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Healthcare in the Age of Modern Miracles

Healthcare in the Age of Modern Miracles

How do you define a miracle?

Some people cite the works of God. Others emphasize the simple luxury of waking up everyday to the sun rising over the horizon is a miracle. Being able to breathe and think as a human being, is a small miracle often overlooked.

Today, there are modern miracles that make the lives we lead possible. Healthcare has progressed in exponential ways in the past few decades. Now, with the influence of computers and data technology, healthcare information stimulates miracles for individuals everyday.

Say you go to the ER for a bleeding ulcer. First you will interact with EMT responders who take notes of your condition. Then you will be taken care of ER nurses, who hook you up to IVs and various machines. Then you will be seen by doctors, internists and GI specialists who address your situation and prescribe you various medication. There is always risk for error with so many actors. Healthcare information technology is expanding in its speed, expertise, and overall power, but the biggest challenge we contend with is how all of the spheres connect.

Marc Andressen recently reflected in a Vox.com article that healthcare is a sector with “insufficient productivity growth, innovation, and disruption. You’ve got monopolies, oligopolies, cartels, government-run markets, price-fixing. If healthcare and healthcare technology are not evolving at the pace of other industries, healthcare information technology is getting incredibly close.

Dave Levin writes in Healthcare Informatics that we need platforms like interoperability (and open APIs) to unleash the breadth and depth of innovation that HIT needs. By conn ecting separate islands of powerful health data networks, healthcare professionals will be able to build powerful IT ecosystems.

We need miracles. And we’re going to need more. We can harness our technology with the power to help us.

 

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Managing Data in Healthcare Information

Managing Data in Healthcare Information

There’s a lot of data out there.

Consider every person who goes into the doctor office on a given day; the information they provide to their specialist, that’s data. The observations recorded through laboratory research, that’s data. Processing in a hospital’s emergency room. More data.

Traditional methods for managing health data simply do not suffice for the numbers we deal with today. Given the value of healthcare data, new approaches to managing this data are essential.

So this September, a task force from the Department of Health and Human Services, launched a panel to address the threat of cyber attacks to healthcare information, now that so much data is stored online.

Experts from a range of expertise, such as providers, payers, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, IT vendors, government agencies, as well as a patient advocate, provide an opportunity to have well-rounded discussions about the future of health care data.

There are multiple topics to be addressed. The panel will review the challenge of securing networked medical devices and other software or systems that connect to an electronic health record. They will provide information about the explaining cybersecurity threats to the healthcare, and they will establishing a plan to create a single system for the federal government to share actionable intelligence regarding cybersecurity threats. That the healthcare industry have a real-time solution to these threats for no fee is of utmost importance.

According to Theresa Meadows, co-chair of the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force and CIO of Cook Children’s Health Care System, it will report to Congress on its findings and recommendations early next year.
“Today, there’s not a good mechanism for sharing information when cybersecurity issues occur,” she says.

“Usually what happens is we hear through word of mouth or we see it in the media, but we don’t really know what the cause was and so there’s no way for us to be proactive in preventing these things in our organizations.”

The best health care information management must work with leaders in technology and government to protect against cyber threats and make digital organizing accessible for everyone in the industry. Hopefully, this panel sheds some light on the future and possibility of health care data!

 

3D Printing Changing Health Care

3D Printing Changing Health Care

3D printing has been around for more than three decades, but it wasn’t until recent years people started to realize the importance of it, likely due to technology’s constant improvement.

Nowadays, anything 3D is at your disposal. You can purchase 3D-printed shoes, 3D-printed pens, and even 3D-printed vehicles. The 3D printing industry grew by 35.2 percent in 2014, followed by a slight slowdown in the year to follow. Nonetheless, the 3D printing industry continues to advance, particularly in the healthcare industry. 3D printing is starting to shake things up, especially as the price tag for it drops and the technology becomes more accessible.

Medical technologies are often expensive, especially when they’re new to the market. However, many of these new 3D-printed solutions are coming in at a reasonable price point and they’re doing incredible things with the technology.

For example, experts recently created 3D-printed skin for burn victims and airway splints for babies with tracheobronchomalacia, a rare condition where the airways around the lungs are prone to collapsing. The production of the airway splints are especially significant because they’re the first 3D implant made for children and they’re designed to grow with the patient.The splints can be produced in a matter of hours, and, miraculously, they only cost just $10 per unit.

Another important detail to take notice of is cost-effectiveness. The reason 3D-printed solutions are often cost-effective is the technology behind it. The process involves building solid, three-dimensional objects from a digital model, using additive processes in which successive layers of material are assembled on top of one another to build the desired object. This is extremely important because items can now be assembled from a digital model, which can increase precision and remove the risk of error. The 3D printing is quite different from older manufacturing techniques, which traditionally rely on removal (by cutting, drilling, chopping, etc.) instead of addition.

These medical solutions are not just for serious medical issues, they have also helped treat a wide range of different issues. Over the past two years,3D-printed ankle replacements,3D-printed casts, and3D-printed pills have all been developed and have seen great success rates.

This is all encouraging news, as the future for healthcare looks bright with technology continuing to improve in today’s society.

For more information on 3D printing,please read this article.

 

4 Apps That Are Changing Healthcare

4 Apps That Are Changing Healthcare

Technology continues to improve the way in which we do things in society. This is especially true within the healthcare industry. Nowadays, having a doctors appointment via video call and getting a prescription through an app is normal. Below you will find the top four apps that are continuing to change Healthcare.

Doctor on Demand

This unique app gives you the ability to consult with your doctor from anywhere of your choosing.  During a video appointment, your doctor can answer any medical questions that you have have or even write you a prescription. A video session with a doctor will cost you around $40 a session. This app already has more than 1,000 licensed physicians, in all 50 states, available at your fingertips.

Microsoft HealthVault

The microsoft healthvault is a valuable mobile app that allows you to keep all of your medical records in a safe and secure place. You will be able to share these records with your doctors or anyone else of your choosing. This app is great for people with health conditions that need to be looked at frequently because it will allow for you and your doctor to stay on top of all your healthcare needs.  It is extremely valuable tool that microsoft provides at no cost to you. That’s right, the healthvault is absolutely free!

Text4Baby

For all women who recently had a baby or those who are currently pregnant, listen up.  If you have any health related questions, concerns or advice, you can now turn to Text4Baby, organized by National Babies Coalition, for your answers. All you will need is a basic cellphone with SMS messaging capabilities. To get started, text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411. When you get a reply, you are asked to provide your due date and zip code. Everyone remains unknown and their identity is kept confidential. Once Text4Baby has your due date it will provide you with relevant information.  Another thing to keep in mind is that you may leave the service at any time.

Vida Health Coach

Do you want have your own personal health coach? Well, if you do not mind paying $15 a week, he or she is all yours. Once you sign up, you let your health coach know what you are looking to accomplish. They will come up with a personalized plan to help you achieve your goal. The health coach gives you ways to track progress in weight loss or even fat intake. These coaches have best interest in mind, and are available to help in any way that they can. You will speak with them via video call or on a conference call once week to go over progress and what are some next steps.

For more information about these apps and more,  please check out this article  

Increasing Number of Patients Are Opting For Electronic Medical Records

Increasing Number of Patients Are Opting For Electronic Medical Records

As electronic medical records continually find their place in news coverage, a new article from EHR Intelligence is reflecting how health care consumers are accessing their medical records at a growing rate. These findings also show that the healthcare industry’s goal f

A recent study by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health reported that nearly four in 10 surveyed individuals  who were surveyed were offered accesses to their electronic health records in 2014. This increase is substantially higher than  from 2013 where only 28 percent of survey respondents reported being offered electronic access to their health records.

Here’s an interesting video on EHR and security

One important point to note, half of the individuals who reported being offered access to their records actually checked them, and 81 percent of those individuals considered the information they accessed to be helpful and informative.

Despite the increase in the  individual access to electronic health information, challenges remain in the  gaps in information exchange. The ONC reports that between 2012 and 2014, total reported information gaps dropped from 39 to 36 percent, which the ONC states is not a statistically significant difference. Experiencing a gap in information exchange meant a patient had to bring his or her test results from one provider to another, had to recall his or her own health information because it was not on record, having to repeat a test that had already been administered, or had to wait for test results for longer than he or she believed reasonable.

According to the ONC,  “this growth in patient-accessed electronic health information may be a result of various policies and initiatives fostering health information exchange and interoperability. For example, in 2014 about half of primary care providers and hospitals had their own view, download, and transmit (VDT) capabilities. This is notably higher than in 2013, prior to the start of Stage 2 Meaningful Use, which had specific provisions regarding the sharing of electronic files with patients.”

EHR’s when safe and protective of users information, can be very helpful to hospital administration and patients alike.

To learn more about the increasing number of patients opting for electronic medical records, visit this article by EHR Intelligence

Security Hacks: EMR Inconvenience or Expected Feature?

Security Hacks: EMR Inconvenience or Expected Feature?

With scandals like the SONY and Ashley Madison fiascos, experts and the general public alike are wondering how secure their electronic medical bills really are? An article entitled,“How secure are your medical records?” from NBC4i provides insight into what exactly is going on with this new practice in the medical industry.

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In 2013, it was recorded that 78% of physicians had switch to electronic health record. In 2001, this was at 60%. The increase is courtesy of the federal Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.

The Ponemon Institute conducted a 2012 study which discovered that 94% of the 80 health care organizations they polled had experienced at least one breach in their systems during the past two years. It was estimated that around 3,000 documents and records were stolen during each of these breaches. This adds up to $2.4 million worth of damages as names, birthdates, addresses, and social security numbers were compromised.

The study further determined that info was obtained from stolen computing devices, employee mistakes, and third parties.

“Just think of all the different places where your health care information may eventually end up. It’s not secure. You should assume that at this point. We have this tension in our society about wanting doctors to know everything about us, wanting to know everything about us to provide care, but then having this tension with privacy as well” said Jim VanderMey, an innovation officer at Open Systems Technology.

Another problem can come from how you access your information. The expansion of technology has created a few problems. People are filling out forms and accessing their medical accounts from computers, smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.

All of these details should make you aware that anything online is probably not secure, and if it’s out there, it’s vulnerable to hackers. Change your passwords frequently and research other ways to help protect your identity and personal information. EMR’s have created convenience and allowed for physicians’ employees to put their time elsewhere, but it’s important to discuss and find solutions to the growing issue of hackers in the cyber world.