An App Here, An App There….


Do you use health apps in your everyday life? Who directed you to the apps you use? Your doctor? Friend? Co-worker? Well, if you got yours from the App Store or Google Play then you are in the majority. That wasn’t the case 5 years ago:

This marks a shift from the firm’s 2010 survey, when more than 65 percent of healthcare practitioners said they’d be the ones to recommend mHealth apps to their patients. Five years later, that percentage has dropped to 48 percent of physicians and 46 percent of hospitals. (link to article)

Back in the late 2000s the apps were mostly driven by the health providers such as physician practices and hospitals. They were also many that were related to specific disease states or information that was gathered from the patient at the specific hospital or physician practice. Now we are seeing a trend, one that has been growing for a couple of years, of apps targeted toward exercise and diet. You may have a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, use My Fitness Pal or other apps to track what you do, what you eat, what your pulse is and how long you exercised.

But a lot of the apps fail to satisfy the users need. They may be too complicated to use, take more effort to input information or just simply don’t do what the app advertises. For instance, I have a Fitbit and originally wanted it to track my sleep. But it is not consistent so I just can’t rely on the information. A lot of the apps that you might have on your phone, iPad or such you have to either read the label and input the information about that chocolate chip cookie or glass of almond milk that you just consumed. Some are sophisticated enough to scan the barcode of the product and take the information from there into the app.

So what has your experience been with apps for your health? Did you healthcare provider point you to helpful ones? Do you use apps that are specific to your disease state – as in the case of diabetic monitors? Or have you just seen others using these apps on Facebook and thought that might work for you?

Tell me about it!


Shifting Interoperability Focus to Non-Eligible providers and Moving beyond Meaningful Use


HIMSS Blog

Individual and community level health information exchange is the most recent focus of ONC funding continuing the journey to move us close to seamless interoperable health information exchange.

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Do YOU Own YOUR Health Data?


I’ve been following the “ownership” of patient health care data for probably over 12 years – since I started full-fledged into healthcare IT – that’s at least how long those in the industry have been talking it over – and over, and over, and over. So it was much to my surprise to come across an article that laid out who owns the health data – you or the provider or the healthcare company.

I was even more shocked to find that there are states that will not release your own health data from your physician/healthcare system without a court order!!! Wowser!! Won’t see me moving to South Carolina or New Jersey or visiting a doctor there unless I’m in a life or death situation!

But you are in luck if you live in New Hampshire – you own your data according to “Revised Statutes of the State of New Hampshire 151:21”  So yup, I would definitely be comfortable their having MY health data.

If I counted right, then 27 states have no laws on ownership, so its a toss up…

And then my own state of Texas – to my shock and horror and almost pissed-off-ness –

Medical records may be owned by a physician’s employer, including include group practices, professional associations, and non-profit health organizations.

That word of “may” tricks me up…does that mean they “may” give me a copy without that court order like South Carolina wants or they “may” decide they don’t want to give them to me? Clarity, folks, clarity!!

So here is the infographic/map if you want a quick look… but thought you might find this a little interesting. What do you think of your state’s laws or lack of?

health data owner

Courtesy of this great article!


How much is your healthcare information worth on the “black” market?


According to an article in Reuters, your information from a healthcare hack can sell for $20 or more on the black market. Why, you ask? Because that information is much easier to use to paint a whole picture of a person and their identity than the previously targeted financial data. They can use the healthcare data to receive medical care, obtain prescriptions, and use your social security number and date of birth to obtain credit in your name. With the financial sector locking down their information in response to the many hacks of late years the healthcare industry is an easier target as they have not been previously worried about hacking.

In a recent Washington Examiner article, it was reported that:

 Hackings of data from healthcare firms and doctors jumped over 1,800 percent from 2008-2013…

Reviewing Health and Human Services reports of data breaches where more than 500 patients were exposed, the Brookings Institution found that the number went from just 13 in 2008 to 256 in 2013, impacting 9 million in 2014.

Healthcare systems that are hacked and have the weak security can/will be fined up to $1.5 million dollars – which should serve as incentive to tighten up that security.

What does this mean to you? It means you should keep an eye on your credit, listen to the news for reports of hacking, and you might even ask your health care provider and other healthcare entities if their security is appropriate. Of course, most of those clinical providers on the front end (those doctors & nurses) probably can’t answer the question as it lies deeper in the organization or operations, such as the information technology department, so don’t be too upset if they can’t tell ya about it.

Thoughts?


What’s in store for mHealth?


From the 2014 mHealth Summit they had 4 “take-aways” – all four were ones that we have heard before and ones that we should be listening to.

I’ll start with the easy one, in my opinion – (and their #1 on the list) – Consumer Engagement is the buzzword. I’ve been talking about this one off and on for a while. We are a culture that is becoming more informed. We have access to health information much more easily than those who have come before us. Google, WebMD, and just about any health related organization, such as providers and support sites. For me, personally, I am paying attention to more on the Breast Cancer site than before because my mom is fighting breast cancer. And we’ve talked before about access to your own health information and how we all want to see what our health record looks like and find out what did the doctor realllly say in my last visit with him/her?

The next one, in my numbering system, is that Apple’s HealthKit could be a game changer. I’m still waiting on this one. It could be the game changer – I hope it is the game changer. Basically, it could connect all those wonderful health apps to the Apple Health and keep all the nifty data there for us.

Well, that brings me to my favorite of the 4 – data analysis! Now, I hope I don’t lose my non-nerd friends on this one (as my kiddos would say). I am blessed to have just started a job with a company that provides data analytics to health providers. And, let me say, WOW, I am excited! This is the meat of it all! We have sooooooooo much information on our health, health standards, metrics for health measurement and just oodles and bunches of good stuff that can help us monitor our health as individuals and as communities! We are capturing data in mobile devices, devices worn on the body, devices used in the practice of health care, electronic health records and even in the data that our insurance company holds on us – well, except Anthem – they can’t seem to hold onto our information…. (sarcasm). This is great stuff. It is time we put it to good use!

And that leads to the last of the 4 – Care Coordination works! – Why, yes, Sherlock, it does. If my care providers know what is going on with me, my labs, my meds and my tests then I get better care – or I should expect better care. More effective care. If I make sure that my nutritionist knows that my iron levels came in low on my last blood tests that my general practitioner ordered then I get better guidance on my diet. You can see where I am going here…

So – what do you see in store for mHealth in 2015?


Are We Sucking the HIE Innovation Oxygen Out of the Room


HIMSS Blog

by John Kansky, BS, MS, MBA, HIMSS board member 

It’s crisp and clear in Cleveland, Ohio.  A good way to start my day at the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) North American Connectathon Conference.  I love the smell of hot coffee intermingled with the sound of amplified speech-stirring thoughts about health IT interoperability.

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Big Data & Analytics


Did you know that we are already using big data (extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions) to help with Parkinson’s disease (Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research) and to help the first responders to arrive on the scene earlier than previously experienced (Jersey City’s Medical EMS)? It’s true. (reference here)

I’ve also talked about big data in previous posts:

Data & Big Brother in Healthcare

How Well Will Wearables and mHealth apps Work with the Individual

So what is happening with our data? It is being evaluated to determine the care level of the patient. Or, in other words, we are analyzing the data from both clinical and claims systems to identify patient health status, compliance with physician orders and gaps in care that may be needed proactively for the patient.

This collection of data is being used by insurers and clinicians for the purpose of making the care of the patient more effective, efficient and comprehensive. It is also being used by the more commercial side of the healthcare business, such as pharmaceutical companies evaluating the use of their drugs with claims data on prescriptions filled, but with this use the patient information is not part of the package that the commercial side provides.

What does this mean for the general public? Well, a couple of things. For the individual it helps them to manage their health and diseases and to proactively ensure that they are progressing in a positive direction for a healthy life. For the public it means that we now have the ability to see what the community might need to make it healthier and to identify the potential for commonalities of disease in the community.

We are moving toward an industry that can have the tools to make us healthier as individuals and a community. This quote from David Richards (in the first article link above) sums it up:

…future breakthroughs may have less to do with chance discovery than the systematic analyses of existing data. And while these are the early days of data-driven hospitals, the writing is on the wall for healthcare as we know it.


HIMSS mobile IT survey


Take the HIMSS mobile IT survey here!

Completing the survey qualifies you to participate in a drawing, the winner of which will be given the choice of a Samsung Galaxy, Apple iPhone 6 or iPad Mini, and $500 either in the form of a Visa gift card or donation to the charity of your choosing.

And you’ll have the satisfaction of participating and having an impact in the world!


5 Steps to Use Health IT in Meaningful Ways


HIMSS Blog

by Pat Bush, RN, MS, FACHE, CSSC, Board Member, CNFHIMSS Chapter; Board Member Central Florida AHCE Chapter

Meaningful use is still a challenge for many organizations that face issues from data quality to patient identification and data security. Major investments and installation of health IT do not ensure the use of health IT by clinicians, physicians or patients.

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Cerner/Siemens merger is big news!!


Well, I was surprised on this one but I’m probably not the one “in the know” on deals such as this – but Cerner & Siemens $1.3 billion merger occurred last week. And I know that everyone from employees to users of the separate companies’ products to the whole HIT world are waiting to see what happens next. The article interviews John Glaser of Siemens and surprised me by noting that the merger has been a bit on the brains of the executives for quite some time – since 2010. Could this bring the two companies together and put them back in a powerhouse position? Guess we’ll have to wait and see. But honestly, with IT products, unless they have been working on programming since 2010, they don’t move that quickly.

Any thoughts from the audience?


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