Video: Discussion on Healthcare Data Storage & Interoperability Guidelines

Marianne Matthews, chief editor, Axis, and Cristine Kao, global marketing director, Healthcare Information Solutions, Carestream, discuss the challenges in today’s healthcare IT environment, particularly the high volumes of data and what facilities must do to manage it.

Matthews and Kao had this discussion at HIMSS15, and expanded on the role that healthcare providers play in the management of data, as well as how they are working with vendors to address data storage needs.

The ONC Interoperability Guidelines were also discussed. Particularly, the advantages of these guidelines becoming more widespread, the benefits of having DICOM medical images continue to be a standard, and the role radiology can play in the digitization of healthcare moving forward.

Diagnostic Reading #24: Five Must Read Articles from the Past Week

Carestream LogoIt’s finally Friday and that means it’s time for another Diagnostic Reading. This week’s articles include big news about the SGR repeal legislation, an update from HIMSS 2015 about patient engagement, information about reducing hospital readmissions, issues with modern American healthcare, and information on what to do if an ultrasound is necessary but there is no sonographer on duty. Enjoy!

1) Congress Passes SGR Repeal Legislation, Ushers in New Era in MD Value-Based Payment – Healthcare Informatics

The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula has been a topic of tension with physicians for quite some time. This week, Senate voted with an overwhelming majority to repeal SGR. The formula was set to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21% only three hours before the legislation passed. This legal action will encourage the pay-for-value model that healthcare leaders have emphasized as the most realistic way to distribute Medicare reimbursements.

2) HIMSS15: Patient Engagement among Top Priorities for Providers – FierceHealthIT

A survey of hospital IT executives conducted by HIMSS has found that 72% of respondents said patient engagement would make up a large part of their organizational strategy over the next couple of years. A hospital executive, Bill Feaster, from Children’s Hospital of Orange County, said, “We’re not going to improve the health of our population unless we get patients engaged in their own care.”

3) A Hybrid Approach to Avoiding Readmissions – Hospitals & Health Networks

Hospital readmissions are costly. A nurse practitioner and a social worker have teamed up in order to address the issue of hospital readmissions, particularly for senior citizens. This article discusses a different approach to reducing readmissions. The author says that in order for this hybrid system to work, it is important to keep up-to-date with elderly patients. Physicians can educate patients while they are in the hospital, and with the support of an electronic health record, they can make sure patients are educated and adhering to everyday medical needs.

4) Four Healthcare Issues the Government Must Tackle – Fierce Healthcare

Healthcare expert, Paul Keckley, PhD, gives advice on how the United States can catch some of the world leaders in providing quality healthcare while using a smaller percentage of GDP. Keckley’s ideas include adjusting the structure, incentives, employer-based insurance and developing a transparent pricing model.

5) Teleradiology Prompts Shift in Use of After-Hours Ultrasound – AuntMinnie

The use of ultrasound is growing in healthcare facilities around the world. Unlike other forms of medical imaging, ultrasound is dependent on operator techniques. Many facilities are using teleradiology in order for after hours CT or MRI images (6 p.m. – 8 a.m.). This means many facilities might share one radiologist. A study in France wanted to find whether or not ultrasound images could be taken using other modalities or postponed until a trained sonographer was on hand. The study found that most ultrasound requests can be postponed until working hours or replaced with a different mode of imaging.

Combating Mobile Health Skeptics by Highlighting the Benefits

There are two camps in the mobile health (mHealth) issue: those who find the technologies to be beneficial and embrace adoption, and those who remain skeptical and refuse to adopt, or are slower to.

If anything, current market statistics are siding with the first camp—the global mHealth market is expected to be worth $49.1 billion by 2020, up from $1.2 billion in 2012; an estimated 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using mHealth apps this year, and those users will have more than 100,000 mHealth apps available via the iOS and Android platforms.

With all signs pointing to the mHealth explosion, challenges still exist. The most common ones being clinician adoption, lack of apps specific for medical use, improvement of medical apps that already exist, an authoritative collection of medical apps, security/privacy protection, and inability for healthcare organizations to handle Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.

These are challenges most can agree on but the skeptics still hold out on mHealth technologies until the benefits in efficiency and cost outweigh the disruption and expense of adoption. Those specific benefits include:

mHealth Benefits

How Providers Currently Use Mobile DevicesContrary to the skeptics’ beliefs, as the chart to the right indicates, mHealth is already intertwined into the healthcare space. Providers are using smartphones and tablets to share information with patients, look up reference material, learn about new treatments and clinical research, or even help to diagnose patients. mHealth is proving to be beneficial for the providers and the patients receiving the care.

While there is still a high population of physicians who do not believe in the benefits of mHealth, they will not be able to ignore their patients. Millions of people are using mobile apps and wearable technology to track calorie intake, sleep patterns, miles jogged, and other health habits. As they become more in-tune with their own health they will expect that their physicians will do the same, using similar devices.

For more details about the mHealth phenomenon and what providers can do to move adoption in the right direction, you can view and download the eBook, “The Healthcare March to Mobility.”

The eBook includes commentary from myself and Dr. Woojin Kim, MD, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Montage Healthcare Solutions, that explains the needs, challenges, and benefits of mHealth.

Ben Wilson, IntelBen Wilson is the Director of Mobile Health at Intel Corporation. He is responsible for development and execution of mobile health strategies and programs at Intel. Ben is also Co-Chair of the Accountable Care Community of Practice, a consortium of healthcare IT leaders committed to collaboration in the development of Accountable Care healthcare organizations. A Stanford graduate, Ben’s MBA and MPH in Health Management were earned at UC Berkeley.