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Health Information Governance of 3rd Party Vendors

Posted on August 26, 2015 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 love when my eyes are opened to an issue that I haven’t heard people talking about. That’s what happened when I heard Deborah Green from AHIMA say that health information governance includes your third party vendors. I’m not sure how many organizations realize this and treat it appropriately.

What’s ironic is that we definitely do this with HIPAA. This is particularly true in the HIPAA omnibus world. Healthcare organizations have a certain expectation around security and privacy when it comes to their third party vendors. It’s a major part of every RFP I’ve ever seen in healthcare.

Why then don’t we treat information governance with third parties the same as we do with HIPAA?

My guess is that some organizations do, but they haven’t really thought about it in this way. It’s an informal part of how they deal with third party vendors. For example, how are third party vendors storing your organization’s health data? Do they dispose of it properly? etc etc etc. These are all great health information governance questions that we’re asking ourselves, but are we asking our third party vendors these questions as well? Should we be asking them?

One challenge I think we face is that we assume that if we’re paying a vendor to do something, that the vendor is going to do it the right way. We assume that a paid service is going to be done in the best way possible. I’m sure your experience like mine is that just isn’t the case. Was it Reagan that said, Trust but verify? That seems appropriate in this instance.

What’s clear to me is that health data is going to become more and more valuable to healthcare organizations. Making sure you have a handle on that data is going to be an important part of ensuring your financial future. That includes making sure that your third party vendors use good health information governance principles as well.

Fitbit for the Brain

Posted on 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.

Fitbit for Your Brain
The above wearable currently is pretty awkward. It reminds me of a wrestler or possibly one of those old swim caps. However, it’s a really interesting part of the evolution in wearables. The Barcelona based Neuroelectrics has put out this wearable to monitor your brain. Here’s an excerpt from the Guardian article on the product:

Dubbed a “Fitbit for the brain”, in a nod to the fitness monitoring device, the cap can diagnose medical conditions by examining brainwaves – small electronic pulses fired between the human brain’s nerve cells. It then treats the conditions by stimulating the brain with a low electrical current conveyed via a series of electrodes placed around the cap.

When in development, the devices initially monitored the small electrical impulses on the scalp emanating from neurons – the nerve cells – and recorded them using electroencephalography (EEG). Later advances allowed the cap to stimulate the brain as well in order to help with recovery.

“Our whole motivation is to understand better the brain and, to be honest, I think there is still a lot of work to do. Nobody really knows in depth how the brain works. We are looking at a very specific function of the brain which is the electric fields generated,” says Ana Maiques, co-founder and chief executive of Neuroelectrics.

“So in a way we are decoding the brain from an electrical perspective and also trying to influence the brain. It is still our motivation to understand, to see if processing data coming from an electroencephalogram we can understand what is going on inside the brain. And then in the last few years, we have been interested in trying to influence the dynamics of the brain.”

When you start digging into the science of the brain, you realize that we know a lot less about the brain than we know. It’s extremely complex and in many cases we really don’t know how it works. That’s why I think wearables like this one are so important. It’s trying to push forward some ideas so we can discover more about how the brain works. That’s a worthwhile goal even if it feels as daunting as Columbus trying to sail off the edge of the world. Hopefully what we discover in this search is just as dramatic as what Columbus found as well.