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Hope Phones: Recycling Smartphones to Save Lives in Underdeveloped Countries

Posted on September 30, 2011 I Written By

[blackbirdpie url=”!/HopePhones/status/118750508977623040″]

This tweet brings up a very interesting angle on the mHealth arena.  I have already written a lot about the intense growth of mHealth in underdeveloped areas, and specifically in Africa.  I have made it very clear that mobile phones and the new apps and devices that utilize that will save many lives in these countries where the healthcare is more sparse, and in some cases, nonexistent.

Like most people I have three or four old cellphones floating around my house that get used mostly as toys by my kids.  Hope Phones is trying to put those phones to good use, and prevent them from doing harm to the environment.  The dual benefit nature of their mission is something worth recognizing.

I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone that cellphones are full of chemicals and other things that are bad for the environment.  If we can eliminate even a small percentage of the millions of cell phones going in the garbage then we are having an impact for good.

Maybe more importantly, if we can put those phones in the hands of people that could use them to improve their quality of life then we have done even more good in the world.  It is sad how much stuff in this world gets thrown away that could be used by other people.  It is a trite phrase that, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but it is anything but trite when you consider that this action could quite literally save someone’s life.

For more information about Hope Phones, and to learn how you can contribute to their cause, please visit their website.

Cerner Instant Access Demo Video Part 1

Posted on I Written By

This video demonstrates the features of Cerner Instant Access. Instant Access reduces the time it takes for clinicians to reach the point of productivity, getting them access to patient data faster leaving more time for patient interaction. This video shows the workflows available from different workstations as well as from mobile devices.



Watch the video here.

De-identified Healthcare Data – Is It Really Unidentifiable

Posted on I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

There’s always been some really interesting discussion about EHR vendors selling the data from their EHR software. Turns out that many EHR vendors and other healthcare entities are selling de-identified healthcare data now, but I haven’t heard much public outcry from them doing it. Is it because the public just doesn’t realize it’s happening or because the public is ok with de-identified data being sold. I’ve heard many argue that they’re happy to have their de-identified data sold if it improves public health or if it gives them a better service at a cheaper cost.

However, a study coming out of Canada has some interesting results when it comes to uniquely identifying people from de-identified data. The only data they used was date of birth, gender, and full postal code data. “When the full date of birth is used together with the full postal code, then approximately 97% of the population are unique with only one year of data.”

One thing that concerns me a little about this study is that postal code is a pretty unique identifier. Take out postal code and you’ll find much different results. Why? Cause a lot of people share the same birthday and gender. However, the article does offer a reasonable suggestion based on the results of the study:

“Most people tend to think twice before reporting their year of birth [to protect their privacy] but this report forces us all to think about the combination or the totality of data we share,” said Dr. El Emam. “It calls out the urgency for more precise and quantitative approaches to measure the different ways in which individuals can be re-identified in databases – and for the general population to think about all of the pieces of personal information which in combination can erode their anonymity.”

To me, this is the key point. It’s not about creating fear and uncertainty that has no foundation, but to consider more fully the effect on patient privacy of multiple pieces of personal information in de-identified patient data.