patients know about your telehealth offerings?

  • Promoting and receiving a return on your telehealth investment requires organizations to establish and execute on a telehealth marketing and communications plan.
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What's the Best Small Business Phone System?

What's the Best Small Business Phone System? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Business Phone Systems Basics

Most businesses use a business phone system. It consists of a calling network infrastructure that manages all the communications. It is designed to handle the complex needs of companies, customer service calls, and the call routing that carries calls to the correct person. 

 

Some of the more useful features available in a business telephone system include the following:

  • Call Transfer
  • Greetings
  • Hold Music
  • Dial-by-Name Directory
  • Call Detail Records
  • Call Handling Rules
  • Text Messaging 
  • Many more

Types of Business Phone Systems

Traditional

In a traditional business phone system setup, a local PBX (private branch exchange) system is needed to manage multiple lines.

 

Physical lines connect these and then link them together within an on-site network. This system is often installed and maintained by an external company, such as an IT consultant or PBX reseller.

 

Extensions are created for each user by assigning to them one of the local PBX lines. In most cases, extensions are associated using a three or 4-digit number used to route calls to a specific person’s desk.

 

Extending this system as your company grows requires additional hardware to be added. It also takes time to have the changes made, which makes this process costly and time-consuming. 

 

Positives

  • Able to handles hundreds of lines
  • Doesn’t need an internet connection
  • Offers on-site or hosted options

Negatives

  • Expensive to upgrade or reconfigure
  • Costly monthly phone bill
  • Needs frequent maintenance and servicing

Virtual Phone Systems

Modern business phone systems go beyond tradition; they are full-service virtual solutions for small business communications that utilize high-speed internet connections and hosted software.

 

 A virtual phone system can have all the same features as an old-fashioned PBX without all the equipment.

 

These phone systems are specifically designed to meet the varied needs of a growing business.

 

They allow teams and employees to keep in touch seamlessly using a bevy of powerful tools. Virtual phone systems are powered by VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology.

 

The handling call routing and signal processing all done remotely, requiring only a small monthly fee, thereby saving you loads of money and time. 

 

VoIP systems are a good choice for any business, but most especially small businesses. The main reason for this is its flexibility. Adding new users and features as your business grows is easy and instant.

 

Since this system uses cloud technology, it works well with mobile phones. That makes it ideal for businesses that have virtual offices, remote employees, or a need to keep employees connected to customers on the go.

 

Having a virtual office phone system doesn’t mean “mobile-only.” You can have a virtual phone system that works with traditional handsets, computers, as well as mobile phones. These systems quickly adapt to your needs. 

 

Here are some of the critical advantages of using the cloud for your phone system:

  • Save the cost associated with housing the equipment on-site
  • As it is hosted on a third-party server, you don’t have to think about maintenance—your provider handles that
  • Since it is super easy to expand, your virtual office can grow or shrink as needed
  • Usually, monthly phone costs are a lot less than a traditional phone system
  • It is easy to install without the need for outside consultants
  • Works with smartphones and other internet-connected devices
  • You are free to choose whatever area code you want for your business
  • Callers enjoy HD call quality

One of the main concerns people have about switching to a virtual phone system is that they’ll be relying on the provider to ensure the system is up and running, rather than their own I.T. team.

 

That’s why it is critical to make a smart choice when you select your vendor. 

What are the Key Points for Buying a Small Business Phone System?

When you are shopping for a small business phone system, there are a few things that help define your search. When it comes to finding the best fit for your business keeps these in mind:

 

  • Budget: Make sure you understand all of the initial and monthly fees for the set of services that you need.

 

  • Reputation: Because the market for virtual phone systems is so hot, there are a lot of vendors on the scene. Make sure you pick one that’s been around for a while and has a good reputation for customer success. (Fun fact, our founder, Alon Cohen launched the world’s first VoIP product way back in 1995.)

 

  • Fit: Some vendors are focused on servicing giant corporations. If you are a small team, they may not be working on the kinds of features that are important to your type of business. You don’t want to pay for the development of features you will never use, so choose a vendor that is focused on the needs of customers like you.
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How Does a Cloud Phone System Work?

How Does a Cloud Phone System Work? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

What Is a Cloud-Based Phone System?

A cloud-based system is a phone system that uses your internet connection instead of traditional phone wires or cellular services.

How Is a Cloud Phone System Different From Traditional Phone Systems?

Traditional business phone systems consist of three components. The telephones, the PBX software and hardware that controls calls and handles other features like voicemail, and a physical connection to the telephone network through PRI lines.

 

That’s a lot of software and hardware for a business to pay for, install, and maintain.

 

Cloud phone systems (also called VoIP) make all of that unnecessary. Your provider takes care of the software and hardware. All you need is a connection to the internet and an endpoint which can be a traditional desk phone, software in your browser, or an app on your mobile phone.

 

You get out of the business of running a phone system, but get to enjoy all of the features of an enterprise-class solution. How cool is that?

What Is the Call Quality Like?

Call quality was a big problem in the early days of VoIP, but now that high-speed broadband connections are ubiquitous, call quality is usually exactly the same as a traditional land-line.

 

Of course, you need to test any solution you consider to make sure it plays well with your broadband and devices. Look for a solution that doesn’t lock you into a long-term contract.

What About My Cell Phone?

Your cloud phone service should be as portable as the internet connection you use.

 

Some providers even offer an app to make using your cell phone easier. This makes it easy for your employees to answer work calls on their cell phones without anyone knowing the difference.

Can a Cloud System Grow As My Business Grows?

Absolutely. Many businesses start small, with a few employees or even just one owner. They then grow to employee hundreds or thousands.

 

With a traditional system, you would need the help of a full IT team to add additional lines or extensions. You would need to rewire the copper wires on-site if you want to add any upgrades.

 

With a cloud-based system, an administrator just needs to use the admin panel. From there, he or she can add anything they’d like. No on-site maintenance needed.

 

Not to mention the fact that it can make a smaller business look even larger and more professional.

How Secure Is It?

There are always security risks in a phone system. With a cloud system, there are far more security measures.

 

Data encryption, network security, HIPAA-compliance measures, secure voice, and video, and more all work together to make sure your calls are safe.

No Maintenance, Really?

With a cloud-based system, you don’t have to worry about any maintenance. Any time there is an update (bug fixes, net features), they are added to the software.

 

Then, as those updates are released, your business phones will automatically update. You can focus on the parts of your business that really matter, not on your phone upgrades.

How Much Will a Cloud-Based System Cost?

A cloud-based system is surprisingly affordable. The biggest cost to think about is the internet connection. But, if you already have that, then you only need to think about the setup and the monthly bill.

 

Prices vary based on features, so it’s smart to shop around. One word of caution, however. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Make sure you add features, quality, flexibility, and support into the equation during your evaluation.

 

You can absolutely find an affordable solution that will meet your needs.

 

When you do the math, a full year of a cloud system will cost far less than half the prices of a typical system.

 

How Difficult Is the Setup?

Every solution is different, so keep setup in mind when you look at your options. With Phone.com, you simply fill in a few details about your needs and business, log into the control panel, add the ap to your mobile phone and begin making calls right away.

Choosing the Right System

Depending on your business size, needs, and budget, there are several provider options.

 

Phone.com is a solid option for almost any business size looking to get the right phone system installed.

 

In addition to all the usual perks that come from a cloud-based phone system, phone.com users also get extra features like call blocking, call screening, hold music and more.

 

Thanks to these tools callers believe they are dialing into a large and professional organization (even if you’re just getting started).

Cloud-Based Systems Are The New Age Phones

Businesses are walking away from traditional phone systems and it’s easy to see why. A cloud phone system offers a maintenance-free solution to voice service worries.

 

Everything is hosted off-site, on secure networks, and to top it off, it’s easy on your pockets.

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What your healthcare practice can learn from telemedicine companies

What your healthcare practice can learn from telemedicine companies | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

6 ways telemedicine companies satisfy patients

1. Convenient care

In the U.S., patients spend an average of 34 minutes traveling to receive healthcare services, according to Altarum. Add this to time in the waiting and exam rooms, and even a simple healthcare appointment can take hours out of their day.

 

Telehealth is a major time-saver because people can receive care from anywhere in a matter of minutes. This boosts patient satisfaction levels because it’s easy for people to fit appointments into a hectic schedule.

2. Short wait times

Virtual visits with telehealth providers allow patients to avoid long waits. For example, telemedicine company LiveHealth Online claims to connect patients to doctors in a matter of minutes.

 

This is important to people, as nearly one-third (30 percent) have walked out of an appointment due to a long wait time, according to Vitals. Furthermore, one-in-five has changed doctors because of long waits.

 

Clearly, patient satisfaction rates are largely tied to wait times, which likely plays into the growing popularity of telehealth companies.

 

3. After-hours assistance

People get sick at all hours of the day, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a traditional practice open at 2 a.m. Telemedicine companies make it possible for patients to receive care without having to make a pre-dawn trip to the emergency room.

 

For example, telemedicine company Virtuwell offers 24/7 care. This allows patients to seek treatment promptly at any time of day without leaving the comforts of their home.

 

Additionally, the ability to receive care at any hour makes treatment more accessible to patients who work during standard office hours. Telemedicine allows them to seek care without having to take time off work.

4. Cost-effective treatment

U.S. healthcare spending averaged $10,739 per person in 2017, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Insured patients typically only pay a portion of the total cost, but 8.5 percent of Americans (or 27.5 million) didn’t have any form of health insurance in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

 

Telemedicine companies make healthcare more affordable to everyone. For example, iCliniq offers an annual treatment plan for $99, where patients can receive 50 hours of online chat time with a family physician, general practitioner, or general surgeon.

5. Greater access to care

In rural areas, the patient-to-primary care physician ratio is just about 40 physicians per 100,000 people, according to the National Rural Health Association. 

 

This can make it difficult for people to receive standard care — and even more challenging if they need to see a specialist. Telemedicine companies are a game-changer for these communities because residents are able to get the care they need.

Beyond that, telehealth allows rural patients to have a choice of providers — something they might not have otherwise. In some cases, this can make it possible for them to receive better quality care than the offerings in their local region.

 

6. Increased patient engagement

Telehealth companies make it easier than ever for patients to take control of their health. When people have the right tools at their fingertips, there’s no excuse for not using them to better themselves.

 

Since telehealth offers convenient access to providers, patients are more inclined to reach out with questions and concerns. Taking an active role in their health can allow people to see positive results that encourage them to keep up the good work.

 

Telemedicine companies are surging in popularity, and that’s not likely to change. This doesn’t mean your brick-and-mortar practice will become obsolete, but there’s plenty of lessons to be learned.

 

Take a look at reasons these companies are so successful and, when possible, find ways to provide the same level of care. Gain a competitive advantage by offering the convenience patients want with the personal touch only a dedicated provider can give.

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Cybersecurity: What Every Telemedicine Practitioner Needs to Know

Cybersecurity: What Every Telemedicine Practitioner Needs to Know | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Telemedicine, which enables health professionals to provide treatment to patients remotely, is especially useful in rural areas, where people are distanced from healthcare facilities. It can also play a considerable role during natural disasters when professionals cannot reach affected areas or must operate outside of traditional medical settings.

 

But because of the nature of the platform — and the technology used — telemedicine is susceptible to outside attacks, particularly cyberattacks. Communication and digital exchanges are often done via the open internet. A patient will have a live video chat with a health professional via a mobile app, for instance. That feed and any data from the exchange is vulnerable to snooping or outright theft, especially if one of the parties is using an unsecured network connection.

 

Cyberattacks Are More Dangerous in Health Fields

There’s no reason to downplay general theft. The risk of hackers scooping up personal data is always a concern, but when attacks involve highly sensitive health details, the risks are much higher. Not only could the data be used to harm and damage others, but its misuse can also harm the professionals and, by proxy, the facility they work for. HIPAA law dictates that all communications and data exchanged between doctors and patients be secure — if not, healthcare providers face massive fines and penalties.

 

What makes the whole thing even more alarming is that, in today’s landscape, it’s not a matter of “if” you will experience a cyber attack or data breach, but “when.”

Norton Security, which claims "protection against viruses, malware and more," estimates that by 2023, cybercriminals will successfully steal 33 billion records per year.

 

To provide an even better perspective, consider this: By 2018, nearly 70 percent of businesses had experienced some form of cybersecurity attack, with over half experiencing a data breach. Out of all small businesses that suffer attacks, 60 percent close within six months of an event.

 

It’s a very costly, very damaging problem from which the healthcare and telemedicine industry is not exempt.

How to Prevent Attacks and Mitigate Damage When They Do Happen

Preventative measures are important, and understanding how to deal with an attack or breach can be instrumental in lowering risks. Assuming that a breach can and will happen allows you to better lock down your systems and data. For example, putting stringent authentication and user access measures in place help ensure that only the right people can interact with certain types of data. This means if a lesser user’s account were to be hacked, the attacker wouldn’t have access to sensitive information.

The first recommendation is that you follow ISO 27001 standards and develop a process of internal audits to measure compliance and performance. This set of management standards deals specifically with information security and proactive protection measures.

 

Here are some ways to improve general security and mitigate the risks of a breach:

  • Hire a third-party data security provider or a consultant to understand what’s necessary to protect your network, systems and hardware
  • Establish user access protocols to prevent unauthorized users from accessing high-level information; in other words, keep people in their lanes
  • Use strong authentication measures to identify users and require the use of strong passwords
  • Educate personnel on the importance of security and ensure they understand what role they play
  • Use data encryption for all information sharing and open streams so that any exchanged information is locked behind a security protocol
  • Develop the entire platform, app or tool with security in mind as a foundational element
  • Create a response plan for cyberattacks: how you lock down affected systems and networks, prevent future data loss and tampering, and regain control
  • After a breach, always inform the necessary parties involved, including customers and patients, as well as regulatory bodies

 

While many of the solutions discussed here are valuable, many tactics can help telemedicine practitioners prevent and protect against cyberattacks. The most obvious involves awareness and preparedness, which means educating yourself and your personnel on modern security.

 

This is not something that can be continually brushed aside or avoided. Security must always be a “now” practice that is honored and put into place as soon as possible. It’s especially true of for telemedicine, which involves the facilitation and exchange of highly sensitive information across open channels.

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Rural Health Professions Training: Teaching Medical Students the Benefits of Telemedicine

Rural Health Professions Training: Teaching Medical Students the Benefits of Telemedicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

For medical students with the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, weeks of suspense will end on March 15. Otherwise known as Match Day, it’s the day the students will learn where they will go for their residency training, in their chosen medical field, after they graduate from medical school in May.

 

Sarah Joy Ring, who has completed the College of Medicine – Tucson’s Rural Health Professions Program and a 16-week Rural Health Distinction Track, is hoping for a residency focused on both pediatrics and emergency medicine, potentially in a rural location.  Her “capstone” paper, an in-depth research project that all Distinction Track students are expected to complete, carries the impressive title of “A Survey of Rural Emergency Medicine and the Discrepancy of Care for Pediatric Patients that Present to Rural Emergency Departments.”

 

During her training, she had opportunities to see how important telemedicine can be in rural communities.

 

“I was at sites that had telemedicine capabilities and spent some time chatting with the physicians about them. "I can specifically remember two experiences, one while on my family medicine rotation in Tuba City (in northern Arizona, where students learn about American Indian healthcare) and one during my RHPP summer in Flagstaff” (also in northern Arizona).

“Tuba City experiences a significant shortage of mental health providers in general, and specifically for children and adolescents," Sarah says.

“As such, they found using telemedicine helpful to connect the children of that region with services that they would otherwise struggle to receive, due to having to travel large distances to receive help, which incurs financial and time burdens for families.

“Moreover, a point that I found particularly enlightening when learning about this service, was with regard to what it means to live in a small population where it is quite likely you know most people living in the region," Sarah says.

“The physicians found that because of this, many adolescents experiencing difficulties often felt uncomfortable sharing with people who lived in the region, out of fear that they may tell someone, or that they were themselves a relative or family friend, which can be a common experience. Having someone to share with who lived out of the region and was not specifically invested in the region and an integral member of the community made many of these adolescents more comfortable with disclosing their experiences.  

“I also worked on writing about how telemedicine can be used to augment pediatric services in rural emergency departments for part of my "capstone" project and found some very positive results from multiple studies. For critically ill patients, one study found that in particular, telemedicine consults improved the access to critical care specialists, resulting in a reduced frequency of physician-related medication errors. Moreover, another study found that parent satisfaction was higher with telemedicine consults than with phone consults, which is a particularly important outcome when caring for pediatric patients and their family. Many of these same findings also translated to the pre-hospital environment, where ambulances that utilized telemedicine resulted in better assessments, more interventions in the pre-hospital environment, and improved outcomes for pediatric patients in pre-hospital care. 

“Overall," Sarah says, I think that we will continue to find that telemedicine is an excellent resource for rural providers that allows patients to have clinically significant access to additional resources and care that would otherwise be difficult or unavailable to the region."

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10 Great Gadgets for Tech-Savvy Doctors

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

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

1. Digital Stethoscope

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

2. Google Glass

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

3. AV300 Vein Viewing System

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

4. EarlySense System 

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

5. VScan by GE

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

6. Infrared Thermometer

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

7. Wacom Intuos

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

8. AliveCor ECG monitor

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

9. Fitbit

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

10. Adheretech’s Smart Pill Container

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

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

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5 Ways Technology Is Transforming Health Care

5 Ways Technology Is Transforming Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

 

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.

Recommended by BMO Harris Bank
 
 
 

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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Four new health features Apple is adding to Healthkit

Four new health features Apple is adding to Healthkit | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

At the 70 minute mark in their WWDC 2015 keynote Apple mentioned four new health metrics they will be adding to their Healthkit platform: Water, UV exposure, sedentary state, and menstruation.


Apple didn’t go into detail for these metrics, but the screenshot from their Keynote shows basic graphical representations of how each will work.


Water: Your Health app will be able to display how much water you are drinking. This is a metric that will most likely link data from a third party app. For example, when you track your water consumption with a fitness app, that information will automatically link to your native Health app on your iPhone (if you decide to enable that link).


UV exposure: Not sure right now if this will pull data from your location (location based UV information is publicly available), or data from a device that is actually measuring UV index. As I wrote prior, devices that measure UV index are not useful.


Sedentary State: The Apple Watch tracks this feature meticulously, but your iPhone can as well, and I suspect this information will be populated using the Apple M7 and M8 motion processors that started with the iPhone 5S.

Menstruation: Finally Apple adds a feature focused on women. Women will now be able to track their menstrual cycles.

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Cedars-Sinai goes all-in on Apple HealthKit

Cedars-Sinai goes all-in on Apple HealthKit | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has become the latest provider organization to link its electronic medical records system to Apple's HealthKit software.


CIO Darren Dworkin, speaking to Bloomberg Business, said that information from HealthKit now will appear in health records for more than 80,000 patients. Several other hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System, as well as Stanford University Hospital and Duke University, also integrate with HealthKit.


"This is just another set of data that we're confident our physicians will take into account as they make clinical and medical judgments," Dworkin said, who added that use of HealthKit will be a learning experience.


"We don't really, fully know and understand how patients will want to use this," he said.


Dworkin added that HealthKit will be available for all patients throughout the system to use as they choose. 


"The opt-out is just don't use it," he said.


At the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's mHealth Summit in the District of Columbia last December, Ochsner Chief Clinical Transformation Officer Richard Milani and Duke Medicine Director of Mobile Technology Ricky Bloomfield shared insight into their respective organizations' HealthKit integrations. Both facilities use Epic's patient portal, MyChart.


Milani said the amount of data patients could generate that could then go into their records was pretty small; he said about 50 to 60 discreet elements such as weight, sodium intake and blood pressure could be entered. Bloomfield, however, said that based on conversations with Apple healthcare executives, he expects that number to grow.

Bloomfield added that HealthKit integration will help to transform the use of EHRs for providers.


"This was finally something we could give them that would live up to the promise of what EHRs can provide, and what having access to this kind of data can provide," Bloomfield said at the Summit.


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The 22 Best Apple Watch Health And Fitness Apps

The 22 Best Apple Watch Health And Fitness Apps | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch, Apple’s first step into the world of wearables, starts shipping to consumers today.


The Watch marks an interesting time in the wearable fitness space, in particular. Health and fitness trackers like Jawbone Up and Fitbit have dominated much of that space in the last few years. According to NDP, these wearable fitness devices sold close to 3.3 million units last year.

The Apple Watch is more of a comprehensive platform, but it has definitely taken the popularity of these fitness trackers into account, equipping the Watch with a built-in heart rate monitor, GPS tracker to measure distance and speed during workouts, an accelerometer to track body movement, and proprietary apps that show calories burned and overall fitness levels.


Not wanting to be left out of the action on this new platform, many health technology companies have started to repurpose their smartphone apps for the Apple Watch as well. While not all apps add much more to the Watch experience than they do to your phone, there are a few that make that subtle leap. Here are the 22 top health and fitness apps we’re looking forward to on the Watch:

Featured Apple Watch Health and Fitness Apps:


First, let’s go through the apps that Apple has chosen to feature on the Apple Watch section on its site.


Nike+ Running – Apple kicked both Jawbone Up and Nike+ Fuel Band out of the Apple store in anticipation of the Watch. But it looks like Apple through Nike some love by adding the Nike+ Watch app into the featured set of fitness apps on Apple’s website. The Nike+ Running app will allow owners of the Watch to connect with its global running community as well as log distance and run duration right on their wrist.

Green Kitchen – This app adds dozens of healthy recipes and the step-by-step instructions to make them with a tap on the screen. The app includes a timer within the Watch to notify you when to take certain items out of the oven.


Strava – Know how high you climbed, your average speed, distance and heart rate in real-time as well as segment by segment updates to keep you pushing forward in your workout.

Mayo Clinic Synthesis – This app is a bit more for the medical doctor side of management. It helps physicians manage their daily schedule and alerts them when a patient is waiting for them in the lobby or the exam room. It also provides basic patient information such as age, sex and weight.


LifeSum – Think of this one as a food journal on your wrist. This app provides a way to track what you are eating and drinking throughout the day and then look it up later to figure out how many calories you’ve consumed. It also provides the right portion size and which foods to avoid.


Runtastic – The Apple Watch will have three apps from the popular run tracking platform: The original Runtastic to track runs using GPS, Runtastic Six Pack and Runtastic Butt Trainer. The apps include a Glances feature to display an avatar that will demonstrate the right way to do each exercise. This helps the person working out follow along instead of having to look up or hold a phone while going through the movements.


The Health and Fitness Apps We Like:

There are many, many health and fitness apps that are either already on the Watch or will be on the Watch in the near future. The following is a collection of the top apps we believe have the best use case on your wrist.


Hello Heart – This is a blood pressure monitor and heart health companion app. This is a good one for the Watch as it can record and upload vital signs right from your wrist. More than 100 million Americans have some type of a heart condition. This app could make it easy for them to monitor those conditions in real-time, rather than having to go into a doctor’s office or pharmacy to get that information.

Fitstar Yoga – Instead of having to look up at the screen or instructor to make sure you have the pose right, this app helps the user see what the proper pose looks like right on their wrist. It also allows them to check on the time remaining for the chosen yoga session or manage the session by using the play, pause or use the back and forth controls.


WaterMinder – This is a pretty straightforward app that helps folks stay hydrated by reminding them to drink up. You can also visualize your daily water levels to figure out if you are drinking enough.

Map My Run – At this point you may be wondering why another running app, besides the native app in the Apple Watch and the Nike+ Running app are worth a try. Map My Run not only has a significant and dedicated community to encourage that running life. The new Watch app will also let enthusiasts log more than 600 different types of workouts, record GPS activities, sync and share activity on Apple Health and MyFitnessPal and socially share workouts with friends.


HealthTap – Tap on the app to ask questions and get answers to medical questions from 68,000 U.S. doctors while on the go. The app will also provide reminders for virtual sessions with your doctor, personal notifications and reminders to take your prescribed medications.


Medication Alarm – Reminds you to take any type of medication throughout the day, using an infinite amount of reminders, medication and times to take. Also lets you track how many pills you have left to give you a heads up on when you need to order more.


Human – This one tracks your activities throughout the day and pushes you to get up and move for 30 minutes every day. That’s important because while you may not be physically close to your phone all the time, you will be able to see that reminder on the watch to get up and move at least 30 minutes a day. The app automatically picks up your walks, bike rides, runs and other activities that go for a minute or more and then logs them on the app.

Misfit Minute – Misfit already has a popular wearable product worn on the wrist, but started venturing into other platforms with a fitness app on the Pebble watch last July. Continuing on the trend of being hardware agnostic, Misfit has created an app for the Watch that will give consumers a total body workout, using body weight training and circuit intervals.


Carrot Fit – Carrot, the zany artificial intelligence family of apps, will all be on the Apple Watch, including an app that shames you into working out. Carrot Fit both terrifies and inspires with seven minute workouts that will have you escaping from a squad of mean ostriches and punching Justin Bieber. This way you can receive judgement and pop references on your wrist instead of your phone.


Clue – This is a period tracking app that lets women figure out where they are in their cycle. Apple was criticized for not including a period tracker in HealthKit, but that’s a pretty important part of women’s health. This app prognosticates when a woman will next start her period, PMS and when she is most likely to get pregnant.


WebMD – The WebMD app will remind patients to take their meds as well as provide instructions on how to take certain medications and a daily schedule of when to take them.


BACtrack – There are a couple of smartphone breathalyzer test apps on the market, but this one lets you check your blood alcohol levels without fumbling around in a drunken state while looking for your phone. Of course, you’ll have to also have the BACtrack’s smart breathalyzer tool on you to start a BAC test, but it frees up one of your hands to hold the tool while taking the test.


drchrono – Physicians who use the iOS app can already pull up a patient’s medical information and use an iPad to send the bill. The Apple Watch app helps medical professionals see chat messages from their clinic colleagues reminding them to wrap up their visit and see their schedule without it looking like they are ignoring the patient and playing with their phone. They can also use the app to respond privately to patient text messages and view patient information on their wrist.


Doximity – The largest medical professional network in the U.S. comes to the wrist. According to company estimates, about half of all of America’s doctors are Doximity members. Physicians with an Apple Watch will be able to access Doximity’s free tools such as HIPPA-compliant messaging, electronic fax capabilities and reading up on curated medical news.
 
Skin – The skin is the body’s largest organ and can tell you a lot about your health. The Skin app requires the use of your phone’s camera to take pictures of your skin. The Watch app then helps you pull up those images quickly and monitor changes in your skin over time. It won’t diagnose you, but it does alert you if something has changed or should get checked out by a medical professional.


Spring – The music streaming service made specifically for exercise could be useful on those runs. This app allows you to leave your phone behind and still access high-energy tunes. While the Watch doesn’t have a way to plug in and listen to music while you run, you can still use this app with a wireless headset to bounce to the kind of music that gets your heart pumping and your body moving.


Punch Digital 's curator insight, May 4, 2015 2:03 AM

From instructive Yoga to interactive run tracking apps, the apple watch and it's ability to be compatible with your fitness goals, is revolutionary.


if you have a few spare moments then this article will definitely have you marching down to the shops. the ability it has for not only fitness professionals but for the weekend warrior is mind blowing.


See for yourself what the new Apple watch has to offer, maybe it's time you took your fitness goals to the next level?

Lyfe Media's curator insight, June 17, 2015 4:19 PM

The Apple Watch may be the best thing that's happened to fitness lovers since the treadmill. With a wide variety of applications to monitor fitness levels, nutrition, and various other health concerns, an Apple Watch may quickly become a recommended gadget by health professionals everywhere. HealthyFitGuide

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Qardio blood pressure monitor will support Apple Watch

Qardio blood pressure monitor will support Apple Watch | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Qardio announced Apple Watch support for their Bluetooh blood pressure monitor for the iPhone and Android devices.

We reviewed the QardioArm blood pressure monitor a few months ago. We were impressed by the elegant design of both the app and the device. The sharing functionality was also the best we found among any of the connected blood pressure monitors that we’ve reviewed. However, the lack of independent validation of the device and single cuff size kept the device from being our pick for the best connected (Bluetooth or WiFi) blood pressure monitor.


According to Qardio, the Apple Watch will let users both control the blood pressure monitor and also review data for themselves and their family,

QardioArm blood pressure monitors work seamlessly together with the Apple Watch, allowing users to take blood pressure measurements and monitor loved ones with the touch of a single button right off their wrist. Your blood pressure and heart rate data history are viewable at a glance, making heart monitoring even more effortless.

Qardio includes a really nice Family and Friends section in their app that lets you keep an eye on the blood pressure measurements of a loved one. The Apple Watch app will let users quickly check in on those loved ones. Hopefully, they’ll also include the ability to set notifications as well so that I could be alerted if, say, a parent checked their blood pressure and it fell outside of a certain range. For that to really work though, Apple will need to do a better job with letting users control notifications on the Apple Watch.


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Apple Watch will launch with a free medication reminder app from

Apple Watch will launch with a free medication reminder app from | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

When Apple Watch launches April 24th, users will be able to track their medication dosing. WebMD is updating their flagship app in the App Store to become a medical reminder companion app for the Apple Watch.


I talked to Benjamin Greenberg, who is the Vice President of Product Management & User Experience at WebMD about some of the key functionality the WebMD Apple Watch integration will have and they are the following:

  • Ability to take pictures of your medications and then have them show up on your Apple Watch when it’s time to take your next dose
  • When prompted to take your medication, you are given four actions on your Apple Watch: Take the medication, skip the medication, snooze, or dismiss the reminder.
  • You can learn more about your medication by utilizing a “Handoff Link” and read the full drug monograph on your iPhone.


Greenberg told me WebMD wanted to keep the Apple Watch medication integration clean, simple, and easy to use. They don’t want a medication reminder feature on the Apple Watch that is constantly bugging people trying to use it.


One of the features I’d love to see in the future is a location based reminder — the ability of your Apple Watch to know when you’re at home and have the ability to take your medication.


Useful for patients and digital health?


Obviously, a medication reminder feature for the Apple Watch isn’t going to solve the huge issue of medication compliance. It’s a multi-factorial problem that has been hard to tackle by the digital health community and one we’ve frequently written in depth about.


But — WebMD’s medication reminder on the Apple Watch is definitely another tool that could help the right type of patient. For example, it’s hard to imagine the elderly using Apple Watch to remind them to take their armament of drugs. But it isn’t hard to imagine a mother of two with febrile children utilizing WebMD’s Apple Watch tool to help her with Tylenol dosing and timing.


Often times when developers create medication reminder tools, they completely forget about over the counter medications. For WebMD’s reminder app to catch on, they need to focus more on over the counter medications, and having presets where users don’t have to manually insert the dosing — the barrier to set up needs to be ridiculously low.

Overall, I can’t wait to actually test out the app on launch date, and WebMD’s ability to have this launch in conjunction with the Apple Watch is a huge advantage over their competitors.


WebMD’s medication reminder app will be available as a free download in the Apple Watch App Store beginning April 24.


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What are the Penalties for Breaking HIPAA Rules?

What are the Penalties for Breaking HIPAA Rules? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Organizations that work in healthcare have an obligation to train employees on HIPAA rules.

 

Employee training ensures that employees working with protected health information (PHI) understand the requirements of HIPAA and the penalties they may face for failing to follow HIPAA rules. The penalties for violating HIPAA rules are discussed below.

Repercussions of Violating HIPAA Rules

Depending on the nature of the HIPAA violation, penalties for the violation vary. Disciplinary actions may be determined by an employer, federal regulators, professional boards, and the Department of Justice. 

Imposed penalties are determined by the following:

◈ The nature of the violation

◈ Whether or not the employee was aware that HIPAA rules were being violated

◈ Whether or not the employee took action to correct the violation

◈ Whether or not there was malicious intent, or the violation contributed to personal gain

◈ The nature of harm caused by the violation

◈ How many people were impacted by the violation

◈ Whether or not the incident violated the criminal provision of HIPAA

Employees that violate HIPAA rules can face the following penalties:

◈ Employers can deal with the violation internally

◈ The employee could face termination

◈ Professional boards could issue employee sanctions

◈ Criminal charges could be imposed, including fines and imprisonment

Criminal Repercussions for Breaking HIPAA Rules

Employees that intentionally break HIPAA rules can be fined $50,000 – $250,000, and that doesn’t include potential restitution to victims. Employees may also be subject to jail time; employees that commit aggravated identity theft are subject to a mandatory two-year imprisonment.

 

Other criminal violation penalties are categorized into three tiers:

 

◈ Negligence: up to 1 year jail time 

◈ Falsely obtaining protected health information: up to 5 years jail time 

◈ Malicious intent or personal gain: up to 10 years jail time

Civil Repercussions for Breaking HIPAA Rules

Civil penalties apply when an employee was aware that they violated HIPAA, or they would have been aware had they exercised due diligence.

 

Fines for civil penalties can be anywhere from $100 – $25,000, depending on whether or not there were multiple violations.

 

If the employee corrected the violation within 30 days of discovery, and did not commit willful neglect, the employee is not subject to civil penalties. 

 
 
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What is HIPAA And How To Comply With The HIPAA Security Rule

What is HIPAA And How To Comply With The HIPAA Security Rule | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a US legalization that requires healthcare professionals and institutions to secure health information from deletions and data breaches.

 

This law has become relevant in today’s dental practice due to increased data breaches caused by ransomware and cyber attacks.

 

The law’s requirements on HIPAA can be demanding and challenging to understand, but we’ve made it easy for you below. There are three areas you need to be compliant with HIPAA.

 

• PHYSICAL – these are measures that prevent loss of devices and physical theft on medical information e.g. keeping workstations away from the public eye and limiting physical access to computers.

 

• ADMINISTRATIVE – measures that make sure patient data is accessible to authorized personnel and is correct. For example, identifying which employees have access to medical information.

 

• TECHNICAL – these are measures that protect your devices and networks from unauthorized access and data breaches e.g. encrypting files that you upload to a cloud or send via email.

 

The components above represent every aspect of your dental practice from your record-keeping and policies to your building safety and technology.

 

HIPAA also requires all your staff members to work together to protect patient data and be on the same page.

 

HIPAA COMPLIANCE

 

The administrative, physical, and technical requirements for HIPAA security may be a lot of information for you to take in.

 

Additionally, it can be overwhelming for you to handle its compliance in your dental practice solely.

 

To make it easier, HIPAA compliance is an organization-wide issue. This means all your employees will have to understand and know their role in securing dental information.

 

Alternatively, you can outsource your HIPAA compliance to consultants, web services, and IT contractors.

 

This ensures your dental practice meets the required standards and makes your life easier.

 

However, outsourcing your HIPAA responsibilities doesn’t mean you ignore your legal obligations.

 

Your company should always stay on top of any HIPAA changes in recommendations and adopt advanced practices to improve medical information security.

 

Ultimately, ensure your dental practice upgrades all its old technology for better and efficient systems that contribute to medical information security.

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Top 10 Applications of Computer Telephony Integration

Top 10 Applications of Computer Telephony Integration | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

There are countless of CTI (computer telephony integration) applications that make implementing the technology one of the best things you can do for your business.

 

1. Pop-up Screen/ Screen Popping


CTI integration allows you to implement a pop-up screen interface for your agents. Through this, you get a feel of the immense possibilities when communication integrates with information.

 

The screen popping CTI application opens up a dashboard whenever your agent interacts with a caller. This shows relevant information about the caller, as you’ve configured it in the system and depending on the applications and software you’ve integrated with your CTI.

 

You can display and log call origin, IVR selection, authentication status, as well as the caller’s issues, purchase history and support history, among other data.

 

2. Speed Dialing


CTI’s speed dialing system is perfect when your team has to meet outbound call objectives.

 

Speed dialers can be configured to continuously make calls, bypassing wrong numbers and busy signals. Agents are patched in only when a person answers the other end of the line.

 

This often comes with a report on call volume, wait times and other call metrics. Increase the productivity of your sales team through CTI’s speed dialing.

 

3. Phone Flexibility/ Phone Control


How you make yourself accessible to your clients, prospects, and the team is flexible through CTI’s phone control or phone flexibility application.

 

You can easily configure the system to “find you” when you’re not logged into the system. Use your mobile devices or laptop to connect.

 

This can set you and your team apart from the competition. Accessibility can be your edge when it comes to sealing deals and starting co-beneficial business relationships.

 

4. Call Routing


CTI’s intelligent call routing lets you become more responsive to your callers. Route calls according to their IVR selection, demographics, call history, agent specialization, and availability, among other factors.

 

This can mean faster call processing, happier (or less frustrated) callers, and more efficient call agents.

 

5. Call Transfers


Call transfers are also better implemented through CTI. This isn’t just about transferring calls from person to person.

 

CTI’s call transfer application allows for seamless agent transitions, wherein data about the caller is transferred too.

 

This unburdens the caller from having to repeat their information. It cuts call processing time, which is especially important in compound support calls.

 

6. IP Telephony and Conferencing


Collaboration has improved by leaps and bounds because of IP telephony, particularly through its low-cost IP-based broadband multimedia telecommunications.

 

A direct result of this is the more rampant use of conferencing applications.

 

In the past, sales presentations had to be done in person. Inside salespeople, then, were not as effective as those in the field.

 

Today, the location has become irrelevant. IP telephony and conferencing applications bridge the gap – connecting agents with prospects and customers as if they’re meeting face-to-face.

 

How effective your team is in utilizing this application depends on their skills, and the available sales information and supporting tools.

 

The technology is already there – fully developed – for you to integrate and optimize your sales processes.

 

Other IP telephony and conferencing applications include team collaboration, multi-location meetings, and remote training sessions.

 

7. IVR (Interactive Voice Response)


Your IVR application is perhaps your first-line interaction with your audience. It is your first try at making a good impression. Configure your CTI’s IVR application correctly and optimally, and you get efficient, personalized and data-driven interactions – not to mention, happier customers and prospects.

 

Your IVR application uses keypad and voice DTMF tones to communicate with your servers. Through IVR selections, callers can reach specific persons or departments.

 

They can also do basic account processes, such as status inquiries and password updates, among other tasks.

 

An optimally configured IVR can cut down call processing time, reduce call traffic and make a good first impression.

 

8. Advanced Call Reporting Functions


One of the best things about CTI is that you can put together data into reports that help you see the big picture. Analyze the many aspects of your business, such as call traffic, inbound and outbound sales calls, and support requests.

 

Through CTI’s advanced call reporting functions, you can parse through historical data to gain insight on how effective your team or call agents are.

 

See where there are support gaps and do something about it. You can also assess real-time data when you want to zoom in on your agent’s interpersonal and problem-solving skills.

 

9. Voice Recording Integration


Voice recording integration plays an important role in contact centers where the quality and integrity of interactions are crucial. Voice recording applications allow you to record and archive voice calls in order to improve your team’s effectiveness, reduce liabilities and comply with industry standards (such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard/ PCI DSS).

 

Record calls and accesses these later on for future assessment. Or, you can also conduct real-time monitoring across mixed telephony environments.

 

Through Voice Recording Integration, you don’t just have textual data as the basis for agent training, reporting and assessment.

 

You also have voice data that protect you from liabilities and support the initiatives and changes you implement for your operations.

 

10. Call Center Functions


Because the development of CTI into what it is now was partly in response to the needs of the call center industry, it’s not a big surprise that call center functions are some of CTI’s top applications.

 

Automatic caller authentication, whisper coaching, call barging and warm transfer (among so many more call center functions) are key functions that drive the adoption of CTI technology.

 
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HIPAA Cyber Security Practices

HIPAA Cyber Security Practices | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates safeguards to be in place to secure protected health information (PHI). PHI is any individually identifying health information such as name, date of birth, financial information, and medical history.

 

The incidents of healthcare organization hacks has increased exponentially over the last few years. As the most targeted sector of the U.S. economy, implementing HIPAA cyber security practices is essential to protecting PHI.   

Server Hack Lasting 9 Years Compromised PHI of 2.9 Million 

Virginia based, Dominion National, was the victim of a server hack that took 9 years to detect.

 

Dominion National is an insurer, health plan administrator, and administrator of dental and health benefits. 2.9 million patients were affected by the breach, with exposed information including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, email addresses, taxpayer ID numbers, bank account information, group numbers, subscriber numbers, and member ID numbers. However, exposed information varied by person. 

 

As required by law, affected individuals received breach notification letters and two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. To prevent future incidents Dominion National has implemented enhanced alerting and monitoring software. 

 

Mike Davis, Dominion National President, stated “we recognize the frustration and concern that this news may cause, and rest assured we are doing everything we can to protect your information moving forward. We are committed to making sure you get the tools and assistance you need to help protect your information.”

How to Prevent a Server Hack

Healthcare servers hold a wealth of patient information and are continually targets for hackers. To ensure that the data held in a server is protected, there must be systems in place to prevent access from unauthorized individuals. 

 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) identifies ten practices organizations should implement to increase their cybersecurity:

  1. Email protection systems
  2. Endpoint protection systems
  3. Access management
  4. Data protection and loss prevention
  5. Asset management
  6. Network management
  7. Vulnerability management
  8. Incident response
  9. Medical device security
  10. Cyber security policies

 

An organization that incorporates these ten practices into their security practices will limit their risk of exposure.

Need Help with HIPAA Cyber Security?

Compliancy Group gives healthcare providers and vendors working in healthcare the tools to confidently address their HIPAA compliance in a simplified manner. Our cloud-based HIPAA compliance software, the GuardTM, gives healthcare professionals everything they need to demonstrate their “good faith effort” towards HIPAA compliance.

 

To address HIPAA cyber security requirements, Compliancy Group works with IT and MSP security partners from across the country, who can be contracted to handle your HIPAA cyber security protection.

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Healthcare Technology Trends for 2019 and Beyond

Healthcare Technology Trends for 2019 and Beyond | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The healthcare industry is moving from products and services to solutions. Just a few years ago, medical institutions relied on special equipment and hardware to deliver evidence-based care. Today is the time of medical platforms, big data, and healthcare analytics. Healthcare institutions are focused on real-time results. The next decade will be focused on preventive care, and here new healthcare technology trends will come into play.

Artificial intelligence

The modern healthcare industry has already introduсed AI-based technologies like robotics and machine learning to the world. For example, IBM Watson is an AI-based system that’s making a difference in several areas of healthcare. The IBM Watson Care Manager was produced to enhance care management, accelerate drug discovery, match patients with clinical trials, and fulfill other tasks. Systems like this can help medical institutions save a big deal of time and money in the future.

 

It’s likely that in 2019 and beyond, AI will become even more advanced and will be able to carry out a wider range of tasks without human monitoring. Here are some predictions of AI trends in healthcare:

Early diagnosis

This healthcare technology trend can accurately and quickly process a lot more data than the human brain. So AI tools can reduce human errors in diagnosis and treatment and allow doctors to work with more patients. For example, image recognition technology will help to diagnose some diseases that cause changes to appearance (diabetes, optical deviations, and dermatological diseases). It’s also likely that in future people will be able to diagnose themselves. DIY medical diagnosis apps will probably ask some questions, process a patient’s care history, and then show possible diagnoses based on the current symptoms. But as this technology isn’t advanced yet, patients should be careful with DIY medical apps and self-medication.

Medical research and drug discovery

The future of drug discovery and medical research lies in deep learning technology. Deep learning is a field of machine learning that’s able to model the way neurons interact with each other in the brain. This allows medical systems to process large sets of data to quickly identify drug candidates with a high probability of success. A Pharma IQ report says that about 94 percent of pharma specialists believe that AI technologies will have a noticeable impact on drug discovery over the next two years. Even today, pharmaceutical giants such as Merck, Celgene, and GSK are working on drug discovery in collaboration with AI platforms, predicting AI to be the primary drug discovery tool in the future.

Better workflow management and accounting

There are a lot of routine and tiresome tasks that medical workers have to do apart from caring for patients. AI can reduce staff overload by automating monotonous tasks such as accounting, scheduling, managing electronic health records, and paperwork.

IoMT

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) includes various devices connected to each other via the internet. Nowadays, this technology trend in healthcare is used for remote monitoring of patients’ well-being by means of wearables. For example, ECG monitors, mobile apps, fitness trackers, and smart sensors can measure blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, glucose level, and more and set reminders for patients. One recently introduced IoMT wearable device, the Apple Watch Series 4, is able to measure heart rate, count calories burned, and even detect a fall and call emergency numbers. The FDA has recently approved a pill with sensors called Abilify MyCite that can digitally track if a patient has taken it.

IoMT technology is still evolving and is forecasted to reach about 30 billion devices worldwide by 2021 according to Frost & Sullivan.

  • IoMT will contribute sensors and systems in the healthcare industry to capture data and deliver it accurately.
  • IoMT technology can reduce the costs of healthcare solutions by allowing doctors to examine patients remotely.
  • IoMT can help doctors gather analytics to predict health trends.

 

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Healthcare Providers & Vendors Need HIPAA Cloud Solution!

Healthcare Providers & Vendors Need HIPAA Cloud Solution! | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Cloud solutions are quickly becoming the new norm for the way businesses operate today. Many companies are moving from legacy software systems to online “hosted” alternatives, such as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) or IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service). The benefits of cloud-based solutions over desktop software are wide-ranging, affecting everything from productivity to data security. Healthcare organizations also need to take the appropriate precautions to ensure that they have a HIPAA compliance cloud.

 

It makes sense to see why so many organizations are adopting cloud-based solutions–improved efficiency, flexibility, cost reduction, mobility, as well as around the clock support are all driving forces behind the growth of cloud services.

 

Yet, HIPAA compliance cloud services also raise some concerns in regards to security and compliance, which go hand-in-hand to help organizations keep their sensitive healthcare data safe. For businesses operating in the healthcare industry, which accounts for approximately one-fifth of the US economy, these concerns escalate due to HIPAA regulatory requirements that mandate the privacy and security of patients’ protected health information (PHI). PHI is any demographic information that can be used to identify a patient. Common examples of PHI include names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, medical records, and full facial photos, to name a few.

 

HIPAA applies to covered entities, such as providers and insurance plans, as well as business associates who perform certain functions for, or on behalf of another health care organization that involves receiving, maintaining, or transmitting PHI.

 

For example, a cloud service provider (CSP) who are involved in handling PHI for a covered entity whether it is data storage or a complete software solution such as a hosted electronic medical record system, are still considered a business associate and need to implement a HIPAA compliance cloud.

HIPAA Compliance in the Cloud

In a nutshell, both covered entities and business associates need a HIPAA compliance cloud that allows for the creation of an effective compliance programThe Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released detailed, five-step guidance on cloud computing that parties must adhere to in order to maintain HIPAA compliant relationships. This HHS guidance on HIPAA compliance cloud services includes:

 

  1. Execute a Business Associate Agreement– A business associate agreement outlines what business associates can and cannot do with the PHI they access, how they will protect that PHI, how they will prevent PHI disclosure, and the appropriate method for reporting a breach of PHI  if one would occur. It also defines liability in the event of a data breach.
  2. Conduct a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment– The covered entity or business associate that works with a cloud service provider must document the cloud computing environment and security solutions put in place by the cloud service provider as part of their risk management policies.
  3. Abide by the HIPAA Privacy Rule– A covered entity must enforce proper safeguards in order to keep PHI safe and information can only be disclosed to a business associate after a business associate agreement has been executed.
  4. Implement HIPAA Security Safeguards– A business associate must comply with all three key security safeguards outlined in the HIPAA Security Rule: Physical, Technical and Administrative.
  5. Adhere to the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule- In the event of a data breach, covered entities and business associates are required to document and investigate the incident. All breaches must be reported to HHS OCR. All affected parties must be notified as well.

 

The only exception to the Breach Notification Rule is if the data was properly encrypted. If, for example, a properly encrypted device containing PHI goes missing, then there is a low probability that the data will be accessible by an unauthorized user. In this case, a breach will not have to be reported under the provisions of the Breach Notification Rule.

 

However, it is crucial that all HIPAA covered entities and business associates read the standards outlined in the regulation to determine the proper level of HIPAA encryption for different modes of data storage and transmission.

 

If a covered entity does not execute a Business Associate Agreement with a third party vendor with whom they share PHI, both organizations are leaving themselves exposed to a significant risk of HIPAA violations.

A HIPAA Compliant Cloud Will Save You Money

Data breaches are very costly–not only due to monetary penalties but also because of the long-lasting reputational damage a breach can have on an organization.

 

HIPAA breach fines can range anywhere from $100 to $50,000 per violation or record, with up to a maximum of $1.5 million per violation. When multiple violations or a large scale data breach occurs, these fines can compound and lead to millions of dollars in HIPAA fines. As if that isn’t bad enough, breaches are publicly listed on the “Wall of Shame,” maintained and enforced by HHS OCR. This list shows all HIPAA breaches affecting 500 or more individuals. Even worse, some HIPAA violations can lead to criminal charges, carrying the potential for jail time.

 

In order to avoid violations and fines, healthcare providers and business associates must comply with HIPAA regulations which means protecting the security and privacy of their patients.

Compliance Group Can Help!

Compliance Group helps healthcare professionals and business associates effectively address their HIPAA compliance with our cloud-based app, The Guard. The Guard allows users to achieve, illustrate, and maintain compliance, addressing everything that the law requires.

 

Users are paired with one of our expert Compliance Coaches. They will guide you through every step of the process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Compliance Group simplifies compliance so you can get back to confidently running your business.

 

And in the event of a data breach or HIPAA audit, our Audit Response Team works with users through the entire documentation and reporting process. At Compliance Group, we go above and beyond to help demonstrate your good faith effort toward HIPAA compliance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset Used to Fight Phobias

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset Used to Fight Phobias | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
While the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality immersion device, is slated for release only early next year, researchers are already trying to implement practical uses for it. At Santa Clara University a couple engineering and computer science students are working on using the Rift to fight phobias, initially focusing on a fear of heights and flying. With a background in video games, the pair teamed up with the chair of the university’s psychology department to study how phobias are treated and how to create a virtual reality experience that will progressively address patient fears.

The investigators came up with a system that pairs a Rift headset with a touchscreen tablet. The patient wears the Rift, while a therapist uses the tablet to guide the experience and tailor it to the patient’s unique needs. In their heights simulation, for example, the treatment starts with the patient virtually standing on top of a building. Initially it is not very tall, but the therapist can slowly increase the building’s height while watching the emotional response of the patient. By increasing the height without terrifying the patient, the therapy can gently nudge acrophobics to get used to being on tall objects and hopefully eventually lose their fear.

While the heights in the virtual world may frighten patients, the team noted that because wearers of the device know they can take it off at any time, they seem to more accepting of trying out the system. Of course an important step will be to actually test the system with real patients to see whether it is truly effective at allaying fears once and for all.
Lyfe Media's curator insight, June 17, 2015 10:01 AM

The Oculus Rift virtual headset is going to create a world of opportunity for doctors, therapists, and counselors alike. Dealing with patients and their fears can be one of the most difficult topics to approach, especially since a lot of our fears are irrational or impossible. It's exciting to see the world of technology colliding with modern medicine in such an innovative, helpful way.

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Research surgical robot hacked by computer science experts

Research surgical robot hacked by computer science experts | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have demonstrated the ability to remotely hack a research surgical robot, the RAVEN II platform.


Before continuing, I’ll stop to clarify one thing. The RAVEN II is not a clinically used surgical robot like, say, the Da Vinci surgical robot. It’s an “open-source” surgical robot developed at the University of Washington to test and demonstrate advanced concepts in robotic surgery. We contacted Applied Dexterity which is now in charge of the RAVEN platform and according to co-founder David Drajeske,

The RAVEN II platform is not approved for use on humans. The system has been placed at 18 robotics research labs worldwide…that are using it to make advances in surgical robotics technologies…The low level software is open-source and it is designed to be “hackable” or readily reprogrammed.

Clinically used surgical robots, like the Da Vinci platform, operate on secure local networks using proprietary (i.e. not publicly available) communications protocols between the console and the robot. By contrast, RAVEN II can work on unsecured public networks and uses a publicly available communications protocol (see below). So while some have proclaimed an imminent threat to robotic surgery, that’s simply not the case.


That said, the work does have interesting implications; as pointed out by Mr. Drajeske and co-founder Blake Hannaford, RAVEN II is a great platform for testing these type of security issues. Tamara Bonaci, a graduate student at the University of Washigton, led this study to test the security vulnerabilities that could threaten surgeons using these tools and their patients. In this simulation, they aimed to recreate an environment that would be more akin to using these robots in remote areas.


They tested a series of attacks on the RAVEN II system while an operator used it to complete a simulated task – moving rubber blocks around.


They found that not only were they able to disrupt the “surgeon” by causing erratic movements of the robot, they were able to hijack the robot entirely. They also discovered they were able to easily access the video feed from the robot.


One of the main use cases highlighted for surgical robots, or any number of medical robots for that matter, is that they can function in remote, difficult to reach, and underserved areas. In those areas, some of the conditions of this study are likely to be present – like having to use a relatively unsecured data network. And for cost reasons, using a more open-source platform may be important. So this study does however raise interesting questions about the use of medical robots – it just doesn’t mean that clinically used surgical robots are under some imminent threat.


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A Hospital Is Already Giving Apple Watch To Its Patients

A Hospital Is Already Giving Apple Watch To Its Patients | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch began arriving in homes and businesses across America on Friday.


And in New Orleans, one doctor immediately strapped it to his patient’s wrist.


“We need to fundamentally change behavior,” says that doctor — Richard Milani. “And the Apple Watch has the potential to [do] it.”

Milani is the Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Ochsner Health System, and overseeing what the hospital calls a first-of-its-kind trial: Giving Apple Watch to patients who struggle with high blood pressure, and seeing if it prompts them to take their medication, to make positive changes in lifestyle, and simply, to just get up and move around.


And Milani believes that the potential opportunity is huge: More than 80% of U.S. health care spending goes toward chronic disease. And many of those diseases are exceedingly preventable.


Apple Watch part of Ochsner’s broader strategy

While it doesn’t have the national profile of some health systems, Ochsner has been working hard to be a leader in digital medicine.


  • More than a year ago, the hospital launched an “O Bar” — deliberately modeled on Apple’s Genius Bar — to help patients pick through the thousands of health and wellness apps available to them.
  • Six months ago, Ochsner became the first hospital to integrate its Epic electronic health record system with Apple’s HealthKit software.
  • And in February, Ochsner launched its “Hypertension Digital Medicine Program,” a pilot program where several hundred patients regularly measure their own blood pressure and heart rate ratings using wireless cuffs, which then send that data through Apple’s HealthKit (and collects it in their medical records). Based on the results, Ochsner staff then make real-time adjustments to the patients’ medication and lifestyle.


The new Apple Watch trial builds off the hospital’s existing digital medicine program, Milani says. And he began Friday’s pilot with his longtime patient Andres Rubiano, a 54-year-old who’s spent the past twenty years trying to manage his chronic hypertension.

Rubiano says that his two months participating in Ochsner’s digital medicine program have been “comforting” — he enjoys the constant monitoring — and have already led him to make changes in diet and exercise.

“It’s been a life-changer for me,” he says.

But the Apple Watch has the potential to go further. Its customized alerts and prompts encourage immediate interventions. When we spoke on Friday afternoon, just six hours or so after he began wearing the Apple Watch, Rubiano raved about the subtle taps on his wrist.

“It’s like I have Milani as my buddy right next to me,” Rubiano said, “just nudging me to get up off your [behind] and walk around, or saying, hey, take your meds.”

Milani acknowledges there’s limited evidence that wearable technologies can directly lead to the health improvements he’s hoping to see.


But he plans to quickly enroll about two dozen patients in his Apple Watch trial, in order to begin collecting data on whether the Watch is actually making a difference. (Other patients in the hypertension program will act as the control group.) And he’s optimistic that wearable technology will pay dividends in health.

“For whatever reason, health care doesn’t do a very good job of creating [the necessary] behavior change,” Milani says. “But many of these new technologies have that ability.”

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Why Wearable Technology is Good for your Health

Why Wearable Technology is Good for your Health | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch and Adidas’s plans for including wearable technology in its shoe and clothing lines have been drawing attention recently, as the age of always-accessible information is upon us. In the era of the Internet of Things — when our homes are linked to our smartphones and everything else is linked to a network — it’s still somewhat surprising to realize that entire industries have yet to be transformed by increased connectivity. Until recently, one of those areas was arguably the health field. Yes, files have been switched to online servers for some time now. But it’s only been in the past year or so that the health industry has begun to be revolutionized by the possibilities technology offers.

With an increase in the number of apps and medical devices that patients can use on their own, the challenge becomes providing a way for that information to be shared seamlessly, said Liat Ben-Zur, senior vice president and digital technology leader at Philips. Ben-Zur spoke with The Next Web at SXSW about how the company is attempting to create a platform that could share numerous data points about a person’s health with their doctors.
 
 
Health solutions at your fingertips

“Right now, what we’re seeing is there’s a general health care problem on the horizon that we want to be focusing on,” she said in the interview. The aging population in America is seeing an uptick in chronic diseases, Ben-Zur said, and almost 70% of the health care costs in the industry right now are going toward managing those diseases. As patients seek to monitor those, they’re using more apps and devices that monitor diet, blood pressure, weight, and all sorts of data that can help doctors to determine the best course of treatment. And while that allows consumers to take their health into their own hands, much of that data is still scattered and fragmented, because of the framework of how the data is collected.

“All of these different wearables … they’re all sending their information to their own databases, and nothing’s being shared,” Ben-Zur said. Patients might track their biological data over time, but it’s not easily combined with x-rays taken by a specialist, a list of medications they’re currently taking, and the environmental factors like air quality that could also affect their prognosis.

The benefit of all sorts of “smart” technology is that doctors could start to get a better picture of what is actually affecting a patient’s health by looking at a myriad of factors. Some health devices are already HIPAA-compliant for medical use and regulated by the government, Ben-Zur said. Not only is there a potential to collect traditional health data, she added, but there’s a possibility that non-regulated home devices like HVAC systems, refrigerators, and coffee makers could be connected to an open-cloud platform that could provide a wealth of contextual information. If all the devices are truly “smart” and are able to connect to the Internet but also share information, “we can start to actually leverage the benefits of wearables devices, of home monitoring devices.”

So the company, in a partnership with salesforce.com, created HealthSuite, a secure cloud-based platform that aggregates all sorts of health data that is accessible for patients and health care providers. If a patient is wearing a device that transmits their vital sign information to the cloud, a doctor can view that data on an app and monitor the person’s health even when they’re not in the same room. The video above gives an overview of how HealthSuite works.

Philips isn’t the only brand to offer real-time medical collaboration, though the idea is still rather novel. Though perhaps not as comprehensive as Ben-Zur describes as the potential for Philips, drchrono.com offers one-stop health care services with its Electronic Health Record, or EHR, platform. Patients can upload health information, make appointments with their doctors, and receive electronic prescriptions through one website and app. Apple also began offering a Health app with its iOS8 launch in September 2014, which can track all sorts of data such as calories consumed, sleep data, vital signs, and more. Along with that launch, Apple also created HealthKit for app developers, which enables independent fitness apps to share their data with the Health app dashboard. All of that information can be shared with medical professionals, directly through the app.


Security’s role in connected health care

So what’s the catch with all of this seemingly great cooperation? According to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, it’s security. In her statements at the International Consumer Electronics Show in January 2015, Ramirez said that addressing security issues is paramount to ensure that consumers truly benefit from the Internet of Things. “That data trove will contain a wealth of revealing information that, when patched together, will present a deeply personal and startlingly complete picture of each of us – one that includes details about our financial circumstances, our health, our religious preferences, and our family and friends,” she said. Later in the speech, she elaborated on the specific threat that data breaches have, the probability of which increases with the more connected devices people use. “Moreover, the risks that unauthorized access create intensify as we adopt more and more devices linked to our physical safety, such as our cars, medical care, and homes,” Ramirez said.

The health care industry is particularly at risk in the current digital environment. The Global State of Information Security Survey for 2015, administered by PricewaterhouseCooper, shows that “information security incidents” (read: breaches) jumped 60% in 2014 compared to 2013, and the costs attributed to those incidents increased by 282%. A growing number of health providers are reporting that they are investing more in security, especially at an executive level, according to the study. However, there’s a disconnect in bringing those discussions to a board of directors level.

The potential for adding health care initiatives to the Internet of Things is a huge benefit, because it can allow consumers and doctors to become more proactive, instead of reactive to a current health need. Ben-Zur praised this, as did the Atlantic Council and Intel Security in a report titled, “The Healthcare Internet of Things: Rewards and Risks.” According to a separate Intel Security survey of more than 12,000 adults in 2013, a large majority of people are receptive to using this form of sharing information to improve their health. Of the respondents, 70% of adults said they would be willing to use swallowed monitors, prescription bottle sensors, and even toilet sensors to improve personal care.


How does the field move forward?

With that in mind, it’s likely that the biggest obstacle for widespread use is the potential for data theft. While that might always be a concern with online files, several of the companies are already addressing the issue. Apple’s information is encrypted and drchrono’s data is under HIPAA protections. Philips doesn’t discuss the security details of its HealthSuite, but in every announcement about it, including a press release to publicize the launch, the company emphasizes the platform has built-in security to create a secure cloud environment.

The risks are still present. “Since the IoT is still in its infancy, no one yet knows all the ways this information can be used for malicious purposes,” the Atlantic Council and Intel Security wrote. However, with companies continuing to try to improve their security measures, while also providing new tools to monitor health, it’s likely that the health field will become the next industry reshaped by the Internet of Things.

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How Technology is Driving the Next Wave of Telemedicine

How Technology is Driving the Next Wave of Telemedicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The growth in business cases for new models of healthcare delivery and integration of digital health technology is reaching the point of convergence — creating powerful synergies where there was once only data silos and skepticism.


We have not quite achieved this synergy yet, but opportunities emerging in 2015 will move the industry much closer to the long-awaited initiatives in connected, value-based care.

Individuals are constantly hyper-connected to a variety of technology networks and devices. Wearables will continue to enter the market, but their features and focus will go well beyond fitness. Even the devices entering the market now are more sophisticated than ever before. Some are now equipped with tools like muscle activity tracking, EEG, breath monitoring, and UV light measurement.

It will be fascinating to watch how consumer electronics, wearables, and clinical devices continue to merge and take new forms. Some particularly interesting examples will be in the categories of digital tattoos, implantable devices, and smart lenses.

As the adoption of wearables continues to grow, we will continue to see more value placed on accessing digital health data by healthcare and wellness organizations. This will be especially important as healthcare shifts towards value-based models of care. The need to gain access to the actionable data on connected devices will only grow as innovation creates more complex technologies in the market.

This is the year the promise of telehealth will be realized. It is projected that by 2018, 65 percent of interactions with health organizations will take place via mobile devices. Those statistics speak to the need of satisfying the growing demands being placed on providers, along with the growing discernment among patients when it comes to selecting affordable and convenient medical services. The continued adoption of telehealth will extend the point of care for providers and provide ubiquitous access to medical professionals for patients.

A number of entities are already putting this into practice: Walgreens, in partnership with MDLIVE, recently expanded their mobile platform to offer virtual doctors visits for acutely-ill patients; Google is testing a HIPAA-compliant medicine platform for video chats with doctors; and, digital urgent care solutions, like Doctor on Demand, are growing in popularity due to their convenience and low cost.

Telemedicine will not only extend the point of care, but will also be critical in better combatting chronic disease. Managing chronic health conditions will become the focus of many healthcare providers, as models of reimbursement and population health management (PHM) continue to replace fee-for-service models. One issue with chronic disease management is that it is difficult to monitor at-risk patients outside of the hospital. This is where telemedicine comes in.

Prescribed devices and applications to better handle chronic conditions will increase in pervasiveness. This idea of prescribing mobile health to better manage disease states translates to a host of chronic conditions – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer.

For example, our client UCSF uses devices like step trackers, sleep trackers, scales and blood pressure monitors to track patients at-risk for heart disease or cardiac readmissions. Another client, UNC is creating a Gastro-Intestinal tracking application (GI Buddy) that leverages fitness devices and scales to monitor Chron’s disease. There are thousands of studies pioneering innovations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare. And, they are making serious strides.

The automatic transmission of pertinent patient data from these mobile health technologies is propelling forward capabilities for cost-effective, efficient and successful remote patient monitoring, population management and patient engagement programs.

However, as telehealth and telemedicine capabilities continue to develop, the major hurdle for most providers is integrating and the mobile health data collected outside of the hospital back into the clinical story for use in the provision of care. In a value-based healthcare system, the key to better outcomes lies in data, and specifically, obtaining access to data generated outside of the provider setting.

Platform services will continue to be vital partnerships as healthcare systems are expected to quickly execute on all these initiatives simultaneously and successfully. Bottom line:  The industry is transforming, and if you have not started talking about how to connect to those external data sources, then you need to start.

These emerging trends will continue to bind the landscapes of technology, healthcare, and business. The road set upon long ago by medical professionals and legislators is finally coming to fruition. The walls of interoperability are beginning to come down, investments are growing, partnerships are forming, and consumers are starting to take notice. We are moving towards a digital health revolution. We have the opportunity, the responsibility, and the honor, to align healthcare and technology innovation to exponentially improve our care system. It is a tall task, but we are off to a promising start.


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