Digital Transformation In Healthcare Is Not Happening As Fast As It Should — And There’s One Reason No One is Talking About

By Juan Pablo Segura, co-founder, Babyscripts.

Juan Pablo Segura

At first glance, the healthcare field seems to be a goldmine for digital innovation. An overextended workforce, outdated protocols, hundreds of wasted hours in administrative tasks, a patient population that is wide open to digital solutions, a multitude of inefficiencies and redundancies — the opportunities for digital overhaul in healthcare are myriad. Yet every year the graveyard of digital health tools gets more crowded as innovators fail to overcome healthcare’s uniquely complex barriers to their adoption.

Goldmine and graveyard, the tremendous opportunities for digital transformation in healthcare and the seemingly insurmountable barriers to its adoption are two sides of a coin. They spring from the same root causes: the lack of financial incentives to implement digital solutions; the high stakes that necessitate a cautious approach; and most significantly, providers’ seeming unwillingness to abandon proven workflows or sunk costs to take a chance on a disruptive solution.

This last cause is often the greatest barrier to getting innovation through the door. Clinicians are the primary end-users of digital health, and a clinical champion can make all the difference in whether a solution is adopted. But in the face of the physician shortage in the United States, doctors don’t have time to trade out their proven workflows to take a risk on a solution that may or may not be successful, and will almost certainly take time to learn and implement into their practice. The majority of providers are already at capacity — eighty percent have no time to see more patients or take on more duties. Thus what seems like an unwillingness to change is often an inability to find the time to change.

Many physicians agree that digital tools and solutions are worthwhile in theory, but with an average workload of 40 to 60 hours a week, they don’t have the space in their schedules to evaluate these solutions. As it is, the amount of patients that a physician sees in a day (the most rewarding part of their jobs, according to 80% of doctors) has been reduced in recent years to make time for the mountains of non-clinical paperwork and administrative duties that they are responsible for.

Because of their packed schedules, physicians often default to the status quo for sanity’s sake: forty percent of physicians see up to 20 patients per day, with another 40% seeing more (anywhere from 21 to over 70); and all spend almost a quarter of their day on administrative duties like inputting data into EHRs. If physicians do have a chance to sit down with innovators, it’s in the margins of their day — instead of an exciting opportunity for change, a pitch-meeting with an innovator represents another 15 minutes they have to take from their family at the end of a long day, an extra 10 minutes of sleep lost in the morning to get into the office early, the interruption of the small respite of a lunch break.

It’s no surprise that in a 2018 survey conducted by the Physician’s Foundation, eighty-nine percent of physicians polled felt that they had somewhat to very little influence on changes in healthcare — they have no time to research chances to optimize their practice, and thus essentially no voice in its improvement. Yet only a physician has the kind of intimate knowledge of his or her needs and workflow that can drive effective innovations. Perhaps digital innovations have failed to take hold because the people making decisions around tools to help doctors are not doctors.

If we are going to break the barriers to digital transformation in healthcare, we need to expect physicians to think critically about how their job needs to evolve. And no one can do this without time to reflect on and evaluate the status quo. In the corporate world, executives and other employees are encouraged to do research, to take time in their schedules for professional development. Many tech giants — most famously Google, but also Facebook, Linkedin, Apple, and others — employ the 20 percent time model, where roughly one-fifth of an employee’s schedule is focused on personal side projects (those side projects have turned into Gmail, Google Maps, Twitter, Slack, and Groupon, to name a few). This is the model that we need to embrace in the healthcare system.

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The Use of Mobile Devices in Healthcare (Infographic)

Mobile devices are playing a hugely significant role in the digital transformation of the healthcare sector. They are being used to revolutionize many aspects of healthcare – from patient communications to professional training. This guide investigates some of the ways in which mobile health, or mHealth, technology is overhauling healthcare around the world in 2019.

The Rise of mHealth in the 21st Century

Over the past few years, the mHealth sector has grown at a frenetic pace. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of health apps available for download almost doubled. Market experts expect this growth to continue and have projected that the sector will hit a global value of $60 billion by the year 2020.

What is Driving the Growth of the Global mHealth Market?

Many speculate that the phenomenal rise of mHealth is down to the proliferation of internet access through smartphones. At last count, 67% of the world’s population use a smartphone. Smartphones, internet access and healthcare apps allow people to take greater control of their health. This is especially the case in remote or poor locations with inadequate access to healthcare and medical facilities.

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If you are interested in the subject of mobile devices in healthcare, then you should browse through the below infographic from Home Healthcare Adaptations. This informative guide covers a wide range of subjects, including:

Scroll down to the infographic below to learn more.

All That You Must Know About Body Contouring

In the world of fashion and fitness, slaying with a tones body is what we all desire. For that, we need the best lifestyle changes, a few makeup hacks, and of course, specific modern procedures such as body contouring.

Now, if you get any surgery or procedures performed on your body, it may result in your skin to sag. So, you must follow a regular exercise regime to get back the toned effect and also for the ultimate glow on your skin.

This article is all about a procedure that we call ‘body contouring,’ and you may contact DermaniMedspa for some more information about the system. A body-contouring means a surgical or non-surgical process that professionals perform to eradicate the extra fat in or beneath your skin.

The procedure of body contouring involves reshaping and resizing some parts of your body so that you look in-balance. The most crucial objective of this procedure is to enhance your overall appearance. Besides, body contouring also requires improving and toning the skin’s appearance and quality.

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McCombs School of Business Launches First-in-the-Nation Healthcare Cybersecurity Leadership Program

Image result for the university of texas at austin logoThe McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin announces the Leadership in Health Care Privacy and Security Risk Management certificate program, a new first-in-the-nation professional program designed to help address a critical workforce shortage issue. The program’s aim is to develop leaders who can manage risk in American healthcare systems, protecting them from fast-evolving cybersecurity threats. There are currently 350,000 unfilled cybersecurity job openings in the United States.

Endorsed by the Texas Hospital Association, and by CynergisTek and Clearwater Compliance, two top-ranked firms in healthcare cybersecurity, privacy and compliance, the program brings together leading industry experts as teachers and case facilitators.

“We are excited to offer this program to give students knowledge, leadership skills, and problem-solving competencies to protect patients from the irreparable harm that comes from the relentless cyber-attacks on healthcare organizations,” said Leanne Field, clinical professor and director for digital healthcare innovation at UT Austin and co-director of the program.

“The number of data breaches is rapidly increasing across the globe and cybersecurity threats have a major impact on patient safety in healthcare organizations,” said Sri Bharadwaj, chief information security officer at UC Irvine Health and co-director of the program.

“It is our job to remain on the cutting edge of experiential teaching and learning. We want to influence the healthcare industry in positive ways and we want to make sure our students are ready to meet the challenges facing business and healthcare,” said Jay Hartzell, McCombs dean.

The eight- week program graduated a pilot class of 16 participants in August 2019. Students ranged in age from their early 20s to their late 50s and included working professionals from cybersecurity, information technology, and clinical fields, as well as military veterans and recent college graduates.

“This was another way to give back and to use my military service in a unique field,” said veteran and student Eric Mercer. “Even with all the technology, this field is still people-based and I’ll be able to use my military expertise, which I’m looking forward to.”

Students had the choice of attending class in person or participating remotely via a live distance-learning video connection. Only six of the students were from the Austin area. Six others were from other parts of Texas and four were from outside the state (Alabama, Florida, Iowa, and Illinois).

“Graduates of the certificate program can expect starting salaries of $75,000 at a minimum,” said Field.

“Attracting and retaining cybersecurity talent is a major challenge in all industry sectors,” said Greg Garcia, executive director of cybersecurity for the Health Care and Public Sector Coordinating Council, and former assistant secretary for cybersecurity at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “This program is the kind of initiative that will develop a pipeline of cybersecurity leaders who will leverage their knowledge and capabilities to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of our nation’s healthcare systems.”

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AristaMD’s eConsult Now Available In the Epic App Orchard

Image result for aristaMD logoAristaMD is now available in the Epic App Orchard marketplace. AristaMD being accepted into App Orchard marks another cutting-edge innovation built upon AristaMD’s history of proven integration scalability.

Enabling PCP to specialist collaboration on care plans, AristaMD’s eConsult solution improves access to timely specialty care for patients who would have otherwise had to wait for a separate face-to-face visit. The AristaMD app makes this process even more streamlined for health system specialists using Epic. Providers can now quickly launch the eConsult platform directly through Epic’s electronic health record (EHR), creating a user-friendly experience for answering eConsults with minimal provider burden and workflow changes.

“We know providers are pressed for time and health systems are trying to streamline technology solutions, ideally with a single touchpoint,” said Brooke LeVasseur, CEO of AristaMD. “The AristaMD app in the App Orchard allows organizations to leverage our eConsult platform directly through their EHR with the benefits of baseline data, proven efficacy, full reporting, and platform management. It’s an important step and part of our continued innovation plan focused on helping providers reduce the challenges of change management and ultimately, provide better care for patients.”

LeVasseur continued, “Using the SMART on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources framework, AristaMD is able to leverage an integration with any Epic customer. We hope to work with other EHRs in order to help drive the future of interoperability that delivers new important capabilities along with enhanced provider experience.”

Why Text Isn’t Best: The Importance of Secure Healthcare Messaging

By Lee Horner, CEO, Synzi.

Lee Horner

Home health agencies need to be able to access and share PHI while they are on-the-go – often while using their smartphones or tablets. It’s critical that these types of communication are both fast and secure. However, many home health agencies allow staff to use text messaging when sharing patient data with each other, colleagues, or the patients themselves.

Text isn’t always best despite its popularity for convenient communications. Agencies might be more at risk than they think if staff members are texting each other information about patients. And, free consumer group messaging apps utilize vulnerable platforms which are unable to address health care-specific needs in terms of security and compliance.

An agency places itself and its patients at risk when sending ePHI via unencrypted text messaging.  Traditional texting may not meet security or compliance requirements set forth under HIPAA. The HIPAA Journal indicates that the fine for a single breach of HIPAA can be anything up to $50,000 per day the vulnerability responsible for the breach is not attended to. Organizations which text in violation of HIPAA can also face civil charges from the patients whose data has been exposed if the breach results in identity theft or other fraud.

Immediacy, privacy and trust are key when communicating PHI among agency clinicians and the broader care team (e.g., the referring physician, a specialist, a pharmacist, etc.). For example, the patient or the field nurse can snap a picture of a patient’s wound and then send it securely to the wound care specialist for his/her recommendation.  A wound care specialist can make a decision remotely – saving drive time and expenses – and immediately provide assistance to the field nurse.

Decision-making is accelerated, helping patients receive timely care and assistance. Staff productivity is optimized, helping the agencies better leverage specialists across a larger number of cases. ER visits and re-admissions are reduced, helping enhance patient satisfaction and outcomes.

With secure messaging functionality, home health staff members can easily and securely communicate and collaborate with colleagues, their patients and family caregivers, and with other care team members such as the referring physician or another specialist. HIPAA-compliant secure messaging is critical to securing ePHI in staff-to-staff and staff-to-patient communications.

The Most Overlooked Cyber Security Threat: Network Printers

By Jim LaRoe, CEO, Symphion, Inc.

Jim LaRoe

The trend in cybersecurity news is to focus on the latest buzz words like artificial intelligence, blockchain, ransomware, denials of service or HIPAA fines. Recent hacks are front page news. Trends also includes the increasing cybersecurity regulatory mandates such as state laws providing private consumer rights (class actions) against offending healthcare providers and their officers and directors. Another hot topic is the dearth of cybersecurity skills.

CISOs and other business leaders responsible for security of ePHI and business continuity are the intended audience and are being inundated with the tornado of cyber security trends—much of which is vendor driven.  They’re also being pulled in many different directions internally with competing priorities. At a recent panel discussion of CISOs at Northern California HIMSS’ CXO Summit, one busy CISO described how he is repeatedly added to committees on all sorts of different subjects, some of which he had never heard of.

Whitepapers discussing the “top 10 priorities” or “top 10 trends” are commonplace. They’re usually vendor driven and focus largely on the most prevalent asset type — computers. That is, desktops, laptops and servers about perimeter security or internal threats from user behavior; including training users not to click on suspect emails to prevent phishing attacks.

Overlooking Second Most Prevalent Asset Type — Printers

But no one is talking about, or including in the top 10 lists, the second most prevalent asset type in all healthcare providers’ IT enterprises — their printers. For some reason, networked printers (any device that creates an image, electronic or otherwise, including multi-function, single-functions, faxes, scanners, label printers, etc.) are not perceived as the same risk as other computers, even though in the past few years there have been reported hacks of 50,000 to 150,000 networked printers. Also, a research house exposed that faxes can be easily exploited to hack printers and the corporate networks where they reside.

Why is this trend not hot on the minds of top security professionals? It could be because of the origins of today’s modern business printers as “dummy copiers” or the fact that they are often not procured or managed by the information technology department or visible to the information security department.  Or, it could be because vulnerability management, intrusion detection and information security consulting vendors driving today’s messaging do not include printers in their solutions.

Little Known Facts about Print Fleets

Whatever the reason, here are few important facts that you should know about almost all printers in healthcare:

  1. Printers are mission critical to patient care and part of providers’ tier one applications.
  2. Printers are everywhere. There can be as many as one printer to one employee or between 1:6 and 1:10.
  3. Printers are often accessible or visible in public areas and not in protected data centers or offices like many other computers.
  4. They aren’t assigned users like desktops or laptops, or system administrators like servers in data centers.
  5. Printers have built-in security settings, but they are not being set or maintained.
  6. HIPAA requires that all printers be included in the comprehensive risk analysis and cyber hardened for security of ePHI regardless of make, model, age or type.
  7. Printers are shipped and regularly deployed and maintained on networks with factory default settings including published factory default administrator passwords to enable bad actors to take control of them.
  8. Even if security settings on printers are set at time of deployment, they get unknowingly reset back to factory defaults (turned off).

Why Act Now to Secure Printers?

The easiest answer: because it’s the law (HIPAA) and you’re exposing your company to serious and long-lasting financial risk if you are not acting now to secure (and keep secured) all the printers in your print fleet. Also, the fact that other regulations are being regularly enacted that go beyond HIPAA mandates exposing companies to even more severe penalties.

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What’s New In Medical Tech For 2020?

Smart Watch, Apple, Technology, StyleAs the U.S. population ages and the percentage of citizens over 65 continues to increase, healthcare consumers are taking advantage of a whole new generation of medical technology. Sociologists and anthropologists have been writing about that fact that millions of oldsters are delaying retirement until well past their seventies. Indeed, it’s not unusual for senior citizens to embark on new careers, sell insurance policies to life settlement companies for cash and basically reposition themselves for a completely new way of living.

The new year will usher in several new medical technologies that will help everyone live longer, healthier, happier lives. Forty might be the new 30, and 50 the new 40, but once 2020 rolls around the catchphrase might become, “70 is the new 50.” Here’s a peek at what senior citizens, and everyone else, will be dealing with next year and beyond:

Wearables

So-called “wearable technology devices” have been around for a while. They include items like blood-pressure cuffs, blood-sugar monitors and even brain-wave devices. They all have one major concept in common: real-time data is relayed back to medical professionals who can see important changes in the patient’s vital signs and other essential anatomical parameters.

In 2018 and 2019, the use of wearables exploded when cost for many devices came way down. Now, as 2020 approaches, the majority of healthcare consumers are becoming aware of what wearables are and what they can do. For heart patients, a wearable monitor can mean the early detection of trouble. Anyone who has suffered a stroke is a prime candidate for wearable technology. In practical terms, wearables are almost like having a doctor by your side every minute of the day but without the cost.

Voice Activation

Voice-activated everything is one of the fastest-growing trends in several fields, medicine included. Heart monitors no longer need to be reset by hand but can simply be commanded to “reset at base level and reset start date.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for seniors, millions of whom reside in care facilities. The beauty of voice activated devices means that oldsters need not know how to interface with keyboards and tablet screens. A simple word or phrase is all that’s needed to turn on lights, open secure doors and inform nurses that everything is okay.

Telemedicine

What was once a futuristic dream in 1960s television shows is now full-blown reality. You no longer need to travel to the clinic in order to “see” a doctor. Especially in rural areas, where long-distance drives are a burden for ailing and elderly patients, telemedicine has caught on. A standard Internet connection and a decent camera are all that’s needed for a virtual visit to the doctor. At fist only popular with psychiatrists and psychologists, tele-visits are now commonplace for routine physical checkups. Experts say that medical teleconferencing and tele-checkups will become the norm rather than the exception in 2020, as more health organizations look for ways to eliminate costly in-person patient interactions. The estimated cost of a telemedicine checkup is about one-third the cost of an in-person visit.

Cleveland Health Startup Takes On Physician Staffing Through Locum Tenens

Image result for Hyr Medical logoBorn from a federal grant awarded to the University of Utah in the 1970s, “locum tenens” provided staffing services to health clinics and facilities in rural, under-served geographies in the Western United States. The notion of “freelance physicians” grew as the program proved successful for decades to follow.

Today, more than 50,000 physicians freelance, many in a downshift towards retirement to create more work-life balance, reduce practice management stress, and/or contribute to more flexible medical care nationwide. The advancement of telehealth technologies has also accelerated the freelance physician trend.

This trend, coupled with a currently disjointed and antiquated system for freelance healthcare staffing, fueled the creation of Hyr Medical, poised to disrupt the current status quo.

By transforming the way physicians and hospitals connect through a direct and transparent online platform, Hyr Medical enables reduced hiring cycle time for hospitals and increased pay for physicians.

Ahead of significant growth trends, Hyr Medical announces key additions to the leadership team including:

Dr. Sunil Pandya, MD, MBA, MHI, CPHIMS, chief strategy officer:

Sunil has over 15 years of clinical experience in nearly every aspect of hospital medicine. He has held leadership roles at the highest levels including Chief Medical Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, and National Medical Director. Additionally, Sunil has successfully created and sold five companies to various national physician management corporations.

Spencer Liebmann, chief operating officer:

Spencer has over 25 years of executive leadership experience in the healthcare industry. He has held executive leadership roles as both chief operating officer and president of hospital medicine. Spencer is an experienced entrepreneur who has built and sold four companies, as well as successfully led and managed large sales and customer service teams.

According to Manoj Jhaveri, co-founder and CEO of Hyr Medical, “Sunil and Spencer are truly special individuals. Their ability to define a vision, build and lead great teams, and execute is second to none. I feel so fortunate that they have decided to join Hyr as full-time executives to complete our c-suite.”

According to Jhaveri, Hyr Medical is blazing a new trail in healthcare staffing and technology as their dual-sided marketplace continues to expand. In the last 90 days alone, Hyr has received signed agreements from over a dozen major healthcare systems and medical groups. By the end of 2019, Hyr also expects to have over one-thousand physicians signed-up on its platform.

Visit www.hyrmed.com for more information.

 

How To Keep Data Safe and Stay Compliant

By Ken Lynch, founder and CEO, Reciprocity Labs.

Ken Lynch

Any healthcare facility that wants to keep its customers happy must have patient portals. It is easy to create these portals, but keeping the data safe from hackers can be tough. In the US, at least half of the healthcare consumers are using patient portals. About 80 percent of these patients have expressed their satisfaction with the level of ownership they have with their health data and the convenience of its accessibility.

Because of the security issues involved, the Affordable Care Act and meaningful use regulations have worked towards incentivizing the healthcare industry to make health records digital and more accessible to the patients. The portal allows patients to manage their personal details including medication lists and lab test results as well as financial information.  This is enough data to set a patient up to hackers. Because the use of patient portal will keep rising, the risk will only get bigger, which means a better approach towards protecting this information needs to be realized.

How to Stay Compliant

The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) highlighted the protection of the rights of patients. It compels health providers to keep customer data confidential. HIPAA also introduces a measure of safety and imposes precise compliance standards. Breaches carry hefty penalties. Here are a few tactics to help you keep customer data safe:

1. Foster Security Mindset in Your Organization

Protected health information (PHI) according to HIPAA means more than just electronic records. Whether you are speaking on the phone or working on a physical file, the principles apply. Regulatory compliance in healthcare organizations means that every health facility must store customer data securely. The most ideal tool is remote access software. This software does not restrict a user to approved databases and desktop logins.

2. Focus on the People and Not Just the Data

EHRs- electronic health records can only be kept private when only the people permitted to see them are allowed to access. That means giving access to involved parties such as the lab, doctor, and the insurance provider. Breaches and lapses occur when too many people are involved. This is why categorizing them by persona is essential. If, for instance, the patient is at a critical condition, different labs may be involved. It is, therefore, crucial to customize the profile for each user.

3. Give Patients Full Access to Their Records

Patients want to be sure their personal data is stored safely and securely. This is why healthcare providers need to allow patients to view their medical records. Some patients download and send the details to a third party, which is inherently insecure. Instead of giving the data to patients in different copies, it is crucial that the EHR be stored in one database. Because the idea is to have the data accessed remotely, a single EHR version can be shared by different devices.

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