Minority communities are incredibly diverse, particularly when looking at population mix and rural vs. urban areas. From different household makeups and risk factors to varying engagement preferences, that diversity also impacts health outcomes—a reality laid bare by COVID-19.
An analysis by Carrot Health found that rural communities bear the highest burden of COVID-19, while Black and Hispanic populations are the most adversely impacted by the virus.
This infographic takes a closer look at diverse communities with large Black and Hispanic populations, information that can be leveraged to improve health outcomes, member engagement, costs and public health.
By Andrei Klubnikin, content management team lead, ITRex.
Although the amount of US healthcare organizations that utilize patient portal software increased from 32% in 2014 to 90% in early 2019, less than a quarter of patients are willing to use the tools to schedule an appointment with a physician, view medical data and get tips for chronic disease self-management.
Patients’ ambivalence towards the technology can be largely attributed to healthcare data interoperability issues and administrative barriers to obtaining access to medical records. Furthermore, most patients still live under the paradigm of encounter-based medicine and perceive medical portals as useful only around the time of a physician office visit.
In an attempt to boost patient portal engagement and usage, medical professionals add multiple functions to healthcare software solutions. In this article, we will review patient portal features essential to engage the target audience and provide approximate patient portal development cost estimates.
Must-have Patient Portal Features as Reported by Healthcare Providers
In a nutshell, a patient portal is the user-facing component of an electronic health record (EHR) solution, which is intended to simplify patients’ access to medical data — i.e., physician notes, laboratory results, billing information, — and drive patient participation.
According to CHiME 2018 Healthcare’s Most Wired survey, the majority of healthcare facilities — with the exception of rural and critical access hospitals — have already incorporated robust communication, mobile and convenience capabilities into patient portal software. The reported enhancements include live chat enabling patients to directly contact care team and billing staff, automatic prescription refills, appointment scheduling and personal health data management. Additionally, 90% of respondents offer some form of telehealth services and take the device-agnostic approach to portal design to improve user experience on mobile devices.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a number of personal health data challenges for both healthcare organizations and private businesses alike. From vaccine passport requirements and businesses handling incredibly sensitive information on their employees, to healthcare workers accessing sensitive patient data while working from home, the health crisis has created unprecedented data security and compliance challenges for employers and healthcare providers.
COVID-19’s Impact on Data Security
When COVID-19 first hit, many healthcare organizations shifted to a partially remote workforce overnight. This meant that healthcare administrators were using personal devices and had access to systems and data that they previously could only access on their employers’ network. The focus was on productivity and business continuity, not cybersecurity.
However, over a year later, we are still using this makeshift IT environment and the increased cyber risks have not been addressed. By accessing patients’ private healthcare information from personal devices or home networks, administrators are doubling or tripling the risk of a breach.
Why Do Criminals Want Healthcare Data?
There are several regulations designed to protect personal data, but health data presents unique challenges. For example, if my credit card were stolen, I can be assured that PCI would cover any losses due to my banks’ contractual obligations with credit card companies. However, my health data – including DNA, disease history and medical conditions – are fully unique. No one can reimburse me with a new set of personal health information!
Criminals understand this, which has led to a rise in personal health data being stolen. Many hackers are now breaching health systems’ networks for personal information, and demanding ransom from individuals to keep that data private.
Furthermore, healthcare workers have been under increased pressure due to the pandemic, which has made hospitals and health systems a more appealing and “softer” target for hackers.
Joining a growing number of healthcare organizations to embrace tele-rehab, UT Health East Texas at Ardent Medical Services recently licensed the TheraNow Platform to provide telemedicine and remote physical therapy treatment to its patients throughout East Texas.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth undergone a rapid expansion in terms of function, accessibility, offering and capabilities. Multiple platforms have emerged capable of addressing health concerns ranging from general healthcare and mental health to hands-on healthcare capabilities including physical therapy.
The UT Health East Texas partnership with TheraNow gives its recovering patients the option of physical therapy and rehabilitation services at home under the guidance of their physician or therapist. The TheraNow platform provides patients with personalized, prescribed one-on-one video therapy sessions with licensed therapists via their laptops or mobile device. The TheraNow app monitors progress with outcome tracking that helps the therapist to build an effective progressive rehabilitation program.
“When I was initially introduced to TheraNow, I was very impressed with the capabilities to help patients prepare for joint replacement surgery to optimize their outcome and the opportunity to have post-procedure therapy at home through the telehealth platform. I am pleased that our orthopedic surgeons have embraced this technology and that UTHET Rehabilitation Services is also beginning to provide this option to their patients,” said Vicki Briggs, CEO, UT Health Tyler at Ardent Health Services.
Briggs adds that she has first-hand experience with TheraNow, which she used for at-home physical therapy following hip replacement surgery. Her therapist instructed her on performing the exercises and also monitored her progress.
“It was an added benefit to see videos of the exercises to refresh me on exactly how to do them when I was not online with the therapist,” she said. “I was also much more motivated to stay on track with the schedule since I had to check in daily when I performed the exercises and note on the application how I was doing. I was 100% pleased with this experience and had a great outcome.”
UT Health Rehabilitation Hospital Administrator Laurie Lenhof notes that TheraNow is an innovative way for the rehabilitation hospital to provide therapy to patients at home—a treatment options they are “thrilled to extend to our community.”
She adds: “We can also reach beyond our usual service area as the distance becomes less of a barrier. Our rehabilitation leaders and therapists worked diligently to make this new project a reality and are eager to see it grow.”
A career as a counselor can be incredibly gratifying, as it allows you to impact the lives of people of all ages profoundly. You can guide them through various issues, ranging from interpersonal, situational, vocational, and educational, and build their resilience to help them tackle such matters independently.
However, while a job as a counselor may be rewarding, it also requires immense dedication. Counselors need to always be on their best behavior, as they encounter people from various backgrounds with traumatic stories. These people may often come from backgrounds different from yours, and they may have beliefs you disagree with. Therefore, a counselor needs solid skills to adapt to every new situation and treat each client with the same degree of respect and empathy.
If you’re a counselor looking to brush up on your skills, there are numerous ways to do so. Below, we’ll discuss the top four ways to improve as a counselor.
The healthcare business of LexisNexis Risk Solutions announced a collaboration with Carrot Health, a provider of solutions powered by consumer and healthcare data. The collaboration enables Carrot Health to incorporate social determinants of health (SDoH) data from LexisNexis Risk Solutions into its SDoH data and analytics software platform to guide payer and provider decisions around member engagement and health management.
Through this collaboration, Carrot Health will integrate clinically-validated SDoH attributes from LexisNexis Risk Solutions into its existing Social Risk Grouper (SRG) taxonomy and other predictive models that leverage vast consumer and healthcare data. These insights will inform consumer-centric strategies to improve health outcomes, reduce costs and prevent readmissions.
“Consumer attributes are among the most powerful factors influencing health outcomes, creating barriers and inequities that prevent populations from leading their healthiest lives. Carrot Health’s SRG harnesses this information to measure and monitor social determinants of health at the individual level, providing comprehensive insights our customers need to design strategies for identifying and closing gaps in care while providing a more personalized member experience,” said Kurt Waltenbaugh, CEO, Carrot Health. “We chose LexisNexis Risk Solutions after extensive evaluation and testing because their consumer data proved to be the most accurate and comprehensive in the market. We are excited about this addition to our platform as we continue to help payers improve member health.”
Carrot Health’s platform harnesses clinical, social, economic, behavioral, and environmental data to deliver insights for growth, health, and quality, providing health plans with a 360-degree view of their members. Carrot Health is delivering the healthcare industry’s first solution for consumer insights at scale, along with individual-level SDOH scoring and monitoring for every adult in the United States.
This scoring model helps predict the likelihood of an individual having an adverse health outcome due to their SDoH profile. The data from LexisNexis Risk solutions will augment Carrot Health predictive models, that already includes consumer data, ICD-10 Z-codes, publicly available health indicators, claims, survey responses, and other proprietary data ? providing unmatched accuracy to a scoring model.
Initially, the Agile methodology was invented to fasten development processes in the software field while maintaining product quality. Instead of using slower traditional methods, Agile helped speed up value delivery using short sprints and end-user feedback for improvements. The approach focused on interactions and individuals over tools and processes and collaboration with customers other than contract negotiation. Other target points were efficient software over exhaustive documentation and response to change rather than following plans.
Today, Agile has been adopted by many industries, other than the software development sector. Despite this, the healthcare sector has been slower in accepting the methodology. In other fields, Agile is used as an incremental and iterative methodology used in project management to assist teams in meeting the current workplace demands. It utilizes various frameworks like Kanban, SCRUM, etcetera. All these are, centered on continuous process improvement, transparency, flexibility, and quality. You can learn more about these Agile structures by reviewing the available online resources or other research materials.
How Agile Principles And The Healthcare Industry Relate
You can describe an agile organization as one that adapts faster and efficiently to rapid change, which is essential. Those that aren’t, however, find it hard to keep up with the ever-changing market conditions. The healthcare industry can benefit hugely by using continuous process improvement methodologies like Agile. For instance, they can give better patient care and cut costs. Additionally, Agile can boost innovations and enhance the technologies used in healthcare for both business and clinical processes.
It’s said that the healthcare sector mostly utilizes traditional methods that may negatively affect performance. It has also been mentioned that only a small percentage of healthcare leaders are aware of Agile. However, the small group that utilizes this methodology has reported that their teams achieve more with Agile than conventional methods. That being so, the industry continues to grow, and numerous regulatory and financial pressures surround it. Therefore, adopting Agile principles increases effective and efficient management of the existing services and resources.
Artificial intelligence is no longer a remote dream that exists only in sci-fi movies, it is a common solution that people use in their everyday lives. From more standardized artificial intelligence solutions like Apple’s Siri to driverless cars, the possibilities for artificial intelligence today are almost endless. Artificial intelligence is set to have a huge impact on every industry in existence, and healthcare is no exception. With a wide variety of innovations being made today, the future of healthcare can be predicted by looking at the healthcare applications of AI.
Clinical Decision Support Platforms
According to medical market research, AI, advanced analytics, and the increased volume of patient care data make the possibility of clinical decision support platforms a strong possibility in the near future. Artificial intelligence and analytics solutions are already being used to improve clinical and operational processes. Using artificial intelligence combined with EHRs allows for improving decision-making and increased productivity rates.
Intelligent Robotic Surgeons
Advancements in cloud computing, big data analytics, and AI have hugely increased the possibilities for the use of robotics in all walks of life. Robotics has been used in surgery before, but it is still far from reaching its full potential. There are many companies that are working at the moment to develop intelligent surgical robots. Although robots in the operating room working alone still seem like a distant future, the possibilities and building blocks are being formed today.
Healthcare is highly regulated when it comes to data security and privacy, and rightly so. Patient data is ultra-sensitive and any changes made to records could literally cost someone their life. Regulations from HIPAA to U.S. Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 11, stipulate the need to exercise best practices in IT to keep electronic patient data safe, which is why legacy healthcare technology vendors like Cerner and Epic are so focused on guarding against unauthorized access and cyber attacks.
As more and more providers transform to outcome-based healthcare models, however, the ability to minimize risk of data exposure is getting harder to do. That’s because, in order to increase efficiencies and optimize patient care, organizations are increasingly introducing cloud-based, or SaaS, applications into their processes. They leverage these applications to analyze data and get insights related to patient journeys, treatment pathways, the cost of care delivery and even the efficacy of various medical devices.
The compliance challenge
While this is essential to do, it also complicates regulatory compliance since it requires moving or copying data from your infrastructure into other applications. Every time a new application is introduced, healthcare organizations essentially need to get that vendor to sign a BAA (Business Associate Agreement) to accept responsibility for the safety of patients’ health information and maintain appropriate safeguards. Yet even with an agreement in place, organizations are still at risk. HIPAA and other compliance measures require audit trails, which are more difficult to maintain with SaaS applications.
In addition, because users need SaaS data for analytic and other purposes, they’re likely to download, make their own copies and store it in their own folders and systems. This data sprawl increases potential access points and vulnerabilities.
All of which begs the question, how can organizations help protect sensitive data while still leveraging that data in a way that works to improve outcomes? The answer lies in data ownership.
By Natalie Tkachenko, healthcare software solutions consultant, NIX United.
The increasing number of online pharmacy retailers emphasize growing consumer inquiry for address delivery. More and more polls show that the cost of such delivery is the greatest concern for both consumers and suppliers.
Such trends have resulted in an expansion of mobile apps usage for prescription drugs. The chronic conditions patients like diabetes, heart, kidney or liver diseases, or HIV infections rely on pharmacy services that provide continuous prescriptions renewals and deliver to patients’ homes.
Market Overview of Pharmacy Delivery Apps
In 2023, we expect the pharmacy delivery market to reach 6.4% CAGR for the forecast period up to 1,694.7 billion dollars. Besides the growth of chronic diseases patients that require ongoing medicine supply, there are such major factors as
technological progress and new products release.
Especially since the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic boosted medicine delivery needs to reach an unprecedented level. Implementing such an opportunity into your online drugs retailer may force the business growth. Furthermore, the pharmacy delivery applications must provide the right information about the medicine and accurately distinguish drugs.
In 2021, online pharmacy retailers are a great solution to make medicine available to patients while maintaining social distance.
Advantages of Pharmacy Delivery Services
There is a study that shows that patients with chronic diseases that order medicine from online retailers show better adherence than those who buy them in local pharmacies. One of the reasons for such behavior may lay in that fewer patients with low economic status may order from online retailers.
Also, the process of treatment is made much easier by pre-sorted medicine delivered to the door. Added instruction on how to properly take medicine by hours or days facilitates the process of treatment.
Among the benefits of pharmacy delivery apps is the possibility to set the convenient time of delivery. It may come in handy for patients that despite disease have a busy lifestyle.
That also could be a plus for elder people for whom it is hard to wait in a line at a drugstore. A courier may deliver medicine when the nursemaid will be available to accept it.
Advanced technologies make sure that you receive the precise drugs and dosages. Thus, the risk of adverse effects and hospitalization can be lowered. Whereas wrong medication puts dying from wrong treatment in 8th place among causes of death in the U.S. According to the study, the error rate for delivering medicines to pharmacies was about 1 for every 50 prescriptions written (or 1.72%), the error rate for delivering medicines was less than 1 for every 1000 prescriptions (or only 0.075%).