Monday, May 4, 2015

Telemedicine and Telehealth Opportunity


One of the most typical ways how physicians
communicate with patients is through email
and whenever they do so, it’s mostly to treat
routine illnessess. When the patient needs
to order a drug prescription or just receiving
any kind of healthcare service it can easily be
done through chat as well. It only takes a few
minutes to get the attention they need nowadays;
people know that the digital world is changing as time goes by and on a fast
   pace, which is no longer surprising for anyone, therefore it’s only reasonable for
   everyone to get involved.
An important similarity to telemedicine is that it can be quite beneficial to those
patients that live in areas where the traditional delivery of any kind of healthcare 
At times service is compromised by distance or any other factor like a shortage
of medical professionals. Many are the adversities that those folks living in rural
areas have to go through everyday; shouldn’t we make it easier for them to have
access to the health care they deserve?
It is necessary to point out the fact that at this moment people can enjoy the real
benefits of a healthcare service whenever they need it, it doesn’t matter where their
location is or how hard it is for them to get out of a rural place.  Reaching out to the
 patient is our responsibility and we are going to do everything within our power to provide
as much service as we can. Our certainty relies on the fact that by hiring qualified
professionals we will be educating the masses on how to make use of every medical
via of communication existent in the market, and that way keep them up to date with
every change regarding telecommunication and how to get a service of quality and on
time, right when they need it. It only takes a simple call after all.

A key barrier to increasing the availability of telehealth 
is it is not a covered benefit for most health insurance 
policies.  Perhaps this is a major defect in the scope of 
coverage for the Affordable Care Act.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The future of preventive care: How 7 startups are making an impact

Chronic Disease and Prevention

Chronic Diseases and Prevention are at the top of the list for Startups, according to Mashable
Venture capitalists are evaluating the candidates, and competition will be stiff.

Counsyl      Get Started

The genetic testing services provided by Counsyl help people make knowledgeable decisions about their lives. They offers three tests: Family Prep Screen, Informed Pregnancy Screen and Inherited Cancer Screen.

The Family Prep Screen and Informed Pregnancy Screen provide future parents with information about the genes that they will potentially pass on to children; the Family Prep Screen does so before conception whereas the Informed Pregnancy Screen test does so after. Genetic counselors are then available to help the clients interpret their results and evaluate possible next steps.
The Inherited Cancer Screen lets adults know whether they have a high risk of developing breast, prostate, ovary or pancreas cancer. With this knowledge, adults can either get screened earlier and more frequently, or, in extreme cases, undergo preventive surgery.


Excuse the cliché, but regarding health data, knowledge is truly power. Huneo has capitalized on this notion by developing its HuNet infrastructure that stores time series health information that is then available to any HuNet authorized user. Time series data is made up of measurements conducted over a certain period of time, an example being patients' vital signs. This information is usually not stored and consequently lost forever — a problem that Huneo hopes to address with HuNet.
Alzheimer’s disease is the only one of the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, but early diagnosis of the disease could help facilitate drug testing and development.
Neurotrack has developed a noninvasive, computer-based test that has the potential to diagnose Alzheimer’s patients three to six years before they show symptoms, thereby allowing pharmaceutical companies to better recruit patients for clinical trials. The company claims its technology will eventually be used as a screening test to help slow and possibly prevent the disease’s progression.
Omada developed its 16-week online Prevent program as a comprehensive lifestyle intervention for people who have a high risk of chronic disease. The scientifically based program is developed to encourage participants to adopt healthier behaviors in multiple aspects of their lives. To do this, the program includes online lessons about topics like nutrition and fitness, as well as a digital scale that tracks results. Health coaches and supportive peers are also there to help push participants through trying moments. The program boasts a retention rate that is often over 75% — a number that Duffy says is well above most face-to-face programs.

With the Virtual Consult service, HealthTap allows patients to connect with its digital community of doctors to get credible answers for any of their health questions and even checklists of healthy habits to maintain. Other helpful services offered by the company include its Concierge program, which helps patients connect with their existing doctors from anywhere in the world via video, phone calls or text messages, and the RateRx program, for which doctors have rated and reviewed certain medications.


 With SkinVision’s melanoma app, users can take photos of their moles that the app will analyze for abnormal growth and save and organize so users can track their moles over time for dangerous, potentially cancerous changes. If users want a  professional opinion about a mole, they can also share the photographs with their dermatologist.

Wearable technology is having a moment. Companies like FitbitJawboneMisfitand even Apple are producing their own versions of activity trackers. Lumo goes one step beyond this, though, and not only tracks activity but also corrects people’s posture and alleviates back pain with its most recent product, the Lumo Lift.
Lumo’s first product was the Lumo Back, inspired by the chronic back pain one of Lumo’s founders used to suffer. The Lumo Back is worn around users’ lower backs, and works to reduce back pain by improving back posture. Following its positive reception, the company decided to create another product to reach an even bigger market.
Most of these offerings have yet to be FDA approved for accuracy and/or reliability. The offerings will need to be vetted.

Upcoming Health IT events 2015

  • Hospitals and health systems are under significant pressure to increase quality, decrease costs, and improve patient-reported outcomes. Increasingly, hospital leaders are turning to health information technology to deliver these results. Chief information officers and senior information technology staff must prepare for current and future health care challenges to proactively lead their organization’s health IT function.
    To address the increasing and evolving demands hospitals place on senior health information technology professionals, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health developed Leadership Strategies for Information Technology in Health Care. This executive program will help providers implement, adopt and meaningfully use health information technology to improve health care quality, safety, and cost-efficiency.
    This course covers the full range of topics senior leaders in health IT need to be aware of, including strategy and governance, implementation of electronic health records, clinical informatics, and the interplay between clinical professionals and health information technology. In this executive-level program, you will:
    • Improve your ability to increase quality, decrease costs, and advance patient safety through health information technology;
    • Enhance your health IT leadership skills, focusing on strategies and tactics to effect positive change;
    • Engage with expert faculty and industry executives, gaining practical skills and learning best practices; and
    • Develop your organization’s health IT strategic vision, proactively addressing challenges posed by the changing health care landscape.

    Who Should Participate

    Leadership Strategies for Information Technology in Health Care is ideal for executives and senior leaders in health care organizations who have functional responsibility for information technology. The program is also highly recommended for non-IT clinical and administrative leaders who need to collaborate more effectively with those in the information technology function, as well as for IT professionals transitioning into health care. Typical participant titles include, but are not limited to:
    • Chief executive officer
    • Chief information officer
    • Chief medical informatics officer
    • Chief medical officer
    • Medical director
    • Vice presidents of information technology, information systems, or informatics
    • Directors of information technology, information systems, or informatics

  • Overview

    Providers and payers are under enormous pressure to reduce costs and improve the quality of healthcare. Employers, consumers, government purchasers and health exchanges are all turning up the heat on the provision and payment of care.
    The National Healthcare Innovation Summit brings together a select group of top-level stakeholders from the healthcare sector and other industries – who are on the ground testing and implementing real-world innovations – to explore adopted and scalable strategies, products and services with demonstrated outcomes to support the Triple Aim and fast-track the transformation of healthcare. 

  • Join AHIMA and several industry experts for a one-of-a-kind meeting exploring the many connections surrounding healthcare data, and how classification and terminologies (including ICD-10) provide more specificity to that data. More than $2.6 trillion is spent on US healthcare today; a total of 75 percent of those dollars are spent treating chronic conditions; and half of that is spent on just 5 percent of the population.
    Does this data sound familiar to you? Have you ever wondered about the data connections made throughout the healthcare industry—not just those happening in your own organization? Whether it is terminologies found in the billing system or the data analysis needed for strategic planning, today’s providers must understand where and how data affects their organization—internally and externally. Since its founding in 1928, AHIMA has been an industry leader in the effective management of health data and this summit brings all aspects of coded data together in an exciting, industry-leading program.
    Data can be found across the healthcare industry. This includes the electronic health record (EHR), quality reports, third party payers, public health systems, and more. The 2015 AHIMA Data Summit is a must-attend industry event dedicated to exploring all of healthcare data’s connections.
  • mHealth + Telehealth World 2015

    The role of technology in health care is growing year after year. Join us at mHealth + Telehealth World 2015 to learn strategies to keep up with this trend and understand the impact connected health will have on the future of health care. This Summit is a must attend for health care executives interested in learning how to most efficiently utilize mHealth and Telehealth programs to engage consumers, improve patient outcomes, and lower costs.

    Do you know what is key in making sure you choose the right telehealth provider? Learn what to ask - and why.

    The mHealth + Telehealth World 2015 brings together hospitals, health systems, health plans, and innovators to share successes and failures of existing programs and discuss the future of connected health. Network with experts in the field as you learn valuable strategies to bring success to your organization.

    Key Topics to be Addressed in 2015:

    • Return on investment for digital health programs
    • Legislative updates around licensing, credentialing, and privileging
    • Regulation of mHealth devices, including apps
    • Reimbursement criteria for Telehealth services
    • Uses of mHealth and Telehealth in different areas of care (ex: home health, surgery/procedure-based specialties, etc.)
    • Strategies to implement new mHealth and Telehealth programs
    • Approaches to expand existing mHealth and Telehealth programs
    • Ways to increase patient adoption of digital health initiatives
    • Uses of digital health to increase patient and member engagement
    • Insights from data garnered from digital health efforts – Ways to improve care and outcomes, reduce costs, and manage population health
    • Steps to overcome interoperability issues
    • How to capitalize on the explosion of wearable health technologies and how they fit into the overall digital health strategy

    New for 2015

    • Discuss the role of wearables and sensors in connected health initiatives
    • Explore use of mHealth and Telehealth in procedure-based specialties
    • Focus on the ROI of connected health programs
    • Uncover the use of technology in increasing medication adherence
    • Join one of our pre-Summit workshops for more detailed sessions on:
      • Implementation of connected health programs
      • Evidence-based outcomes
    • Network more with peers and thought leaders during extended networking breaks
    • Share ideas with professionals in others areas of health care and benefit from our co-located events:
      • Innovations in Wellness and Disease Management
      • mPharma

    - See more at: World Congress

  • iHT² [eye-h-tee-squared]: awe-inspiring summit featuring some of the world’s best and brightest. 2. great food for thought that will leave you begging for more. 3. a great way to connect and engage with those changing our world.
    Each year, the Institute hosts a series of events & programs which promote improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care through information technology and facilitating knowledge exchange. iHT² programs are designed to support multi-stakeholder organizations who are navigating through health IT issues, policies and strategies in an attempt to improve care. Institute programs include a variety of guest speakers and keynotes representing many diverse sectors within health care. Speaker faculty provide expert advice, practical recommendations, solution-oriented best practices and reactions related to the most pressing issues.
    The 2015 iHT2 Health IT Summit in Denver will bring together over 200 C-level, physician, practice management and IT decision-makers from North America’s leading provider organizations and physician practices. For two days, executives will be able to interact with a national audience of peers, thought leaders, and solutions providers at one of Denver's finest resorts. Areas of discussion will include: Meaningful Use, Health Information Exchange, Telehealth, Accountable Care, mHealth, Cloud Computing, and more.

    • General Attendee: $895 (Early-bird rate through July 31)Health, technology, research, human behavior and public policy intersect at Connected Health Symposium 2015.  Over 1,000 visionaries, leaders, practitioners and thinkers will gather for the 12th year at this premier destination event hosted by Partners HealthCare and the Center for Connected Health.  A diverse agenda, a mix of keynotes and panel discussions promise to provide attendees with a thought-provoking, participatory and highly engaging experience. Learn MoreHear exceptional keynotes and pointed debates on the toughest questions in health care
      • Review the latest trends, research and innovations 
      • See first-hand groundbreaking devices and demos
      • Discover novel programs to reduce health care spending
      • Network with more than 1,000 attendees

Friday, May 1, 2015

IOM Was Right on Health IT and Patient Safety

The Evidence Shows IOM Was Right on Health IT and Patient Safety

April 27, 2015, 10:00 am / Andrew Gettinger, M.D. / Chief Medical Information Officer, Acting Director, Office of Clinical Quality and Safety , and
Kathy Kenyon, J.D. / Senior Policy Analyst
The potential for health IT to reduce errors has been a pillar of health policy on patient safety since the Institute of Medicine’s To Err is Human(2000) and Crossing the Quality Chasm (2001).  In 2012, in Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care the IOM found the evidence on the impact of health IT on patient safety was “mixed.”  Since then, whether health IT actually improves patient safety has remained an open question.
The nation has seen widespread adoption of health IT as a result of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.  With that increase in adoption, there should be more and better evidence on the actual impact of health IT on safety.  Health IT should raise the floor on patient safety, and the evidence shows that it has.

Institute of Medicine and Health IT in Redesigned Systems of Care
To add perspective, it’s useful to recall that in 2000 the IOM promoted health IT as part of “redesigned systems of care.” The IOM found that the large number of avoidable deaths identified inTo Err is Human could not be decreased by trying harder in the same old (paper-based) healthcare system. The IOM explained, “Health care has safety and quality problems because it relies on outmoded systems of work. Poor designs set the workforce up to fail, regardless of how hard they try. If we want safer, higher-quality care, we will need to have redesigned systems of care, including the use of information technology to support clinical and administrative processes.”
Health IT is not and never will be a “silver bullet” that reduces unsafe conditions, errors, and adverse events. To improve safety and quality, health IT is an important part of delivery system reform and redesigned systems of care. Health IT, when well designed and implemented, is a tool that can help health information flow in ways that allow for improvements in patient health and safety. Whatever the drawbacks to health IT systems, the evidence suggests that health IT has raised the floor on safety. At ONC, we are committed to working with clinicians, health care organizations, and health IT developers who share a commitment to making care safer and better by continuously improving the safety and safe use of health IT.
It is good to know that the evidence, so far, suggests that the IOM was right back in 2000. We should be going down this path. The widespread adoption of health IT has been a clear benefit to patient safety. We need to continue to work on making health IT even better in a redesigned health system with patient safety and quality its first priority.

he Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) convenes the first joint meeting of the Health Information Technology Policy and Standards Committees. We intend to spend the day discussing interoperability in the health information ecosystem.
Committee members will hear a final report from the Joint Jason Task Force, an update from the Interoperability Governance Sub-Committee and an interim report from ONC’s Interoperability Portfolio Manager. These presentations mark several months of dedicated work developing a more detailed, shared roadmap to achieve interoperability in this nation, as a means to see that everyone has access to better quality, more affordable care and better health overall.
These conversations follow our release, in June of 2014, of the high-level document Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure.  This paper describes ONC’s broad vision and framework to develop a clear pathway towards interoperability. It is intended as an invitation to health IT stakeholders – clinicians, consumers, hospitals, public health, technology developers, payers, researchers, policy makers and many others – to join ONC to develop a defined, shared roadmap that would allow us to collectively achieve health IT interoperability as a core foundational element of a learning health system.

Not withstanding the aforementioned positive findings; the following is a caveat regarding EHR and HIT usage.

Industry Reaction Mixed to Joint Commission's Health IT Warning

A recent Joint Commission sentinel event alert that warned health IT can pose risks to patients has received mixed reaction from stakeholders, Health Data Management reports (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 4/22).


The alert -- which was issued last month -- stated that EHRs "introduce new kinds of risks into an already complex health care environment where both technical and social factors must be considered."
The alert cited an analysis of event reports received by the Joint Commission showing that between Jan. 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013, hospitals reported 120 health IT-related adverse events. Of those errors:
  • About 33% stemmed from human-computer interface usability problems;
  • 24% stemmed from health IT support communication issues; and
  • 23% stemmed from clinical content-related design or data issues.
The alert recommended:
  • Implementing comprehensive systematic analysis of all adverse events to determine whether they were the result of health IT issues; and
  • Limiting the number of patient records that can be displayed on the same screen at once (iHealthBeat, 4/1).

Study: EHR Systems Lack Adequate Lab Data Graphing Functions

Brookings Report Finds Significant Gaps in EHR Interoperability

Health Information Technology: Where We Stand And Where We Need To

Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc.

Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, discusses her view of the health information technology landscape. She outlines an agenda for her office that includes incentivizing interoperability, “standardizing standards,” and establishing shared expectations and actions around data security and privacy. This post, which also appears on Health Affairs Blog, is based on Dr. DeSalvo’s presentation at the Health Information and Management Systems Society 2015 annual conference last week.

Blocking of health information undermines health system interoperability and delivery reform

April 10, 2015, 7:29 am / Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc.
The secure, appropriate, and efficient sharing of electronic health information is the foundation of an interoperable learning health system—one that uses information and technology to deliver better care, spend health dollars more wisely, and advance the health of everyone.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation releases Data for Health: Learning What Works

April 2, 2015, 12:36 pm / Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is committed to advancing an interoperable learning health system that impacts individual, community and population health. To achieve this goal in the next several years will require collective action from all public and private stakeholders, including consumers and community-based groups outside of what is traditionally considered the expected set of technology and health care entities.

New ONC Grant Funding Opportunities Help Advance Health IT in Communities and Workforce Training

February 3, 2015, 4:47 pm / Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc.
ONC has released a funding opportunity announcement designed to strengthen the health IT workforce and build on work done by the 17 Beacon Communities to innovate health care delivery with the goal of building a learning health system, as outlined in the recently posted Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap. These initiatives are part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to achieve better care, smarter savings and healthier people.

HHS and ONC invest $28 Million in Health Information Exchange Grants

February 3, 2015, 10:00 am / Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced this morning an important Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) funding opportunity, which is part of a Department-wide effort to achieve the safe and secure exchange and use of electronic health information to improve health and transform care as outlined in the Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Version 1.0.