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5 Ways in which Big Data is Advancing Telemedicine

Posted on December 12, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Rahul Varshneya, Co-Founder and President of Arkenea and Benchpoint.

The healthcare industry is rapidly incorporating changes in technology. There is a gradual shift from the service based model of healthcare which primarily focused on curing the ailments, to a more holistic outcome-based approach which not only involves exploring different treatment modalities but actually aims at understanding the causative factors behind various ailments and eliminating them.

There has been a significant increase in health data, both structured and unstructured that is being generated. The high complexity level of this data requires it’s processing by big data analytics to come up with relevant and applicable inferences. Telemedicine is also harnessing the power of big data to improve the existing healthcare facilities.

The market size for Telemedicine is expected to increase to 41.2 billion dollars by 2021 and Big Data analytics is going to play a major role in this surge.

Here are the ways in which Big Data is contributing to the advancement of Telemedicine.

1. Patient Health Tracking and Predictive Analytics

The biggest benefit of the application of Big data in Telemedicine is the identification of potential health problems before their transformation into aggravating conditions. This has become a reality with the advent of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) in the form of wearable fitness trackers and other wearable health monitors which collect patient data on a real-time basis.

Application of Big data analytics techniques to this data ensures that patients vitals and statistics are constantly monitored. Telemedicine facilitates regular interactions with healthcare professionals without having to visit the doctor’s office. It also ensures that the physicians are constantly updated about the patient’s health status resulting in early detection of any anomaly.

The historical data collected is used for predictive analytics of the possible future outcomes. Creating risk scores on the basis of data from various sources is important for the identification of individuals at elevated risks of developing chronic ailments at the early stage of disease progression.

2. Remote Patient Monitoring and Post Discharge Prophylaxis

Post-discharge monitoring of patients and appointments with the physicians via telemedicine saves unnecessary visits to the doctor’s clinic. This is also a boon in the case of elderly and debilitated patients who cannot make frequent trips to the hospital for regular checkups. Vital patient stats like blood pressure and heart rate are collected by the use of health devices which have advanced sensors attached to them.

The data collected is processed using analytics techniques to compute the effective dosage of medication to be administered and helps the physician decide the course of treatment to be prescribed.

The clinicians are able to make use of numerous healthcare based apps to remotely monitor the patient condition and be on the lookout for signs of disease progression. This helps keeping the patients out of the hospitals, ensures that healthcare providers’ effort are focused on caring for patients in critical condition and also keeps the cost of healthcare relatively low by avoiding unnecessary hospitalization.

3. Accurate Diagnosis and Precision Medicine

Historically, the diagnostic process relied solely on patients relaying the symptoms to the doctor and doctor noticing the clinical signs of disease. The tests ordered further confirmed the doctor’s diagnosis and a treatment plan was prescribed. Now instead of subjective symptoms reported by the patient, the doctors can base their diagnosis on the patient data collected regularly by the wearable devices. Furthermore, the benefit of telemedicine is that the doctor and the patient don’t even need to be in the same geographical location for the diagnosis to take place!

Application of Big data in Telemedicine not only results in a more accurate diagnosis, but it also is a giant leap from traditional generic medicine into the realm of precision medicine curated specifically for each individual. The data collected from patients’ wearable devices, healthcare based apps, patients’ electronic health records, and genomics data can be tapped into for developing a medication that caters to patients individually.

Precision medicine takes into account the variation in lifestyles, genetic makeup, and environmental conditions for each individual. Big data makes it possible to compute the relevant data collected from various sources and helps the healthcare professionals come up with a treatment plan specific to each individual.

4. Cloud Computing and Specialist Outreach

The sheer volume of health data generated has led to the storage of patients EHRs and EMRs on the cloud. The benefit of telemedicine is that the patient data can be remotely accessed and treatment can be prescribed irrespective of the geographical location of the patient and the healthcare provider. It is of great advantage in case of a referral to the specialist who may be at a different location than the patient.

Secure access to the cloud ensures that physical location is no longer a variable in availing the best treatment possible. It is also beneficial to the healthcare providers as it allows for better scheduling of the doctor’s time increasing the effectiveness of care. Cloud storage is a precursor to the emergence of big data and acts as its facilitator.

5. Predicting Infection Trends and Timely Interventions

Application of deep learning algorithms across healthcare related data can be instrumental for prediction of infectious diseases and studying the patterns and trends of infection spread. The importance of data-based infectious disease surveillance studies has been recognized by a number of researchers across the world. These studies are important for supplementing the existing systems and designing of newer models of disease progression.

Big data in the form of Internet search queries are also being utilized for understanding disease trends, predicting the spread of infectious diseases. Once the regions affected by the infection are identified, the benefits of telemedicine come to light. Physician interactions with the affected populations and deployment of treatment modalities to the infected patients by use of tools like teleconferencing result in timely intervention and prevent the further spread of infection.

Conclusion

Big data analytics gives the physicians access to massive volumes of information which increases the diagnostic accuracy and results in efficiency in healthcare delivery. Combining the power of Telehealth with Big data has the potential to transform the healthcare delivery system and is of immense benefit to both the patients as well as healthcare providers.

Data security and privacy concerns are the biggest threats to this advancements. Enforcement of appropriate security measures need to ensured so that the vast reservoir of healthcare data can be harnessed to its full potential.

About Rahul Varshneya
Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder and President of Arkenea and Benchpoint. Rahul has been featured as a business technology thought leader in numerous media channels such as Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, Inc, among others.

Now That We Found [Patients], What Are We Going To Do? – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on December 11, 2018 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.

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 12/14 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Claire Pfarr (@clairepfarr) from @OneViewHC and the @Savvy_Coop Community on the topic of “Now That We Found [Patients], What Are We Going To Do?“.

HITsm 90s Rewind… (Note the 90s music links)

For years, the health industry has been talking about being more patient-centered, but weren’t doing it effectively. A lot of companies wouldn’t touch working with patients, while others said they’d do anything to help patients, but didn’t walk the talk. Meanwhile for patients, the idea that the system cared about their needs seemed like a fantasy.

We are at a crossroad, where some companies will continue down a familiar path, where others will choose to walk hand and hand with patients and forge a new trail.

Companies who put more money and effort into uncovering true patient priorities will have a bigger impact by solving the problems patients actually have. These can be big problems–like finding cures–to smaller quality of life measures that have a big impact. For example, one thing Oneview learned was that environmental factors like room lighting and temperature, made patients more uncomfortable in their hospital rooms, and were problems they could help solve. It might not be sexy, but it makes a difference for patients. Healthcare doesn’t always have to be a jagged little pill.

The best way to identify these patient priorities is to work directly with patients. More companies and innovators are getting on board with the need to work with patients, but don’t necessarily know where to find them and how to work with them. Some might ask a patient or two, but you get what you give, and that may not be sufficient to understand the full patient experience. The more patient voices you can learn from, the better.

That’s why Oneview and Savvy Cooperative have teamed up to offer the first Savvy Co-op Membership Drive. Savvy is a patient-owned co-op that helps companies get the patient insights they need to build better products and services. It is collectively owned by its patient members, and during the co-op drive we are getting the word out to give more patients a voice! And if that wasn’t exciting enough, between now and Dec 31st, members have the chance to win weekly raffle prizes and could even win a trip to Orlando, FL for #HIMSS19! Make sure to join and refer members to win!

You can listen to Savvy’s #HITsm Rewind Playlist on Spotify to get inspired

Join us for this week’s #HITsm chat where we talk about working with patients.

Topics for this week’s #HITsm Chat:
T1: Think of the last time you went to a doctor’s office/hospital. What would have made that process better? (it may not be tech!) #HITsm

T2: What are ways your company or your work can support patients? #HITsm

T3: How do you think the patient voice is important in the work you personally do day-to-day? #HITsm

T4: How do you think large consumer brands will force healthcare to be more in touch with patients’ needs? #HITsm

T5: Oneview and Savvy Cooperative are sending more patients to #HIMSS19. Where do you think HIMSS could use a dose of patient perspective? #HITsm

BONUS: Turn a 90s song into a healthcare anthem #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
12/21 – Holiday Break

12/28 – Holiday Break

1/4 – 2019 New Years Predictions
Hosted by John Lynn (@techguy)

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

Which Are the Top Healthcare IT Cities?

Posted on December 10, 2018 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.

Whenever you talk about cities, people start getting really defensive. I guess that’s a good thing since many people are really proud of their cities. However, I saw this tweet and image from Rasu Shrestha about Nashville and I started thinking, “Which cities are the top healthcare IT cities?”

No doubt this chart makes a pretty impressive case for Nashville as one of the top healthcare IT cities. Although, this chart is really focused on Nashville as a healthcare city vs Nashville as a healthcare IT city? Is there a correlation?

I think there is to some extent. It’s really hard to have a healthcare IT city without a lot of great healthcare organizations. The two generally go together. Colin saw this first hand when he attended the Health:Further conference in Nashville. He certainly saw a lot of great healthcare IT companies at the event.

At HIMSS each year the good people of Atlanta, Georgia like to make the case that Atlanta is the healthcare IT capital of the world. This includes a big Georgia booth that includes a wide spectrum of Healthcare IT companies. I’m not sure how many people think of Atlanta when it comes to healthcare IT, but when you visit the Georgia booth at HIMSS, you realize that they may be right in saying they deserve the spot as the top healthcare IT city.

Another obvious choice for top healthcare IT cities is Boston. It helps to have Harvard and MIT in your area to prop up your city as a major healthcare IT city. Some really impressive healthcare organizations help as well. The only knock on Boston is that it does so much in the biotech world that it often can overwhelm the healthcare IT companies that are in the area. Regardless of that competition, Boston has some of the most innovative healthcare IT companies out there.

Many people like to mention San Diego as a great healthcare IT city. It gets a similar knock to Boston in that it’s often more life sciences vs healthcare IT.

Silicon Valley (San Francisco, etc) has to make the list just for the sheer number of startups they have working on healthcare IT. The challenge in Silicon Valley is that there’s not a great concentration of healthcare IT companies in any one place. In some ways that’s a good thing since those companies can pull from the mentality of other industries. In other ways, it misses out on the momentum and sharing of things that are unique to healthcare.

Chicago and New York City also have to be included on this list due to their sheer size. It’s amazing how many healthcare IT startup companies call these cities home. However, similar to silicon valley, the size of these cities also makes building the community a little harder. However, Matter in Chicago and Startup Health in NYC have done some good work in that regard.

I could keep going. It seems like there are healthcare IT startups happening in every city. Plus, there’s always the irony that some of the biggest healthcare IT companies are in cities like Verona, Wisconsin and Kansas City. Not the 2 cities you probably would have thought of first when you thought of top healthcare IT cities.

Which cities would you add to this list of top healthcare IT cities? Are there other elements I’m missing from the cities listed above? Let us know in the comments and on social media with @HealthcareScene. We’d love to hear what cities you think deserve to be on the list of top heathcare IT cities.

The Difficult Healthcare Problems Lie at the Crossroads

Posted on December 6, 2018 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.

Sometimes you stumble upon a quote which captures healthcare so perfectly. That’s what I felt when I heard this quote from Jonathan Sheldon at Oracle.

The real difficult problems sit at the crossroads of multiple domains – requires you to integrate data from separate domains.

-Jonathan Sheldon, Oracle

While many like to talk about the healthcare market, I’ve always felt that was a false framework. There’s no one healthcare market. At least not in the US. The world of healthcare is made up of hundreds of markets that have some overlaps and need to work together, but each market is very different. The simplest market to see is the ambulatory vs acute care vs post-acute care market. Each of these markets is so drastically different, that it’s really not useful to think of them as the same market. The same is true of specialties and even many regions.

The challenge of healthcare is that it spans all of these domains. And if you want to keep someone healthy and provide them an amazing patient experience, then you have to be able to span all of these different markets.

I guess that’s why the Jonathan Sheldon quote resonated with me so much. Healthcare faces a lot of difficult challenges, but one of the most difficult challenges is managing a patient’s care across all of these domains. All of us that have worked in healthcare have seen this first hand. It’s completely different cultures and often very different objectives.

While crossing these domains is one of the most challenging problems in healthcare, it is also some of the most rewarding.


Battling the Barriers in EP/Cath Labs

Posted on December 5, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Tom Downes, CEO of Quail Digital.

Clear and unambiguous communication between team members is an essential component of any surgical environment. It’s particularly important – and indeed particularly challenging – in cath labs and electrophysiology (EP) labs where physicians and clinical staff in interventional cardiovascular and other minimally-invasive therapeutics are typically spread across multiple rooms and physically separated by lead-lined doors.

But as patient demand continues to rapidly grow, the inherent complexities of the surgical environment are presenting significant communication challenges between the surgeons, clinicians and nurses. These restrictions are creating great stressors for the whole operating team as they strive to continue to deliver a proficient patient service.

Creating Clear Communication

Stress amongst hospital staff is not just a recognised problem, it’s an escalating one. A study evaluating burnout among surgeons has found that 80% of surgeons agree burnout and stress are issues they should be monitored for. In light of this, it’s clear that maintaining the well-being of healthcare professionals is a challenge, and one that needs to be addressed quickly.

Previous studies have revealed that a number of potential stressors can compromise performance in the OR, including team interaction and extreme noise. It is therefore clear that problems with communication is one of the main barriers that needs to be broken down in order to achieve a tranquil, organized environment that will alleviate pressure in the operating room. The chatter of workmates, the hum of the air conditioning and the relentless drone of essential technology, combines to create a high-stress clinical environment where the multidisciplinary teams’ need for serenity is commonly confounded by practical necessities they cannot change.

Implementing clear and immediate communication will be a positive step towards reducing the complexities of the clinical space. Failure to do this risks squandering the undoubted benefits of surgical innovation; the patient implications of an avoidable clinical error due to miscommunication could, in the worst extremes, be catastrophic. Fortunately, communication technology has evolved to present a simple, affordable solution.

Adopting a Wireless Approach

Traditionally, facilities have adopted primitive measures to deliver communication between the OR and the monitoring suite, including basic hand gestures and microphones in each room. But this approach comes with challenges, for example, the likelihood of mishearing and misreading a fellow surgeon, or instruction, is naturally increased which could then delay the procedure and cause frustration. Another thing to consider is that all the medical team will be equipped with masks, making it difficult to hear and see dated visual and auditory clues.

By adopting wireless headset technology, physicians can transform the OR, EP and cath lab experience, as well as the working environment for the whole team involved in the procedure. The technology, which operates on high quality digital frequencies and is encrypted to avoid interference from other devices or emissions in the OR, enables multidisciplinary teams to collaborate and communicate – hands-free – in the interventional OR or hybrid suite, at monitoring stations, through adjacent control rooms and ancillary areas. A lack of clarity can create stress and blame amongst the operating team, but with the ability to hear instructions clearly in every clinical environment this ambiguity can be avoided. Additionally, the pressures placed upon surgeons will be drastically reduced as they have the confidence of knowing that every member of staff is able to perform their role in a more assured manner.

And as it has been suggested that high-quality teamwork among operating room professionals is key to efficient and safe practice, implementing a system that initiates better communication between staff will be extremely beneficial to the clinical environment. Creating a more attentive, focused team will also be vital to reducing significant stress-levels and enabling greater levels of workflow. Associate Professor and Director of the Robotic and Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery program at the University of Chicago Medicine, Dr Husam H Balkhy, has first hand experience of using wireless headsets in a surgical setting, he comments, “My ability to communicate quickly and effectively with other members of the robotic team including the table-side first assistant, the anaesthesiologist, the perfusionist and nursing staff, has led to increased efficacy and patient safety in these complex procedure.”

Balkhy isn’t the only one to have benefitted from these tools, Dr Ziv Tsafrir, a Fellow in Minimally Invasive Gynecology at Henry Ford, adds: “Using wireless headsets during robotic procedures certainly contributed to better patient outcomes by creating a calmer environment for clinicians and staff.”

The Next Steps

As patient demand grows, and the global use of EP and robotics surgery increases, wireless headset technology will be an essential companion to ensure optimal, efficacious and cost-effective communications. Combine this communication tool with the below practices and clinicians will be able to further enhance the surgical environment to not only create more effective workflows and treatment, but to increase positive patient outcomes.

  • Ensuring the surgical team have a focused team discussion prior to surgery to assign roles, establish expectations and anticipate outcomes, will enable each member of the team to be prepared for any scenario that may play out. This will be beneficial to the patient’s experience and will reduce the level of stress to a minimum.
  • Whilst a briefing before the operation is an extremely important part of the medical process, a debriefing post-op is just as vital. This discussion gives the whole team the opportunity to explore the problems that occurred during the procedure and how these can be overcome before the next operation.
  • Good communication is also vital outside the cath / EP lab and amongst the rest of the hospital staff. Lack of clarity about responsibility for care and decision-making is a major contributor to medical errors and could have an extremely negative impact on the operating room.
  • In a medical setting, the person who is supposed to act on information isn’t always clearly identified. Therefore, team members should communicate clearly, both at the beginning and throughout the operation, who this person is.

By working together and communicating clearly to one another before, during and after the procedure,  the stress levels of the entire surgical team and the patient can be significantly reduced.

About Tom Downes
Tom Downes founded Quail Digital in 1995 to design headset systems for ‘team’ communication. The philosophy being that the easier and more freely a team can speak with each other in the workplace, the better their outcomes, wellbeing and productivity. Quail Digital designs and manufactures systems for the healthcare, retail and hospitality sectors, and has offices in Dallas, TX and London UK. Quail Digital is the leading provider of communications systems in the OR, and a sponsor of Healthcare Scene.

Healthcare Leadership – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on December 4, 2018 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.

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 12/7 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Michelle Currie (@mshlcurrie) on the topic of “Healthcare Leadership”.

An important truism in healthcare today is that change is the only constant. Indeed, it seems as if the entire world is changing at warp speed. The external and internal environment seems to be populated with a whole new set of rules, regulations, devices, diseases, and demands.

Consider the following set of terms added to the healthcare landscape: MACRA, Population Health management, accountable care, retail medicine, value-based purchasing, bronze/silver/gold/platinum health plans, Zika, personalized medicine, consumerism, bit data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, augmented reality. To quote the late Dr. Ken Cohn, the tectonic plates (of healthcare) are shifting.

Whether by incremental movement or in large, unexpected jolts, the environmental forces confronting healthcare leaders today are creating conditions that pose significant challenges to even the most experienced executives.

Join us for this week’s #HITsm chat where we talk about healthcare leadership.

Related Resources:

Topics for this week’s #HITsm Chat:
T1: How do you define effective leadership in today’s healthcare environment? #HITsm

T2: What are the specific challenges facing healthcare leadership in today’s environment? #HITsm

T3: What are some necessary competencies for today’s healthcare leaders that may not have been as important a decade ago? #HITsm

T4: What positive and negative effects will the changing healthcare workforce demographics pose going forward? #HITsm

T5: Are certain leadership styles better than others for the current healthcare environment? #HITsm

Bonus: What skill have you added in the past 24 months that has catipulted your leadership effectiveness? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
12/14 – TBD
Hosted by Claire Pfarr (@clairepfarr) from @OneViewHC and the @Savvy_Coop Community

12/21 – Holiday Break

12/28 – Holiday Break

1/4 – 2019 New Years Predictions
Hosted by John Lynn (@techguy)

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

Carely – Helping Family Caregivers Partner with Providers

Posted on November 30, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Over the past year I have met many entrepreneurs who are or have created an app designed to help families better coordinate the care of loved ones. These apps all have similar features:

  • A Facebook-like interface that allows multiple family members to post medical/care updates and add comments
  • A calendar feature for important appointments and for coordinating care coverage by family members
  • An iMessage/Whatsapp-like messaging tool to communicate one-on-one with members of the family

Caring for a loved one and trying to coordinate family members is a daunting task so I applaud all of these efforts to make it easier.

However, I must admit that I come away after meeting these enthusiastic entrepreneurs a little disappointed. Their apps, while impressive, are stand-alone and are isolated from the rest of the healthcare ecosystem. For example, manual entry is often the only way to incorporate medical information from a provider and any communication with a healthcare organization needs to be rekeyed into the app.

Because of this, I was very excited when I ran into Michael Eidsaune, Founder and CEO of Carely at a recent conference. His company is taking a unique approach – instead of just focusing on family caregivers, his company is trying to bring caregivers and healthcare providers closer together so that BOTH benefit.

Below is a summary of our conversation.

What makes Carely different than other family caregiving apps?

With Carely, we didn’t stop at just trying to make things easier for families to care for a loved one. What we want to do is recruit families to be an active part of the care team alongside the healthcare provider. We don’t want families to be passive observers waiting for the next bit of news or have to log into those terrible “family portals” that don’t really give you any useful information or allow you to communicate effectively with the healthcare organization. We all hate using portals, it’s so one-sided.

For us it’s ultimately about getting the best care for your loved one not just about making things easy. In order to do this you need to get providers involved and not just families.

So why would a healthcare provider adopt Carely? What’s in it for them?

The provider-side of Carely is something we call Carely Community. This is something we built specifically for healthcare providers. It allows them to interact with families of the loved ones they are caring for. They can share information like when appointments are, what activities their loved one has been involved in and get feedback on those things from family members.

Long-Term and Post-Acute Care providers in particular have found that listening to family feedback can help them deliver better care. Through Carely they can get messages like “Mom seemed to have a little less appetite than usual today” or “Uncle Joe seemed a bit more confused than normal and had trouble getting to the toilet”. When the provider sees these messages in combination with the medical record, they can quickly make a determination as to whether this was something expected or something they need to look into. Having observations from family members over a period of time, helps to paint a better picture for everyone. A better picture equals better care.

The reverse is also true. If the provider can share updates with families, they can help reduce the number of phone calls they get. Imagine how relieved you would feel if the long-term care facility let you know that “Aunt Mary took part in the garden walk today” or “Dad ate everything at dinner tonight”. Those simple updates can help take worries away.

Is that what families get out of Carely? Less worry?

Carely Family is the app side of our business. That’s where all the tools are for families to coordinate and track their loved one’s care. Here you can see upcoming appointments, who will be visiting, etc. But the real power comes when the healthcare provider gets added to family’s care circle. Now the entire family can get updates on what’s happening and they can make better decisions together.

Take for example, Home Care. Typically Home Care is needed as a result of an unexpected event – maybe a fall or a minor accident. Arranging for Home Care puts a lot of stress on families and they all have to come together to make decisions. Without coordination there would be a lot of phone calls and texts flying around. If it were me I wouldn’t want to be getting 5 phone calls a day from people asking me how I was doing. So by bringing everyone together onto a single platform, including the Home Care provider, now all the information is up-to-date and the family can make the best decision possible.

Let’s talk about integration for a moment. Have you integrated with any EHR or other healthcare system?

We are currently working with PointClickCare. They have an API interface that will allow us to pull updates from their system and feed it through Community and onto Family. This makes everything seamless for the healthcare organization – they just continue to use PointClickCare and families get updated behind the scenes. Down the road we will look at how we can push information or notifications into PointClickCare. As well, we plan to begin integrating with the many other systems that exist in healthcare today.

What’s next for Carely?

I wish we could still be operating in stealth mode, but we’ve had such great feedback and interest in our product that we’re operating out in the open now.

We are continuing to iterate our product based on feedback from families and healthcare providers. We’re really making an effort to incorporate their requests. People want to use tools that they love to use. No one wants to use a tool that makes their life harder or that’s confusing. That’s why we’re spending so much time iterating our product. On one side it’s got to fit into the daily lives of families and on the other it’s got to fit into the workflow of the healthcare provider.

At the end of the day, our mission and vision is to drastically improve the caregiver experience and it’s our core belief that in order to do that we have to create an industry-wide solution, eliminate silos, get rid of useless “family portals”, and continue to innovate. This NEEDS to be done and I’m confident we’ll be the ones to successfully do it.

Has Amazon Brought Something New To Healthcare Data Analytics?

Posted on November 29, 2018 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.

Amazon’s announcement that it was getting into healthcare data analytics didn’t come as a major surprise. It was just a matter of time.

After all, the retail giant has been making noises about its health IT ambitions for a while now, and its super-sneaky 1492 team’s healthcare feints have become common knowledge.

Now, news has broken that its massive hosting division, Amazon Web Services, is offering its Comprehend Medical platform to the healthcare world. And at the risk of being a bit too flip, my reaction is “so?” I think we should all take a breath before we look at this in apocalyptic terms.

First, what does Amazon say we’re looking at here?

Like similar products targeting niches like travel booking and supply-chain management, the company reports, Comprehend Medical uses natural language processing and machine learning to pull together relevant information from unstructured text.

Amazon says Comprehend Medical can pull needed information from physician notes, patient health records and clinical trial reports, tapping into data on patient conditions and medication dosage, strength and frequency.

The e-retailer says that users can access the platform through a straightforward API call, accessing Amazon’s machine learning expertise without having to do their own development or train models of their own. Use cases it suggests include medical cohort analysis, clinical decision support and improving medical coding to tighten up revenue cycle management.

Comprehend Medical customers will be charged a fee each month based on the amount of text they process each month, either $0.01 per 100-character unit for the NERe API, which extracts entities, entity relationships, entity traits and PHI, or $0.0014 per unit if they use its PHId API, which only supports identifying PHI for data protection.

All good. All fine. Making machine learning capabilities available in a one-off hosting deal — with a vendor many providers already use — can’t be wrong.

Now, let’s look coldly at what Amazon can realistically deliver.

Make no mistake, I understand why people are excited about this announcement. As with Microsoft, Google, Apple and other top tech influencers, Amazon is potentially in the position to change the way things work in the health IT sector. It has all-star brainpower, the experience with diving into new industries and enough capital to buy a second planet for its headquarters. In other words, it could in theory change the healthcare world.

On the other hand, there’s a reason why even IBM’s Watson Health stumbled when it attempted to solve the data analytics puzzle for oncologist. Remember, we’re talking IBM here, the last bastion of corporate power. Also, bear in mind that other insanely well-capitalized, globally-recognized Silicon Valley firms are still biding their time when it comes to this stuff.

Finally, consider that many researchers think NLP is only just beginning to find its place in healthcare, and an uncertain one at that, and that machine learning models are still in their early stages, and you see where I’m headed.

Bottom line, if Google or Microsoft or Epic or Salesforce or Cerner haven’t been able to pull this off yet, I’m skeptical that Amazon has somehow pole-vaulted to the front of the line when it comes to NLP-based mining of medical text. My guess is that this product launch announcement is genuine, but was really issued more as a stake in the ground. Definitely something I would do if I worked there.

The Global Impact of Health IT – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on November 27, 2018 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.

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 11/30 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Vanessa Carter (@_FaceSA) on the topic of “The Global Impact of Health IT”.

Global health pandemics like antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance are among the most critical issues to tackle and in future will require robust, harmonious data surveillance systems along with mass co-operation between the animal, human and environmental health sectors across every country [1]. This is known as One Health [2]. WHO initiatives like GLASS (Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System) have been implemented to work towards these goals [3].

To help understand the topic of antibiotic resistance, let me start by saying that antibiotics treat bacterial infections whereas antimicrobials are a much broader term used to describe medicines that treat other types of microorganisms that cause infection. These other types of microorganisms include parasites (e.g. Malaria), fungi (e.g. Candida) and viruses (e.g. AIDS). All of these microbial infections are categorised as Communicable Diseases or Infectious Diseases. Antibiotics fall under the antimicrobial umbrella and they kill a microorganism known as bacteria. Antimicrobials, and particularly antibiotics are the cornerstone of modern medicine because they are used in all areas of disease treatments where the immune system is compromised including HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis, as well as Non-Communicable Diseases like Cancer and Diabetes where acquiring an infection is common such as during Chemotherapy. Antibiotics are also used for your everyday Strep throat, Gastrointestinal Infections (e.g. “Tummy bug”) or Urinary Tract Infections. They are also prescribed daily by dentists when we have tooth infections or for routine surgeries. Unfortunately, we are overusing antibiotics and bacteria are evolving resistance fast. This means that antibiotics are no longer working to treat common bacterial infections for many of these health conditions. What is even more frightening is that there are very few antibiotics in the pipeline. Some big pharma companies having abandoned research and development due to a lack of global data which helps to report prescribing and consumption behaviours which are contributing to resistance [4].

Antibiotic resistance is caused in various ways including through the overprescribing and misuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals. Resistant bacteria can also spread through bad hygiene practice (e.g. hand washing) or food production. The continual rise of antimicrobial resistance was recognised by the United Nations in 2016 in a high-level meeting as a serious threat to global health and human development [5] because of its severity and complexity. It has further been compared to climate change by UK economic experts like Lord Jim O’Niell [6] and invested in excessively by organisations including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust [7], particularly in Low-to-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) where health systems are distressed and disease burdens are high.

This world has become increasingly more connected through trade and travel too, therefore tracking the spread of antibiotic resistance will probably remain impossible until we leverage the benefit of today’s digital technology to collect, process and analyse surveillance data at a national and global level. Whether or not and how health IT companies design solutions in the future taking this into consideration remains to be understood. For example, does it mean technology like EHRs should travel with us so that we improve our ability to capture holistic data, even when we’re out of our own country? What happens if we take a course of antibiotics and it never gets captured on our medical record, or worse, we pick up a disease and travel back afterwards with no data and that bacteria is a threat to our community. Shouldn’t we be considering these data gaps in all our systems? One thing is certain, without global surveillance, we couldn’t possibly begin to tackle this deadly pandemic that affects us all.

Join us for this week’s #HITsm chat where we talk about this global health challenge and how IT could potentially help with the problem.

Topics for this week’s #HITsm Chat:
T1: What do you think makes global health IT difficult to achieve? #HITsm

T2: What technologies do you think could collect global data for antibiotic resistance? (e.g. EHRs) #HITsm

T3: How do you think global health IT could benefit other medical conditions? #HITsm

T4: What are you seeing locally that you would like to see spread globally? #HITsm

T5: Why do you feel global health IT is important to achieve? #HITsm

Bonus: With global health barriers like culture, education & language, how do we overcome that with technology? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
12/7 – Healthcare Leadership
Hosted by Michelle Currie (@mshlcurrie)

12/14 – TBD
Hosted by Claire Pfarr (@clairepfarr) from @OneViewHC and the @Savvy_Coop Community

12/21 – Holiday Break

12/28 – Holiday Break

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

Providers Tell KLAS That Existing EMRs Can’t Handle Genomic Medicine

Posted on November 26, 2018 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.

Providers are still in the early stages of applying genomics to patient care. However, at least among providers that can afford the investment, clinical genomics programs are beginning to become far more common, and as a result, we’re beginning to get a sense of what’s involved.

Apparently, one of those things might be creating a new IT infrastructure which bypasses the provider’s existing EMR to support genomics data management.

KLAS recently spoke with a number of providers about the vendors and technologies they were using to implement precision medicine. Along the way, they were able to gather some information on the best practices of the providers which can be used to roll out their own programs.

In its report, “Precision Medicine Provider Validations 2018,”  KLAS researchers assert that while precision medicine tools have become increasingly common in oncology settings, they can be useful in many other settings.

Which vendors they should consider depends on what their organization’s precision medicine objectives are, according to one VP interviewed by the research firm. “Organizations need to consider whether they want to target a specific area or expand the solutions holistically,” the VP said. “They [also] need to consider whether they will have transactional relationships with vendors or strategic partnerships.”

Another provider executive suggests that investing in specialty technology might be a good idea. “Precision medicine should really exist outside of EMRs,” one provider president/CEO told KLAS. “We should just use software that comes organically with precision medicine and then integrated with an EMR later.”

At the same time, however, don’t expect any vendor to offer you everything you need for precision medicine, a CMO advised. “We can’t build a one-size-fits-all solution because it becomes reduced to meaninglessness,” the CMO told KLAS. “A hospital CEO thinks about different things than an oncologist.”

Be prepared for a complicated data sharing and standardization process. “We are trying to standardize the genomics data on many different people in our organization so that we can speak a common language and archive data in a common system,” another CMO noted.

At the same time, though, make sure you gather plenty of clinical data with an eye to the future, suggests one clinical researcher. “There are always new drugs and new targets, and if we can’t test patients for them now, we won’t catch things later,” the researcher said.

Finally, and this will be a big surprise, brace yourself for massive data storage demands. “Every year, I have to go back to our IT group and tell them that I need another 400 terabytes,” one LIS manager told the research firm.” When we are starting to deal with 400 terabytes here and 400 terabytes there, we’re looking at potentially petabytes of storage after a very short period of time.”

If you’re like me, the suggestion that providers need to build a separate infrastructure outside the EMR to create precision medicine program is pretty surprising, but it seems to be the consensus that this is the case. Almost three-quarters of providers interviewed by KLAS said they don’t believe that their EMR will have a primary role in the future of precision medicine, with many suggesting that the EMR vendor won’t be viable going forward as a result.

I doubt that this will be an issue in the near term, as the barriers to creating a genomics program are high, especially the capital requirements. However, if I were Epic or Cerner, I’d take this warning seriously. While I doubt that every provider will manage their own genomics program directly, precision medicine will be part of all care at some point and is already having an influence on how a growing number of conditions are treated.