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What Are You Doing for #NHIT Week? Does It Matter?

Posted on September 15, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today is the official start of National Healthcare IT Week (#NHITWeek). Do you have any plans for #NHITWeek? Are you doing anything special? I personally don’t have any huge plans, but I do have one post for #NHITWeek that I hope people will enjoy. Watch for that coming later this week on one of the Healthcare Scene blogs.

If you want a full run down of official #NHITWeek activities, EHR Intelligence has put that together. HIMSS seems to be the real driver behind the week from what I can tell. I’ve never been to Washington during #NHIT Week, so maybe that’s why I haven’t ever seen the impact of the week. I guess I’m skeptical about what it really accomplishes.

What I have enjoyed is following the #NHITWeek hashtag on Twitter. There’s a lot of activity on the hashtag. You just have to filter through the #NHITWeek fluff and marketing. From the looks of Regina Holliday’s tweet, there are quite a few people attending the event she’s attending:

Plus, you get to see other craziness like this QR code connected to Casey Quinlan’s health record that she had tattooed on her chest:

Not to mention, you get links to great resources like this one from Steve Sisko:

I think that Steve has the right spirit for what #NHITWeek is for me. It’s about connecting people in the space. It’s always great when we can share the work that’s being done across the spectrum of health IT. I’m always amazed at how many people are working so hard day in and day out to make healthcare IT work.

Trying to Regulate Twitter

Posted on August 26, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I recently saw a bunch of people tweeting about a conference in Milan which was supposedly trying to regulate the use of Twitter at the medical meeting. It turns out that the post about what you should tweet about at the meeting was mostly a joke and the comments that were highlighted were largely taken out of context. Plus, it wasn’t the organizer of the event that did the post, but just a participant in the conference. Because of the stir up, the post was taken down, but Dr. Bryan Vartabedian captured a piece of the post in his commentary:

The social side of any conference is important, and Twitter, being part of the social media, will naturally show that side. There is, however, a danger that the orchestra’s symphony will be drowned out by foot-shuffling, program brandishing, and a general clucking and chattering.

Ironically, this story ends up being a case of where Twitter can go wrong. It’s easy to misconstrue what people mean in a blog post or on Twitter. I have it happen all the time with the blog posts I write. I’m often amazed at people’s responses to my blog post since they either miss the point of my post or they think I’m making a point which is definitely not the case. Over time I think I’ve gotten better at this, but with thousands of readers over thousands of blog posts there’s bound to be a miscommunication. The great thing is that once I engage them, there’s usually clarity. But I digress…

Regardless of the particular situation at the medical meetings in Milan, the discussion of regulating Twitter (feel free to insert other social media as well) is a really good one. Although, it doesn’t just apply to meetings. I’ve seen many people try and regulate what’s done on all sorts of hashtags or other social media. I find the efforts people make to control other people on social media entertaining.

I’m sure this says a lot about me, but when someone tries to regulate what’s said or done on a hashtag on Twitter (meeting or otherwise), it just makes me want to do the opposite. While I have that innate need to not be controlled (some might call it rebellion), the reality is that I take a much more pragmatic approach to people’s suggestions about what should be said or done with a hashtag. I use a simple measure: “Will their suggestion make me a better part of the community?” (Yes, communities come together around hashtags) If I think that someone’s suggestion is a good one that will make me a better part of that community, then I usually listen. If I don’t think their suggestion matters or actually detracts from the community, then I ignore. Do I make mistakes? Absolutely, but this is my approach to it.

My personal approach aside, the reality is that even if you want to control what happens on Twitter and with certain hashtags, you can’t! If someone wants to be a bad actor in a hashtag community, then they’re going to do it. Bad community actors aren’t usually listening to the other people in the community anyway. So, trying to police it usually just leaves you dirtying the conversation stream even more.

Personally, I love the diversity and freedom that’s seen by participants in a Twitter stream. It tells me a lot about the person or company. Plus, I like the human elements of Twitter as well. I love to see that someone’s excited about a conference, their puppy, a great meal, a certain vendor, etc. Those that only talk about these things I can easily block if needed, but the reality is that a tweet is so easily consumed I can skip over any that don’t interest me.

I know many people hate when a Twitter stream is overwhelmed with vendor tweets at a conference as well. This doesn’t bother me much. It tells me a lot about the vendor as well. If they don’t care enough to be thoughtful in their tweeting, do they also not care enough about their product? Plus, if they’re spamming the stream with sales tweets, is that how I’ll be treated as a customer? This is good for me to know and so I don’t mind seeing their true form on Twitter.

With that said, I have found that the quality of a hashtag Twitter stream is directly proportional to the number of humans that are tweeting on that hashtag. Social media is about connecting people and so it makes sense that when more people (as opposed to no personality companies) are participating, then it’s a better experience.

I’m sure many will still try and influence what’s done on a Twitter stream. More power to them, but it’s a losing battle. Instead of trying to regulate Twitter, I think we’re better served encouraging and promoting those people and tweets that are adding value to the hashtag community. Plus, we can contribute value to the stream ourselves. There are bad actors in every community in the world. However, if enough good people are on board adding value, then the bad actors fade into the background.

How Doctors Can Make Use of Social Media?

Posted on June 17, 2014 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Alex Tate.
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By using the right strategy doctors can gain a lot by making a proper use of social media to market themselves, share their rich experience and knowledge and carry out discussions with the colleagues in the industry.

Many of the doctors are afraid of the unknown and thus decide to remain silent over the social media due to privacy concerns. It is possible to create a good balance between having a transparent communication and matching to the necessary limitations of the industry.  Around 24% of physicians use social media at least once a day to post, share and seek medical information. The use of social media is still in its early years and it is a great opportunity to take advantage of these digital platforms and build credibility for your career as a doctor or a physician. The medical industry is very less saturated online as compared to other industries mainly due to the fear and apprehensions of health care organizations and professions as they would want to avoid liability issues related to social media related platforms.

As a doctor it is possible to make an effective and profitable social media strategy to market your practice and career. It will require a lot of time and effort but the results can have a far reaching effect for the long term success. If you are a physician or a doctor there are many ways you can make yourself stand out among others and effectively reach the right people in your social media.

  1. Set up personal account in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

Having social media accounts is one of the ways to increase your social footprint and expand it. Make a personal profile in all these three networks and optimize them to the fullest.

  1. Make Use of Visuals

Visuals are more effective in engaging people than text therefore include more pictures in your social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. This is one of the important things to implement on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When you are sharing content make sure you use original and non copyrighted photography in order to boost your engaging posts. Another way is to make use of photos in the blog posts, videos and articles when you are posting things on these networks.

  1. Share the knowledge

It doesn’t matter that which platform you are sharing your content on but make sure you whatever you are saying is helping you to make connections, followers and friends. Make use of your unique expertise and share the relevant information about what you know best.

Apart from joining the existing twitter chats, LinkedIn groups and relevant online discussion related to your area of expertise and industry, plan and start your own sharing hub on social media in order to bring the depth of knowledge to your professional interests.

Whether your knowledge hub is a LinkedIn Group, Twitter chats, Google plus profile or other relevant discussions online related to your industry, it is an important way of sharing what you know and build your credibility as you educate others.

As doctors it is important that you follow the rule of thumb to make sure you are providing the value to others and making use of your time spent on the social media networks. Doctor’s job is to make sure they share their expertise and execute their advice.

  1. Frequency of posting on LinkedIn

As one of the largest network of professionals online LinkedIn allow doctors to highlight each aspect of their career path using text and visuals. LinkedIn can offer lots of benefits to doctors because of its professional nature and a large network of likeminded people sharing and connecting with others. Begin by sharing the content from your profile that reflects your expertise and knowledge as a healthcare professional.

On LinkedIn content needs to be of a professional nature and little more reserved than the one shared on Facebook or Twitter. Share the links to those articles and other information that can be of some value to your connections and at the same time adding your own perspectives through commenting on posts.

  1. Follow other Healthcare Professionals on Social Media

Using Facebook and Twitter you can reach out to existing network of your contacts that you already know and you can find them by searching for colleagues, peers and friends working in the healthcare field. Follow and make connection with these individuals. After that you can use each networks search feature for to look for individuals in the similar role or industry. By connecting with a large number of people on these platforms you will have the like- minded people to interact with and share your views and experiences.

  1. Participate in conversations on twitter

Twitter is the best social media platform for having a public one to one conversation at the basic level. Start your conversation with doctors and medical professionals and discuss current trends in healthcare industry or new findings.

You can also find the conversations from other you have followed by searching through hashtags or keywords related to your interests a physician

  1. Join Useful Twitter Chats

In twitter chats, on particular topics and hash tags occurs weekly, monthly or quarterly. Search and discover what chats Twitter chats are available for medical professionals and join these conversations with other participants and learn new things. When participating in the twitter chat answer some of the questions asked by participants or posted by moderators by adding your views and opinions. Follow other participants and moderators in the chat and include proper hash tags in all of your tweets.

  1. Go For Accuracy

There is a large amount of misinformation online when it comes to medical field that confuses consumers and dilutes the effectiveness of accurate medial insights. As a doctor it is important that you act as the voice of reason when sharing important information about healthcare online. Go for accurate coverage of information on social media that could affect your credibility for the long term.

Spend a limited time on social media at a certain part of the day or few times a week to help you make your efforts to be more accurate. Again it needs to be quality over quantity when it comes to content sharing and the discussions that you are having online.

  1. Ask Questions

One of the benefits of having social media is the ability to have actual conversations online with your friends, family, peers and other connections in your network. As a doctor you should ask questions from your audience in order to get their feedback on some decision or a perspective on industry news.

As you will ask questions you will be able to learn the insights of your network. No one knows everything but still someone has something to share with others. Make use of your network on social media to get more insights and establish your credibility as respected and reputed doctor.

About Alex Tate

I am a health IT consultant with experience in management and training consultants across private and public sectors. I frequently write on Health IT for various blogs and websites. I am currently managing ehrsoftware.info website that helps practices and physicians select the right EHR. If you wish to connect with me follow me at https://twitter.com/alextate07

Healthcare IT Innovation – #HITsm Chat Topics

Posted on April 10, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m excited to be hosting this week’s #HITsm chat. For those not familiar with it, every Friday at Noon EST we all follow the #HITsm tag on Twitter and participate in a Twitter chat covering 4-5 questions. If you want to participate you can just watch, or chime in with your own thoughts and questions. To do so, just add the #HITsm tag to your tweets. I’m the host this week and so I chose the topic and questions.

I’ve had healthcare IT innovation on my mind a lot lately, and so I thought it would make for an interesting topic. It might be worth reading my first LinkedIn post called “Why We Should be Optimistic in Healthcare.” In that post I outline why I think there’s a lot of innovation in healthcare that’s about to happen and that’s why I’m so optimistic.

I hope you’ll join me and a few hundred others on Twitter for the #HITsm chat. Here are the topics we’ll be discussing. Feel free to start the discussion early in the comments.

Topic 1: Can innovation happen within the current healthcare beauracracy or will innovation have to replace our current model?

Topic 2: What’s the most innovative thing you’ve seen in healthcare IT in the last 6 months?

Topic 3: What type of results will we see from the tricorder Xprize? Does innovation come from contests like this?

Topic 4: If you had a million dollars you had to invest in health IT, where or how would you invest it?

Topic 5: Think 5-10 years out, what will be the most exciting innovation in healthcare?

Bold EMR Move, Universal Personal Medical Record, and Unified EMR

Posted on June 9, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.


I’ll be really glad when the day arrives that this isn’t a bold move. Really, it’s a bold move to give patients access to the charts that they’ve always been able to request and get access to on paper?


I know dozens of companies working on this. Too bad I see so few patients adopting it. Although, if you go to the tweet itself (it may embed the whole conversation above as well), @nursefriendly and @JamieKaufmann have a nice conversation about security and privacy of this information. I’m definitely on @nursefriendly’s side of the conversation. I don’t agree with Jamie that a smart phone app with your health information is necessarily any less secure than an HIS system at a hospital. In fact, the value of hacking the HIS system is much more than hacking an individual record. So, I could easily argue that an HIS has a much higher risk.


I guess we can all dream.

Women Unite at HIMSS13

Posted on March 14, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I’ll admit it. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when Julie Moffitt, the original #HITchick herself, asked me to host the first #HITchicks tweetup, at HIMSS13. What I envisioned as four or five gals gathering at a bar near the convention center turned into something so much more rewarding. Twenty-plus women (and two of the smartest men in healthcare IT) showed up and jumped right into a dialogue around the challenges of what it means to be a woman in healthcare.

You might think this topic a tired one, but it is still incredibly relevant, especially as women like Yahoo’s Melissa Mayer and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg put a new and divisive spin on what it takes to be successful women in tech.

The role of women in healthcare was also touched upon. When it comes to health – be it family or business – women definitely seem to be in the driver’s seat. Many in the audience noted that women make up a fair chunk of their C-suite – an ironic statement considering the off-putting presence of several scantily clad booth babes a few halls over. We’ve come so far, yet still have a ways to go.

I’m looking forward to gathering another fantastic group together at HIMSS next year, if not before then. In the meantime, take a look at a few of the tweets and pictures captured at HIMSS13:

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Mandi Bishop, Principal at Adaptive Product Solutions, and Brad Justus, ICD-10 Whisperer at KForce. Justus was joined by a second honorary #HITchick, Mark Palacio, Senior Manager, Media Relations – Healthcare IT at Siemens Healthcare.

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chickstweet2

crowd

Health Sensors Panel at SXSW

Posted on March 13, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you’ve been following @ehrandhit on Twitter, then you know that I’ve spent the past few days at the SXSW conference in Austin. It’s been quite the experience and I’ll no doubt write a lot more about my experience at the conference. For now, let’s take a look at many of the top takeaways from the health sensors panel.


While this doesn’t necessarily apply to sensors, I found it interesting that only 5 people raised their hands when asked who in the audience were patients. It’s kind of a stupid question since we’re all patients. I think most of us that heard the question assumed he meant patient advocate or possibly chronic patient. At least I bet that the 5 that raised their hands fit into those categories. Someone on Twitter said that maybe it’s because many of us don’t see ourselves as patients since we’re “healthy.”


Fascinating to consider all the data that our brain is processing. Plus, it should give us hope for what is possible with sensors. Needless to say, we have a long way to go.


This is really sad to consider and applies to many diseases. I think they’re point was that sensors can help us get at some of these diseases.


I’d never consider integrating environmental sensors in your healthcare. Those sensors could be indicators of why our health suffers. Interesting idea.


Seriously amazing technology…assuming it really works. I love people trying even if it doesn’t work out.


This was an important takeaway from my time at the mHealth Summit. We need new study methodologies that match the speed with which we can collect data using sensors and other tech.


I can’t wait for data to point out when we’re lying to ourselves and others.


People always say the wrong thing about Watson. At least right now, it’s not diagnosing. It’s just assisting and supporting the diagnosis.


This is definitely true and we haven’t even started to tap into the health data that’s possible. We’re going to need some amazing technology created to be able to make sense and filter the data down to only what matters.


It’s amazing how important the context is to the data. This is part of the challenge with the Watson technology and the volume of data mentioned above.


This is a fascinating differentiation. I think we’ll see this start to merge over time, but it is interesting to consider the various types of sensors and their intended use. I think until now we’ve focused mostly on sensors for disease. The idea of sensors for health is still such a nascent field of study.

@HealthcareWen (Dr. Wen Dombrowski) – #HITsm Spotlight

Posted on March 4, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I thought it would be fun to get to know some of the various personalities in the #HITsm community. @HealthcareWen is one of the great ones. With HIMSS 2013 started today, I think it’s perfect timing to highlight Dr. Wen. There is no one better to follow than her if you want to learn what she’s learning at HIMSS.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:

I love the intersection of technology, business, policy, healthcare & social services. I enjoy figuring out high-level policy and strategic business goals, and then translating them into operational processes and product designs. I’m always thinking about “what is the best way to leverage technology?” for each situation, but realize that technology alone is usually an insufficient solution.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?

Lately I’ve been working on several small projects while completing a Global Executive MBA program at IE Business School — a program I highly recommend to others, by the way. I’m working with a hospice and homecare agency on EHR vendor selection and culture change to value decisions based on real-time data. I’m advising several medical software startups on product development—particularly on issues related to user experience, data structure, and strategy. I’m also helping several large nonprofit organizations that serve seniors and other underserved populations with understanding and adapting their strategy to the implications of healthcare reform, data availability, technology, and social media. And ever since Hurricane Sandy, I’ve been actively discussing how can technology and new media be leveraged to better prepare and respond to future emergencies with various community based organizations, government representatives, and medical providers.

Additionally, I see patients part-time by doing house calls. I love house calls because one can reach the sickest of patients – the patients who have the toughest time getting to their doctors’ offices. Seeing how patients live provides important clues about barriers to health and ways to personalize solutions. House calls and technology may seem like an odd combination of interests, but as Atul Gawande’s Hot Spotters article pointed out, the two complement each other in the goal to help the highest risk patients.

WHEN DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN SOCIAL MEDIA? WHAT GOT YOU STARTED WITH IT?

I’ve been on Facebook casually for years, mostly to share vacation and hobby photos with my family and to keep in touch with old friends.

I joined LinkedIn a couple years ago and it has been an invaluable tool to keep in touch with and find professional contacts. The search tool is especially useful when I am looking for people with specific expertise or geographic base. There are many interesting discussion Groups on LinkedIn, but I haven’t had time lately to read and interact with them.

Meetup has likewise been a useful site to find and create local affinity groups for in-person networking.

I didn’t consider myself “active” on social media until I started to actively use Twitter. I began using Twitter in 2011 to raise public awareness of the need for innovation in healthcare delivery, payment policy, patient engagement, and senior services. There seemed to be a lack of understanding about healthcare and aging, so I wanted to share some ideas as food for thought about tough topics.

WHAT BENEFITS HAVE YOU RECEIVED FROM SOCIAL MEDIA?

When I first started using Twitter, I really wasn’t expecting to get much out of it – I thought it would just be a chore to find and broadcast an article every once in a while. But then I realized it’s an incredibly powerful tool to find and engage other people that are likeminded or have different perspectives. It amazes me how Twitter brings together strangers and disparate stakeholders (such as patients, clinicians, technologists, and business executives) to dialogue about the evolving challenges of healthcare, technology, and society.

Personally, I have learned so much from the Twitter community – about topics that I was already passionate about – and introducing me to “new” concepts such as crowdsourcing, open data, and social enterprise. I love how Twitter enables serendipitous discovery of new gems, and appreciate the generosity of my Twitter friends who forward me interesting articles.

Beyond sharing articles and conversations, I’ve seen how Twitter and LinkedIn have been vital at connecting people with needs to relevant resources. For example, I remember the day after Hurricane Sandy I was volunteering in a shelter – the most needed item was dry socks, so I tweeted about it; I was stunned to learn an hour later someone anonymously dropped off a box of hundreds of brand new socks. This is just one small example of the larger potential that social media has to share info and resources.
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Twitter and LinkedIn have also led to the unexpected benefits of job offers, project collaborators, and speaking engagements. So Social Media has been indispensably valuable to me personally and professionally.

LOOKING AT THE WORLD OF HEALTHCARE IT, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS HAPPENING TODAY?

Lack of true data interoperability among different EHR’s and other healthcare applications is a key problem hindering health innovation and creating wasteful spending. Also, managed care utilization data, user-generated sensor data, and genomic data haven’t been integrated with provider clinical data. I think real-time, user-friendly views that combine these data sources are needed to optimize day-to-day clinical decisions, long term business planning, and operationalizing new payment models such as ACO’s.

Besides data interoperability and integration, usability and workflow are super-important in health I.T. but often neglected by vendors. EHR’s, patient apps, and other software programs need to be designed with a user interface that is intuitive and convenient to use. Any software or technology implementation needs to consider the impact on workflow and redesign processes to avoid new bottlenecks.

AS A DOCTOR, WHAT’S YOUR VIEW ON THE IDEA OF “PRESCRIBING” MOBILE HEALTH APPS?

I think there is potential for some mobile health apps to be very useful to patients and physicians. However, most physicians and patients find it overwhelming to choose the “best” app for their patient’s situation. There are too many apps right now that do similar things, or only have a partial set of features, or only target one specific disease. If a patient has Crohn’s, diabetes, and headaches – what is the best app for him? App developers should think about how to make apps better than what already exists by including comprehensive features that are easy to use for patients, caregivers, and providers… this may mean partnering with and enhancing existing products instead of separately developing the 101st medication tracker app, pain tracker app, diet app, etc.

AS SOMEONE WHO FOCUSES ON THE AGING POPULATION, WHAT’S IT GOING TO TAKE TO BRING HEALTH IT TO THE OLDER GENERATION OF PATIENTS?

Contrary to popular misconception, age is not the biggest barrier to technology adoption: usability is. Software and physical products need to be intuitive, user-friendly, and make people’s lives easier by solving real problems. Technology needs to integrate into the “workflow” of people’s daily lives, or else it’s a nuisance to use. Some special considerations when designing for older adults is keeping in mind some may have trouble with limited vision, tactile sense, or physical range of motion. These don’t preclude older adults from using technology – if technology is designed with these users in mind. I think companies designing for seniors have a lot to learn from the field of developmental disabilities that has a long tradition of inventing assistive technology. The good news is that increasingly more companies are taking human centered design approaches more seriously.

IF YOU COULD WAKE UP TOMORROW AND HAVE ONE PART OF HEALTHCARE SOLVED, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I would change the way that healthcare gets paid for so that good care gets rewarded. Instead of paying hospitals for how many tests and surgeries are done, payments should reflect smart clinical decision making and coordination of care.

I would also love to see different data sources integrated into one application that can display the data in ways that are meaningful to different users, e.g. data views for patients, clinicians, and administrative users.

ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?

I hope policymakers, administrators, and developers always keep in mind the end-users’ needs and perspective (whether that’s a patient, caregiver, clinician, or anyone else).

New Telemedicine Stats Bode Well for EMRs

Posted on January 24, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

With the recent projection that telemedicine will reach 1.8 million patients worldwide by 2017, I think it’s fitting to continue the discussion I started last week pertaining to the current ROI of EMRs. While current utilization based on scrambling to meet Meaningful Use for federal incentives may not be all it’s cracked up to be, I do believe EMRs will ultimately provide a fiscally sensible return on investment, especially if telemedicine technology becomes part of any given vendor’s standard EMR package/offering.

I decided to bounce the idea off Sande Olson, a Twitter friend (@sandeolson) and Senior Healthcare Consultant at Olson & Associates. Being a healthcare professional that has worked in telemedicine long enough to witness its evolution, Olson seemed a fitting expert to speak with on the subject of EMRs, telemedicine and the bottom line.

How have you seen the telemedicine landscape change over the last few years?
Olson: Until recently, telemedicine has been a niche industry. Early users recognized the potential value of telemedicine, but successful business models (showing a viable ROI) didn’t exist, and technology was costly. The challenge was reimbursement; who was going to pay for it?  Without reimbursement or a viable business model, telemedicine could not go viral.

The telemedicine landscape began to change with advancements in information and communication technology on the heels of The Affordable Care Act. The push for healthcare reform provided financial incentives to “nudge” healthcare providers towards EMRs. Reform mandates and the availability of government funding created new opportunities around technology. Telemedicine, a valuable if fledgling technology, became a buzzword around technology and healthcare reform.

Industries saw business opportunity as solution providers for an “industry poised to undergo radical change.” Entrepreneurs, inventors, investors and healthcare visionaries followed new and sometimes disruptive ideas. Care delivery tools moved from PCs to tablets, along with mobile apps.

The confluence of all these influencers is creating a potential tipping point for telemedicine; it only needs wider reimbursement and licensure portability. Our aging population and forecasted physician shortage will help continue to thrust telemedicine into the forefront of change. Telemedicine is already being used successfully; reimbursement is still a challenge. But, healthcare innovation is just getting started. We have challenging times ahead, but this is also the most exciting time to be in healthcare ever!

Do you think there’s been a trickle down effect from the Affordable Care Act in terms of increasing interest in and adoption of telemedicine?
There has been a trickle-down effect on telemedicine. The Affordable Care Act has increased interest in exploring the possibilities of telemedicine outside of previous niche markets. As I noted, it is the confluence of influencers around healthcare reform that continues to push the tipping point for telemedicine.

Do you think EMRs will prove their worth in the coming years by better facilitating more novel methods of healthcare delivery, like telemedicine, or integrating with consumer-friendly mobile health apps?
Will EMRs prove their worth? Well, data silos do not support healthcare’s philosophy of providing a continuum of care from cradle to grave. And, you cannot provide care without a medical record; you can’t measure outcomes. So, interoperability– across all silos– is critical to successful healthcare reform. EMRs today may fall a bit short, but they will create efficiencies and improve patient outcomes. They will get simpler to use. EMRs will assist in improving reimbursement and revenue cycles. And, future EMRs will push and pull data from HIEs, PHRs and mobile health apps; we are just not there yet.