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Applying Geospatial Analysis to Population Health

Posted on June 28, 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.

Megan Williams wrote a very interesting piece called “Geospatial Analysis: The Next Era of Population Health” in which she highlighted Kaiser’s efforts to use geospatial analysis as part of their population health efforts. Here’s her description of their project:

This means using data to inform policy adjustments and create intervention programs that lead to meaningful change. One of the best examples of this lies with healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente. In April, they launched a database that gave researchers the ability to examine patient DNA and bump it against behavioral and environmental health factors. The goal of the project is to pull information from half a million patients and use it to build one of the most “diverse repositories of environmental, genetic and health data in the world,” which could then be used to inform research around conditions including diabetes and cancer and their relationships to issues including localized violence, pollution, access to quality food and other factors.

This type of effort from Kaiser is quite incredible and I believe will truly be part of the way we shift the cost curve on healthcare costs. One challenge to this effort is that Kaiser has a very different business model than the rest of the healthcare system. They’re in a unique position where their business benefits from these types of population health efforts. Plus, Kaiser is very geographically oriented.

While Kaiser’s business model is currently very different, one could argue that the rest of healthcare is moving towards the Kaiser model. The shift to value based care and accountable care organizations is going to require the same geospatial analysis that Kaiser is building out today. Plus, hospital consolidation is providing real geographic dominance that wasn’t previously available. Will these shifting reimbursement models motivate all of the healthcare systems to care about the 99% of time patients spend outside of our care? I think they will and large healthcare organizations won’t have any choice in the matter.

There are a number of publicly and privately available data stores that are going to help in the geospatial analysis of a population’s health, but I don’t believe that’s going to be enough. In order to discover the real golden insights into a population, we’re going to have to look at the crossroads of data stores (behavioral, environmental, genomic, etc) combined together with personal health data. Some of that personal health data will come from things like EHR software, but I believe that the most powerful geospatial personal health data is going to come from an individual’s cell phone.

This isn’t a hard vision to see. Most of us now carry around a cell phone that knows a lot more about our health than we realize. Plus, it has a GPS where all of those actions can be plotted geospatially. Combine this personally collected health data with these large data stores and we’re likely to get a dramatically different understanding of your health.

While this is an exciting area of healthcare, I think we’d be wise to take a lesson from “big data” in healthcare. Far too many health systems spent millions of dollars building up these massive data warehouses of enterprise health data. Once they were built, they had no idea how to get value from them. Since then, we’ve seen a shift to “skinny data” as one vendor called it. Minimum viable data sets with specific action items tied to that data.

We should likely do the same with geospatial data and population health and focus on the minimum set of data that will provide actual results. We should start with the skinny data that delivers an improvement in health. Over time, those skinny data sets will combine into a population health platform that truly leverages big data in healthcare.

Where do you see geospatial data being used in healthcare? Where would you like to see it being used? What are the untapped opportunities that are waiting for us?

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HIPAA Privacy Infographic

Posted on November 4, 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.

Caradigm, a population health company, recently sent me this HIPAA Privacy infographic. As a sucker for infographics, I had to share. While related to HIPAA, the BYOD data at the top of the infographic certainly paints an important picture for healthcare IT administrators. What data stands out to you?

Privacy Breaches

Data Sources:
http://www.arubanetworks.com/pdf/solutions/HIMSSSurvey_2012.pdf
http://www.pcworld.com/article/250642/85_of_hospitals_embrace_byod_survey_shows.html
http://apps.himss.org/content/files/FINALThirdAnnualMobileTechnologySurvey.pdf
“Fourth Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy and Data Security.” Ponemon Institute. 12 March 2014.
http://www.redspin.com/docs/Redspin-2013-Breach-Report-Protected-Health-Information-PHI.pdf
http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/ocr-levies-2-million-hipaa-fines-stolen-laptops/2014-04-23
http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/boston-teaching-hospital-fined-15m-ephi-data-breach/2012-09-18
http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2014/05/09/patient-data-leak-leads-to-largest-health-privacy-law-settlement/
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/us/09breach.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Your EHR Vendor Isn’t Certified: Remove Barriers and Conquer Meaningful Use Stage 2

Posted on July 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.

I wrote previously about the “Triple Aim” of healthcare and even questioned if doctors really cared about the triple aim. For those not familiar with the triple aim, it includes: improving the health of our country, enabling less expensive care, and increasing patient engagement with their healthcare. All of these are noble goals and worthy of effort. Plus, even if providers aren’t moved by this goal, that doesn’t mean that much of the legislation and regulation that hits healthcare won’t be guided by this triple aim.

I was reading through this Allscripts whitepaper titled “Your EHR Vendor Isn’t Certified: Remove Barriers and Conquer Meaningful Use Stage 2” when I thought about how the triple aim is going to impact an organization’s decisions moving forward whether they like it or not.

The whitepaper underscores the shift towards more patient engagement, smart EHR tools, and population health. I think that generally summarizes meaningful use and is why it’s going to be really important that everyone in healthcare is involved in it.

Even if you don’t want to participate in the meaningful use program specifically, the overall trends that meaningful use represent are likely going to be with us for the foreseeable future. No doubt the government’s focus will continue this direction and I think payers are heading the same direction as well. They probably won’t adopt meaningful use entirely, but elements from it and other programs will likely be adopted by payers.

Check out the full whitepaper for more details on these trends and making sure your EHR is ready for them.

Global eHealth Olympics, LifeArmor, and Meaningful Use Stage 3 Draft: Around HealthCare Scene

Posted on August 12, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Time to take a quick look at some of the interesting posts happening on the other Healthcare Scene blogs. I think you’ll enjoy many of the posts.

EMR and EHR

Would Meaningful Use Go Away Under a Romney Presidency

With the November presidential election quickly approaching, there are many questions floating around. With Mitt Romney’s desire to repeal ObamaCare, some are wondering if he will try and stop HITECH as well. And if so, what is the fate of Meaningful Use.

Global eHealth Olympics

While the 2012 Olympics in London have been on the minds of many across the world for the past two weeks, Blair Butterfield suggested another sort of Olympics — one comparing the health care of different countries. He asks the question, “What if we compared our healthcare system to those of Europe, Asia and the Middle East in terms of areas like integration, communication and population health? How would the U.S. fare?” This post contains ideas for the different “events” that might occur in an eHealth Olympics, as well as suggestions for the top contenders for each category.

Meaningful Health IT News

Colbert Lampoons Proteus Digital Pill

The Proteus digital pill has gotten a lot of attention since it was announced. Included in that attention was a bit about it on the Colbert Report. It’s a spoof, of course, but somewhat entertaining. As Neil Versel says, “At least Colbert’s version featured a wireless tablet computer.

Smart Phone Health Care

LifeArmor Created for Military Families for Coping with Stress

A mobile app created by the Department of Defense aims to help military families cope with different issues. It addresses 17 topics, including depression and post-traumatic stress. The app takes content from the D0D website, AfterDeployment, and has videos and assessments. The app is free.

Several Pharmacies Offer Online Services for Patients

In-store pharmacies have started offering online services to make re-filling and transferring prescriptions easier than ever. Target and Walgreens are among those stores, and there are positives and negatives to using these services. Have you switched to online management of prescriptions?

Hospital EMR and EHR

Population Health Management is No Fad

Is population health management a fad, or is it here to stay? Anne references a recent column by Information Week by Paul Cerrato, where he states that it is. However, while she agrees that Cerrato’s column was “well-argued,” she disagrees with the suggestion.

Meaningful Use Stage 3 Draft On The Way

Although the MU Stage 2 final draft hasn’t been released yet, the draft regulations for stage 3 are apparently going to be released in August. Healthcare Informatics suggested a list of recommendations that are likely to be in stage 3, such as tracking individual care goals, and track tracks/steps and responsible party.