Friday, March 27, 2015


Those in the digital health space have many opportunities to chose from applications, hardware and the cloud to make the most of their IT investments.  The challenge is made that much harder by the seemingly overwhelming number of choices available.

Step number 

1. Focus and narrow your objectives. 2. Establish your budget  3. Find an efficient source for comparing objects of desire.
4. Enjoy the is almost as much fun as catching your prey.
5. When looking for hardware try Engadget's Shopping Tool.

Compare products

The sign of a true geek is not the pencil holder in his shirt, but the list of gadgets he uses.

Ever feel like seeing all the specs stacked up at once? The engadget comparison tool's got you more than covered. Save, sort, highlight, and share your comparisons of up to five products in each category! Add to your comparisons whenever you see a product around the site, or start a comparison by clicking any category below. And don't worry about losing your place, we've got all your stuff stored for later, accessible from the menu bar.

Engadget now has a tool for comparing all sorts of geekology, ranging from computers to cameras, and home audio, and right down to those 'thumb drives'.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Global Progress in Mobile Health Applications

"Health apps will be normal in 20 years time"- - but what do we do in the meantime?

The adoption of mobile health is a global phenomenon, not only in the United States.

"The mHealth app industry has created a lot of hype recently. The number of mHealth apps has surpassed the 100,000 mark, big players like Apple and Samsung have announced new enabling platforms, sensor-integrating mHealth business models have caught a lot of press coverage and investors are lining up to push money into the market."

Still, the number of solutions that are integrated into the daily routines of healthcare professionals and that are reimbursed by payer organizations is limited. So what is the actual status of the mHealth industry and where will it be in 5 years?

Attributions:  research2guidance

Mhealth is developing not only in clinical medicine but also in allied health and non-health industries.

Analysis reveals several suprises despite 'hype' about mobile health and other mobile apps.

"Today’s mHealth app publishers and Wannabes predominantly target chronically ill patients (31%) and health and fitness-interested people (28%). As primary users, physicians are targeted by 14% of app developers. mHealth app publishers could be categorized into 6 main groups: traditional healthcare players, helpers, mobile app specialists, connectors, medical and fitness specialists. Out of these groups, traditional healthcare players like Pharma and hospitals have the longest way ahead of themselves to find their role in the mHealth app ecosystem. mHealth app publishers have released an average of 7 mHealth apps. The majority (36%) have entered the market only recently (2013&2014). An mHealth app publisher typically hires 3-10 (23%) or 11-100 (23%) employees. The vast majority of mHealth app publishers (82%) generated less than 50,000 downloads with their mHealth app portfolio last year, whereas the top 5% reached more than 500,000 downloads. 68% of mHealth app publishers make less than USD 10,000 or no revenue. The middle income group, which makes between USD 50,000 and USD 1m, represents 17% of the publishers. The top 5% makes more than USD 1m. The most relevant revenue stream is linked to services which are offered via the apps."

The mHealth developer's 2014 Survey  outlines the progress thus far for the industry, and a 2015 survey by research2guidance is available online.  

      The study 
represents around 
     10% of 
 mHealth apps

The report also looks at the future trends, drivers and barriers of the mHealth app market. This includes the changes in distribution channels, the preference of app categories and mobile operating platforms, the impact of wearable and other types of sensors and the target groups which offer the highest business potential in the next 5 years. See how experts from all around the world rate what impact mHealth apps will have on healthcare costs and on how healthcare is going to be delivered in a 5-year time span. 

With 2,032 respondents from all over the world the fourth mHealth App Developer Economics study is by far the largest of its kind.

Sponsorship options for 2015 research programme available now. Get on front of the global mHealth app decision maker community Infos at

The relatively late market entry of a large proportion of the mHealth app publishers is one of the reasons why 50% of the publishers have by far released one or two mHealth apps only. There are also mHealth app publishers with more than 50 mHealth apps in their portfolio, but they represent only around 5% of the total mHealth publisher base. Today’s mHealth app publishers and Wannabes predominantly target chronically ill patients (31%) and health and fitness-interested people (28%). As primary users, physicians are targeted by 14% of app developers. The “Other” category includes nurses (2%) and health insurers (2%) as well as still different, but significantly smaller target groups.

Which mHealth platform ?

The preferred mobile operating platforms for mHealth app publishers today are Android (83%) and iOS (81%). All other platforms are far behind. The importance of the second tier platforms like WindowsPhone and HTML5 is significantly higher among Wannabes. 51% and 45% of future app publishers plan to release mHealth apps for WindowsPhone or HTML5. 

In the much diversified landscape of mHealth app publishers, there are six groups which stand out in terms of their goals and market approaches. 

1. Traditional healthcare players: This group includes Pharma, hospitals, health insurance and Med-tech companies, representing 3.4% of the total number of app publishers. They usually belong to the mHealth app publishers with > 5,000 employees. Their primary objective is to raise brand awareness. They have published the largest number of mHealth apps, but their average reach, in terms of downloads, is far below the average. App publishers from this group are so far the least satisfied with the achievements in the mHealth app market. The use of tools and APIs to improve the efficiency of the app development process and app monitoring as well as the value of the app is below its competitors. 

2. App specialists: App specialists are small companies with typically 3-10 employees. They have entered the mHealth app market to benefit from the revenue potential. They have an app developer background and are familiar with the available development tools. The medical experts’ share on board is the lowest of all the mHealth app category share Chronically ill people 31% Health and fitness interested people 28% Physicians 14% Temporarily ill people 8% Hospitals 7% Others 12% Source: reserch2guidance mHealth App Developer Economics survey 2014, n=2032 © research2guidance 2014 18 research2guidance’s mHealth App Developer Economics 2014 groups under consideration (40%). This group represents 14% of the total mHealth app publisher community. 

3. Helper: Helpers are companies or individuals with the primary motivation of publishing mHealth apps in order to help others. Revenue generation is a minor factor. In terms of goal achievement, Helpers outdo all the other groups and sometimes even state to have over-achieved their goals. Helpers are typically small companies of 3-10 employees. They represent 32% of the market. Their download profile shows the highest share of companies (61%) which attracted less than 5,000 downloads last year. 

4. Medical specialists: Medical specialists leverage their medical know-how to develop mobile apps. Similar to the Helper group, Medical specialists have a large share of members who publish apps to help others. Usually by now, they have partly reached their goals. They have the highest share of companies that made more than USD 1m with their mHealth app portfolio. They represent 20% of the market. 

5. Fitness specialists: This group of app developers represents around 10% of the total mHealth app developer community. They primarily develop fitness apps with a clear objective to generate revenue. They connect more often to medical databases and sensors and their use of app development tools is above average. The typical company size is 11-100 employees. 

6. Connecters: This group of mHealth app publishers represents 18% of the total mHealth app developer community. Their strategy is to create value-rich apps by enabling connection to other apps, sensors and databases. This group generates the highest average revenue and has the highest achievement level of their goals.  

All mHealth app developer groups have similar platform preferences with iOS being the number one platform and Android the second ranked. Connectors and Medical Specialists have the highest platform preference for iOS (62%). Fitness and App Specialists have the highest share of companies which choose Android as their primary app platform (34% and 32%). Established Healthcare Players have the highest share with a WindowsPhone preference (13%). 

Comments: Downloads and revenue in 2013; Download numbers refer to a) less than 5,000 downloads b) more than 1 million downloads in 2013 across all platforms; API usage includes APIs that provide access to medical info, personal health data, medical devices and Health&Fitness tracking devices; Tool usage includes tools supporting app analytics, cross platform development, storage, test, ads and social network integration 

Source: reserch2guidance mHealth App Developer Economics survey 2014, n=2032 Establ. Health Players Helpers Medical Specialists Connecters App Specialists Fitness Specialists Brand awareness Revenue Help people Help people Revenue Revenue Goal of apps Downloads (<5k/ >1m) 67%/ 3.2% 25.7%/ 7.8% 42.7%/ 9.1% 51.4%/ 5.1% 39.4%/ 7.4% 39.0%/ 8.9% Revenues (0/ >1m) Goals achieved APIs usage low average average average high all low average average high Very heavy Tool usage high 13.5 7.4 10.7 7.5 11.3 11.3 # of mHealth apps mainly not partly partly mainly yes mainly yes mainly yes # Ø $ Percentage of total % 3,4% 14,3% 20,2% 32,3% 10,2% 18,0% 57,6% 40,1% 100% 47,5% 43,7% 49,7% Medical expert in team ✚ Ø Typical company size 5,000+ 3-10 3-10 3-10 11-100 11-100 53.1% / 7.7% 44.6% / 7.4% 58.6% / 6.3% 61.2% / 5.8% 60.1% / 6.4% 43.3% / 6.7% © research2guidance 2014 20 research2guidance’s mHealth App Developer Economics 2014 It seems that traditional healthcare players put much effort into the mHealth app business, but have not found the right strategy yet. If they did, it would accelerate the market’s development, or as a survey participant puts it: “I feel if there were more corporate involvement in these apps that more people could be reached out to.

Publishers, Who are the most successful >

Lessons from successful mHealth app publishers 

Given the diverse set of goals mHealth app publishers pursue, success could be defined in many ways.  

The question is: What do mHealth app publishers who are economically successful do differently as compared with those who are not?

Economically successful publishers are defined as companies which have generated more than USD 1m revenue in 2013 (Millionaires). They are juxtaposed with Low Earners who earned less than USD 10,000 and Zero Earners with no income generated in the last year. 

There are six areas where Millionaires show significant deviations. These have been the distinguishing factors based on the survey results: 

1. The size of the mHealth app portfolio 
2. The preferred revenue model 
3. The number of years in the market 
4. The current use intensity of tools 
5. The current and planned usage of medical databases and devices (APIs) 
6. The platform preference Millionaires have a significantly higher share of app publishers with a considerable app portfolio. 

35% of Millionaires have released more than 20 mHealth apps. In contrast, Low & Zero Earners focus on one or two apps. 

The analysis also shows that within the group of Millionaires a single-app strategy is not the preferred approach. A larger app portfolio offers relatively larger cross selling potential and helps companies balance the risks in case of unsatisfactory performance of an individual app. As a result, such a company can better care for the overall economic performance of its mHealth app portfolio. 

Millionaires have Service 
  Sales as their primary 
  source of revenue. 
 Low Earners bet 
on Paid Downloads.

Millionaires also differ in their business model preference. As much as 35% of Millionaires state that their top revenue source are Service Sales. On the other hand, 31% of Low Earners state that their 1st rank revenue source are Paid Downloads

The strongest mobile health developers are already involved in other SAAS or HIT applications and the mHealth apps are only a portion or additon to their business line.

In fact, Millionaires have been involved in mHealth app publishing for 3.9 years on average, whereas Low & Zero Earners for 2.4 and 2.2 years respectively. Millionaires also make more use of tools to support development, performance monitoring and monetization of their apps. These tools include Ad Network (e.g. Admob, inMobi, Apple), Analytics (e.g. Flurry, Distimo, Localytics), Cross Platform (e.g. Marmalade, Unity, Adobe AIR), Performance (e.g. Crashlytics, Testflight, Hockeyapp), Social Network (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) and Storage tools (e.g. Dropbox, Box, Google Drive). 

The gaps in use levels are getting even more noticeable with regards to the way publishers connect/plan to connect to medical databases, devices and apps via APIs. There are four groups of APIs that companies make use of at a different level:  Medical info APIs: APIs that provide access to general health information databases for e.g. drug, food, disease, device information (MyNetDiary Food Search, FatSecret)  Personal health data APIs: APIs that provide access to personal health databases e.g. calorie intake, steps, weight, blood pressure (MyFitnessPal, Withings)  Medical device APIs: APIs that provide access to a medical device of a third-party vendor e.g. glucometer, blood pressure monitor (Accu Check, Freestyle, Withings)  Health & fitness tracking device APIs: APIs that provide access to health tracking devices of a third-party vendor e.g. heart rate monitoring belts, step tracking bracelets, scales (Fitbit, iHealth)

Sections of the report include:

API development
This development will lead to an explosion of health and fitness data collected by an increasing number of app and sensor users. Three different categories of vital parameters are captured today. 

1. Health & fitness tracking data: The majority of today’s metrics are activity and weight information like steps, kg/pounds and calories. The Connected Elite focuses on these measures. 

2. Patient monitoring data: The second category of vital signs belongs to apps which support the continuous management of a chronic condition. Apps which support this group of use cases allow for storage of a much broader range of different metrics such as vital signs, blood pressure, blood oxygen, blood glucose and brain waves, but have a substantially lower app user adoption. 

3. Medical examination data: The third category of vital signs is related to medical examinations. Patients/doctors capture the data with the help of an app or a sensor on a case-by-case basis. The number of different vital signs which fall into this category is much more extensive than those of the first two groups, but user adoption is much lower. Examples of vital signs and examinations in this group are respiratory rate, lung air volume, ECG, EEG, blood tests, color tests, urine tests and ultrasound imaging. 

The first group has the highest number of users who actively track vital signs and the lowest number of parameters. In contrast, the third group has the lowest number of users and the highest number of collected parameters. 

Outlook: What will be in 5 years time Before looking ahead what will happen in the next 5 years, it is worthwhile to look back to where the market started 5 years ago. 

In 2009 smartphones are just starting to play a role in the global mobile phones market. Only 13 % of all handsets shipped in Q1 2009 are smartphones. The vast majority of mobile phones that are purchased in this quarter are simple feature phones such as Nokia’s 63 series handsets. The most dominant mobile operating 
system for smartphones at that time is Symbian with an almost 50% market share (shipments). iPad is to be launched only one year later. 

Today Google and Apple dominate the operating systems market for mobile phones. The formerly leading market player Nokia and its operating system Symbian have been sold or disappeared altogether from the market. Smartphone shipments are projected to reach USD 1.2bn2 in 2014. This means that smartphones have become the global, No.1 connected device and, in addition, tablets are sold even more than laptops. 

The app market is developing with exceptional speed - 15 times faster than the growth rate of stationary internet users. 

What does this mean for the mHealth app market and its potential impact on the delivery of healthcare in 2019? First of all, with a few exceptions in developing regions (e.g. some in Africa), almost everybody in the world will have a device which could be targeted with an mHealth solution. 

The likelihood that soon doctors and patients will meet in the doctor’s office to talk about apps which could support medical treatments is very high, given the high penetration rate of smartphones and tablets among doctors and the interest app users/patients show in mHealth apps3 . 

It also means that not only will new players such as sensor vendors or mHealth data aggregators enter the healthcare market, but also that they will become the dominant participants. Traditional healthcare players need to understand what impact e.g. health API and data aggregators will have on their business models. A clear understanding of the growing connected mHealth app market is indispensible for those traditional healthcare players who do not wish to be left out from the new ecosystem. 

Finally, even though there are and will be good arguments that mHealth apps will not have a big impact on the way healthcare is delivered given the high resistance by traditional healthcare players, consumers will set the pace and the market will need to follow. 

On the other hand, the majority of app developers who concentrate on mHealth have not had a successful market entry yet. The hesitant activities of traditional payers like health insurers and companies, still slows down the overall development of the market. It will take a while until mHealth apps become as widely used as a thermometer or as a survey participants envisions it: “In 20 years, mHealth apps will be the normal way of managing health” Survey Participant.

During the past five years the annual HIT hype is about mHealth. The reality is it hasn't happened yet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The WEGO Awards

If you are like me, you probably do not know what 'WEGO' stands for, however hopefully this post will bring ..CLARITY

During the past half decade or so, health social media has gone big time.  There are many celebrity physicians and patients on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube among other sites.

WEGO may become the Academy Awards for #hcsm (health care social media)

  • WEGO Health is home to social media’s most active online health community -- Health Activists. These influencers, organizers, connectors, leaders and contributors are passionate about helping others lead healthier lives.
  • Company Overview
    WEGO Health is a different kind of social media company – our mission is to empower the top 10% of online health social medi... See More
  • Mission
    Empowering Health Activists to help others
  • Products
    Passionate, knowledgeable and committed Health Activists!
  • Email

For todays' 2015 WEGO Awards. (turn your sound up, but no too high)


This year, there were so many amazing finalists for the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is given to those health leaders who need to be recognized for their longstanding advocacy that has stood the test of time, and continues to influence and improve the lives of their community. 
Find out who the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award is by watching this Flipagram!

This award is given to our best, most promising new member of the Health Activist community, in support of their past work and bright future!
Find out the winner of Rookie of the Year in this short clip HAAwards

After a year of amazing blogs, tweets, posts, and videos, it's time the winner of the Best Kept Secret Award steps out in the spotlight!
Find out the winner of the Best Kept Secret Award in this Flipagram! ‪#‎HAAwards

There were so many amazing finalists for the Best Team Performance Award. This award is meant for those teams who work better together. Whether it be a group that runs an online chat, a non-profit organization, or a caregiver and patient duo – this award is for a team that takes their activism to new heights because of their collaboration. Find out who the winner of the Best Team Performance Award is by watching this Flipagram ‪#‎HAAwards‬

There were so many amazing finalists for the Advocating for Another Award. This award is meant for a Health Activist who dedicates their time and love to family members and friends with health conditions. They not only are caregivers for these loved ones, but raise awareness through their online blogs, social media presence and websites. Find out who the winner of the Advocating for Another Award is by watching this Flipagram ‪#‎HAAwards‬

This year, there were so many amazing finalists for the Hilarious Health Activist Award. This award is given to the truly funny Health Activists who bring a lightness that the online health community needs. They address serious subjects with humor – and we love them for it.
Find out who the winner of the Hilarious Health Activist Award is by watching this Flipagram ‪#‎HAAwards‬

This year, there were so many amazing finalists for the Best In Show: Community Award. This award is given to someone who has mastered the art of creating an inviting space for newcomers, while still keeping a safe space that people have come to rely on.
Find out who the winner is of the Best In Show: Community Award by watching this Flipagram ‪#‎HAAwards‬

This year, there were so many fantastic finalists for the Best in Show: Blog Award. This award is given to a Health Activist who uses blogging as a way to raise awareness and connect with the online community.

Today is the day! We'll be announcing the winners of the Fourth Annual WEGO Health Activist Awards - Check out the Flipagram below for the ceremony times ‪#‎HAAwards‬

Find out who the winner of the Best in Show: Blog Award is by watching this Flipagram ‪#‎HAAwards‬

This year, there were so many amazing finalists for Best in Show: Twitter. This award is given to the Health Activist who has mastered the art of getting their message across in 140 characters or less.
Find out who the winner of the Best in Show: Twitter Award is by watching this Flipagram ‪#‎HAAwards‬

This year, there were so many amazing finalists for the Best in Show: Facebook Award. This award goes to the Health Activist who does a top notch job of engaging and raising awareness on Facebook.
Find out who the winner of the Best in Show: Facebook Award is by watching this Flipagram ‪#‎HAAwards‬

This year, there were so many amazing finalists for the Best in Show: YouTube Award. This award is given to a YouTube Health Activist that deserves 5 stars for their efforts in the online health community.
Find out who the winner of the Best in Show: YouTube Award is by watching this Flipagram ‪#‎HAAwards‬

The finalists for this year’s Best in Show: Google+ Award were fantastic! This award is for the people who are out-of-this-world Health Activists on Google+. They inform, inspire and connect with members of their communities on Google+!
Watch this short video to find out the winner of Best in Show: Google+

We saw so many amazing finalists for the Best in Show: Instagram Award. This award recognizes the Health Activists who tell their story or raise awareness with pictures instead of words. And now, the moment we’ve been waiting for!
Find out who the winner of the Best in Show: Instagram Award is by watching this short video

It has been a long night here in Southern California time to go home, drive safely and see you next year !

Digital Media Darlings Unfazed by the Fall of the News Site Gigaom

Readers of my blog are usually 'techies' and follow many online sources for tech information. These have included industry giants such as Wired, ReadWriteWeb, Techcrunch, and Gigaom as well as  companies like Business Insider, Recode, Vice, Politico, Vox and BuzzFeed? 

Without any forewarning, GIGAOM ceased operations yesterday. Their website is still online (as of 1300 hrs, PDT) . It is a worthwhile look while it is still up.  Hopefully someone will archive it for history buffs.

In the week and a half since the technology news site Gigaom stopped publishing, it has been held up as a cautionary tale for media in a go-go era. Here was a news organization that once looked promising, but had collapsed so unexpectedly that its reporters were working on stories right up to the moment they were told they were out of jobs.
Could the same fate befall other apparent darlings of media’s new gilded age — companies like Business Insider, Recode, Vice, Politico, Vox and BuzzFeed? Many of them, like Gigaom, have raised boatloads of financing and have tried to create a mix of businesses, including advertising, conferences and subscriptions, to turn a profit.  But Gigaom’s downfall does not offer easy lessons for media start-ups. Gigaom, pronounced Giga-ohm, was special, and not in a good way, according to more than half a dozen staffers and executives, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing nondisclosure agreements with the company. It was a company troubled by poor leadership, a history of spending beyond its means and an inattention to major problems that had dogged its businesses for years.
i will miss this gem of a website. Although plagued with poor and misaligned management  it always seemed to be one of the first with breaking techie treats.
Started by Om Malik in (2009) who left the company one year ago, it had a significant following and a large research department.  Mr. Malik had a broad background in financing and publisihing, having worked for Forbes.
Malik moved to New York City in 1993 to be a writer for India Abroad and then for Forbes.[3] He was also a senior writer forRed Herring, focusing on the telecommunications sector, and later became a senior writer there. In late 1994, he launched, an events site for Indian immigrants. That same year, he co-founded the South Asian Journalists Association(SAJA). In 1995 he helped launch the now-defunct magazine, Masala, and its website, a South Asian portal.
In 1997, Malik was on the original team at led by David Churbuck. In 1999 he left to work in theventure capital world, serving as an investment manager at Hambrecht & Quist Asia Pacific; his stay there lasted only a few months because he decided he preferred being a writer.
In 2000, he moved to San Francisco, California to write for Business 2.0 magazine. In 2001, he started GigaOM, a blogpublished by GigaOmniMedia, Inc. in San Francisco.[4] The website has a monthly global audience of 500,000,[4] is among the top 50 blogs worldwide by Technorati Rank,[5] and is part of CNet's 100 Most Influential Blogs.[6]
His first book, Broadbandits: Inside the $750 Billion Telecom Heist, was released on May 15, 2003.[7] Malik's writings have also appeared in newspapers and magazines such as The Wall Street JournalBrandweek, and Crain's New York Business.
Malik announced on June 12, 2006, that he was going to work on GigaOM full-time, although he is still a contributing editor and writes a column for Business 2.0. In addition to GigaOM, he also writes for the blogs Web Worker Daily and Tablatronic.
On July 25, 2007, Malik started an podcast on Revision3 called The GigaOm Show hosted by himself and Joyce Kim. On March 27, 2008 he put the show on hiatus to focus on other things, among them his health. The show primarily focuses on technology and business. Malik was also a frequent guest on the former CrankyGeeks podcast with John C. Dvorak.

On March 9, 2015, Malik announced on his blog that GigaOm, the company he left about a year ago, ceased operations and "and its assets are now controlled by the company’s lenders.[8]

We wish him well. Take care Om.  Life is short.  Thanks for the memories

Monday, March 16, 2015

Blue Button Initiative (s) 2014, 2015

Personal health records have had a lackluster adoption by patients and their families.  

The Veterans' Administration initiated the Blue Button as a method for veterans to download their VA medical history. 

The "My Health Vet" provides  the access page for downloading Vet's health records. 

My HealtheVet is VA’s online personal health record. It was designed for Veterans, active duty Servicemembers, their dependents and caregivers. My HealtheVet helps you partner with your health care team. It provides you opportunities and tools to make informed decisions and manage your health care

Sample Data available from the Blue Button 

Among the newest features available to Veterans with a Premium Account include VA Notes.  These are clinical notes that your health care team records during your appointments or hospital stays.  Also available are your VA Immunization records, more detailed lab reports and a list of your current medical issues. These features are in addition to prescription refills, VA Appointments and Secure Messaging – all very popular with Veterans!

Study: Low Awareness, Usability Limit Veterans' Blue Button Adoption

Paradoxically the awareness and use of the Blue Button has lagged. The use of personal health records by non- VA patients is also poor.

A recent study in March 2015 re-evaluated the Use of the Blue Burron Initiative.  The results were disappointing.

Details of Survey

The survey was conducted between Oct. 31, 2014, and Dec. 8, 2014. It included 274 responses from a variety of stakeholders (Clinical Innovation & Technology, 3/16).
WEDI, a designated adviser to HHS under HIPAA, sent the survey findings to HHS on Friday (WEDI release, 3/15).  


The survey found that 49% of respondents in 2014 said they were unaware of the Blue Button tool, up from 32% in 2013. Researchers attributed the change to the fact that the 2014 survey added providers that are not eligible for incentives under the meaningful use program (WEDI letter, 3/13).
Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
Insurer and provider respondents increased their use of Direct -- a federally sponsored messaging protocol -- to transmit data compared with 2013, while technology developer and government respondents decreased their use of Direct for such purposes.
Among all respondents, use of Direct with Secure Blue Button Trust decreased from 15% in 2013 to 8% in 2014 (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 3/16).
Meanwhile, the survey found that health care organizations are increasingly using integrated EHRs and medical device data to populate PHRs accessible through Blue Button. The survey also found that use of integrated EHR data to populate PHRs through Blue Button increased to 100% in 2014 among government respondents, up from 60% in 2013. Meanwhile, use of integrated EHRs remained consistent among providers in the same time period.
In addition, researchers found that both providers and government respondents increased their use of medical device data to populate PHRs that are accessible through Blue Button.
The survey also found that about 80% of respondents either offered or planned to offer all patients access to PHRs.
Meanwhile, health plan respondents cited the importance of privacy controls over PHRs. For example, 89% of insurers provided out-in functionality in 2014, an increase from 69% in 2013.
The survey also found that while direct mail, email and text messages remain top priorities for communication with patients, some respondents also cited the importance of providing mobile services, sharing data with other providers, and sending information to third party services and applications 
You should know you have the right to: • Ask to see and get a copy of your health records from most doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers such as pharmacies and nursing homes, as well as from your health plan; • Get either a paper or, if records are kept electronically, an electronic copy of your records; and • Have your provider or health plan send a copy of your records to someone else. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Attestation: Meaningful or Meaningless ? That depends

The HITECH Act passed in         fueled the adaptation of EHR with a carrot and a stick. HITECH required providers to implement EHRs with several mandatory features that would allow analytics to evaluate 'BIG DATA" streaming from their EHRs/  The  carrot was accepted and now the stick is playing a bigger role for providers who have been unable to attest to the new MU regulations.

Last month, 81,500 eligible professionals attested to 2014 meaningful use requirements, up from 67,254 in January, according to CMS data. Overall, fewer than half of the 515,158 providers who registered to participate in the meaningful use program have attested to meeting the 2014 requirements. CMS expects an uptick in attestations as the  deadline approaches. Bloomberg BNA's "Health Care Blog."

Last month, CMS extended the deadline for eligible professionals to attest to the Medicare meaningful use 2014 reporting period from Feb. 28 until March 20 (iHealthBeat, 2/25).

Government deadlines seem to never be met, despite implications of incompetence, fraud, and deceit.  Nevertheless imposing inherently unobtainable deadlines undermines the credibility of health programs and others.

The roadmap to meaningful use is long, tortuous and expensive. It require(s)(d) significant investment of time and money into new healthcare software with either totally new functions or expensive patches and upgrades.  Interested parties were also given a deadline for implementation  of ICD-10 to replace the ICD-9 classification of diseases. The U.S.A has been mired in ICD-9 for decades, even after the world health organization has been using ICD-10 for some time.

Implementing MU is a task unto itself, however adding attestation adds another challenge to providers.  The charge is even more difficult for small or solo medical practices who do not have the human resources to accomplish the task. Consultants must be hired. For larger groups or institutional providers an IT department may be already at hand. Nevertheless one can only wonder how this promises to save tax payer dollars.


CMS Has Doled Out $28B in Meaningful Use Incentives