How AI and Blockchain Can Help Ease Interoperability Between Healthcare Systems

By Tom Hickman, U.S. director of business development and sales, Chainyard.

The healthcare industry is under intense pressure to improve its efficiency. However, interoperability between technology and various integrated systems presents many challenges that are hindering health facilities from being fully connected and productive.

We have known for years that healthcare needs solutions that artificial intelligence can provide. But the initial proofs of concept have taken too long to materialize. Without clear boundaries and use cases showing how AI in healthcare can work, leadership teams are unable to horizontally collaborate with each other.

How AI in Healthcare Could Solve Interoperability Problems

Technology has the potential to transform the way healthcare works for patients, but right now, interoperability is difficult to attain. Despite industry guides such as the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, data is still a messy business. Data is stored in different ways and in different silos — and not every facility has the ability to read and understand the information contained within the respective silos and make it actionable.

This has a heavy impact on how practitioners work with technology. A radiologist reading film and a doctor making a diagnosis for a chronic pain patient only have access to their siloed expertise. With AI solutions in healthcare, data can be drawn from different disciplines and diagnosis can become faster and smarter.

When used in conjunction with AI, blockchain technology has the power to help practitioners and organizations work together without security risks. Because the blockchain represents a transparent, single source of information that cannot be changed, it can store data from multiple sources and create a harmonized picture of truth that different users can access without bias. In addition, limits can be put in place as to who has access to the data.

This helps healthcare experts form a central hub where the very best knowledge, therapies, and drug research can be pooled, therefore helping target diseases more effectively while keeping patient and research data absolutely secure and private.

It’s clear that leaders at healthcare organizations need to remove the siloed approach and develop an atmosphere of increased collaboration. But how, exactly?

How Blockchain, AI, and Healthcare Can Work Together

Blockchain technology in healthcare helps fulfill all four kinds of interoperability defined by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society: foundational, structural, semantic, and organizational. Blockchain’s uses in healthcare create a basis — a structure — where data can live safely and transparently. Then, blockchain can enable a rendering that helps different kinds of readers see and understand the data.

Two aspects of blockchain technology that are especially interesting to the healthcare industry are permissioned blockchains and smart contracts. A permissioned blockchain maintains the privacy of data, knows all the stakeholders, and makes data viewable by actors on the network who are authorized to see it. Smart contracts are “instructions” on the blockchain that are executed automatically once all necessary conditions or events are met. This means decisions can be made available automatically without human intervention. That’s where the power of AI’s uses in healthcare really materialize. This harmonized dataset — coupled with safe and secure automation — means that AI can be used to make faster, better, and more predictive decisions.

Data is the engine behind AI, but it’s also becoming the engine behind healthcare systems and how doctors diagnose and treat patients. If we can aggregate and translate vast amounts of data into streamlined workflows, AI can be used to efficiently diagnose and monitor patients, detect illness, accelerate drug development, and seamlessly run clinical trials.

The ingredients for interoperability are all there, but it’s now up to operators and developers to find ways to work together. The benefits of AI in healthcare are massively transformative — as long as we can find ways to solve problematic perceptions of blockchain and data privacy and get human beings to open up their silos.

No one technology will save the future of healthcare interoperability. It will take collaboration between developers, operators, academics, drug researchers, and an interwoven stack of technologies to bring together a universe of data and put it to good use.

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Healthcare’s Digital Transformation: How The Virtual-First Ecosystem Is Changing How We Approach Care

Mary Langowski

By Mary Langowski, CEO, Solera Health

Investments in digital therapies and solutions are making it easier for consumers to obtain the help they need, whether it be for sleep issues, stress, anxiety or other conditions. Frankly, this digital transformation could not come at a better time for patients and payers, who have waged an uphill battle to deal with rising healthcare costs.

To cover escalating costs, payers have been forced to raise premiums and deductibles to the point of straining consumer budgets, which risks discouraging some patients from seeking care for chronic issues that can lead to more serious conditions requiring costly treatments. A recent study by Kaiser found that annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance increased by 4% in the past year alone. The study also found that average family premiums have increased 55% since 2010 – at least twice as fast as wages (27%) and inflation (19%). 

After searching for more affordable alternatives, consumers and a growing number of payers and employers are discovering virtual-first healthcare, a more consumer-centric approach to addressing health needs by beginning with online resources and service providers. This emerging ecosystem is improving healthcare outcomes by giving consumers greater control and choice to treat chronic conditions, mental health concerns and other challenges through inexpensive digital experiences. 

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Building The Right Foundation For AI In Healthcare

Joachim Roski

By Joachim Roski, Principal, Booz Allen Hamilton and Kevin Vigilante, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Booz Allen Hamilton.

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to transform our world, the healthcare sector stands to substantially gain from AI. The ability to compute a massive amount of information quickly has promising implications for delivering better health outcomes, improved healthcare operations, or expanded research capabilities. However, AI is not immune to the risks that accompany the adoption of any new technological advancement – risks that may cause healthcare professionals to doubt its reliability or trustworthiness.

Fortunately, there are steps available that can help build a strong AI foundation, improving the quality of life for patients and healthcare professionals alike. If you’re looking to implement AI in your healthcare organization, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Understand your Data

If a data is not of high quality or is not representative of the intended group of study, the conclusions based on that data will likely be flawed. To accurately anticipate how a flu outbreak will impact hospital visits among a community population, it’s essential to account for variables that can affect all or part of the relevant population. For example, if a significant subset of the population is more susceptible to serious flu symptoms (e.g., based on pre-existing conditions), this needs to be taken into account by the hospital(s) in question. Given that algorithmic models are often designed to grow and expand with compounding data sets, any previous mistakes can snowball and lead to significant long-term bias or inaccuracy in the results.

As such, it’s critically important to build an AI foundation on a robust and comprehensive data acquisition and management operating system, complete with careful and consistent oversight of AI algorithms. Such a system should be supported by compliance and monitoring protocols to ensure that data is securely flowing. Having a clear understanding of where relevant data comes from and how it was collected is critical to ensure AI algorithms create meaningful output.

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3 Tips For Creating A Website For Your Medical Practice

Running a medical practice comes with a wide range of responsibilities. From patient record management to abiding by regulatory medical guidelines, you have a long list of priorities to tend to. One of these priorities is marketing for your medical practice. This is an essential step in promoting the positive image of your clinic, fostering patient loyalty, and attracting new patients.

When it comes to marketing your medical practice, there is perhaps no ingredient more important than the website you create. Your business’ website is often the first point of contact patients (both current and potential) have for your practice. With that in mind, you want to do everything in your power to make sure it provides an excellent first impression.

  1. Choose an Intuitive Web Template

No matter which web builder you choose – whether it’s Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, or another – you’ll have a selection of templates to choose from. Be sure to take your time and think carefully about your choice in this step. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and ask yourself what you would look for on a medical practice website.

Odds are, you would want it to be easy to find the contact information of the clinic. You would also want a seamless and convenient appointment booking experience (which would be facilitated by a booking call-to-action button on the homepage). Intuition and navigation capacity should be at the forefront of your decision-making process, as these will help boost the user experience (UX).

Don’t know where to start looking for template inspiration? Have a look at the Shesquantes Odio template. This aesthetic layout gives you an idea of how to structure your own site so it is both pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate.

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AMA Updates COVID-19 Vaccine CPT Codes

The American Medical Association (AMA) today announced that the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set has been updated by the CPT Editorial Panel to include vaccine and administration codes that are unique to a new formulation of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer. The new formulation is based on a tris-sucrose buffer rather than the phosphate buffer present in the original formulation.

The provisional CPT codes will be effective for use on the condition that tris-sucrose formulation of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine receives approval or emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The AMA is publishing the CPT code update now to ensure electronic systems across the U.S. health care system are prepared in advance for the potential FDA approval or authorization of the tris-sucrose formulation of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The development of vaccine-specific CPT codes has clinically distinguished each coronavirus vaccine and dosing schedule for better tracking, reporting and analysis that supports data-driven planning and allocation. COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer’s original formulation have previously been issued unique CPT codes.

To help ensure accurate coding and reporting of COVID-19 vaccines and immunization services, the AMA offers a vaccine code finder resource to help identify the appropriate CPT code combination for the type and dose of COVID-19 vaccine provided to each patient.

For quick reference, the new vaccine and administration codes assigned to the tris-sucrose formulation of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are:

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Vyne Medical Acquires Ahana Health

Vyne Medical, a leading provider of health information exchange and electronic healthcare communication management solutions, today announced the acquisition of Ahana Health and its connected care technology. Designed to empower groups of clinicians to collaborate in delivering high-quality care to patients, the solution will be incorporated into Vyne Medical’s cloud-based Refyne platform.

The connected care solution provides a virtual space for healthcare providers to collaborate with each other and with patients, delivering care that transcends geographical and organizational boundaries. The solution also enables live, one-on-one clinical encounters, provider/patient-initiated care, and the ability to build care plans for patients with complex care needs.

“Data-sharing among practitioners has long been a challenge, and it’s one we meet head-on by integrating this collaborative functionality into our rapidly evolving Refyne platform,” said Marcy Tatsch, president of Vyne Medical. “This innovative solution was created to streamline and improve patient care delivery for a group of regional clinicians, and we see a clear path for expanding its use to bring that same level of advanced care connectivity to hospitals and health systems across the country.”

Vyne Medical’s SaaS-based Refyne platform helps optimize workflows and maximize reimbursements for hospitals, health systems and other care providers. Its initial release focused on denials management and featured the Refyne Audits solution to streamline government audit workflows through the electronic submission of medical documentation.

The Refyne Connected Care solution supports provider initiatives such as shared care planning, workforce collaboration and virtual care options. The functionality will assist providers in partnering to deliver an optimized patient experience through improved care coordination and digital innovation.

“We are thrilled to join Vyne Medical and align around the mission of connecting disconnected data across the care spectrum,” said Chelsea Bodnar, MD, founder of Ahana Health. “The voices of providers and families who contributed to the development of this technology will now be amplified as Vyne integrates the solution to improve care experiences for both the clinicians who deliver care and the patients who experience it.”

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How Technology Has Improved Dental Care

Do you have a dental practice and want to know if you are up to date with all the latest technology?  Are you curious as to how technology has been implemented in the dental care world and want to know what kind of tech they make use of?

Technology has changed the way we live and work. It’s also changing the way we take care of our teeth. From dentist offices such as Winnipeg dentists, to dental assistants, technology is making it easier for all those involved in dentistry to do their jobs better and more efficiently than ever before.

Dental assistants can now use software that automates many of their tasks, freeing them up to spend more time with patients and helping doctors provide quality care. From apps that remind you to brush your teeth every morning, to dentists who make house calls, there are many new ways to improve oral health. Continue reading to find out more about how technology has improved dental care

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AccessDX Holdings Acquires 2bPrecise

AccessDX Holdings, an international provider of advanced laboratory diagnostic solutions, has acquired 2bPrecise from Allscripts Healthcare Solutions. A recognized leader and innovator in healthcare informatics, 2bPrecise enables organizations to amplify their precision medicine strategies by delivering point-of-care insights so providers can identify patients at risk for heritable conditions, arrive at precise diagnoses more quickly and initiate optimal therapies more quickly.

2bPrecise will join the AccessDX portfolio of industry-leading diagnostics, software and services, including the MedTek21 software platform which facilitates diagnostic-based clinical decision support, compliance and program analytics for thousands of care organizations, patient groups and providers. The combined strengths of AccessDX and 2bPrecise ensure meaningful insights will be accessible within the clinical workflow of any EHR, while helping organizations streamline virtually all aspects of establishing and supporting precision medicine programs.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the 2bPrecise team and platform as we execute on our combined vision for democratizing the use, interpretation and delivery of advanced diagnostic solutions at the point of care,” said Joe Spinelli, SVP of product & strategy for AccessDX. “Combined, our worldwide organization will be able to accelerate the pace of innovation and best serve the needs of healthcare organizations that continue to expand their adoption of actionable precision medicine solutions.”

Utilization of genetic and genomic data is accelerating across nearly all clinical specialties, perhaps most notably in behavioral health/psychiatry, neonatology and pediatrics, oncology and cardiology. Providers can arrive at precise diagnoses faster and initiate effective treatments sooner when genetic and genomic information is available and actionable. Providers, payers and clinical organizations alike agree that the ability to seamlessly access information within their clinical workflow is key to precision-medicine success.

“AccessDX is a genuine leader in genomic information management. Our collective capabilities will serve as a force multiple for the practical utilization of precision medicine,” said Assaf Halevy, founder and CEO of 2bPrecise. “With a unified mission to drive dimensional change in healthcare, the combined talents and energy of 2bPrecise and AccessDX will compound acceleration in delivering on our vision of intelligent, personalized care for the good of healthcare organizations and the patients they serve.”

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5 Ways Technology Is Improving the Quality of Life of Seniors

Positive senior man in formal shirt and eyeglasses and smiling young granddaughter sharing mobile phone while sitting near laptop at table

With the introduction of newer applications, data strategies, assistive listening devices and more, technology is helping to improve the quality of life of seniors, especially those in care facilities. The pandemic accelerated the implementation of advanced technologies and now more seniors own a smartphone or take part in video conferencing and telehealth, for example. This has allowed them to reach out to family and friends remotely and access more information related to their health. Here are a few examples of how technology is improving the quality of life of seniors. 

Automated messaging

With automated messaging services such as SMS for Healthcare, the families of seniors in residents and assisted living facilities can receive regular updates about their well-being and daily activities. This is now a common service and provides families with peace of mind. The pandemic helped to raise awareness of the importance of these types of messaging services as people weren’t able to visit their loved ones.

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Navigating The Modern Medicare-Digital Care Landscape

Telemedicine is rapidly defining the modern medical landscape, with thousands of patients moving away from in-person meetings to video consultation. Statistics reported by the CDC identify that up to 30% of all medical visits are now conducted remotely, via digital means, underlining the importance of digital healthcare in the modern medical ecosystem.

One area in which this has created questions is the provision of Medicare. How does the preference for digital medical care change billing? And how has technology impacted medical insurance and its applicability to medicare-eligible groups? Telehealth is, at the very least, improving access to healthcare to those groups eligible for Medicare.

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