How IT is Powering the Next Wave of Healthcare Innovation

Guest post by Joyce Mullen, vice president and general manager, Dell OEM Solutions.

Joyce Mullen
Joyce Mullen

Technology is rapidly transforming the healthcare industry and the way we approach patient care, as organizations adopt the latest solutions in mobility, data analytics, Internet of Things and cloud computing. From telemedicine to wearables to 3D printing to alternative communication techniques, this is truly the golden age of healthcare innovation.

Through our OEM Solutions group, we are proud to be providing the underlying technology and services that enable so many inspirational companies make a real difference in people’s lives through healthcare innovations. Two examples I am really excited about are HealthSpot, which is developing a network of private kiosks equipped with two-way, high-def video screens enabling patients to interact directly with remote physicians; and Prentke Romich, which created a revolutionary device that helps people with disabilities communicate effectively. Rooted in these innovations is IT and the need for security, efficiency and reliability.

Connecting patients with physicians … virtually

We all know that visiting the emergency room for a health issue can be a frustrating experience, with long waits and impersonal service being the norm. But HealthSpot, an Ohio-based telehealth company founded in 2010, is offering a convenient and game-changing alternative. The company has introduced the HealthSpot station, a freestanding private kiosk equipped with a two-way, high-def video screen enabling patients to interact directly with remote physicians. Patients inside the station can be weighed on a built-in scale and use a thermometer, otoscope, magnascope, blood pressure cuff, stethoscope or other medical devices, with information and images transmitted electronically and securely to the physician. Physicians can then make a diagnosis and write prescription on the spot.

So far HealthSpot has installed stations in urgent-care facilities and hospitals, along with four test markets in retail pharmacies in Ohio and are expanding rapidly. As the company continues to scale, Dell is working with them to build a well-integrated IT infrastructure that includes hardware, software and services. Plans include more than 10,000 stations across the U.S. in the next few years, so be on the lookout for a HealthSpot station near you.

Developing language through technology

Prentke Romich Company (PRC) is the worldwide leader in the development of assistive technology and augmentative communication (AAC) solutions for people with severe disabilities. The company is committed to helping individuals achieve their greatest potential by delivering intuitive communication solutions that are focused on language development.

When PRC wanted to introduce a Windows- and tablet-based AAC solution, it faced a critical challenge: finding the right technology. Children with disabilities already face perceptions and bias, and they don’t want assistive technology that makes them look even more different. In a world of iPads and other sleek devices, their products needed to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The product also needed to be responsive and high performing enough to handle PRC’s Unity language system.

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HIMSS15 Trade Show Vendor Highlight: Dell

In this series, we are featuring some of the thousands of vendors who will be participating in the HIMSS15 conference and trade show. Through it, we hope to offer readers a closer look at some of the solution providers who will either be in attendance – with a booth showcasing and displaying key products and offerings – or that will have a presence of some kind at the show – key executives in attendance or presenting, for example.

Hopefully this series will give you a bit more useful information about the companies that help make this event, and the industry as a whole, so exciting.

Elevator pitch

Serving the healthcare and life sciences industry gives us a strong appreciation for the resource dedication and demanding processes that result in life-saving innovations. We understand that IT is critical in its function to accelerate research and development. That’s why we’re committed to simplifying IT and optimizing the entire enterprise. We provide customers with comprehensive technology and support solutions that help increase productivity while streamlining compliance readiness and improving communication throughout the care continuum. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that IT is improving patient care.

Founder’s story

As a pre-med student at age 19, Michael Dell founded PC’s Limited with $1,000 and a game changing vision for how technology should be designed, manufactured and sold. After just four years, Dell completed its initial public offering in 1988, raising $30 million and increasing market capitalization from $1,000 to $85 million. Dell’s commitment to the healthcare industry is exemplified by his ongoing efforts to improve the efficiency and quality of care today. Speaking at the Health Evolution Partners Leadership Summit in 2011, he encouraged healthcare organizations to expedite adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) and cloud computing to create new information-driven efficiency and care advantages. “Digitizing patient information and making it available in a secure and convenient way across our healthcare system are among the best opportunities we have to improve U.S. healthcare and create a better system for future generations of Americans,” Dell said. Dr. Cliff Bleustein, chief medical officer, supports the company’s strategic initiative to revolutionize the way healthcare is managed with patient-specific data that spans the entire continuum of care and leads to better outcomes. Dell Healthcare & Life Sciences’ focuses on improvement of quality, patient safety and efficiency starts at the intersection of information and technology.

Market opportunity

When healthcare is information-driven, data is interconnected and available when and where it is needed to save lives. Data becomes knowledge and moves healthcare beyond episodic care to preventative, precision medicine. And data ultimately allows patients to take control of their own health. Dell’s four-part information-driven healthcare approach is a reflection of our commitment and expertise:

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Patient Portals: Security Concern or Effective Tool?

Martin Edwards
Martin Edwards

Guest post by Martin Edwards, MS, CHC, CHPC, compliance officer, Dell Healthcare.

Patient portals offer an unprecedented opportunity to engage consumers, provide a customized care experience and potentially change behavior. Yet they also introduce new security concerns for both patients and providers.

A question we often hear from healthcare providers regarding security is: How much protection against negligence does meeting the HIPAA requirements really provide? That question is particularly germane to patient portals, which create an additional entry point and more risk to the security of protected health information (PHI). The laws and regulations in these cases can be confusing.

Fortunately for providers, “safe harbor” is offered in those cases where the provider can prove that they have properly encrypted all devices that contain PHI. Under the HIPAA security rule, as long as PHI is encrypted according to National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines, it is no longer considered “unsecured” and providers are effectively exempt from improper disclosure being considered a “breach.” Thus, the HIPAA breach notification rule doesn’t apply, and, by extension, the provider can avoid potential fines from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Since most breaches of PHI reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to date have related to the theft or loss of unencrypted mobile devices, encrypting the data is a primary defense against data loss and against the consequences of improper disclosure.

While patient portals add risk, they also confer many benefits to healthcare organizations, including enhanced patient-provider communication and empowerment of patients. Some studies have found that portals can also enable better outcomes for patients. These benefits are behind the HIPAA privacy rule’s “right of access,” which allows individuals to examine and obtain a copy of their PHI. Meaningful use requirements also require eligible professionals to exchange secure emails with at least 5 percent of their unique patients. Since portals are an ideal way to meet this requirement, organizations seeking to comply with Stage 2 criteria have an incentive to adopt them.

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