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EHR Benefit – Accessibility of Charts

Posted on January 10, 2013 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.

It’s time for the second installment in my series of posts looking at the long list of EHR benefits. In case you missed the first post, go and check out the EHR benefit of legible notes.

Accessibility of Charts
The second EHR benefit is similar to the Legibility of Notes benefit in that it is easily forgotten as a benefit to EHR and it can be hard to quantify the value of the benefit in dollar amounts. Plus, it is really easy to see how nice accessible charts are to an organization.

There are a number of ways to look at the EHR benefit of accessible charts. The most obvious one is when you think about the number of times a chart has gone missing in a clinic. In most cases, the chart isn’t really missing. It’s in the clinic somewhere, but no one can find it. Remember all those special places that a chart could hide: exam room, physician’s desk, front desk, nurse’s desk, lab sign off box, physician’s car, hospital, physician’s home, etc etc etc. Oh yes, I didn’t even mention HIM not being able to find the chart because someone (probably someone other than HIM) misfiled the paper chart.

I’m sure most HIM people who read this will have a visceral reaction. I’m sure many are likely thinking, “But we do an amazing job keeping track of all those paper charts.” I agree with them 100%. A good HIM person has done an amazing job keeping track of paper charts. It would be 100 times worse if they weren’t there. The problem is that if a dozen people are using the paper chart, the reality is that charts are going to go missing.

Now think about the concept when it comes to EHR. None of those lost chart locations exist. The nurse can’t accidentally take the chart and forget to file it. The doctor can’t forget the chart at home or in his car. No one can misfile the chart.

Think about it. An EHR solves 100% of the problem of missing paper charts.

Besides misplaced paper charts, the idea of chart accessibility is an important one when you consider the idea of accessing an EHR remotely. Even if you use a less than ideal remote desktop solution, a physician can access an EHR anywhere they have an internet connection. For web based EHR, you get exactly the same experience accessing the EHR remotely as you would in the office.

I’ve heard horror stories (at least their pretty horrible to me) of doctors getting late night patient calls which require them to get dressed, go into the office, open the medical records room to access a patient chart. With an EHR, that same workflow has the doctor booting his computer and logging into the EHR. This doesn’t apply to all doctors, but for those that do it’s a dramatic difference.

The biggest fear I’ve heard from doctors in this regard is they often equate chart accessibility with their accessibility. The argument goes that if they can access the chart 24/7, that it also means they have to work 24/7. I think this is a myth that doesn’t match most realities. Just because you had a key to your office and could go and work on paper charts 24/7 doesn’t mean you had to do it. The same is true with remote access to EHR. You choose when is appropriate and important to access and work on the EHR and when not to do so.

The key difference between EHR and paper charts is that when you do want to access a patient’s record remotely you have that option available to you. That doesn’t mean you always have to do so, but it is nice to have that option available.

When talking about EHR accessibility, I think also about the landscape of connected mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, etc). All of these devices are connected to the internet at all times and could provide a doctor access to their EHR almost anywhere in the world. Try doing that with paper.

The problem here is that most EHR don’t do well on mobile devices. Remote desktop from a smart phone or tablet works, but is a pretty terrible user experience. A native mobile app provides a much better experience for users, but we’re still in the early days of EHR mobile app development. As this matures, the accessibility of charts will become an even bigger EHR benefit.

Medical Schools Developing School-Specific Apps for Students

Posted on August 9, 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.

Since I recently suggested 5 Must-Have Apps for Medical Students, I found this article to be intriguing. Apparently, medical schools are starting to create their own apps for students in their programs. The articles lists five reasons why medical schools are starting to provide students with school-specific apps:

  1. There is no readily available means of knowing which apps are safe, reliable, and useful
  2. The apps are developed by clinicians and others out of real and specific needs
  3. A wide range of resources are readily available
  4. Reimbursement is not a prerequisite for development
  5. They are unique and complex healthcare institutions

Until certification programs, such as the one being developed by Happtique, are up and running, I would be wary of trusting just any medical app out there. For that reason alone, I think it is a good idea for med schools to create apps that they approve for students to use. That, or provide a list of apps that have been reviewed by professors and clinicians at the University. Because probably every student in medical school has a smart phone, this would be a great resource to have available for students.

Every school is different, even if the bulk of the material taught is the same. Having course-specific apps developed by clinicians and other educators at the school would be helpful for both students and teachers a like. The article mentioned that this could possibly encourage adoption success, which is a win-win all around. And going into number three, what better place to develop a medical app than a place that has just about every medical resource available? I would be way more likely to trust an app created using medical school resources than just some company that creates apps.

I feel like most of the reasons are similar and connected in some way, but they definitely make sense. While I’m not a med student, or anything close to it, I can definitely see the value in this. There are a lot of possibilities for great apps that could be created. It makes me wonder if possibly a new fee will be added to the already exorbitantly high tuition that comes with medical school: app creation fee. I don’t see this totally coming without a price!

New App Supposedly “Alleviates” Depression, According to Recent Study

Posted on June 12, 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.

There are approximately 58 million people who suffer from depression throughout the United States, according to the NIMH. The report converts this to about 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older (or one in four adults). Pew Research Center reported last year that 35 percent of American adults own a smart phone.

What do these two things have to do with each other? Well, some of those adults who suffer from depression might just have a smartphone, and if so, a new app might help heal their depression.

Viary, the name of the app, uses a common depression treatment called behavior activation. This treatment is a process where the patient and his or her therapist figure out which activities create the most positive feelings for the patient, and from there, create a “matrix” that helps the patient want to participate in those activities. by which the patient and therapist identify activities that are positive for the patient, and then create a matrix within which the patient will be motivated to engage in those activities more often.

The app encourages the user regularly to “engage in about 100 positive behaviors, such as cooking a meal or increasing social contact and participation.” People using the app began with a score, on average, of 25 on the BDI-II scale, which indicates moderate depression. At the end of the study done on the app, on average, participants ended with a score about 13 points higher.The study also claimed that almost 74 percent of the study’s participants were not considered depressed upon completing the study.

The study really was dependent on the app, which makes the results even more interesting. It didn’t include any health coaching or counseling, and the “only contact patients had with a clinician was a weekly email to psychology students about their symptoms and feelings for that week.”

Having suffered from depression myself at one point in my life, I would have loved an app like this. While some people need more than app to help treat their depression, I think many people could benefit from this. I’m interested in seeing if anymore studies come out about the effectiveness of this app.

The app isn’t yet available for download but will be soon.

Mobile Health Market Worth $2.1 Billion in 2011; Growth of 22% in Next Three Years

Posted on May 26, 2011 I Written By

Another focus of the report is the growth of mobile health and the key role it will play in various areas of healthcare delivery, including education and awareness, remote data collection, remote monitoring, disease and epidemic outbreak tracking, and diagnostic and treatment support.

The mobile health market has a year-over-year growth rate of around 17% since 2010 and is estimated to be worth $2.1 billion at the end of 2011. The report also said the mobile health market is expected to grow with a CAGR of nearly 22% from 2012 to 2014.

“The buzz surrounding mobile healthcare has steadily grown during the past two years. There’s no question that this area holds enormous potential in terms of improving patient care in the U.S.,” the report concludes.

The main driver of mobile health’s growth is the increasing adoption of smartphones during the past few years. According to the report, at the end of 2009, smartphone penetration was around 21% and is expected to be 50% by the end of 2011. Further, over 72% of physicians are smartphone users, and mobile health applications embedded in smartphones are a main reason for this increased usage.

Another trend of note is the adoption of Apple’s iPad tablets. More than 20% of U.S. physicians already have iPads, the report said.

“There are over 10,000 applications related to mobile health of which around 40% are designed for healthcare professionals, which includes remote monitoring and healthcare management applications. Even the Apple iTunes application store has about 6,000 mobile health applications,” the report said. –Source

I don’t know that there are very many industries out there that are projecting 22% growth in the midst of a major recession.  While that is quite impressive, there is something that I find even more amazing.  In an article I referenced last month they estimated the value of the mobile health market at $1.7 billion by 2014.  However, this article, written only six months later, estimates the value of the mHealth market at $2.1 billion by the end of this year.  Now you could attribute this to an uncertain future for mHealth, but I see it as a sign that the mHealth market is growing bigger and more rapidly than anyone could have expected.  I think this is another one of those technological booms that we will all underestimate.

Discussing the Emerging Role of Smartphones in Healthcare at CTIA 2011

Posted on May 25, 2011 I Written By

Smartphones are quickly becoming as important to doctors as all of their other tools. If you have any doubt about the emerging value of smartphones please visit our other site, Smartphone Healthcare.  On that site there are numerous posts discussing amazing new devices, and how technology is improving healthcare for people in all walks of life, and all areas of the earth.

The following video is a discussion  about the role of smartphones in healthcare conducted by Matt Kapko of RCR Wireless where he interviews Gary Rurup (Strategic Opportunity Manager, Healthcare and Fitness, Sprint), Scott Minor (Health Care Solutions, Infologix), and Pete DeNagy (Independent m-health consultant) at CTIA 2011.

 

 

Watch the video here.

GE Smart Phone Health Care Apps

Posted on March 8, 2011 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.

GE has launched a partnership with MedHelp to provide a number of health related smart phone apps. You can see them listed here with links to be able to download the apps.

The website is part of GE’s healthymagination and the website says “Tracking your health is easier when it’s broken down to specific activities. I guess that provides GE’s answer to my question about whether we’ll have dozens of health related smart phone apps or one main one to rule them all.

Here’s a look at the GE and MedHelp smart phone apps (which seem to only be available for the iPhone):
I’m Expecting – Keep track of everything that’s happening to you and your baby with 24/7 access to your information both from your phone and online.

Sleep on It – Take control of your sleep patterns with this app that combines alarm clock functionality, sleep data, and health data.

Moody Me – Have more happy days! Track your mood, note what affects it, and record any treatments you’re taking to find out what makes you feel good and what makes you sad so you can better manage your mood.

My Diet Diary – Record your food and exercise routines to stay on track toward your weight loss goals. Share your progress on Facebook and MedHelp to get encouragement from friends!

Pregnancy, Sleeping, Moods and Dieting. An interesting combination to start off with. I have a feeling we’re just barely getting started with health apps.

Welcome to Smart Phone Health Care!!

Posted on January 24, 2011 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.

Thanks for visiting Smart Phone Health Care. We’re still putting everything together, but soon you will find all the latest and greatest gadgets and technology that you can use in Health Care. Yes, we’ll be covering the various smart phone apps for the iPhone, Android and iPad. We’ll also take a look at the other medical devices that can make physicians and patients lives much easier.

Come back soon to find all the great mobile technology that’s available for health care.