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Samsung Invests Big in Virtual Reality at Facebook’s F8 Conference

Posted on April 15, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ever since the CES conference earlier this year, I’ve been extremely interested in the virtual reality and augmented reality space. There’s a lot of potential for virtual reality in healthcare including in: training, diagnosing and treatment. Plus, I always remember that the best use cases for technology are often ones we can’t even imagine because of our own biases and constrained thinking. However, as we invest more in virtual reality, we’ll discover even better ways to apply the technology to healthcare.

This week Samsung and Facebook made a huge investment in virtual reality when they gave away a new Samsung Gear VR Headset and custom Galaxy smartphone to the 2600 developers attending Facebook’s F8 developer conference. That’s a lot of developers that will start building on top of this new virtual reality platform. I’ve already seen my healthcare developer friend post on social media about her kit. I’ll be interested to see what she creates.
Samsung Gear VR - Healthcare
I’ve certainly heard many of the naysayers talk about virtual reality. They argue that the early versions are expensive, require powerful computers, are tethered, require headsets and can cause headaches. These are all challenges, but most of them will be fixed as the technology evolves and matures. Plus, being healthcare I found the comment around headaches really interesting. I got headaches and eye strain from Google Glass, but I’ve never had an issue with virtual reality giving me a headache. It’s definitely something to watch though.

These challenges aside, I’ve found my experiences with virtual reality to be absolutely immersive. I totally lost myself in the experience and almost forgot the world around me. As I think back on that experience, I did realize that the key to an amazing experience was compelling content. If I was watching or doing something in a virtual world that wasn’t interesting, then you would have definitely lost me. Let that be a lesson to everyone in healthcare. You only get one chance to make a first impression on healthcare. Be sure that whatever healthcare virtual reality use case you’re working on has really compelling content. If you don’t, you’ll burn a whole generation of decision makers on virtual reality.

With this in mind, it’s going to be just as important for us to watch the virtual reality content creation space as the virtual reality display devices themselves. Can we make virtual reality content in a cost effective way? How hard will it be to create compelling content? Will the quality of the content be good enough to apply it to medicine?

These are all open questions I’ll be watching in the virtual reality space. However, given the impressive progressive we’ve seen over just the past couple years, I’m really excited by the possibilities. Healthcare better prepare for virtual reality based training and education. Soon enough your doctor will be diagnosing you using virtual reality and possibly from a remote destination. It’s not hard to imagine many treatment options being made available in a virtual reality environment.

Virtual reality in healthcare has some really incredible opportunities. I’m excited to see such a huge investment in virtual reality by both Samsung and Facebook. A lot of that innovation is going to trickle down into healthcare.

For more content like this, follow Samsung on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare.

Has the Google Glass Hype Passed?

Posted on September 23, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

It seems to me that the hype over Google Glass is done. Enough people started using them and many couldn’t see the apparent value. In fact, some are wondering if Google will continue to invest in it. They’ve gone radio silent on Google Glass from what I’ve seen. We’ll see if they’re planning to abandon the project or if they’re just reloading.

While the future of Google Glass seems unsure to me, I think the idea of always on, connected computing is still alive and well. Whether it’s eyeware, a watch or dome other wearable doesn’t matter to me. Always on, connected computing is a powerful concept.

I’m also interested in the telemedicine and second screen approaches that have been started using Google Glass in Healthcare. Both of these concepts will be an important part of the fabric of health care going forward.

I still remember the wow factor that occurred when I first used Google Glass. It still amazes me today. I just wish it were a little more functional and didn’t hurt my eyes when I used it for long periods.

What do you think of Google Glass and the category of always on computing?  Do you see something I’m missing?

Vendor Creates EMR For Google Glass

Posted on June 20, 2014 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Well, here’s an interesting development. An EMR company has created an app allowing doctors using Google Glass to store patient data on a cloud-based storage and collaboration site.

The vendor, California-based Drchrono, is claiming that the application is the first “wearable health record.”  Whether or not that’s the case, this is clearly a step forward in the development of Google Glass as a practical tool for doctors.

According to a Reuters report, Drchrono worked closely with cloud-based storage and collaboration service Box along with Google Glass to create the app.

The new Google Glass at allows doctors — with the patient’s permission — to use Google Glass to record a consultation or surgery. Once the work is done, physician can store the video, as well as photographs and notes, and the patient’s EMR or in Box. The app also allows the data to  be shared with the patient.

The app is still in its infancy — so far, just 300 of the 60,000 doctors using Drchrono’s EMR platform have opted to use the Google Glass app, which is currently available at no cost to users.

But Google Glass apps and options are clearly on the rise, and not just among providers. A recent study by Accenture found that consumers are are very interested in wearable technology; they’re particularly interested in wearable smart glasses like Google Glass as well as smart watches.

As things stand, devices like Google Glass are in the very early adoption stage, so it’s not surprising that few of Drchrono’s physician users have opted to try out the new app. But things are likely to change over the next year or two.

I believe Google Glass will follow the same trajectory the iPad did in medicine. First it was a toy for the well-financed, curious and tech savvy, then an option for early adopters in medicine, then eventually a tool that made sense for nearly every provider.

For the next year or two, most Google Glass announcements will be like this one, reports of experiments whose only uptake will come from leading-edge experimenters in medical technology. But within the next two years or so, Google Glass uses will proliferate, as will the apps that make them a worthwhile investment.

This level of success isn’t inevitable, but it is likely. I’d bet good money that two years from now, you may be reading this blog on a Google Glass app and managing your EMR through one as well.  It’s just a matter of time.

Next Week’s Topic – EHR Workflow

Posted on June 6, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Next week, it’s going to be a little different around here. Next week, I’m going to be spending the week at Zions National Park as part of a family reunion. We did this a couple years back and unless things have changed, I’ll be stuck completely off the grid with no wifi or even cell coverage (Although, I may slip into town one day to check my email). Should be quite the experience.

I’ve actually done this a few times before and you probably didn’t know it. I just schedule the posts to appear and no one even realized I was gone. In fact, when I’ve done it in the past, I’ve had some of my highest traffic days on the blog. Don’t ask me how that works.

Next week, I decided to do something a little bit different. When I first started blogging, I remember a blogger “turning over the keys” to his blog to another blogger for the week. I always thought that was a kind of cool idea. Usually the person who “drives” the blog for the week enjoys it, the readers get another perspective, and the blog keeps humming while I’m wrestling 4 children and 12 cousins in the wilderness.

That’s indeed what I’ve done. Next week, I’m passing the keys to the EMR and HIPAA blog over to Chuck Webster, MD. Most people know him better as @wareFLO. He’s also well known for his famous HIMSS hat cam which has now been transitioned to Google Glass. However, Chuck is most well known for his interest in love passion adoration addiction to EHR and Health IT workflow. See his blog for example.

If you say EHR, he thinks workflow. If you say HIE, he thinks workflow. If you say population health, he thinks workflow. If you say meaningful use, he thinks workflow. If you say revenue cycle management, he thinks workflow. If you say donuts, he thinks workflow (This seems appropriate on National Donut day).

Needless to say, next week Chuck is going to be taking you through a series of blog posts covering EHR and Healthcare IT workflow. I’ve seen the preview and there are some real valuable nuggets that he’ll share. I particularly like the posts he’s planning for later in the week.

How’s that for a preview? Of course, if you hate EHR workflow, then I’ll be back with my regularly scheduled programming the week after. I look forward to hearing what you all think about Chuck’s posts. If you like the idea, maybe we’ll do it again in the future. Either way, I hope you’ll welcome Chuck next week and give him the same honest feedback, support, critiques, and suggestions in the comments that you give me.

Why Will Medical Professionals Use Laptops?

Posted on February 4, 2014 I Written By

Kyle is CoFounder and CEO of Pristine, a VC backed company based in Austin, TX that builds software for Google Glass for healthcare, life sciences, and industrial environments. Pristine has over 30 healthcare customers. Kyle blogs regularly about business, entrepreneurship, technology, and healthcare at kylesamani.com.

Steve Jobs famously said that “laptops are like trucks. They’re going to be used by fewer and fewer people. This transition is going to make people uneasy.”

Are medical professionals truck drivers or bike riders?

We have witnessed truck drivers turn into bike riders in almost every computing context:

Big businesses used to buy mainframes. Then they replaced mainframes with mini computers. Then they replaced minicomputers with desktops and servers. Small businesses began adopting technology in meaningful ways once they could deploy a local server and clients at reasonable cost inside their businesses. As web technologies exploded and mobile devices became increasingly prevalent, large numbers of mobile professionals began traveling with laptops, tablets and smartphones. Over the past few years, many have even stopped traveling with laptops; now they travel with just a tablet and smartphone.

Consumers have been just as fickle, if not more so. They adopted build-it-yourself computers, then Apple IIs, then mid tower desktops, then laptops, then ultra-light laptops, and now smartphones and tablets.

Mobile is the most under-hyped trend in technology. Mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, and soon, wearables – are occupying an increasingly larger percentage of total computing time. Although mobile devices tend to have smaller screens and fewer robust input methods relative to traditional PCs (see why the keyboard and mouse are the most efficient input methods), mobile devices are often preferred because users value ease of use, mobility, and access more than raw efficiency.

The EMR is still widely conceived of as a desktop-app with a mobile add-on. A few EMR companies, such as Dr Chrono, are mobile-first. But even in 2014, the vast majority of EMR companies are not mobile-first. The legacy holdouts cite battery, screen size, and lack of a keyboard as reasons why mobile won’t eat healthcare. Let’s consider each of the primary constraints and the innovations happening along each front:

Battery – Unlike every other computing component, batteries are the only component that aren’t doubling in performance every 2-5 years. Battery density continues to improve at a measly 1-2% per year. The battery challenge will be overcome through a few means: huge breakthroughs in battery density, and increasing efficiency in all battery-hungry components: screens and CPUs. We are on the verge of the transition to OLED screens, which will drive an enormous improvement in energy efficiency in screens. Mobile CPUs are also about to undergo a shift as OEM’s values change: mobile CPUs have become good enough that the majority of future CPU improvements will emphasize battery performance rather than increased compute performance.

Lack of a keyboard – Virtual keyboards will never offer the speed of physical keyboards. The laggards miss the point that providers won’t have to type as much. NLP is finally allowing people to speak freely. The problem with keyboards aren’t the characteristics of the keyboard, but rather the existential presence of the keyboard itself. Through a combination of voice, natural-language-processing, and scribes, doctors will type less and yet document more than ever before. I’m friends with CEOs of at least half a dozen companies attempting to solve this problem across a number of dimensions. Given how challenging and fragmented the technology problem is, I suspect we won’t see a single winner, but a variety of solutions each with unique compromises.

Screen size – We are on the verge of foldable, bendable, and curved screens. These traits will help resolve the screen size problem on touch-based devices. As eyeware devices blossom, screen size will become increasingly trivial because eyeware devices have such an enormous canvas to work with. Devices such as the MetaPro and AtheerOne will face the opposite problem: data overload. These new user interfaces can present extremely large volumes of robust data across 3 dimensions. They will mandate a complete re-thinking of presentation and user interaction with information at the point of care.

I find it nearly impossible to believe that laptops have more than a decade of life left in clinical environments. They simply do not accommodate the ergonomics of care delivery. As mobile devices catch up to PCs in terms of efficiency and perceived screen size, medical professionals will abandon laptops in droves.

This begs the question: what is the right form factor for medical professionals at the point of care?

To tackle this question in 2014 – while we’re still in the nascent years of wearables and eyeware computing – I will address the question “what software experiences should the ideal form factor enable?”

The ideal hardware* form factor of the future is:

Transparent: The hardware should melt away and the seams between hardware and software should blur. Modern tablets are quite svelte and light. There isn’t much more value to be had by improving portability of modern tablets; users simply can’t perceive the difference between .7lb and .8lb tablets. However, there is enormous opportunity for improvements in portability and accessibility when devices go handsfree.

Omni-present, yet invisible: There is way too much friction separating medical professionals from the computers that they’re interacting with all day long: physical distance (even the pocket is too far) and passwords. The ideal device of the future is friction free. It’s always there and always authenticated. In order to always be there, it must appear as if it’s not there. It must be transparent. Although Glass isn’t there just yet, Google describes the desired paradox eloquently when describing Glass: “It’s there when you need it, and out of sight when you don’t.” Eyeware devices will trend this way.

Interactive: despite their efficiency, PC interfaces are remarkably un-interactive. Almost all interaction boils down to a click on a pixel location or a keyboard command. Interacting with healthcare information in the future will be diverse and rich: natural physical movements, subtle winks, voice, and vision will all play significant roles. Although these interactions will require some learning (and un-learning of bad behaviors) for existing staff, new staff will pick them up and never look back.

Robust: Mobile devices of the future must be able to keep up with medical professionals. The devices must have shift-long battery life and be able to display large volumes of complex information at a glance.

Secure: This is a given. But I’ll emphasize this is as physical security becomes increasingly important in light of the number of unencrypted hospital laptops being stolen or lost.

Support 3rd party communications: As medicine becomes increasingly complex, specialized, and team-based, medical professionals will share even more information with one another, patients, and their families. Medical professionals will need a device that supports sharing what they’re seeing and interacting with.

I’m fairly convinced (and to be fair, highly biased as CEO of a Glass-centric company) that eyeware devices will define the future of computer interaction at the point of care. Eyeware devices have the potential to exceed tablets, smartphones, watches, jewelry, and laptops across every dimension above, except perhaps 3rd party communication. Eyeware devices are intrinsically personal, and don’t accommodate others’ prying eyes. If this turns out to be a major detriment, I suspect the problem will be solved through software to share what you’re seeing.

What do you think? What is the ideal form factor at the point of care?

*Software tends to dominate most health IT discussions; however, this blog post is focused on ergonomics of hardware form factors. As such, this list avoids software-centric traits such as context, intelligence, intuition, etc.

Six 2014 Healthcare IT, EMR, and HIPAA Predictions

Posted on January 2, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Let’s take a bold, but realistic look at what we can expect in 2014 when it comes to healthcare IT, EMR and HIPAA. It will be fun to look back at the end of 2014 to see if I’m right. Hopefully you’ll add your 2014 predictions in the comments.

HIPAA Omnibus Poster Children – In 2014, I think we’re going to see a few companies have major issues with HIPAA Omnibus. Those examples will be widely reported and be the “poster children” for violating HIPAA Omnibus. I’ll go further in my prediction to say that a couple of them will be companies who are business associates who didn’t comply with HIPAA. In fact, I won’t be surprised if one of those poster children isn’t a really large corporation who didn’t realize that they were a business associate and required to comply with HIPAA. Plus, we’re going to see some major HIPAA violation related to SMS messages.

Direct Project Takes Off – With many getting set for meaningful use stage 2, watch for 2014 to be the breakout year for Direct Project. Direct project won’t surpass the fax machine for sharing medical records in healthcare, but many doctors will start asking for someone’s direct address as opposed to fax number. Doctors will finally start being able to know the answer to that question.

EHR Adoption Increases – Meaningful Use Participation Falls Off a Cliff (ambulatory, not acute) – This seems to be a contradiction, but I know many doctors who happily use an EHR and have no desire to touch meaningful use with a long stick. As the meaningful use money goes down and the requirements ramp up, many doctors are going to eschew meaningful use, but continue meaningfully using their EHR the way they think is right. EHR is here to stay, but meaningful use is going to take a big hit.

Wearable Tech Finds Its Place in Hospitals – In 2014, Google Glass will finally be put out as an official product. I believe it will be considered a failure as a consumer product in 2014 (give it until 2016 to be a great consumer device), but it will find some amazing uses in healthcare. Kyle Samani talks about some of his thoughts in this video, but I think we’ll discover many more. A PA and dentist friend of mine were some of the most interesting demos I’ve done with Google Glass. Of course, other competitors to Google Glass will come out as well. It will be fun to see which one of those wins.

ICD-10 Will Drive Many Organizations Towards Bankruptcy – Many underestimate the impact that ICD-10 will have on organizations. If it doesn’t send many to bankruptcy it will certainly cause cash flow issues for many. This is going to happen and many organizations are planning for it. We’ll see how well they prepare. Overpriced EHR software won’t be helping those that head towards bankruptcy either. Combine the two forces and some organizations are going to suffer this year.

EHR Vendors Will Start Dropping Like Flies – As I’ve said many times before, we won’t see the EHR consolidation that many are talking about (ie. 5 EHR vendors). However, we will start to see major EHR vendor fall out in 2014. Most of the press releases will spin it as a win for the company and the end users, but there are going to be a lot of unhappy EHR users when these companies start folding up shop through acquisition or otherwise.

“OK Glass — Go to Lab Results”

Posted on July 17, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The following is a guest post by Jon Fox MD, Founder of HealthApp Connect.
Jonathan Fox
This changes everything.

Last week I had the opportunity to demo Google Glass. I test drove the Glass of one of the four thousand “Explorers” who were lucky enough to “win” a pair of specs from Big G. And as a healthcare provider, I must say that it knocked my socks off.

As you probably know, Google’s innovative Glass is a small rectangular mirror held in front of your right eye by a lightweight titanium band. You turn on your Glass by tapping this band, or alternatively tilting your head back. Then a transparent prompt appears in front of your eye at a comfortable fixed focal length. I presume if you’re visually challenged, a corrective lens can be added to the otherwise glassless frame.

Responding to the prompt, I said “OK Glass, take a picture” and it took a photo of the person in front of me. “OK Glass, take a video” launched a 10 second video recording. When I said “OK Glass, send text message”, I was asked by a pleasant female voice to whom I wanted it sent. The voice seemed to come from inside my skull, and I’m told that sound is conducted via your temporal bone, providing an intimate and pleasing aural experience.

I could also navigate by swiping or tapping the touchpad built into my “sky blue” titanium frame. Although physicians may find that talking to or playing with their specs is not appropriate in a clinical setting, I expect commands someday will be relayed from an inconspicuous wristband or belt, or even eye tracking gestures.

Currently Google Glass is tethered to your smartphone’s internet connection and transported in a protective bag. Battery life is a few hours at best, and functionality is still not clear. But “Glassware” has already been produced by app makers at Twitter and Facebook, and some independent engineers are building apps for use in the operating room or medical education.

But to me as a healthcare provider, Glass’s really exciting future lies in the EMR space. First, its form compels a user interface that is both simple and unobtrusive, a holy grail for EMRs. Second, it allows us clincians to maintain eye contact with our patients and does not interfere with our natural workflow, two big drawbacks of EMRs. And third, it lets us work like professionals rather than data entry clerks. Primary care physicians may even become “cool”, or at least not called “a vanishing breed”.

Of course, existing EMRs cannot merely be transferred to Google Glass. They will need to be redesigned from the ground up, hopefully this time with input from healthcare providers and consumers. Here’s an example:

Google hopes to make Glass available to the public by the end of the year. For $1500 and a carrier charge of $40 per month, ordinary people will be able to document their every moment. Some backlash to this threat to our privacy is already appearing, such as “Ban the Glass” signs. However, within the Healthcare Industry, such concerns likely will be trumped by its obvious usefulness and HIPAA guidelines. Hopefully, the powerful EMR companies will rise up to meet the challenge, but I suspect Google Glass is going to disrupt their legacy businesses in a big way.

This changes everything.

Effortless EHR Interaction

Posted on April 9, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I recently came across the really interesting device called MYO. I really can’t do the device justice, so I’ll just share this video which will do a much better job showing the gesture controls that are possible with the MYO.

I love how it senses even changes in the muscle. I love when description that says that the response sometimes feels like it responds before you even move since it senses your muscle before the movement is even done. Pretty amazing.

There are has to be so many possible uses for a next generation gesture device like MYO in healthcare. I’ve been thinking a lot about effortless EHR interaction and where it could go. I wonder if MYO and other gesture control systems can dramatically improve a physician’s interaction with an EHR.

Plus, the most exciting thing of all is that I think we’re still in the very early days of what’s going to be possible with gesture control and human computer interaction in general. Pair this with always on ubiquitous computing like is being shown with Google Glass and we’re just at the very beginning of the computing revolution.

I guess we’ll see if healthcare decides to lag behind these new technologies or whether we’ll ride the wave of transformation.