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Preview Videos of HIMSS 2016 in Las Vegas

Posted on February 29, 2016 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 got a unique chance to get an early preview of some of the HIMSS 2016 Annual conference and talk to a number of the people behind the HIMSS conference. Check out these videos to learn a bit more about what to expect at the HIMSS Annual conference and highlights of a few areas and sessions you might not know about. Plus, you get a great look at the HIMSS 2016 keynote area.

HIMSS Spot Activities and HIMSS Social Media

The HIMSS “Living Room”

HIMSS Keynote Stage and a Preview of HIMSS Sessions

Finding Patient and Connected Health Sessions at HIMSS

No,The Patient Isn’t Disrupting Your Workflow!

Posted on February 26, 2016 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Just recently, I had a personal experience which highlighted a serious problem in how hospital staffers handle health IT workflow.

The backstory is as follows. I was dispatched to the emergency department of a local mid-sized community hospital after complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. (Turned out it was an asthma attack, not a cardiovascular complication, but the on-call doc I spoke with wasn’t taking any chances.)

This hospital ED seems efficient and well-run. Moreover, the clinicians and techs are uniformly attentive, thorough and patient. In other words, I feel safe and well-cared-for there.

That being said, I had a few experiences during this ED visit which I suspect are endemic to the industry. No one of these issues seemed serious in and of themselves, but collectively they gave me the sense that my feedback on what I observed wasn’t welcome.

They included the following:

  • When I called attention to the fact that my blood pressure reading was unusually low (80/60) they dismissed the data as a blip and discouraged further discussion.
  • After the expected EKG to rule out cardiac concerns , staff left the leads attached to my skin to allow further testing if needed. Because the adhesive attaching the leads to my skin came loose now and then, you guessed it, alarms went off. When I suggested that the leads be either reattached or removed, the tech’s response translated to: “Honey, you have no business asking these questions.”
  • When I tried to find the results of the tests they were running via the MyChart app on my phone (yes, they’re an Epic shop), none of them were available, even though the doctors already had them.

None of these issues represent a staggering problem. My blood pressure did normalize, we handled the EKG lead stickiness issue without incident, and I did get my test results as soon as the doctor had them. I got a nebulizer treatment and some feedback on my overall health, and went home feeling much better.

That being said, I still find it unsettling that I was discouraged from taking note of what I saw and heard, and had no access to test results on the spot that would have put many of my concerns to rest.

More broadly, I object strenuously to the “doctor knows best” scenario that played out in this setting, at least where IT workflow was concerned:

  • While I understand completely that nurses and techs are besieged with needless noises and suffer from alarm fatigue, treating my response to those alarms as trivial doesn’t seem appropriate to me.
  • Failing to share data on the spot with me via the portal deprived me of the chance to discuss the data with my ED doctor. Instead, I only got to go over the data very quickly and mechanically with the nurse at discharge.

What bugs me, ultimately, is the intangible sense that I was perceived as a force breaking the IT workflow rather than a participant in it. This incident has convinced me that we need to transform the way HIT systems are designed, in a manner which brings the patient into the process of care. You clinicians need my eyes and ears to be on the case too.

Around the Twittersphere – Healthcare Simplicity!

Posted on February 25, 2016 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.


Complexity has a home in healthcare. However, simplicity is hard everywhere.


Simplicity in action!


Seriously? We’re still talking about pagers? In healthcare, yes we are! How sad is that? There are simpler, better solutions.

Using EHR to Deliver Superb Medical Website Personalization

Posted on February 24, 2016 I Written By

By: Uladzimir Sinkevich

Content personalization is a powerful tool for building trust on a medical website, making patients feel special, privileged and taken care of. Based on visitor preferences, search intent and behavior during previous visits, it offers a tailored user experience, such as personalized messages, promotions and services.

Generally, medical resources tend to provide users with a certain level of personalization through a private patient portal with access to their EHR/ EMR, appointment scheduling, diagnosis information, examination results and other features.

However, the public realm of the website (including service descriptions, articles and more) can benefit from using EHR-based information, too. The resource can actively guide patients and suggest relevant information backed by selected health data entries.

Both patients and caregivers can benefit from an EHR-based content personalization.

EHR Based Website Personalization

Particularly, patients receive:

  • Personalized promotions
  • Overview of services related to their conditions
  • Targeted messages (health tips, reminders, articles)

In the course of a long-lasting relationship between a patient and a provider, an EHR contains diagnosis with dozens of lab results, images as well as examination and treatment records. Summarizing these entries, the medical website can help build credibility by offering patients accurate information.

On the flip side, caregivers benefit from two advantages:

  • Gaining more loyal patients
  • Improving population health

One of the most important KPIs for health organizations is the level of a population’s health. Achieving a higher level of a population’s well-being is easier when caregivers place a major focus on preventive medicine. While patients have a more personalized user experience on a medical website, they tend to care about their own health and thus prevent diseases.

Now, there is a catch. HIPAA restricts the use of the protected health information for marketing purposes. The privacy rules, however, allow clinical websites to personalize functionality to tell patients about the “services essential for quality health care”, for example:

  • Previews of pages with health plan guides related to patients’ current health plans or conditions
  • Shortcuts to new service descriptions according to patients’ health records
  • Personal reminders and/or discounts relevant to recent patients’ checks and procedures

However, most of the EHR data is useless for website personalization.

Thus, a medical website needs an algorithm that will collect a short health record overview with the elements valuable for personalization only. At ScienceSoft, we call it a “Health Profile Builder” algorithm. Its job is to sort out the massive amounts of personal information in EHR and extract the key data inputs, such as lab results, X-rays, discharge summaries and other. Then, the “Builder” can answer the following patient needs, such as:

  • Information needs
  • Care needs
  • Examination needs
  • Treatment needs

So, let’s see how it works. A patient with a chronic condition, say, diabetes, has a long history of blood/urine glucose tests, pancreatic/liver ultrasounds, MRI results and more.

EHR Based Website Personalization 02

The “Builder” extracts the diagnosis information via the ICD-10 codes. Based on this and other data from the EHR, the algorithm detects possible complications and provides particular personalization options. As risk factors for diabetes include neuropathy, high blood pressure, retinopathy, skin complications and more, the website offers:

  • a discount for the next consultation
  • a free blood pressure check
  • an article about neuropathy and foot hygiene

This information might be a just-in-time act of care for a person with diabetes, as patients with chronic conditions tend to underestimate the actual severity of their disease.

Open Dialogue with Patients

Personalized website content can help a healthcare organization create the effect of visiting a doctor’s office, thus building a trustful relationship with patients. As using EHR-based information is just a small part of the content personalization topic, you can read more details on how to customize the user experience in one of our latest blog posts. We encourage you to follow the link and let us know about your thoughts in the comments.

What to Expect at HIMSS 2016 with Samsung CMO

Posted on February 23, 2016 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.

UPDATE: In case you missed the live video interview, you can watch the full video recording embedded below:

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

2016 February - What to Expect at HIMSS 2016 with Samsung CMO-blog

For our next Healthcare Scene interview, we’ll be sitting down with David Rhew, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Head of Healthcare and Fitness at Samsung on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 4 PM ET (1 PM PT). With HIMSS 2016 just around the corner, we’ll have a lot to talk about as far as what we expect to hear and see at HIMSS. No doubt we’ll be talking about why a company that’s largely been known as a consumer company is having such a big presence at HIMSS. We’ll be sure to talk about the connected hospital, BYOD, healthcare security, Internet of Things (IoT), wearable technologies and much more.

You can join my live conversation with David Rhew, M.D. and even add your own comments to the discussion or ask Dr. Rhew questions. All you need to do to watch live is visit this blog post on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 4 PM ET (1 PM PT) and watch the video embed at the bottom of the post or you can subscribe to the blab directly. We’re hoping to include as many people in the conversation as possible. The discussion will be recorded as well and available on this post after the interview.

As we usually do with these interviews, we’ll be doing a more formal interview with Dr. Rhew for the first ~30 minutes of this conversation. Then, we’ll open up the floor for others to ask questions or join us on camera. Each year I’ve seen Samsung’s presence in healthcare grow, so I’m excited to hear from Dr. Rhew about the Samsung perspective on healthcare IT and the HIMSS Annual Conference.

If you’d like to see the archives of Healthcare Scene’s past interviews, you can find and subscribe to all of Healthcare Scene’s interviews on YouTube.

For more content like this, follow Samsung on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare

Do Patients Trust Their Doctor or Health Related Websites More?

Posted on February 22, 2016 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.

Philips has really been killing it on Twitter leading up to HIMSS 2016 in Las Vegas. Plus, they’ve been making a number of big announcements in the healthcare space as well. While they’ve always been quite big in the radiology and device space, it’s interesting to see Philips enter other healthcare IT spaces. For example, Philips recently announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer a secure data recover service.

Philips’ announcements aside, I was intrigued by this image and tweet that Philips recently shared:
Philips Health - Trust Doctors or Websites

I was trying to reconcile this data with the all too common high percentages of people that are searching Dr. Google for health information. First, it’s worth noting that it says “health-related websites” and not a search result found on Google. I wonder how different this percentage would be if they’d asked if they trust a search engine result for health information. I could see many not trusting the former, but many trusting the later.

The other thing I think applies is that even though we read a health related website, that doesn’t mean we trust it. I think many of us treat health related websites with the “trust but verify” approach. We’ve become very sophisticated at triangulating data across websites, social media, and yes, our doctor. We’re no longer simplistic creatures that blindly go to the doctor and trust whatever they say. We triangulate what we hear from all of these sources and apply a trust value to each.

In this complex calculation, I think that most of us do trust our doctor generally more than what we read from our friends on social media and on health-related websites. We should. Doctors spent a lot of time in school and have a lot more experience treating patients. Hopefully, our outside research will deepen the discussion and trust we have with the doctor.

I recently read an incredible quote from Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson (Better known as @SeattleMamaDoc):

If it offended me, I would be a total moron! I think that any physician that would be upset by a patient going online doing personal research and bringing those care points to the visit really better question what’s going on in their mind.

I’d argue that doctors that don’t want you collaborating in your care and researching out your health likely shouldn’t be trusted. I also feel it’s important to point out that this doesn’t mean that the patient should be disrespectful or arrogant or mean to their doctor who disagrees with their research. Outside information is not an excuse for being a jerk. However, patients should use every resource they have to make sure they receive the best care possible and the answers to the questions they have about their care.

The best way a doctor can improve a patients trust in them is to collaborate with the patient in their care. Patients generally trust their doctor more than online health resources. However, that could change if doctors don’t see patients as collaborators in their care.

Meet the HIMSS Social Media Team – #GoesBeyond

Posted on February 19, 2016 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.

A few weeks ago, I took part in an initiative that Greythorn (Full Disclosure: Greythorn pays to post jobs on our Healthcare IT Central job board) started around the great hashtag #GoesBeyond. Using that hashtag they’re asking people to recognize people in healthcare IT that are doing amazing work. You can read my first #GoesBeyond post that recognized the work of Steve Sisko.

For my next #GoesBeyond post I want to recognize the whole HIMSS Social Media team. Many people don’t realize how much work this team puts in to make HIMSS one of the most social media driven conferences in the world and far and away the most tweeted healthcare conference in the world.

That’s why I’m highlighting the whole HIMSS social media team for #GoesBeyond. I hope many others who read this will take part in the #GoesBeyond effort and highlight other people in the healthcare IT community that deserve recognition. There’s nothing better we can do for the community than to show gratitude for each other.

The HIMSS social media numbers don’t lie. Check out the Twitter activity alone around HIMSS:
HIMSS-Social-Media-Growth
While most people are familiar with the @HIMSS account which boasts 74,753 followers (and growing), I’m sure that many don’t realize that the HIMSS LinkedIn group has 166,325 members. These are extraordinary numbers and they don’t happen by happen stance. This kind of growth only comes through consistent focused effort in creating and sharing amazing content and engaging and facilitating the discussion on each platform.

What’s impressive is that it’s not a large team that makes all this stuff happen. Here’s the 4 main team members:

Say what you will about the HIMSS machine, what makes this group of social media ninjas special is that they truly do care about healthcare and want to find the best way to improve healthcare through the use of technology. Each one of them truly is a mission driven individual.

A great example of this is their work creating the official HIMSS16 Hashtag Guide. A lot of social media people could have easily just hopped on some generic hashtags that anyone could have created around the buzzwords at the conference. Those hashtags would end up being as meaningless as the buzzwords themselves. Instead they created hashtags which represent directions we need to head and goals we should achieve.

For example, they used #Engage4Health to represent patient engagement, but that we are engaging patient with a clear purpose. The #HITworks hashtag is another great example where they’re working to extract the clear value that technology can provide healthcare. Of course, the #IHeartHIT hashtag which started last year tells the personal stories of how technology can impact healthcare.

My favorite place I’ve seen the HIMSS social media team “go beyond” is in the imagery they’ve created. Take a look through all the images shared on the #HIMSS16 hashtag and you’ll see that many of the best ones were created by this team. It’s no wonder that this team was recognized with the HITMC Award for Best Social Media Program last year.

HIMSS is right around the corner. Good luck to this team as they try to curate more tweets than anyone can handle. Not to mention all the new video activity we’re going to see on Periscope and Blab. They’re certainly worthy of the #GoesBeyond hashtag.

About #GoesBeyond
In this series, writers take time thank an individual who #GoesBeyond expectations to make an impact in their community or industry. Read other posts in this series on LinkedIn and Twitter, then write one of your own on your favorite blog, LinkedIn pulse, Medium or other platform. Use #GoesBeyond and @mention the person who has made such a big difference, then copy this paragraph so others know how they can participate, too.

Randomized Controlled Trials and Longitudinal Analysis for Health Apps at Twine Health (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on February 18, 2016 I Written By

Andy Oram is an editor at O’Reilly Media, a highly respected book publisher and technology information provider. An employee of the company since 1992, Andy currently specializes in open source, software engineering, and health IT, but his editorial output has ranged from a legal guide covering intellectual property to a graphic novel about teenage hackers. His articles have appeared often on EMR & EHR and other blogs in the health IT space.

Andy also writes often for O’Reilly’s Radar site (http://oreilly.com/) and other publications on policy issues related to the Internet and on trends affecting technical innovation and its effects on society. Print publications where his work has appeared include The Economist, Communications of the ACM, Copyright World, the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vanguardia Dossier, and Internet Law and Business. Conferences where he has presented talks include O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention, FISL (Brazil), FOSDEM, and DebConf.

The previous section of this article described the efforts of Dr. John Moore of Twine Health to rigorously demonstrate the effectiveness of a digital health treatment platform. As Moore puts it, Twine Health sought out two of the most effective treatment programs in the country–both Harvard’s diabetes treatment and MGH’s hypertension treatment are much more effective than the standard care found around the country–and then used their most effective programs for the control group of patients. The control group used face-to-face visits, phone calls, and text messages to keep in touch with their coaches and discuss their care plans.

The CollaboRhythm treatment worked markedly better than these exemplary programs. In the diabetes trial, they achieved a 3.2% reduction in diabetic patients’ A1C levels over three months (the control group achieved 2.0%). In the hypertension trial, 100% of patients reached a controlled blood pressure of less than 140/90 and the average reduction in blood pressure was 26mmHg (the control group had an average 16mmHg reduction and fewer than one-third of the patients went down less than 140/90).

What clinical studies can and cannot ensure

I see a few limitations with these clinical studies:

  • The digital program being tested combines several different intervention, as described before: reminders, messaging, virtual interactions, reports, and so on. Experiments show that all these things work together. But one can’t help wondering: what if you took out some time-consuming interaction? Could the platform be just as successful? But testing all the options would lead to a combinatorial explosion of tests.

    It’s important that interventions by coaches started out daily but decreased over the course of the study as the patient became more familiar and comfortable with the behavior called for in the care plans. The decrease in support required from the human coach suggests that the benefits are sustainable, because the subjects are demonstrating they can do more and more for themselves.

  • Outcomes were measured over short time frames. This is a perennial problem with clinical studies, and was noted as a problem in the papers. The researchers will contact subjects in about a year to see whether the benefits found in the studies were sustained. Even one year, although a good period to watch to see whether people bounce back to old behaviors, isn’t long enough to really tell the course of chronic illness. On the other hand, so many other life events intrude over time that it’s unfair to blame one intervention for what happens after a year.

  • Despite the short time frame for outcomes, the studies took years to set up, complete, and publish. This is another property of research practice that adds to its costs and slows down the dissemination of best practices through the medical field. The time frames involved explain why the researchers’ original Media Lab app was used for studies, even though they are now running a company on a totally different platform built on the same principles.

  • These studies also harbor all the well-known questions of external validity faced by all studies on human subjects. What if the populations at these Boston hospitals are unrepresentative of other areas? What if an element of self-selection skewed the results?

Bonnie Feldman, DDS, MBA, who went from dentistry to Wall Street and then to consulting in digital health, comments, “Creating an evidence base requires a delicate balancing act, as you describe, when technology is changing rapidly. Right now, chronic disease, especially autoimmune disease is affecting more young adults than ever before. These patients are in desperate need of new tools to support their self-care efforts. Twine’s early studies validate these important advances.”

Later research at Twine Health

Dr. Moore and his colleagues took stock of the tech landscape since the development of CollaboRhythm–for instance, the iPhone and its imitators had come out in the meantime–and developed a whole new platform on the principles of CollaboRhythm. Twine Health, of which Moore is co-founder and CEO, offers a platform based on these principles to more than 1,000 patients. The company expects to expand this number ten-fold in 2016. In addition to diabetes and hypertension, Twine Health’s platform is used for a wide range of conditions, such as depression, cholesterol control, fitness, and diet.

With a large cohort of patients to draw on, Twine Health can do more of the “big data” analysis that’s popular in the health care field. They don’t sponsor randomized trials like the two studies cited early, but they can compare patients’ progress to what they were doing before using Twine Health, as well as to patients who don’t use Twine Health. Moore says that results are positive and lasting, and that costs for treatment drop one-half to two-thirds.

Clinical studies bring the best scientific methods we know to validating health care apps. They are being found among a small but growing number of app developers. We still don’t know what the relation will be between randomized trials and the longitudinal analysis currently conducted by Twine Health; both seem of vital importance and they will probably complement each other. This is the path that developers have to take if they are to make a difference in health care.

Randomized Controlled Trials and Longitudinal Analysis for Health Apps at Twine Health (Part 1 of 2)

Posted on February 17, 2016 I Written By

Andy Oram is an editor at O’Reilly Media, a highly respected book publisher and technology information provider. An employee of the company since 1992, Andy currently specializes in open source, software engineering, and health IT, but his editorial output has ranged from a legal guide covering intellectual property to a graphic novel about teenage hackers. His articles have appeared often on EMR & EHR and other blogs in the health IT space.

Andy also writes often for O’Reilly’s Radar site (http://oreilly.com/) and other publications on policy issues related to the Internet and on trends affecting technical innovation and its effects on society. Print publications where his work has appeared include The Economist, Communications of the ACM, Copyright World, the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vanguardia Dossier, and Internet Law and Business. Conferences where he has presented talks include O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention, FISL (Brazil), FOSDEM, and DebConf.

Walking into a restaurant or a bus is enough to see that any experience delivered through a mobile device is likely to have an enthusiastic uptake. In health care, the challenge is to find experiences that make a positive difference in people’s lives–and proving it.

Of course, science has a time-tested method for demonstrating the truth of a proposition: randomized tests. Reproducibility is a big problem, admittedly, and science has been shaken by the string of errors and outright frauds perpetrated in scientific journals. Still, knowledge advances bit by bit through this process, and the goal of every responsible app developer in the health care space is the blessing offered by a successful test.

Consumer apps versus clinical apps

Most of the 165,000 health apps will probably always be labeled “consumer” apps and be sold without the expense of testing. They occupy the same place in the health care field as the thousands of untested dietary supplements and stem cell injection therapies whose promise is purely anecdotal. Consumer anger over ill-considered claims have led to lawsuits against the Fitbit device manufacturer and Lumosity mental fitness app, leading to questions about the suitability of digital fitness apps for medical care plans.

The impenetrability of consumer apps to objective judgment comes through in a recent study from the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) that asked mHealth experts to review a number of apps. The authors found very little agreement about what makes a good app, thus suggesting that quality cannot be judged reliably, a theme in another recent article of mine. One might easily anticipate that subjective measures would produce wide variations in judgment. But in fact, many subjective measures produced more agreement (although not really strong agreement) than more “objective” measures such as effectiveness. If I am reading the data right, one of the measures found to be most unreliable was one of the most “objective”: whether an app has been tested for effectiveness.

Designing studies for these apps is an uncertain art. Sometimes a study may show that you don’t know what to measure or aren’t running the study long enough. These possible explanations–gentler than the obvious concern that maybe fitness devices don’t achieve their goals–swirl about the failure of the Scripps “Wired for Health” study.

The Twine Health randomized controlled trials

I won’t talk any more about consumer apps here, though–instead I’ll concentrate on apps meant for serious clinical use. What can randomized testing do for these?

Twine Health and MIT’s Media Lab took the leap into rigorous testing with two leading Boston-area partners in the health care field: a diabetes case study with the Joslin Diabetes Center and a hypertension case study with Massachusetts General Hospital. Both studies compared a digital platform for monitoring and guiding patients with pre-existing tools such as face-to-face visits and email. Both demonstrated better results through the digital platform–but certain built-in limitations of randomized studies leave open questions.

When Dr. John Moore decided to switch fields and concentrate on the user experience, he obtained a PhD at the Media Lab and helped develop an app called CollaboRhythm. He then used it for the two studies described in the papers, while founding and becoming CEO of Twine Health. CollaboRhythm is a pretty comprehensive platform, offering:

  • The ability to store a care plan and make it clear to the user through visualizations.

  • Patient self-tracking to report taking medications and resulting changes in vital signs, such as glycemic levels.

  • Visualizations showing the patient her medication adherence.

  • Reminders when to take medication and do other aspects of treatment, such as checking blood pressure.

  • Inferences about diet and exercise patterns based on reported data, shown to the patient.

  • Support from a human coach through secure text messages and virtual visits using audio, video, and shared screen control.

  • Decision support based on reported vital statistics and behaviors. For instance, when diabetic patients reported following their regimen but their glycemic levels were getting out of control, the app could suggest medication changes to the care team.

The collection of tools is not haphazard, but closely follows the modern model of digital health laid out by the head of Partners Connected Health, Joseph Kvedar, in his book The Internet of Healthy Things (which I reviewed at length). As in Kvedar’s model, the CollaboRhythm interventions rested on convenient digital technologies, put patients’ care into their own hands, and offered positive encouragement backed up by clinical staff.

As an example of the patient empowerment, the app designers deliberately chose not to send the patient an alarm if she forgets her medication. Instead, the patient is expected to learn and adopt responsibility over time by seeing the results of her actions in the visualizations. In exit interviews, some patients expressed appreciation for being asked to take responsibility for their own health.

The papers talk of situated learning, a classic education philosophy that teaches behavior in the context where the person has to practice the behavior, instead of an artificial classroom or lab setting. Technology can bring learning into the home, making it stick.

There is also some complex talk of the relative costs and time commitments between the digital interventions and the traditional ones. One important finding is that app users expressed significantly better feelings about the digital intervention. They became more conscious of their health and appreciated being able to be part of decisions such as changing insulin levels.

So how well does this treatment work? I’ll explore that tomorrow in the next section of this article, along with strengths and weaknesses of the studies.

Doctors and Patients are Largely Missing at #HIMSS16

Posted on February 16, 2016 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 got an email from someone asking me if I knew of practicing doctors that would be at the HIMSS Annual conference in Las Vegas (Or as we affectionately call it, #HIMSS16). I was sadly struggling to find an answer to that question. In fact, as I thought back over my last 6 years at HIMSS conferences I could probably count on my hands and feet how many practicing doctors I’d spent time with at HIMSS.

Consider that HIMSS attendance has exploded over the years and I won’t be surprised if HIMSS attendance passes 50,000 people this year. No doubt I only meet a small subset of the attendees, but there certainly should be more practicing doctors at the event. It’s unfortunate for our industry that they’re not there since their voice is so crucial to the success of healthcare IT.

I’m sure HIMSS has a count of how many doctors (MD or DO) are at the event. However, those numbers are skewed since I know a ton of MDs and DOs who attend HIMSS, but they’re not actually practicing medicine anymore. They’re CMO’s at vendors or startup entrepreneurs or clinical informaticists or something else. Many of them never even practiced medicine after residency. Nothing against these people. Many of them have amazing insight into what’s happening in healthcare. However, they’re not dealing with the day to day realities of practicing medicine.

I understand why many practicing doctors don’t attend HIMSS. It’s hard for them to get away from the office and justify traveling to a conference at their own expense. Plus, HIMSS registrations aren’t cheap. I don’t know why at this point HIMSS doesn’t give practicing doctors a free registration to the conference. Even if they did this, I know some practicing doctors who have attended HIMSS that went away disenfranchised by the disconnect between what they heard at the show and what they experienced in their offices. It’s no surprise why they don’t return to future shows. However, keeping them away isn’t the way to change that disconnect. Having them at the conference is the way to fix the disconnect.

A similar commentary could be applied to patients at HIMSS as well. I’m always a little tentative to say that patients aren’t at HIMSS since all 50,000+ attendees are or have been patients in the health care system. So, patients are at HIMSS. However, there’s a difference between someone who’s been a patient and someone who’s at HIMSS to represent the voice of the patient.

There has been some efforts to include more patients at HIMSS, but it’s still an infinitesimally small number compared to the 50,000 attendees. One solution is for more of us to be more of a patient voice at HIMSS. The other solution is to bring more patients who will be advocates for that voice.

This isn’t to say that HIMSS is a bad event. It’s a great event. It just could be better with more doctors and more patients present. If we can’t bring 50,000 people together and 1300 exhibitors and do some good, then something is really wrong. I’ve seen and written about some of the amazing announcements, initiatives and efforts that have come out of HIMSS. I’m sure we’ll see more of that progress again this year.

Plus, let’s also acknowledge that many of the 1300 HIMSS exhibitors and 50,000+ attendees spend a lot of time working with and consulting with doctors and patients when creating, evaluating and implementing healthcare IT solutions. In some ways a vendor or hospital CIO who’s talked to hundreds of patients or hundreds of doctors represents the voice of the patient and the doctor much better than 1 patient or 1 doctor sharing their own “N of 1” view of what’s happening in healthcare.

The reality of healthcare and health IT is that we’re talking about extremely difficult challenges. That’s why we need everyone in the same boat and paddling in the same direction. HIMSS is that event for healthcare IT in many ways, but could even be more valuable if more doctors and patients were in attendance.