Accenture: Most Consumers Want Access to EHRs, but Don’t Have It

accenture logoAccenture released the following infographic that illustrates the key findings of its recent survey (also featured in a recent post: Patient Willing to Switch Doctors for Access to Electronic Health Records) that suggests that most consumers want access to EHRs, but don’t have it.

The Accenture Consumer Survey on Patient Engagement explores whether doctors are delivering on the growing patient demand for access to EHRs and other electronic capabilities.

According to the info below, more than half of global users would switch to a doctor using EHRs with Brazil, France, Singapore and Spain registering well more than 50 percent of all patients willing to switch. In the US, the number of switchers hoovers at around 41 percent.

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Physicians Can’t Seem to Live with and Can’t Live without Electronic Health Records

Mark Friedberg
Mark Friedberg

Physicians can’t seem to live with and can’t live without electronic health records. Or so says a new RAND survey.

The recent survey, conducted by the think tank the American Medical Association, found that most doctors strive to provide the best care possible to patients, but that the biggest obstacles for doing so is electronic health records, according to a report published by Health Tech Zone.

But, even with this hindrance, and though they consider the technology intrusive, 80 percent of respondents said they would never go back to paper patient records. The take away from the study is that physicians just want the EHRs to be “less cumbersome and time-consuming to use.”

“Physicians are pleased and happy professionally when they perceive that they’re giving high-quality patient care, and they’re unhappy when they can’t meet patients’ needs and when there are barriers to quality patient care,” said the study’s author, Dr. Mark Friedberg, a scientist with RAND and a practicing general internist in Boston.

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StartUp Health Expands By Adding 14 Digital Health Companies to Its Academy

StartUp Health, a global start up platform accelerating health and wellness innovation, announces the addition of 14 digital health companies to its exclusive long-term coaching program and community.

The 14 companies represent an “entrepreneurs focused on building digital health companies that target some of the biggest challenges in healthcare,” according to the release announcing the news.

The companies include a broad spectrum from home healthcare, genomics, aging, sensors, patient and physician engagement, mobile health and wellness, nutrition analysis, concierge medicine, care coordination, and price transparency.

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Top Health IT Trends

In its latest edition of Health Tech Report, a CDW publication, the publication brings up a few of what it calls the top health IT trends to come in the next few months including EHR user satisfaction and BYOD and its risks.

The trends — though some are obvious and some are aspirational — are all worthy of taking a closer look at. Some of the trends listed, like raising the bar on meaningful use and HIEs gaining steam, have already had plenty of attention, but are likely to continue playing a huge role in healthcare and health IT.

What’s particularly interesting from the perspective of the magazine’s editors is that there seems to be a real shift from getting healthcare into IT to hot the technology is changing the business of healthcare and opening opportunities and inroads not previously explored.

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The Unlikelihood of Sustainable Growth Rate Reform this Year

Ken Perez
Ken Perez

In mid-September, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the cost of H.R. 2810, a permanent Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) repeal or “doc fix,” would be $175.5 billion from 2014 through 2023, up from the CBO’s estimates of $139.1 billion in May and $138 billion in February for freezing (i.e., holding flat) all Medicare physician rates for 10 years.

H.R. 2810 would be more costly, as it does not freeze rates, it raises them slightly. As with all other SGR reform bills, its implementation would avoid an estimated 24.4 percent reduction to Medicare physician payment rates that is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2014, but the bill would also increase payment rates by 0.5 percent per year during 2014-2018. That change would increase federal spending by $63.5 billion through 2018, relative to the spending projection under the SGR.

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Healthcare Will Invest $5.4 Billion in Cloud Computing by 2017

cloud picCloud computing services are increasingly moving into the future in healthcare. However, the protection and security of private data are two of the main reasons why the healthcare sector is generally slow to adopt new technologies. According to market researchers at MarketsandMarkets, healthcare will invest $5.4 billion in the cloud by 2017.

The “Healthcare Cloud Computing (Clinical, EMR, SaaS, Private, Public, Hybrid) Market – Global Trends, Challenges, Opportunities & Forecasts (2012 – 2017)” analyzes and studies the major market drivers, restraints and opportunities in North America, Europe, Asia. According to the report, Market researchers estimate that last year at least 4 percent of healthcare is in the cloud. This year, this share is expected to grow to 20.5 percent.

According to Cloud Times, “Cloud computing offers significant benefits to the healthcare sector; doctor’s clinics, hospitals and clinics require quick access to computing and large storage facilities which are not provided in the traditional settings, moreover healthcare data needs to be shared across various settings and geographies which further burdens the healthcare provider and the patient causing significant delay in treatment and loss of time. Cloud caters to all these requirements thus providing the healthcare organizations an incredible opportunity to improve services to their customers, the patients, to share information more easily than ever before, and improve operational efficiency at the same time.”

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HIT Thought Leadership Highlight: Alex Bratton, Lextech

Alex Bratton
Alex Bratton

Alex Bratton, CEO of Lextech, discusses his company, its vision, why it’s important to healthcare and how the changing landscape of health app is affecting health outcomes and the industry as a whole.

What is Lextech and why does it matter to healthcare?

Lextech is a mobile app development company that evaluates business workflows to identify and build apps that improve processes and make the complex simple. Mobile apps will become increasingly important to the healthcare industry for two reasons: they are instrumental in helping caregivers and insurance companies build direct relationships with patients, and they can help drive healthcare costs down. With the massive changes taking place in healthcare, and the uncertainty that goes with change, it’s crucial for healthcare service providers to create a strong bond with patients by giving them tools and information that make their lives easier.

What do your clients say works wonderfully? What doesn’t work so well? Why?

Lextech is known for its Billion Dollar App (BDA) process, which focuses organizations on developing the right app for the right reason, and to use that app to improve processes. This approach often results in significant cost savings and efficiencies. The opposite of this, which doesn’t work well, is what we call the “obvious app.” An example of an obvious app in healthcare is to squish a desktop-oriented EHR system onto an iPad. This is inadequate because it doesn’t streamline a process and it certainly doesn’t simplify users’ access to information. The better approach is focusing on a portion of the healthcare workflow and driving small portions of the EHR data and functionality through a brand new window–an intuitive app. Important questions need to be asked before developing an app, including: what are we trying to accomplish with this app, how will people use this app, why will they use the app, and what problem does it fix?

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Medtech Companies Must Innovate, According to PwC’s Health Research Institute

According to PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) new report, Medtech companies prepare for an innovation makeovermed tech companies may be losing their competitive edge and are in need of a different approach to innovation in a new outcome-based health economy.

The report includes a web-based interactive innovation scorecard to assess medtech companies based on leading innovation practices. Only 14 percent of medtech executives say that they formally manage innovation activities, which is essential to creating new services and business models.

Just 17 percent of med tech executives believe their companies are innovation pioneers. The PwC’s Health Research Institute report outlines how medtech companies need to expand their approaches to innovation outside traditional R&D to remain competitive.

“Historically, medtech innovation has relied on incremental improvement,” said Christopher Wasden, managing director and global healthcare innovation leader, PwC.  “But ‘innovation’ needs redefining for an environment that rewards value – measured in affordable patient outcomes and customer satisfaction – over volume. True innovators learn from failure – fast, frequent, frugal failure. Medtech leaders need to change their business models, their corporate DNA, to embrace lean innovation beyond their core operations.”

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Revolutionizing Healthcare with Mobile Devices

The following infographic outlines the growth of mobile tech, which is revolutionizing healthcare with mobile devices and also the growth of Medicaid enrollees with a few interesting stats, including:

According to CNSI, publisher of the graphic, “as the population ages and smartphones become more ubiquitous, we can expect that the number of people who wish to access and work with their healthcare providers through mobile tech will also rise rapidly.”

CNSI developed the myHealthButton app, which extends the CMS Blue Button initiative for use on iPhones, iPads and Androids. With this technology and more like it, how will this space continue to adapt?

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Thoughts on Blue Button: 6 Reasons Why It Lacks Adoption, and Its Troubled Future

Tyler Hayes
Tyler Hayes

Guest post by Tyler Hayes is co-founder and CEO of Prime, the personal social network for your health.

Despite numbers the VA and ONC have shared, Blue Button is effectively not being used. Consumers haven’t heard of it. Developers aren’t implementing it. It’s not blossoming into what it can and should be.

This is happening for several reasons. I’d like to share some brief thoughts on our industry’s relationship with Blue Button, why it lacks adoption, and its currently troubled future.

First, there’s its identity crisis.

Blue Button is not the same as Blue Button+. Blue Button+ is Blue Button on steroids. That’s a good thing. But Blue Button+ is really two things, which makes it more confusing. That’s a bad thing. Blue Button+ is really Blue Button+ Push and Blue Button+ Pull. I hear the former may be renamed to Blue Button+ Direct and the latter to Blue Button+ REST API. Thoughts on the names aside, this is again more room for confusion.

This confusion, just from these few terms, is turning developers off from adopting Blue Button. When developers are confused, you can guarantee consumers are confused. We’ve seen both first hand in non-trivial amounts. That’s very bad.

From this point forward, I’m going to refer to all of these as just one whole: Blue Button. To do otherwise is to descend into madness. This is how Blue Button should exist right now anyway.

Second: Fragmentation.

Even if Blue Button were to fix its identity crisis, it would still suffer from fragmentation of resources like documentation and community efforts.

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