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Why my EMR is still an island

Why my EMR is still an island | healthcare technology |

Ever since I ended up in a Florida ER with a misdiagnosis of end-stage congestive heart failure four years ago, I have been keeping tabs on efforts to provide doctors anywhere with access to my most up-to-date medical records during an emergency away from home.


At that time the hospital I was visiting didn't have an electronic medical records (EMR) system and had no direct access to my records back home. I was disappointed to discover that four years after that incident things haven't gotten much better.


My health care provider did have an EMR system at the time The hospital in Florida did not. But the systems my provider uses were not fully electronic, so all of my data wasn't in my EMR. And that record only reflected activity with my primary care provider and the specialists within that hospital. Activities with other local providers were not integrated

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Social Media and Patient Advocacy

These are the slides from my talk at the 4th Annual Putting Patients First Conference in Mumbai.

If god were to manifest the world using technology, he would first create something like social media. Conceptually provide technology with the ability to understand the thoughts of a population

SocMed leaves behind the old model of 1-to-1 communication – “talking to someone over the phone”  Enables one-to-many communication (via blogs or microblogging) or many-to-many communication (discussion forums, social walls). Now anyone can setup an online community site/portal to represent a small or big offline community.

Further, anyone can setup an online site related to a treatment, a disease, a doctor, a drug , a concept or anything and see it grow into a popular site which in effect is simply the manifestation of a community which exists/ed but which no one ever knew of.

Marie Ennis-O'Connor's curator insight, November 17, 2013 7:09 PM

Thanks so much for sharing your slides - i am looking forward to reading them. 

PatientView's curator insight, November 28, 2013 8:19 AM

We have figures on the scale of soical media intreaction by patient advocates. In countries where the impact of the finanical crisis is at its worst, patient advocates have turned to social media to interact with one another and raise awareness  of the predicaments of their country's healthcare system to place pressure on government when undertaking reforms. 

Plaza Dental Group's curator insight, January 29, 2014 8:53 AM

Great info! I think SocMed  will boost the thought of population and will effect change in local communities. 

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Google, Mayo Clinic, Harvard Team Up for Easy Symptom Search

Google, Mayo Clinic, Harvard Team Up for Easy Symptom Search | healthcare technology |

Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google are symptom related. Starting  this week, when consumers access Google’s mobile search for information about certain symptoms, they will quick, accurate facts on relevant related medical conditions up front on their smartphone or other mobile device.


Announced in a blog post by  a product manager on Google’s search team, the goal of the new symptom search feature allows consumers to quickly explore and navigate health conditions related to symptoms.


Consumers can easily get basic answers on common a conditions, risk factors associated with the condition, self-treatment options and guidance on when to seek medical care.


For example, a symptom search — even one using common language free of medical terminology like “my tummy hurts” or “nose blocked” — will show a list of related conditions. For individual symptoms like “headache,” searchers will see overview information as well as have the ability to view self-treatment options and suggestions of when to seek help from a healthcare professional.

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IoT for healthcare - 3 use cases

IoT for healthcare - 3 use cases | healthcare technology |

Although the Internet of Things in healthcare is not yet in widespread use throughout the industry, Indranil "Neal" Ganguly predicts that, in the next five years, there will be a massive increase in IoT for healthcare, "both on the clinical side as well as on the back end.


Ganguly explained how hospitals are using, or could use, IoT for healthcare in three areas:

IoT for inventory management

Hospitals are not using IoT to track inventory in as widespread a manner as would be desirable, Ganguly said. He added that healthcare could learn a few lessons from retail.

IoT for healthcare workflow optimization

Although the concept of RFID has been out there for 5 to 10 years, Ganguly said adoption of this technology hasn't taken hold as rapidly as he would like


IoT for medical device integration

Ganguly said that when it comes to IoT for medical device integration, the focus is more on the consumer end.

"People are looking at how to integrate things like the Fitbits and other fitness devices to bring patient provided data into the cycle of care delivery," Ganguly said.


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IBM Watson Health teams with ADA to Tackle Diabetes

IBM Watson Health teams with ADA to Tackle Diabetes | healthcare technology |

IBM Watson Health is teaming with the American Diabetes Association to apply cognitive computing to the ADA's 66 years worth of research and data. The results will be used to help entrepreneurs, developers, healthcare providers, and patients learn more about diabetes, prevention, complications, and care


In 2012, according to the ADA, 29 million people were living with the disease, and another 86 million were diagnosed with a condition known as prediabetes.


To address the challenge, IBM Watson Health and the ADA are collaborating to apply Watson cognitive computing to the organization's massive library of information and data. Through this effort, IBM and ADA hope to empower entrepreneurs, developers, healthcare providers, and patients to gain knowledge that can improve outcomes and even prevent the condition's onset.


First, IBM's AI platform will ingest all the medical journals, medical text books, Pub Med, and other diabetes literature and resources available, including all the content from the ADA's Diabetes Information Center. Second,  Watson will ingest the ADA's diabetes data sets. 


Watson will be trained to understand the diabetes data to identify potential risk factors and create evidence-based insights that can be applied to health decisions.


IBM also is collaborating with the Health Maintenance Organization Maccabi Healthcare services to build a predictive machine learning model to help identify early risks for diabetic retinopathy, the top cause of blindness for those with diabetes.


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Informed consent defines 21st-century medicine

Informed consent defines 21st-century medicine | healthcare technology |

Obtaining informed consent is one of the most important things that a surgeon does.

I’d argue that obtaining informed consent is one of the most important things that a surgeon does — akin to the last stitch of an aortic anastomosis, the life-saving jolt of electricity to jumpstart a fibrillating heart, or the first pass of a scalpel during an emergent laparotomy.

Informed consent defines 21st-century medicine, contrasting sharply to the days of paternalistic care. Informed consent, when done properly, puts decision making into the hands of our patients. It can serve as a checkpoint to discuss goals of care and what constitutes a meaningful life for a particular patient.

It’s time we teach our trainees how to obtain informed consent the proper way. We need to slow down, pull up a chair, and look people in the eyes. We need to truly know our patients — how they understand their diagnoses, how they interface with medicine, their socioeconomic status, and education level. We must address goals of care with clear “if-then” statements.

When I teach younger residents how to obtain informed consent I often harp on a concept I learned in my undergraduate psychology class called theory of mind. Theory of mind is defined as “being able to infer the full range of mental states (beliefs, desires, intentions, imagination, emotions, etc.) that cause action.” In my opinion, theory of mind is an integral part of the consenting process that allows us to reverse roles, to see the world how our patients see it.

Halfway through obtaining informed consent from my patient, my attending steps in. He snags a stool from the corner of the room. He sits directly in front of the sick man.  He talks about what life will be like for him as a new amputee.

He emphasizes the importance of diabetes control and smoking cessation. We may do everything we can and the man still may die. Would he want to live if it meant he could never go home again? He conveys the gravity of the current situation in a way that is pitch perfect.  This, I think to myself, is how it’s done.

For surgeon trainees, just like making our first cut, informed consent is a skill learned by example and should be done under the watchful eye of our mentors. It’s time to pay it forward. Next time you are the chief resident, the senior attending, or anywhere in between, take a trainee with you and teach him or her how to obtain informed consent the right way. Do away with the notions of “efficiency” and speed. Your patients and your pupils will be eternally grateful.

nrip's insight:

If you are in India and are interested in using a cloud based solution for informed consent which is in accordance with the supreme court guidelines, please leave a message in the comments.

We launched about 6 weeks back and it is in Private Beta at the moment. 

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Most mHealth App Users, Providers Say Apps Improve Quality of Life - iHealthBeat

Most mHealth App Users, Providers Say Apps Improve Quality of Life - iHealthBeat | healthcare technology |
A new survey shows 96% of mobile health application users and medical professionals believe mobile health apps "improve their quality of life."

Meanwhile, 86% of providers surveyed said mobile health apps will improve their knowledge of patients' medical conditions. 

For the survey, researchers polled 1,000 mobile health app users and 500 medical professionals.

Overall, the survey found that 96% of surveyed mobile health users and medical professionals said that mobile health apps "improve their quality of life."

Among mobile health app users, the survey found:

  • 60% use apps to monitor activity/workouts (Gruessner, mHealth Intelligence, 6/12);
  • 53% use apps as motivation to exercise;
  • 49% use apps to record calorie intake; and
  • 42% use apps to monitor weight loss (Research Now survey, June 2015). 

Among surveyed health care professionals, the survey showed:

  • 86% knowledge believe mobile health apps will increase their of their patients' medical conditions;
  • 76% believe the apps will help patients with chronic disease management (mHealth Intelligence, 6/12);
  • 61% believe the apps will help those who are at a high risk of developing health issues;
  • 55% believe the apps could help healthy individuals stay healthy;
  • 48% believe the apps could help patients recently discharged from a hospital; and
  • 46% believe the apps will improve their relationship with their patients.

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Web-based questionnaires can be used to validly Assess General Health Characteristics among pregnant women

Web-based questionnaires can be used to validly Assess General Health Characteristics among pregnant women | healthcare technology |

In a study it was concluded that Web-based questionnaires can be used to validly collect data on many chronic disorders, allergies, and blood pressure readings among pregnant women

The aim of the said study was to assess the validity of a Web-based questionnaire on chronic medical conditions, allergies, and blood pressure readings against obstetric records and data from general practitioners.

The background of the said study is that Self-reported medical history information is included in many studies. However, data on the validity of Web-based questionnaires assessing medical history is scarce. If proven to be valid, Web-based questionnaires may provide researchers with an efficient means to collect data on this parameter in large populations

Self-reported questionnaire data were compared with obstetric records for 519 pregnant women participating in the Dutch PRegnancy and Infant DEvelopment (PRIDE) Study from July 2011 through November 2012.

These women completed Web-based questionnaires around their first prenatal care visit and in gestational weeks 17 and 34. We calculated kappa statistics (κ) and the observed proportions of positive and negative agreement between the baseline questionnaire and obstetric records for chronic conditions and allergies.

In case of inconsistencies between these 2 data sources, medical records from the woman’s general practitioner were consulted as the reference standard. For systolic and diastolic blood pressure, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated for multiple data points.

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How is the doctor-patient relationship changing?

How is the doctor-patient relationship changing? | healthcare technology |

Thanks to technology, Gary Sullivan enjoys a new kind of relationship with his doctor. If he wakes up with a routine health question, the 73-year-old retired engineer simply taps out a secure message into his doctor’s electronic health records system. His Kaiser Permanente physician will answer later that day, sparing Sullivan a visit to the clinic near his Littleton, Colo., home and giving his doctor time to see those with more urgent needs.

Once you took medical questions directly to your doctor, who advised, tested and treated you. Today, not only are we turning to the Internet for everyday medical information, we’re also generating our own health data: using a smartphone, for example, to investigate a child’s ear pain or monitor blood pressure. We’re learning from our peers online how to cope and find new treatments. Our doctors can keep our records electronically, accessible to us through a patient portal. Some of us can make video visits with doctors, who can offer diagnoses and treatment plans via computer or smartphone.

With all these advances, a traditional paternalism in medicine is changing, too.

nrip's insight:

Online records, video consultations , text messaging based Q and A's and smartphone apps for medicine have now started gaining acceptance and are transforming the traditional clinic appointments and visits. This disruption in the patient provider workflow is to everyone's advantage.

Gerard Dab's curator insight, July 14, 2015 6:52 PM

Exactly where Medical Technology should be taking us.

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mHealthApps: A Repository and Database of Mobile Health Apps

mHealthApps: A Repository and Database of Mobile Health Apps | healthcare technology |

The market of mobile health (mHealth) apps has rapidly evolved in the past decade. With more than 100,000 mHealth apps currently available, there is no centralized resource that collects information on these health-related apps for researchers in this field to effectively evaluate the strength and weakness of these apps.


The objective of this study was to create a centralized mHealth app repository. We expect the analysis of information in this repository to provide insights for future mHealth research developments.


We focused on apps from the two most established app stores, the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. We extracted detailed information of each health-related app from these two app stores via our python crawling program, and then stored the information in both a user-friendly array format and a standard JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format.


We have developed a centralized resource that provides detailed information of more than 60,000 health-related apps from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Using this information resource, we analyzed thousands of apps systematically and provide an overview of the trends for mHealth apps.


This unique database allows the meta-analysis of health-related apps and provides guidance for research designs of future apps in the mHealth field.

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Why Doctors Are Frustrated With Digital Healthcare

Why Doctors Are Frustrated With Digital Healthcare | healthcare technology |

Doctors are using digital tools and willing to receive data feeds from their customers, but they are quite frustrated by poor usability of digital healthcare tools and difficulty getting measurable results

Common Complaints: 

• EHRs are typically hard to use. Many doctors I know complain of spending several extra hours each day entering data to EHRs. In some practices medical scribes have been added to help with data entry.

• EHRs are often local, island systems that do not provide access to other clinical resources, so doctors need to use multiple systems.

• Patient portals are often a dismal experience. HIPAA has motivated administrators to mandate defensive designs that are often so inconvenient for patients that they are seldom used, which I suppose makes them highly secure.

• Doctors feel they have tons of data available to them, but few tools to use it to make intelligent and timely decisions.

Richard Platt's curator insight, May 29, 2015 6:18 PM

Doctors are using digital tools and willing to receive data feeds from their customers, but they are quite frustrated by poor usability of digital healthcare tools and difficulty getting measurable results

Common Complaints: 

• EHRs are typically hard to use. Many doctors I know complain of spending several extra hours each day entering data to EHRs. In some practices medical scribes have been added to help with data entry.

• EHRs are often local, island systems that do not provide access to other clinical resources, so doctors need to use multiple systems.

• Patient portals are often a dismal experience. HIPAA has motivated administrators to mandate defensive designs that are often so inconvenient for patients that they are seldom used, which I suppose makes them highly secure.

• Doctors feel they have tons of data available to them, but few tools to use it to make intelligent and timely decisions.

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Diabetes patients who use digital tools self-report better health - Survey

Diabetes patients who use digital tools self-report better health - Survey | healthcare technology |

New survey data from digital health agency Klick Health shows that diabetes patients who use digital tools to manage their health also feel healthier.

Klick Health employed Survey Sampling International (SSI) to poll 2,000 American adults with diabetes either online or via the telephone.

Based on responses about how they use technology to manage their health, they segmented the group into three categories: those who manage their health daily or weekly with integrated digital technologies (integrators), those who go online to seek health information on a monthly basis (seekers), and those who don’t use the internet to manage their health at all (traditionalists).

The integrators group, the true digital health users, made up just 18 percent of the sample, but 13 percent of integrators reported being in excellent health. Seekers made up 47 percent of the sample and 4 percent of seekers said they were in excellent health. Finally, the remaining 35 percent were traditionalists, and only 2 percent of that group reported being in excellent health. 

Because it’s a survey based on self-reported health status, the data doesn’t prove that connected patients are actually healthier than non-connected patients. But it does provide evidence that either they’re healthier or they believe they’re healthier, which is significant in and of itself.

Nineteen percent of patients reported using mobile technology for a health-related activity. Of these, most wanted more data-driven interactions with their doctors. Two-thirds said they would like an app to remind them to take their medication, 75 percent wanted apps to connect them with their doctors, and 78 percent were open to sharing personally-collected health data with their doctors.

Overall, 80 percent of the mobile connected group were interested in having an app recommended to them by their doctor.

more at

Etain Limited's curator insight, February 17, 2015 8:47 AM

It's so great to see the digital revolution hailing these really personal advances that make such a huge difference to everyday people like you and me.


More and more we're seeing the humble app, smart phones and wearable technology become not a just fashionable lifestyle choice, or some kind of expendable income indicator, but as genuine quality of life improvers. Before long we'll all be wearing watches and other gadgets that read our vitals, measure the mineral content of our sweat, track changes in our core temperature.... then when we're under the weather and looking for a Doctors appoint, at the touch of a button all that data will be winging it's way to our GPs! Giving them a heads up on our condition, allowing them to diagnose and treat us more effectively. Now who wouldn't want that?

Diabète Côté Femme's curator insight, February 17, 2015 9:59 AM

le rôle des médecins dans la recommandation des applications clairement mis en lumière ...un article relevé par Rémy Teston 

Daerden Elena's curator insight, March 10, 2015 10:19 AM


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Modern healthcare consumers will be drawn to physician profiles done right

Modern healthcare consumers will be drawn to physician profiles done right | healthcare technology |

Whether newly insured, seeking care for the first time as an adult or disgruntled with a current provider, prospective patients represent golden opportunities for healthcare systems, hospitals, physicians and practices. Although organizations go to great lengths to attract local patients, many overlook the power of online physician profiles to boost their organizations’ local visibility and enhance the patient experience. These three step will show how physician profiles enhance the patient experience, how organizations can create successful physician profiles, and how timely real-world content can help.

Step 1 – Enhancing the patient experience

While two-thirds of consumers in a recent Strategy & survey of 2,339 U.S. residents indicated they were satisfied with their core healthcare benefits and 63% were satisfied with the cost and quality of their healthcare, less than half (40%) were satisfied with their overall experience shopping for healthcare and/or insurance.

Step 2 – How to create successful physician profiles

Search engine algorithms and their decision-making processes change often, but certain concepts and tactics remain consistent. Follow these steps to create successful physician profiles and ensure a strong digital presence, especially within local search results and on mobile devices.

It is important that all online hospital, practice and physician listings are accurate and up-to-date. All content contained in physician profiles should be current and fresh. Address and phone numbers should absolutely be correct and current, but this is just the beginning. Profiles should also contain current information regarding services offered, hours of operation, degrees, experience, accepted insurance plans, languages spoken and more. All of this information should be maintained and updated across all listings on owned and third-party sites.

Step 3 – Leverage timely real-world content to boost relevance and traffic

Being attentive to timely high profile health stories occupying the minds of current and prospective patients can pay big dividends for organizations seeking to stay top of mind and increase traffic to their websites and facilities by providing valuable information to the public. The simplest and most effective way to get started on this initiative is to align content and messaging with relevant high volume search terms. 

Once physician profiles are in place and optimized for success, identifying and catering to timely concerns on the minds of current and prospective patients can take these patient acquisition tools to new heights. With few organizations effectively capitalizing on this local search marketing fundamental, healthcare organizations that embrace the opportunity often realize significant and prompt results.

nrip's insight:

At @plus91 we have been advocates of Online Profile Creation and Effective Management for All Physicians, Surgeons, Clinics and Hospitals as we believe its the foundation for providing the widespread benefits possible from Digital Health.   Here is a post I did on the topic which was part of a book which came out a few years back.

ChemaCepeda's curator insight, February 16, 2015 12:32 PM

Internet es una gran oportunidad para conectar a profesionales y pacientes, especialmente para dirigir contenidos de calidad

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Use of Google Translate in medical communication: evaluation of accuracy

Use of Google Translate in medical communication: evaluation of accuracy | healthcare technology |

Google Translate has only 57.7% accuracy when used for medical phrase translations and should not be trusted for important medical communications.

However, it still remains the most easily available and free initial mode of communication between a doctor and patient when language is a barrier.

Although caution is needed when life saving or legal communications are necessary, it can be a useful adjunct to human translation services when these are not available.

Read the research paper below which formed the above conclusion.

Communication is the cornerstone of medicine, without which we cannot interact with our patients. The General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice states that “Doctors must listen to patients, take account of their views, and respond honestly to their questions. However, we still often interact with patients who do not speak the local language.

In the United Kingdom most hospitals have access to translation services, but they are expensive and often cumbersome. A complex and nuanced medical, ethical, and treatment discussion with patients whose knowledge of the local language is inadequate remains challenging. Indeed, even in a native language there is an element of translation from medical to lay terminology.

We recently treated a very sick child in our paediatric intensive care unit. The parents did not speak English, and there were no human translators available. Reluctantly we resorted to a web based translation tool. We were uncertain whether Google Translate was accurately translating our complex medical phrases. Fortunately our patient recovered, and a human translator later reassured us that we had conveyed information accurately.

We aimed to evaluate the accuracy and usefulness of Google Translate in translating common English medical statements.


Ten medical phrases were evaluated in 26 languages (8 Western European, 5 Eastern European, 11 Asian, and 2 African), giving 260 translated phrases. Of the total translations, 150 (57.7%) were correct while 110 (42.3%) were wrong. African languages scored lowest (45% correct), followed by Asian languages (46%), Eastern European next with 62%, and Western European languages were most accurate at 74%. The medical phrase that was best translated across all languages was “Your husband has the opportunity to donate his organs” (88.5%), while “Your child has been fitting” was translated accurately in only 7.7% (table). Swahili scored lowest with only 10% correct, while Portuguese scored highest at 90%.

There were some serious errors. For instance, “Your child is fitting” translated in Swahili to “Your child is dead.” In Polish “Your husband has the opportunity to donate his organs” translated to “Your husband can donate his tools.” In Marathi “Your husband had a cardiac arrest” translated to “Your husband had an imprisonment of heart.” “Your wife needs to be ventilated” in Bengali translated to “Your wife wind movement needed.”


Google Translate is an easily available free online machine translation tool for 80 languages worldwide. However, we have found limited usefulness for medical phrases used in communications between patients and doctor.

We found many translations that were completely wrong. Google Translate uses statistical matching to translate rather than a dictionary/grammar rules approach, which leaves it open to nonsensical results.

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Demographic-Based Content Analysis of Web-Based Health-Related Social Media

Demographic-Based Content Analysis of Web-Based Health-Related Social Media | healthcare technology |

As Web-based social media are growing in popularity, the number of people who share their experiences or ask for support in health-related social media has also increased. A study found that 41% of e-patients have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health on a Web-based news group, website, or blog.

Another study reported that more than 60 million Americans read or contribute to Health 2.0 apps, in which they consider these apps as their first source when gathering data and opinions. About 40% of Americans doubt a professional opinion when it conflicted with what they form from Web-based health social media.


One of the key benefits of health-related Web-based social media reported by researchers is the increased access to information to various demographic groups, regardless of age, education, income, or location. However, previous work has mainly relied on user surveys to study the effect of the use of social media to health-related factors such as psychological distress. In addition, previous work does not reveal granular information on what disorders or other health topics are mostly discussed in the Internet by each demographic group, which would allow health care providers to create targeted and effective educational campaigns.


In this work, we conducted the first, to our best knowledge, large-scale data-driven comparative analysis of the content of health-related social media across various demographic dimensions—gender, age, ethnicity, location, and writing level. For each demographic group, we study the content of the posts across the following dimensions: sentiment, popular terms (keywords), and medical concepts (particularly disorders and drugs). Concepts refer to entries in the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) vocabulary, whereas terms are just words from the posts’ text that may or may not belong to any UMLS concept.


We report results for 3 types of social media:


(1) general Web-Based Social Networks, namely Google+ and Twitter,

(2) drug review websites, and

(3) health Web forums.


The selection of social media types was based on their popularity and on our study of the literature on health-related social content.


The objective of this study was to identify which health topics are discussed in which social media by which demographic groups, to better guide educational outreach and research activities.


read the whole study at


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EHR safety goes to court - 

EHR safety goes to court -  | healthcare technology |

A recently filed lawsuit alleging a faulty electronic health record system caused patient harm may be among the first in a wave of such cases, even though most experts say the latest EHR systems are better designed than older models.


One patient's blood pressure plummeted dangerously after he was allegedly discharged with the wrong medications. In another instance, a physician couldn't place a pharmacy order for a newborn to receive vitamin K, which is given to babies to prevent serious bleeding.

On several other occasions, patients weren't accurately tracked, creating potential problems getting drugs to them.

Each of these alleged mishaps occurred at PinnacleHealth, a three-hospital system based in Harrisburg, Pa. PinnacleHealth blames each of the mishaps on its electronic health records vendor, Siemens; Cerner Corp. purchased Siemens' health IT business in February 2015.

The incidents came to light as part of a breach-of-contract lawsuit Cerner filed against PinnacleHealth last year after the system, which had used Siemens as a vendor for 20 years, sharply curtailed its relationship and entered into a contract with a competing EHR vendor, Epic Systems Corp. PinnacleHealth related the incidents in its counterclaim; the counterclaim was filed in March of this year in state court in Pennsylvania, where it is seeking damages for Cerner's alleged fraud and breach of contract.

Cerner spokesman Dan Smith declined to comment on pending litigation, but did say “patient safety is of the utmost importance to us.”

Some experts say the PinnacleHealth-Cerner battle is among the first of what could become an avalanche of legal battles over EHRs and patient safety. For years, many patient safety advocates have warned that EHR systems carry numerous potential risks due to their poor design and the ease with which data entry errors can lead to medical mistakes.



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How Virtual Reality is Gaining Traction in Healthcare

How Virtual Reality is Gaining Traction in Healthcare | healthcare technology |

Virtual reality has been making headlines for its potential to transform the ways we interact with our environments.

Breakthrough technologies like the Oculus Rift headset have made for incredibly lifelike experiences, notably in gaming and other forms of digital entertainment.


Aside from its boom in the media sector, virtual reality has also emerged as an innovative tool in healthcare.


Both virtual and augmented reality technologies are popping up in healthcare settings such as operating rooms, or being streamed to consumers via telehealth communications. In many cases, virtual reality has enabled medical professionals to execute care more safely and effectively.


As virtual and augmented realities enter the mainstream, the technologies have become more accessible to the general consumer population.


With a $15 price tag,  Google Cardboard allows users to stretch physical limits with a smartphone — no extensive scientific knowledge required. That same philosophy is being applied to virtual reality in the healthcare industry, empowering patients to take charge of their health.


Dr. Leslie Saxon, founder and executive director of the USC Center for Body Computing, is leading several initiatives to make virtual and mixed reality more patient friendly.


The center’s Virtual Care Clinic system features an app that connects patients to medical expertise similar to what they would receive at the doctor’s office. The app displays Saxon’s image, guiding users through different courses of medical care.

But patients using the app aren’t interacting with Saxon herself. Instead, they are following instructions issued by a virtual rendering of the doctor.


Using a virtual human agent may seem like a detached method of doctor-patient communication, but Saxon believes it to be the exact opposite. With this kind of technology, she told Healthline, patients could get their questions answered in an environment free from judgment. They can access information on their own time and at their own pace.

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Patient Education/Marketing Report: Revolution

Patient Education/Marketing Report: Revolution | healthcare technology |
Patient education used to be a cookie-cutter operation: Hire a spokesperson, plan an event and draft a static list of symptoms, then call it a day.

But in the wake of groundbreaking campaigns from AstraZeneca and Novartis, the industry may well have to raise its content-creation game—and cede considerable control to super-informed patients in the process.

Larry Dobrow reports on the two programs that have raised the ­
patient-ed stakes in this excellent article at Medical Marketing and Media

- Read the article:

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A New App To Make Life Easier For Diabetics, Using Instagram

A New App To Make Life Easier For Diabetics, Using Instagram | healthcare technology |

After an initial diagnosis, diabetes sufferers often experience a period of shock when they learn that everything has to change. Turkish mobile operator, Turkcell, and agency R/GA London have created an app to make adjusting to the necessary life changes much easier.

Instead of trying to persuade sufferers to adopt entirely new habits, tools and behaviors to monitor the condition, "healthmetre" deploys Instragram, a tool many people already use and taps into behaviors that people already have.

R/GA designed healthmetre to be a more human way to manage diabetes and help patients develop new, more healthy habits in a way that feels natural and thereby, helping them reach a level of consistency.

The idea is to make using the app as simple as possible, helping people stay motivated, complying with treatment and keeping the lines of communication with medical staff open.

Diabetes is an increasing problem across the world and Turkey has been particularly affected. The most recent statistics (2014) from the International Diabetes Federation show that Turkey has the highest rate of the illness in Europe, with an incidence of 14.7%, much higher than countries like, for example, the U.K. (5.4%) or mid-ranked Germany (7.9%).

The results of the 18-month trial are highly encouraging. Treatment compliance increased by 54%. Blood sugar levels decreased by 27% and complication forecasts decreased by 37%.

more at

Abhilasha kuamri's curator insight, June 18, 2015 2:58 AM

very  informative  

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New app tells you when sicknesses get close to you

New app tells you when sicknesses get close to you | healthcare technology |

The worst part of a sniffle or a sore throat is wondering what it is you're coming down with

A new app, called HEALTHYDAY, comes from a division of Johnson & Johnson and uses sickness-searching algorithms to take the guesswork out of your hypochondria by warning you when the flu is overtaking your neighborhood or pollen is driving allergies sky-high. as a kind of subtle advertising for its products.

The basic health tips the app offers up don't outright tell you which medicines to buy — instead they are each "brought to you" by one of the company's over-the-counter brands, which include Zyrtec and Tylenol.

The app's algorithm syncs self-reported data from local doctor's offices, Google searches, social media mentions on Twitter and Facebook and user data from people who use the app, then funnels it down into easily digestible trends, blurbs and infographics, according to McNeil's VP of marketing Katie Devine.

In San Francisco, for example, the app warns of a particularly high risk of allergies and cold symptoms and a middling likelihood of the flu.

The team wants to expand the app's features with more ailments and information once it has a bigger user base.

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96% of Consumers Say Mobile Health Industry Improves Life

96% of Consumers Say Mobile Health Industry Improves Life | healthcare technology |
The mobile health industry has been revolutionizing the way both doctors and patients approach medicine today. When it comes to addressing health issues, mobile health consumers are moving toward preventing disease and increasing fitness and wellness. Through fitness trackers and wearable devices, more patients are now focused on exercise and diet.

The company Research Now conducted a survey that looked at how mobile health applications and the mobile health industry is affecting patient care and physician workflow. Research Now polled a total of 1,000 mHealth app users and 500 medical professionals. The results show that 86 percent of healthcare professionals believe mobile health apps increase their knowledge on a patient’s medical condition.

Additionally, nearly half of surveyed providers – 46 percent – felt that mHealth apps actually strengthen their relationship with their patients. Three out of four polled medical care professionals – 76 percent – have suggested that mobile health tools assist patients with managing chronic medical conditions.

Additionally, three out of five surveyed physicians and medical staff help patients who are at high risk of developing serious health problems. As previously stated, fitness trackers can help patients exercise more regularly and lose weight, which would reduce their risk of heart disease.

Additionally, more than half of those surveyed believe that mHealth applications can help consumers who are healthy remain at an optimal level of health. Also, nearly half – 48 percent – of survey takers think that the technologies within the mobile health industry may be able to help patients who were recently discharged from a hospital make a better transition to home-based care.

Most importantly, nearly all survey takers – 96 percent – believe that mobile health apps “improve their quality of life.” In addition, the survey illustrates that users of mHealth tools already improve their wellness and lifestyle through these technologies. For example, 60 percent use the tools to monitor their workouts while nearly half – 49 percent – use apps to record their calorie intake.

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Run a single test to determine which viruses have infected an individual

Run a single test to determine which viruses have infected an individual | healthcare technology |

New technology developed by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers makes it possible to test for current and past infections with any known human virus by analyzing a single drop of a person's blood. The method, called VirScan, is an efficient alternative to existing diagnostics that test for specific viruses one at a time, according to the scientists.

With VirScan, researchers can run a single test to determine which viruses have infected an individual, rather than limiting their analysis to particular viruses.

That unbiased approach could uncover unexpected factors affecting individual patients' health, and also expands opportunities to analyze and compare viral infections in large populations. The analysis reportedly can be performed for about $25 per blood sample.

“We've developed a screening methodology to basically look back in time in people's sera and see what viruses they have experienced,” says Stephen J. Elledge, an HHMI investigator at Brigham and Women's Hospital who led an international team that developed VirScan. “Instead of testing for one individual virus at a time, which is labor intensive, we can assay all of these at once. It's one-stop shopping.”

VirScan works by screening the blood for antibodies against any of the 206 species of viruses known to infect humans. The immune system produces pathogen-specific antibodies when it encounters a virus for the first time, and it can continue to make those antibodies for years or decades after it clears an infection. That means VirScan not only identifies viral infections that the immune system is actively fighting, but also provides a history of an individual's past infections.

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Evaluation of the accuracy of smartphone medical calculation apps

Evaluation of the accuracy of smartphone medical calculation apps | healthcare technology |

Mobile phones with operating systems and capable of running applications (smartphones) are increasingly being used in clinical settings. Medical calculating applications are popular mhealth apps for smartphones. These include, for example, apps that calculate the severity or likelihood of disease-based clinical scoring systems, such as determining the severity of liver disease, the likelihood of having a pulmonary embolism, and risk stratification in acute coronary syndrome. However, the accuracy of these apps has not been assessed.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of smartphone-based medical calculation apps.


The results suggest that most medical calculating apps provide accurate and reliable results. The free apps that were 100% accurate and contained the most functions desired by internists were CliniCalc, Calculate by QxMD, and Medscape. When using medical calculating apps, the answers will likely be accurate; however, it is important to be careful when calculating MELD scores or Child-Pugh scores on some apps. Despite the few errors found, greater scrutiny is warranted to ensure full accuracy of smartphone medical calculator apps.

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An Examination of the Dynamics of Online Social Support

An Examination of the Dynamics of Online Social Support | healthcare technology |

Although many people with serious diseases participate in online support communities, little research has investigated how participants elicit and provide social support on these sites.

This study by Yi-Chia Wang, Robert E Kraut, John M Levine Uses Computer-Aided Content Analysis to Examine the Dynamics of Online Social Support.

A high percentage of people with chronic or life-threatening diseases use online resources to obtain information about their condition and ways to cope with it. Although informational websites are the most popular, many people—especially cancer patients and survivors—participate in online health support communities.

A recent meta-analysis suggested that online support communities are effective in decreasing depression and increasing self-efficacy and quality of life. Although several clinical trials suggest that participation in Internet-based support communities improves emotional well-being, conclusions are ambiguous because most interventions have multiple components of which support group participation is only a part.

Moreover, research also shows that support interventions often do not provide the benefits they were designed to produce. Thus, much remains to be learned about when and why support is effective in online communities.

Conclusions of this study 
Self-disclosure is effective in eliciting emotional support, whereas question asking is effective in eliciting informational support. Moreover, perceptions that people desire particular kinds of support influence the support they receive. Finally, the type of support people receive affects the likelihood of their staying in or leaving the group. These results demonstrate the utility of machine learning methods for investigating the dynamics of social support exchange in online support communities.

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Feasibility of Using an EMR to conduct clinical trials

Large computerised patient databases provide a useful source of real life observational data, and the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) has been successfully used to generate descriptive epidemiology data in chronic conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)  and asthma from a large group of UK primary care practices.

Historically the limitations of the GPRD for clinical research were a time gap between GP data capture and availability for the researcher and limited links to other healthcare databases, although these are currently being addressed with the development of the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) and in ongoing pilot work for Phase 4 pragmatic clinical trials . The use of electronic medical record (EMR) data in health research is a key objective in the Department of Health‟s national research strategy ]. EMR is increasingly adopted to support both efficiency and quality of patient care and to facilitate clinical research. Several studies have described the design and implementation of EMR, electronic data capture (EDC), data extraction and EMR retrieval systems to enable accurate and efficient data entry for clinical research to be performed on-site in real time .

In asthma and COPD, the application of EMR retrieval systems would enable the monitoring of large patient populations to support evaluation of comparative effectiveness, safety, and health care resource utilisation (HRU) of treatments in a real life setting.

Conclusion: Apollo and SIR data extracts into NWEH-LDB showed a high level of concordance for asthma and COPD patients. Longitudinal data analysis characterized the COPD and asthma populations in Salford including medications prescribed and health care utilisation outcomes suitable for clinical trial planning

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Smartphone Apps Just as Accurate as Wearable Devices for Tracking Physical Activity

Smartphone Apps Just as Accurate as Wearable Devices for Tracking Physical Activity | healthcare technology |

Although wearable devices have received significant attention for their ability to track an individual’s physical activity, most smartphone applications are just as accurate, according to a new research letter in JAMA.

The study tested 10 of the top-selling smartphone apps and devices in the United States by having 14 participants walk on a treadmill for 500 and 1,500 steps, each twice (for a total of 56 trials), and then recording their step counts.

Led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, this study is a follow-up to a recent JAMA viewpoint suggesting that there’s little evidence that wearable devices alone can change behavior and improve health for those that need it most.

Richard Platt's curator insight, February 13, 2015 1:33 AM

“In this study, we wanted to address one of the challenges with using wearable devices: they must be accurate. After all, if a device is going to be effective at monitoring — and potentially changing — behavior, individuals have to be able to trust the data,” said lead study author Meredith A. Case, BA, a medical student at Penn. “We found that smartphone apps are just as accurate as wearable devices for tracking physical activity.”

Alyson Tock's curator insight, February 13, 2015 10:39 PM

In my opinion, this app is really fascinating and handy because whenever people go, they can use the app to calculate the number of steps they walk or jog that day. This app also allow people to keep track of the amount of exercise they do each day which is good for their health. Exercising allow people to stay fit and healthy and strong.

Haritha Pinnamaneni's curator insight, March 8, 2015 4:09 PM

Mobile applications using device sensors are competing with wearable devices to track Physical Activity. 

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Google to put health information directly into search results

Google to put health information directly into search results | healthcare technology |

Google is changing the way it displays search queries to pull medical facts directly into its results.

The medical information is being added to the company’s Knowledge Graph, which underpins Google’s instant search results and powers Google’s Now personal assistant and app. It will allow health questions to be answered directly, without a user having to click.

Google already does this with dictionary definitions, schedules for big sporting events and Wikipedia extracts for famous people. Knowledge Graph is essentially a built-in encyclopaedia, which pulls in facts, data and illustrations from various sources.

One in 20 searches on Google are health-related, according to the company. “We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is – whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more,” said Prem Ramaswami, a product manager for Google’s search.

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