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Doctor Mom by Health Tap – Consult A Doctor Who’s Been There

Posted on June 14, 2013 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.

Have you ever been to the doctor and felt like they totally had no idea what you were going through? I know I have. Which is understandable in some ways — I mean, not every doctor is going to have experience with every ailment or condition. However, when it comes to my son…I want to be able to talk to someone who has gone through similar experiences. Sometimes it’s nice for reassurance, or even to feel justified in being concerned about something.

By now, it might seem like I’m border-line obsessed with Health Tap, especially because today, I’m going to share with you their latest feature called Doctor Mom. This company just seems to be really innovative, and is churning out awesome services like crazy. However, I think this is definitely my favorite concept yet.

When you ask a question at Doctor Mom, the question is assigned to doctor, who also happens to be a mom who has raised children of her own. The website lists the following benefits of this program:

  • Emphathetic, compassionate, and caring answers
  • “Been there, done that” answers based on personal knowledge and experience
  • The ability to dive deeper into women’s issues

These doctors know what it is like to be pregnant and to have a child. I’m sure the majority of them have seen many different illnesses, and talked to many paranoid parents. And because of that, they are able to connect better with moms. I’m not saying that male doctors can’t show empathy and be great doctors — my primary care physician, and my son’s pediatrician, both of which I love, are males. But I still love this idea. 

I know I’m always texting my mom or sisters and asking them questions about my son, even though most of the time I know they don’t really have an answer. It’s just nice to get reassurance from someone that has “been there.”  However, I look forward to using this service in the feature!

5 Health-Related Snapshots To Keep In Your Phone

Posted on June 5, 2013 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.

Yesterday, I came across an interesting article on Pinterest about different snapshots you should keep in your phone’s photo album. While it mentioned quite a few random things, like reminders of where you parked, measurements for an air filter, or recipes from a book or a magazine, there was one related to health care that made me start thinking.

The article suggested taking photos of prescription bottles, so you don’t forgot the name of your prescription, or the prescription number. When I saw this, I started thinking about what other health-related things you could take pictures of. This, in fact, could be the simplest way to create a portable PHR.

So what are some things you could take photos of to store on your phone in case of an emergency? Here are a few ideas I came up with:

  • Picture of insurance card. Awhile back when we went to an Urgent Care clinic, we were asked to check-in using Phreesia. Instead of giving our insurance card, we just had to type in our insurance id number. I’m notorious for misplacing insurance cards, so if I ran into a situation like this, all would not be lost, if I had a copy of the insurance card on my phone!
  • Photos of medicine: As was suggested in the article that prompted this post, taking a photo of any bottles of medicine you have to take would be helpful as well. There have been several times that I’ve called a pharmacy while I’ve been out and about, and they’ve asked for my prescription number. Of course, I never know it. But having a photo with that information would be helpful. It might also be helpful to take picture of medicine you need to buy at the store.
  • Along the same lines, having an updated photo with any medications you or your child is currently taking. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been at a doctor and they ask what medication my son or I had been on recently, and I totally forget.
  • Emergency contacts. Obviously, you can store emergency contacts in your address book, but this would be a good way to make it so you don’t have to go scrolling through your contacts…especially when there actually is an emergency, where things can be hectic. This would also be an easy way to send numbers and names to someone else, in case that was necessary. It would be a lot easier to send one photo, rather than trying to copy and paste different phone numbers.
  • If you can have different folders of albums on your phone, you could store all these in one labeled “health” or “emergency.

There are a lot of apps that could probably do these same things, but for those that want to make things as simple as possible — I think this is a good route. There are obviously some downsides — mainly, it isn’t a secure way to store information. But it’s an interesting way to store information that you need to get to quickly. Can you think of any other snapshots that might be helpful to have?

EHR Backlash, ACO, and Center of Care – #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on May 11, 2013 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.

Topic One: What’s your take on the emerging #EHRBacklash? A post-Meaningful Use fad, or a movement with actual potential?

 

Topic Two: Will patients ever take their place at the center of the care team? Do they know that they should care about it?

 

Topic Three: What does #ACO mean to you? Does anyone understand what will make them sustainable? Does human behavior even permit such things?

 

Topic Four: Open Forum. What topics are you tuned into right now? #healthIT

 

EHRMagic, EHR Certification, and the Great EHR Switch — #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on May 4, 2013 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.

Topic One: What lessons can be learned from the ONC’s decision to revoke #EHR Incentive Program certification of EHRMagic? #HealthIT

Topic Two: Does this action make EHR certification more meaningful or does it reduce confidence in certified products?

Topic Three: Who suffers the most from the ONC’s decision? The vendor or the physicians who purchased the product?

#HITsm T4: ”2013 is the year of the great #EHR switch.” With data migration and implementation hassles, is this truly a possibility?

What Google Fiber Could Mean For the Future of Healthcare

Posted on May 1, 2013 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.

Have you heard of Google Fiber? If you haven’t, don’t worry. You most likely don’t have it in your city yet. I only heard about it last week, with the announcement that Provo, Utah (where I live) would be getting it.

After reading more about it, both my husband and I were so excited…so much so, that we’ve considered extending our time in Provo a little bit longer. But I also starting thinking about how Google Fiber could help transform healthcare. From what I understand, hospitals and schools in the cities where Google Fiber is implemented will have access to Internet that has a speed of 1 GB, which, to put it simply, is crazy fast.

Having experienced the speed (or lack thereof) of the Internet at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center here in Provo, I was just thrilled to hear they would be able to have faster Internet. After talking with a nurse at my son’s doctor’s appointment today, whose office is on the campus of UVRMC and will likely get the 1 GB of high speed Internet, I could tell that the hospital was very excited about this announcement. This made me start to wonder about what effect Google Fiber might have on Healthcare, so I did some Googling to see what others had to say about it.

Google Fiber has been announced in two other cities — Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Kansas. There was a panel discussion just a few days ago, put on by Austin Health Tech, discussing what Google Fiber could mean for Austin’s healthcare technology scene. I haven’t been able to track down what was discussed, but I’m sure it would be interesting. I did, however, read this article about Google Fiber and the possibility of High Speed Health. Apparently, Kansas University Medical Center has already developed three pilot programs that will be using Google Fiber’s network in the community. These programs include:

  • Virtual care of teens in their homes
  • Support for caregivers of people with dementia
  • Consulting and training at risk families through Project Eagle

Barbara Atkinson, Dean of KU’s School of Medicine, was a facilitator at a meeting discussing the possibilites of Google Fiber and healthcare last year. She said,

We’ve done some thinking about how much patient care could be done from hospital to home. Things like managing some chronic diseases — heart failure or something like that — if you have real high-definition teleconferencing and really good, simple machines that could be in people’s homes, you could manage many things. You really could cut health care costs by doing it that way, rather than having readmissions for [things like] health failure.

Reading this made me wonder if Google Fiber might make it even more possible for the smartphone physical that was demonstrated at TEDMED to become a standard practice. Even for those in the cities that have Google Fiber that don’t want to pay the monthly fee for the 1 GB of high-speed Internet will have free access to up to 5 MB of speed. People will have more access to the Internet than they have ever had before.

The article also quotes Dr. Sharon Lee, head of Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care, as saying that Google Fiber “holds promise for improving the level of care at her primary care clinic.” She believes that having the extremely high speed network available to her will give her “access to a quick way to communicate with other providers,” in ways like uploading and sending x-rays quickly from her clinic over to other specialists, which would allow for real-time evaluations.

Another article talked about a brainstorming session that took place last year in Kansas City, where it was suggested that children on home ventilators, elderly patients  or others who cannot travel easily would be able to be seen via remotely because of the high-speed Internet connection. This bounces off the same ideas that Barbara Atkinson discussed as well.

It’s fun to think about the implications Google Fiber could have on mHealth. I could see more doctors wanting to use tablets and smartphones in their offices, especially if they know they will have a reliable (and fast) Internet connection. What effect do you think Google Fiber could have on the future of healthcare?

Traditional Marketing, Drug Companies, and Behavioral Scientists – #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on April 20, 2013 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.

Topic One: @bjfogg behavior model has become well known in tech around engagement. How is this or other models applicable to patient care?

Topic Two: Outside #healthcare, “engagement” is largely about marketing. What can traditional marketing teach us about patients?

Topic Three: Engagement is closely tied to influence and by who you are trying to influence. What are biggest drivers of influence in hc?

Topic Four: Drug companies are masters of influence, how can we improve the influence of engagement?

Topic Five: @nationalehealth and @ONC_HIT work with top behavioral scientists. When does a nudge toward behavior change become a shove?

#HIMSS14 Speakers, Healthcare in 2013, and More — #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on February 23, 2013 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.

This weeks topics were suggested by Dan Munro, a contributor at Forbes.

Topic One: Head of ONC Farzad Mostashari calls and asks you what his top 2 priorities should be. What do you say? @Farzad_ONC

Topic Two: Biz Stone was HIMSS12 Keynote and Clinton will Keynote #HIMSS13. Who should Keynote HIMSS14?

Topic Three: Fill in the blank> Healthcare’s End-of-Year Headline for 2013 will be _______.

Topic Four: Among early stage healthcare startups – who’s your favorite? #mHealth

Topic Five: Should we skip over #ICD10? #healthIT

Keeping the “Health” in “Heathcare”

Posted on December 11, 2012 I Written By

Mandi Bishop is a hardcore health data geek with a Master's in English and a passion for big data analytics, which she brings to her role as Dell Health’s Analytics Solutions Lead. She fell in love with her PCjr at 9 when she learned to program in BASIC. Individual accountability zealot, patient engagement advocate, innovation lover and ceaseless dreamer. Relentless in pursuit of answers to the question: "How do we GET there from here?" More byte-sized commentary on Twitter: @MandiBPro.

‘Tis the season for family gatherings, holiday parties, and a plethora of professional networking events – all of which give me ample opportunity to perfect my “elevator speech”, introducing my business. It seems like each time I discuss what I do for a living, the question that follows is, “So, how do you feel about Obamacare?”

I understand that the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, is a significant slice of the polarizing pie our nation is currently attempting to consume and digest. And I appreciate that now, for the first time in my career, more people than not take an interest in what I have to say about being “a healthcare data consultant.” In years past, eyes would glaze over as I explained the enormous potential of predictive analytics in wellness and disease management programs, or the power of unstructured data mining for clinical notes data. Mentioning the health insurance plans I worked with brought inquiries into individual versus group rates, and complaints about the latest round of premium increases. It’s been refreshing to experience keen interest and pointed questions as I talk, rather than have each person gulp the last sip of wine and excuse themselves to run for more as soon as they figured out I have nothing to do with how much out-of-pocket expense they’re incurring after each doctor visit.

But as much as I enjoy the sudden interest in healthcare policy and data management, there isn’t enough wine in the world to make me debate the politics of healthcare reform with my 6’5″ uncles, my friends, or my social media connections. I am not a lawyer or political pundit. I am not qualified to comment on the merits of the ACA legislation. I am not an economist. I am not qualified to comment on the fiscal impact of Obamacare. I am a technologist. I am qualified to comment on the translation of ACA’s many provisions into the infrastructure and applications supporting our healthcare system. I am also a healthcare system consumer. I AM qualified to comment on what I believe this historic legislation means to my health, the health of my family, and the health of future generations.

This is what ACA healthcare reform and its many facets – Health Information Exchange (HIE), Electronic Health Records (EHR), Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Meaningful Use (MU) – mean to me: more, better, faster healthcare data capture and communication between all the stakeholders involved in my health and wellness:

– More health data: Meaningful Use-certified EMR applications require that particular medical service activities and clinical data elements are captured and stored discretely, electronically, and made available for retrieval upon patient demand.

– Better health data: The majority of medical procedures, products, services, events, and outcomes are codified in order to meet regulatory standards. It may take longer for your provider to enter the information about a patient encounter into an EMR system than it did to scribble notes on a chart; however, because those detailed discrete data elements are now tied to compensation and incentives, there is a higher likelihood that more specific details will be captured individually per encounter, generating a more complete picture of a patient’s medical history than a manual review of their paper charts. No handwriting recognition required.

– Faster access to critical health data: With EHR applications and HIEs, providers can instantly access patient medical records from provider/facility sources and multiple insurance carriers. The difference between electronic transmission speeds and manual chart retrieval could be the difference between life and death.

How could a higher volume of increasingly accurate, integrated, and immediately available healthcare data result in adverse health outcomes?

To me, healthcare isn’t about politics. It is health care. It’s about me, caring for my health, and the health of my loved ones. I believe that technological advances can and will empower healthcare stakeholders of all ilks – provider, health insurance plan, pharmaceutical industry, patients – to increase the speed of condition diagnosis and treatment, and to assist in establishing and maintaining healthy habits for improved health over a lifetime.

This season, put the “health” back in “healthcare”.

Health IT Hazards, Selecting the Right EHR, and Withings Wireless Scale – Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on December 2, 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.

Hospital EMR and EHR

Health IT Stands Out In Health Technology Hazards List

The Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list was recently released by ECRI. And this year, two of the hazards that made the list are health IT related – patient/data mismatches in EHRs and other HIT systems, and, interoperability failures with medical devices and health IT systems. Anne Zeiger predicts that more HIT issues will top this list in the future.

Patients Accessing Online Medical Records Use More Services

A new study revealed something interesting — patients who use online access to medical records are likely to use more clinical services than those who do not. The Journal of the American Medical Association drew this conclusion after studying members of Kaiser. Kaiser has had a patient portal in place since 2006, which made it an ideal candidate for this study.

EMR and EHR

10 Tips for Selecting the Right EHR

In the market for a new EHR? Or perhaps just implementing one? This post highlights 10 tips on selecting the right EHR for your practice, as presented by Insight Data Group. Some of the suggestions include making sure the EHR is easy to use and customized, and use the government’s money to pay for your EHR.

Meaningful Healthcare IT News

Social and Mobile Continue to Converge in Healthcare

An interesting infographic is shown and discussed in this post. It is called “How Health Consumers Engage Online,” and reveals some interesting facts about the digital and health world. According to it, more people in the United States own a smart phone than a tooth brush, and 23 percent of people use social media to follow the health experiences of a friend. This definitely presents some fascinating data that is worth reading.

Smart Phone Health Care

New Withings Wireless Internet Scale Hits the Market

A new scale was recently released, and it does more than just tell a person how much they weigh. It tracks numerous variables, including BMI, and can be synced to various mHealth apps. There is also an app that goes along with the scale as well. It is a bit pricey at over $100, but it definitely “tips the scales” when it comes to scales.

Smart Phone Enabled Thermometer Approved By FDA

The “Raiing” is the newest in smart phone technology. It’s a high-tech, yet easy-to-use, thermometer, designed for iOS devices. It is placed under the armpit, and can actually track a person’s temperature over time. If a temperature reaches a certain number, an alarm will go off on the connected smart phone. This can help give parent’s peace of mind, as a sick child sleeps.

Will EMR Adoption Bankrupt Medicare?

Posted on November 27, 2012 I Written By

Mandi Bishop is a hardcore health data geek with a Master's in English and a passion for big data analytics, which she brings to her role as Dell Health’s Analytics Solutions Lead. She fell in love with her PCjr at 9 when she learned to program in BASIC. Individual accountability zealot, patient engagement advocate, innovation lover and ceaseless dreamer. Relentless in pursuit of answers to the question: "How do we GET there from here?" More byte-sized commentary on Twitter: @MandiBPro.

Much hullaballoo is made over the 47% increase in Medicare payments from 2006-2010, which some seem eager to attribute to the adoption of EMR. The outcry is understandable; a 47% increase is a big dang deal, and taxpayers should be concerned. But haven’t we all heard that statistics lie?

“Hospitals received $1 billion more in Medicare reimbursements in 2010 than they did five years earlier, at least in part by changing the billing codes they assign to patients in emergency rooms,” cited the New York Times based on analysis of Medicare data from American Hospital Directory. Indeed, billing codes have changed from 2006-2010, in accordance with the HCPCS (Health Care Procedure Coding System) reform of CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) application and inclusion guidelines, cited here: HCPCS Reform from CMS. Healthcare industry growth and care advances drove an increase from 50 – 300 new CPT code annual applications between 1994-2004, leading to sweeping change in the review and adoption process starting in 2005 – including elimination of market data requirements for drugs.

Think about that for a second. If Pharma no longer has to submit 6 months of marketing data prior to applying for an official billing code, how many new CPT codes – and resultant billing opportunities – do you think have been generated by drugs alone since that HCPCS process change adoption in 2005? Which leads me to my next correlating fact: the most significant Medicare Part D prescription drug provisions did not start until 2006.

Let’s put two and two together: Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage (2006) + change in HCPCS billing code request process to speed drugs to market adoption (2005) = significant increase in Medicare reimbursements. To use the NYT analyst language, “in part”, administration of those drugs occurs in an emergency room. And who might be in the ER on a regular basis? I’ll give you a hint: “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”

Perhaps the most profound contributor to this Medicare reimbursement increase is a recent dramatic rise in the Medicare-eligible population. Per the National Institute on Aging’s 65+ in the United States: 2005, the 65+ population is expected to double in size between 2005 and 2030 – by which point, 20% of the US will be of eligible age. The over-85 age group, as of 2005, was the fastest-growing population segment. Elderly people who are prone to chronic conditions as well as acute care events just might lead to higher Medicare reimbursements.

Of course, there are myriad contributing factors. Some industry analysts attribute the rise in Medicare claims cost to fraud, citing that the workflow efficiencies that the EMR technology provide allow for easy skimming. Activities such as “cloning”, or copying and pasting procedures from one patient to the next with minimal keystrokes within the EMR software, might contribute to false claim filing for procedures that were never performed. While the nefarious practice of Medicare fraud long predates EMR, the opportunity to scale one’s fraudulent operations to statistically relevant proportions increases significantly with automation. And as my mother always told me, it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bushel.

But how many bad apples would it take to spoil a multi-billion dollar bushel to the tune of a 47% cost increase? According to the NYT article, “The most aggressive billing — by just 1,700 of the more than 440,000 doctors in the country — cost Medicare as much as $100 million in 2010 alone,” and the increase in billing activity for each of those 1700 occurred post-EMR adoption. After all, “hospitals that received government incentives to adopt electronic records showed a 47 percent rise in Medicare payments…compared with a 32 percent rise in hospitals that have not received any government incentives.”

Wait, did that statistic just indicate a significant increase in Medicare reimbursements, across the board? So the differential between those providers who have received government incentives for EMR adoption, and those who have not, is 15%. The representative facilities and providers responded to the “aggressive billing” accusation by indicating that they had 1) more accurate billing mechanisms, 2) higher patient need for billable services. I’ll buy that. Sure, it’s likely that there is Medicare fraud happening, but that’s not new – it’s unfortunate that there will always be ways to game the system, whether manual or electronic. But is the increase in “fraud” pre and post-EMR adoption statistically relevant?

Considering the complex variables involved, I’ll chalk up the 15% increase to the combination of more specific billing practices, Medicare Part D drug provisions, an aging population and the health issues which accompany it, and not vilify the technology which facilitates further advances. Let the EMR adoption expansion continue!