Although electronic health records (EHR) are firmly established in the medical landscape, ongoing progress necessitates that providers keep up with emerging trends. Here are five of them.
1. Combining Artificial Intelligence and Voice Recognition with EHR
Artificial intelligence (AI) has already shown promise for assisting doctors with making diagnoses or recognizing historical trends about a patient’s condition. However, several companies are investigating bringing AI to EHR via voice recognition capabilities.
At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, providers can query the tools by posing questions in natural language. For example, a physician could ask a voice-enabled EHR system for details about a patient’s last recorded iron levels from blood tests. The system would inform the doctor of those levels, plus tell them whether they’re in a healthy range.
Allscripts and Northwell Health also recently struck a deal for a platform that blends AI with EHR and collects data from clinicians. Using voice commands within patient care could be especially useful for providers who have their hands full.
2. An Increased Emphasis on Mitigating EHR Errors
When the ECRI Institute released its 2020 report containing the top 10 health technology errors to be aware of in the coming year, EHR issues were mentioned multiple times. The first instance related to providers potentially being overwhelmed with notifications from EHR platforms, ignoring some of them and perhaps overlooking a genuine issue with a patient as a result.
The report also brought up the risk of medical data not including information about implants in patients that are sent for medical imaging. The study recommended providing a single place to enter or check for the presence of implant data in an EHR. Finally, the ECRI Institute cautioned that EHR mistakes could happen when a medication administration order sent by an EHR platform does not match the dosage time the provider intended.
This coverage of such mistakes will likely cause health care facilities to assess their systems and see if the issues exist there. If so, they’ll look for ways to reduce those problems.
Vital — AI-powered software in hospital emergency rooms — announces its inaugural development partnership with Emory Healthcare. As part of the strategic collaboration, Emory Healthcare becomes a lead research partner in developing and implementing Vital’s software to improve overall efficiency and satisfaction for patients and clinicians across multiple Emory emergency rooms. Vital was conceptualized and co-founded by Justin Schrager, assistant professor of emergency medicine and ER doctor; with award-winning technical CEO Aaron Patzer.
Vital’s software is the first partnership out of the Emory University Innovation Hub, designed to identify unmet patient needs and find innovative solutions to put the patient at the center of care delivery. Vital’s live track board and real-time predictions of patients are being developed in the Emergency Departments of Emory University Hospital, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. The goal of this pilot program is to measurably reduce wait times and overall length of stay for patients, while increasing patient satisfaction.
“We are overjoyed to have Emory Healthcare as our primary development partner and pilot sites,” said Patzer. “We are impressed with the commitment Emory leadership has made towards technological innovation and tackling truly challenging problems in emergency medicine. Working closely with top emergency physicians and nurses is essential to producing software that meets the needs of clinicians.”
Vital uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to triage patients,, making it easier and faster for providers to coordinate care and prioritize patients with a fast, reliable, and incredibly user-friendly system.
The dental industry experiences new and exciting tech developments every year, and 2019 is seemingly no exception. The innovations are not only modernizing practices, but they are leading to improved oral care and smaller appointment times, which can each support the patient experience.
If you are a dental practitioner or want to learn more about the industry, here are five exciting dental tech trends in 2019 to watch out for.
One trend to watch is laser dentistry, which is helping dentists to provide more advanced care. For example, many oral health professionals are using it to:
It is expected to become a popular choice for dentists, as it could potentially shorten healing time, eliminate the need for anesthesia and can sterilize the gums to reduce the likelihood of an infection.
Digital Automation Technology
More dental practices are turning to digital automation technology software to streamline and organize internal processes.
For example, you could use the technology to:
Text appointment confirmations to patients
Schedule social media posts
Create in-house submission forms
Pre-record voicemails for follow-up appointments
Dental practice automation also helps ensure consistent office practices for patient record keeping, insurance billing practices and HIPAA record handling compliance. These compliance areas can be a source for dental board investigations.
Artificial intelligence(AI) could one day transform the dental industry. For example, it has led to the invention of robo-dentists that are capable of performing minimally invasive dental procedures, such as teeth cleaning, filling cavities, extracting teeth and applying caps.
Artificial intelligence makes suggestions about what we should buy at the grocery store. If we need transportation to get to the grocery store, we can use ride-sharing applications. Swiping right on a dating app has become a new way to look for romance. Banking with your phone, without the need to physically visit a branch office, is common practice.
If, in the past, the public did not trust technology enough, nowadays, the convenience aspects of technology outweigh the risks.
But healthcare has always been a conservative industry when it comes to technology. For the most part, this is a good thing. I’m sure you wouldn’t have liked to be treated with a fairly new drug or piece of equipment, or to be diagnosed by a robot-doctor.
On the other hand, technology has come a long way and is now more reliable, stable and trustworthy than ever. It has already penetrated the health industry, which means you are going to see more and more of it. The combination of rising costs, Amazon’s promise to go into healthcare, and the government pressure for affordable care are pushing healthcare providers to embrace technology and adapt to all the risks and benefits it brings.
Technology at its core is being used to reduce overhead cost, provide better data analysis (to facilitate better decision-making), automate human tasks, and provide comfort and convenience in our day-to-day lives. When it comes to the health industry, what we all would like to see is (in no particular order):
Increased Access to Care – Access to care has been, and still is, a major concern throughout North America. When speaking of access to care, we oftentimes think of financial barriers to care. However, there are many other barriers that are as prevalent: Geography (distance and mobility to a healthcare provider), anxiety and even opening hours of a healthcare provider can be serious barriers for access to care.
Telehealth is quickly becoming a technological solution to resolve the above mentioned challenges and increase the ability for the general public to receive healthcare services in a way that is convenient for them. When we look at telehealth from the perspective of remote communities, it is the difference between seeing a healthcare provider and not seeing one at all.
Better Diagnostic – We look up to doctors and expect them to be able to identify our illnesses and prescribe the treatment that would enable us to overcome them. In reality, illnesses are becoming more complex and require interdisciplinary collaboration to diagnose with better accuracy and prescribe an effective treatment. There is no way of achieving this without the use of technology.
A centralized database that will store all health information from all practitioners is the only way to provide doctors the information they need, when they need it. Having information from all healthcare providers you have visited provides a better picture of habits, complaints and parallel treatments already prescribed (without the need for the patient to remember and be able to verbalize correctly). This is crucial to be able to treat you more effectively.
Artificial intelligence is poised to make a major impact on healthcare and healthcare technology. Investment in the healthcare AI sector alone is predicted to reach $6.6 billion by 2021. By 2026, that number will balloon $150 billion. And there’s no doubt about the transformative power of artificial intelligence, however, in terms of healthcare, its restorative effects are truly life changing.
Today, there’s a term in healthcare called the “iron triangle.” The iron triangle refers to three combined factors that can have negatives trade offs: affordability, access, and effectiveness. Though closely interlocked, improving one area without neglecting another is very difficult—even in modern times. With AI, the healthcare is much better equipped to tackle these conundrums. Here’s how artificial intelligence will impact the future of healthcare tech:
One of the biggest benefits of AI in healthcare is the ability to predict potential issues and eradicate them before they become too serious. Machine learning is a major part of prevention intervention. With machine learning, computer systems are handed data and use statistical techniques to identify patterns over time and “learn” more about the information it processes. Doctors can use these targeted analytics to make more accurate diagnosis, spot potential issues before they arise, assess risks, and offer better treatment plans.
It’s no secret that cyberattacks are escalating, rising in tandem with the growing sophistication of technology. One industry that has taken a massive hit by cyberattacks in recent years is the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry is increasingly reliant on technology and data connected to the internet, such as patient records, lab results, radiology equipment and hospital elevators. Now imagine if a cybercriminal encrypted an entire hospital’s data with a nasty ransomware. Doctors would be unable to pull up a patient’s medical records, or worse, utilize equipment connected to the internet to make a proper diagnosis.
Unfortunately, this is the reality that healthcare industry professionals are facing today. And while 92% of healthcare organizations are confident in their ability to respond to cyberattacks, there is a plethora of malicious activity that poses a great threat to their networks. Here are the main cybersecurity challenges faced by the industry today:
The Rise of Ransomware
You might recall the WannaCry attack of 2017, the ransomware worm that attacked hospitals as well as other industries by exploiting a weakness in Windows machines. This worm infected thousands of computers around the world and threw the United Kingdom’s National Health Service into chaos. This resulted in the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force to conclude that healthcare cybersecurity was in critical condition.
Why was the healthcare industry so impacted by this cyberattack? Many hospitals struggle to keep up when it comes to upgrading their operating systems due to the sheer volume of devices on the network. However, much of the software in a medical-specific device is often custom made, making system upgrades difficult. Additionally, manufacturers tend to avoid prematurely pushing out modifications that could potentially impact patient safety. For these reasons, medical machines continue to exist with outdated software, putting them at greater risk of cyberattacks such as ransomware.
Lack of Investment
Many organizations within the healthcare industry suffer from a lack of investment in cybersecurity solutions. Despite the number of breaches that occur, healthcare is behind other sectors when it comes to taking security measures. Only 4-7% of healthcare’s IT budget is allocated to cybersecurity, while other sectors allocate about 15% to their security practices. However, the finances associated with a cyberattack if these solutions aren’t put in place can take an even greater toll on an organization. Some hospitals and healthcare insurers see estimates of over $5 billion in costs as the result of cyberattacks on their systems. On top of the costs incurred finding a solution to fix these breaches, healthcare organizations then have to deal with fines from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights.
Securing Connected Devices
With the growing adoption of IoT, more and more devices are being connected and used in healthcare systems. However, as connected medical devices become more powerful and widely adopted, they become greater targets for malicious actors to exploit. According to the Cybersecurity in Healthcare report, over 16% of IT professionals can’t patch their own operating systems, leaving the network wide open for attack. Now imagine if a cybercriminal gained access to just one medical device on the exposed network. This could lead to the theft of sensitive patient data or even unauthorized access to an implanted device that could cause physical harm to the user.
Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing segments of the digital universe, with data volumes expected to grow by 48 percent annually. Healthcare applications will be the principal driver of this data growth, with EHR penetration in the US already reaching more than 80 percent and expected to reach 95 percent by 2020.
In addition, the healthcare space has matured to the point where EHR replacement has become commonplace, and up to 50 percent of health systems are projected to be on second-generation technology by the year 2020.
So why are these data points an important consideration?
Healthcare organizations have been facing
the major challenge of storing and securing patient information. This is not
just the problem with the providers, but for payers and patients too. While
transitioning to complete digitization of practices, healthcare leaders,
specifically CIOs, often find it a daunting task to identify the areas where
they need to scale up their technological approach.
EHRs are likely the necessary evil for
healthcare. No doubt they solved so many problems; however, they opened gates
to other problems. The complications with the legacy systems compel hospitals
to shift to modern technological solutions.
Right now, the story of mergers and acquisitions in the space is also like an adventure movie. According to KLAS Research, the number of EHR vendors dropped from more than 1,000 to around 400 now — the reason being the rise in mergers and acquisitions.
Where does the actual problem lie?
The journey of shifting from legacy systems
to advanced technology is also ripe with its own set of complications. As the
landscape is molded by M&As, consistent EHR replacements are not rare
In this scenario, organizations face two
Legacy systems have
to be maintained so that organizations are able to access the read-only PHI.
The cost of
migrating data from one EHR to another is unreasonably high.
Moreover, since these EHR replacements are directly linked to the retention of the data from the legacy systems for about a decade. Most states require Protected Health Information (PHI) to be retained for about seven to 10 years.
How is data archival the solution we need now?
Transitioning between EHRs require a
holistic approach to keep their data secure, and the best way here is data
archival. Data archival is a simple process of archiving the entire data from
legacy systems into a unified platform so that it can be kept secured for a
long duration. It is the perfect solution to the above-stated two problems: it
is easier and can be done at one-tenth of the price.
For instance, in the case of legacy systems, the EHR vendor can charge up to $10,000 a month for keeping the system running even after the transition. However, in the case of data archival, this entire process is fast, cheap and much more efficient. Also, it eliminates the necessity of keeping the legacy systems running.
The archiving process serves multiple
functions and has the following major advantages over other data-retention
It allows legal
decommissioning of the legacy systems
It ensures the
integrity of the vital healthcare data
It creates the
opportunity to realize opportunities for immediate Return on Investment (ROI)
It minimizes the
risk of maintaining the historical data
It develops a
centralized repository for all your legacy systems’ data
And many more …
What is the perfect data archival strategy?
The procedure of data archival mainly
consists of two major steps: identifying the need for data archival and
adopting the best archival solution. It is important to analyze the need first
and then take action. It is a complex process and involves complex compliance
requirements to be fulfilled.
So what is needed to be done now? Here is the list of essential prerequisites to be considered and followed religiously before archiving your crucial healthcare data:
Understand your healthcare data
The first step is to understand your EHR and legacy system data. One organization might be focusing on archiving the data from a single EHR while the other might be looking for a solution that can archive the data from multiple data sources. Everyone’s data needs are different and, thus, requires a different data archival approach.
Familiarize yourself with your state regulations
Every state has its own regulations to archive the data. The state of California might need you to archive your data for six years, while the state of Minnesota might have a span of more than 30 years. These regulations need to be considered and understood efficiently before investing in a data archival solution.
Chalk out your technological requirements
The next and
most important step is to identify the extent and the varieties of
technological features your organization might need. Every organization has
different needs which should be analyzed and understood well in advance. Based
on these insights, the final decision can be made about any data archival
solution and its abilities.
The road ahead
The space of healthcare is among the most diverse and ever-changing fields. New mergers, efforts towards making the practice data-driven, empowering providers with access to every single bit of data about their patients, and whatnot; these factors have compelled organizations to keep shifting towards a better option — a better EHR. And in this story, the ultimate goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible. It is important to ensure that organizations get rid of all their legacy system headaches instantly. With data archival, it is finally possible.
Cardiovascular diseases remain the number one killer of people in the world, resulting in 31 percent of all global deaths (17.9 million per year), and are the most expensive condition to treat. However, AI and machine learning technologies are being developed to make care pathways, treatment and real-time visualization of cardiac anomalies and subsequent therapy more effective. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities may provide numerous advantages over traditional analytics and clinical decision-making techniques, and cardiology is likely to benefit tremendously from these advancements as they mature.
“As machine learning-based algorithms become more precise and accurate by interacting with data and programmed information, these technologies will allow care teams to gain unprecedented insights into diagnostics, care processes, treatment variability and patient outcomes, especially in regard to cardiac care,” said Stuart Long, CEO of InfoBionic, the leading digital health company that created the MoMe Kardia remote cardiac monitoring platform.
“AI algorithm-based cardiac devices can procure tremendous amounts of data, providing for the ability to match up what physicians are seeing to long-term patterns and possibly detect subtle improvements that can impact care,” noted Long.
Leveraging AI for clinical decision support, risk scoring and early alerting is one of the most promising areas of development for this revolutionary approach to data analysis. Powering new tools and systems can help make clinicians more aware of nuances, more efficient when delivering care, and more likely to curb a patient’s developing health problems.
AI is ushering in new clinical quality and breakthroughs in patient care. For example, at the Cleveland Clinic, a customized algorithm developed by clinicians analyzes data, including blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation levels, to flag the patients that are at highest risk of deterioration. The ultimate goal is to provide front-line clinicians notice of serious cardiac events before they happen. Moreover, the precision now possible with cardiovascular imaging, combined with “big data” from the electronic health record and pathology, is likely to lead to tremendous cases of cardiac disease management and personalized therapy.
Healthcare consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, projects a 40 percent growth rate for AI in healthcare between 2016 and 2021, and said AI has the potential to improve outcomes by as much as 40 percent, while reducing the costs of treatment by as much as 50 percent.
By George Mathew, MD, chief medical officer, North America, DXC Technology.
Patients, like all consumers, are more digitally aware and connected than ever before, as they continue to embrace the latest mobile devices and wearables. These devices, as well as the increasing availability of information on health management, have made patients more engaged participants in managing their own health and wellness.
As a result, they demand timely access to their own health information and expect care services that are personalized and convenient. They also want to use consumer-friendly digital tools to engage with their clinical records, lab results, medications and treatment plans.
However, many health organizations are still evolving their approach to meet this challenge. Existing systems of record in healthcare are often siloed, making it difficult to share actionable patient information across the continuum to accelerate service delivery and improve outcomes. The solution lies in implementing next-generation digital health platforms to integrate sources of historical clinical and wellness data to derive insights that drive more engaging patient experiences, better outcomes and lower costs.
Bridging the Information Gap
Integrating data sources across healthcare segments and aggregating them into a single digital-patient record, empowers patients and providers to make better healthcare choices and improve quality of care.
Rather than searching and clicking across multiple systems, an integrated digital patient-care platform creates a “single source of truth” to give patients and their providers quick and easy access to real-time, context-specific information for timely decisions. Benefits include the following:
Providers can optimize clinical operations, with results that include streamlined processes, reduced patient admissions, shorter hospital stays and, ultimately, improved quality of care for patients.
Patients may obtain a full view of their complete health journey and access relevant education and medication information — instead of having to wait for follow-up visits to see and discuss their results.
Patient engagement can also be improved through secure patient messaging capability, the ability for providers to receive patient experience feedback, and deployment of intelligent virtual assistants across a range of mobile devices to create a connected healthcare experience.
Additionally, when healthcare staff have access to the most up-to-date data, they can ensure the right materials are in the right place, reducing material waste and minimizing patient wait times. Furthermore, integrating clinical and wellness systems can help providers efficiently collect population health data to maximize health outcomes through early interventions.
Vital, the AI-powered software increasing productivity and improving patient health in hospital emergency rooms, today announces a $5.2 million Seed round led by First Round Capital and Threshold Ventures (formerly DFJ Venture). Vital uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to triage patients before they see a doctor, making it easier and faster for providers to coordinate care and prioritize patients.
Raised to help grow the Vital team of engineers and data scientists, and to bring its secure, cloud-based software to emergency rooms across the United States, the round also includes Bragiel Brothers, Meridian Street Capital, Refactor Capital and SV Angel, with angel investment from Vivek Garipalli, CEO of CloverHealth; and Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg, founders of Flatiron Health. Josh Kopelman, founder and partner at First Round Capital, will join Vital’s board of directors.
“The HITECH* Act was well-intentioned, but now hospitals rely on outdated, slow and inefficient software – and nowhere is it more painful than in the emergency room,” said Vital founder and CEO Aaron Patzer in a statement. “Doctors and nurses often put more time into paperwork and data entry than patient care. Vital uses smart, easy tech to reverse that, cutting wait times in half, reducing provider burnout and saving hospitals millions of dollars.”
Patzer brings capital to Vital from his success with Mint.com, which transformed bank data into an easy consumer product. The decision to take on an even higher-stakes, more regulated industry came after seeing firsthand the antiquated software hospitals use. Teaming up with Justin Schrager, doctor of emergency medicine at Emory University Hospital, Patzer invested $1 million and two years of peer-reviewed academic study, technical research and development to create Vital.
“Vital successfully built software with a modern, no-training-required interface, while also meeting HIPAA compliance. It’s what people expect from consumer software, but rarely see in healthcare,” said Kopelman. “Turning massive amounts of complex and regulated data into clean, easy products is what Mint.com did for money, and we’re proud to back a solution that’ll do the same in life and death situations.”
*The ACA’s Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health