healthcare technology
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healthcare technology
The ways in which technology benefits healthcare
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Using RSS to Create a Digital Dashboard for Lab Clients

The concept of a "digital dashboard" has been discussed since the 1990s. The goal was to create a cross-platform IT solution that gathered and integrated data from multiple heterogeneous systems, thus standardizing communication and data access. Such a product has been long anticipated but never truly realized. Bill Gates discussed the idea with emphasis on XML during his Comdex ’99 keynote (link here). Below is an excerpt from his lecture.


We can also let you walk up to your PC and see the things that you care about, not just this Web page or that Web page, but the things that you've pulled together. And that's not going to be just information from the Web, or just information from your local computer, or just information from your corporate service, it will mix all of those things. You want to mix all those things together...The Digital Dashboard is the concept that allows you to do that. And, again, it's very dependent on this XML approach so that Web sites aren't just places you go to look at, but they're places that your Digital Dashboard can go and ask for their XML, and then put that in the comprehensive presentation.


Unfortunately, a true digital dashboard platform has not even been defined yet alone been executed. End users must often browse dozens of resources to gather the information required to perform their daily tasks. It has been suggested that RSS might provide a technical foundation for the digital dashboard. 


Feeds can be created to provide metadata across applications of any kind. For example, RSS can enable IT managers to view a “snapshot” across all of the systems within their enterprise. This would ultimately allow a user to monitor his or her internal system resources, an LIS for example, along with email and industry news feeds. For the laboratory information niche, RSS may be a useful tool to enable communication between a laboratory and its client physicians. Customizable, dynamic, feeds could be built to directly notify a physician-client of a laboratory about the following: new (i.e., unread) lab test results, policy changes within the laboratory such as reference range updates, and regulatory changes pertaining to the lab.

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mHealth enabling Prevention and Proactivity

mHealth enabling Prevention and Proactivity | healthcare technology |

Patients will undoubtedly benefit from mobile health (mHealth) applications and devices in a hospital or clinic setting, but can they help to prevent us from needing to go there in the first place?


Some mHealth apps take the desire for preventative care one step farther than simply monitoring exercise. In December, the FDA approved the first glucose meter for iPhone. The combination device and app called iBGStar allows diabetes patients to test, monitor, and track their blood glucose levels. Device maker Sanofi Aventis explained how iBGStar will improve the level of diabetes care.


“Using the technology built into your iPhone or iPod touch, you can share this information with your healthcare professional while on-the-go, to help you make better-informed diabetes-related decisions together,” a statement on the company’s website said.


Chemotherapy patients can also look to mHealth for help in dealing with their cancer treatment outside the confines of a doctor’s office. Merck’s iChemoDiary, which is available in the App Store, records a patient’s therapy schedule, treatments, and symptoms. This can give the oncologist and patients a more comprehensive, day-to-day view of the treatment process.

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Why adopt electronic health records (EHRs)?

Health care is a team effort. Shared information supports that effort. When all team members can communicate with each other effectively and efficiently, everyone benefits—patients, their families, and providers. The Nation's health and economy benefit as well. Adopting electronic health records (EHRs) requires investment of time and money, but the benefits often outweigh the costs, and financial incentives are available to help providers make the transition.


Better Information Means Better Health Care


The main goal of health IT is to improve the quality of patient care. The promise of fully realized EHRs is having a single record that includes all of a patient's health information: a record that is up to date, complete, and accurate. That makes all providers "smarter" and in a better position to work with their patients to make good decisions.


Providers who use EHRs report tangible improvements in their ability to make better decisions with more comprehensive information.


Adopting EHRs can give health care providers:


Accurate and complete information about a patient's health. This enables providers to give the best possible care, whether during a routine office visit or in a medical emergency.

The ability to better coordinate the care they give. This is especially important if a patient has a serious or chronic medical condition, such as diabetes.

A way to share information with patients and their family caregivers. This means patients and their families can more fully take part in decisions about their health care.

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The Healing Power of Storytelling

The Healing Power of Storytelling | healthcare technology |

Storytelling is a two-way street. Illnesses unfold as stories, and physicians need to learn how to listen to those stories. The same is true of giving advice, for if good advice is given in the wrong way, the patient will not follow it.


I love telling stories when I give a lecture, visit with my patients, or lunch with my colleagues. However, over the years, many of the best stories have come from my patients -- sometimes in a moment of crisis, and other times during a routine office visit.


Last week, I took my 95-year-old mother to the doctor. The young medical assistant, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, sat with his back to us as he asked his rapid-fire questions and typed the answers into the required electronic medical record. We might as well have been answering a robot, for when he was done, he knew no more about my mother than when we first sat down. The printer spit out a lengthy description of all the things that she did not have, but it no more described who she is than the five previous patients he entered into his "clinical station."


If we cannot stop the implementation of the electronic medical record (EMR), there must still be a way to acquire the rich stories that our patients have to tell and assemble a complete picture of our patients as people.


Equally challenging is educating our patients about their illnesses and being certain that they understand our instructions. As we careen into the digital age, the fistful of pamphlets that we stuff into our patients' hands will be as ineffective in the future as they have been in the past. Storytelling, in its various forms, may be one way to connect more meaningfully with our patients, to both help us get to know them individually and help them understand their physical condition.

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Health IT Standards 101

There are a variety of standards used in the Healthcare Industry to enable interoperable exchange of information. IEEE (a standards and professional organization) originally defined interoperability (in perhaps the most oft-quoted definition in Health IT standards) as:


The ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.

A more customer focused definition comes from the IEEE website:


Ability of a system or a product to work with other systems or products without special effort on the part of the customer. Interoperability is made possible by the implementation of standards.


I really like this definition, because it talks about the impact of the standard on the part of the consumer, rather than the innards. The standards these definitions speak of are standards for information and communication technology. These are often referred to as IT Standards, ICT Standards (more common outside the US), or even more specifically, Healthcare IT Standards.


There are a variety of different kinds of standards. Standards can be classified based upon the functionality standardized, the syntax that they use, or their purpose of use. Putting each of these into context:


· Functionally:
IT standards can support transport of communications between systems, define the content used in exchanged, or describe particular computations or operations performed by a system. I covered some of this classification model in a previous post.


· Syntactically:
The standards can use traditional text-based forms of electronic data interchange (EDI), use XML, ODL, IDL or UML, or binary data formats (e.g. ASN.1) for exchange.


· Purpose:
Health IT standards can support treatment, payment or operations, or a combination of those.

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Good call: patient portal improves efficiency, morale and patient care

Good call: patient portal improves efficiency, morale and patient care | healthcare technology |

Communication with patients is vital to delivering quality care, but the telephone can be an inefficient and frustrating communication tool. Busy signals, voicemails, incomplete messages, poor translation and extra documentation time are but a few examples of the drawbacks. As a result, Desert Ridge Family Physicians sought to improve its service by giving patients the ability to exchange e-mails with their doctors through a secure patient portal.


Desert Ridge, a six-doctor practice in Phoenix, began enrolling patients in a portal program in January 2010. There is no charge for the service, and to date more than 5,800 of our 9,000 active adult patients have enrolled. Since the launch, we have experienced numerous benefits, including decreased call volume, better communication, increased patient satisfaction — and most importantly, enhanced patient care.


Reaping benefits

Despite some initial concern, we’ve found that patients use the portal service appropriately. Each physician receives an average of four new e-mails a day, and is able to respond quickly, while saving each conversation to the patient’s chart. Our patients report greater satisfaction from writing messages directly to their physicians and receiving direct responses back. Since launching the NextGen Patient Portal, we have experienced other benefits in addition to decreased call volume and increased patient satisfaction, including:


Better communication. We have discovered that patients are more likely to provide necessary details in a written message than on a voicemail. Because they can be more thorough on the first interaction, patients now often have all of their concerns addressed in one exchange. Our physicians appreciate this increased level of detail because it allows them to construct better responses without excessive back-and-forth messages.

Greater efficiency. For prescription refills, patients provide necessary information on the portal’s medication refill page. In the past, patients often would forget information during a voicemail, requiring a call back. With the portal, the refill request is processed on the first e-mail message. If it is rejected, we can provide a complete explanation without having to rely on the pharmacist to relay the message.

Improved care. While efficiency was the primary motivation to begin using a patient portal, it is the improvement in care that has made it a success. Our physicians have found that the portal allows them to b

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It's Time to Move Beyond "eHealth"

It's Time to Move Beyond "eHealth" | healthcare technology |

Is the recent media buzz over findings that some docs seem to order too many tests electronically a reason to abandon eHealth? Not really. Here’s why…


Eons ago (I’m speaking in technological time), someone thought it was a good idea to adopt information communication technologies (ICTs) to health care, and they called that project “eHealth”. Back then eHealth was probably a good name, too: the health care system was primarily paper based, while most (okay all) other sectors, and society at large, were rapidly adopting electronic information systems as part of their daily activities. Putting the “e” in health was a way of explaining what the big idea was to the average person who, at the time, was still wrapping his head around email (another industry that has since been “e-ified”). At the same time, arguing that we should move towards eHealth was a way of suggesting that the various players in health care—nurses, doctors, hospital administrators, average Canadians, and so on—could benefit from ICTs.


Eons went by (technological time once again), and the Internet changed the world, for better and worse. On the balance, I tend to argue that the benefits of these changes outweigh the bad stuff. Email, Google, Wikipedia, iTunes and, yes, even Facebook, are just a few of the refined technologies that appear to have come out on the positive side of the balance.


Health care, on the other hand, is still in its Internet infancy. Most health information systems are not fully digital, most of those that are do not talk to one another, most doctors do not use electronic health records, and a critical group of players—ordinary citizens—have little or no access to digitized versions of their health data.


It’s bizarre and ironic, given all the beneficial stuff that’s happened over there on the Internet, that some people are still questioning whether or not eHealth, as a broad initiative, is worth investing in. But it seems that is, indeed, the going concern of some prominent health commentators.

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Patient Engagement and mHealth: Bringing the Horse to Water

Patient Engagement and mHealth: Bringing the Horse to Water | healthcare technology |

In a recent (2011) poll by the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Institute for Good Medicine, 93% of adults said they were more responsible for their healthcare than their doctors were. However, 32% also said they exercised less than weekly, and 43% exercised two or more hours per week. The engagement of people in their own healthcare is a fundamental issue to healthcare reform on many levels. Chronic diseases account for the vast majority of the healthcare budget and most are preventable. Non-adherence to medications is estimated at 50% in patients with chronic diseases



There is a physician shortage now, especially specialists. This shortage will grow. Office appointments, in case one hasn’t noticed, are harder and harder to come by in most traditional practices. Proponents and developers of wireless health technologies believe that they will improve patient outcomes and result in significant healthcare expenditure savings. Many wireless technologies involve sensors which operate without the patient even knowing they are in service. However, even a weight scale or blood pressure cuff that transmits data wirelessly requires a patient (or caregiver at the minimum) to firstly remember to use it, and secondly to actually perform the task. Medications need to be swallowed, even though an automated reminder may be sent. The motivation to lose weight or control one’s blood sugar with diet is the foundation for following through with a mobile health patient solution. The emotional GPS to go to McDonald’s needs to be rest. Both motivation and engagement need to occur for many mHealth technologies to achieve their stated goals.

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Knowledge (Data) is POWER In the Health System

Knowledge (Data) is POWER In the Health System | healthcare technology |

Medical practices, hospitals, insurance companies, are all data gatherers as well as becoming the agent for exportation of their data for studies. At one time most of this data was highly private and guarded. However, today it is different. Some patients are clamoring for data, openness and transparency….access to their medical records. The flow of knowledge (data) ever increases as the internet becomes the central technology in most commerce.


"How much?” or “How many” is a key theme appearing in all of the above, whether it involves how successful you are, business planning, and budgeting.


Some prefer to keep their heads down and carry on as events swirl around them, preferring to continue on their thus far successful business and medical enterprise, rightly concerned that the chaos and confusion ‘out there’ will absorb emotional and intellectual energy which could be better put to work within their medical practice.


Some changes are gradual, like the tides,scarcely noticed on a minute to minute basis . Other changes are waves, paradigm shifts, and even tsunamis, inundating events as they come on shore, and causing even more damage leaving, sweeping out the remnants of the old structures.

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Social Media + Electronic Health Records = Social EHR Systems

Social Media + Electronic Health Records = Social EHR Systems | healthcare technology |
Social media is the new name for relationships around the globe; and this is true for a doctor patient relationship as well. Technology has enabled billions across the globe to unite and stay in touch with family and friends. But, how has this impacted the healthcare ecosystem?


The key role of physicians is to interact with patients, communicate with them, share medical information, and provide them with information on their illness/disease so as to help guide the patient through their treatment/condition. The integral part of their daily work is to share information with patients, and coaching can be migrated to social media as it has limited or no protected health information (PHI) data associated with it. This will require a physician to use two systems; an Electronic Health Record (HER) system for medical records and a Social Media System (SMS).


Why not merge the two? With a new “Social EHR System,” more physicians will have the ability to reach their patients where they live (i.e in their social media account).

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Investing in telehealth is key for hospital success in 2012.

Investing in telehealth is key for hospital success in 2012. | healthcare technology |

Telehealth will lower cost and widen the reach of clinicians and will become a major differentiator for hospitals this year. Busy, tech savvy patients want more access to healthcare and as providers we have to go where our patients already are … at home!


According to American Hospitals Association 70% of the “most wired” hospitals in America already provide telehealth.

Leading this new strategy is England, where the National Health Service [NHS] has implemented a telehealth project, entitled “3 Million Lives”, by installing remote patient monitoring systems in patients homes.

A previous pilot study conducted by the NHS reviewed over 6,000 patients in three cities suffering from three primary conditions, diabetes, heart failure or COPD. The results we powerful …
Remote monitoring reduced mortality rates by 45%


Related data was also encouraging …

emergency visited were reduced by 15%,
emergency admissions were reduced by 20%
bed days was reduced by 14%
and total costs per patient was reduced by 8%.

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Medicine and Technology: Hacking Medicine at MIT

The time is right to hack healthcare, but as entrepreneurs we often are setback because we can’t get to the people that are making the decisions in healthcare settings, government, and industry.


To help fix this, Bob Higgins, Richard Foster, Jim Dougherty and Hacking Medicine have teamed up to bring you Eric Buehrens, the former Chief Administrative Officer from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), one of the largest and most prestigious academic medical centers in the world. If you ever want to sell or partner with a hospital, Eric is the ideal person to speak to because he is the one who makes the decisions at the top. Prior to his current role, he served as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of BIDMC.


The goal of this event is to help connect entrepreneurs to the marketplace and give you open access to Eric Buehrens and ask him those questions you can’t find the answer to on any website.

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“3G is Creating Wonders in Healthcare Domain”

“3G is Creating Wonders in Healthcare Domain” | healthcare technology |

3G is creating wonders in healthcare domain, and there is cloud computing that helps share medical information with anyone who has access to internet. The bring-your-own-phone model could really work in modern hospitals, as it will lead to better communication between patients and doctors. Healthcare is one of the areas that can benefit hugely from mobile technologies, much like transport. It is an industry with highly mobile workforce and clientele.


mHealth majorly deals with gaining trust and delivering efficiency to the consumer. It can be achieved by managing health databases. More than 50 percent of mHealth revenues are spent on health management services like tele- assessment and remote monitoring. In case of developing countries, we need business models that can help reduce the economic and health divide. Health costs are rising around the world at around five percent per year. In Europe, healthcare amounts to 10 percent to 11 percent of the GDP, and in USA it is 16 percent. In Africa, 50 percent of the population owns mobile devices and telecom operators have opened avenues to expand the scope of mobile usage.


A lot has to be done in case of chronic diseases, as the ageing population is now looking for a solution to curb rise in expenses. In the task of bringing healthcare services to the masses, mobile technology is proving to be a wonderful tool. The consultation fees can be reduced to just US$ 2 with the use of mHealth. This will lead to the rise of affordable healthcare services in developing countries. After Bhutan, a health line will be launched in Kenya. Africa has villages, which lack primary healthcare centres (PHCs). At times it takes people up to 24 hours to reach the nearest PHC.

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How EMRs Will Change in the Near Future; Avoidance of Monolithic Systems

How the role of EHRs will change: The best EMRs will be those that become the central “dashboard” around the most complex healthcare workflows and begin to really become “coordinators” amongst multiple systems instead of a monolithic application. Clinicians really need to understand that their EHRs need to be their patients’ social health record and relationship management system and not just their chart management system.

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10 ways to improve your hospital’s blog

Starting a hospital blog can seem overwhelming, but it's one of the simplest ways to build an online community with your patients and physicians.


Follow these tips to ensure your blog is positioned for success:


1. Define your hospital's goals
Before starting a blog, define your goals for it. Your blog has a greater chance of success if you know from the beginning what you hope to accomplish. Make a plan on what you would like to gain from the hospital blogs in time intervals of six months, one year and three years. Then, take some time to write content and don't forget to market your blog to meet the goals.


2. Know your audience
The design of your blog and its content should mirror what your audience expects.
Example: If your intended target audience is teenagers, the design and content would be very different than that of a blog targeting academic researchers. Your audience will have certain expectation for your blog—don't confuse them. Try to meet and exceed the user requirements and build reader loyalty.


3. Be consistent
Your blog is your hospital brand. Just like McDonald's or Bank of America, your blog represents a specific message and image to your audience. The blog design and content should consistently communicate your hospital's overall brand image and message. Being consistent allows you to meet your audience's expectations and create a secure place for them to visit on an ongoing basis. Your consistency will be rewarded with patient and reader loyalty.

4. Be persistent
A busy blog is a useful blog. Blogs that are not updated frequently are seen by their audience as static web pages. The usefulness of blogs comes from timeliness. It's essential to update your blog frequently with relevant information. The best way to keep readers coming back is to always have something new for them.


5. Be inviting
The most unique aspect of blogging is its social impact. It is essential that your hospital blog welcomes patients and invites readers to join in a conversation. Ask your readers to leave comments by posing questions. Your blog's success is partially dependent on a reader's loyalty to it. Make sure they understand how you appreciate them by involving them.


6. Be visible
Your blog's success relies on your efforts outside the blog. These efforts include finding like-minded bloggers and commenting on their blogs, participating in social book-marketing through Digg, StumbleUpon and joining social networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIN. Developing a successful blog requires hard work. You must create interesting content, as well as promoting and developing a community around it.


7. Take risks
New bloggers are sometimes afraid of the new tools and features. Don't be afraid to take risks and try new things on your blog. It's important that you keep your blog fresh by implementing changes that will enhance your blog—try a new plug-in or live feed widgets.


8. Ask for help
Even the most experienced bloggers understand the blogosphere is an ever-changing place and no one knows everything about blogging. Bloggers are part of a close community and we understand that everyone is a beginner at some point. Don't be afraid to reach out for help.


9. Keep learning
With interactive marketing, there are new tools to keep up with. The web changes quickly and the blogosphere is no exception. As you develop your hospital blog, take some time to research new tools.


10. Be true to your hospital
Remember your blog is an extension of you and your hospital. Your loyal readers will come back to hear what you have to say. Inject personality into your blog and adapt a consistent tone for your posts. Determine whether your blog and brand will be more effective with a corporate tone, a youthful tone or a snarky tone. Then, stay consistent with that tone in all your blog communications.

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How can we bring healthcare together?

Too often, people see obstacles rather than work out a way for how we can achieve good. Government initiatives that challenge the status quo should be applauded. Any issue should be looked at as something to be overcome, rather than a reason not to do good. Data protection, unfortunately, is one area of the law that is often cited as a reason not to do something rather than something that needs to be properly respected while achieving another beneficial objective.


This is an article about how we can improve healthcare.


So much good is done in healthcare.

There are many people who:

• contribute time and careers to providing healthcare (such as doctors and nurses);

• are involved with manufacturing drugs and medical devices;

• are in the supply chain for drugs and devices;

• help with research;

• raise money for cancer research;

• assist with aftercare;

• are consultants and other service providers.

The list goes on and on.


But as the costs rise, we need to be smarter about how we use our limited resources to pay for all the important people and products and services they supply.

Meanwhile, other challenges face the pharmaceutical industry, which has an uncertain future as big pharma stares at the patent cliff and the costs of bringing new drugs to market are escalating.



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Clinicians Ignore Most Drug Alerts From CPOE Systems, Study Finds

A study presented at a Society of Hospital Medicine meeting finds that clinicians ignore or override most drug warning alerts generated by hospitals' computerized provider order entry systems.


Study Details

For the study, researchers examined data from a 410-bed medical center that uses a CPOE system from Meditech. The system uses data on drug interactions to generate warnings if a medication order creates a risk of allergic reactions, adverse events, interactions and duplications.
The analysis looked at 6,646 patients whose medication order triggered a drug alert through the CPOE system.

Key Findings

Researchers found that clinicians accepted only 4% of the 40,391 drug warning alerts issued during the one-year study period.

Of the medication alerts issued:
47% involved potential drug duplications;
47% involved potential drug interactions;
6% involved potential allergic reactions; and
0.1% involved potential adverse reactions.


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The ethics of social media use for the medical profession

At the end of the day, I do not see social media as an end to itself. I enjoy the conversation and the opportunity to learn outside the walls of my medical school without having to put in too much effort. I relish the (illusion of?) freedom that it provides by drawing together the world’s most technology and innovation-driven minds. It allows high-level discussions of even the most esoteric topics and promotes conversation and dissemination of information across a globally dispersed network of people. But I avoid writing about it on its own because I think of it more of a tool towards social change rather than a method of changing the world.


However, I have been asked by others interested in what I do regarding how I manage my digital presence and the potential questions of professionalism on digital media. I don’t have answers for anything, but I did have the opportunity recently to take part in a MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics discussion regarding the issue. Thankfully, the talk did not revolve around what indiscretions should not be shown on social media and how we should prevent them (though from time to time during the discussion these issues did come up). As I listened to the discussion, I realized that it raised several critical, unresolved questions that the medical profession would need to answer in order for us to move forward in shaping social media policies for students and physicians online:

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The Future of Medicine: eHealth and mHealth

The Future of Medicine: eHealth and mHealth | healthcare technology |

eHealth – a term for healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and communication


mHealth – a term used for the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices


ECG - electro-cardiogram, i.e. an interpretation of the electrical activity of the heart used by doctors to assess the condition of a patient’s heart


For an average person, telemedicine sounds like something out of a Star Trek episode. However, eHealth and mHealth are terms that pop up more and more in today’s gadgetized world. Most of us have experiences with mobile apps that help to track your weight, or websites that act as personal trainers and nutritionists by prescribing you a regime of exercises and foods to stick to. In a broader scheme, all of the data you’re already voluntarily gathering about yourself - every time your strap on your pedometer or heart rate monitor – can be a piece of your Personal Health Record.


“Hey, but that’s private information!”


However, the fact that something is technically possible doesn’t necessarily mean that the public is ready for adoption. Despite the definition of privacy undergoing a slow but steady transformation, medical records are still something that are considered extremely personal. This is why the adoption of a electronic health record (EHR) system in Estonia was initially confronted with serious questions about the security of the data.

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AJMC - American Journal of Managed Care

AJMC - American Journal of Managed Care | healthcare technology |

Objectives: To identify the factors and strategies that were associated with successful implementation of hospital-based information technology (IT) systems in US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, and how these might apply to other hospitals.


Study Design: Qualitative analysis of 118 interviews conducted at 7 VA hospitals. The study focused on the inpatient setting, where nurses are the main patient-care providers; thus, the research emphasized the impact of Computerized Patient Record System and Bar Code Medication Administration on nurses. Hospitals were selected to represent a range of IT implementation dates, facility sizes, and geography. The subjects included nurses, pharmacists, physicians, IT staff, and managers. Interviews were guided by a semi-structured interview protocol, and a thematic analysis was conducted, with initial codes drawn from the content of the interview guides. Additional themes were proposed as the coding was conducted.


Results: Five broad themes arose as factors which affected the process and success of implementation: (1) organizational stability and implementation team leadership, (2) implementation timelines, (3) equipment availability and reliability, (4) staff training, and (5) changes in work fl ow.


Conclusions: Overall IT implementation success in the VA depended on: (1) whether there was support for change from both leaders and staff, (2) development of a gradual and flexible implementation approach, (3) allocation of adequate resources for equipment and infrastructure, hands-on support, and deployment of additional staff, and (4) how the implementation team planned for setbacks, and continued the process to achieve success. Problems that developed in the early stages of implementation tended to become persistent, and poor implementation can lead to patient harm.

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The patient journey

The patient journey | healthcare technology |

Patient-centricity is now at the heart of many healthcare systems and pharmaceutical companies’ philosophies. In addition, many patients are now using the internet and social media to connect, engage and inform themselves on healthcare issues. So how can pharmaceutical companies get to the heart of what a patient experiences, from the first onset of symptoms to learning to live with the condition? And why is it important for them to do so?


At the outset, it is important to articulate that a patient journey is not a care pathway. It does not merely follow a patient through the physical path of medical and social care, but dives deeper into understanding the patient’s experience of a condition, and how that experience is created through interactions with other stakeholders, such as healthcare professionals, caregivers and other patients.


Looking at a disease or chronic condition through the eyes of a patient is one of the most insightful ways of determining the patient’s most pressing support and educational needs and how best to address those needs. By examining the journey a patient takes, it is also possible to identify the needs of the healthcare professionals, caregivers and other stakeholders who interact with the patient at the various stages along the journey. It is important as well to examine patient-to-patient interactions and the interactions patients have with patient support organisations in order to gain a holistic picture of what the patient feels, experiences, thinks and how he or she behaves as a result.

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How Medical Doctors and Students Should Use Social Media

Social Media (SM) has grown exponentially and in the last few years there has been an increasing use amongst medical doctors and students. At the same time there is intense debate about the complexities of ensuring medical professionalism in the digital age and especially on using open and massive online services.


We carried out a review of the main SM guidelines with the following objectives (today it has been accepted as a full paper in the European Medical Informatics Conference (MIE) 2012 that will take place in Pisa next August):

To gather the main recommendations on using Social Media platforms and websites by medical doctors and students, which are proposed by several international organizations, institutions and universities and

To propose a set of practical recommendations, based on the comparison of the statements and items of the guidelines, in order to find agreements and differences among them and select the most common and practical items stated.

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33 Million reasons to use Social Media for Preventive Healthcare

Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma are major concerns in the Hispanic population, and they can all be prevented. 33.3 million US Hispanics are online, and Social Media is the best way to connect with Hispanics.

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Progress in the Six Dynamics of Connected Health

Progress in the Six Dynamics of Connected Health | healthcare technology |
View statistics from Accenture's connected health study that shows the progress of eight countries in the six dynamics of connected health.
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Can the web improve your health?

Can the web improve your health? | healthcare technology |
Websites are offering new ways to empower patients and reshape the doctor-patient relationship.


"It's the voice of the patient that is going to shine a new light and provide transparency for quality across health and social care,"


When a psychiatrist was called to the home of a 12-year-old patient who was very distressed, he found her barricaded inside her room.


She refused to come out, saying she didn't trust doctors, including him.


He told her to look him up on the website, iWantGreatCare, on her smartphone.


The site was set up to allow patients to rate their doctors, and his teenage patients had recorded their comments about his care.


Seeing what her peers had written finally persuaded her to let him in.


It illustrates the power of the internet to empower patients and change the future shape of the doctor-patient relationship, says Neil Bacon, the doctor behind the website.

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