Innovative Strategies for Managing Patient Care through Mobility

Nancy Green

This post was originally ran August 11, 2017 on Healthcare Business Today.

The use of mobile technology by the healthcare industry is on the rise. Recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association finds that the use of these new technologies can greatly improve patient care.  It can also improve collaboration between caregivers, payers and clinicians which can increase the quality of care. A mobile, device-empowered, patient consumer has now opened the door for new care and treatment models that can be delivered virtually (video, text) by an equally remote and technology-enabled clinical provider. Mobility solutions can improve collaboration between care teams which helps to reduce medical errors through real-time clinical decision-making,

Mobility has been a strong influencer in the industry, both from an internal perspective (e.g. clinicians wanting to use their own latest technologies), to patients and members who want to use their technology to interact now with their healthcare providers. However, as mobile technology continues to evolve and become a more integral part of patient care, there is a need for healthcare providers to become more innovative and to be more agile, increase their speed, security and the convenience of their offerings in order to support this shift.

Innovation at the Edge Starts with Innovation at the Core

Many people think innovation is about a new product, gadget or application. Customers like to see and hold innovation in their hands.  But some of the most meaningful innovation taking place in the industry today—innovation that has the greatest potential to transform enterprise operations—is in spaces people cannot see.  A great deal of transformative innovation is happening at the system, network, and platform level.  In many ways the real magic is taking place on the inside, behind the machine, tablet, or technology we’re holding in our hands (or wearing on our arms).  It’s the kind of innovation that enables complex systems and machines to talk to each other, exchange critical information, produce seamless user experiences, and transform data into actionable analytics.  That’s where the “wow factor” really is because it’s where the most measurable impact to cost, risk, and productivity really occurs. It’s about the potential of that innovation to engage the customer (not just wow them), drive real business growth, and manage and mitigate risk to your business.

Healthcare Technology is Rapidly Evolving

We’ve come a long way from paper records and physical prescriptions as today’s changing healthcare landscape places an emphasis on improving the quality of and increasing the access to patient care. The shift of patients and healthcare insurance members being able to receive care from virtually anywhere (as happens with banking and shopping) has drastically impacted the healthcare delivery system from all corners, including the payers. This challenges an entire system that was built on the patients coming INTO a facility to receive care to now treating them in an entirely different way. The increased use of mobile and video technologies has expanded the possibilities, but security and quality of care are continued issues from the clinical viewpoint.

New mobile solutions are also enabling patients and healthcare providers to share information in real-time, to better manage patient-directed care plans for issues such as chronic diseases. Effectively sharing data between clinician and patient can help improve patient care. Sharing of patient biometric data including weight, temperature, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, activity and other important statistics through mobile technology to a secure cloud gives the care team important information to better engage with their patient in their health. When patients can easily share their vitals with their healthcare providers, they are also more aware of their health and everyone benefits. (more…)

Beyond the Health Costs of Bullying

Glenna Crooks

Early in my career, I was a School Psychologist. My role at the time involved helping children with special needs by figuring out how they learned best and coaching teachers and parents to do likewise.

In all those years, I never received a referral for bullying behavior or victimization. In recent years, as bullying has reached headlines, as a health policy analyst, I’ve noted the health-related consequences: physical complaints, depression, insomnia, nightmares and even, suicide.

Recently, I saw reports of other costs I want to share. Data from California showed that among 7th, 9th and 11th graders, 10.4% of kids missed school because they felt unsafe from bullying.

Since schools are funded based on attendance rates, those missed school days cost California schools $276 million annually in lost income from the State. About half of that cost was due to bias-based bullying, for race/ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

It’s not just bullies and those they bully who are impacted, it’s all students. Knowing this makes mental health and other prevention programs all the more important.

Newsweek Profiles June 2012 Man of the Month, Matthew Zachary


Shout out to our very own June 2012 Man of the Month, Matthew Zachary, who e graces the cover of Newsweek.

See his story and catch up on the wonderful work he is providing:

Patients and “Their” Medical Records: Crossing the Chasm

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

This blog was originally published by Health Populi on July 17.

Most physician practices and hospitals in the U.S. have installed electronic health records (EHRs). But in a classic Field of Dreams scenario, we have made patients’ medical records digital, but people aren’t asking for them or accessing them en masse. “How do we make it easier for patients to request and manage their own data?” asks a report from the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC), Improving the Health Records Request Process for Patients – Highlights from User Experience Research.

The ONC has been responsible for implementing the HITECH Act’s provisions, ensuring that health care providers have met Meaningful Use criteria for implementing EHRs, and then receiving the financial incentives embedded in the Act for meeting those provisions.

Now that the majority of health care providers in the U.S. have indeed purchased and implemented EHRs, it remains for patients, health consumers, and caregivers to take advantage of them. In my post on the EHR Field of Dreams effect, I highlighted research from the U.S. General Accountability Office that explored the question of how the Department of Health and Human Services should assess the effectiveness of efforts to enhance patient access to EHRs.

The ONC team conducted in-depth interviews with 17 patients to understand their health IT personae and personal workflows for accessing their personal medical records. The research also considered medical record release forms and information for 50 large U.S. health systems and hospitals, and interviewed “insiders” –health care stakeholders inside and outside of ONC — to assess how patients request access to medical records data and look for solutions to improve that process.

Why is it so important for people to access their medical records? By doing so, patients and caregivers can better manage and control their health and well-being, ONC notes, by preventing repeat tests, managing clinical numbers (like blood pressure for heart or glucose for diabetes), and sharing decision making with doctors and other clinicians — together, the process of patient and health engagement which boosts health outcomes for individuals and populations.

The general process of a patient requesting their health data works like this, illustrated by the patient journey of Melissa and Ava Crawford, a mother and toddler daughter portrayed in the ONC report:

  • A patient/consumer makes an initial inquiry
  • The consumer requests the records, which can be done via a paper authorization form (that is then completed and either mailed or faxed to a provider) or online via portal. Sometimes a consumer must write a letter request to the provider and mail or fax that paper ask.
  • The consumer waits for a response, which ONC calls “a bit of a black hole for consumers.” This can be as long as 30 days under the HIPAA law.
  • The health system receives and verifies the request, then verifies the patient’s identify and address.
  • Health systems then fulfill the records request, often a printed copy of the medical record that can be faxed or mailed, PDF files, or a computer disk (CD).

ONC conducted research into the consumer journey along this process to identify opportunities to improve the patient experience of requesting and receiving personal health information.

Most Americans see their doctors entering medical information electronically, and most people say accessing all kinds of medical information is important, the Kaiser Family Foundation learned in a health tracking poll conducted in August 2016. However, there are big gaps in the information available to U.S. patients online, such as prescription drug histories and lab results: two very popularly demanded information categories. And through the consumer-patient demand lens, 1 in 2 U.S. adults said they had no need to access their health information online, as the chart from the KFF poll attests.

How to bridge the chasm between self-health IT, providers and patients? The most effective patient engagement technologies are biometric measurement devices like WiFi scales and glucometers, apps, texting and wearables — with portals ranking last — according to physicians and clinical leaders polled in a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) survey published earlier this month.

The top benefit of engaging patients with these technologies is to support people in their efforts to be healthy, and to provide input to providers on how patients are doing when not in the clinic, this research found.

My friend and collaborator Michael Millenson wrote in the BMJ this month about patient-centered care no longer being “enough.” In this era of technology-enabled healthcare, and rising consumerism among patients, three core principles must underpin the relationship between patient and provider:

  • Shared information
  • Shared engagement
  • Shared accountability.

Michael quotes Jay Katz from his book, The Silent World of Doctor and Patient, who talked 35 years ago about the concept of “caring custody.” Jay explained this as, “the idea of physicians’ Aesculapian authority over patients’” being replaced with “mutual trust.”

It is not enough to build and offer a technology “meant” for patients and people to use for their health and healthcare. Trust underpins all health engagement, and must be designed and “baked” into the offering. Today, that trust is built as much on consumer retail experience (the last-best experience someone has had in their daily life, exemplified at this moment by Amazon) as in a new social health contract between providers and patients.

Tech Tonics Podcast: Margaret Laws – Where Non-Profit & For-Profit Healthcare Innovation Collide

This post was originally published by Venture Valkyrie on July 10. 

Margaret Laws has been working at the intersection of the for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare world for many years. This world has had an explosion of activity to find solutions to major public health and personal health challenges; according to Margaret, these worlds are beginning to blur and the newest foundations and non-profits are actively trying to bring the resources and discipline of private business sector to the big problems we are facing in the social sector. Her life’s work has been to straddle both of these worlds and try to bring them together.Margaret Laws

Today Margaret is CEO of HopeLab, an Omidyar Group entity, focused on improving the health and well-being of kids by creating engaging technologies backed by rigorous research. They rely on a combination of rigorous science, user-centered design and strategic partnerships to drive broad impact. The organization works on a wide variety of themes that benefit from the intersection of technology and health, from early childhood health to the mental health of teens.

Margaret is well known in the venture capital world as well, having led the California Health Care Foundation’s innovation investment fund for many years. She is driven by a curiosity to keep learning and a passion for improving how people live and thrive.

We are delighted to host Margaret on Tech Tonics today.

You can listen to her interview now.

Or by going to iTunes by clicking HERE or on the Connected Social Media website HERE.

We are grateful to our sponsor, AARP Market Innovation. for supporting this episode of Tech Tonics. AARP Market Innovation, which works to spark innovation in the market that will benefit the quality of life for people over 50.


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