Diagnostic Reading #7: Five Must-Read Articles From the Past Week

EHR TechnologyThis week’s articles include: a study that finds advanced EHRs can reduce adverse effects; the opportunity for radiologists to participate in value-based healthcare models; increased use of telehealth technology by substance abuse treatment providers; tweaks to PACS workstation software that could help radiologists cope with the data deluge; and a nationwide analysis of electronic health records that has uncovered several previously unknown risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

Patients with fully electronic health records experienced fewer adverse events, such as hospital-acquired infections, according to a study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

Improve population health. Optimize the patient experience. And cut costs. That, of course, is the “Triple Aim,” the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s boiled-down Continue reading

Diagnostic Reading #5: Five Must-Read Articles From the Past Week

This week’s articles focus on: automated email messaging to engage patients in their own care; five healthcare trends to watch in 2016; why the IT transformation is creating a growing need for CIOs; adding an annual pledge for healthcare facilities that participate in the Image Wisely program; and the move to spend more healthcare IT dollars on analytics, patient engagement, customer relationship management and cybersecurity.

A healthcare startup made a wild pitch to Cara Waller, CEO of the Newport Orthopedic Institute in Newport Beach. The company said it could get patients more engaged by “automating” physician empathy and told Waller Diagnostic Reading, Patient Engagementits messaging technology would improve their satisfaction and help keep them out of the hospital. High satisfaction scores and low readmission rates mean higher reimbursements from Medicare, so Waller was intrigued. So far, she’s been surprised at patients’ enthusiasm for the personalized—but automated—daily emails they receive from their doctor. Continue reading

RHIOs, SHIN, and the Possibilities of Connected Healthcare

Rich Pulvino, Digital Media Specialist, Carestream

Rich Pulvino, Digital Media Specialist, Carestream

As a patient, I want my physicians and healthcare providers to give me the best care possible when needed. As a marketer in the healthcare industry, I understand the strains and difficulties it takes to make this possible. And however rough the waters may be, it’s clear that there is progress being made. Not only between connecting patients with their physicians, but linking health systems together in an effort to bring quality care to a patient, wherever they may be.

At the New York State HIMSS Conference, Paul Wilder, vice president of product management of New York eHealth Collaborative, provided a regional update on how the state is doing in terms of healthcare unification. The update included adjectives such as “thriving,” “dynamic,” and “evolving” -the last one being the focal point of his presentation. This spotlight on the patient-centered care delivery has allowed health systems to follow the patient and the patient’s data. Wilder mentioned how this data is personal, yet it is not moving well from facility to facility. While proud of the strides New York has made, Wilder was honest in explaining that there is still a long way to go and he believes that eHealth Collaborative will be a key factor thanks to its position as a facilitator of healthcare policy development and a provider of technical services.

Health organizations cannot tone down the liquidity of data, or stop it from moving because of the way data is created and shared today. Wilder emphasized that the technology we have available today can not only create the network for sharing patient data throughout the state, but also facilitate the secure exchange of the data. As of now, regional organizations exist that allow for the smooth exchange of data. These regional health information organizations (RHIOs) serve as effective entities for the smaller areas, but a state-wide information infrastructure must be built to handle state reform goals. The caveat being that this is not only about changes in healthcare, but system changes as well. The goals Wilder discussed for these organizations included:

  • Support clinicians and consumers with information at point of care
  • Advance care coordination
  • Strengthen public health surveillance and response
  • Enhance quality and outcome measures

The solution Wilder presented to meet these goals focuses on making the private network provide the solution to the Department of Health (DoH) instead of the other way around. The RHIOs are built and are more nimble than the DoH. In New York, the Statewide Health Information Network (SHIN-NY) consists of the connected RHIOs. According to Wilder, the advantages that these RHIOs provide are that they possess an understanding of local needs. Because of this, it becomes easier to integrate systems from one RHIO to another. What this means for patients is:

  • Secure messaging with a broader reach
  • Care coordination
  • Results-based delivery
  • General messaging
  • Secure transmission of private health information between covered entities
  • Information exchange via a Healthcare Internet Service Provider (HISP)
  • Subscribing to notification so there is notification when there is an event (admission, inpatient admission, discharge, etc.)

In his conclusion, Wilder encouraged everyone in the room to become part of, and show support for, SHIN-NY. If we work to become connected, it presents the potential to improve the state’s ability in offering quality care to people across the state—from New York City to most western and northern regions. While what he discussed was unique to New York, it provides an excellent model for other states in the U.S. to follow. New York is well connected when it comes to healthcare thanks to the RHIOs and SHIN-NY, and it is to be expected that the connectivity will only be improved in the following months and years.

Six IT Principles to Encourage Online Patient Engagement

Cristine Kao

Cristine Kao, Global Marketing Manager, Healthcare IT, Carestream

Patient engagement measures have the potential to be one of the most transformative aspects of reform on the quality of care, but but we must recognize the challenge they pose to a provider’s IT strategy. The operational design of a patient engagement portal must provide enough value for patients to go online, and stay online.

In the lead up to Intel’s Healthcare Innovation Summit webcasts on October 23, I was invited to share with their community of healthcare IT professionals best practices for developing a patient engagement strategy or selecting a technology platform:

1. Offer access to full patient information.
2. Integrate core patient services
3. Deploy a simple and intuitive user interface that reduces need for support
4. Implement a device neutral solution that does not require installation or download
5. Include customizable sharing settings for administrators (critical results release) and patients (consent to access).
6. Carestream MyVueDistribute security protocols

You can read the full post here. These guiding principles serve as an important foundation as healthcare’s C-Suite balances compliance with Stage 2 meaningful use in the context of broader patient satisfaction goals.

What best practices are your facility grounding your patient engagement technology strategy in? What advice would you add to this list?

Schedule a demonstration of Carestream’s MyVue, a works-in-progress patient portal, at RSNA 2012. 

Stage 2 and the Shift to a Patient-Centric Radiology Workflow

Doug Rufer

Doug Rufer, North American Business Manager, RIS, Healthcare Information Solutions, Carestream

The final measures of stage 2 meaningful use start the 2nd chapter in changing the way all specialties will practice medicine.  For radiology, incorporation of patient images into the patient’s clinical record as a specific measure opened the door for future legislation that will take into account other specialty needs as future stages are rolled out.

The goal of meaningful use has always been to provide both clinical and technological avenues to share patient medical information without boundaries to those who require it to improve quality of care and reduce overall costs.  By adding medical images to the mix, the door has been opened for improved access to patient images, thereby reducing repeat exams; and from the patient perspective, decreasing overall patient exposure to radiation.  However, these changes are sure to propose challenges for radiology going forward.  Radiology is typically practiced as a departmental approach, not a patient centric approach.  Additionally, radiology has been the gatekeeper of the medical imaging record, not the EHR; and to date, there are no standard-based image archives and viewing platforms that allow any EHR access to patient images regardless of vendor or location; and this is where the opportunity for medical imaging vendors begins.

Providing measures to incorporate medical images into the EHR sets the stage for better image access, but one major hurdle still exists: how does one access the thousands of imaging silos of information?  Additionally, how do we create a standards-based, not simply vendor-neutral, open access image archive accessible by those who need it the most – the patient and their primary caregiver?

Meaningful Use will forever change radiology’s workflow. The new path keeps the patient at the center of care. This paradigm shift will prompt new technologies and new methods for practicing radiology as the future unfolds.

Consider the following:

  • Radiologists must focus more on the overall clinical condition of the patient when making an exam diagnosis, rather than the short patient history taken at the time of exam.  This change emphasizes overall patient outcomes, not just imaging outcomes.
  • Access to the complete patient record and forthcoming decision support rules will aid radiologists in taking a more holistic approach to image diagnosis.  While this will take more time in exam interpretation, overall patient outcomes can improve significantly.
  • Barriers to image access that exist today must be overcome to allow easier access across any platform for viewing.
  • New mobile technology must be developed to provide anytime/anywhere access to the patient record and images, further reducing the barrier to information.  This will further virtualize the medical industry.
  • Technologists must now focus on capturing better patient histories using a structured data approach during the exam to help radiologists better collaborate with the overall patient record and produce better reports that provide better data mining capabilities.

Although we’re still in the infancy of rolling out a more patient centric model of care that encompasses all medical specialties, radiology must begin to adapt today to prepare for the changes of tomorrow.  No longer can a radiology practice afford to focus on the inherent imaging needs of the patient, but rather the overall goal of improved patient outcomes needs to take front and center stage going forward.  The advent of new technology must take place for our reformed healthcare model to succeed. As you consider technology purchases today, make sure your vendor is devoted to developing the tools necessary for the future.

Webinar: IT Strategies for Imaging Growth & Quality Outcomes

Mary Tierney

Mary Tierney, VP, Chief Content Officer, TriMed Media Group

Earlier this month CMIO Magazine unveiled a new name, Clinical Innovation + Technology, and website, Clinical-Innovation.com. Our new focus mirrors healthcare’s technology-fueled transformation where C-suite executives are tasked with blending clinical and technological innovations to deploy new care processes and practices, evidence-based medicine and decision support, and enhancing communication and information access  across the care continuum through interoperability of clinical devices and IT systems.

Next week in a free Webinar, sponsored by Carestream, we’ll be looking at how this new environment – spurred by the convergence of reform and big data – is impacting the CXO’s approach to operational design in medical imaging.

You’ll hear from:

Kristina Kermanshahche, Chief Architect of Health for Intel Corporation

Maureen Gaffney, RN, the CMIO at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York


Dr. Eliot Siegel, Professor and Vice Chair University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, and Chief of Imaging at VA Maryland Healthcare System in Baltimore.

Our panelists will detail how CXOs can collaborate with radiology and IT on intelligent IT strategies that do far more than improve department or hospital productivity and efficiency. These strategies must also facilitate image exchange, mobile access and patient empowerment, while unlocking new financial models for growth and scale and supporting imaging’s inclusion in health reforms like meaningful use Stage 2 and the position within the broader picture of health IT.

Please join us and participate in our live Q&A on September 18 at 2 p.m. EST.  Register for the event today!

The Culture of Technological Evaluation: Tackling Spain’s Healthcare Challenges

David Magboulé

David Magboulé, Marketing Manager, Carestream Health Spain and Portugal

Despite the current economic problems affecting the healthcare market in Spain, everyone involved in the decision making process agrees on the need to invest in innovation to take us in the right direction. In this particular case, new technologies will play a crucial role in speeding up and improving the work of medical teams. In turn this will have a direct impact on improving diagnostics and will help lead to a better quality of life for patients and better patient care.

To tackle these challenges, a new concept has recently been introduced at national level. Derived from the application of the use of new technologies in the health system,  La Evaluación En Red (Network Evaluation) is an agency network set up to evaluate healthcare technologies and disseminate information to simplify the decision making process in the Spanish National Health System .

In Spain, the average life of diagnostic equipment in hospitals, such as CT scans or MRIs, is approximately 10 years.  For radiology rooms it is 8 or 9 years. Often medical equipment continues to be used past this timeframe as many hospitals do not have the financial resources to buy new equipment. For that reason it is a priority to get the message across that the implementation of new technology is a mid-long term investment and not a cost, and one that will have a direct impact on the improvement of the service, diagnostics and the quality of patient care. In that sense, our country is an international leader in the implementation of information technology in the healthcare sector, ahead of countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Singapore or the United States. Our country is focused on how to make it easier to share patient information between organizations, which will then have a positive impact in preventing medical errors, reducing healthcare costs and reducing paperwork.

Of course there is a long way to go when it comes to the use and application of new technologies in the healthcare sector. One example that we can take as a reference point in Spain is the Agency for the Evaluation of Healthcare Technology in Andalucía, whose principal task is to provide quality information to help citizens to get involved in the decision making processes and promote an evaluative culture among healthcare professionals. At a European level there is also a global evaluation network run under the auspices of the Health Technology Assessment International association (HTAI), which over the last few years has become a benchmarking tool for healthcare managers and helps in the prioritization of healthcare resources and the adoption of new technologies.

It is truly necessary to create a culture of evaluation throughout Spain, using comparative models to raise awareness and to enable an appropriate response to global needs without losing the local perspective. This balance is essential, especially when it comes to evaluating technologies. The creation of a national agency will help with the decision to renew technology in hospitals and drive technology standards in all healthcare centres at a national level. The Evaluation Agency will also allow healthcare providers to make decisions on matters of healthcare technology that will help to optimize resources and improve the quality of patient care.

This long term investment in innovation should be the strategic vision of a healthcare model that goes beyond companies and public bodies to position the country as a reference at an international level.

A Spanish version of this post is available.  Continue reading

ACA: What Do They Really Think?

Sean P. Reilly

Sean P. Reilly, Publisher, Imaging Technology News and Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology

Editor’s Note: This is a guest-post by Sean P. Reilly of Imaging Technology News and Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology

It has been interesting to monitor news outlets and social media since the US Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.

Extremists on both sides excluded, it appears many healthcare providers, associations and the like have made public statements in support of ACA’s promise of affordable healthcare access for all Americans

For the most part, responses have been swift but measured, “politically-correct-speak.”

Behind the scenes, however, there are many, very real concerns about the ACA and what its true cost is going to be.

How will ACA impact the economy, businesses and taxpayers?  Further, how will the ACA impact the US healthcare system, those who provide care and those who develop leading-edge technology?

Make no mistake about it; the real story has yet to be told.  Fasten your seat belts and stay tuned.

Using Design for Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare Product Development

Helen Titus

Helen Titus, Marketing Director, Digital Capture Solutions, Carestream

Back in 2009, USA Today reported that “Each of the nation’s 5,700 hospitals must cut $2.6 million a year on average in costs in the next 10 years to meet the demands of President Obama’s proposed health care reform, a daunting task when half of those hospitals lose money.”

While healthcare reform continues to evolve, the recognition that eliminating efficiencies allows us to work smarter, not harder—and provide more cost-efficient higher quality care—is fueling lean six sigma process improvements throughout the hospital ecosystem.

But hospital providers aren’t the only ones turning to lean principles. Lean Six Sigma is driving innovation in our product development to ensure what hits hospital hallways has been designed through disciplined problem solving that helps overcome your challenges. Challenges like:

How do we bring the very best image quality to the sickest patients in the hospital (those in the ICU) in a way that is the most efficient and easiest for the technologist?

You can learn about the role LSS played in the design of our mobile x-ray system — the CARESTREAM DRX-Revolution — over on Blogging Radiography.

Healthcare Reform, Digital X-Ray and Continuing Education Opinion from Chile

Boris Alvarez

Boris Alvarez, project consultant, Medical Technology School, Universidad San Sebastián

Editor’s Note:  Boris Alvarez, project consultant for Medical Technology School, Universidad San Sebastián , in Santiago Chile, shared his thoughts with us on the difference between public and private healthcare, digital x-ray technology and the importance of continuing education and networking.

Q: Having lived in both the United States and Chile, can you give us a snapshot of the differences you see in planned healthcare reforms?

In my opinion, healthcare reforms in both countries address the need to achieve better access to care, especially for those more vulnerable citizens.

On one hand, the USA has been the most important country in the development of technologies for the whole world. This is increasing healthcare costs by transferring research costs to American patients. The US government expects to use strategies that reduce healthcare prices for the population with fewer alternatives to pay for it.

In contrast, the Chilean government is addressing healthcare access through a framework that allows public and private investment to give access to better technology to the people who can not afford it.

I think the biggest challenges for healthcare institutions are in their capacity to adapt to the new scenario. In the American case, institutions must be able to fit their cost structure in order to be more competitive. In the Chilean case, institutions must follow the technologic vanguard, in spite of the limitations in budget of the Chilean market.

Continue reading