Edison Nation Medical, a medical device incubator and healthcare innovation portal, is launching a global search to uncover innovative ideas for improving the design, packaging and administration of medications as a way to address the issue of accidental poisonings. This search coincides with National Poison Prevention Week, which takes place March 16 – 22.
Every 15 seconds, a Poison Control Center somewhere in the United States receives a call. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 2 million poison exposures in the United States every year—57 percent among children under the age of six.
In 2007, Dr. Daniel Budnitz, a scientist with the CDC’s Medication and Safety Program, started tracking children who were treated in emergency rooms after potentially toxic accidental pharmaceutical poisonings. At the conclusion of his tracking period in 2011, federal estimates put the number at around 74,000, which surpassed the number of children younger than six who needed emergency room treatment as a result of car crashes.
Poisoning from medication also affects the elderly; these poisonings are more likely to require hospitalization and to be fatal compared with younger individuals. Analgesics, cardiovascular medications, COPD and asthma preparations, antidepressants and other psychotropic medications are most commonly implicated in drug poisoning fatalities in elderly Americans. The primary reasons for unintentional drug poisonings in older patients include taking more than the prescribed dose, taking someone else’s medication, administering medication incorrectly and storing medication improperly.
According to the CDC, more than 41,000 people died as a result of poisoning in 2008 and more than 76 percent of those poisoning deaths were unintentional.
Guest post by Alexandra Sewell, executive director, emerging markets, Comcast Business.
As the healthcare industry moves through 2014 and begins planning for 2015, several trends continue to dominate the healthcare IT landscape. Healthcare organizations are grappling with the explosion of Big Data and implementing strategies to achieve varying stages of meaningful use. The industry is working toward interoperability, mobility and improving data security – all while looking to control costs and provide quality care.
New healthcare technologies hold great promise to improve both access to and quality of care, but they are in varying stages of adoption and federal approvals. This is leaving healthcare organizations and their IT directors searching for flexible solutions that can address current and future technologies.
Unfortunately, the industry’s approach to how technology is sourced, implemented and integrated as a business strategy is fractured. Many vendors offer different approaches to today’s healthcare technology challenges, but very few offer total solutions.
With that said, some technology is taking hold, such as digital hospital rooms, virtual medicine kiosks and mobile e-health devices, which allow physicians and other clinicians to monitor, diagnose and treat patients from remote locations. PACS imaging, electronic health records (EHR) and other data can now be shared within the entire healthcare ecosystem – from patients and clinicians to pharmacists and payers, and this is progress. But it’s been slow to take shape and there are still many questions to be answered.
Consumer health technology is attracting a lot of supporters on the business and medical ends of the spectrum because some of the more recent advances in this area are making it possible for people to be more proactive about their own health and initiate preventive measures. Awareness is a major component of effective prevention, and when consumers have the ability to discover any potential problems before they get out of hand, it can potentially save them a lot of money and improve their overall health status.
The question, then, is how companies can empower consumers to take responsibility for their own health through accurate and convenient information.
The resources that are scattered around the Internet would seem like the most obvious choice, but the problem there is that a consumer can just as easily base his or her decision on the large amount of misinformation that is circulating in and around the data that could really help them understand their condition.
A patient won’t prevent a thing if they misdiagnose their own problems. Even then, simply determining the potential problem doesn’t automatically suggest the appropriate answer or treatment. There have, however, been some technological advances that can address these concerns.
Making Reliable Technology Available
If the Internet isn’t the most reliable source, then, what other options are available? How can consumers find the best information and make sure they get an accurate diagnosis without actually going to the doctor?
Healthcare IT professionals’ greatest concern around mobile health technologies is the potential of a breach of patient data, according to a recent survey of HIMSS14 attendees conducted by Axway, a market leader in governing the flow of data.
Conducted at the HIMSS annual conference in Orlando, the poll found that 45 percent of individuals surveyed believe the greatest barrier to mobile health adoption is the risk of a data breach, followed by meeting regulatory and compliance requirements for the privacy and security of patient data.
Other key findings include:
44 percent of those surveyed believe the integration of disparate health IT systems is the most challenging IT issue facing healthcare organizations;
53 percent believe that improved access to healthcare information is the most important benefit driving mobile health adoption;
38 percent believe that the widespread adoption of mobile health services is one to three years away, and nearly 90 percent believe it will occur within five years.
The results demonstrate the rising trend of mobile health services and reflect growing concerns of healthcare professionals on the risks associated with new services.
“Mobile health is not only helping improve clinical outcomes and lower medical costs, it is also becoming a way to differentiate services and win over new customers as they are given more choices for insurance and providers,” said Rob Meyer, vice president of solutions, vertical marketing and management, Axway. “The risk of data breaches, HIPAA compliance, and reliability have been some of the biggest issues for the hundreds of payers and providers we’ve worked with. But they do not have to be a barrier. Together we have repeatedly been able to put in place the technology and processes needed to avoid breaches and ensure compliance in major mobile health initiatives.
The Axway poll was conducted at HIMSS14 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Florida and includes responses from 39 healthcare IT and business professionals. Axway healthcare solutions enable organizations to securely integrate and exchange private healthcare, administrative and financial information across disparate platforms. For more information, visit: http://www.axway.com/industries-customers/industry/healthcare
Axway (NYSE Euronext:AXW.PA), a market leader in governing the flow of data, is a global software company with more than 11,000 public- and private-sector customers in 100 countries. For more than a decade, Axway has empowered leading organizations around the world with proven solutions that help manage business-critical interactions through the exchange of data flowing across the enterprise, among B2B communities, cloud and mobile devices. Our award-winning solutions span business-to-business integration, managed file transfer, API and identity management, and email security– offered on premise and in the Cloud with professional and managed services.Axway is registered in France with headquarters in the United States and offices in 19 countries. www.axway.com
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations in the midst of the complex meaningful use attestation process often see the attestation itself as the end of the process. It is not. Today, 20 percent of hospitals are being selected for a meaningful use audit after attestation. That’s why it’s important that, while preparing for attestation, hospitals also get prepared to be audited.
Iatric Systems help to longtime customer Memorial Healthcare in their attestation process — and successfully passing their recent audit — as well as our work with other customers, has revealed how important this preparation can be. Not passing an audit results in having to pay back 100 percent of any incentive money already received.
Much of the decisions made and records kept during the process of attestation affect the outcome of an audit, as does careful attention to the details. One hospital being audited had accidently transposed a single number. This simple mistake meant many hours of extra effort to find the error and then straighten it out with the independent auditing agency.
What follows are the components currently included in an audit request to eligible hospitals from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):
Part I – General Information:
As proof of use of a Certified Electronic Health Record Technology system, provide a copy of your licensing agreement with the vendor or invoice. Please ensure that the licensing agreement or invoices identify the vendor, product name and product version number of the Certified Electronic Health Record Technology system utilized during your attestation period. If the version number is not present on the invoice/contract, please supply a letter from your vendor attesting to the version number used during your attestation period.
Provide documentation to support the method (Observation Services or All ED Visits) chosen to report Emergency Department (ED) admissions designating how patients admitted to the ED where included in the denominator of certain meaningful use core and menu measures (i.e. an explanation of how the ED admissions were calculated and a summary of ED admissions).
Sending text messages has become a common method of communication among teenagers, adults, and more recently, medical professionals. Physicians are discovering that texting provides a quick and efficient way to communicate with colleagues, patients, and office or hospital staff. A recent survey by QuantiaMD of 38,000 physicians found that approximately “83 percent of physicians own at least one mobile device and about one in four doctors are ‘super mobile’ users who leverage both smartphones and tablet computers in their medical practices.”
As patients and healthcare providers increasingly use mobile devices to communicate with each other, concerns are raised about the security of electronic protected health information (e-PHI). The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule allows healthcare providers to communicate electronically with patients, but it also outlines standards to protect individuals’ e-PHI with appropriate safeguards to protect confidentiality, integrity and security of e-PHI. The following identifies security issues raised by texting of PHI between healthcare providers or provider and patient and how unsecure texting may violate the HIPAA Security Rule and create liability for healthcare providers.
As a general rule, texting of PHI by healthcare providers is strongly discouraged. Texting, or traditional short message service (SMS) messaging, is non-secure and non-compliant with HIPAA because data stored on personal mobile devices is not encrypted and is usually stored within the computer memory or on a smartphone SIM card or memory chip. The lack of encryption and the easily accessible storage methods allow any e-PHI communication on a mobile device to be retrieved and shared by anyone with access to the mobile device. This means that messages containing PHI can be read by anyone, forwarded, remain unencrypted on phone company servers, and stay forever on the sender and receiver’s phones.
Another reason why physician-patient texting is discouraged is that standard texting/SMS limits the message to 160 characters. This limited text field may cause critical information or options to be eliminated. According to a recent policy statement from the American College of Physicians and the Federation of State Medical Boards, physicians should understand text messaging is “not analogous to e-mail because of its abbreviated format and the greater possibility of missed messages.” Physicians are urged not to use text messaging even with established patients “except with extreme caution and with patient consent.”
I wasn’t wowed by Hillary Clinton’s presentation at HIMSS14. Perhaps it was her overly polished nature or the fact that she really didn’t seem to say anything more than catch phrases arranged by her speech writer, which were obviously meant to garner “oohs” and “ahs” from the Clinton-friendly crowd.
Perhaps I was put off by the campaign-style stump that she delivered or that, once again, she claimed credit for being at the forefront of healthcare and working across the isle from her days in the White House and Senate. Or, perhaps it was her seemingly misplaced reference to Alexis DeTocqueville, the 19th century French historian.
The reference to the French observer of this country seemed trite and overly simplified, especially for such a sophisticated group.
“Lots of places were grander and richer,” Clinton stated, referring to the chronicler, “yet what did he say we have that he found unique? He said we were distinguished by the habits of our hearts. What did he mean by that? He meant that we worked with one another. In those days it might have been putting up a barn for a farmer who lost his to a fire. Or forming a volunteer police or fire department, or starting the first hospital.”
To a point she’s right, of course. As a society, Americans tend, for the most part, to be a people of full and giving hearts. We as a people come together, in a connected manner, much the same as we should and are in healthcare. However, her reference did little more for me than stir up memories of the man from conversations that took place in my political science class years ago.
A patient’s right to the privacy of their health records seems obvious, but some of the benefits of connected health will only be achieved if this right is qualified and perhaps compromised. Assuming the twin goals of maximizing both personal and public health, there can be no absolute rights of privacy or ownership in personal health data.
The tools of connected health make it possible to determine the efficacy and safety of diagnostic and therapeutic devices and services in the real world. This can serve as the basis for a learning health care system that continuously improves its services and outcomes. Today it takes between 15 and 17 years for the medical community to fully embrace better approaches.
Traditional privacy and ownership rights of health data stand in the way of these benefits. An obvious example of the problem arises where an antibiotic drug taken for an infectious and dangerous disease is not effective. What if a diagnostic device is unreliable? Does the patient have an absolute right to privacy in these situations? What obligation does that patient and her provider have to other individuals who are at risk and to the system that is paying for ineffective services?
There has been a lot of discussion recently in regard to the ownership of patient health data in the electronic health records of providers. The issues of ownership and privacy are overlapping considerations in determining the answer to these questions.
Guest post by Michele Hibbert-Iacobacci, vice president of information management and client services, Mitchell International.
Seamlessly integrate ICD-10? How is that possible? Realistically, yes, ICD-10 is new and the United States will start to utilize the new code set effective October 1, 2014.
Is ICD-10 really new, though? Not really, and frankly many entities are so ready they are looking forward to ICD-11, which has a “who knows when” implementation timeframe.
Seamless integration of anything takes preparation. The best part of ICD-10 is that covered entities have started and stopped implementations twice prior to the impending October 1, 2014 effective date. In fact, we almost had a third postponement with proposed federal legislation called the “Costly Codes Act,” which today has a two percent chance of making it to committee and zero percent chance of passing. This bill has more than 35 sponsors, so it’s amazing that we are seven months from implementation and this type of delay is still being contemplated.
It’s likely the sponsors are not aware of where ICD-10 has been and where it is going. The 2014 implementation date was postponed because of providers not being ready for the program. A third postponement would be devastating to the entities that have prepared for all three implementation dates.
Guest post by Andy Nieto, health IT strategist, DataMotion.
The HITECH Act’s goal of improving clinical outcomes for patients using technology through meaningful use is admirable and quite overdue. However, where the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and to a much greater extent, electronic health records (EHR), have missed the mark is in the deployment and execution.
The stated goal of meaningful use Stage 1 (MU1) was to deploy, integrate and use EHRs to gather and document “structured and coded” healthcare data. Rather than take ONC’s directives as a framework to improve provider care tools, they viewed it as a “minimum requirement” and missed the spirit of the initiative. EHRs remain cumbersome, challenging and inefficient.
Providers now spend more time clicking boxes and typing than they do speaking to their patients. To make matters worse, the data gathered is maintained in the EHR’s “unique” way, making exchange and interaction challenging and interfaces costly.