From GoLocalWorcester: Here are two free services that can help you be a more educated health care partner. I think they are really well written and engaging. You will even like reading them when you do not need medical care.
Angela Dunn @blogbrevity interviews Leslie Ziegler, Co-founder of startup incubator Rock Health, part of her Women in mHealth series for HL7Standards dot com.
WHAT DOES ROCK HEALTH LOOK FOR IN STARTUPS?
“We look for a bit more maturity. We’re not really looking for the 19-year olds dropping out of Harvard, although they are great, too. We’ve certainly had a few. It takes a bit more maturity in healthcare to work with institutional partners–like the Mayo Clinic, to work with the constraints of big companies, and to work with medical professionals.
We’re looking for teams who come to us with a great idea, that have the personalities and the temperaments, the persistence to be the team to solve a compelling problem. But, also have an engineer on the team. An idea is great, but a poorly executed idea is not going to win. So, it’s really important to have a technical co-founder. We don’t accept teams that don’t have one.”
From ModernMedicine: Lawmakers are aware of your difficulties with electronically exchanging health information. U.S. Senate staff members grilled leaders from the health information technology (HIT) and medical fields during a briefing last week about information exchange and how to connect office-based physicians, according to one of the invited guests who spoke with Medical Economics eConsult.
One of the stage 2 EHR meaningful use proposed requirements is that doctors electronically provide a care summary record to another physician or hospital for 10% of their referred patients. Doctors without access to a community health information exchange (HIE) or Web-based solution would be challenged by the requirement.
Capturing and aggregating information from several sources, including hospitals and health insurers, also was discussed during the hour-long event attended by approximately 60 senior staff members
"...there are plenty of ambitious startups in energy, healthcare, and education, areas that sorely need innovation. But fascinating technology startups, companies who want to allow regular people to do new stuff in their daily lives? Few and far between. Take a look at Paul Graham's ideas for frighteningly ambitious startups. Now take a look at the last 30 or so startups on Techcrunch. Where are the people thinking big? What I see is people filling ever-smaller niches in this 'ecosystem' or that 'ecosystem.'"
I like Madrigal's quote: "The only metric that seems to matter with startups is the number of users it has been able to skim from the masses."
He goes on to offer that he thinks that hardware innovations, such as the upcoming iPhone 5 release may be enough to spur new, true innovations that aren't clones of what already exists.
"This isn't about startup incubators or policy positions. It's not about 'innovation in America' or which tech blog loves startups the most. This is about how Internet technology used to feel like it was really going to change so many things about our lives. Now it has and we're all too stunned to figure out what's next."
HIMSS blog, by Brad Tritle: In the fall of 2011, the HIMSS Personal Health IT (PHIT) Task Force identified a problem: We knew that most agreed with social media expert Dion Hinchcliffe’s estimation of 1 billion people on the planet using social media, but hospital social media expert Ed Bennett had identified only 21% of U.S. hospitals using it, and anecdotal evidence pointed to a positive impact from its use. There appeared to be a lot of fear and uncertainty about social media in healthcare.
American Medical News: Nine months after All Island Gastroenterology and Liver Associates in Malverne, N.Y., went live with its electronic medical record system, practice administrator Michaela Faella realized things had not gone as smoothly as planned.
Even though the staff had used other health information technology systems for many years and considered itself tech-savvy, it had taken everyone six months to learn how to use the new EMR system. Several months later, the staff still had not become proficient at it.
The problem was not with the staff, but that the practice cut training short to save time and money. "Training was not placed high on the priority list, and we paid the price for it," Faella said.
iHealthBeat: U.S. health care organizations should take lessons from other countries and expand their use of social media tools beyond marketing purposes, according to a report from technology consultancy firm CSC, InformationWeekreports.
Factors Hindering Social Media Use Among U.S. Providers
Caitlin Lorinez, a CSC research analyst and co-author of the report, said many U.S. health care providers are hesitant to engage with patients through social media channels because they worry that health-related information they provide could be "taken out of context and interpreted as medical advice."
She added that physicians who are concerned about increasing their malpractice liability tend to avoid sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Possible Applications of Social Media in Health Care
The report noted that despite health care providers' concerns, social media can help improve patient care, especially for activities relating to:
New York Times: If ever an industry were ready for disruption, it is the American health care industry. Americans spend about $7,600 a year per person on health care, one in two adults lives with a chronic disease and the average wait time to see a doctor in a metropolitan area is 20 days. Entrepreneurs have responded by starting health care technology companies that are changing the way we interact with the entire system.
They are also responding to an evolving model of health care, which will ultimately be focused more on outcomes than on services, and to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Program, which, in an effort to improve the coordination of care, gives providers financial incentives to adopt electronic health records and report how they use them. “We are about to see a fundamental transformation in the way care is delivered and the way patients are engaged with that care,” said Frank Moss, head of the New Media Medicine Group at the M.I.T. Media Lab.
The New York Times: A satisfaction survey administered to nearly two million patients reveals that men tend to be more positive about their hospital experiences than women.
In a study published this year in the journal Health Services Research, researchers analyzed the results of a survey that asked nearly two million patients how they felt about their hospitalization.
When the researchers divided the questionnaire results by the patients’ sex, they discovered that men tended to be more positive over all about their hospital experiences. Women were less satisfied with staff responsiveness, their discussions with nurses, communication about medications and discharge plans and the general conditions of the hospital. Among men and women who were older or felt sicker, these differences were even more pronounced.
There are few planned tasks in the Healthcare IT community that generate more anxiety than upgrading to an enterprise-level application. This is especially the case for applications such as an interface engine or a health information system. In the case of the interface engine, the software is vital because it is often responsible for the expedient and precise filtering, routing, mapping, and delivery of patient data to all other applications in the organization.
The demands placed on a typical engine administrator or team of interface analysts can quickly become compounded and anxiety can quickly turn into panic if an upgrade does not go as planned and patient care is affected.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken in advance of an upgrade to help the team prepare for, and hopefully eliminate, any unplanned issues.
From American Medical News: A lack of standards on sharing data could put patient records at risk, according to a report.
A report by the New York Civil Liberties Union examining health information exchanges in the state questioned the legalities of the patient privacy policies in place and criticized the exchanges for not doing enough to protect patients.
One of the most important bills we discussed was the GME funding cuts, which cuts support for primary care residency spots for osteopathic students. This bill does not make much sense since America has a problem with lack of primary care physicians, especially in rural areas, and it’s only going to get worse. With the increase in medical schools being built, more residency spots are needed to fulfill this increase in students, especially in the primary care area.
Another bill we discussed involved flexible spending accounts. Patients have to get a prescription before getting over the counter drugs with their flexible spending accounts. Basically, people who have flexible spending accounts, if they have a headache and want some Tylenol or something else over the counter, they have to schedule an appointment with their physician and then get a prescription for the Tylenol. They cannot just run to the store and pick it up. This one again does not make sense; it takes time away from the doctor where it is truly needed.
From The Atlantic: "What if you could find out if you've got oral cancer just by turning on your cell phone camera? That's what Manu Prakash, a bioengineer at Stanford University, hopes to achieve with OScan, a new device designed for inexpensive use in developing countries.
"OScan is as an attachment that fits over the camera of a mobile phone. It works by shining a blue fluorescent light into a patient's mouth, a process that causes tumors to show up as dark spots on the resulting image. The screening is fast, painless, and doesn't require a Ph.D to carry out. When the procedure's complete, the pictures can be uploaded instantly to off-site medical professionals for analysis and diagnosis.
"In a country like India -- where oral cancer makes up an astonishing 40 percent of all cancer cases and is the foremost type of cancer among men -- a low-cost device that can be operated by untrained workers could see immediate payoffs."
"There are few more personal, passionate, and political topics than health care. The reasons for this are clear: Health care spending has reached 17% of the U.S. GDP, outcomes are worse than in other developed countries, and an attempt to fix the system through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now sits in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. But regardless of ACA's legal prognosis, the Pandora's Box of true health care reform has already been opened — and it happened before most of us realized."
This is all very true to those working in and around healthcare. The C-Suite bought into shift toward providing quality care probably because of the government incentives. If the ACA is overturned, they simply can't stop and revert to the broken fee-for-service model.
From Healthcare IT News: "Health insurance exchanges, meanwhile, are the prime example of how partisan politics can effectively inhibit health reform and the information technology underpinning it – something that started almost immediately after President Obama signed PPACA in March 2010.
Yet the success of health reform is dependent on health insurance exchanges."
"If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency." -CDC
The Centers for Disease Control made this bold statement (seriously) in May 2011. To help Americans ready themselves for a zombie infestation, it launched the “Preparedness 101: Zombie apocalypse,” social media campaign.
The agency provided advice on the importance of creating emergency kits, evacuation plans and emergency contact lists prior to a zombie invasion (or real disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes or disease outbreaks) and disseminated the information via its Public Health Matters blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Wacky, yes, but also extremely effective. In three days, the zombie preparedness warning had over 30,000 views. Over 10 days, there were triple the amount of visitors than a usual preparedness warning.
It’s estimated the zombie preparedness warning reached over a million people. It was such a success that last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius selected the project as one of three “Secretary’s Picks” in the HHSinnovates program.
Wall Street Journal Health Blog: Are patients good consumers of healthcare?
Nope, says Jon Cohen, a vascular surgeon and chief medical officer at Quest Diagnostics. The average American spends twice as much time before buying a TV as they do looking for a doctor, he told participants today at TEDMED in Washington.
“Consumer-driven healthcare doesn’t work because people don’t want health care,” he said.
The three main factors that drive consumers to make a choice: price, quality and desire, said Cohen. When it comes to health care, however, price doesn’t correspond with quality, so going to a more expensive doctor doesn’t guarantee better treatment.
It’s also difficult to judge quality when it comes to health care, he said.
Health Affairs Blog: On Tuesday April 10, CMS announced 27 ACOs had begun operating under the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), joining the 32 Pioneer ACOs announced in December and the 6 physician group practice (PGP) sites that converted to being ACOs. Another 150 ACOs have applied to begin operating on July 1, with additional applicants expected for the third installment scheduled for January 2013. CMS Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum declared, with justifiable pride, the launch of Medicare ACOs a success. We should all pause to congratulate both CMS and the individual ACOs.
"I believe there is a something unique about working in health care. I don’t really care what your role in it is. You can work for a hospital, clinic, lab, imaging center, vendor, consulting firm, trade organization, standards group, or any other organization that relates to health care and my belief remains the same:
"I believe health care creates a special place for us to embrace more than just a job.
"Health care is an opportunity to try to improve our system of delivery in whatever way we can as well as change ourselves in how we approach our personal care. It is a dual passion to live in health care.
"With this, there is a passion of change that should run through our veins as we undertake our daily responsibilities."
How will this play out? Not clear… my hunch is that most health plans will have significant concerns about contracting directly with ACOs.
The implications are huge:
Can formal ACOs gain enough critical mass to survive and thrive if only Medicare wants to contract with them?
Can care coordination across different ACO and AC-Like initiatives be achieved?
How will competitive dynamics between care providers an health plans play out? The market is sending a mixed message right now — “We want health plans and care providers to work closely together, but we still want robust competition in the marketplace.”
Worth watching as this issue develops… your thoughts?
From California Healthline: Outside the Supreme Court building last month, the crowds of people proclaiming their support or opposition to the Affordable Care Act proved that the federal health care overhaul remains a divisive and highly partisan issue.
Stakeholders on one side of the political spectrum touted the law's current and future benefits, while stakeholders on the other side called for a complete repeal of the legislation.
Despite the heated debate, there is one aspect of the health reform law that historically has bridged the partisan divide: health information technology.
Following the results and recommendations of a report from solicited feedback from communities across Colorado focused on the inclusion of behavioral health in health information exchange (HIE).
A few key points that came out of the community discussions included:
Consumers expressed significant interest in having access to their health information within the HIE;
Both physicians and patients expressed significant concerns, such as privacy issues and inappropriate use of information;
Behavioral health stakeholders agree that better information sharing can lead to better outcomes for individuals and populations receiving behavioral healthcare;
Participants expressed they would have more comfort with information sharing if there were more choice about which information would be shared with whom. Current models of all-in or all-out information sharing do not seem to meet the needs of this community.
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