We are witnessing a shift in the health sector to the seamless provision of healthcare. Many elements are coming together, such as more cost-efficient care delivery, intelligent analysis of patient information, more price-conscious and scalable software delivery models, and new methods of interaction between individuals and caregivers using mobile devices and social media in a way that has not been known before.
This is changing the fabric of healthcare and leading to a paradigm shift – it is no longer just about healing the sick. With more information becoming available, it is now also about prevention. More fundamentally, healthcare is moving from episodic, isolated patient care towards electronic health record-centric or patient-centred care, where the entire continuum of care is not just involved but also accountable for the patient outcome. To this end, healthcare is increasingly using intelligent tools to obtain smarter clinical information to improve patient outcomes.
Ovum noted a number of key trends at the 51st Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference in Las Vegas earlier this year.
In particular, electronic health records (EHRs), mobility, and business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools are key issues in healthcare.
The better EHR implementations are embedded into caregivers’ daily workflows, the higher the chance that patient data will be recorded in a timely and accurate manner. Therefore, care providers are eager to make use of solutions which help integrate EHRs into the clinical workflow, especially when required under the meaningful use criteria.
Nuance Communications, for example, launched two clinical language understanding (CLU) powered solutions at HIMSS 2012 – Dragon Medical 360, M.D.Assist and Dragon Medical QualityAnalytics – to help healthcare providers improve care and tackle the challenge of collecting, processing, interpreting and utilising information to support regulatory compliance.
Often, physicians prefer speech recognition programs to transcribe their dictation into EHRs to using point-and-click templates to document patient visits. Allscripts, eClinicalWorks and Greenway have been tying voice recognition to natural language processing (NLP) in their ambulatory care EHRs and demonstrated solutions at the show.
Allscripts has tied NLP and voice recognition not only to ambulatory EHRs but also in its hospital/acute care EHR solution, Sunrise, including the creation of discrete data elements that can be keyed into EHR templates. In this way, the application can, for example, place procedures and medications into the correct EHR fields.
eClinicalWorks is simplifying technology by taking dictation, as well as free text, and transforming it into structured data to further streamline physicians’ use of EHRs. At HIMSS the supplier demonstrated a new EHR feature called Scribe, which combines NLP with Nuance’s Dragon product to extract data from transcribed dictation to help doctors codify their documentation. The vendor had a representative of eClinicalWorks speak into a microphone at the show and demonstrated how the application placed the transcribed dictation into categories such as “chief complaint” and “family history”.
For Greenway, the integration of NLP into EHR is nothing new. Until now this application has been used to extract coded data for billing purposes, enhancing decision support.
As the model of care shifts to an outcome-based approach, mobility is an essential enabler to develop a more collaborative, patient-centred model that delivers improved care at lower cost. As the consumer market is transforming expectations and usage of technology, caregivers and patients are pushing for the fast adoption of mobility in healthcare and the ability to instantaneously access and transfer information regardless of location or device.
In contrast to other healthcare IT solutions, mobility solutions and applications stand out due to the fact that they are consumer-centric rather than organisation-centric. For example, using a tablet PC instead of a paper clipboard when registering at a doctor’s office, or sending a text reminder to alert a patient to take medication, creates a more immediate level of patient experience and engagement than an EHR or a health information exchange (HIE) would do.
Many mobile health start-ups that created applications, services and wireless health devices demonstrated their solutions at the conference. Some showcased easy-to-use, engaging, consumer health tools that collect and transmit a person’s vital signs.
BI and analytics
The digitalised medical data available is threatening to flood care providers, and will continue to do so to a greater extent in the future. Therefore, intelligent tools that enable the extraction of relevant information are necessary. They must also predict future needs and trends. This facilitates transformation of streams of data into actionable knowledge.
Analytics and BI were on everyone’s mind at this year’s HIMSS. There were more discussions around these topics, and more displays of solutions incorporating them, than in previous shows. Many conversations focused on the special challenges BI faces in healthcare, compared with other verticals such as retail or banking. This is mainly due to complex regulation, and the nature of the data which often comes into the clinical space as non-standard data sets.
An important application of analytics will be in the field of population management. Siemens demonstrated how BI worked within its flagship Soarian product suite. Soarian Business Intelligence collects and analyses both clinical and financial data, as well as structured and unstructured data, from virtually any system. The embedded BI in Soarian pushes critical performance indicators to the desktop and helps healthcare administrators manage service lines to ensure greater profitability.
IBM’s supercomputer Watson – a computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed and accuracy – could not be missed at the show. During its first year of operation in a healthcare environment, it has mainly been used for utilisation management purposes, and in the diagnosis of cancer patients and those with rare diseases.
Watson’s immediate impact on healthcare during 2012 will not be as palpable as other solutions showcased at HIMSS, but its impact is already more tangible than when it was introduced in 2011.
IBM announced its collaboration with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on the data analytics, natural language processing, and retrieval technologies of Watson, for research and treatment purposes. Both parties will jointly develop an oncology clinical decision support system taking advantage of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s molecular and genomic databases and its repository of cancer case histories.
The first applications, with piloting scheduled for late 2012 and wider distribution by late 2013, will include lung, breast and prostate cancers.
Along with EHR, mobility and business intelligence, social media is changing the relationship between patient and caregiver, and healthcare is moving from treating individual cases towards population health management.
This past weekend, Hoa’s Tool Shop and Psykologifabriken, two Swedish sister companies, hosted the Health Hack Day (really three days), an event in Stockholm where computer programmers get to spar in a challenge to develop new medical apps.
Presentation delivered at eyeforpharma eMarketing Europe & Mobile 2012, Barcelona.
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A free community where oncology nurses collaborate to improve patient care and their own lives. Join the oncology nurse forum and discuss side effects, pain management, infection control, nurse jobs, stress management, and best practices.
US consumers seeking health information online are more likely to visit Wikipedia than health magazine websites or Facebook, connect through a PC rather than a mobile device, and be swayed by word of mouth over direct-to-consumer advertising, according to results from a new national consumer survey conducted by Makovsky Health and Kelton.
The research investigates consumers’ overall engagement with online healthcare information, and reveals specific consumer preferences for online publishing sources, channels and even devices, and finds that consumers rate government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Food and Drug Administration and advocacy organizations among the most credible.
“Whether they want guidance for an informed conversation with their doctor, or the support of a larger community coping with the same illness, consumers seek trusted sources for health information,” says Gil Bashe, executive vice president and Practice director, Makovsky Health. “These new survey results enhance our understanding of how and with whom consumers connect online, and help ensure that credible, useful information is readily accessible to the patients who need it.”
People are still most likely to use a personal computer (90 percent)—and not a smartphone (7 percent) or tablet (4 percent)—to search for health information online. And PC-reliant consumers are more likely than smartphone/tablet-reliant consumers to visit a pharma website after receiving a diagnosis from their doctor (52 percent vs. 31 percent), although smartphone/tablet users are far more likely than PC users (43 percent vs. 24 percent) to visit a pharma website after they experience a few symptoms.
The popularity of health and medical apps has begun to explode, and the amount of health data along with it, much of it thanks to those increasingly wearable and user-friendly gizmos that use smart sensors to capture and transmit all shades of biometric data. Smartphones now tap into these health devices,
You may not be familiar with them by name, but Azumio is one of a number of young startups tapping into this hot trend, leveraging smart mobile technology to get us making better and more informed health decisions.
Mobile now accounts for 10 percent of all Internet usage worldwide, after the rise in demand and ownership of smartphones and tablets saw the proportional use of the mobile Web more than double over the last 18 months.
Via Alex Butler
By combining a content identification system with innovative, proprietary patient language analytics and medical ontologies, First Life Research converts unstructured patient-reported outcomes published across the web into medically meaningful information.
In interview with iMedical Apps, Eric Yablonka, CIO of the University of Chicago hospitals and Pritzker School of Medicine said:
"The coming evolution in the sector of biomedical devices that are now wireless enabled, such as sensor and body area networks, implantable sensors - we see these things coming fast and furious over the next four to five years.
Their evolution will come very rapidly and there has to be a way to connect those in a meaningful way. You know, the iPhone 4S has the Bluetooth Low Energy capability, the first device in the US with this technology.'
'Yes, pharma’s regulatory environment is admittedly more difficult than other industries’. This will not change in the foreseeable future, yet as Twitter continues to grow and establish itself as a new mass media outlet not using it because of hazy regulations is not a viable option anymore.
As the pharma companies benchmarked in this report have demonstrated, successful and safe engagement on twitter is possible even within this strict regulatory environment.'