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Intel Health & Life Sciences

25 Posts authored by: mnblatt

One of the topics I hear frequently from the health IT community is about barriers to innovation. From my perspective, closed loop automation is a huge issue that we face and will have to deal with. We clearly allow closed loop automation in other parts of our lives, yet somehow we have this reverence and reluctance to do it in healthcare. Why?


Everyone I have ever run across in the healthcare industry—from my previous role as a doctor to the role in technology—is dedicated to goodness, kindness, and supporting their patients. Yet the process is so complicated we inadvertently, systematically hurt people over and over again. The only way to cure this is to automate the automatable.


And just what is automatable? It’s a moving target, but here’s a start:


  • Respirator settings: We've talked about very simple things like automating respirator settings. Why should I as a doctor, since I have an output in mind, monitor the physiology of a patient in a stable manner? Algorithms, through experience, could do this a whole lot better than a junior doctor. I want to use the power of the most senior doctor built into the algorithm and teach the respirator to be as smart as possible and then actually learn with individual physiologic feedback and how it responds to that patient to maintain a parameter.


  • IV pumps: As with respirators, we could do the same with IV pumps. The IV pumps would have Ethernet or wireless connections that can talk to the electronic medical records that can talk to lab data. Why not have the pump start to deliver a drug like heparin? In this scenario, a nurse can't make a mistake and a doctor can't inadvertently write the wrong order. By the 80/20 rule, we'll default to the average most of the time, anyway. Let machines help us where they can.


The benefits of closed loop automation are many, but freeing doctors and nurses from mundane tasks that are repeatable would be a game changer. That’s one of the biggest alterations we can make towards improving the delivery of care worldwide.


Maybe it's a big transition, but we need to trust the machines. They can do a really good job at certain things. I'm not asking the machines to think for us; but where things follow well developed patterns allowing that process to occur makes sense. Naturally, there will be resistance from those who see automation as a threat to job security. It has happened in other industries where automation replaces human activity. That’s to be expected.


But at the end of the day, a robot can paint a car better than a human can. A robot can be better at welding. There are things that closed loop automation can do better in healthcare and we need to give it a try.


What do you think? How would closed loop automation be viewed in your facility?

Today’s discussions around healthcare IT usually revolve around devices, data and analytics. It’s hard to remember, but let’s not forget that in the early 2000s a technology came along that revolutionized communications overall: Wi-Fi.


Wireless communication was a game-changer for healthcare environments, and still is today. The launch of broadband communication somewhere around 2003 freed clinicians from Ethernet cables and having to be tethered to a chord to connect. Wi-Fi enabled a whole new way of computing and enabled an amazing amount of progress to take place. For example, wireless connectivity gave doctors and nurses the ability to: compute on-the-go, access vital data; provide decisions support and collaboration, and access remote video conferencing. These capabilities, and the devices that are used, would not be possible without Wi-Fi. It’s astounding to stop and think about that and look back at how compute went from the desktop to the mobile device. That’s true innovation.


The introduction of Wi-Fi has also led to the second and third order opportunities, like the freeing of healthcare from within institutions. Care delivery can occur anywhere and in multiple mediums thanks to wireless connectivity.


As to where we go next with Wi-Fi, my thought is that we have just scratched the surface. From a healthcare delivery perspective, Wi-Fi (and other forms of wireless RF) will continue to fuel the rise of business intelligence and clinical decision support algorithms that are going to eventually take on more and more human characteristics. It won’t be long before patients can type in a query and get a response from a human interface.


Every time I think about where healthcare technology might go, I believe we’re inadvertently influenced by the vision of Gene Roddenberry of Star Trek fame. How did he know 50 years ago that humans would be talking to computers to gather information? I’ve read many stories on how the cell phones were conceived and made a reality by Trekkies who grew up wanting to have a pocket communication device. The early flip phones were not that far off.


So when I think of that vision of where wireless will go, that's what comes to mind. Wi-Fi will be the enabler of a human-machine interface that is going to meld and it's going to be on the go. It's going to be mobile. And if patients have healthcare issues, questions, or concerns, they'll be dealt with and answered with near immediacy as the result of this freeing us from wired platforms.


What do you think? Where will Wi-Fi/wireless connectivity, take healthcare in the future?


In the above video, John Chuang, president of Onyx Healthcare, talks about how technology can reduce patient readmissions while increasing engagement.


What do you think? What's your solution for reducing readmissions?

Technology is making huge advances in all spheres of life, especially in healthcare. Clinicians have a wider range of devices at their disposal and can choose the best device based on their needs. With increased connectivity, clinicians are able to turn to mobile devices for their portability and versatility, but for certain tasks that require a large screen size, plugged-in capability and high-performance power, all-in-one (AiO) desktop computers might be a better bet. 50076.jpg


The right device for the right time

AiO computers are capable of performing multiple functions that require a huge amount of data, making them ideal for many situations in a healthcare setting. For instance:


  • Senior administrators can use the touch and voice commands, combined with large and immersive screens to quickly navigate through large data files or numerous reports. Plus, AiOs take up little precious room on the desk or at a shared station, and technologies like Intel® RealSense™ can use facial recognition as a sign-on for added protection in a multi-user environment.
  • Surgeons in the operating room can connect critical monitoring devices to new AiOs so that real-time data needed by anesthesiologists, nurses, and physicians, along with a patient’s full medical history, is consolidated onto one large screen during a procedure. This provides a more holistic view of the patient to make better operating room decisions.
  • Doctors and nurses can use an AiO to replace a bedside terminal to collaborate with patients on critical care questions. After they sign off, the desktop can also be used by the patient and family members as their big-screen TV, streaming music station, or voice-enabled Web browsing desktop.
  • Teleradiologists will appreciate the large processing power and screen size of an AiO to examine X-rays and CAT scans in minute detail. With touch integration, they can rotate, enlarge, measure, and expand images without maxing out the processing requirements like you would on a laptop. The sleek footprint also gives new AiOs better usability in tight spaces, such as patient examination rooms or the ER, and it’s easy to plug in a handheld microphone for direct dictation.
  • Ob-gyns can take advantage of new, low-cost technology such as the USB probes that plug into AiOs to become ultrasound machines. Imagine being able to save tens of thousands of dollars on stand-alone ultrasound equipment by making use of the powerful performance and features of new desktop computers.

Better workflow and security

Unlike mobile devices where data can experience lag while it’s sent to and from the cloud, desktop systems connect directly to the network to streamline workflow because everything is updated in real time. This can be especially valuable in hospital areas where Wi-Fi is problematic or rooms that are purposely built to block X-rays. To speed things up even further, no additional encryption is needed for data both in flight and at rest, as would be for a mobile wireless device.


Additionally, Intel® vPro™ technology allows these powerful devices to be easily and even remotely managed, which can be especially valuable for smaller clinics that don’t have a dedicated IT department. Lastly, AiOs offer more physical security—it’s difficult to walk off with a desktop after all.


What questions about desktop computers in healthcare do you have? Do you use both mobile and desktop in your healthcare environment?


This is the first installment of the Desktop World Tech Innovation Series.

Click here to view: blog #2

To view more posts within the series click here: Desktop World Series


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?

Patient data and analytics are vital to the healthcare experience today. To learn more, we recently caught up with Dr. David J. Cook, professor of anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic, who also has an appointment in the engineering section for the Center of the Science of Healthcare Delivery.

Dr. Cook built MC Health Connection, a cloud-based architecture designed to alter care models and improve the patient experience. Using a tablet, patients, family members and physicians can track their progress with recovery following surgery. In the video below, Dr. Cook shares his thoughts on the three elements for changing care models.


Intel: How can wearables and big data work together to improve healthcare?


Cook: The first element in the evolution of care is in acquiring data from patients in non-intrusive ways that integrate with their daily lifestyles. We need to give patients the opportunity to share insights into their daily health cycles, which would lead to early detection of disease and ultimately improve the quality of their lives.


The second element is connecting patient-generated data to a gateway so that it can inform decisions. Data alone is not enough and the clinical care model is not sufficient unless it has useful and actionable patient health data.


The third element is connecting that gateway to a healthcare infrastructure that is accessible to both patients and their healthcare providers. These elements are just beginning to work together to create an intelligent healthcare model.


Intel: What can you imagine for the future of healthcare?


Cook: We need to shift our thinking and be ready to participate in healthcare models that empower patients to contribute and engage in their own healthcare. The future is shifting away from a passive delivery model to one that focuses on real-time patient engagement. This is probably the fundamental philosophical and social transition that’s going to occur in healthcare.


The way we engage with the world is shifting how we live our daily lives—whether that’s in how we bank, plan our travel or decide where to eat or what to buy. It’s reasonable for patients to expect that we deliver healthcare models that connect to modern technologies that can greatly improve their health and longevity.



Intel: How have patient needs changed in the past 100 years?


Cook: In the past, there was a belief that illnesses were just something that happened to patients. Therefore, the responsibility for patient wellness fell entirely on someone who typically didn’t give much thought to preventative care. Now, that model is certainly suitable for acute appendicitis, or typhoid fever, or getting run over by a wagon, but that psychosocial model doesn’t work for diabetes. It doesn’t work for hypertension. It doesn’t work for obesity, which is among the ailments affecting the majority of the patients that we see today. That transition is incredibly important.


Intel: How is big data changing your approach to patient care?


Cook: Technology has changed what I do tremendously. Technology is radically changing the work experience of physicians; its impact on my own work is extraordinary. I’m an anesthesiologist and I work in cardiac surgery—we get data on multiple physiologic parameters every second. When you have that much data it begins to add amazing amounts of value.


The amount of data that we have now provides a remarkable patient safety net. We can now pull data and identify certain patterns that require immediate physician attention. We didn’t have that in the past. This is a completely transformative way of delivering healthcare.


Intel: What keeps you up at night?


Cook: What keeps me up at night, more than anything else, is frustration at the slow pace forward. What is needed is so absolutely and clearly evident. Yet there seems to be an effort to reach a large comprehensive platform solution, as opposed to creating a variety of smaller solutions that you can test on a relatively small scale. It feels like every week and every month that goes by there’s this pressing need in the United States and elsewhere for cost-effective healthcare that’s of high quality. The way to that is relatively straightforward, I think.


As consumers demonstrate a growing interest in generating their own vital signs and wellness data via apps and wearable devices, healthcare systems need to deal with the influx of information and set a strategy for how to analyze it for better outcomes.


In the above video, Frederick Holston, executive director and chief technology officer at the Intermountain Healthcare Transformation Lab, talks with Eric Dishman about how healthcare providers can learn to prepare for consumer-generated data, how to trust the data, and how to get data in the hands of physicians to utilize in care plans.


Watch the short video and let us know what questions you have about the future of healthcare technology and where you think it’s headed.

From time to time we will look at healthcare IT environments from around the world to see how different countries approach healthcare technology challenges. Below is the second in a series of guest posts on the English NHS from contributor Colin Jervis.


In the UK, an aging population threatens to increase demand for healthcare and social services. My last post looked at the features of the integrated care needed to stem this tide and some of the security and confidentiality issues raised by sharing between organizations. Really, the only answer in the short- and medium-term is better models of care supported by Information and Communications Technology (ICT).


In addition, Baby Boomers are now aging and are likely to be far more assertive than their parents about healthcare quality and delivery. And they often have better ICT at home than they encounter in a spell with the NHS.


For sure, the management of long-term conditions is likely to be a competitive arena for public and private sector healthcare providers. Even among traditional NHS providers we already see the formation of GP consortia and of secondary care providers hiring salaried GPs to create new organizations.


Supporting this are wirelessness and data integration – moving away from traditional institutions and clinics and moving closer to care in a patient’s home. But the great benefits this promises come with risks.


The NHS uses two-factor authentication to authorize access to systems that contain confidential patient data – password and smartcard. Something you know and something you have. This is practicable for most NHS staff; however, for some it is not.


In a busy emergency department with few end user devices, the time taken for an individual to log out and in to the electronic patient record each time is unbearable. So, what tends to happen is that someone logs in with their smartcard at the start of the day and remains logged in until the end of their shift, letting their colleagues use their access rights. Not what is intended, but difficult to censure when clinicians put addressing patient needs before information governance.


Further, clinicians mobile in the community often have issues with security. They can attend a patient at their home and login. Provided access is good and there is continuous interaction between patient, clinician and machine this is fine.


However, some clinicians, such as physiotherapists, may have longer interventions away from the machine. To comply with security, the device times out after a few minutes. Logging in again is a pain, not to mention the possibility that – for example – an inquisitive family member could access the unattended machine while the connection is open. In the world of remote access security form does not always follow function.


Two-factor authentication is sound, however, many ICT helpdesks will rate the resetting of passwords as the biggest reason for user calls. Passwords are not easy for most people to remember particularly if the structure is prescriptive; for example, at least one capital letter, one digit and one symbol – and also has to be changed regularly.


Nothing of nothing comes. With the greater use of ICT and the benefits of instant access and mobility, we must trade something. There is no activity that carries no risk. Even if I lie in bed all day to avoid being run over by a truck or attacked by a mugger, I still risk the disbenefits of inactivity such as depression, heart disease and an overdose of comfort eating.


But how important to us is the confidentiality of healthcare information, particularly with the growth of wearable health devices and the smartphone app? I’ll address that in my next post.


What questions do you have?


Colin Jervis is an independent healthcare consultant. His book ‘Stop Saving the NHS and Start Reinventing It’ is available now. His website is, and he also posts on Twitter @colin_jervis.

Below is a guest post from Steven E. Waldren, MD MS.


HEalthcare2.jpgI was listening to the Intel Health videocast[1] of Eric Dishman, Dr. Bill Crounse, Dr. Andy Litt, and Dr. Graham Hughes. There was an introductory line that rang true, “EHR does not transform healthcare.” This statement prompted me to write this post.


The healthcare industry and policy makers have frequently seen health information technology (health IT) as a relatively easy fix to the quality and cost issues plaguing the U.S. health system. If we adopt health IT and make it interoperable, we will drastically improve quality and lower cost. Research provides evidence that health IT can do both.


I believe, however, that interpretation of this research misses a very important dependent variable; that variable is the sociotechnical system within which the health IT is deployed. For the uninitiated, Wikipedia provides a good description of a sociotechnical system.[2] In essence, it is the system of people, workflow, information, and technology in a complex work environment. Healthcare is definitely a complex adaptive environment[3]. To put a finer point on this, if you deploy health IT in an environment in which the people, workflow, and information are aligned to improve quality and lower cost, then you are likely to see those results. On the other hand, if you implement the technology in an environment in which the people, workflow, and information are not aligned, you will likely not see in either area.


Another reason it is important to look at health IT as a sociotechnical system is to couple the provider needs and capabilities to the health IT functions needed. I think, as an industry, we have not done this well. We too quickly jump into the technology, be it patient portal, registry, or e-prescribing, instead of focusing on the capability the IT is designed to enable, for example, patient collaboration, population management, or medication management, respectively.


Generally, the current crop of health IT has been focused on automating the business of healthcare, not on automating care delivery. The focus has been on generating and submitting billing, and generating documentation to justify billing. Supporting chronic disease management, prevention, or wellness promotion take a side seat if not a backseat. As the healthcare industry transitions to value-based payment, the focus has begun to change. As the healthcare system, we should focus on the capabilities that providers and hospitals need to support effective and efficient care delivery. From those capabilities, we can define the roles, workflows, data, and technology needed to support practices and hospitals in achieving those capabilities. Instead of adopting a standard, acquiring a piece of technology, or sending a message, by loosely coupling to the capabilities, we have a metric to determine whether we are successful.


If we do not focus on the people, workflow, data, and technology, but instead only focus on adopting health IT, we will struggle to achieve the “Triple Aim™,” to see any return on investment, or to improve the satisfaction of providers and patients. At this time, a real opportunity exists to further our understanding of the optimization of sociotechnical systems in healthcare and to create resources to deploy those learnings into the healthcare system. The opportunity requires us to expand our focus to the people, workflow, information, AND technology.


What questions do you have about healthcare IT?


Steven E. Waldren, MD MS, is the director, Alliance for eHealth Innovation at the American Academy of Family Physicians





From time to time we will look at healthcare IT environments from around the world to see how different countries approach healthcare technology challenges. Below is the first in a series of guest posts on the English NHS from contributor Colin Jervis.


Integrated patient care has been a goal for at least a decade. Twenty years ago, when I worked for the NHS as an employee leading a large ICT programme, I remember trying to catalyse co-operation between an acute trust and social care to help the early discharge of “bed blockers.”


My efforts came to nothing – as did attempts to give a local GP access to the patient administration system I had implemented – though that was probably owing to the slowness

of modem access rather than any organisational mismatch.


Now the NHS struggles to become more efficient at the unprecedented rate of 4-5 percent a year. Even greater economies are forced on local authorities, which manage social care, with savings of 20 percent or more being common. This fiscal pressure has warmed the glacial pace at which the integration of NHS and social care has progressed.


Economic pressures are only one factor in the quest for efficiency. Patients with long-term conditions live in a triangle between social, primary and secondary care -participants in a game of pass-the-patient from which they escape through the front door of an Emergency Department to an expensive stay in an acute hospital bed. Until now there has been no clear lead for these patients’ care – though there are now plans to make their GP accountable.


Nonetheless, the greater incidence of long-term conditions will increase demand for healthcare that it is unlikely to be met without radical change to its processes, structure and technology.


It is not clear to me that healthcare has accepted this. I have the impression the NHS thinks that it can continue with business as usual until a deus ex machina saves it.


Accordingly, the NHS turns to information and communications technology (ICT) probably because it is the last black box in town. But there is little evidence in healthcare (and elsewhere) that on its own ICT creates economies. What is needed is ICT combined with new models of care delivery -  something beyond a remix of business-as-usual.


Combining NHS, social and even third sector care, creates new challenges. These organisations have different cultures and funding models, and different approaches to the security and confidentiality of patient and client data.


The NHS has the secure N3 network and a stringent set of rules and guidelines for sharing and managing information. These are regularly self-assessed using the NHS information governance toolkit.


Is this system perfect? Definitely not. In recent years there have been many instances of patient information having been lost on storage such as computer hard drives. In addition, if you really want to know who is suffering from what in your neighborhood, sit next to your GP’s reception desk and listen in.


Local Authorities have access to GSi - a government data network with similar levels of security to N3.


Nonetheless, as usual, technology is only part of the challenge. The way it is used by staff is of equal, if not more, importance. Users can break even the most perfect system.


Nor are healthcare data restricted to traditional organisations. Search engines probably know more about your lifestyle and preferences than your doctor, and Google says that searches relating to health are the second largest category. In addition, many of us now wear computing that records our activity, what we eat, our blood pressure. All of this data is stored and probably presents a far more comprehensive picture of us than our traditional medical record.


As security and confidentiality move beyond the walls of institutions, the debate about patient data takes on a new aspect and leads to questions about risks and benefits.


What questions do you have?


Colin Jervis is an independent healthcare consultant. His book ‘Stop Saving the NHS and Start Reinventing It’ is available now. His website is, and he also posts on Twitter: @colin_jervis.


The Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation will be holding its 2014 Transform Symposium Sept. 7-9. The event offers both in-person and online opportunities to participate. I will be part of an online panel discussion on Monday, September 8, from Noon to 1 p.m. CT, addressing virtual care with several experts from the Mayo Clinic, including Dr. Douglas Wood. A practicing cardiologist, Dr. Wood spends half his time seeing patients with complex cardiologic problems and the other half as the Medical Director for the Center for Innovation. I caught up with Dr. Wood recently to talk more about virtual care and where we’re headed in the future.


Intel: What is the future of virtual healthcare?


Wood: To Mayo Clinic, the future of virtual health is really the future of healthcare. Healthcare today is more illness care than anything else. Most often we wait for people to have symptoms or illnesses and then we have them come and see us in a clinic or an emergency room or a hospital. The technologies that are available now to enable virtual health can become tools for us to help people make good decisions about their health. Delivering care virtually, and in a different way from today, is really a fundamental aspect of healthcare of the future.


Intel: How do we make the transition to virtual care?


Wood: The transition from traditional models of care to virtual health is challenging for some physicians, and for some patients. After all, many physicians have been trained in a method of delivering care one person at a time during a 15-minute visit. We can be free of all of the problems related to that system by using new methods of care. Physicians should devote their time to patients who really need their expertise. For others, we could deliver care with a virtual visit or an email interaction. This gives us a chance to let physicians use their skills in the most productive way possible, and at the same time, allows patients to get their needs met in the most efficient way possible so that we don’t always make them come into the facility.


Intel: What needs to be done to make virtual care a reality?


Wood: Studies we’ve conducted showed us that physicians were really necessary for only about 6 percent of clinic interactions. A large number of the other interactions could have been provided by advanced practice nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, dieticians, or even non-licensed people. A certain number of visits didn’t even need to occur in the context of going to a clinic. We could’ve delivered information to them at home, at school, or in the grocery store where they’re shopping. Our current system of care does not permit this to happen because we are constrained by our existing payment systems. Why should we stick to a system that creates so much generalized unhappiness when we have an opportunity to do something that would be much more satisfying, and more productive, for everybody—physicians, nurses, and patients?


Intel: How is technology advancing the possibility of virtual care?


Wood: Technology is a part of everything we do in the Center for Innovation. We are thinking about how we can improve an interaction that we have with a person coming for our care, and using different technologies to learn much more about them when they arrive. Right now we acquire information by listening and then parroting that data to a dictated format that’s not searchable and not useful. We need to use natural language processing or other kinds of technologies to make the information easier to acquire and analyze. Then we are helping physicians come to better decisions about what additional diagnostic studies or even treatments might be appropriate.


Intel: Who will lead this effort toward virtual health? Will it be collaborative?


Wood: It’s important to recognize that innovation is really collaboration, so partners are absolutely essential to success. We believe that innovation begins with fundamentally understanding the needs of people and then looking at ways that we can meet those needs. We don’t need to invent solutions that are already around. There are many technologies that we could adopt rapidly with little modification. There are other technologies that we would need to adapt. The point is we don’t need to spend our time in the Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic doing any of that work. We instead should be looking for partners who can help us move faster with our implementation. So partners like Intel are absolutely critical to our success. On the other hand, we are concerned about blindly applying technologic solutions without really understanding what people need.


In the second part of this discussion, Joan Hankin, MSN, RN, Global Healthcare Marketing at Intel, sits down with Molly McCarthy, RN MBA, Chief Nursing Strategist at Microsoft US Health & Life Sciences, to talk about how health IT devices impact nursing workflows. See the first part of the conversation here.


The two nurses also discuss how to get buy-in from nurses for healthcare technology and wish lists for devices that can improve patient care.


Watch the above clip and let us know if you have any questions. What health IT devices do you think are most important for nurses?

Last week I had the honor of participating in the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee roundtable discussion, 21st Century Cures, to talk about balancing health IT innovation and regulation.


More than 20 committee members, some of them physicians themselves, attended the bi-partisan session led by Chairman Fred Upton and Congresswoman Diana DeGette. I found it encouraging that six of these representatives asked direct questions, which tells me that these lawmakers are in exploratory mode as opposed to looking for answers to support predetermined conclusions. That’s good for the healthcare industry. 2014_Blatt_DC.jpg


The most interesting takeaway for me was the consensus among the participants that empowering patients can’t be stopped. People have been given the keys to their lives in other industries like banking, travel, and retail. Now it’s time for healthcare to step up and we should be enabling this change when it comes to personal data and care delivery.


My message to the representatives and the panel was that we should be creating a climate that favors risk, and shouldn’t pass regulations that so protect citizens that nothing happens. After all, healthcare data belongs to the patient and it should be their right to use it however they want to. What if they want to opt out of HIPPA guidelines? They should be able to. What if I want one facility to send my data to another electronically? I should be able to. We don’t live in a one-size-fits-all society anymore and we should give patients choices when it comes to their personal health data and care.


In other words, let risk creep in, with patients at the center, and allow for choice.


This is where technology comes into play. Technology is an enabler and will permit alternative delivery models like cyber care to thrive. We have to create a system where people can get their data and request it by the most convenient method possible. As the holder of patient records, a facility should be obligated to provide it to the patients. Imagine if a bank refused to give you your account balance. Phones would be ringing off the hook on Capitol Hill.


There are a lot of ways to set up closed-loop feedback systems to benefit patients. If the vision is true, then many hospitals will close, massive dislocation will take place, unemployment in the sector will jump, and workers will be repurposed for jobs they didn’t train for. It will be hard. It will be disruptive. But you can’t have gentle disruption. There will be an element of pain but let’s deal with it. The consequence is too important to not deal with it.


Maybe it’s time to admit to ourselves that the current healthcare systems needs to be unwound and undone. Medical treatment is no longer only available through human interaction. The Gen Y generation wants convenient, inexpensive care that is never wrong. They are willing to sacrifice a friendly relationship with an elderly doctor so that the care is affordable and accurate. You have to balance things. It’s about choice. Allow for face-to-face care, or another way. Young people today want to push a button on a mobile device and get immediate, cheap help. Let them.


I hope that the representatives in the room last week don’t pass laws that favor one form of care over the other. If they really want to be effective and change the healthcare system, they should create a level playing field for both types of care and let the consumer choose.


What questions do you have?


If you want to watch the entire 2-hours session, 21st Century Cures, you can see it here.


Mark Blatt is the Worldwide Medical Director for Intel Corporation.

top_blog_3.jpgA recent post on the Microsoft in Health Blog (read full blog post here) expounded the idea of using predictive analytics to curb readmissions and length of stay (LOS). However, predictive analytics only serves to identify patients at risk for readmission, without effectively offering a solution to prevent the readmission in the first place. What predictive analytics is really telling us is that our current processes are insufficient.


If we want to effect real, transformative changes to the present healthcare system and make it work for us, we need to find a way to address unnecessary patient visits in four key areas: readmissions, admissions, ER visits, and office visits.


For the purpose of this discussion, we’ll focus on readmissions and address the other topics in later articles. The crux of our argument is this: virtual care is much more effective than brick-and-mortar care.


Simply put, virtual care is a care delivery model that describes a set of interventions, or ways of caring for people, that empower patients to manage their own care. The majority of care takes place in the patient’s home rather than the hospital. In the virtual care model, patients benefit from online resources and access to practitioners via phone, email, or even through videoconferencing. The care provider takes on the role of a coordinator or a coach, someone who passes down tools and expertise so the patient can learn to manage their own disease.


If patients can manage their own care, they’ll have less need to visit the emergency room. And when emergencies arise, hospitals will be better prepared to handle them because they’ll be using their resources more efficiently, and spending less time and effort on patients who can now take care of themselves.


A comprehensive online portal will be critical to the success of the virtual care platform. An online portal gives patients the ability to access lab summaries and test results from home, or speak to a care provided as needed. A responsive communication system that provides access to a care provider 24/7/365 is crucial, because if patients can’t get ahold of their doctors, they will default to the ER.


Getting patients involved in their own care extends beyond basic treatment. We can leverage online registries in conjunction with social media networks to get patients to log on and share BKMs among themselves. Social groups are especially effective for patients with chronic illnesses to share their experiences and offer support.


Perhaps the simplest, most important thing we can do is to promote medication adherence. In other words, take your medicine. This post won’t drill down into the methods for how we can encourage patients to take their medicine, but any virtual care initiative should investigate the reasons why patients rationalize not following up or not following through with their medication regimen, and establish viable countermeasures for it.


The core technological component of the virtual care initiative will be a cloud-based IT infrastructure that allows you to gather and share data with patients in a secure and easy-to-consume format. If we’re serious about increasing efficiencies and reducing unnecessary patient visits, then the Intel Healthcare IT Peer Network is a great starting point for getting in touch with other healthcare IT professionals and sharing ideas. You can also tap resources and how-to guides on the Intel® IT Center to start planning out your virtual care data center.


After addressing readmissions, the next step will be to look at admissions, ER visits, and finally office visits. The goal here is to improve access at much lower costs while providing the same quality of care and convenience that patients have come to expect in every other aspect of their digital lives.

What questions do you have?

Mark Blatt is the Worldwide Medical Director at Intel


Nurses and Health IT Devices

Posted by mnblatt Jun 19, 2014


When it comes to patient care, nurses often spend the most amount of time at the bedside and utilize technology to keep the stream of information flowing.


In the above discussion, Joan Hankin, MSN, RN, Global Healthcare Marketing at Intel, sits down with Molly McCarthy, RN MBA, Chief Nursing Strategist at Microsoft US Health & Life Sciences, to talk about how health IT devices impact nursing workflows. The two nurses also discuss how mobile tablets can create efficiencies for nurses, and how nurses can participate in the device selection process.


Watch the clip and let us know what questions you have. How do your nurses use mobile health technology?