Patient Centered Healthcare
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Patient Centered Healthcare
Articles and discussions on patient centered healthcare, patient education, patient awareness, patient engagement... Relevant to Hospitals, Physicians, Healthcare Organizations, Pharma, Insurance
Curated by Parag Vora
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Managing health care after cancer? Rutgers developing an app for that

Managing health care after cancer? Rutgers developing an app for that | Patient Centered Healthcare |
The last chemotherapy session is over and the treatment declared finished. But for many cancer patients, managing the rest of their lives becomes the next challenge.
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Text Message From Your Heart Doc: 'Take Your Medicine'

Text Message From Your Heart Doc: 'Take Your Medicine' | Patient Centered Healthcare |

In the future, better care for heart patients may be just a text message away.


So says a new study that found patients recovering from heart attack took more of their medicines on time when they received regular text messages reminding them to do so.


People who received the text reminders were 16 percent to 17 percent better at taking anti-clotting medicines at the right time and in the correct dosage, according to a study to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Dallas.


“These medications are critical because patients can have serious life-threatening complications if they don’t take them,” explained study lead author Linda Park, a post-doctoral fellow at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.


The study followed 90 heart patients, averaging 59 years of age, for 30 days. All of the patients had either had a heart attack, had an artery-opening stent placed into a clogged vessel, or both. One third of the patients received two medication reminder texts every day, as well as a text containing a more general heart-health tip three times a week.


Another third only received the heart-health tip texts, and the last group (the “control” group) received no texts at all.


Park said a medication reminder message might read: “John, take [blood thinner] Plavix at 9 a.m. Respond with 1.” Patients then had to respond to let doctors know they received the reminder.


A heart-health tip might involve trimming the fat off of meat or exercising at least 150 minutes a week, Park said.


The researchers tracked the patients’ medication use via pill bottles that kept a digital record of whenever they had been opened, she said. They also asked patients to report when they had taken medications and what dosage they had taken.


Patients who received either type of text message tended to keep up with their medication schedule better than those who received no communication, the researchers found.


For example, the group who received reminders and tips had an 88 percent rate of correct doses taken, compared with a 72 percent rate for people who received no texts. The group that received only heart-health tips had a 95 percent rate of number of doses taken, compared with 79 percent for those who received no texts.


“Just having contact with these patients over the month, they did better than the control group,” Park said.


She said the technology is already in place for any health care organization to provide reminder texts to patients. Her team used an automated web-based system that allowed them to enter each patients’ contact information, set reminders to go out at specific times, and customize the content of each text to the specific patient.


“It was a really easy system to use, and could be of particular help targeting high-risk populations who have frequent readmissions and may suffer life-threatening complications if they don’t take their medications,” she said.


Researchers will continue to tweak the messaging system to see what will work best for patients. “We’re still trying to figure out the frequency and duration and content we need to deliver for these patients,” Park said. “It might just take three times a week, or once a week if you’re going to do this life-long.”


But at this time it seems as though text messaging could be an effective way to help patients help themselves by taking their medications as directed.


“Medication adherence is a really big problem that we haven’t been able to solve,” Park said. “I think incorporating technology is the wave of the future for everything, including medicine. This method has good potential. It’s not going to solve all of our problems, obviously, but it’s a very promising start.”


Experts note that findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Remote virtual surgery via Google Glass and telepresence

Remote virtual surgery via Google Glass and telepresence | Patient Centered Healthcare |
From his office in Atlanta, Dr. Dantuluri watches Google-Glass-generated images of surgery in progress in Atlanta ... A University of Alabama at Birmingham
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Health literacy in China needs improvement

Health literacy in China needs improvement | Patient Centered Healthcare |

A new report shows over 90-percent of people in China lack basic health knowledge. This has led to calls for better health education.


Health authorities in China have conducted a survey on the public's health literacy, which includes basic disease prevention knowledge and fist aid skills.


The survey covers some 100-thusand people between the age of 15 and 9. Mao Qun'an, a spokesperson for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, announced the latest statistics.


"In 2012, Chinese urban and rural residents' health literacy rate was 8.8-percent. In other words, among 100 people from 15 to 69 of age, some 8.8 of them have basic health knowledge, knowing what healthy life style is and equipped with relevant skills."


The figure sees a slight increase compared to 2008, with a significant progress in the popularization of first aid skills. A report on the survey shows the rise is largely due to the government's publicity efforts, and people's rising awareness on healthy lifestyle.


However, Guo Jianyang, director of the relief and aid division of Red Cross Society of China, says the spread of first aid knowledge is still not wide enough.


"The rate here is still too low, compared to those of 50 to 80-percent in developed countries. In Beijing, an ambulance will arrive about 15 minutes after an emergency call, but it's still late, because the first ten minutes are most effective for first aid. Many more lives could be saved if there was someone nearby who could provide first aid immediately."

The report also shows the growing number of people with chronic diseases contributes 80-percent to the mortality rate in China.

There are over 90-million diabetics in China, and at least 200-million have high blood pressure.


The health commission's survey indicates people don't know much about chronic diseases, let alone life-saving techniques. Experts say China needs to further promote health education, especially in rural areas and among students and the elderly. Meantime, the government should set up a national monitoring system, and make promoting health literacy part of the guideline of economic and social development.

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How can patients benefit from Patient Portals?

How can patients benefit from Patient Portals? | Patient Centered Healthcare |

One of the major reasons why nearly 80% of the US physicians are looking to switch their current EHR systems is that they are not satisfied with it. Some of the reasons attributed to this are EHRs’ lack of ability to attest for Meaningful Use 2, support Patient Portals and meet other regulatory requirements. The reason why the government is really pushing for implementation of Patient Portals is because they serve as a great tool to improve patient satisfaction, quality of care delivered and engages them more than ever before.


So what are the underlying features of Patient Portals and how can patients benefit from using them? Let’s discuss them in detail.



When patients enter a practice, they usually have to wait a long time in queues before getting themselves registered to be attended by their clinician. Patient Portals change this as they allow web-based patient registration, thereby reducing the time required to check-in and improving customer experience.



Patients can easily schedule an appointment with their clinician with the help of Patient Portals. They can simply leave a request to be attended by their physician and the physician will confirm the patient depending on his schedule. This saves a lot of time spent on calls and physical visits to the clinics.



Patients can also remain connected to their physicians whenever they want through the messaging interface of Patient Portals. They can discuss their health issues, seek advice, connect with specialists and do much more.



Patients can also conveniently order refills through Patient Portals. They are not required to visit the physician in person and can do so anywhere through the internet.



Lab results, radiology reports and procedure information are accessible anytime and anywhere to the patients with the help of Patient Portals.
These are some of the features of Patient Portals which serve as a great tool to improve the overall patient experience.

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Addressing the Role Health Literacy Plays in Patient Engagement

Addressing the Role Health Literacy Plays in Patient Engagement | Patient Centered Healthcare |

The current healthcare model places an increased demand on the patient being an active participant in his or her own health. Patients with low health literacy levels face an increased risk of not being engaged with their health, affecting the quality of care being delivered. Healthcare providers struggle with delivering materials for patients whocome from diverse backgrounds, however, the blame goes beyond the various intellectual differences among patients. Physicians are routinely overworked, making them unable to spend the necessary time required with each patient to ensure they have a thorough understanding before they leave. For a patient to be an active participant in their health, the issue of health literacy must be addressed.


Patients with low levels of health literacy do not have the ability to make decisions regarding their health. This is due to their lack of familiarity with medical conditions, combined with their unwillingness to ask questions during medical visits and lack of familiarity with the medical context of provided materials. To combat this, materials should be written in an organized manner using a simple language that follows the reader’s logic. The readability level should be at a six-grade level or lower to help eliminate vocabulary that is unfamiliar to the recipients. Careful consideration must also be taken when translating the materials to a different language to make sure the translation is adapted to target audience’s literacy level.


Depending on the technological skills of the audience, video has been shown as an effective tool in combating health literacy issues and increasing patient engagement. Videos typically have a broader comprehension range and are best for engaging patients who have a visual learning style. Videos can be especially effective in explaining complex situations and showing how to perform various tasks, however, results can vary greatly depending on how comfortable the patient is with technology.


The goal behind many of the changes to healthcare is to fundamentally transform the industry to a more cost-effective system that helps keep people healthy, instead of simply treating them once they become sick. This goal cannot be met unless patients understand the necessary measures they are responsible for to remain healthy and help control/prevent chronic conditions. To avoid wasted time and money, careful consideration to the usability and readability of patient education materials is required.

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Importance of Patient and Family Education Training: 5 Points

Importance of Patient and Family Education Training: 5 Points | Patient Centered Healthcare |

Patient and family education is an important responsibility of a healthcare organization. Healthcare employees who deal directly with patients help in informing them and their family members about everything related


It is clear that patient and family education training is very important. Here are some reasons why:


- Once healthcare facilities understand the needs of the patients and their families, it enables them to improve their quality of care and increase efficiency.


- Increase in healthcare costs is a growing concern for patients and their families. Appropriate education can help them save costs by informing them about their conditions and helping them with alternative options for costly treatments.


- Education encourages better compliance to rules, as the patients now understand the reasons for those rules. Also, once patients are aware of their medical conditions and what the doctors are doing to help them, it makes them less anxious and more comfortable.


- Patient education increases motivation, satisfaction, and compliance as it gets the patients involved in their own care and treatment decisions.


- Previous research has shown that using resources and materials for patient education has significantly improved communication between patients and healthcare employees.


There is no universal structure for patient and family education. The employees must customize the education pattern for every patient after considering their preferences and needs. Thus, you can see why patient and family education training is so important for employees. The training helps them become knowledgeable and develop good communication skills in order to deliver good patient education. Thus now you have the importance of patient and family education in a nutshell.

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The cable guy delivering telemedicine? Time Warner tries virtual visits

The cable guy delivering telemedicine? Time Warner tries virtual visits | Patient Centered Healthcare |

Time Warner Cable Business Class apparently wants to take a bigger bite out of the healthcare market, announcing today it’s trying a new “virtual visit” telemedicine solution with Cleveland Clinic.


The offering is part of TWC’s Home Health Monitoring strategy designed to connect healthcare providers to patients in their homes. It will provide infrastructure for secure, encrypted, two-way video conferencing between patients and Cleveland Clinic providers.


A spokesman told CED magazine that part of the trial will measure cost savings for healthcare providers — a key factor likely to impact widespread adoption, or not, of telehealth.


According to TWC, the virtual visit solution will come as a fully contained, secure, bundled package for providers with connectivity, installation and on-site equipment as well as technical support for patients.


The cable provider first began testing its healthcare services in a pair of Maine hospitals back in 2011. It’s adding new telemedicine services to “meet the emerging needs of the industry,” the company said in a press release.


Competitors Comcast and Cox have pushed into healthcare in their own ways, too, offering high-speed, secure internet connections suitable for care facilities, bundling that with other services and partnering with technology companies to add applications to their cable networks.

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Patient Experience vs. Patient Engagement

Patient Experience vs. Patient Engagement | Patient Centered Healthcare |

Via Lauren Nichols
Lauren Nichols's curator insight, November 10, 2013 2:14 PM

We have not been hearing as much about engagement as we have experience but it seems that engagment will be necessary to the success of the future state of health care.  How do we influence our patients to engage? I think there are a number of ways and one is through our relationships with them.  I think too often we underestimate the importance of relationships and how we connect with our patients as human beings not widgets, with compassion and support not judgement.  And as for associate engagement...ditto.

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Accenture Patient Engagement Survey Consumers vs Doctors Chart - Infographic

Accenture Patient Engagement Survey Consumers vs Doctors Chart - Infographic | Patient Centered Healthcare |
Accenture chart assesses the public’s attitudes toward their medical providers’ electronic capabilities, as well as the capabilities of their current providers.
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What Do Patients With Long-term Conditions Want From Interactive Web-based Interventions?

What Do Patients With Long-term Conditions Want From Interactive Web-based Interventions? | Patient Centered Healthcare |

The emerging field of apps and web sites has a lot to offer to persons living with long-term conditions. But what is relevant, what is needed, and what does the patients themselves want?

To answer these questions researchers from the Netherlands made a literature review, which has recently been published.

Searching scientific papers published in this field they wanted to describe the characteristics of interactive, Web-based interventions, and summarize the effects of these interventions on patient empowerment and physical activity. The review aimed to find interventions relevant for cancer survivors by looking at papers describing interventions for the long-time conditions diabetes,  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),  (congestive)  heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Chronic pain is a very common in all these groups, and the findings can without doubt be spread  beyond cancer survivors where previous research also have been able to provide positive outcomes.

Based on their findings, the researchers were able to identify interventions that have a beneficial effect on patient empowerment and/or physical activity in people with various chronic conditions. Program elements that were frequently observed included

- Education
- Self-monitoring
- Feedback and individualized information
- Self-management training
- Personal exercise program
- Communication with health care providers
- Communication with fellow patients

Persons living with long-term conditions like chronic pain experience the burden of the disease constantly and are only together with their healthcare provides in short time with long intervals between. Being encouraged to and able to participate in individualized treatment as a supplement to the clinical encounters, provided with understanding, not to mention reducing the feeling of loneliness by being able to communicate with both fellow patients and healthcare provides, can be supposed to support a much needed confidence and empowerment, and lead to improved outcomes.

The researchers findings are in very good correlation with what I present in my book The Empowered Pain Patient. Long-term conditions share, despite obvious differences, common elements including need for improvements in care and management.

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InCrowd Research Reveals Gap in Patient Engagement Activities Among Primary Care Physicians

InCrowd Research Reveals Gap in Patient Engagement Activities Among Primary Care Physicians | Patient Centered Healthcare |

InCrowd Research today announced the results of research with 300 primary care physicians (PCPs) from across the United States. The findings suggest that despite the influence of electronic health records and Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements, almost 40% of the surveyed PCPs are not actively participating in patient engagement activities. Many of them indicated they were not familiar with the term ‘patient engagement’.

“Our goal with this initial research was to understand the current state of patient engagement within a physician specialty that typically sees a high volume of patients, like primary care physicians. What we found in our research was surprising and reveals significant opportunity for companies who want to support physicians along the pathway to patient engagement,” says Kathleen Poulos, Co-Founder and CMO at InCrowd.

InCrowd research also indicated that, of the physicians who said they were participating in patient engagement activates, many use on-line tools to help reinforce the importance of lifestyle changes, treatment decisions and medication adherence. “While the research results were eye opening, we believe that the pharmaceutical industry, specifically, has a huge opportunity to leverage real time data and work with the physician community to help close the engagement gap,” says Ms. Poulos. Though historically the physician has shouldered the majority of the burden in terms of getting patients ‘well’, it truly needs to be a healthcare community effort that includes a fully engaged patient.



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New survey in four major Asian countries reveals complexity of managing Type 2 Diabetes is currently underestimated

New survey in four major Asian countries reveals complexity of managing Type 2 Diabetes is currently underestimated | Patient Centered Healthcare |

 Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company today announced results from a poll conducted with almost 800 physicians treating people with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), in Japan, China, India and South Korea.1

Results from the online poll revealed 79 percent of the physicians surveyed believed the complexity of managing T2D is currently underestimated.1

Despite these complexities, high quality, structured patient education can help to improve health outcomes and significantly improve quality of life in people with T2D.2 Ninety percent of physicians polled agreed both HCPs and patients could gain from additional medical information and patient support materials.1

People with T2D have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke compared to those without the condition.3 The survey also highlighted the importance of managing cardiovascular risk in T2D. This was well recognised by the physicians polled and 94 percent of respondents believed the management of cardiovascular risk influenced their decision when prescribing an oral anti-hyperglycaemic treatment.1

In treating T2D, a number of factors may play a role in patient adherence to treatment regimes, including the dosing schedule.4 Half of the physicians surveyed ranked ‘number of doses per day’ as the factor that influenced them the most when prescribing an oral anti-hyperglycaemic agent, in addition to the management of blood glucose.1

“More than 60 percent of the world’s diabetes population lives in Asia and physicians treating Type 2 Diabetes in this region acknowledge that this is a complex condition,” said Professor Klaus Dugi, Corporate Senior Vice President Medicine, Boehringer Ingelheim. “Despite the numerous challenges Type 2 Diabetes can present in the face of rising prevalence, results from this survey show that healthcare professionals in Asia are evaluating the full spectrum of available treatments, dosing regimens, risk factors and co-morbidities to achieve the best possible health outcomes for their patients.”

The results of this poll echo those from a similar survey conducted by Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company in September 2013 with more than 1,000 primary care healthcare professionals across eight European countries.5 The impact of cardiovascular risk in treating T2D was also highlighted in these results. Almost three quarters of physicians (74 percent) surveyed believed the management of cardiovascular risk is underestimated in people with T2D and 87 percent of respondents regard cardiovascular risk as a key consideration when making treatment decisions.5


Over a two week period, an online tool consisting of five short multiple choice questions was used to gauge opinion from 798 physicians from Japan, South Korea, China and India. Results were then collated from the different markets to draw overall conclusions.

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Is medical information on Wikipedia a public-health problem?

Is medical information on Wikipedia a public-health problem? | Patient Centered Healthcare |

Anyone can edit Wikipedia, but who actually does? Weird Al Yankovic, for one, according to his song “White and Nerdy.” But while many citizen editors have good intentions in sharing and refining information in the public domain, subjects such as medical information require further oversight by qualified professionals. Beth Bengston, principal at Hale Advisors, writes in a piece for Ragan’s Health Care Communication News that Wikipedia’s unreliable information, often taken by readers as truth, poses a public health problem.

Those in the health care industry, especially drug manufacturers and the FDA, have a public health responsibility to play a role in helping to fix the inaccuracies and incomplete information on Wikipedia. Sure, there are some challenges—like the perception that the drug manufacturers have a conflict of interest or that getting anywhere near user-generated content will result in a visit from the FDA, but we should work toward common sense solutions. 

Wikipedia has a role to play, as well. It needs to embrace drug manufacturers and assume they have the right intent in ensuring accurate information is available to the public. Some might argue that drug manufacturers in the past have been caught trying to game the system by removing damaging information about their products. But the beauty of Wikipedia is that the community will find and fix those self-serving changes.

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Patient Engagement: What’s in It for Your Private Practice?

Patient Engagement: What’s in It for Your Private Practice? | Patient Centered Healthcare |

The phrase “patient engagement” seems ubiquitous these days. Meaningful use Stage 2 requires it, bloggers tout it and there’s even a growing body of academic research about its benefits. Most of the discourse focuses on how patient engagement impacts patient health or overall costs to the US health system.


But despite all the attention patient engagement gets, little is said about tangible benefits for medical practices. So I talked to doctors who have mastered the patient relationship to learn more about what it is and how it can benefit doctors. Turns out, getting your patients engaged could make you more money, make your patients happier and boost your job satisfaction to boot.


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Getting to health engagement will require more than a patient portal | Health Populi

Getting to health engagement will require more than a patient portal | Health Populi | Patient Centered Healthcare |

Patient and health engagement is the flavor du jour in health circles these days, from the corridors of hospitals to the caffeinated marketing meetings in Big Pharma’s east coast meet-ups. But there’s no standard agreement on what we mean by peoples’ health engagement, whether by patient or well consumer.

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Startup Spotlight: URGravity helps doctors, patients understand health device data to improve your well-being

Startup Spotlight: URGravity helps doctors, patients understand health device data to improve your well-being | Patient Centered Healthcare |
After working in front of his computer all day long for decades in the tech industry, Ron Miller's health wasn't all that great.
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Your doctor is going digital: What the rise of medtech means for you

Your doctor is going digital: What the rise of medtech means for you | Patient Centered Healthcare |
Ahead of our Mobilize event Oct. 16 and 17, we asked experts how 50 billion connected devices and 6 billion people change their industries. In this essay Dr. Christian Assad-Kottner explains what this means for medicine.
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The doc will see you now but on your smartphone - Mumbai Mirror

The doc will see you now but on your smartphone - Mumbai Mirror | Patient Centered Healthcare |
Mumbai docs launch apps to help patients track symptoms and beat check-up waits.
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How Technology Tools Can Increase Patient Engagement, Reduce Obesity

How Technology Tools Can Increase Patient Engagement, Reduce Obesity | Patient Centered Healthcare |


When it comes to obesity, many physicians believe there's only so much intervention can do for patients. But new research shows that increasing patient engagement through technology — in other words, involving patients in their own weight-loss efforts between visits by giving them tools such as text-based exercise reminders — just may help physicians help those patients in need of weight-management assistance.


More than 35 percent of those who don’t follow exact treatment plans said they would be more likely to follow directions if they received reminders from their doctors via e-mail, voicemail, or text, according to the report The Obesity Epidemic: Unhealthy Habits Result in a Growing Problem for Americans. The report, conducted by TeleVox, a provider of patient-engagement technology tools, and Kelton Research, is based on a survey of more than 1,130 Americans ages 18 and older and 463 healthcare providers.


"You can load somebody up with as much information as you want, but until they're actually committed to making that change, they're not going to do it," Allison Hart, director of marketing communications at TeleVox, told Physicians Practice. "Behavior change is incredibly hard."


Typically, what happens is overweight patients go to the doctor and doctor says, "'you need to lose weight' and 'come back in six months or whatever,' but there's no support given on a daily basis," said Hart. "That's where engagement communications plays a part … delivering that encouragement, engagement, and support between the visit."


Results of the survey support this premise:

- 30 percent of U.S. consumers asserted that receiving text messages, voicemails, or e-mails that provide patient care between visits would increase feelings of trust in their provider;

- Of the 66 percent of patients who have received a voicemail, text messages, or e-mail from a healthcare provider, 51 percent reported feeling more valued as a patient;

- 61 percent of Americans said that they would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips on how to manage their weight; and

- 24 percent of Americans said that communications from their doctor between office visits, such as e-mail, text messages, or phone calls, would help them better manage their overall health.

And while about half of physicians surveyed said they already use technology to engage with patients, the reality is that such engagement is limited. In fact, fewer physicians actually do things such as e-mail healthy recipes, or send text messages to patients reminding them to exercise, said Hart.


"Our research shows about 46 percent of providers said they use e-mail, voice mail, text messaging for patient care between visits," said Hart. "I think that what you'll find is that most of them are using [these means of communication] for appointment reminders, lab test results, things like that. We've really just started talking about this idea of [using] technology beyond the basics."


The good news for physicians is that these types of services are being offered by an increasing number of vendors. However, physicians and other healthcare providers should proceed with caution, and ask vendors they are considering working with questions such as: What is your privacy policy? How do you protect the data you store against perceived threats? What are the HIPAA guidelines that you have in place? Do you have external audits?


Physicians should also ask to see a copy of their latest audit report, Hart suggests.

"There's always going to be some level of concern with patient privacy and compliance," said Hart. "The most important thing to do is to choose a vendor that's trustworthy in this area."

Via COUCH Medcomms
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Smartphones: The Key to the Engaged Patient’s Heart

Smartphones: The Key to the Engaged Patient’s Heart | Patient Centered Healthcare |

It’s official. I’ve joined the ranks of those device-addled people for whom one form of media is simply not enough. I came to this realization one evening as I toggled between email on my phone, shopping on my iPad and catching up on Netflix – all while sitting next to my husband as he did the same thing. Though I may find this sudden inability to unplug troubling, new research shows I’m not alone. In today’s multi-screen world, our devices accompany us everywhere – acting as both companion and advisor. And while this brave new digital world may be eroding the art of conversation, new evidence suggests it’s making us better consumers – and patients.

For example, a recent Digitas Health survey found that patients who use smartphones in their doctor’s office are 80 percent more likely to switch medications and twice as likely to ask for a brand name. A separate study reveals that 38 percent of smartphone users say their device is “essential” for finding health and medical information.

Patients aren’t just getting their information from websites either. According to Digitas, nine out of 10 patients would use an app recommended by a physician. And “power users” – those with both a smartphone and a tablet – are 30 percent more likely to talk to a doctor about a mobile site or app and twice as likely to switch medications.


So what does all of this mean for health care marketers? Here are some key takeaways whether you’re selling prescription drugs or surgical services:


1. Go mobile. Now. 
Having a responsive websites and a strong social media presence is simply a must in today’s digital world. With the rise of HCAHPS, Meaningful Use 2 and readmission penalties, engaged patients are the holy grail for hospitals. The best way to reach those patients is to meet them where they are already spending time: online.


2. Give them what they’re searching for. 
Patients are hungry for information and – increasingly – using their smartphones and mobile devices to access it. Make it easy for them by providing useful content through a website, blog, or social media channels – or better yet, all three. Be sure to search engine optimize your content to ensure it’s easy to find.


3. Build it and they will come. 
Don’t rule out building or buying consumer-friendly apps designed to engage and empower patients with information – before, during and after admission. InQuicker and iTriage are just two examples of apps many hospitals are using to allow patients to check symptoms, find the nearest ER or urgent care center and pre-register for care. Other apps provide patients with wayfinding maps, personal health records, medication trackers and even a way to record discharge instructions.


4. Let them connect to you – and to each other. 
Patient communities, such as PatientsLikeMe or BensFriends, allow individuals with certain illnesses or conditions to connect with other patients experiencing the same condition. Creating service-line-specific groups – for groups such as expectant mothers, bariatric patients or cancer patients – can help a provider promote specialists, increase awareness about services and build loyalty among affinity groups.


Today’s patient isn’t just searching for information – they’re searching for a reason to act. What are you doing to give them one?

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Why is the Patient Portal Failing to Gain Traction Among Patients and Doctors?

Why is the Patient Portal Failing to Gain Traction Among Patients and Doctors? | Patient Centered Healthcare |
Patient portals are not heavily utilized yet in today's healthcare system. Explore the reasons why in the latest article from referralMD.
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Experts believe pharmacy research can help raise health literacy standards

Experts believe pharmacy research can help raise health literacy standards | Patient Centered Healthcare |

Limited health literacy can lead to difficulties in patients' self-care activities such as taking prescribed medications. Since a considerable amount of health information changes hands in the pharmacy setting, research by pharmacists into evaluating which tools are effective in practice can make a valuable contribution to goals set by the 2010 US National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and lead to improvements in communications and health care, say experts in this special themed issue on Pharmacy, Medication Use, and the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy," published in the journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy.


Health literacy is defined by the Institute of Medicine as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions."


As reported by the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, approximately 36% of adult Americans exhibit health literacy skills that are at the basic level or below. This affects people's ability to search for and use health information, adopt healthy behaviors, and act on important public health alerts. Limited health literacy affects people of all ages, races, incomes, and education levels; but the impact of limited health literacy disproportionately affects lower socioeconomic and minority groups, which includes racial and ethnic minorities as well as seniors. Limited health literacy is also associated with poorer health outcomes and higher costs.


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What Happens If a Hospital Fails to Meet Patient Engagement Requirement for Stage 2?

What Happens If a Hospital Fails to Meet Patient Engagement Requirement for Stage 2? | Patient Centered Healthcare |

Some times it is almost too easy to see what lies ahead. They say hindsight is 20/20 but from time to time peering into the future can also be a breeze. A specific challenge coming for Stage 2 Eligible Hospitals (EHs) and Critical Assess Hospitals (CAHs) hides in plain sight in the Core meaningful use (MU) measures. Difficult to achieve, as it is dependent on new technology and workflows, it might be even more difficult to document during an audit.

This Stage 2 requirement seems so simple, and is shorter than a Tweet: “Provide patients the ability to view online, download, and transmit information about a hospital admission.” However, don’t forget this MU measure is Core and very difficult to exclude unless the hospital is way out in the boonies far from the reach of widespread broadband internet access. Fail to meet this MU requirement for Stage 2 and that EHR incentive goes totally away for the year. I would not want to be the bearer of that news to the hospital board or administration. Even if there is a successful attestation on this measure it could be problematic during an audit. Hospitals tend to use technology from various vendors. If you choose a “best of breed” patient portal how hard will it be to track those patient trips to the portal to view their discharge information?

Enough talk. Let’s see what this “patient engagement” portends. There are two parts for our consideration. One is what the hospital must do, the other task is for the patient.

Hospital action required: “More than 50 percent of all unique patients discharged from the inpatient or emergency departments of the eligible hospital or CAH (POS 21 or 23) during the EHR reporting period have their information available online within 36 hours of discharge.” There is no way around this and no short cuts. You have to have a portal and you have to make discharge information available within a limited amount of time.

Patient action required: “More than 5 percent of all unique patients (or their authorized representatives) who are discharged from the inpatient or emergency department (POS 21 or 23) of an eligible hospital or CAH view, download or transmit to a third party their information during the EHR reporting period.”

So we don’t need to dust off our crystal ball to see a curve ball is coming our way. I can already hear the hue and cry that will emerge in 2014 over this issue. As the wizard said in Lochiel’s Warning: “coming events cast their shadows”.



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Monkey Mind Control Could Lead to Treatment for Paralyzed Patients

Monkey Mind Control Could Lead to Treatment for Paralyzed Patients | Patient Centered Healthcare |

It's an unusual path, but promising therapy for paralyzed patients may come from the work of monkeys.

Researchers at Duke University conducted a study in which monkeys learned to control the movement of virtual arms by using just their brains. These findings could prove particularly useful for people who have sensory and motor deficiencies caused by spinal cord injuries or for those who are severely paralyzed.

"Bimanual movements in our daily activities – from typing on a keyboard to opening a can – are critically important," said Miguel Nicolelis, a professor of neurobiology at the Duke University School of Medicine and senior author of the study, in a statement. "Future brain-machine interfaces aimed at restoring mobility in humans will have to incorporate multiple limbs to greatly benefit severely paralyzed patients."

Brain-machine interfaces are systems that connect different regions of the brain to assistive devices that help restore patients' motor and sensory functions, the study said. Previous studies have developed brain-machine interfaces that control single prosthetic arms, but have not successfully used two at the same time.

According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center, nearly 2 percent of the United States population, or about 5.6 million people, report currently living with some form of paralysis and 0.4 percent of the population, or about 1.3 million people, say they are paralyzed from a spinal cord injury.

People can become paralyzed from a number of different sources, including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury or stroke, which is the leading cause of paralysis, according to the Reeve Foundation.

Nicholelis' research is significant because the monkeys in the study successfully controlled two virtual arms at once and their performance improved over time.

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