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Infographic: Physician Adoption of Health IT

Posted by Matthew Smith on Sep 25, 2014 11:06:00 AM

Infographic, Health DirectionsThe Deloitte Survey of U.S. Physicians provides data-driven insights on physicians’ perceptions of the health care system and their thoughts on health care reform. Research conclusions include their perspectives and attitudes about health care reform, the future of the medical profession, and HIT. As they have done in past years, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions conducted a survey and compiled the findings in an infographic, below.

The survey polled a nationally representative sample of up to approximately 600 U.S. primary care and specialist physicians to understand their perspectives and attitudes about health care reform, the future of the medical profession, and HIT.

Most U.S. physicians are concerned that the future of the medical profession may be in jeopardy and consider many changes in the market to be a threat. They believe that the performance of the U.S. health care system is suboptimal, but the Affordable Care Act is a good start to addressing issues of access and cost.

Key takeaways:

  • Nine out of 10 physicians are interested in mobile health technology; those who are not tend to be older and have long-established solo practices.
  • Users of the technology outnumber non-users in favoring its benefits for accessing clinical information, researching diseases and treatments, and pursuing continuing education.
  • Three out of four physicians say EHRs increase costs and do not save time.
 
To view a larger version of the HealthIT infographic, click here

Infographic, EHR, EMR, HealthIT, HIT, Health IT

Topics: EHR, EMR, HIT, Health IT, HealthIT, Infographic, Mobile Health, mHealth

Vanderbilt University Launches Health Information Software Challenge

Posted by Matthew Smith on May 3, 2013 11:00:00 AM

Vanderbilt Mobil Health App Contest

Vanderbilt University announced yesterday a $20,000 worldwide contest called the Health App Challenge, aimed to transform patient clinical summaries into easy to understand personalized health information. 

Entries may be submitted May 1- Aug. 1, with a $10,000 winner and five $2,000 winners to be announced Aug. 14.

"This is a first for Vanderbilt, but what we love about this approach is that it truly allows non-medical people who are passionate about health care to change the way we communicate to patients,” said Kevin Johnson, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) and professor of Pediatrics. 

“This challenge recognizes our thirst to deliver personalized information that is relevant to patients and families, easily understood, and hopefully, feasible with current technology and data.  It should be very exciting for all involved.”

The contest is seeking software solutions that can generate rich, highly usable, and informative patient clinical summaries.

Contestants will use a set of test patient information, data schema, and other resources to develop applications that create modernized patient clinical summaries as part of the electronic health record.

“In today’s busy office practice, where patients are more complex, medicine is more complex, and time is short, patients often leave the office misunderstanding their medicines and their plan of care,” said Jim Jirjis, M.D., chief medical information officer and medical director of Adult Primary Care.

“Our contestants for this prize have the opportunity not only to show their creative prowess and win the cash award but they can also rest assured that the big prize is scalably improving patient safety.”

The resulting modernized summaries will become an integrated component of the patient’s health record, fostering new opportunities for improved disease management.

“The intent of the patient clinical summary was to help patients hone in on what’s important for their health,” said Naqi Khan, M.D., instructor, Department of Biomedical Informatics.

“Unfortunately, we’ve fallen short so far in delivering this information to them in an actionable form. The Health App Challenge hopes to remedy this by reinventing the summary into something truly engaging,”

For more information go to http://www.healthappchallenge.com/ and follow on Twitter at @VUMCAppContest

Topics: HIT, Health IT, Mobile Health, mHealth, Vanderbilt, Health Information Technology

eClinicalWorks to Spend $25M on Patient Engagement, Including New App

Posted by Matthew Smith on Feb 11, 2013 11:18:00 AM

EHR, mobile app, patient engagementEMR provider eClinicalWorks announced they are investing $25 million in patient engagement, including the creation of a new mobile app for patients. The Westborough, MA-based company already offers a patient portal to their EMR, but the new business unit and app, called Healow (short for Health and Online Wellness), will expand on that offering considerably.

“In order to transform healthcare, patients need to be engaged,” Girish Kumar Navani, CEO and co-founder of eClinicalWorks said in a statement. “People are invested in and want to be engaged in their health as long as they trust the source of the information.”

Due out in the iOS AppStore February 11th (and in the Google Play store at some point thereafter), the Healow app will connect users directly to their own patient health records. The app will allow users to access multiple providers’ patient portals from a single secure app; manage medications by scheduling doses, tracking pills, and requesting refills; gain access to lab results and personal health records; schedule appointment reminders; and exchange secure messages with doctors.

Founded in 1999, eClinicalWorks has been a long-standing EMR provider. The company counts some 220,000 healthcare providers among their user base, including the National Football League, with whom they signed an agreement late last year.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 guidelines, which go into affect starting in 2014, require not only that hospitals make electronic access to health records available to patients, but also that at least 5 percent of patients log in and use the online portal. The guidelines require that users be able to “view, download, and transmit” their health data and the Office of the National Coordinator, through its Blue Button Plus initiative, has openly encouraged companies to fulfill this requirement via apps.

In addition to the app launch, the company announced the results of a survey of 649 physicians. They found that 93% of physicians surveyed believe mobile health apps can lead to better patient outcomes and 89% said they were likely to recommend a mobile app to a patient. Nearly 33% cited medication adherence as a major area where mobile interventions could make a difference. Just over 50% cited diabetes and preventative care as key impact areas for mobile health.

The eClinicalWorks’ survey also found:

  • The top benefits for having a mobile health app feed data back into a patient’s electronic health record physicians cited are:

    • Nearly six in ten physicians (58%) said a top benefit was the ability to provide patients with automatic appointment alerts and reminders. In fact, 60% of physicians also said that at least half of their patients would be interested in appointment reminders via a mobile app;

    • Nearly 50% of physicians cited a patient’s access to medical records is a top benefit; and

    • The ease of scheduling appointments.

  • And the top three health issues where a mobile health application linked to an EHR could make an impact:

    • Nearly two thirds said medication adherence is a top health issue in which a mobile health app linked to EHR could make an immediate impact; and

    • More than half said diabetes (54%) and preventative care (52%).

      Electronic Health Records EHR Assessment

Topics: EHR, Patient Involvement, Patient Engagement, Patient Experience, Patient Satisfaction, eClinicalWorks, Mobile Health

Health IT Policy Committee Seeking Public Comment on Stage 3 MU

Posted by Matthew Smith on Dec 18, 2012 11:21:00 AM

Meaningful UseThe Health IT Policy Committee is seeking public comment on a proposed Stage 3 meaningful use recommendation to require providers to accept patient-generated health data.

According to the Policy Committee, one way health care providers could electronically accept such information would be to develop "semi-structured questions" and choose information "that is most relevant for their patients and/or related to high priority health conditions they elect to focus on."  With regard to the proposed requirement, the committee is seeking answers to the following questions:

  • What information would providers consider most valuable to receive electronically from patients? 
  • What information do patients think is most important to share electronically with providers? 
  • How can the meaningful use program support allowing doctors and patients to mutually agree on patient-generated data flows that meet their needs, and should the functionality to collect those data be part of EHR certification? 

The Policy Committee also is seeking information about whether existing standards could incorporate medical device data from the home and how patient-reported data could be incorporated into clinical quality measures. 

New digital health information management tools are enabling patients to become even more engaged. Patients now have access to personal health records, mobile applications, social networking sites and other interactive websites designed to help them meet their health and wellness goals. About 11% of all mobile phone users and 19% of smartphone users have at least one health app on their device, according to Pew Internet & American Life Project's Mobile Health 2012 survey. 

Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents who reported a "significant change," such as gaining or losing a lot of weight, becoming pregnant or quitting smoking were health app adopters. Of the 254 health app users in the survey, use of fitness and wellness apps dominated. Thirty-eight percent used apps to track exercise, fitness or heart rate, 31% tracked diet or food and 12% tracked weight.

The Policy Committee's RFC is open for comment until January 14, 2013. Comments should be submitted electronically via www.regulations.gov.

 

Topics: EHR, EMR, Meaningful Use, Electronic Health Records, Electronic Medical Records, Health IT, Stage 3, Mobile Health

8 Issues Affecting Population Health Management Right Now

Posted by Matthew Smith on Dec 16, 2012 10:55:00 PM

population health managementIn late 2011, the Care Continuum Alliance, an advocate for population health management, surveyed industry leaders to assess the market and predict key issues for 2012. According to the alliance’s white paper, two predominant themes were brought to light as a result of the survey.

“First, significant market movement will occur toward accountability and value creation in healthcare, driven partly by new physician-guided and collaborative models,” according to the report. “And second, population health management is well-positioned to add value to and support these emerging models, but must continue to build the case for wellness and prevention.”

Here are eight additional key issues, identified in the report, that currently affect population health management. 

1. Accountable care and the Medicare Shared Savings program. Many comments from survey respondents centered on accountable care and collaborative models, as well as federal support for both. According to the report, population health has a lot to offer collaborative care, such as health risk assessment and predictive modeling, HIT infrastructure, data analytics, care coordination and other core competencies. “But tempering optimism around accountable care models were caveats,” the report noted. 

2. Consumer use of mobile and eHealth technologies. According to the report, population health management has been both a driver and benefactor of the rise in eHealth and mHealth technologies. The demand for these technologies, said one respondent, will drive healthcare “to adopt … a patient-centered, consumer-empowered, pull-rather-than-push model, which has already been realized in the music, travel, book and news industries.” The importance of social media was also noted by those surveyed, and when coupled with mobile technology, will be used as a tool and patient engagement and shared decision-making. 

3. Reducing avoidable hospital readmissions in Medicare. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) could be a “big opportunity for companies who have developed proven strategies for reducing hospital readmissions,” wrote one survey respondent. The program includes Medicare tracking readmissions for three conditions – heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia – within 30 days on or after Oct. 1, 2012. Medicare will then reduce payments to hospitals to account for excess readmissions. 

4. Quality improvement in Medicare advantage. The Medicare Advantage’s (MA) “stars” rating system was another topic of discussion. The program will award bonus payments to plans under the stars system to assess performance on a myriad of measures. “The developing stars system appears [to be] headed toward a structure consistent with industry-advocated changes, including additional wellness and prevention measures and retirement of process-related measures,” the report read. It added that, combined with continued growth in the Medicare Advantage population, the need for plans to demonstrate improvement in wellness and chronic care measures will drive “expanded opportunities” in the Medicare managed care market, according to industry experts. 

5. Opportunities to support insourced programs. “An industry challenged at times by payer decisions to build rather than buy care management programs could face additional competitive pressure in 2012,” read the report. An industry leader added that the market will continue challenging the value of each program and, with the consolidation in the [managed care] industry, will continue looking at insourcing versus outsourcing. “ACOs may be a greater opportunity, but … these groups will often favor their own solutions rather than those from the outside,” he added. To that point, the report said, many components of population health management will likely prove especially valuable to health plans in 2012, regardless of the build or buy decisions. 

6. Improving care coordination for dual eligibles. Dual eligibles, or those eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, “attracted significant attention from policymakers in 2011 as economic pressures created an imperative for savings in both programs,” the report read. The need to reduce costs associated with this population is high, and as one respondent put it, “focus on improved care coordination for complex, multi-morbid patients is a must.” The report added Congress and the administration recognized the savings possible through better care coordination for dual eligible by formalizing federal oversight of the population in the ACA. “This heightened federal recognition … places a premium on care coordination services, such as those population health management provides.” 

7. Federal support for prevention and wellness. Although the ongoing deficit reduction debate in Congress has jeopardized federal support for wellness and prevention, said the report, industry leaders are optimistic about federal program opportunities. “The $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund … is an important part of the deferral effort, but only one element of a broader prevention and wellness strategy encompassed by the ACA,” according to the report. Since the law’s passage, Medicare has added annual wellness visits and expanded coverage of obesity and cardiovascular disease prevention services, “and the federal government has made significant grant funding available to states and communities for prevention and care coordination initiatives.”

8. Development of ACA health insurance exchanges. According to the report, development of the reform law’s health insurance exchanges – scheduled to open their doors in 2014 – will draw significant attention in 2012. “Especially with respect to how CMS structures the essential benefits package all participating plans must offer,” it said. Industry leaders said the challenge is ensuring the package is comprehensive and plans don’t dilute population health services to maintain competitive pricing in the exchange market. 

Topics: Accountable Care, ACO, Medicare, ACA, Affordable Care, Population Health Management, Mobile Health

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