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Around Healthcare Scene: EMRs and Health Technology Talk

Posted on March 10, 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.

EMRs are supposed to increase efficiency and patient care. However, because of the amount of data they contain, sometimes the opposite happens. Anne Zieger discusses a recent report in Modern Healthcare, which talks about how nearly 30 percent of PCPs claim that they missed notifications of test results, leading to a delay in care, thanks to the over-abundance of information the EMR collects.

Would the use of mHealth technology such as tablets and smart phones cause harm like this as well? We’re sure to find out soon with mobile technology advancing among providers. Research shows that some providers are “gradually shifting their use of smart mobile devices from business functions like e-mail and scheduling to a much wider range of activities. Be sure to read some of Anne’s thoughts on the matter, and find out if this growth will continue at this pace.

And speaking of tablets, around 4,000 home care staff will be receiving a brand new Android tablet. Bayada, a national home care agency has recently sent out Samsung Galaxy Tabs to therapists, medical social workers and other home health professionals. Considering the fact that iPads are often the tablet of choice, this was an interesting move. The workers can document information while at a patient’s home, as well pull up data before going to the house. Will more healthcare providers be taking on the Android tablets, because of their lower cost? Chime in over at Hospital EMR and EHR.

There’s always some kind of new app being created to help people keep track of their health. Now, people can use uChek, an at-home urinanalysis, to keep their health in check. The mobile app, along with the uChek kits, allow people to test their urine for a variety of different markers. While it shouldn’t be used to replace a necessary visit to the doctor’s office, it could help prevent certain issues from getting worse by catching them early on.

With all this talk of technology in the healthcare world, one might wonder how it affects patient engagement. We recently switched pediatricians for my house, and while the last office was very tech savvy, this new office doesn’t have a computer in the offices, they give out paper prescriptions, and they have paper files. And to be honest, I love this office way more because of how personal the visit was, with no technology to distract the doctor. At our old office, the doctor stood far away from us, only looked at the computer the majority of the time, and it just wasn’t personal. However, because a lot of the mHealth technology does a lot of good, Dr. West over at the Happy EMR Doctor has some suggestions. He has created a list of 7 tips to help improve EHR etiquette, and this is definitely something all healthcare providers should follow. Just because there’s technology, doesn’t mean the importance of patient engagement should disappear as well.

uChek Brings Urinalysis Home

Posted on March 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.

Most doctor’s appointments tend to involve some kind of urine sample, at least it seems like it. Even though I’m sure no one really looks forward to this, urine tests can reveal a lot of information about a person’s health, and what may be causing problems. uChek, a product from Biosense Technologies, is helping make it possible for people to do this test at home.

uChek allows a person to use their phone to diagnose an at-home urine test. Basically, a person can purchase a uChek kit, which has a uChek color mat and sample urine dipsticks. The dipstick changes color according to the concentration of different analytes in urine. You then put the dipstick on the color mat, and then compare this to the uChek app. This will help to determine if there is anything amiss. It is compatible with the five most commonly used urine dipsticks, which can be purchased at pharmacies. Although it is recommended to use the uChek kit, someone can purchase the dipsticks are a pharmacy, and then compare it to the app manually. If the app isn’t used, accuracy may be lower because it takes longer to manually check.

When used correctly, uChek has 95 percent accuracy at identifying the concentration of up to 10 analytes — glucose, protein, ketones, urobilinogen, bilirubin, specific gravity, blood, pH, leukocytes, and nitrites. Being able to see this information can help a person who suspects they have certain illnesses, such as diabetes or a UTI, keep track of their symptoms. The app will create a graph with different readings over time.

The website makes sure to state that this is not a medical device, and not meant to diagnose illnesses and diseases. It is merely for informational reasons. I think this is pretty awesome. For example, I was thinking it could helpful for someone who is at risk for pre-eclampsia. Since that is often diagnosed through a urine sample, if someone wants to monitor their urine at home, they might be able to catch it early, and get treatment faster as well.

uChek isn’t available yet for purchase, or to be downloaded, but it will be soon. If this is something you are interested in, be sure to go enter your information on the site, so they can send you updates as they happen.