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Hospital with repeat security failures hit with $218K HIPAA fine

Hospital with repeat security failures hit with $218K HIPAA fine | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

Does your hospital permit employees to use a file-sharing app to store patients' protected health information? Better think again. A Massachusetts hospital is paying up and reevaluating its privacy and security policies after a file-sharing complaint and following a HIPAA breach. 


St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton, Mass. – a member hospital of Steward Health Care system – will pay $218,400 to the Office for Civil Rights for alleged HIPAA violations. The settlement resulted from a 2012 complaint filed by hospital employees, stating that the medical center was using a Web-based document-sharing application to store data containing protected health information. Without adequately analyzing the security risks of this application, it put the PHI of nearly 500 patients at risk.


"Organizations must pay particular attention to HIPAA's requirements when using Internet-based document sharing applications," said Jocelyn Samuels, OCR director, in a July 10 statement announcing the settlement. "In order to reduce potential risks and vulnerabilities, all workforce members must follow all policies and procedures, and entities must ensure that incidents are reported and mitigated in a timely manner."


It wasn't just the complaint that got St. Elizabeth's in hot water, however. A HIPAA breach reported by the medical center in 2014 also called attention to the lack of adequate security policies. The hospital notified OCR in August of last year of a breach involving unsecured PHI stored on the personal laptop and USB drive of a former hospital employee. The breach ultimately impacted 595 patients, according to a July 10 OCR bulletin.


As part of the settlement, St. Elizabeth's will also be required to "cure the gaps in the organization's HIPAA compliance program," OCR officials wrote in the bulletin. More specifically, this includes conducting a self-assessment of its employees' awareness and compliance with hospital privacy and security policies. Part of this assessment will involve "unannounced visits" to various hospital departments to assess policy implementations. Officials will also interview a total of 15 "randomly selected" employees with access to PHI. Additionally, at least three portable devices across each department with access to PHI will be inspected.


Then there's the policies and training piece part of the settlement. With this, St. Elizabeth's based on the assessment, will submit revised policies and training to HHS for approval.


In addition to the filed complaint and the 2014 breach, the medical center also reported an earlier HIPAA breach in 2012when paper records containing billing data, credit card numbers and security codes of nearly 7,000 patients were not properly shredded by the hospital. Some of the files containing the data were reportedly found blowing in a field nearby.


To date, OCR has levied nearly $26.4 million from covered entities and business associates found to have violated HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification rules.


The largest settlement to date was the whopping $4.8 million fine paid by New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center after a single physician accidentally deactivated an entire computer server, resulting in ePHI being posted on Internet search engines. 


Via Technical Dr. Inc.
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Digital health venture cash keeps pace with 2014

Digital health venture cash keeps pace with 2014 | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

Venture capital for the digital health market is still holding its own, keeping pace with last year's "record-breaking growth," according to a new report from digital health startup accelerator Rock Health.

In fact, this year's Q2 raked in $2.1 billion from investors for digital health startups, just shy of last year's mid-year number which reached $2.3 billion.


"Now at the half-year mark, investors have spoken," wrote Malay Gandhi, managing director at Rock Health, in a July 6 post, unveiling the numbers. "Digital health isn't slowing down."


Although the number of deals were fewer than last year at this time – 139 deals in 2015 compared to 146 in 2014 – the average deal size was $400,000 bigger this time around.


One of the big changes this year was around the most funded digital health category. Last year, the winner was payer administration startups, which collectively scored $211 million. This year, wearables and biosensing companies walked away with the lion's share of funding, at $387 million. However, San Francisco-based wearable company Jawbone accounted for $300 million of that pie.


Analytics and big data came in at No. 2 for most funded digital health category, bringing in $212 million by mid 2015. That represents a $16 million increase in this category from last year's numbers. Salt Lake City-based analytics startup Health Catalyst brought in $70 million.

According to another digital health accelerator StartUp Health's mid-year report, however, analytics and big data came in third place, below wellness/benefits and patient/consumer experience. The company bills itself as the world's largest portfolio of digital health companies. 


One category in Rock Health's report that failed to emerge as top theme last year – EHR and clinical workflow – brought in $74 million this time around. One of those startups, the San Francisco-based Augmedix, which integrates Google Glass with the electronic medical record, earned $16 million of that.


This year, Rock Health officials also tracked digital health IPOs, which "outperformed" S&P 500 by the end of Q2.


"Coming off a record-smashing year for digital health funding, where dollars into the space totaled more than 8 percent of all venture funding, it would not have been surprising if 2015 was a letdown," Rock Health officials wrote in the 2015 mid-year report. "However, 2015 has more or less kept pace with 2014."


But this growth, as they explained, also comes with a drawback. And that's "noise." In other words, it's a tough, saturated market, with a record number of digital health companies "vying for the attention of both the industry and the consumer."


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Will the smartwatch be the key that unlocks connected health?

Will the smartwatch be the key that unlocks connected health? | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

The market for wearable technology devices is still in its infancy but consumers are already favoring health and fitness applications.

New Parks Associates research published Tuesday shows that just 9% of US broadband households intend to invest in a smartwatch in 2015 and that 40% of shoppers have set a price limit of $100-$250.


This is "roughly equivalent to a high-end fitness tracker," said Harry Wang, director, Health and Mobile Research, Parks Associates. "We are in the early stages in the likely merger of smartwatch and fitness tracker product categories."


Fitness applications are already proving to be the most popular use cases for smartwatch owners and this could have a huge impact on the future of digital health. 


"The smartwatch is a key entry in the connected health market, which is rapidly becoming more oriented toward the end user," Jennifer Kent, Director, Research Quality & Product Development, Parks Associates, said. "The adoption rate for connected health devices among U.S. broadband households increased from 24% to 27% over the last year, opening the door for connected device manufacturers as well as service providers to take advantage of the growing consumerization in healthcare."


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Watches or Cell phones for the connected health market.. #medicoolhc #medicoollifeprotector

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Kissing cousins? In close-knit Iceland, app helps prevent incest

Kissing cousins? In close-knit Iceland, app helps prevent incest | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
You meet someone, there's chemistry, and then come the introductory questions: What's your name? Come here often? Are you my cousin?

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mctrebo's curator insight, May 17, 2013 4:41 PM
Drawing data from the "Book of Icelanders" database, there is now an app, that warns Icelanders if they are at risk of getting too cozy with someone they might be related to.

Iceland has a population of only 320,000. Most of the population descend from a group of 9th-century Viking settlers. 

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Hospital with repeat security failures hit with $218K HIPAA fine

Hospital with repeat security failures hit with $218K HIPAA fine | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

Does your hospital permit employees to use a file-sharing app to store patients' protected health information? Better think again. A Massachusetts hospital is paying up and reevaluating its privacy and security policies after a file-sharing complaint and following a HIPAA breach. 


St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Brighton, Mass. – a member hospital of Steward Health Care system – will pay $218,400 to the Office for Civil Rights for alleged HIPAA violations. The settlement resulted from a 2012 complaint filed by hospital employees, stating that the medical center was using a Web-based document-sharing application to store data containing protected health information. Without adequately analyzing the security risks of this application, it put the PHI of nearly 500 patients at risk.


"Organizations must pay particular attention to HIPAA's requirements when using Internet-based document sharing applications," said Jocelyn Samuels, OCR director, in a July 10 statement announcing the settlement. "In order to reduce potential risks and vulnerabilities, all workforce members must follow all policies and procedures, and entities must ensure that incidents are reported and mitigated in a timely manner."


It wasn't just the complaint that got St. Elizabeth's in hot water, however. A HIPAA breach reported by the medical center in 2014 also called attention to the lack of adequate security policies. The hospital notified OCR in August of last year of a breach involving unsecured PHI stored on the personal laptop and USB drive of a former hospital employee. The breach ultimately impacted 595 patients, according to a July 10 OCR bulletin.


As part of the settlement, St. Elizabeth's will also be required to "cure the gaps in the organization's HIPAA compliance program," OCR officials wrote in the bulletin. More specifically, this includes conducting a self-assessment of its employees' awareness and compliance with hospital privacy and security policies. Part of this assessment will involve "unannounced visits" to various hospital departments to assess policy implementations. Officials will also interview a total of 15 "randomly selected" employees with access to PHI. Additionally, at least three portable devices across each department with access to PHI will be inspected.


Then there's the policies and training piece part of the settlement. With this, St. Elizabeth's based on the assessment, will submit revised policies and training to HHS for approval.


In addition to the filed complaint and the 2014 breach, the medical center also reported an earlier HIPAA breach in 2012when paper records containing billing data, credit card numbers and security codes of nearly 7,000 patients were not properly shredded by the hospital. Some of the files containing the data were reportedly found blowing in a field nearby.


To date, OCR has levied nearly $26.4 million from covered entities and business associates found to have violated HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification rules.


The largest settlement to date was the whopping $4.8 million fine paid by New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center after a single physician accidentally deactivated an entire computer server, resulting in ePHI being posted on Internet search engines. 


Via Technical Dr. Inc.
Gerard Dab's insight:

Security! Security! Security!

#medicoolhc #medicoollifeprotector

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NIH is asking for feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect medical information

NIH is asking for feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect medical information | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

The NIH is currently asking for pubic feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect health and lifestyle data for its Precision Medicine Initiative — an initiative that hopes to collect data on more than 1 million individuals. The NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative is described as:


a bold new enterprise to revolutionize medicine and generate the scientific evidence needed to move the concept of precision medicine into every day clinical practice


What exactly that means is a bit nebulous, but a New England Journal of Medicineperspective sheds some light:


Ultimately, we will need to evaluate the most promising approaches in much larger numbers of people over longer periods. Toward this end, we envisage assembling over time a longitudinal “cohort” of 1 million or more Americans who have volunteered to participate in research.


Qualified researchers from many organizations will, with appropriate protection of patient confidentiality, have access to the cohort’s data, so that the world’s brightest scientific and clinical minds can contribute insights and analysis.


The NIH is specifically asking the following:


  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.


It’s exciting to see the NIH see the potential of digital health. They specifically mention how smartphones and wearables can be utilized to collect a wide variety of data: location information, mobile questionnaires, heart rate, physical activity levels, and more.


There is already a robust discussion taking place in the comments section at the NIH website, and we encourage our readers to contribute.


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Richard Platt's curator insight, July 30, 2015 7:37 PM

The NIH is specifically asking the following:

  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.
Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek's curator insight, July 31, 2015 1:31 AM

The NIH is specifically asking the following:

  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.
Heather Taylor's curator insight, August 31, 2015 10:33 PM

#wearables #healthcare #wearabledevices

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How is the doctor-patient relationship changing?

How is the doctor-patient relationship changing? | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

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


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


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



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Exactly where Medical Technology should be taking us.

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nrip's curator insight, June 9, 2015 4:55 PM

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

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Elderly want to control what health information families see

Elderly want to control what health information families see | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
(Reuters Health) - Elderly patients may be willing to let family members access their medical records and make decisions on their behalf, but they also want to retain granular control of their health information, a study suggests.
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Personal health records

Personal health records | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
There are many differences between electronic health records (EHR) and traditional paper-based medical records – probably more than you would expect.

Via HealthlinkNY, Giuseppe Fattori
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Electronic health records ~ Medical Affairs Management

Electronic health records ~ Medical Affairs Management | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
An Electronic Health Records (EHR) is a digital record of an individual patient collected in computerized format in order to share medical report among multiple healthcare agencies.

Via WorkSure MedPharma Consultancy India Pvt. Ltd., Pieter
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Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems market in Latin America to grow at a ... - Medgadget.com (blog)

Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems market in Latin America to grow at a ... - Medgadget.com (blog) | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
Electronic Health Records (EHR) System Market in Latin America 2015-2019 About Electronic Health Records Systems EHR systems offer a platform to maintain a
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Personal locator beacons could help lead to lost hikers rescues - KTAR.com

Personal locator beacons could help lead to lost hikers rescues - KTAR.com | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
Hiking experts say they might have turned out differently if the hikers had a device called a Personal Locator Beacon with them.
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Why Hasn't Mobile Moved Medicine Further Yet?

Why Hasn't Mobile Moved Medicine Further Yet? | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

The advent of the smartphone and mobile "apps" has opened the floodgates in hospital and clinic settings. With the ease of communication and newfound ability to access the web in the palm of our hand, the world has grown smaller for everyday users. Given its current host of systemic predicaments, the medical industry has justifiably shifted its attention to these new technologies to rectify inefficiencies.


Mobile technology raises expectations for health care consumers with the obvious prospect of improved communication between providers and patients. From having your physician's prescriptions on-the-go to being able to rapidly authorize medical record transfers in emergent situations, a promising solution to chronic issues obstructing submaximal care is at our doorstep.


Why, then, have we not reached our full potential? StartUp Health reported a burgeoning digital health sector with $6.9 billion in funding over 551 deals in 2014. Mobile health savvy health insurance company Oscar has captured significant market share with a whopping $320 million of funding and 40,000 members to date. While these strides prove consumer and investor belief in mobile technology, few applications have proven valuable to stakeholders' stringent criteria despite the sheer number of available applications.


No single firm has demonstrated an intimate knowledge of the medical industry with delivery of high-quality tools that engage users. The lack of a clear winner in this noisy space has stunted broad adoption. For this reason, heavyweights in the technology industry like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are exciting new entrants to the mobile health scene. In addition to the modular infrastructure offered by these established giants, the greatest value is their proven track record in customer validation and the user experience.


Established technology firms are by no means a shoe-in to win. The inherently low barrier to entry in the mobile health space is a double-edged sword. Though sparse quality control mechanisms are responsible for the sheer volume of subpar apps, they are also the reason why no innovator can be excluded from disrupting the space with the help of hired digital development shops. Excluding the fundamental challenges of operating within the health care industry (i.e. security and compliance standards), the delay in realizing the impact of mobile health technology can be distilled to four fundamental failures.


First, the end user is often forgotten. Often times, hospitals will excitedly reveal a mobile app that provides useful information but has such a poor interface that consumers fail to engage. Fewer apps have engaged users better than Instagram with over 300 million monthly active users. Instagram represents an exceptional product stakeholders in digital health care should not trivialize and learn from greatly. With two-thirds of the Americans owning a smartphone, the problem today is less so the access to digital tools than it is the actual engagement with them.


Second, the balance scale tilts heavily towards "wellness" and less towards "care." Though the return on investment for a mobile app may be greater for a healthy user willing to pay to track health and fitness metrics, those who actually need the increased vigilance in our health system are patients suffering from chronic disease or recovering from surgery. From the perspective of optimizing health outcomes and preventing frivolous costs, the attention needs to shift to vulnerable populations stressing the system. Furthermore, some insurance companies incentivize members by providing mobile apps under the moniker of "mHealth;" this terminology runs the risk of misleading individuals into skipping preventive care visits with their doctor. These apps should optimize medical management in the appropriate clinical context through physician supervision with appropriate FDA regulation as an "mCare" effort instead. The FDA already applies a risk-based approach for assessing mobile medical apps considered accessory to regulated medical devices or transformational into a regulated medical device. More of this patient-centered innovation is needed to solve our system's real issues.


Third, we fail to play to the strengths of smartphones in medicine. Smartphone technology is fundamentally advantageous because users have the freedom to move and communicate without restriction. Given that outcome metrics for the fields of orthopaedic surgery and rheumatology are predicated on physical mobility and patient-reported response to interventions, smartphone technologists should target these specialties first to realize benefits of afflicted patients in real-time. Joint replacement is one of the most common surgical interventions in the world, and being able to track steps taken, or the steps not taken, using the phone's native pedometer has the potential to alert a surgeon of post-operative complications in advance. The current strategy is focused on creating the best apps for the fittest individuals, but the most impactful technologies would be directed towards streamlining assurances of patient safety and physical activity for those with musculoskeletal conditions.


Finally, collaboration is lacking. Smartphones track and store the "small data" of millions of potential patients. When put together, the data tells a greater story. Numerous insidious diseases, from major depression to ovarian cancer, could be detected earlier and managed better when sharing our stored mobile data. While there do exist standout organizations like Fitbit which offer an open developer API, the current landscape is not set up to exchange user data. One such organization that recognizes the meaningful macroscopic conclusions that can be drawn from sharing mobile data is Open mHealth. Founded on the value of facilitating the sharing, storage, and processing of mobile data using an open infrastructure, Open mHealth has already made great strides among individuals with diabetes and veterans with PTSD.


Today, the smartphone is one of the greatest commercially available technologies. With emerging wearable devices like Apple Watch and Jawbone, who knows what our go-to device will be tomorrow? Thus, validation of mobile technology in medicine cannot hinge on today's version of devices. The evidence supporting application of mobile technologies to the medical workflow must maintain modularity and iterative capacity. One example of modular capacity is Apple's open source ResearchKit. Though in a perfect world Apple and Google would have partnered to cover nearly all smartphone users, ResearchKit has the laudable benefit of availability across all current and future iOS devices. Thus, validation is needed just once for survivorship of mobile technology in medicine to be ensured.


The potential for mobile technology in medicine is great, but the current landscape is not yet set up to transform the health care industry. There exists no reliable winner in the marketplace because either our goals are misaligned or our focus has been misplaced. If the objective is to help the well become more well, then we are thriving. However, if we choose to unbridle the capability of mobile technology in medicine by remembering the end user, helping the suffering, playing to the strengths of our resources, and enabling collaboration, we are on the precipice of a truly transformational era in modern medicine.


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How some physicians create apps for their patients | mobihealthnews

How some physicians create apps for their patients | mobihealthnews | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

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Doctor designed, patient inspired 

#Medicoollifeprotector #medicoolhc

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Solving Medical Practice Problems Post-Tech Adoption

Solving Medical Practice Problems Post-Tech Adoption | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

Your practice could have all the latest and greatest technologies at its disposal, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be the fastest, most efficient, or highest-quality care provider. The opposite could be true, in fact, if technology is not well incorporated into your practice after it is implemented.


Unfortunately, many practices are struggling with post-implementation challenges, according to our 2015 Technology Survey Sponsored by Kareo, the findings are based on responses from more than 1,100 readers. While most of the respondents said they are using an EHR for instance, they also said their productivity is suffering as a result; and while more than half said they have implemented a patient portal, they also said they are struggling to get patients to use it.


But it's not just using technology post-implementation that is raising problems for practices; it's also protecting information that is stored on those devices after implementing them. While many respondents said they are using mobile devices in their everyday work, for instance, few said their practice has established mobile device security rules.

Here's a look at these post-implementation technology challenges and others reflected in our survey findings, and advice from experts regarding how your practice can adapt.


CHALLENGE #1: POST-EHR PRODUCTIVITY DROP


Each year for the past four years, we asked survey respondents to identify their "most pressing information technology problem." In 2012, 2013, and 2014, the most common response among survey takers was "EHR adoption and implementation." This year, for the first time, "a drop in productivity due to our EHR," and a "lack of interoperability between EHRs," received the highest percentages of responses.


Let's address the productivity challenge first. Medical practice consultant Rosemarie Nelson says practices that are struggling to get back up-to-speed after implementing an EHR should first assess whether "reverse delegation" between the provider and nursing support staff is to blame. "What happens is once we have this EHR in place and people see that they can task or message somebody else in the practice, they suddenly start to maybe put the burden in a place it shouldn't be," says Nelson. "In the paper days ... the nurses would manage all the incoming correspondence for the physician; they would manage the phones, they would manage the fax machine; basically they were managing [the physician's] paper inbox. Now, with the EHR, suddenly everything just goes to the physician's inbox." To get delegation moving back in the proper direction, Nelson recommends practices modify how nurses screen materials coming into the EHR so that physicians only receive information that requires a physician's review. One option, Nelson says, might be to allow a nurse "surrogate" to manage the physician's inbox so that the materials are prescreened appropriately.  


Jeffery Daigrepont, senior vice president of the Coker Group, a healthcare consulting firm, has similar guidance regarding EHR documentation."When we work with clients, if we see or observe a physician doing the vast majority of data entry, then usually that is a sign that the system was implemented incorrectly," he says. "You really want to design your work flow and processes in a way that minimizes the doctors' time to do the data entry part."


He says practices should consider modifying their EHR to better meet physicians' work flow needs and to create a more standardized work flow for common patient complaints. "... One thing that computers are really good at doing is remembering things," says Daigrepont. "So if you know that for every time you have a patient with this particular visit or diagnosis you are going to follow these five or six steps or action items and it's pretty consistent patient after patient after patient, a lot of times [improving productivity] comes down to spending a little bit of extra time to design your [EHR] around your work flow and around the physician's behavior."


Practices should also consider "add-on" tools, such as voice recognition software and shortcut and abbreviation tools, that may help physicians navigate the system more quickly, says Nelson. To identify time-saving tools, she recommends consulting your vendor and engaging with EHR user groups.


CHALLENGE #2: EHR INTEROPERABILITY ISSUES


As noted, another common post-EHR implementation challenge identified by survey respondents was "lack of interoperability between EHRs." For practices struggling in this area, particularly those struggling to meet the transition-of-care requirements in meaningful use due to difficulty exchanging information with other healthcare systems, Nelson advises stepping up communication with those other healthcare systems. Work with them to find a solution, or pool resources to find one.


"Some of that is just pushing your partners," says Nelson. "If it's a hospital [make sure] they get discharge summaries pushed to you; if it's a key referral, then every certified EHR has to have the ability to share what's called a CCD [Continuity of Care Document] or a CCR [Continuity of Care Record]," says Nelson. "That [CCD or CCR] has key elements in it, which is really all we need. We need to have the patient's problem list, we need to have their medication list, we need to have their allergy list, labs would be great ... Some practices may not realize that they could get this [CCR or CCD] from another practice, and/or they may not realize that they are getting it, so they treat it like a fax instead of learning how to import it into their system so they don't have to re-enter data."


Also, consider participating in the Direct Project initiative, which helps support simple electronic exchanges between practices and their healthcare partners, says Nelson. 


CHALLENGE #3: A LACK OF PATIENT PORTAL ENGAGEMENT


It's not just EHRs that are raising problems for practices post-implementation. While 54 percent of our 2015 Technology Survey Sponsored by Kareo respondents said their practice has a patient portal (up from just 20 percent in 2011), many respondents indicated they are struggling to make the most of their portal's capabilities. Sixty-three percent, in fact, said that "getting patients to sign up/use the portal" was their biggest patient portal-related challenge.


For practices struggling in this area, Nelson recommends using "teachable moments" to promote the portal; for example, when physicians and staff are about to share information with patients, or when they plan to share information with patients. A nurse who is following up with a patient after the physician visit might say, "If you go to our website and register for the portal, you'll be informed when your lab results are ready and you'll be able to view them online."


To increase the likelihood patients will follow through with signing up for the portal, send a text message or e-mail with information on how to sign-up for the portal shortly after the patient visit, says Daigrepont. "If you just say, 'Hey go to the portal,' as the patient is leaving, by the time they get in their car they've already forgotten that information."

Also, make sure that the portal offers key features that patients value, such as the ability to:


• Request appointments;

• Get prescriptions renewed;

• Review test results; and

• Look at visit summaries from previous visits.


"We have to offer more on the portal to make it worthwhile for [patients] to come back," says Nelson. "It's just like any website that a physician or nurse would go to, if there isn't anything of value after the second time they go, they're not going to want to go a third time."

Finally, when promoting the portal to patients, reassure them that the portal is secure, says Daigrepont. "I think a lot of times people are reluctant, especially when it comes to their healthcare information to [sign up] if they are not very much reassured that their privacy will be protected."


CHALLENGE #4: MOBILE DEVICE SECURITY


EHRs and patient portals are not the only technologies practices and physicians are implementing. More are also using mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops, to store and share protected health information (PHI) and to communicate with patients. Sixty-seven percent of our survey respondents said they use mobile communication devices in the performance of their job.


While mobile devices streamline communication, they also raise potential security problems. In fact, the majority of HIPAA breaches occur due to lost or stolen mobile devices. Yet many practices are failing to take the proper precautions to secure the data stored on mobile devices, particularly when it comes to the use of personal mobile devices for work purposes. Only 32 percent of our survey respondents said they have implemented rules regarding this use of technology.


If your physicians and staff are using mobile devices for professional use, Nelson recommends:


• Requiring all devices to be password protected (and requiring those passwords to be changed every few months);

• Prohibiting staff from downloading PHI to mobile devices;

• Working with vendors to put safeguards in place that prevent staff from downloading PHI to their devices (staff and physicians may be able to view information remotely, but not download it); and

• Encrypting PHI so that the information stored on mobile devices is protected.


Practices should also inform physicians and staff that, in the event of a potential HIPAA breach, the practice may need to access the device, disable it, remotely wipe it, and so on, says Daigrepont. "I think as business owners you just have to be upfront with your employees," he says. "Say, 'We're happy to give you the convenience of using your personal device, but there's a little bit of a trade-off and here's what you need to know.'"


To ensure all staff and physicians are on board with your mobile device security rules, consider requiring them to sign a mobile device security agreement. 


CHALLENGE #5: OVERALL TECH SECURITY


The increasing use of mobile devices for work-related purposes is not the only new technology that is raising security problems for practices. When acquiring a new piece of technology, whether it is an EHR, patient portal, or mobile device, the practice needs to assess how the use of that technology might raise security risks, and act accordingly to address and reduce those risks.


One of the best ways to do this is by conducting a security risk analysis, during which practices analyze the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their electronic PHI.


Despite the fact that conducting a risk analysis is required under both HIPAA and meaningful use, only 36 percent of our survey respondents said they have conducted one.


That's a troubling statistic, says Michelle Caswell, senior director, legal and compliance, at healthcare risk-management consulting firm Clearwater Compliance, LLC. "We really try to get organizations to not think of the risk analysis as this sort of draconian regulation that [HHS'] Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is putting down on them," says Caswell, who formerly worked at the OCR. "We always say that if you do not conduct a risk analysis, you do not know what risks there are to your organization."


IN SUMMARY


Practices have rapidly implemented new technologies over the past few years, but that is only half the battle when it comes to using that technology effectively. Here are some of the common post-implementation challenges practices face:


• Productivity losses

• Interoperability problems

• Lack of patient engagement with new technologies

• Communication work flow problems

• New security risks


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Avoid this little-known but costly HIPAA trap

Avoid this little-known but costly HIPAA trap | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

Healthcare providers who call patients or send automated calls or text messages may be running afoul of federal law.


The law in question, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), was enacted in the 1990s to protect consumers against unwanted automated calls sent to residences or cellphones. The Federal Communications Commission recently established an exemption for healthcare messages that are regulated through HIPAA.


The problem? According to Christine Reilly, co-chair of the TCPA Compliance and Class Action Defense group at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Philips, HIPAA doesn't specifically define a "healthcare message."


"There really is not a lot there about those requirements," she told mHealth News. "It is not exactly a model of clarity."


The TCPA, Reilly says, was designed primarily to eliminate unwanted solicitations, and gave birth to the more-well-known Do Not Call Registry in 2003. But how does that translate to a healthcare message that may or may not be selling the provider's services – such as reminders for screenings or appointments, prescription refills and general health and wellness information?


"Those are a little bit more hybrid," Reilly said. "TCPA might consider it marketing, but with a healthcare message it likely falls under HIPAA."

Healthcare providers risk falling into the "TCPA trap," Reilly says, if they enable these types of messages without examining the legal implications. And those are costly – fines of between $500 and $1,500 per message.


Reilly, who will be presenting a webinar in July 30 on the TCPA, suggests healthcare providers check with legal counsel on whether their messaging protocols conform to TCPA or fall under HIPAA.

"Providers want to know what, in fact, qualifies as a healthcare message and what qualifies as an exemption," Reilly says. "A lot of the questions we're getting are about how this works in practical terms."


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Social Media: Indispensable During Disasters

Social Media: Indispensable During Disasters | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it

The Emerging Role of Social Media in Disasters

When a deadly temblor rocked Nepal on May 12, 2015, Miriam Aschkenasy, MD, MPH, was in a medical tent, trying to help some of the 22,000 people injured in the earthquake that devastated the country only 2 weeks earlier. After the shaking stopped, Dr Aschkenasy grabbed her phone. But she quickly realized that she had no time to personally reassure everyone she knew. So after making one call to her husband and one to her mother, she clicked the Safety Check button on Facebook. Her friends instantly learned that she was OK.

"When you only have a few minutes of Internet and you need to get a message out to a lot of people at once, that's a great way to do it," says Dr Aschkenasy, an emergency medicine physician and deputy director of Massachusetts General Hospital's Global Disaster Response team.

Increasingly, people who respond to disasters are finding social media indispensable. "It is critical that many public safety agencies engage on social media platforms," says Kevin Sur, an instructor at the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) hosted by the University of Hawaii.

The utility of social media goes far beyond reassuring loved ones in disasters. Emergency workers and volunteers are using social media to find people in need, map damaged areas, organize relief efforts, disseminate news and guidance, attract donations, and help prepare for future disasters.

"During a disaster, traditional communication systems become overloaded and tend to fail," says Sur. "However, mobile communications—including social media—remain viable platforms because of the small amount of data needed to communicate." And, he points out, the general public has become increasingly comfortable with the various modes of social media and adept at navigating them.

Reaching People in Need

Many aid organizations employ people who work full-time on social media. Even when the American Red Cross is not in the midst of a disaster, social engagement strategist Jordan Scott uses social media to report the organization's ongoing disaster preparation work, medical training, and support to the armed forces.

But when a crisis hits, his work accelerates. As Tropical Storm Bill loomed in mid-June, Scott and his colleagues began monitoring tweets and Facebook updates from people in its path. "In situations when we have a little bit of notice, we can provide preparedness information," he explains. "Then during the crisis we can provide information about shelter locations, contact information, hotlines, and so on."

Sometimes this information takes the form of public announcements, but social media specialists also respond directly to individuals, assuring them that help is on the way or pointing them to services nearby.

When Superstorm Sandy caused flooding in New York in 2012, the Red Cross directed some trucks and relief supplies specifically in response to tweets like this one: "Oceanside, NY has been w.o power for 12str8 days. No heat, snow, n many lost homes.worried abt elderly n children WE NEED HELP."

"During the Sandy response, we documented 88 instances where social media posts resulted in similar changes on the ground," Scott says.

Reaching the Public

For Andisheh Nouraee, Jordan Scott's counterpart at CARE®, social media provides the ideal opportunity to attract funds for relief efforts. "Our first goal is to get news in front of people, and during the course of a disaster when CARE's response has started, to start talking about our response, and, if we are responding in a way that requires money, to solicit money."

Because its relief workers often arrive on the scene of a disaster before news reporters, CARE's reports on Twitter may be the first reports that anyone sees in the United States, Nouraee says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employ multiple full-time staff to monitor and respond to social media, says the team's leader, Jessica Schindelar. "It's helping us to refine our messaging, and to get a sense of the type of information and resources that people need during an emergency." During the Ebola crisis, more than 800 people participated in a CDC Twitter chat for healthcare providers about infection-control guidance for US hospitals.

Organizing Volunteers

Professional relief agencies are not alone in harnessing social media in disasters. Social media can help ordinary people step in if emergency responders are overwhelmed, as they were after the Nepal earthquake.

"Initially, regular citizens were using social media to alert other citizens where help was needed," says Kashish Das Shrestha, a writer and social media consultant from Nepal. "All of the relief effort was pretty much coordinated through Facebook and Twitter, and in that sense social medial has been pretty remarkable." Responding to social media appeals, volunteers cleaned up solid waste left by crowds of people living outdoors, constructed latrines, and donated blood, he says.

When Shrestha heard that the head of the Nepalese orthopedic society was asking for more orthopedists, he posted the request on Twitter. He got a quick response from some Indian orthopedists willing to volunteer and put the two groups in touch with each other.

Meanwhile, Kathmandu Living Labs created a detailed map displaying reports of assistance needed or provided. As of May 18, the cartographers had collated, attempted to verify, and mapped 1800 reports.

Similar crowd-sourced crisis maps have appeared in response to many other disasters, including the locations of people in need after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; the spread of radiation resulting from the 2011 destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan; locations of shelters, supplies, floods, and landslides after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013; and deaths in the current Syrian conflict.

Facebook, Google, and many smaller social media companies provide specialized services to help aggregate and share such key information in a crisis.


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96% of Consumers Say Mobile Health Industry Improves Life

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

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


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

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

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

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


more at : http://mhealthintelligence.com/news/96-of-consumers-say-mobile-health-industry-improves-life



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Electronic Health Records Infographic - CTOvision.com

Electronic Health Records Infographic - CTOvision.com | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
Electronic Health Records Infographic The The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology created this health records infographic to help bring understanding to this issue of electronic health records.
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FCC Tries to Help Emergency Responders Find 911 Cellphone ...

FCC Tries to Help Emergency Responders Find 911 Cellphone ... | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
Telephone companies already have to inform 911 call centers about the location of landline callers, and there are also federal standards to ensure that emergency responders can find cell-phone callers when they are ...
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Why electronic health records? - SPORTS INSIDER

Why electronic health records? - SPORTS INSIDER | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
The need for centralized health records available to all authorized health care providers, clearly explained. Video Rating: 4 / 5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgUdEbbrWV0 Support …

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Should digital health records include mental health? - Newsworks.org

Should digital health records include mental health? - Newsworks.org | Medical Health Technology | Scoop.it
  The medical field has been notoriously slow to embrace technology when it comes to patients health records The Affordable Care Act brought a $30 billion cash infusion from the federal
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