1. Senate Committee Seeks EHR Interoperability Investigation
Our favorite hill is bringing the top health IT news for this week. The Bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee has announced it is seeking an investigation into whether meaningful use incentive payments are being used to fund EHR software with poor interoperability.
The announcement came after a review of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fiscal budget for 2015 showed signs of potential “information-blocking” between non-partnering organizations. The committee worries that these could be preventing the free exchange of patient records.
In their comments, the committee called on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to ensure EHRs provide free flowing patient data. The committee suggests the ONC only certify those programs that do not block information exchange and decertify any products that actively do. Additionally the committee asked the ONC to compile and present two detailed reports. One on the extent of information blocking including the number of vendors, hospitals, and providers involved, as well as ways to address the issue. The other on the challenges of interoperability.
Source: Informationweek, 7/28/14
2. New England Quality Care Alliance Pilots Consumer Data Use for Care Management
For the first time patient clinical and consumer data are coming together. A new program is comparing both sets of information to determine which patients are more likely to be receptive to care management programs.
The effort is being spearheaded by Michael Cantor, Chief Medical Officer for the New England Quality Care Alliance. Cantor cites the difficulty to manage care management programs as being his main motivation in seeking new sources of data. He hopes that this new information will allow the Alliance to better target patients who will truly see a change using these systems.
The pilot program will send health data to a mod eler, that will then pair the information with consumer data, such as credit card and Google usage. But this new effort does not come without new cautions. The biggest concern thus far is the discrepancies in consumer data. Cantor says name confusions and wrong data can have a larger impact on the healthcare community. As such, more accurate consumer data may be necessary for nation wide implementation.
Source: Modern Healthcare, 7/28/14
3. Wearable Tech: 5 Healthcare Wins
While wearable computers may sound futuristic, they’re becoming a very real technology for the healthcare world. Check out these five examples.
Nike’s new Fuel armband is stealing away from the fitness monitoring competition. Instead of just collecting data on your body’s movements, the band displays real-time information about the goals you’re reaching during your workout.
What if your doctor could see more than just you in the examination room? AugMedix claims to be the first system to offer data management and a display system. This will allow doctors to view patient data while examining the patient.
3. Augmented Surgery
When we’re talking about display systems, Google Glass appears to be leading the way. A team of Stanford University surgeons are using Google Glass and an app called MedicAR to guide surgerys step by step using the glasses.
Surgery isn’t the only place where Google Glass can succeed. With an app called Wearable Intelligence physical therapists to see the exercise a specific patient should perform on the glasses while filming the patient performing the exercise. The app then gives the therapist an OK if the exercise is done correctly.
5. Ocular Monitoring
Google X has already announced it’s developing contact lenses with microscopic sensors to monitor blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. But don’t expect them to stop there. Google X recently partnered with Swiss Biotech company Norvatis and lens maker Alcon to license the lenses for “ocular medical uses.” Some future uses may include preventing tired driving and assisting with people suffering from presbyopia.
Source: InformationWeek, 7/28/14
4. Google’s Baseline project could have big implications
Continuing with the Google theme, Google’s Baseline project is setting out to determine what exactly is a healthy human being. The project is set to sequence 175 healthy human beings in order to determine a baseline of genetic and biomarkers that “define” healthy.
According to Google, the information is for research purposes only.The company will shield all information from insurance and other interested companies.
Source: Modern Healthcare, 7/28/2014
5. Telstra Buys Medinexus as DCA eHealth Rebrands
A shameless plug for our Get Real Health team. We had another mention in an Australian media outlet for our role as the PHR component for Telstra health.
Telstra recently acquired Medinexus, a radiology and pathology secure messaging solution. The acquisition falls in line with Telstra’s goal to introduce a mechanism that will make information sharing in aged care, general practice, and pharmacy software systems easier. To do this they aim to bring together the six areas of provider applications, telehealth, care co-ordination, consumer health portals, enabling technologies and data analytics.
Telstra’s Head of Health, Shane Soloman told Pulse IT, “We have identified what we think are six really big-ticket issues in health and if you can put together the six capabilities, you can bring to the mainstream health system a solution.”
Source: Pulse IT, 7/28/2014
Graphic of the Week: Google’s Smart Contact Lens
Source: Modern Healthcare 7/28/14