Tag: EHR

Google Health finally up and open for business

After a long time in discussion, Google publicly launched Monday its free online personal health records. The operation first made headlines a couple of months ago when Google announced it at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). I was invited to the Googleplex, but due to a prior engagement,  had to miss the chance to get it from the horses mouth.

Much like the "non-PHR" HealthVault, Google now allows consumers to download records from its eight initial partners and store them for free.Googlehealth

As the WSJ Health Blog points out, only a minority of medical practices keep records electronically. But the good news is that Google has been thinking not just about EMRs, but also about the rest of data that’s most useful (Rx and lab results) and has some big players, such as Medco, Walgreens and Quest on its list of initial partners.

Google will also have to spend more time now dealing with the privacy zealots and not just leaving it all to, well, me!

Although I wasn’t there, a much more famous health IT person was. John Halamka is the Chief Information Officer at one of Google’s initial partners, Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (and of course colleague of THCB regular Paul Levy, and more recently himself a blogger). BIDMC has offered its patients a PHR for more than 7 years, and now that data can be brought into Google Health (and I assume vice versa). John’s post about the launch is below — Matthew Holt


Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is now live with Google Health. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the Google Health Advisory Council and have not accepted any payments from Google for my advisory role. BIDMC is also working with Microsoft Health Vault and Dossia.

I’m now at Google Headquarters in Mountain View with the Google Health team – Roni, Missy, Maneesh, Jerry etc. and several dozen reporters.

Here’s the functionality we’ve launched.

When a user logs into Google Health and clicks on Import Health Records – the following choices appear:Googlehealth_2

  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Longs
  • Minute Clinic/CVS
  • Quest Laboratories
  • RxAmerica
  • Walgreens

They are all early integrators with Google Health.

At BIDMC, we have enhanced our hospital and ambulatory systems such that a patient, with their consent and control, can upload their BIDMC records to Google Health in a few keystrokes. There is no need to manually enter this health data into Google’s personal health record, unlike earlier PHRs from Dr. Koop, HealthCentral and Revolution Health. Once these records are uploaded, patients receive drug/drug interaction advice, drug monographs, and disease reference materials. They can subscribe to additional third party applications, share their records if desired, and receive additional health knowledge services.

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Tune Into The Kroll Webcast On The Security of Patient Data – Brian Klepper

Exclusive to THCB: A couple weeks ago I pointed to a new study, commissioned by Kroll Fraud Solutions and conducted by HIMSS Analytics, that makes startlingly clear the gap between what most health systems are doing to comply with HIPAA, and what they need to do to actually safeguard the patient data in their possession.Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 23rd at 2PM EST, and again next Tuesday, April 29th at 2PM, EST, you’re invited to a 40 minute Webcast, moderated by Yours Truly, that goes through the issues. Jennifer Horowitz, the investigator from HIMSS Analytics, Lisa Gallagher, HIMSS Senior Director of Privacy and Security and Brian Lapidus, Kroll’s COO, will talk about how health care executives typically perceive the issue and how they report their own awareness and preparedness, in stark contrast to the threat and what happens when a breach actually occurs. I was a bystander in this energetic discussion, but it was an eye-opener for me.

If you’re at all involved in managing health system security or if you’re simply interested in the deeper realities of what’s necessary to protect patient data, this one’s a must. Join us for this revealing and important Webinar. Click here to get the study report and to register.

The Security of Patient Data

EXCLUSIVE TO THCB: HIMSS Analytics, the research arm of the powerful, thoughtful and highly regarded Health Information Management Systems Society, has published a sobering study, Security of Patient Data – see here – that highlights the gap between hospital patient data security practices and the reality of impacts if a breach occurs. The report, commissioned by Kroll Fraud Solutions, should be a splash of cold water to health care executives in all settings with responsibility for patient data. A link to the Executive Summary has been placed at the bottom of this post.

In the wake of several recent incidents involving breaches of celebrity records, what’s fascinating about the study is that the executives interviewed claimed a very high familiarity with HIPAA rules; they averaged 6.53 (on a 7 point scale) and 75 percent of those interviewed gave themselves a 7. The report attributes the high sense of HIPAA knowledge with the current rounds of HIPAA compliance audits and the penalties for non-compliance that have resulted in some cases.

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A Different Right to Privacy

Given Matthew’s quite visceral response to some complaints that broad-based, government-encouraged (mandated, I suspect), electronic medical records I am interested in both his and THCB readers’ thoughts on the Bangor Daily News editorial staff’s approach to health care reform.

They suggest that transparency is the key – "lawmakers should require health providers and insurance companies to report all of their costs to the public."

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Google, the Cleveland Clinic and the Privacy Zealots

So Modern Healthcare‘s Joseph Conn has a whole page to write about the Cleveland Clinic and he writes just about HIPAA and the fact that this pilot is not going to be covered by it. Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle Victoria Colliver talks about not a lot more, but at least she has someone stating the bleedingly bloody obvious—

"If it’s made convenient
enough and easy enough, people will be no more concerned about privacy
with these systems than they are with their financial information," he
said. "Far more people die because health information is not released
or difficult to get … than anybody’s ever been harmed because the
information has been inadvertently released."

OK so it was me she quoted, but someone needs to give Deborah Peel
and whoever the hell the World Privacy Forum is
a big shake. I say this
as a card-carrying member of the ACLU and Amnesty International who is
deeply concerned about anyone’s private information and what use is
made of it.

And the shake is, if a government overhears your private information
illegally (or quasi-legally) it can use that information to take away
your freedom and worse. So the standard for their ability to access
that information should be an awful lot higher than it is in virtually
every country—including this one.

If a private corporation unwittingly lets slip your private health
data, or even uses some aspect of it knowingly to target you for
marketing, the chances of you suffering much from it are very, very low.

These are vastly different things, and conflating the two does not help in the least.

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Where have all the savings gone, long time passing? by Eric Novack

Where have all the savings gone, long time passing?

I am not the first to comment on this New England Journal of Medicine article, but it does deserve a place here at THCB. 
It has been the dogma of many at THCB that prevention = savings, and substantial ones at that!Put in the context of this study from the Netherlands, also published this month, is it time for some health care reformers to change their tune on how the health care reforms they promote will save money?

And before simply putting the savings to ‘pay’ for this on the elimination of administrative costs, please see my previous post.

And before saying that electronic medical records will, by themselves save 80 billion dollars per year (as I heard former President Clinton say at a Wisconsin rally this weekend- as an aside, I love XM radio for unlimited access to C-SPAN), consider the $4 billion struggle at Kaiser Permanente to get medical records for a measly 8.6 million patients… Now, with over 300 million in the country, that might mean an investment of well over $120 BILLION (with a B) to TRY to computerize the electronic medical records of the country.

Do not misread me to claim I am a proponent of the status quo, nor that I am not in favor of the WORD OF 2008—change— it is simply that I would like to hear more from those who want to institute certain kinds of change— how will they really ‘save money’ while simultaneously increasing access without severely impacting my liberty as a patient.

Creating a Facebook-like medical record

The explosive growth of Facebook and MySpace illustrates the market for electronic tools to enhance communication and collaboration. Could there possibly be another workplace more in need of social networking tools than the modern hospital?

If you are not familiar with Facebook, find yourself a teenager and take a look over his shoulder while he is using it (mine are available for rent if you get desperate; the best time to catch them is when they should be doing homework). In one thrilling, chaotic electronic e-universe, the site allows users to exchange instant messages with dozens of friends, to post pictures and videos, and to link to virtually everything on the Web – all at the same time. John McCain would be flabbergasted.

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