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The ways in which technology benefits healthcare
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Research shows high IT use among Top 100 Hospitals

Research shows high IT use among Top 100 Hospitals | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Hospitals identified as Top 100 Hospitals by Thomson Reuters were found to use more advanced levels of IT-enabled processes when compared to the overall U.S. hospital population, according to HIMSS Analytics.

 

Research looking at the possible relationship between the 100 Top Hospital winners and the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Records Adoption Model (EMRAM) scores was conducted in November 2011. Hospitals included in the sample received the 100 Top Hospital award in either 2009 or 2010.

 

The research found statistically significant relationships between the 100 Top Hospitals of 2009 and 2010 and the advanced stages of the EMRAM model during the same time period.

 

For example:

In 2009, 14 percent of 100 Top Hospitals were in Stages 5 to 7, compared with six percent of all U.S. hospitals.


In 2010, only 1 percent of the 100 Top Hospitals were at Stage 0 or Stage 1, compared to 17 percent of all U.S. hospitals. Additionally, 21 percent of 100 Top Hospitals were at Stage 5 or higher, compared to nearly nine percent of all U.S. hospitals.

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7 keys to getting healthcare execs on board with social media

As social media continues to be employed as part of a healthcare organization's business strategy, there are bound to be some who are leery of its benefits. But according to a recent whitepaper by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), refusing to recognize social media as a valuable source of communication is quickly becoming a major "don't."

 

"Failure to clearly articulate a case for a robust social media program, whether in financial or other beneficial terms, could result in fewer resources, poor market position, and potentially missing opportunities to provide timely care to those who need it," wrote the whitepaper's author.

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Methodological considerations when evaluating the implementation and adoption of national electronic health record systems

A commitment to Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems now constitutes a core part of many governments' healthcare reform strategies. The resulting politically-initiated largescale or national EHR endeavors are challenging because of their ambitious agendas of change, the scale of resources needed to make them work, the (relatively) short timescales set, and the large number of stakeholders involved, all of whom pursue somewhat different interests. These initiatives need to be evaluated to establish if they improve care and represent value for money.

 

Critical reflections on these complexities in the light of experience of undertaking the first national, longitudinal, and sociotechnical evaluation of the implementation and adoption of England's National Health Service's Care Records Service (NHS CRS). Results/discussion We advance two key arguments. First, national programs for EHR implementations are likely to take place in the shifting sands of evolving sociopolitical and sociotechnical and contexts, which are likely to shape them in significant ways. This poses challenges to conventional evaluation approaches which draw on a model of baseline operations intervention changed operations (outcome). Second, evaluation of such programs must account for this changing context by adapting to it. This requires careful and creative choice of ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions.

 

 

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Medical Social Media Factoids….Breaking News

Medical Social Media Factoids….Breaking News | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Facebook announced this week that it plans to include in user profiles their intent to donate organs after death. I am not quite sure why they would include this as a choice in a profile when it could easily be included electively in anyone’s profile. Perhaps this unique ‘field’ allows them to search for specific health issues. It will be interesting to see if they include or add other items such as allergies, and other previously confidential issues. It’s one thing having it on your driver’s license or identification card and another to put it on a billboard. It may also serve to increase donors which at times are relatively scarce. If users give implicit permisson by posting this information it may become common occurrence. A precautionary note that some may abuse this and use it as a means to sell body parts.

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Electronic-Records Goals Aren’t Met by 80% of U.S. Hospitals

Electronic-Records Goals Aren’t Met by 80% of U.S. Hospitals | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

More than 80 percent of hospitals have yet to achieve the requirements for the first stage of a $14.6 billion U.S. program to encourage doctors to adopt electronic medical records, the industry’s largest trade group said.


The program is too ambitious and goals may not be met, Rick Pollack, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association, said yesterday in a 68-page letter to the Health and Human Services Department. He cited “the high bar set and market factors, such as accelerating costs and limited vendor capacity.”

 

The records program, enacted as part of the economic stimulus law in 2009, makes hospitals eligible for payments of as much as $11.5 million if they can demonstrate “meaningful use” of computer systems, according to the Washington-based group. Hospitals and doctors who don’t adopt electronic records by 2015 will be penalized with lower Medicare payments.


Incentives will be paid out in three stages; the Obama administration issued proposed rules for the second stage in February.


Meeting goals for the program is also being complicated by a widening “digital divide” between large urban hospitals and small rural ones, with big hospitals adopting the technology faster than small ones, according to Pollack’s letter.


Hospitals are “particularly concerned,” he said, about a requirement in the new rules that they let patients view and download their medical records from websites. The requirement “is not feasible as proposed, raises significant security issues and goes well beyond current technical capacity,” Pollack wrote.

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Learning & Action Network (LAN) Communities Foster Quality in Healthcare

Learning & Action Network (LAN) Communities Foster Quality in Healthcare | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

The power of online collaboration is enormous, especially for rural providers and small or medium healthcare practices that are dealing with numerous federal mandates amid the ongoing shortage of primary care physicians. Getting from ‘here to there’ can be a challenge for QIO professionals whose expertise is rightly in healthcare delivery, not in online community engagement, arguably the best way to promote collaboration.

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Patient Education Materials for Health IT and EHRs

Patient Education Materials for Health IT and EHRs | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
Want to tell patients about your transition to EHRs? Here are free health IT patient education materials available at your fingertips.

 

Health IT Resources for Organizations


Many organizations have recognized the benefits of health IT and are looking for ways to be involved and support the modernization of our health care system. These patient education materials are available to assist organizations in spreading the word about the value of health IT and electronic health records (EHRs) to consumers. Together, we are working in partnership with you to empower individuals to be partners in their health through health IT.

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Could EMRs Make Patient Satisfaction Scores More Meaningful?

A lot has already been written about whether or not EMRs lead – directly or indirectly – to higher patient satisfaction scores, but I’ve yet to find anything on those scores being included in the patient’s record itself. The idea occurred to me this past weekend, as I was on the phone with a survey firm asking patient satisfaction questions on behalf of Kaiser Permanente.

 

The visit in question was routine and had gone well, so my ratings were high, and the call was quick. Would the doctor who had been involved ever see my direct responses? Do doctors see these scores in aggregate, or can they look them up by individual patient? Would they feel themselves more accountable if they could see how a patient rated their last encounter while looking at that person’ EMR?

 

I supposed it could go either way. A healthy, highly satisfied patient’s record would display high scores and vice versa. That person’s doctor could look at these scores before the next encounter to see what could be improved upon, what to keep doing, or what to start doing with other patients of a similar condition. I wonder if the ability to view a particular patient’s satisfaction scores wouldn’t somehow make the doctor feel even more accountable for their patient’s health – if they’d have more “skin in the game,” so to speak.

 

Perhaps it could have a negative effect. Low satisfaction scores could lead to an emotionally charged appointment if a doctor doesn’t fully understand why the scores were given.

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Infographic:Mobile Technology in Healthcare

The following infographic from healthcare solutions firm Healthx highlights the change that smartphones and tablets have had on the health industry. Results show that there will be 44 million m-health app downloads by the end of 2012, which will rise to 142 million by 2016.

 

Key highlights of the infographic include:

 

Top Mobile Operating Systems


Top SmartPhone Platforms


mHealth Revenue Predictions


Mobile Stats & Growth


Mobile Engagement in Healthcare

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Processed EHR text can be used to develop CDS tools

Free text in electronic health records, with the help of natural language processing (NLP) technology, can be used to create accurate clinical decision support (CDS) tools, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

 

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic set out to develop a CDS system for cervical cancer screening geared specifically toward identifying patients with abnormal Papanicolaou (Pap) reports. According to the study's authors, providers often don't follow proper protocol for cervical cancer screenings; they believed that the use of CDS would help providers in their screening efforts.

 

Pap reports, however, are compiled in non-computer-friendly free text in patient records; free text, according to the authors, has been "largely underutilized" in CDS efforts, due to accuracy concerns. To that end, the authors opted to create various NLP tools for text extraction, with an ultimate goal in mind of creating a CDS system using a free-text rulebase--which would pull information from EHRs--and a guidelines rulebase--which would pull from national cervical cancer screening guidelines.

 

Overall, screening recommendations from the CDS system for 74 patients were examined, with appropriate recommendations made for all but one of the patients. That led the authors to conclude that NLP was a reliable method for retrieving EHR information for such uses

 

"In the near future," the authors added, "our approach would be replicated for other free text-based decision problems such as colon cancer screening, sleep disorder management and asthma management."

 

This is not the first study to tout the use of NLP on free text. A study published last summer in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that use of NLP on free text in EHRs identified post-operative complications with better accuracy than claims data.

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Establishing an evidence base for e-health: the proof is in the pudding

Seven years have passed since the World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA58.28 urging the World Health Organization and its Member States1 to endorse e-health as a way to strengthen health systems.

 

In defining e-health as “the cost-effective and secure use of information and communication technologies in support of health and health-related fields”, the resolution offered a definition that was comprehensive and generic, yet specific enough for researchers wishing to evaluate the impact of e-health to know what to evaluate.

 

Specifically, the resolution urged Member States to “mobilize multisectoral collaboration for determining evidence-based e-health standards and norms, to evaluate e-health activities, and to share the knowledge of cost-effective models, thus ensuring quality, safety and ethical standards and respect for the principles of confidentiality of information, privacy, equity and equality”.

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Stanford develops smartphone plug-in to detect oral cancer

Stanford University researchers have created a new smartphone plug-in that they say can quickly--and cheaply--identify potentially cancerous mouth lesions, among other conditions, university officials say.

 

The device is about the size of a pack of gum and clips over the smartphone's camera, according to researchers. It shines fluorescent light into the patient's mouth to highlight lesions and other potential problems.


Still in prototype-stage, the device takes a "high-resolution, panoramic image of a person's complete mouth cavity. Illuminated by the device's blue fluorescent light, malignant cancer lesions are easily detected as dark spots," university officials said in a statement.


The smartphone then transmits the images to a provider, clinic or other facility to be analyzed for a full diagnosis.


Manu Prakash, an assistant bioengineering professor at Stanford and the device's creator, sees the device as having its main use in the developing world, where tobacco use is high, dentists are scarce, and dental checkups few and far between.

 

 

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Doctors Believe Using Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits

Doctors Believe Using Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Many doctors believe that using apps that keep track of your health will help cut down on doctor visits, a new infographic suggests.

 

According to data revealed by Float Mobile Learning, 40% of doctors believe that using mobile health technologies such as apps that monitor fitness and eating habits can reduce the number of office visits needed by patients.

 

About 88% of doctors are in full support of patients monitoring their health at home, especially when it comes to watching weight, blood sugar and vital signs, and many believe consumers should take advantage of the apps currently on the market to help along the process.

 

“With the forthcoming changes to the U.S. healthcare system, there will be an increased focus on wellness programs and preventative medicine,” Chad Udell, managing director of Float Mobile Learning, told Mashable.

 

“Mobile health offers a tremendous opportunity for people to become more involved in their own health and wellness.”

 

It’s no secret that the mobile health industry is growing. There are more than 10,000 medical and healthcare apps available for download in the Apple App Store, making it the third-fastest growing app category among iPhone and Android users.

 

Doctors are also getting in on the trend, as 80% said they use smartphones and medical apps. Physicians are also 250% more likely to own a tablet than other consumers.

 

Udell noted that doctors continue to buy tablet devices in droves largely because they offer an easy way to stay in touch with their co-workers and patients. The infographic also noted that 56% of doctors said they turn to mobile devices to make faster decisions, and 40% said it reduces time spent on administration work.

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Healthcare Social Media Study Shows Enormous Opportunity for Companies

Social media is drastically changing the way people operate in the healthcare space.

 

Here’s what’s really alarming: There is a huge discrepancy between the amount of time that consumers and health seekers are spending online compared to the miniscule amount of social media activity coming from hospitals, health insurers and pharmaceutical companies.

 

According to a 2011 study by the nonprofit research firm Pew Internet & American Life Project, the third biggest use for the Internet — just behind a general search and checking your email — is searching for online health information.

 

Now, a new report by the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US called Social media likes healthcare: From marketing to social business says that healthcare companies are launching social media sites (eight in 10 healthcare corporations have at least one social entity), but that community sites have a whopping 24 times more social media activity than corporate sites.

 

This gap represents a huge opportunity. For over four years, Spiral16 has been helping healthcare brands, facilities, and health providers understand where and how to implement their social media strategies. Before you can direct your efforts, you must listen and gather online research that will inform your strategy and help you efficiently communicate with health seekers. Here’s a slidedeck about Social Media Listening and Strategy for Healthcare:

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8 Social Media Tips for Physicians

Develop a social media policy. This is true for all institutions no matter their size—even a small mom-and-pop clinical ­practice with one provider needs to have a social media policy. Remember, your employees will be on social media, and unless you have policy for behavior, you can't define how they are going to engage

 

Be clear that the thoughts and views expressed are yours and not the hospital's or group practice's.

 

Stay professional. A good rule to follow is that the same conversations you can have in a public elevator or Starbucks, you can have online.

 

Something that you would not do in ­public—such as using unflattering language or discussing personal patient information—shouldn't be done online either.

 

Determine what level of personal information you want to share. Dana Lewis's advice for doctors is if they state on their physician profile that they enjoy skiing and ­hiking with their family, it is fine to post a picture of them ­hiking or talking about that. That type of information can make ­doctors more approachable, says Lewis, interactive ­marketing specialist for Swedish Medical Center. But it's up to ­physicians to figure out what they are ­comfortable with.

 

Start small. Physicians who are interested in social media should start with Twitter, suggests Timimi. "There is utility in claiming your Twitter username—names are not recycled—and it should be suitable across multiple platforms, so I'd use the same name across LinkedIn and Facebook, and then decide whom you want to engage with and engage."

 

All content doesn't have to be created and posted on the same day. A lot of content is still relevant months later, so bring it back up, says Lewis. "If you do anything like live stream videos, definitely package your efforts and show them off because they are still great resources after they happen."

 

Be cautious of how you use Facebook. "A practice or department can have a Facebook page, but if a physician has one, they should be cautious about friending patients," says Timimi, explaining that there are always tags that occur that extend beyond the physicians themselves.

 

Putting a "like me on Facebook" or "follow me on Twitter" icon on a Web page is not social media, Timimi says. "If your goal is truly engaging consumers to improve healthcare and achieve brand recognition for your institution, there has to be more conversation than that."

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FDA Looking Into Use of Technology Tools To Help People Self-Diagnose, Obtain Medications

FDA is considering whether consumers should be able to use online questionnaires, patient kiosks or other technologies to conduct self-screenings and obtain certain medications that currently require prescriptions


Experts say such technology could allow FDA to make certain drugs used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma and migraines available over-the-counter

 

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Wireless Big Data in the Cloud | HealthWorks Collective

Wireless Big Data in the Cloud | HealthWorks Collective | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
Big Data

 

This is the newest of our buzz words, but the healthcare implications are huge and exciting. The term Big Data is a colloquialism referring to the power of collecting and analyzing large data sets. The companies that provide storage and super-computing services are salivating at the opportunities to bring this technology to healthcare.

 

Three trends suggest that they are sniffing at a real opportunity:

 

The first is the decreasing cost of genetic sequencing (now around $1000 and falling fast) combined with the exciting results we’ve seen when genetic information has been used to target therapeutic interventions in certain cancers. The era of personalized medicine is near at hand. The computational power and storage needed to make genetic mapping part of an individual’s standard health information (the same way we all know our cholesterol level today) are staggering. But the precision that genetic data affords will allow us to diagnose, prognosticate and recommend therapeutic interventions as never before.


The second trend is the rise in consumer connected health and its intersection with the power of wireless. Personal health measurement devices abound (FitBit, Withings, Zeo, etc.), each making their data easily available via wireless networking. The tendency is to publish open APIs so the data from these devices can be captured and analyzed, yielding insights into consumer behavior. This is the cornerstone of the improved self-care value proposition of connected health. This data collection and sharing will enable us to create phenotypic maps that are as unique and precise as the genotypic maps noted above. Applying these data sets on individual and population levels represents an enormous opportunity for the Big Data folks.


The third trend is the movement of bundled provider payment or global payments, otherwise known as the movement to Accountable Care. Providers are waking up to the notion that organizations need to create highly individualized/segmented programs and interventions that enable efficient, but compassionate care and promote patient affinity and loyalty. Once again, the opportunity here for data storage and analytics is huge.
The Cloud

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Mitigating PHI danger in the cloud

For all of its benefits, cloud computing poses very real dangers to covered entities responsible for safeguarding protected health information (PHI).

 

The cloud model, which the IT industry has been embracing for its up-front cost savings and efficiencies for years now, is more recently being recognized by the healthcare realm for its potential to serve as an ideal infrastructure for Health Information Exchange (HIE) — a main component of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) meaningful use initiatives.

 

What’s more, the cloud can provide easy, affordable access to the latest medical applications, such as e-prescribing or leading-edge diagnostic tools.

 

All of which could contribute to the strong growth of cloud computing in healthcare, according to CompTIA research. But PHI security dangers lurk in the cloud. Here’s a look at how to mitigate some of those.

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Impacts of e-health on the outcomes of care in low- and middle-income countries: where do we go from here?

Impacts of e-health on the outcomes of care in low- and middle-income countries: where do we go from here? | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Difficulties in achieving health targets, such as the Millennium Development Goals, and growing consumer demand have forced health planners to look for innovative ways to improve the outcomes of health-care and public-health initiatives while controlling service costs.

 

Health systems must address diverse population needs, provide high-quality services even in remote and resource-poor environments, and improve training and support for health-care workers.

 

Services that can be scaled up and are reliable (despite any infrastructural deficits) and cost-effective are in high demand worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries. E-health systems have the potential to support these objectives in ways that are both economically viable and sustainable.

 

E-health tools are designed to improve health surveillance, health-system management, health education and clinical decision-making, and to support behavioural changes related to public-health priorities and disease management.

 

 Some systematic evidence of the benefits of e-health in general, and of specific areas of e-health, such as decision-support systems for clinicians or patient-targeted text messaging, already exists. The objectives of the current review were to highlight gaps in our knowledge of the benefits of e-health and identify areas of potentially useful future research on e-health.

 

There were three main topics of interest: outcomes among patients with chronic health conditions, the cost-effectiveness of various e-health approaches, and the impact of e-health in low- and middle-income countries.

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6 reasons to manage and archive your social media

Social media's use in healthcare is without a doubt growing. But as organizations learn how to leverage these tools, a recent whitepaper by Osterman Research makes clear organizations also need have plans in place to both manage and archive their social media use.

 

The report describes six reasons organizations should consider managing and archiving their social media.

 

1. Its use is growing, along with the use of enterprise social media. Recently published statistics show an ever-growing use of sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. In fact, Pinterest, the newest platform, had nearly five million unique US visitors in November 2011, according to the report, and roughly 20 million users in March 2012. In addition, 19 percent of organizations surveyed are using an enterprise-grade social media platform, although, this is significantly less than the number of those using consumer-focused tools. "Despite the comparatively low use of enterprise-grade social media platforms at present [there will be] significant growth is the market for these tools," read the report. This is due to decision makers recognizing the value of social media for collaboration, knowledge sharing, skills discovery, and more, as well as decision makers recognizing the significant level of threats they face from the unregulated use of non-enterprise tools in a workplace context.

 

2. Recent trends have more discovering its business benefits. When managed properly, the report shows social media can create a sense of community and affirmation for employees, business partners and others within the organization. "It can provide a means of information sharing and gathering that is simply not possible with other corporate tools," the study read. "Moreover, if organizations can create the appropriate environment within their organization, viewing it as an integral component of their larger corporate culture, they can speed decision-making and improve the quality of corporate decisions." With the proper use of social media, organizations can also leverage their employees to serve as "an amplification channel" for message the company is looking to promote on a wide scale, according to the report.

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6 things health care marketers need to know about Pinterest

6 things health care marketers need to know about Pinterest | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Pinterest is revolutionizing the way users categorize and visually represent information. It is taking the social media world by storm, and marketers are scrambling to not only understand but successfully engage in this site!

 

Here are few stats about Pinterest that will leave you—as health care marketers—eager to learn more.

 

Pinterest hit 10 million unique monthly views faster than any site in U.S. history.


On average, each time a person visits the site she spends 58.8 minutes "pinning." Facebook has an average visit time of 12.1 minutes.


Nearly one-third of all Pinterest users have an annual household income of $100 thousand or more.

 

Almost 70 percent are female. (Keep in mind, females control 90 percent of all household health care decisions.)


The largest demographic on the site are ages 25 to 34.


50 percent of Pinterest users have children.

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OK I’m on Twitter…Now What? A Primer for Physicians (aka Twitter 101 for Docs)

OK I’m on Twitter…Now What? A Primer for Physicians (aka Twitter 101 for Docs) | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
So you’ve decided to take the plunge (or at least, dip your toes) into the Twitterverse. Congratulations! Welcome to a vibrant interactive community. You’ll find plenty of different personalities here and lots of opinions. But if you are like I was back in January 2011, you currently have no idea how to actually use Twitter, let alone how a physician might want to use it.

 

There are plenty of places to find information about how to start a Twitter account, (for example here), so I am going to take a leap of faith and say that if you are reading this, you have already set one up. If not, check out some online resources regarding starting your account and come back to this blog so you can figure out what you might want to do after the basic infrastructure is lay down (or, if you are just relatively adventurous, just head to Twitter and start your account without listening to any of the “pundits”).

 

This post is not meant to give you the ins-and-outs about Twitter. I think they do a pretty good job explaining the basics on their help center. There, you’ll find the “how’s” of Twitter, like how to post a tweet or how to follow others.

 

Instead, this post contains some of my basic recommendations about how you might first want to get involved in Twitter a professional manner. As I have said before, getting involved means starting small. I think you will quickly see why many people have stayed involved.

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Emerging technologies in Patient Monitoring Systems

Future of patient monitoring is clearly based on IT integration, data access and capture from across hospitals and remote access from any point within the hospital or across globe. Protocol based standardised charting solutions saving on time and effort of care giver, recording the information flawlessly for future access and meaningful interpretation for clinical as well as costs evaluations.

 

Today’s technologies talk about information access at bedside bringing together Vital signs, Information from HIS/CIS, Laboratory results, Radiology images, etc at Acute Point of Care to accelerates clinical decision-making, improve care delivery and facilitate consultation between clinicians at the bedside including industry’s best technologies.

 

Patient monitors should be standardised, scalable and mobile across all care units. This enables flexibility in staff utilisation, reduces training time. Scalability of patient monitors accommodate all acuity levels and patient types within and across departments, upgrades and expands with ease, supports the sharing of assets, helps build a tailored solution as the demands grow – smoothly and without redundancy.

 

Standardisation, scalability and mobility also saves time preparing patients for transport and for their return, monitoring same parameters in transit as at the bedside, optimises staff and equipment utilization. This increases patient safety and productivity.

 

Patient monitors should have device Integration to consolidate monitoring and therapy information for a better view of patient’s care state at a single point, providing a more complete view of decision-relevant patient data, supporting rapid treatment and generates more comprehensive chart-ready documents, automatically.

 

They should be IT enabled and open a pathway between patient monitoring and hospital IT systems which delivers highest performance, builds on existing, non-proprietary hospital infrastructure, offers literally infinite connectivity through open architectural design, connects effortlessly across multiple sites and finally allows system growth through a partnership between hospital IT department and Medical equipment supplier’s professional Services.

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Interview: How Physicians Can Create A Personal Brand With Twitter

Interview: How Physicians Can Create A Personal Brand With Twitter | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Firstly, patients don’t want to talk to a faceless, nameless entity; they want to sense the person behind it — the personal. They want to like and get to know you, not just interact with your business. Remember that emotions are everything — they always have been and they always will be. Without them we cease to be human and we cease to invest in the human race. Your brand voice and your social voice are one and the same. Don’t make the mistake of trying to separate them.

 

Secondly, I’d want them to take away the knowledge that social media has dissolved the walls that existed between the consumer and the brand, and has provided the opportunity for one-on-one connection in a way never before possible. The best physicians are embracing this and using social media as a way to expand their knowledge base to their patients, empowering them and strengthening their own personal brands in the process.

 

And lastly, it’s so important to acknowledge the fact that today’s patients, consumers and clients have the ability to communicate online all day, every day, sharing, tweeting and blogging about how they feel. Sentiment is oozing out of every post they make, and we should not fear it, but instead, embrace it as the new lifeblood of branding. The ability to listen and understand how our patients feel (whether good or bad), what is important to them and what their expectations are, provides huge opportunities for forming the emotional allegiances needed for enduring personal brand loyalty.

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Health Insurers and Social Media

Health Insurers and Social Media | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Insurance companies now need to market themselves to individuals, not just employers: a brave new world for some. Changes in pay models are on the horizon, as the concept of outcome-based health management grows. And the industry (particularly commercial payers) is battling a negative industry image, all against the backdrop of an increased demand for customer service.

 

It is clear that the landscape for health insurance payers is dramatically changing. Layered onto this is the explosion of social media, creating an opportunity for payers to not only market themselves using innovative tools, but to engage with their customers in highly accessible and customized ways.

 

Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube, social media is a big part of people’s lives. And they’re increasingly turning to these communities for health care information. A recent PwC consumer survey showed that more people now turn to the Internet (48 percent) to make decisions about their health care than turn to doctors (43 percent). A similar survey by Accenture found that more than three-quarters of consumers went online to seek information about insurers.

 

While many payers have invested significantly in portal and Web technologies over the last decade, few have mastered the social media channel as a way to engage with customers. Engagement is the single most important differentiator between these new forums and its predecessors. Payers that are succeeding have found ways to interact meaningfully, and are using social media platforms to enhance their brands, educate broad audiences, and significantly raise the bar for customer service.

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