IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Avoid Clinical Data Loss

Avoid Clinical Data Loss | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Have you checked your clinical data backups in the last four weeks? Do you have a signed document from your IT vendor agreeing to your patient confidentiality policy? Finally, as a business owner or manager, do you know what security policies and technologies are in place to protect your patients’ data?

 

If you’ve answered no to any of those questions, then you’re not alone and unfortunately, your business might be at risk.

 

43 percent of the health businesses audited by REND Tech Associates in 2013 believed they implemented adequate security measures in their businesses. However, our audit results told a different story.

 

One of the costliest technology risks to a healthy business is the failure to recover current patient data easily and promptly. The inability to do so can have severe medico-legal implications for health businesses and their patients. Such risk is always linked to the backup policy that businesses chose to implement.

 

To minimize the risk of not being able to recover your patients’ data when you need it most, I suggest contracting an eHealth engineer to design and tailor a backup plan unique to your business and available technology.

 

The second major source of data loss risk is the unauthorized access to clinical patient data by IT vendors. Whilst we can agree that not all IT vendors actively choose to access clinical patient data, there have been cases reported where practices and health businesses have faced legal actions due to their inability to provide signed confidentiality agreements from their IT vendors and staff.

 

If you don’t have a signed document from your eHealth engineer stating that they meet your patient data access policy then you need to obtain one now.

 

If you’d like a confidentiality agreement template then please feel free to call us and we’ll be able to send you a generic template.

 

The third security risk to health businesses is the unauthorized access of patient data, which we all commonly know as hacking. However, most health business owners or managers aren’t aware that half the hacking cases reported aren’t external hacks but internal ones.

 

An internal hack is when an unauthorized staff member or stakeholder within the business is able to access clinical or business data that they are not supposed to.

 

To remove the internal hack risk from your business you can implement a few simple steps. The first step is to ask the clinical staff not to share their passwords with other staff members. The second tip is to ensure that no one except the business owner, manager and IT vendor can access the server. The third tip is to audit your business IT platform every 12 months. It is important to have an external eHealth engineer audit your current IT platform and check the level of service that your IT provider is delivering.

 

Ongoing regular audits ensure that your business is protected from downtime due to technology failure, medico-legal complications due to unauthorized data access and most importantly, ensuring that you can always use your backups when needed.

 

If you enjoyed this article and would like more useful tips, then I’d encourage you to visit our website for more useful articles, tips, and recommendations.

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Technological Updates For Every Hospital 

Technological Updates For Every Hospital  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Every health care facility has a need to maintain optimal technological efficiency. In a high-pressure environment, every second counts and organization is integral for overall efficiency. To ensure that your hospital stays updated instead of being left behind by constantly modernizing technologies, integrate these five updates for keeping the hospital functioning and efficient.

1. Virtualization

Storing applications and documents in physical servers is an unnecessary risk today when virtual storage is so ubiquitous for optimal security. By storing everything necessary to keep the hospital running smoothly, including applications, programs and records, in the cloud rather than on a hard drive, you not only provide better security for the hospital, but also free up space on hard drives to ensure that systems can run as smoothly and quickly as possible.

2. Core Content Management

Rather than storing electronic health records on outdated special purpose systems, connect all health records to a core content management center. SharePoint and Alfresco are excellent options for managing documents and content from a central system. This allows hospitals to maintain optimal organization and record-keeping reliability.

3. System Synchronization

To ensure that data is organized in a unified way, use context management strategies to synchronize systems so that separate programs and applications can come together at the user-interface level. This modern standard is referred to as Clinical Context Object Workgroup (CCOW), and essentially means that a user only has to edit or identify a subject once in order for the change to be implemented by all apps in that system. This is often combined with Single Sign-On (SSO) integration, which allows for a single user to sign on to all applications in a given system simultaneously with a single user name and password. The benefit of synchronizing systems and apps with CCOW and SSO is that information can be exchanged fluidly between various apps, decreasing chance of human error when it comes to confusing data neglecting to update records.

4. Location-Based Tracking

With modern tracking capabilities, it makes sense to expect equipment to be able to track itself in order to increase security. Location-based awareness means that logins can be allowed or disallowed based on location and equipment can be programmed to respond to certain locations by enabling or disabling specific features. These capabilities maximize security and broaden the potential for hospitals to customize systems.

5. HTML5 and JavaScript

As the final version of HTML was released in October 2014, web and mobile applications should be updated to HTML5 from the old HTML 4. HTML5 allows for greater integrations and enhanced functionality compared to HTML4, which will soon be phased out. Hospitals can supplement the benefits of HTML5 with JavaScript, which allows for animation and interactivity. With these updates, hospitals can remain up to date with the latest breakthrough in technology language, including the greater flexibility with the ability to work offline.

 

Phasing out outdated technology to make room for modern, updated systems and applications makes a world of difference in the overall functionality of any environment. When security, efficiency and organization are priorities, these five updates can help ensure that hospitals get the most out of their technology.

 
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7 Must-Have Features For Your Medical Clinic Website

7 Must-Have Features For Your Medical Clinic Website | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

In 2016, we are all plagued with an overabundance of information. For most of us, we want to find out only specifically what we need to know, and ignore the rest.

This is especially true for patients who are searching for a doctor online. According to the Pew Research Center, 80% of Internet users look for health information online, including 44% who search for physicians or health professionals.

 

When a patient visits your medical clinic website, they really want three things:

 

-To find out the important details they need to visit
-To feel in control of their experience
-To get a sense of who you are, and see if they trust you

With this in mind, here are 7 essentials you need to have an engaging, attractive medical website:

 

1. Patient Forms 



Make it easy for patients to schedule appointments, register and access important forms before they arrive at your office. Placing the registration form under a “New Patient” tab will make it easy to find.

 

2. News and Updates

Refreshing your site with recent news and updates will help build an online presence and allow patients to feel comfortable that their doctor is up to date on current issues. It will also help your practice rank higher in search engines, making it easier to find.

 

3. Contact Information

Prominently display contact information on every page, preferably in the top right corner, or at the bottom of the screen in the footer. Ensure also that you have entered your details onto Google Maps so that your clinic is showing up in location searches.

 

4. Patient Resources 



Providing patients with valuable content on popular health topics and link to trusted resources to give your patients the most up-to-date facts available. If there is a recent topic that is concerning people, you can also provide some general tips on these. This will help you build trust with your patients and show you as an up-to-date expert.

 

5. Services, Insurances, Payment Options

Most visitors will be interested what services you provide or insurances you accept. Making this information easy to find by having tabs at the top of the screen listing ‘Services’ and ‘Insurance’. You can also note whether there are special financial arrangements available, and whether you take cash.

 

6. Mobile Friendly Interface

According to an article by Search Engine Land, more searches now occur on mobile devices than any other platform. For this reason, your website should be viewable on all mobile browsers. Most website templates these days offer a mobile view, so this is not usually an issue, but is very important that your website is easy to navigate on a cellphone as it is on a computer screen.

 

7. Social media links and plugins. 



In a recent article by Forbes it was shown that Facebook now drives more online traffic than google searches. By having clearly displayed links to web site to your clinic’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube channel if you have any or all of these.

 

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Benefits Of E-Prescribing For Hospitals

Benefits Of E-Prescribing For Hospitals | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Many hospitals have switched to using e-prescribing for patient medications. If your hospital hasn’t gotten on board, this may be the time to change your prescribing practices. 

 

A recent blog post from healthcare tech vendor Medsphere discusses the benefits of e-prescribing.

 

The biggest: It keeps patients healthier. The World Health Organization estimates that around half of patients worldwide don’t take their medications as prescribed.

 

Not surprisingly, that has a negative effect on patient outcomes – contributing to readmissions and even death.

 

E-prescribing involves less patient legwork, which may make it more convenient for them to get their medications. When prescriptions are filled electronically, patients have 10% improved medication adherence, according to a study from e-prescribing provider Surescripts. Other research shows similar positive results.

 

Another big benefit to e-prescribing: It’s easier for pharmacists to read prescriptions. And that takes many risks out of prescribing medications, such as errors caused by misinterpreting a provider’s messy handwriting.

 

While some errors involving manual prescriptions are minor, others can significantly affect a patient’s condition. Research has shown that e-prescribing can cut down errors by over 60%, and it’s especially effective for avoiding serious errors that could cause patient harm.

 

Even better – the reduction in adverse patient drug events saves money in many ways. There’s a lower chance of readmission, which means hospitals aren’t using as many staff hours to treat patients. In fact, according to Surescripts, facilities can save anywhere from $100,000 per year for small hospitals to over $1 million each year for larger ones.

 

Besides lower costs, other benefits to e-prescribing include a more efficient workflow and better access to patient information through the system. Improved access can help hospitals spot drug-addicted patients who are “doctor shopping” so they can receive prescriptions for controlled substances.

Questions to ask

Typically, hospitals that send prescriptions electronically do so through their electronic health records (EHR) systems.

Whether your facility is looking to implement an EHR that sends e-prescriptions (which is a requirement for meeting meaningful use objectives), or it’s switching systems and needs different e-prescribing capabilities, here are several questions you need to consider, according to Medsphere:

 

  • Is the solution easy to use for providers? If the e-prescribing program isn’t user-friendly for clinicians, they’re likely to bypass the system and write prescriptions manually anyway. Plus it can slow down workflow and contribute to errors. Make sure you consider doctors’ needs when purchasing a solution.

 

  • What systems do the pharmacies we work with use? Compatibility issues can prevent prescriptions from being transmitted correctly. Double-check with the pharmacies where your hospital sends prescriptions most often and ask how they transmit information – and what network you should be using.

 

  • Is the network secure? You don’t want any sensitive patient protected health information to fall into the wrong hands while transmitting a prescription. So it’s smart to huddle with IT and your vendors to find out what technology is being used to encrypt and protect e-prescriptions when they’re being sent to pharmacies.

 

  • How do we introduce e-prescribing to patients? If you’re just starting to use an e-prescribing system, patients may not be familiar with the concept. Older patients may be especially upset if they don’t receive paper prescriptions. It may be a good idea to explain the details of e-prescribing to patients. And initially, clinicians may want to give them a printed document to take to the pharmacy when they pick up their medications.
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The Healthcare Internet Of Things: Becoming A Reality

The Healthcare Internet Of Things: Becoming A Reality | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Technology is becoming more sophisticated:

 

 As connectivity expands, new mobile devices and wearables – that offer far more sophisticated biometric, fitness and wellness tracking – are entering the market. For example, these more advanced technologies are tracking and reading muscle activity; utilizing spectrometers to measure nutrition in food; keeping tabs on electroencephalogram (EEG) levels; and measuring exposure to ultraviolet light. What is even more interesting, however, is the fact that consumer electronics, wearables and clinical devices are continuing to take on new physical forms – including digital tattoos, under-skin implants and smart contact lenses.

 

Additionally, devices are beginning to better communicate with one another, as we build out interoperable networks. This is the key principle behind the Internet of Things, in general. The possibilities for this growing interconnected network of devices are endless and include:

 

  • Connected refrigerators monitoring food input and output;
  • Connected thermostats that self-adjust temperatures to body heat metrics;
  • Televisions that can connect to real-time data dashboards breaking down your health and recommending consultations with your physician, dietician, therapist or personal trainer;
  • Light bulbs that automatically adjust the emission of UV light to stress levels and time of day.

As these innovative technologies collect a broader array of clinical and fitness data, the information gathered is becoming even more vital for health care companies.

 

Data is being integrated and converging to create a holistic picture. Devices passively capturing more data (biometric, activity, etc.) will continue to integrate together to give a comprehensive overview of a person’s health. In the future, when bringing together biometric data with detailed activity data that extends far beyond what wearables and devices currently offer, insights not previously thought possible will emerge.

 

For example, data from a car related to erratic driving combined with speech patterns from a smartphone can provide detailed insights on a person’s stress level. Taken a step further, analytics programs could integrate that data to help predict a manic episode in a person with mental health issues.

 

Technology partnerships are proliferating. Technology partnerships are vital to creating an interconnected world of devices and interoperability.  Companies are relying on specialized technology vendors to add increased capabilities to their products instead of building it all on their own. Case in point: Polo Ralph Lauren created a connected t-shirt. But the company did not build the sensor technology that already exists. Instead, they focused on their core competency, apparel, and partnered with a technology vendor to add the health tracking sensors.

 

Non-technical and consumer companies will continue to partner with technology companies to add health-focused capabilities to their product or services. We have seen these partnerships are regularly emerging with phone companies, sports teams and automotive companies. 

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Healthcare IT Is Getting Sexy & Fashionable 

Healthcare IT Is Getting Sexy & Fashionable  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Many of us have been following the wearable industry in healthcare.  Many of us have been influencing the wearable industry in healthcare.  Whichever the case, it’s true that HealthIT is getting sexier each day.

 

Some people will wear gadgets because of the practicality of them.  For example, some wear watches because it gives them the current time and date.  

 

Others wear watches because they make them look cool or rich.  And others do it for both reasons.

I belong to the latter group.  I like the practicality of the wearable but I also like the looks.

 

As of today, I’ve owned most of the modern wearables: Fitbit, Moto 360 and several Samsung Gear devices.

 

The Fitbit is OK but it’s still not a gadget I can show off.  Moto 360 is the one I hide under my sleeve in order to not be perceived as an eccentric geek (which I am).

 

There are few health management apps on it but I’m expecting them to grow.  Personally, I’m creating an app for diabetes self-management.  Of course, I am not going to market this app due to regulatory restrictions but I’ll try to get it into a proper product development work stream in the near future.

 

But like everything in technology that breaks bad:  I just can’t wait to see what the Apple iWatch will look like.  But it must be the sexiest thing in the world of gadgets.

 

Apple did it with the music gadgets.  Remember the Walkman?  Apple turned it into the sexy iPod.  Remember the Blackberry?  Apple turned it into the sexy iPhone.

 

I can bet on this fact:  Get the people to wear the gadget because it’s cool and sexy and then all other applications of it will follow through.

 

But don’t ever think that your cool and sexy health application will on its own be adopted if it doesn’t help conquer the next loved one!

 

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The IT Benefits Of Cloud-Based EHR Systems

The IT Benefits Of Cloud-Based EHR Systems | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

With cloud-based EHR systems, practices benefit from economy of scale. Many providers use the same system to minimize or eliminate redundant costs.

 

When choosing an electronic health record (EHR) system, providers have the choice of hosting the software on their own network (client-server) or an EHR system where the software is hosted on a remote server accessed through the Internet (cloud-based). While both systems have advantages over paper records, cloud-based EHR systems offer significant benefits to small practices over the client-server model. Let’s examine some of the IT advantages cloud-based EHRs bring to the table.

REDUCED STARTUP COSTS

The cost of setting up a client-server EHR is a significant hurdle to a small practice.  The startup costs can range upward of $40,000 just for a single practice. With cloud-based EHR systems, practices benefit from economy of scale. Since many providers use the same system, redundant costs are minimized or eliminated.

LOWER INFRASTRUCTURE AND IT COSTS

Client-server EHRs require the practice to purchase or lease expensive hardware. Practices must hire IT staff or pay for the services of IT personnel to set up, test, maintain and upgrade the hardware and software.

With a cloud-based EHR, all of the costs of running the system are covered by the EHR vendor or hosting company. There are no hardware, network or maintenance costs to the practice over the typical equipment setup required to run a medical care business.

COST PREDICTABILITY

The costs of a client-server system can lead to unpredictable costs. If the server crashes or an upgrade goes wrong, the practice’s emergency fund takes a hit, or worse. Cloud-based EHR systems have consistent costs that allows the practice owner to feel confident in their financial projections. The practice simply pays a monthly or quarterly access fee, much like the fee for phone or Internet.

SIMPLER IMPLEMENTATION AND SCALABILITY

The process of setting up and testing a client-server EHR is more complex than cloud-based systems, and scaling up as your practice grows usually requires additional equipment or licensing costs. Under a cloud-based EHR the practice personnel access the system through a secure web site or client software installed on their computers. Gaining capacity is simply a matter of contacting the EHR vendor and adding more users.

BETTER PATIENT DATA SECURITY

If your practice currently relies on paper records for storing patient data, imagine what could happen if you had a fire, flood or other disaster. Insurance covers new equipment, but patient data is irreplaceable. While practices with client-server EHRs generally have off-site backups, the data is vulnerable during transport and the practice must pay extra for storage costs. Cloud-based EHR records are transferred using secure encryption and backed up in multiple locations automatically at no extra cost.

 

While it might make sense for a large medical institution with a network and IT staff already in place to adopt the client-server model, we believe new practices and small health care providers looking to move away from paper records or change EHR systems will receive the greatest benefit in going with a cloud-based solution.

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Latest Technologies Improving Patient Outcomes

Latest Technologies Improving Patient Outcomes | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The Affordable Care Act has encouraged hospitals and other medical facilities to invest heavily in new technology that will improve patient outcomes and increase the number of lives saved on an annual basis. The best solution to produce a cost-effective, yet high quality experience has been to create technology that will prove to be more efficient in the near future. Through closely watching chemical reactions and choosing laboratory air stirrers of the highest quality, the improvement of healthcare technology has been based solely on evidence of what works and what is desired among the medical community. Based upon this assessment, below are three types of upcoming technology that will affect healthcare in a positive manner.

 

Mobile Stroke Units

Mobile stroke units have been highly invested in to provide critical medical care before ever arriving at the hospital. Mobile telemedicine enables staff members to perform blood tests, CT scans, and TPA tests on injured victims. Mobile stroke units are expected to save thousands of lives and radically improve patient outcomes.

 

New and Improved CT Scanners

 

Old CT scanners will soon be replaced by a new model of CT scanner that can capture a faster and clearer photo in one shot. Prior to this technology, many patients were often turned away for having heart beats that were too quick to take the CT scan. As of now, this CT scan can capture a photo of the heart in one shot. As a result, more people can benefit from the CT scan and more people can get an accurate reading on their health.

 

Cancer-Seeing Glasses

A new form of high-tech glasses has been designed to be worn by surgeons during an operation. This technology has been shown as helpful in identifying cancer within patients. The glasses are able to detect cancer cells based upon the blue glow that appears to the trained eye of the surgeon. Cancerous cells and healthy cells are normally difficult to distinguish. These high powered glasses increase the magnification and can spot cancerous cells at even an early stage. These glasses, if used in every hospital, could reduce both the time and money that is necessary to treat cancer and significantly improve patient outcomes.

As healthcare costs account for around one fifth of the United State’s annual GDP, technological investments have been deemed the best way to cut costs while improving the overall quality of healthcare. Investment in technology is predicted to be significant for the future as patients will be getting better in a faster amount of time. Within the next few years, healthcare technology will expand as long as investment and efficiency continue to flourish.

 

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How Your Clinic Can Get Benefit From An Online Scheduling Software 

How Your Clinic Can Get Benefit From An Online Scheduling Software  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Throughout the years, we have had numerous requests from our clinics for an option to have patients book their appointments online. We researched different ways in which we could do this. Originally, the plan was to link with a third party online booking software. We were unsuccessful in finding one that had all the options we were looking for, nor did they store their data in Canada. We then decided that the best course of action would be to write our own Online Scheduler.

 

Having the ability for your patients to book appointments online is beneficial for both the patient and the clinic.

 

The biggest benefit to your patients is that they can book their appointments at any time, from anywhere. No longer will they have to wait until working hours to try and reach someone at the clinic to book their appointment over the phone. Patients can book appointments from the comfort of their own home, office, or even from their mobile device.

 

Patients will be able to book their appointments directly from your website. They will fill in their name and contact information, and select the type of appointment they wish to book. They can then request an appointment date and time. The patient is never shown your schedule; they only have the option to request a date and time. If that particular slot is unavailable, the patient will be asked to select from available nearby appointment times, or to select a different day.

 

The Online Scheduler is completely configurable, and can be accessed through Clinic Essentials at any time. You can control when to allow your patients to book online as well as what type of appointment they have available to book. When the patient sends their request for a particular appointment, you will access it from the View Online Appointments button on the scheduler. You can then Accept or Decline the appointment, and send the patient an email notifying them their appointment has been accepted or declined.  The appointment will then be added to the Appointment Scheduler.

 

With your patients booking appointments online, you not only have increased traffic to your website, but you and your staff can focus on what is most important; patient care.

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Protecting Your Personal Data Stored In The Cloud

Protecting Your Personal Data Stored In The Cloud | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

IT professionals, healthcare executives, and clinicians in hospitals, health systems and clinics around the world are expressing great interest in moving more of their organizations’ IT applications and services to the public cloud. The concept of having a more flexible, scalable, cost-effective means to provide information communications technologies for their business both today and well into the future is very appealing. However, in order to make such a move, these same organizations must be extremely confident that any cloud service provider they do business with maintains the highest possible standards for data privacy and security.

 

This week, Microsoft announced a major milestone. Microsoft is the first major cloud provider to adopt the world’s first international standard for cloud privacy. That standard is known as ISO/IEC 27018. It was  developed  by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to establish a uniform, international approach to protecting the privacy for personal data stored in the cloud.  That Microsoft meets the new ISO/IEC 20718 standard for Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online has been independently verified by the British Standards Institute (BSI). Similarly, Bureau Veritas has done the same for Microsoft Intune.

 

ISO 27018 assures enterprise customers that privacy will be protected in several distinct ways. Adherence to the standard means that enterprise customers are in control of their data according to the instructions that they provide Microsoft as their customer. It means that they will know what is happening with their data at all times. In addition, the standard provides a number of important security safeguards. It also affirms Microsoft’s longstanding commitment not to use enterprise customer data for advertising purposes. The standard also requires that law enforcement requests for disclosure of personally identifiable data must be disclosed to an enterprise customer unless this disclosure is prohibited by law. Microsoft has already adhered to this approach (and more), and adoption of the new standard reinforces this commitment.

 

For health organizations, Microsoft has also been a model for meeting the information privacy requirements of HIPAA and for signing Business Associates Agreements with health customers who use the company’s public cloud resources. All of this should give healthcare customers who entrust Microsoft with their data the highest levels of confidence.

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Philippe Thuaud's curator insight, July 12, 2016 10:20 PM
A new ISO/IEC 27018 standard for cloud privacy. Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM meets the requirement and has adopted this new standard
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A Wireless Doctor In Your Pocket 

A Wireless Doctor In Your Pocket  | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

A combination of disposable wireless sensors and smartphones is about to make health care more personal, immediate, and affordable. New solutions are emerging that harvest real-time health data and respond with on-the-spot warnings or suggestions. This technology will not only produce better outcomes, it will help extend the benefits of modern health care to people in developing countries and keep consumers everywhere better informed about the latest health products and practices.

The disposable wireless sensors being developed and commercialized by Gentag, Inc. are a good example. The sensors are intended for use by consumers and come packaged as either skin patches or specimen dipsticks. Gentag believes there is a huge global market for sensors that can be mass-produced, are easy to use, and work with popular smartphones and tablet computers.

Unlike telemedicine, which was conceived to conquer distance, Gentag’s technology is mainly about immediacy. Consumers can use skin patches and dipsticks at their convenience in their homes and workplaces. Smartphone apps provide instant feedback and can automatically forward results to caregivers. Problems can be spotted in their earliest, most treatable stages and therapy can begin at once.

Disposable sensors offer significant savings over traditional solutions. Most of the sensor designs lend themselves to high-volume mass production. They work with smartphones that consumers already have or are expected to have in the near future. And disposable wireless sensors avoid the costs associated with traveling to and using outpatient labs.

Gentag’s skin patch sensors typically consist of printable chemical strips and near field communications (NFC) chips. The chemical strips can test and measure parameters such as body temperature, skin moisture, and (with the aid of microneedles) blood glucose. NFC makes collecting the results as simple as a waving a mobile phone over the skin patch. (NFC sensors don’t require batteries because the phone provides the power.) Using NFC to read a sensor also helps avoid human error. Dipstick sensors can test specimens such as urine for pregnancy, prostate cancer, and other conditions.

The disposable wireless sensor-smartphone combination can be used to manage serious medical conditions. A smartphone app for managing diabetes can collect blood glucose readings from a skin patch containing microneedles and send commands to an implanted insulin pump. The app can determine when insulin is needed and whether a delivered dose was sufficient. The app can also take into account time of day, food consumed, and the patient’s past responses. Gentag hopes that skin patches with microneedles will free children with Type 1 diabetes from having to stick themselves several times per day.

Gentag’s dipstick sensor technology can detect very specific medical conditions. Monoclonal antibodies are used to produce biomarkers for particular pathogens, allergens, cancers, and drug toxicity. There are potentially thousands of biomarkers that can be detected. The urine test for prostate cancer mentioned above uses biomarkers.

Disposable wireless sensors offer additional benefits to makers of consumer health products. Manufacturers can deliver increased value by bundling disposable wireless sensors that help customers use their products more effectively and efficiently. When customers download the free apps that are required to use the disposable sensors, they identify themselves and establish direct communications with the manufacturers.

This is a big deal, because until now non-prescription consumer health products were nearly always purchased anonymously. Free smartphone apps can be used to gather demographic data, to gauge customer satisfaction, and to learn more about how customers use specific products. The apps can also be used to deliver electronic coupons, new product announcements, and health tips. Most manufacturers are likely to conclude that it’s worth the cost of giving away disposable sensors and smartphone apps to learn about and communicate directly with their end users.

There is another intriguing potential benefit of disposable wireless sensors. Modern medicine is highly information-driven, but most physiological data is collected when patients visit a doctor or emergency room. With Gentag’s technology, data can be gathered from people as they go about their daily activities. Large scale tracking of physiological data could help health care providers detect epidemics earlier and more accurately identify the warning signs for specific medical problems. Disposable wireless sensors and smartphones should also make clinical trials easier for both participants and researchers.

Technology is often blamed for the high cost of health care. However, technology has proved essential to driving down costs in industry after industry. By diagnosing health problems earlier and enabling patients to manage medical conditions at home, disposable wireless sensors and smartphones will help produce better outcomes at lower cost. It’s a bit like having a doctor in your pocket.

 

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How To Reduce Healthcare Consumers' Anger ?

How To Reduce Healthcare Consumers' Anger ? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

However, I am not angry at my doctor, my insurance company, the government, or with "the computer." I'm exasperated with the so-called professionals who installed the computer system in my doctor's office. Unfortunately, the incident I'm about to describe isn't one-off.

 

American healthcare's reliance on information technology is an unprecedented and relatively recent change. To make sure that this change is not only "meaningful" but transformative, means it must be done right. Sometimes, more often than necessary, it isn't. Healthcare IT professionals are frequently at fault, and I'd like to recommend how we can do better.

 

A few weeks ago, I called my physician's office and requested that it send a drug refill to my mail order pharmacy, because I would run out before my next office visit. Soon the office called to say that my doctor had sent the order. Great! I would have my prescription in a couple of weeks. Worry free, I could continue my road warrior job traveling to hospitals to help them make sense of the rapidly changing health IT environment. Or so I thought.

By the day before Thanksgiving, I still had no drugs. I was about to run out.

 

I went to my pharmacy's web site and learned -- ouch! -- that it had never received a prescription. Of course, I could not contact my doctor because of the holiday, not even by the following Monday; the staff had been given an extra day off to enjoy their leftover turkey.

 

"Worry free" time was over. On Tuesday, the office receptionist instantly discovered the issue. "Oh! I see what happened. We just changed computer systems and some people's pharmacies didn't get converted right. Your prescription went to the wrong mail order pharmacy." After various back-and-forths, guess what else she uncovered? The new system had reverted me to a three year old address.

 

Now I was angry and still am. This isn't personal. Of course, I "fixed" the immediate problem, forking over an extra $25 co-pay after a few days of heightened cholesterol. No, my anger is about professionalism, or lack thereof, in my chosen field – healthcare IT.

 

As an IT professional, I KNOW this should never have happened. The fault is not with the physician's office, the mail order pharmacy, nor even with the physician's parent health system -- because converting all their physicians to an EHR platform shared with the hospital was a very good idea. No, my finger is pointing at the implementation project manager for a software vendor that I won't name, and a project manager at a consulting firm that I can't name either. One or more of these people bungled their jobs in at least one of these ways:

 

  • Deciding to convert data from the old system to the new system and not doing it right.
  • Neglecting to review the results of the conversion before loading it into the new system.
  • Not having a valid testing/quality methodology to catch the mix-up, or more likely just not making sure it was properly applied.
  • Deciding to go live before the time was right. The project manager perhaps didn't know this, and so failed at his/her job. Worse, perhaps he knew of the conversion issues and didn't have the backbone to call them out and fix them before a go-live that would potentially put patients' health at risk.

IT vendors and consultants must be trusted partners in hospitals' solutions, not perpetrators of needless mistakes and risk. This is healthcare, not Macy's. When we get IT wrong, people can die!

Over my 20+ year career, I've seen a lot happen in healthcare IT. Most of it has been good, but some of it was scary, like the folly described above. When it's scary, it's usually also needlessly expensive. Those expenses eventually roll back to consumers. Hmmm…aren't ever-increasing costs a central element to consumers' anger with our healthcare system? Aside from their frequent frustration with scenarios such as my Thanksgiving experience?

 

Healthcare IT professionals can do better and should. Those who are passionate about their work care whether prescriptions get filled, diagnoses are correctly recorded, and the right healthcare is delivered. They do not see themselves as technicians, but as accountable care-delivery partners with physicians and clinicians. But many consultants and project managers don't go that additional mile or two of accountability -- one that should never be considered "extra." Let me share some principles I've learned that everyone in healthcare IT can benefit from if they really want to contribute to better US healthcare.

 

1. In healthcare IT, be careful with the Pareto principle. There's not a project I've been on where design decisions about how to get an 80% bang for our 20% buck weren't considered. This happens, especially in workflow design, where the healthcare environment is so complex you just can't get to the 100% level.   But you cannot take the same shortcuts with data. If the healthcare data isn't right, bad things happen:

 

  • Physicians rely on inaccurate (and missing) data to make clinical decisions that can injure or kill. There are many reasons for morbidity and mortality in healthcare. Information technology shouldn't be one of them.
  • Incorrect bills that exasperate patients and payers get submitted, which take time and money to fix. If too many of those bad bills get to CMS, it won't be heaven that breaks loose.
  • Items get missed. For example, charges go AWOL, causing the hospital not to be reimbursed. CFOs want to know why their revenue has dropped…CEOs and Boards want to know a lot more.

2. Eliminate unwarranted data conversion costs. Hospitals often spend ten to 100 times what it would have cost to get it right the first time. I'm working with a hospital now that experienced a flawed patient records conversion from their previous billing system. This blunder has required the hospital to maintain their previous billing platform for six years, just to have a place to look up that data. They've paid hardware and software costs, spent immeasurable IT hours just keeping the old platform running, and wasted easily as many billing hours sorting out master patient index issues. Maintenance of this legacy mess is not sustainable. Doing the right thing now – switching to a new platform and converting exactly no patient data is going to be painful, especially when reregistering patients for the first time. The hospital is wisely making this move, after immense unnecessary spending.

 

3. Watch for what you can't see. It's as important as what you can, but a lot harder to verify. It's much easier to find a duplicate charge -- even the payers will be nice enough to point these out – than a missing charge. Once you find the latter, you have to go looking for others like it, and you're likely to discover far more than you feared. A while back, during a random quality audit, my team discovered one account that appeared to be incorrectly adjusted. While the account was in the right queue to be worked, no one had noticed the problem because the payer's incorrect adjustment put the account at zero balance. Because work queries were set to ignore $0 balance accounts, this issue would not have been found were it not for the random audit.

 

4. Outliers are the most critical data. That account I mentioned previously? Once we looked further, we found almost 7,000 accounts over two years that had the same issue. We could have fixed about 90% of them with a query. It was the 10% outliers that hurt. The billing team had to touch all of the affected accounts to correct the write-offs, and refund several hundred patients who were mistakenly billed a balance after the primary payer's error rolled to the secondary payer. Assumptions that all the cases fit a certain pattern lead to dangerous shortcuts.

 

5. It doesn't matter how good your systems are if your processes are poor. I can't count the times I've been called to fix a system issue that actually was a data issue, and that the precipitating problem was the process set up to maintain the data needed by the system. Some examples:

  • Security issues where employees who were terminated had their accounts removed, but physician accounts were left active, because physicians weren't "employees."
  • Hours spent researching why something isn't working, only to learn that the test and production systems (their lookup data) were different, because no one was maintaining the test system.
  • Issues where a queue of missed charges piled up (unseen, of course) because apharmacy interface required a perfect match between the pharmacy system and the charge master, and no one was working the interface rejects list.

6. Finally, it's just as important to push for no-live as for go-live. No question, this is a difficult scenario. You're putting in a new system. You've worked nights and weekends and equally pushed your team in order to make the go-live date. Now, you have to walk into a formal go/no-go decision meeting, complete with all the hospital's executives champing at the bit. As the project manager, you are responsible for making sure that the no-go option really is an option. Remember my previous points: bad data = big costs, and in healthcare if we don't get it right, people can die. Letting a system go live before it's ready is as close to malpractice as letting a patient go home who isn't ready. I've made the no-go decision twice. I even lost my job one of those times. No one died, and the company is still in business. 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

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Tablet Computers For Healthcare Professionals

Tablet Computers For Healthcare Professionals | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Considering where I work and what I do, my clinical colleagues often ask me for advice when they are shopping for a new computer. Most doctors and nurses are going to be happiest with some kind of mobile solution.

 

After all, doctors, nurses and other clinicians are always on the move. A desktop just doesn’t cut it for most of us who work in healthcare.

 

Tablet computers and convertible devices that can function as tablets, laptops and (when docked) even desktops, are becoming increasingly popular in clinical settings.

 

But all such devices aren’t created equal, especially when you consider the privacy, security and connectivity needs of enterprise healthcare environments. That’s something that has become all too clear for clinicians who in recent years have purchased one of the most popular consumer tablet devices on the market and brought it into work, only to find that it just didn’t deliver what’s needed in that setting.

 

Fortunately, there are now many good choices in tablet devices that will measure up when used in clinical settings. They are available from a  wide variety of manufacturers and come in screen sizes and at price points that are a good match for clinical use.

 

For starters, we’ve come up with some key criteria to help define what we believe works best in healthcare and what you should consider before buying a new device. These are also considerations that IT professionals must consider when purchasing devices to deploy in clinical settings. I like to call this “clinical grade”. 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:

Contact Details :
inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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