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An Example of EHR as Database of Healthcare

Posted on December 13, 2012 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.

One of my favorite interviews at mHealth Summit was with Alan Portela, CEO of AirStrip Technologies. I’d definitely heard good things about AirStrip, but I must admit that before our meeting I didn’t have a very good understanding of what AirStrip was really all about. I was pleased to learn that they are well deserving of the hype. I believe AirStrip will do wonderful things to help make healthcare data mobile and AirStrip is lucky to have Alan Portela leading the company. Alan is unique when it comes to healthcare IT leaders in that he understands the healthcare culture, but also has a unique vision for how healthcare can embrace the future.

The core of what AirStrip has done to date has been in OB and Cardiology. In fact, each of those areas is worthy of their own post and look into how they’ve changed the game in both of those areas. The OB side speaks to me since we recently had our fourth child. I can imagine how much better the workflow would have been had my wife’s OB had access to the fetal waveforms (CTGs) on her mobile device. Instead, it was left to the nurse to interpret the recordings and communicate them to the OB. There’s real power for an OB to have the data in the palm of their hand.

Similar concepts can be applied to cardiology. Timing is so huge when it comes to the heart and there’s little doubt that mobile access to healthcare data for a cardiologists can save a lot of time from when the data is collected to when the cardiologist interprets the results.

The real question is why did it take so long for someone like AirStrip to make this data mobile. The answer has many complexities, but it turns out that ensuring that the data displays to clinical grade quality is not as easy as one might think. An ECG waveform needs to be much more precise than a graph of steps taken.

While both of these areas are quite interesting, since I’m so embedded in the EHR world I was particularly interested in AirStrip’s move into making EHR data mobile. They’ve started with Meaningful Use Tracker, but based on my conversation with Alan Portela this is just the beginning. AirStrip wants to make your important clinical information mobile.

I pushed Alan on how he’ll be able to do this since so many EHR companies have created big barriers to being able to access their data. Turns out that Alan seems to share my view that EHR is the Database of Healthcare. This idea means that instead of the EHR doing everything for everyone, a whole ecosystem of companies are going to build amazingly advanced functionality on the back of the EHR data and functions.

In AirStrip’s case, they want to take EHR data and make it mobile. They don’t want to store the data. They don’t want to do the advanced clinical decision support. Instead, they want to leverage the EHR data and EHR functionality on a mobile device.

One key to this approach is that AirStrip wants to be able to do this for an organization regardless of which EHR you use on the backend. In fact, Alan argues that most hospital organizations are going to have multiple EHR systems under their purview. As hospitals continue to consolidate you can easily see how one organization is going to have a couple hospitals on Epic, a couple on Cerner, a couple on Meditech, etc. If AirStrip can be the consistent mobile front end for all of the major EHR companies, that’s a powerful value proposition for any hospital organization.

Of course, we’ll see if AirStrip gets that far. Right now they’re taking a smart approach to mobilizing specific clinical data elements. Although, don’t be surprised when they work to mobilize all of an organization’s healthcare data.

AirStrip is just one example of a company that’s using EHR as their database of healthcare data. I’m sure we’re going to see hundreds and thousands of companies who build powerful applications on the back of EHR data.

SleepRate: Improves Your Sleep by Monitoring Your Heart

Posted on July 18, 2012 I Written By

Recently, I haven’t been sleeping well.  We all go through times like this where for whatever reason you just don’t sleep well.  You may have trouble falling asleep, the sleep may not be very restful, you may not be getting enough, or you may even be getting too much.  Generally, I have no idea why I am sleeping poorly which is really frustrating because there is not a whole lot I can do about it, other than take some sleeping pills.

With all of the apps and gadgets flooding the market, there are tons of things you can buy now that will monitor your sleep and claim to help you sleep better in some way.  One of these devices takes an interesting approach at improving your sleep: it monitors your heart.

SleepRate is a cloud based mobile service that allows customers to monitor their sleep using many widely available heart-rate monitors.  Using the ECG that these monitors can detect, SleepRate can analyze your sleeping patterns, and help suggest solutions to improve your sleep.

I love that the system is “device agnostic” as they like to refer to it.  You are not tied to their one offering that may not fit your exact needs.  They simply provide a service using devices that many people already have, and their compatibility list for both iOS and Android devices is growing everyday.  They just recently announced compatibility with Zephyr, RunKeeper, Wearlink, and Wahoo ANT+.

Sleep is one of the most essential parts of our lifestyle, and it is really no surprise that your heart could provide vital information to how well you are sleeping.  Now with the SleepRate system you can have access to that information to improve the way you sleep, and help improve your overall health.

AliveCor Developing a Mobile ECG Using the iPhone

Posted on November 7, 2011 I Written By

While I personally am not totally convinced of the value of being able to take an ECG of yourself, I have to admit that it is pretty cool technology.  AliveCor has not yet released the device to the public, but according to their website they will be exhibiting at MEDICA 2011 in Dusseldorf Germany from Nov 16-19.

The following two videos give a much better description of the device then I ever could so I will let them describe it.




Like many of the devices similar to this I really feel like they are of the most value in underdeveloped countries.  These places will not have ECG’s all over the place like we do here in America.  Making it possible for more experienced doctors to monitor patients with tools like an ECG will greatly improve the quality of care that they receive.

Toyota Entering the mHealth Market with a Steering Wheel ECG Sensor

Posted on July 27, 2011 I Written By

A couple of months ago I wrote about Ford’s journey into the mHealth market.  They intend to use their SYNC technology to do such things as monitor blood glucose level, monitor heart rate, and even help manage stress.

Toyota is now doing research that may lead to similar offerings.  In the midst of researching new safety technologies such as a pre-collision system and a steering control feature, they have also developed an ECG integrated steering wheel.  Something Ford has opted to do through a sensor in the driver’s seat.

The Toyota version is fed by sensors in the steering wheel that monitor heart activity.  It does require the driver to keep their hands on the wheel, but could provide life saving alerts.  By monitoring the driver’s heart signal the driver may be able to recognize an oncoming heart attack before it happens thus allowing for a safe stopping of the car as opposed to a dangerous accident.

While the technology sounds pretty cool, I think that Ford’s overall approach is more intriguing.  While an ECG sensor may be valuable to relatively older people, things such as diabetes and stress are something experienced by people of all ages.

They have also already demonstrated the use of great technology in their SYNC system.  It would not surprise me to see Toyota start offering similar technologies, but for now Ford is definitely leading the way.