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In an exclusive interview with Matthew Holt, American Well President and CEO Roy Schoenberg, MD shrugs off the threat of emerging competitors, predicts that United Healthcare will own a telehealth company within the next 12 months, and reveals that his company has “turned the corner” in terms of generating revenue from telehealth services. Schoenberg also shares details of the company’s recently announced integration with Apple HealthKit and the growing use of scheduled telehealth visits to treat chronically ill patients.

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Given what is now known about how the case of Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian was handled, the attempt to blame the hospital’s electronic health record for the missed diagnosis sounds pretty lame.

But people are still doing it:

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Critics of electronic medical records have found a case they will be talking about for years.

Consider this argument from Ross Koppel and Suzanne Gordon:

While it is too early to determine what precisely happened in this case, it is not too early to consider the critical issues it highlights. One is our health care system’s reliance on computerized technology that is too often unfriendly to clinicians, especially those who work in stressful situations like a crowded emergency room. Then there are physicians’ long-standing failure to pay attention to nurses’ notes. Finally, there is the fact that hospitals often discourage nurses from assertively challenging physicians.

Long promised as the panacea for patient safety errors, electronic health records, in fact, have fragmented information, too often making critical data difficult to find. Often, doctors or nurses must log out of the system they are on and log into another system just to access data needed to treat their patients (with, of course, additional passwords required). Worse, data is frequently labeled in odd ways. For example, the results of a potassium test might be found under “potassium,” “serum potassium level,” “blood tests” or “lab reports.” Frequently, nurses and doctors will see different screen presentations of similar data, making it difficult to collaborate.

Continue reading “Throwing the EHR Under the Bus …”

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We have some questions for you—questions, that is, about health information. What is it?  Can you get it when you need it? What if your community needed important information to make your town or city safe or keep it healthy? How about information about your health care? Can your doctors and nurses get health care information about you or your family members when they need it quickly?

I came across a recent Wall Street Journal article about a remarkable story of health, resilience and survival in the face of an unimaginable health crisis—a Liberian community facing the advancing Ebola infections in their country got health information and used it to protect themselves. When the community first learned of the rapidly advancing Ebola cases coming toward them, the leaders in that Firestone company town in Liberia jumped on the Internet and performed a Google search for “Ebola”.

Continue reading “Data for Health: Coming to a Town Near You …”

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When Thomas Eric Duncan first came into the hospital, he arrived with an elevated temperature, but was sent home.

On his return visit to the hospital, he was brought in by ambulance under the suspicion from him and family members that he may have Ebola.

Mr. Duncan was left for several hours, not in isolation, in an area where other patients were present.

No one knew what the protocols were or were able to verify what kind of personal protective equipment should be worn and there was no training.

Subsequently a nurse supervisor arrived and demanded that he be moved to an isolation unit– yet faced resistance from other hospital authorities.

Lab specimens from Mr. Duncan were sent through the hospital tube system without being specially sealed and hand delivered. The result is that the entire tube system by which all lab specimens are sent was potentially contaminated. Continue reading “Statement from the Dallas Nurses”

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Texas Health Presbyterian

A group of nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian has come forward with a very different picture of what happened when Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Duncan arrived at the hospital with Ebola-like symptoms on September 28th.  If true, the allegations are certainly unsettling.

In an unusual move, the nurses spoke anonymously to the media, conducting a blind conference call in which none of the participants were identified.

After arriving at the emergency room with a high fever and other symptoms of the disease , the nurses said the patient was kept in a public area, despite the fact that he and a relative informed staff that he had been instructed to go to the hospital after contacting the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to report a possible case of Ebola.

Continue reading “Angry Nurses Tell of Ebola Patient’s arrival at Texas Hospital”

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Viewics
is a health care data analytics company that uses a cloud-based SaaS model to provide health care organization with solutions to improve their operational, financial and clinical outcomes. Viewics raised $8M in additional funding today, in a round led by Canvas Venture Fund. This is the second funding round for the company this year. Earlier this February, it raised an undisclosed amount from a group of savvy Silicon Valley investors, including Morado Ventures’ Farzad Nazem, who also is the former Yahoo CTO, and AME Cloud Ventures, a venture capital group led by Yahoo’s founder and former CEO, Jerry Yang.

Viewics’ flagship product, Viewics Health Insighter (VHI), allows health care organizations to have a standardized suite of analytics tools to aggregate, extract and share insights from the vast amounts of data in their information systems. It eliminates the hassle of developing an internal business intelligence infrastructure. Viewics has over 100 hospitals and laboratories as its customers, and processes data for 20 million patients across multiple departments and visits. The VHI data aggregation platform enables clinical analysis on a database representing 650 million tests. Continue reading “Viewics: Changing the World of Health Care Data”

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Lygeia RiccardiMaking Sense of Blue Button, Meaningful Use, and What’s Going on in Washington  …

At the recent Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, co-chair Matt Holt expressed frustration about the difficulty of getting copies of his young daughter’s medical records. His experience catalyzed a heated discussion about individuals’ electronic access to their own health information. Many people are confused about or unaware of their legal rights, the policies that support those rights, and the potential implications of digital access to health data by individuals. The Health 2.0 conference crowd included 2000 entrepreneurs, consumer technology companies, patient advocates, and other potentially “disruptive” forces in healthcare, in addition to more traditional health system players.

Why is this topic so important? Until now, most people haven’t accessed their own health records, whether electronically or in paper, and I believe that making it easier to do so will help tip the scales toward more meaningful consumer/patient engagement in healthcare and in health. Access by individuals and their families to their own health records can empower them to coordinate care among multiple healthcare providers, find and address dangerous factual errors, and take advantage of a growing ecosystem of apps and tools for improving health-related behaviors, saving money on health services, and getting more convenient, personalized care.

A shorthand phrase for this kind of personal empowerment through access to digital health data is “Blue Button,” which is also the name of a public-private initiative in which hundreds of leading healthcare organizations across the US participate. The Blue Button Initiative is bolstered by the electronic access to health information requirements for patients in the “Meaningful Use” EHR Incentive Program, which is administered by CMS (the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) with companion standards and certification requirements set by ONC (the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology). Continue reading “Getting Your Own Health Records Online: The Good and the Not So Good”

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Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 5.15.57 PMIf it takes a village to raise a child, what would it take to improve health and health care across a huge and diverse metropolitan area?

The answer: a multi-stakeholder effort, such as the Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement, or ARCHI.   Launched in 2011, the collaborative has brought together local government officials, philanthropies, health care systems, public health authorities and others to chart a strategy that could lead to lasting improvements in the community’s health.

ARCHI has big plans: to improve the quality and efficiency of the local health care system; lower the rate of growth of overall health care spending; and redirect the savings to other purposes that could lead to a growing economy, and, in turn, better health of the population. Although a long road lies ahead, ARCHI nonetheless offers a template for other communities that want to take collective action to improve health.

Continue reading “It Takes More Than A Village To Improve Community Health”

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Big data is a big deal for healthcare providers and research scientists in 2014. At this  year’s Scientific Sessions, our Global Congress is focused on how Big Data is changing  the cardiology landscape.

From understanding the importance of data collection and analysis to discussing the  challenges cardiology professionals face when it comes to big data science, we’ll  explore the impact of big data on disease mechanisms and prevention.

The American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions is the leading cardiovascular conference for basic, translational, clinical and population science in the United States, attracting more than 17,000 attendees from more than 100 countries. It’s five days of unmatched education designed to improve patient care by communicating the most timely and significant advances in basic, clinical, translational and population health

Learn more and register at scientificsessions.org.

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Jonathan Bush Sq

Many observers have lamented the lack of a true market in health care, and tomes have been written about the rampant distortions in the system. Large provider networks battle large insurers in a game of chicken to set prices. Patients don’t have enough information to make good choices. Costs are hidden from patients by a cascade of employer, insurer, and provider policies. And the US government ultimately provides most of the money.

One of the most prominent advocates for a health care market is Jonathan Bush, a regular speaker at health conferences and author of the recent book Where Does It Hurt? To achieve the potent mix he envisions of innovative entrepreneurship, rich data sets, and long-term care for chronic conditions, he calls for a light regulatory hand and for smashing the current oligopoly in health care.

Continue reading “The Free Market, the Unrestrained Consumer, and Jonathan Bush’s Solution to Healthcare costs”

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FROM THE VAULT

The Power of Small Why Doctors Shouldn't Be Healers Big Data in Healthcare. Good or Evil? Depends on the Dollars. California's Proposition 46 Narrow Networking
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MUNIA MITRA, MD
Clinical Medicine

Vikram Khanna
Editor-At-Large, Wellness

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