1 2 3 Previous Next

Intel Health & Life Sciences

378 posts

There’s a lot of talk these days about personalized medicine. This emerging medical science promises medical diagnoses and treatments that are tailored to an individual’s set of medical problems, rather than the current methodology of generalized treatments for a wide range of disease with an average range of effectiveness and a broad range of side effects. Personalized medicine offers much more specific treatments of disease, improved outcomes, faster recovery, and fewer side effects.

 

With the advent of new diagnostic technologies, such as next generation sequencing (NGS), experimental personalized treatments for disease are being developed for rampant diseases like cancer, extreme allergies, and bacterial and viral infections. Many of these treatments involve the use of genomic sequencing to identify the precise source of disease, then engineering treatments to combat those biomarkers that are unique to the disease state. While promising, these techniques require an extremely large amount of computation in order to yield actionable results. For institutions that have this technology available to them, the specificity of these treatments is improving steadily, and the research and experimental methodologies are becoming ever more promising.

 

So, why isn’t personalized medicine developing at a faster rate, and why aren’t many of these new methods available to the general public? The answer is, in part, that the stringency of privacy laws and restrictions on where human personal health information (PHI) can be stored, the format it can be accessed in, who can access it, and where you can analyze it is so locked down that most researchers can’t analyze the data using existing high performance computing (HPC) infrastructures that may be available to them because the computational environments don’t meet the compliance standards required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other privacy laws surrounding the health industry.

 

The reality is that these regulations are not defined in a specific manner, especially with regard to technological solutions being used to process and interpret medical information. The vast majority of the law talks about security restrictions on electronic health records (EHR) systems and the infrastructure that house these databases. As such, individual auditors and compliance officers often interpret the needs for compliance in very different ways, since the laws are written in a subjective manner.

 

What this means for personalized medicine, is that hospitals, universities, government agencies, and corporations all have to err on the side of extreme levels of security in order to approximate the privacy laws as they are currently defined. In most IT organizations with restrictions such as these, decisions are made to prioritize security over performance, to the great detriment of research. Anyone who follows this emerging field knows that modern laboratory technologies produce enormous amounts of data that need to be transmitted to storage systems and analyzed on compute infrastructures before any interpretations can be made.

 

Transferring those data from the equipment, through many firewalls to encrypted storage, and running on isolated compute equipment is going to be very slow and prohibitive to the progress of research in general, not to mention expensive to implement for the organization due to the need to duplicate infrastructure to meet security needs. In my estimation, this extreme interpretation of security applications is the hold up for personalized medicine. Don’t get me wrong, privacy is important and it needs to be protected, but there are likely better ways to preserve privacy that embrace modern technology practices without squelching the productivity of researchers under the thumb of extreme security.

 

What the industry needs is to develop common reference architectures that utilize flexible and dynamic virtual infrastructures to protect information as it flows from place to place, lands on remote storage, is analyzed, then returned to its safe place, all while moving the data and analyzing the data at the best possible speeds.

 

The use of better data transfer utilities that encrypt data during transmission using encryption features that are built into modern processors, along with better and faster networking practices that temporarily define isolated virtual networks through the use of software defined networking (SDN), will help pave the way towards wide-scale application of personalized medicine techniques. The use of these types of technology, combined with proven reference designs that auditors and compliance officers can refer to, will help dig the medical environments out of the dark ages and place them squarely in the 21st century, affording them the best that research computing has to offer at affordable prices on shared infrastructures that are institutionally owned. With the technology barrier resolved, while preserving privacy, personalized medicine could begin to progress towards wide-scale implementation.

 

What questions do you have?

Are nurse practitioners just what the doctor ordered for improving rural health? Health experts and nursing leaders I talk with say the answer is a resounding yes. Now, a sophisticated medical office on wheels, developed at the University of Kansas (KU) Center for Design Research (CDR), is ready to help us fill that prescription.

                                                                                                                                                              

The KU WellCar* empowers nurse practitioners—connected to remote physicians and other resources as needed—to take healthcare on the road. Created in collaboration with nurses and other health leaders, the WellCar was first seen as a vehicle to help nurse practitioners deliver primary care services in rural Kansas. But as healthcare continues to move out of the hospital or clinic and into the community and home, the WellCar is being eyed as a way to improve a broad range of healthcare services—and to extend care everywhere from inner cities to disaster sites.  

  

NP and WellCar.jpg

 

Empowering Mobile Care 

 

How does the WellCar empower you if you’re the nurse practitioner behind the wheel? It means you can arrive at a patient’s home equipped to perform diagnostic procedures, document care, and provide patient education. Instead of the traditional black bag, you’re backed by a van full of robust, compact medical diagnostics equipment and computer and communications technology. You’ve got the patient’s up-to-date health history at your fingertips, along with data from in-home health monitoring equipment. Reflecting your vital role within the healthcare team, you’re equipped to conduct video conferences with remote experts and to securely collaborate and share results with labs and supervising organizations.

 

There’s also a WellPac* that provides a case for carrying necessary equipment into the home and a work surface once you’re inside. But most equipment stays in the van—you transfer data to it wirelessly. The WellCar’s advanced communication system is also designed to link the digital equipment within the van and connect to secure external cloud services.

 

The bottom line is that you can deliver the compassionate, personalized care that is so crucial to both care-givers and patients—and in a more coordinated, productive way. You’ll also help fill an urgent need. Nearly one-quarter of the United States population lives in rural areas, but only about 10 percent of physicians practice in rural America. Rural residents tend to be poorer than average and to suffer higher rates of poor health and suicide.[1] And of course the lack of healthcare services isn’t limited to the United States. 

 

wellcar intel3.jpg

 

A Product of Passion and Best Practices

 

One thing I love about the WellCar is that it reflects the passions of the people who have created it. Professor Gregory Thomas, who heads the CDR and directed the project, is a cancer survivor and educator committed to having KU’s design students solve significant, real-world problems. He and his students followed best practices for user-centered innovation, including cross-disciplinary collaboration and close involvement with potential users. Students viewed the project as not simply a set of design challenges, but as something that can benefit their families and communities. Their advances in remote data collection won them Connected World magazine’s University Competition held in Chicago at the 2014 Connected World Conference.

 

Passionate clinicians influenced all aspects of the design. Dr. Aenor Sawyer, associate director of strategic relations at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Center for Digital Health Innovation (CDHI), is both an orthopedist and a daughter who cared for her father at home for 10 years. She’s leading CDHI’s efforts to build out a next-generation model for highly distributed healthcare. She reached out to Professor Thomas after reading about the project, and became the WellCar’s medical director. Debbie Gregory, a registered nurse and co-founder of the Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design, shared her expertise in designing intuitive, productive healthcare experiences.

 

Gordon Alloway, former project director of the Heartland Telehealth Resource Center and now a consultant specializing in rural health access, contributed his passion for helping rural Americans maintain their highly valued independence.

 

Intel® Inside

 

I also love the WellCar as an example of people using Intel® technologies to do amazing things. A Panasonic Toughpad* tablet computer powered by the Intel® Core™ i5 vPro™ processor provides what Professor Thomas calls the technology brains of the WellCar. A custom communication system designed by Cornerstone Integration uses Intel® technologies for the Internet of Things to manage communications within the van and to the outside world. The Intel Health and Life Sciences team shared technology roadmaps, insights on mobile workflows, and advice on solving technical challenges.

 

Many other companies have recognized the WellCar’s potential impact and gotten involved. Ford donated a new Transit Connect Wagon*. Philips, HealthSTATS International, Vidyo, Voalte, and Midland Radio are among those providing expertise and equipment, either for the van itself or for patients’ homes.

 

Increasing Access to Care

                                        

Diverse organizations are beginning to explore how they can use the WellCar to help increase cost-effective access to high-quality healthcare. I’m excited to see where the WellCar’s road will take it.

 

What role do you see for the WellCar? Are you eager to get behind the wheel? I hope you’ll read more and share your thoughts. Together, we can expand access for underserved patients wherever they reside.

                                                                           


 


[1] For more about the data in this paragraph, see National Rural Health Association, What’s Different About Rural Health? http://www.ruralhealthweb.org/go/left/about-rural-health/what-s-different-about-rural-health-care.

 

The way CIOs and clinicians think about mobile technology has changed over the past few years. Initially, we thought mobile was going to revolve around touch-friendly applications like in the consumer world. But clinical care is a complicated business. If you look at what a physician does, they are moving through an electronic health record, then a database. The ability to run both touch-friendly apps on a Windows device and your traditional enterprise clinical systems that you have been using for 20 years in your hospital is a really important part of the story.

 

Virtually every customer we see using mobile devices uses both touch and a traditional desktop application in touch mode. So, they can use a stylus to navigate tasks that were designed for a keyboard and mouse but need to be performed on a mobile device. That combination is key.

 

Security on mobile devices has changed as well. Clinicians want full functionality while the IT department wants as much security as possible. The hardest thing to do is accommodate both needs. But when you think about it, Windows has always featured functionality and security. Our customers have been managing and deploying this infrastructure for 20 years. All of the policies that our customers have spent years building, planning and designing do work. Third party add-ons like smart card readers can connect to all of the devices and IT can breathe a sigh of relief because it can take advantage of the current infrastructure.

 

Gareth Hall is global director of mobility for healthcare at Microsoft.

 

Bradley Dick is Chief Information Officer at Resurgens Orthopaedics, one of the largest orthopedics practices in the country with 97 orthopedic surgeons, 21 locations in an around metro Atlanta, six outpatient surgery centers, and nine imaging facilities. We recently caught up with him to get his thoughts on his organization’s mobile technology strategy and why mobile technology is growing in healthcare.

 

Intel: What is the mobile strategy for your organization?

 

Dick: Our mobile strategy is to empower the physician at the point of care. It’s not tied to a particular device. Data is really the power of mobile healthcare technology and the key is to get the data to the practitioner at the point of care so they can make decisions and not impact the workflow. We found that with any type of solution, if it significantly impacts workflow it will not be successful.

 

Intel: What types of solutions have you successfully implemented recently?

 

Dick: The most recent solution we implemented is the Allscripts TouchWorks EHR for Windows 8. We wanted a solution that would enable the provider to have the entire episode of care available to them; everything starting when the patient walked into the building to the time they left the facility. Other solutions did not have the same multi-tasking functionality or support for other applications.

 

Intel: What has helped drive the growth of mobile technology in healthcare?

 

Dick: One of the big drivers of mobile healthcare technology is the ubiquity of bandwidth. With great bandwidth available, it opens us up to a lot of interesting possibilities. A lot of the big data systems we are starting to look at are going to be key in the mobile space because behind the scenes, we have to get that data to the clinician at the point of care. That’s always been the big challenge. Data is only as good as it is integrated into the actual care of the patient and bandwidth makes that possible.

 

Intel: What should CIOs be thinking about when it comes to mobile technology?

 

Dick: Healthcare CIOs should be thinking about the workflows of their clinicians and look to find ways that they can make those workflows more efficient. Trust me, physicians are using mobile devices and want to have that technology and the data. The key is to collaborate with providers and care coordinators to find the right tools. It will be much more successful if you integrate them into the process rather than come up with a process on your own.

 

Intel: What keeps you up at night when it comes to healthcare technology?

 

Dick: What keeps me up at night is the worry that we are not innovating enough. We have been focusing on regulatory compliance so much I don’t think we are innovating. EHRs are not innovation. We need to start seeing the smaller companies introduce solutions that we can integrate into our systems and have some sort of interoperability. Right now it’s almost impossible for the small companies to get our attention because we know they cannot integrate into our systems.

 

The impact of technology on healthcare is significantly enhancing the connection between the homecare nurse and patient. From reviewing prescription data to real-time conversations with remote clinical specialists, technology such as the Ultrabook™ 2 in 1 for Healthcare allows nurses to provide hospital-quality care to patients in the home.

 

Patients feel a greater connection with their homecare nurse and become more informed about their condition. And a more educated patient is one that takes more responsibility for their health and care, thus reducing the level of resource required to manage the individual.

 

For a homecare nurse, powerful mobile technology brings a wealth of patient data to the fingertips at a time and place when they need it. Through a combination of anytime-anywhere access to data & medical experience and knowledge, nurses are able to take their highly valued expertise into the heart of the community.

 

As population growth slows and population ageing accelerates across the European Union there will be increased demands on healthcare systems. Solutions which enable frontline care providers to do their job more efficiently and effectively will be embraced across the healthcare spectrum.

 

Check out the video above to see how a homecare nurse and patient in Sweden are benefiting from connected healthcare in the community.

 

It’s really interesting to look at the past few years of mobile technology and healthcare. Things have exploded in a great way and it’s exciting. The walls are starting to come down and innovation is really starting to happen. Four or five years ago, the barriers to entry were just as high as the barriers to exit in healthcare IT. Because they were so high on both sides, many people were stuck in the middle. It was almost impossible for new players to get into that system and integrate new, innovative ideas. We’re starting to see those barriers to entry come down. It’s exciting to see a big hospital system shake hands with a smaller startup and try to figure out a way to create solutions in an agile, startup-like approach.

 

But, at the same time, we’re starting to see that many of these solutions are siloed solutions. With my clinical hat on, if I want to leverage a certain application that will solve a problem for a patient, it might be a different application than what I need to open for another patient. What happens is that we are creating a salad of applications and solutions without actually thinking from the bigger picture about a platform. The truly exciting innovations in mobile health now are platforms, like data aggregation platforms, analytics platforms, and learning platforms.

 

If there was one thing I would change about mobile healthcare technology, it would be to make it more evenly distributed. I would want more sensors in the hands of more patients, and more mobile healthcare technology movements at more hospital systems.

 

At University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, we have been working with mhealth for years. But I know there are a lot of hospital systems that are just starting to sniff at this space. If we are going to move forward productively in the future, there has to be greater transparency in terms of data sharing and interconnectedness between all parties—patients and hospitals—so that we can actually leverage each other to do something much greater in scope. Until the technology is more evenly distributed, I don’t think we’ll be able to do that.

 

Shivdev Rao is Physician Advisor in Residence at UPMC.

 

Millennials are the next growing population that will capture the attention of doctors. In many cases, doctors today focus on the elderly and those who suffer from chronic diseases because that’s where the main amount of business lies.

 

When we begin to focus on the younger generation—which has always been connected and is always plugged in—the experience will begin to shift. These younger patients will ask, “why do I have to go see a doctor for a rash or to refill a prescription?” They will want to use a mobile device to take a picture of their rash and send it to a doctor. They will want to know why a pattern matching algorithm cannot look at the rash and let them know if it’s serious enough to go see a doctor. For them, the mobile device is the mechanism for receiving healthcare.

 

The bottom line is that the millennial generation wants immediacy, which to them means minutes or seconds, not days or weeks. The idea of waiting a few days for an appointment or leaving one location to go to another for treatment is foreign to them. Communication for them needs to be instant. Just ask their families: often times the best way to reach these younger members of our population is to text them—even when everyone is in the same house.

 

Of course, this type of treatment scenario will not be for everyone. It took a generation or two for online banking to take root. The Millennials now do banking on their phones. They do not need to go to the bank to deposit a check. Banking did not go away; people now have choices for interacting with these institutions. The same will be true with healthcare, and clinicians and IT managers need to be prepared for the onslaught of this mobile revolution.

 

Clinicians and bricks-and-mortar structures will not go away, but increasingly face-to-face interactions will be in the cyberspace arena. The next step is to make sure these types of treatment options are reimbursable for physicians.

 

What questions do you have about the next generation of patients and mobile technology? What are you seeing in your organization today?

DrZ

Mobility Week: The Power of Open

Posted by DrZ Feb 23, 2015


Last week, I was chatting with one of our developers when his office lights inexplicably blinked. Perplexed, I inquired, “What just happened?” As is common working with software developers, I caught a glimpse of the future. He explained, “You just sent an email to Danny, and that makes the lights blink.” Both amazed and confused, I listened curiously as he explained the mechanics. A company called If This Then That (IFTTT) freely connects various web-enabled services, and in this case, our developers had used it to connect Gmail’s API service with Philips new Hue WiFi-enabled light bulb. Ergo, when I send an email, the office lights blink. I agree it’s a rather pointless exercise, but I submit that it illustrates an incredibly powerful example of the value of open platforms.

 

Perhaps a better example will drive the point home. IFTTT integrates with many services, including Automatic, a commercially available device that connects to the Onboard Diagnostics Port on most cars. This device can be configured to send real-time analytics about your vehicle and driving patterns to your mobile device. So, instead of blinking the office lights after an email, perhaps I could have it turn on the lights in my home when I park in the driveway and turn off the engine. Or in another example, when my engine turns on and I leave my driveway, my temperature on my Nest home thermostat automatically adjusts. Using open APIs, companies can securely connect their services - their creative innovations - and in so doing, create unique experiences that no single company could have delivered, or perhaps even imagined.

 

Perils of Master Planning

 

I’m reminded of a classic economics essay, “I, Pencil” by Leonard E. Read. Originally published in 1958, the essay creatively illustrates the power of human creativity through a detailed description of how a common, every day pencil comes into existence. He writes:

 

It is even more astounding that the pencil was ever produced. No one sitting in a central office gave orders to these thousands of people…These people live in many lands, speak different languages, practice different religions, may even hate one another—yet none of these differences prevented them from cooperating to produce a pencil. How did it happen?

 

The brief essay describes in great detail how millions of people, disconnected and unaware of each other’s efforts, work together to mine the raw materials, transport the cargo, produce the parts, manufacture the tools, and put the materials in place to create the most basic of objects that we use and take for granted every day – the pencil. He speaks to the limits of centralized planning and control, writing:

 

…no single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me [the pencil]...There is a fact still more astounding: The absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me [the pencil] into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work.

 

Interoperability in Healthcare IT

 

Unfortunately, it appears that Healthcare IT is slow in adopting the very fundamental premises that have been adopted by modern non-healthcare SaaS vendors. No single vendor should be tasked with knowing all use cases in health care, just as no single person or company could build every component necessary to craft the simple pencil. No hospital should have to rely on a single company to provide all of its software needs, since neither the hospital nor the software vendor understands all that is – or, more importantly, will be – required. By allowing vendors to work together, through the use of an open platform of interoperable services and components, we are providing new opportunity for innovation and creativity to occur. In the end, open standards improve our patients’ experience in ways planned and unplanned.

 

This advantage is clear to both federal regulators and the VC market. The Office of the National Coordinator recently released for public comment a draft entitled Interoperability Roadmap, aimed at “promoting, facilitating, and enhancing the safe and secure exchange and use of health information nationwide”. These new opportunities will be well funded, as a recent report from Mercom Capital Group shows a doubling of the 2014 Healthcare IT investment to $4.6 billion. The transformative effects of open platforms have transformed other industries, and the rising potential of mobility to empower the patient will make the consumerization of healthcare a reality.

 

Conclusion

 

Imagine what would be possible if we were able to create intelligent software systems that easily and effectively communicated with one another? How would this change the experience of the users of the systems? And more importantly how would it change the experience of the patients receiving care?

 

While these aren’t the easiest problems to solve, there are some extremely smart individuals in the Healthcare IT space who can move this discussion forward in a way will benefit everyone at every level of the healthcare space. We need to collaborate and we need to trust one another. And when we can create a real open Healthcare ecosystem, that bulb in our office will have even more reasons to blink.


What questions do you have?


Jeffrey R. Zavaleta, MD, is Chief Medical Officer at Graphium Health.

In my days as a practicing registered nurse, technology felt like something that just got in the way of doing the real job of looking after patients. The perception of technology held by my fellow RNs was that it was forced on them by an IT department and that ultimately it was more hassle than it was worth.

 

Today, things have changed. Nurses are truly embracing technology and, in many cases, I'd say they that they are pioneers of its use across the healthcare sector. Just one example is the benefits offered by the flexibility of using tablets and two-in-ones for patient care settings outside of the norm of a hospital or clinic.

 

A couple of years ago we put together a video here at Intel showing a nurse transcribing hand-written notes from a home visit on what would now be deemed to be a bulky laptop. Suffice to say that in just a short space of time mobile solutions have come so far. Writing notes on paper while with the patient then heading back to the office to input them into the appropriate clinical systems on a desktop is, thankfully, a thing of the past.

 

Real-time note-taking

Nurses now captures notes in real-time on a mobile device during a homecare visit in a way that the patient is comfortable with and finds unobtrusive. Where nurses used to hold a pen and paper they now hold a tablet, phablet or two-in-one which helps maintain that all-important, trust-building eye contact with the patient.

 

All of this is possible because of advances in the computing power of mobile devices. To put this into perspective, it’s likely that the tablet carried by a nurse today has more computing power than the desktop of just a couple of years ago. Combine that performance with the anywhere-anytime, security-enhanced access to clinical applications via the cloud and you have nurses who do their jobs more efficiently and reduce the number of errors resulting from duplicating steps to document patient information.

 

Educating patients

We want to see patients engaging more in taking good care of themselves too. Mobile devices are helping patients better understand their condition, whether that be through showing x-rays or illustrating responses to treatment in graphical forms. Education is a crucial part of the modern nurse's role and I'm happy to say that this part of the job is much easier today than it was when I was practicing.

 

We've only scratched the surface though, as when we look ahead to the opportunities presented by wearable technologies which can send information to a care team instantaneously, we start to see the true benefits of virtual care. As the population grows and people live longer, this virtual care will become increasingly important, if not essential.

 

Your future

I'd love to hear how you are using today's technologies in your role - how are mobile devices helping you care for your patients more efficiently and effectively? What is the one feature that you couldn't live without? And what capabilities do you need moving forward?

 

Leave a comment below or tweet me via @intelhealth - let's keep the conversation going so that we can build the future of nursing together.

The question I get asked more often than anything is, “given what is happening in the medical/pharmaceutical world, is there a future for the pharmaceutical sales representative?”

 

The short answer, in my opinion, is yes. But, there is no doubt that with all the restrictions on access, the sunshine act and the changes in what representatives are allowed to say the way a medical sales representative can interact with health care professionals (HCPs) has changed forever.

 

When it comes down to the essentials, HCPs still need to be kept updated, and who better to be the purveyor of that information than the representative of the company who provides the service, device or drug. It happens in every other industry, so why not in medicine? Somewhere the perception has arisen that doctors will prescribe bad/wrong drugs for reasons beyond what is best for the patient. Now, in all walks of life there are some people who do things for personal gain, but in medicine I still firmly believe that the vast majority of doctors will give a patient the most appropriate drug for the individual and their condition as if they were a family member. The day has come where the doctor does not have the prescribing freedom that he/she once had. With restricted formularies, financial constraints and insurance coverage the decision on which drug is most appropriate has to include these intangibles.

 

In much of the research I have done over the last two years, HCPs and in particular specialists have told me that their available time during a working day to see medical sales professionals is limited at best. They have to see more patients and spend less time with each patient in order to maintain their income and cover their expenses. The attraction of private practice gets is diminishing with more and more doctors are joining larger groups or going “on-staff” as this is the only way they can practice medicine and live a life.

 

So, back to the question as to what is the future of the medical/device sales representative? The sales rep of the future is going to “carry” more than just 2 or 3 drugs in their hypothetical bag. They will have a scientific, nursing or medical background and be trained on a portfolio of products maybe even all the products that their company has. They will be available at a time of day and in a way that suits the needs and work day of the specialists they cover.

 

Many doctors stated that the only time they can interact with pharmaceutical sales reps is out of hours or at conferences. Many of the big institutions do not allow sales reps into the building. Yet, doctors still need to be informed of current developments and new therapies. They will seek out this information and expect to be able to get it when they want it. Online sales professionals will be available for virtual sales calls at all times of the day and night.

 

In all the research I have done, doctors do not like telesales but are more than happy to be “detailed” online as long as there is a visual component to the presentation and there is a real person at the other end of the interaction. Bottom line is that doctors cannot do their job without the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech industry. They need to know what is current and in the pipeline and being people/people they would prefer to get this information directly from representatives of that industry. The industry needs doctors to test, use and refine what they do. A symbiotic existence continues to be needed but a status quo needs to be established in the new world we exist in.

 

What questions about the future of pharmaceutical sales do you have?

 

If you’re like me, you’re probably looking at your February calendar and noticing that something is missing. Where’s HIMSS? Traditionally held the last week of February, the 2015 show was moved to April in hopes of better weather in Chicago. But in the meantime, we’re hankering for a health IT gathering where we can converse with peers and learn about key industry topics.

 

That’s where Mobility Week comes in.

 

Mobile health technology has exploded over the past few years with the introduction of smartphones, tablets, and 2 in 1 devices that allow clinicians to access data when they need it regardless of location. CIOs are struggling to keep up with the latest devices, form a strategy for dealing with security, BYOD and useability, and find enterprise-grade mobile applications that are optimized for touch. The mHealth Summit last December showed the massive growth in mobility and its impact on healthcare. That’s why Intel is designating the week of Feb. 23 to Feb. 27 as Mobility Week.

 

The online, themed week will feature a number of opportunities for you to interact with peers and learn more about preparing your mhealth strategy and working with clinicians, who are the ultimate end users of this technology. For example, you’re invited to join:

 

Webinar: Preparing for the Next Wave of Mobile Health. During this Feb. 26 webinar through HIMSS, listen in as mobile health IT experts from Intel, Microsoft and Dell discuss how clinicians are pushing CIOs for mobile solutions and bringing new ideas to the table for mobile enhancements. You’ll hear how CIOs can handle the flood of consumer devices coming into healthcare environments, work more closely with clinicians to find the right devices, and prepare for the next generation of mhealth devices made specifically for clinical use cases. Watch the above clip for a preview. Register for the webinar.

 

#HITsm Tweet Chat: Ben Wilson (@bwilsonintel), director of mobile health at Intel, will moderate the #HITsm chat on Twitter on Friday, Feb. 27, at 12 noon ET. Come prepared to discuss and ask about how mobile impacts clinician workflows, devices and adoption, conceptual computing, and how mobile is used beyond the walls of hospitals and clinics.

 

Blog takeover: Visit the Intel Health and Life Sciences Community blog each day during the week for a new post or video on mobile health best practices, advice from your peers, and how security and cloud computing fit into the mobile mix. Read and comment and let us know how you are developing your mobile health strategy.

 

We’re looking forward to Mobility Week and filling that big empty hole in our calendars during the last week of February. We hope to see you online at the events, and then at HIMSS in Chicago come April.

 

What questions about mobile health IT do you have?

I recently spoke to the Apps Alliance, a non-profit global membership organization that supports developers as creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs, on the latest trends in healthcare security.

 

It was a fascinating 40 minutes and a great opportunity to take a look at security issues not just from the healthcare professional or patient perspective, but also from a developers’ point of view. In this podcast, we take a look at what's important to all three groups when it comes to privacy, security and risk around healthcare data.


Listen to the podcast here

 

We discussed:

 

  • Best practices for developers looking to secure healthcare data
  • Security challenges that stem from the flow of data from mobile healthcare devices
  • The relationship between usability and security

 

I recently wrote a blog looking at the perceived trade-off between usability and security in healthcare IT and how you can mitigate risks in your own organisation. We have solutions to help you overcome these challenges, many of which are outlined in our Healthcare Friendly Security whitepaper.

 

We'd love to get your feedback on the issues discussed in the podcast so please leave a comment below - we're happy to answer questions you may have too.

 

Thanks for listening.


David Houlding, MSc, CISSP, CIPP is a Healthcare Privacy and Security lead at Intel and a frequent blog contributor.

Find him on LinkedIn

Keep up with him on Twitter (@davidhoulding)

Check out his previous posts

In my last post, we looked at two of the top five health IT trends I’m seeing for 2015. In this blog, we’ll conclude with a more in-depth look at the remaining three trends.

 

To recap, the five areas that I strategically see growing rapidly in 2015 are focused on the consumerism of healthcare, personalization of medicine, consumer-facing mobile strategies, advancements in health information interoperability including consumer-directed data exchange and finally, innovation focused on tele-health and virtual care.

 

While all of these trends can be independent of each other and will respectively grow separately, I see the fastest growth occurring where they are combined or integrated because they improve each other.

 

Here’s my take on the three remaining trends:

 

  1. Consumer-facing mobile strategies: To control spiraling healthcare costs related to managing patients with chronic conditions as well as to navigate new policy regulations, 70 percent of healthcare organizations worldwide will invest in consumer-facing mobile applications, wearables, remote health monitoring and virtual care by 2018. This will create more demand for big data and analytics capability to support population health management initiatives. And to further my earlier points, the personalization of medicine relies on additional quality and population health management initiatives so these innovations and trends will fuel each other at faster rates as they become more integrated and mature.

  2. Consumer-directed interoperability: Along with the evolution of the consumerism of healthcare, you will see the convergence of health information exchange with consumer-directed data exchange. While this has been on the proverbial roadmap for many years, consumers are getting savvier as they engage their healthcare and look to manage their increasing healthcare costs better along with their families’ costs. Meaningful use regulations for stage 3 will drive this strategy this year but also just the shear demand by consumers will be a force as well. I am personally seeing a lot of exciting innovation in this area today.

  3. Virtual care: Last but certainly not least, tele-health, tele-medicine and virtual care will be top-of-mind in 2015. The progression of tele-health in recent years is perhaps best demonstrated by a recent report finding that the number of patients worldwide using tele-health services is expected to grow from 350,000 in 2013 to approximately 7 million by 2018. Moreover, three-fourths of the 100 million electronic visits expected to occur in 2015 will occur in North America. We are seeing progress not only on the innovation and provider adoption side but slowly public policy is starting to evolve. While the policy evolution should have occurred much sooner, last Congressional session we saw 57 bills introduced and as of June 2013, 40 out of 50 states had introduced legislation addressing tele-health policy. I see in every corner of the country that care providers want to use this type of technology and innovation to improve care coordination, increase access and efficiency, increase quality and decrease costs. Patients do as well so let’s keep pushing policy and regulation to catch up with reality.

 

While the headlines this year will be dominated by meaningful use (good and bad stories), ICD-10, interoperability (or data-blocking), and other sensational as well as eye-catching topics, I am extremely encouraged by the innovations emerging across this country. We are starting to bend the cost curve by implementing advanced payment and care delivery models. While change and evolution are never easy, we are surrounded by clinicians, patients, consumers, administrators, innovators and even legislators and regulators who are all thinking and acting in similar directions with respects to healthcare. This is fueling these changes “on the ground” in all of our communities. This year will be as tough as ever in the industry but also, a great opportunity to be a part of history.

 

What do you think? Agree or disagree with these trends?

 

As a healthcare innovation executive and strategist, Justin is a corporate, board and policy advisor who also serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). In addition, Mr. Barnes is Chairman Emeritus of the HIMSS EHR Association as well as Co-Chairman of the Accountable Care Community of Practice. Barnes has appeared in more than 800 journals, magazines and broadcast media outlets relating to national leadership of healthcare and health IT. He recently launched a weekly radio show, “This Just In.”

While I know meaningful use (stages 2 and 3), electronic health record (EHR) interoperability, ICD-10 readiness, patient safety and mobile health will all continue to trend upwards with great importance, the five areas that I strategically see growing rapidly in 2015 are focused on the consumerism of healthcare, personalization of medicine, consumer-facing mobile strategies, advancements in health information interoperability including consumer-directed data exchange and finally, innovation focused on tele-health and virtual care.

 

While all of these trends can be independent of each other and will respectively grow separately, I see the fastest growth occurring where they are combined or integrated because they improve each other. It’s like a great marriage where the spouses make each other better and usually more successful because of their unity. I see the same occurring in 2015 and why I am so bullish on these integrated opportunities and innovations.

 

In this first part of my 2015 outlook blog, we’ll look at two of the top trends:

 

  1. Treating the patient as a consumer: This is due to numerous factors but a significant driver is the shift in various CMS regulations and incentives that have care providers and healthcare organizations focused on increased patient engagement as well as patient empowerment to improve communication, care coordination, patient satisfaction and even discharge management with hospitals. As a result of an increased focus on improving the patient/consumer experience, 65 percent of consumer transactions with healthcare organizations will be mobile by 2018, thus requiring healthcare organizations to develop omni-channel strategies to provide a consistent experience across the web, mobile and telephonic channels. I have already begun to see this in hundreds of area hospitals and practices in Georgia and know it is occurring across the country.

  2. Personalized medicine: While this concept is not new, the actual care plan implementation as well as technology and services innovations supporting this implementation is being driven quickly by the increased pressure for all care providers to improve quality and manage costs. You will see this increase dramatically once Congress passes SGR Reform that received bipartisan and bicameral support last Congressional Session and Congressional leaders are poised to take up this legislation again in the next month. The latest statistics show that 15 percent of hospitals will create a comprehensive patient profile by 2016 that will allow them to deliver personalized treatment plans.

 

Tomorrow we’ll look closely at the other three 2015 trends in health IT.

 

What questions do you have? What are the trends you are seeing in the marketplace?

 

As a healthcare innovation executive and strategist, Justin is a corporate, board and policy advisor who also serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). In addition, Mr. Barnes is Chairman Emeritus of the HIMSS EHR Association as well as Co-Chairman of the Accountable Care Community of Practice. Barnes has appeared in more than 800 journals, magazines and broadcast media outlets relating to national leadership of healthcare and health IT. He recently launched a weekly radio show, “This Just In.”

A consequence of the unprecedented rate of advances in technology has brought the topic of usability of devices in the workplace to the fore. Usability used to be a 'nice to have' but with experiences and expectations heightened by the fantastic usability of personal mobile devices it has become a 'must-have'. The corporate healthcare IT environment is faced with a challenge.

 

Taming the BYOD culture

Either they invest in great corporate IT user experiences for employees or they'll be exposed to the dangers of the 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) to work movement. And healthcare workers are amongst the first to look for workarounds such as BYOD when usability of their IT is having a negative impact on their workflow.

 

If organisations allow a BYOD culture to become established they face heightened security and privacy risks which can often result in data breaches. Since 2010, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in the UK has fined organisations more than £6.7m for data protection breaches. Of this, the healthcare sector suffered fines of some £1.3m alone, which accounts for nearly 30% of the British public sector penalties.

 

These costs highlight the importance of avoiding data breaches, particularly as the UK's public sector health organisations rapidly moved towards cloud-based electronic health records under the Personalised Health and Care 2020 framework. If data security is lacking because of workarounds it may well negate the predicted cost-effective benefits of moving to electronic health records for both patient and provider.

 

The 2020 framework acknowledges that, "In part, some of the barriers to reaping those benefits are comparatively mundane: a lack of universal Wi-Fi access, a failure to provide computers or tablets to ward or community-based staff, and outmoded security procedures that, by frustrating health and care professionals, encourage inappropriate ‘workarounds.’”

 

Mitigating risk of loss or theft

Loss or theft of devices is another common cause of data breaches in healthcare. An audit of 19 UK health-related organisations by the ICO concluded that "a number of organisations visited did not have effective asset management in place for IT hardware and software; this raises the risk of the business not knowing what devices are in circulation and therefore not becoming aware if one is lost or stolen."

 

There are a number of options to mitigate risk in these circumstances. First, usability and security can be vastly enhanced using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), which when combined with Single Sign On (SSO) reduces the overall number of device logins required. Second, replacing unencrypted conventional hard drives with SSDs (Solid State Drives) + encryption lowers the risk in the event of theft or loss but also improves data access performance. And that's a win-win result for all healthcare professionals.

 

Effective security is like a chain, it requires the securing of all points and either removing or repairing the weak links. Intel Security Group's solutions has security covered from mobile devices, through networks to back-end servers. We're already helping healthcare organisations across the globe to embrace the rapidly changing face of technology in the healthcare sector while managing risk and improving that all-important usability.

 

We've produced a whitepaper on Healthcare Friendly Security which will help you strike the balance between fantastic usability and industry-leading security in your organisation. Grab your free download today.

 

 

David Houlding, MSc, CISSP, CIPP is a Healthcare Privacy and Security lead at Intel and a frequent blog contributor.

Find him on LinkedIn

Keep up with him on Twitter (@davidhoulding)

Check out his previous posts

Filter Blog

By date:
By tag: