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Tag: Health 2.0

Calling All Patients: Blue Button Patient Co-Design Challenge

June 3rd was the kick-off for an amazing Challenge – the Blue Button Patient CoDesign Challenge.  Developers everywhere are being invited by the Office of the National Coordinator to develop apps and other tools to use patient data, acquired via the Blue Button. You might be thinking: why is that so amazing?  Because the entire Challenge has been designed to actively involve the ultimate users of the tool – patients. Imagine that!

Here are the details:

http://www.health2con.com/devchallenge/blue-button-co-design-challenge/

From now until June 11th, patients (which includes almost all of us) are invited to go to Health Tech Hatch to post their ideas about how they want to see their data used to create tools that they can use themselves or with their doctors. There are already over 50 ideas already posted, which include:

  • Please help my wife manage our children’s immunizations
  • A tool that simplifies the management of chronic multiple conditions,
  • Make my prescription management stink less (my favorite)

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Hacking Healthcare

There are two definitions of the word “Hacker”. One is an original and authentic term that the geekdom uses with respect. This is a cherished label in the technical community, which might read something like:

“A person adept at solving technical problems in clever and delightful ways”

While the one portrayed by popular culture is what real hackers call “crackers”

“Someone who breaks into other people computers and causes havok on the Internet”

People who aspire to be hackers, like me, resent it when other people use the term in a demeaning and co-opted manner.  Or at least, that is what I used to think. For years, I have had a growing unease about the “split” between these two definitions. The original Hackers at the MIT AI lab did spend time breaking into computer resources… it is not an accident that the word has come to mean two things.. It is from observing e-patients, who I consider to be the hackers of the healthcare world, that I have come to understand a higher level definition that encompasses both of these terms.

Hacking is the act of using clever and delightful technical workarounds to reject the morality embedded default settings embedded in a given system.

This puts “Hacking” more on the footing with “Protesting”. This is why crackers give real Hackers a bad name. While crackers might technically be engaged in Hacking, they are doing so in a base and ethically bankrupt manner. Martin Luther King Jr. certainly deserves the moniker of “protester” and this is not made any less noble because Westboro Baptist Church members are labeled protesters too.

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Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death

Our family debates a lot of things over our dinner table – the best Looney Toon character, politics, whether or not (and where or when) something is appropriate…  For many of these topics, there are no right answers and no wrong answers – just a whole lot of discussion and opinions.

A few months ago, on the heels of the Health 2.0 conference, a small group of us gathered in a San Francisco kitchen for one of the most powerful experiences most of us had ever had around a dinner table.

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HiMSS Countdown, with Matthew Holt


Early this week Greg Masters and Pat Salber chatted with me for a fun convo about EMRs, NOLA, HIMSS, and alot more. It’s part of their overall series for the HIBCtv (Health Innovation Broadcast Network Consortium). And be warned they are giving me keys to the car for 90 minutes at HIMSS next Weds! You should be able to click on the player above to hear. If not click to this.

Certifying apps? Happtique’s big new idea

Happtique has been spending a lot of effort cataloging all the health, clinical and fitness Apps in the Apple App Store, Google Play and more. Their goal is to create prescribable apps, and proprietary app stores for providers. The idea is that a hospital or clinic can help its physicians suggest the right apps to patients by giving them a select group to choose from, and by having them cataloged in a way that is far more detailed than Apple or Android can do.

That in itself is a big advance, but even though they’ve cataloged 15,000 of the approx. 40,000 health apps out there, they don’t think it’s enough. Happtique is introducing a new certification program today. The idea is to have all apps assessed both for technical proficiency and also for content. Happtique will be reviewing the applications for technical, security and privacy–in other words, where any data goes and whether the app does what it says it does. In addition it’ll assess whether the app links properly to a particular devices or a particular EMR–something that presumably is pretty important to users. (I had an Android phone once which a major tracking device could not link to, even though the device had an Android app!). Here’s the release.

Happtique’s partners (academic med center group AAMC, nurse credentialers CGFNS International & testing lab Intertek) will provide clinicians and other experts who will review the apps for content. The idea here is not to rate or review the content but to see whether the content is from a valid source, and is true to what it says it is.

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Open Health Data: An International Snapshot

The 2009 Digital Britain Report described data as ‘an innovation currency’ and ‘the lifeblood of the knowledge economy.’  We are now in 2013 and while there is tremendous buzz around open data in general, open health data is definitely lagging behind.

I have been a great proponent of the movement for a number of years after being inspired by Todd Park at a Health 2.0 NYC Chapter event. But it really clicked with me when I saw three young entrepreneurs mashup various environmental and health data, create an MVP app in 6 hours and win two prizes at an open data hackathon. These three students are on their way to starting a company and making a difference in this world while helping healthcare consumers make better decisions in their everyday lives. This is the power of open health data! We, the citizens, ultimately own the data, not our governments and while there is certainly a need to preserve our privacy, there is a lot of “innovation currency” locked up in vaults, desperately waiting to be unleashed.

Below, you will find a brief report (50 slides, but don’t get scared!) that Katarzyna Rabczuk and I put together.  It showcases how nascent this movement really is, while showing samples of social and economic impacts of these initiatives across the US, UK and a select few Western European countries picked at random.

The United States is undoubtedly leading the way with HealthData.gov and almost 400 valuable datasets published, ranging from Medicare data to epidemiology. Health Datapallooza is already turning 4 with the next event taking place in June of this year.

The United Kingdom is right behind (or ahead, depending which side of the pond you are on) with Tim Kelsey pushing forward and “unleashing the power of the people to save the NHS from a crisis”. The next NHS Hack day will take place on January 26th-27th in Oxford and some of the recent initiatives to open up prescription data generated a tremendous amount of buzz after a team that included two startups, Mastodon C & Open Healthcare UK as well as Ben Goldacre, published a report that showed how to save the NHS ~ £200M – this news reached even The Economist.

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Is Russia ready for Health 2.0?

The Wikipedia article about health care in Russia starts like this: “Russia has more physicians, hospitals, and health care workers than almost any other country in the world on a per capita basis. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the health of the Russian population has declined considerably as a result of social, economic, and lifestyle changes.”

The Russian health care system has been going through major changes to improve access and quality of delivery. Currently, health care expenditures account for roughly 4% of the GDP (vs. 15.2% in the US) and this number is projected to grow to 10-14% over the next few years. The reform that started in 2009 will continue through 2015. It is expected that about 40% of resources allocated to health care restructuring will be spend on improving infrastructures, including information technology.

Recently I was invited to be part of the conference “Health Plus Technology: Russia and Global Outlook,” jointly sponsored by the Skolkovo Foundation, Life Sciences Angel Network and viamedix. I was part of the opening panel on ‘Technology Intervention to Healthcare,’ which was trying to answer to the following questions: What is fueling the Health 2.0 movement — in the US and globally? What countries/regions are leading the way? And what are the factors and conditions of the industry’s acceleration? The Russian health care system could use a shot of Health 2.0, and so the underlying question was: Is Russia ready for a paradigm shift from top down to bottom up health care innovation? Is Russia ready for Health 2.0?

At the same time, answering a request to produce a Health 2.0 Russia CIS, I took this speaking engagement as an opportunity to meet a few important stakeholders and potential partners. The question ‘Is Russia for Health 2.0?’ took another meaning for me.

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Aetna’s Martha Wofford Talks Technology Development

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Matthew Holt spoke to Martha Wofford, head of Aetna’s CarePass platform, at the 2012 mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C. last week. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini had just delivered a keynote and announced that his company will release the CarePass mobile app in March 2013. CarePass is a web portal where patients can connect data from their different personal applications. Here Holt speaks to Wofford about the development of Aetna’s technology offerings. He also asks her how much of an impact she thinks this tech can have on wasteful spending in the U.S. health care system.

Health 2.0’s Berlin Code-a-thon, Sponsored by Aetna International Spurs Creation of New Mobile Apps to Improve Health

On the weekend before the third annual “Health 2.0 Europe” conference, Health 2.0 and the international arm of Aetna (NYSE: AET), the global health solutions company, invited the best developers, designers, health experts and health tech entrepreneurs to compete for € 10.000 in prizes at Health 2.0’s Berlin Code-a-thon, Sponsored by Aetna International. Their challenge was to develop innovative mobile apps to promote health and wellness across the globe.

The event kicked off on November 3 with the participants pitching their mobile app ideas to attract the other developers to their projects. Then, the real work began—small groups spent the next 29 hours transforming their concepts into working prototypes. On the evening of November 4, a panel of expert judges that included representatives from Aetna International and Health 2.0 announced the best of the best.

The winning app was “Jog of War,” created by four talented developers and founders of start-ups from Slovenia, Macedonia, Finland and Colombia. The app is designed to motivate people to be more active outdoors by encouraging them to run through their cities, and in so doing, “conquer” territories. The app tracks the jogger’s positions and marks the corresponding areas of the city in a map. Other joggers who run in the same area can reclaim the territory by running through it themselves. Once a territory is occupied, rewards and discounts from local businesses will be unlocked to the users.

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Health Care Purchasers, Consumers Need Price Data if We Are Ever Going to Get to a System of Value-Based Care

In a world where health care costs are rising and consumers are taking on a growing share, it is critical they have easy access to understandable information about the quality and cost of their care.  While we have made decent strides in making quality data available, consumers still have little to no information about health care prices, making it difficult if not impossible for them to seek higher-value care.  Numerous studies and articles have explored this problem, such as a recent UCSF study, highlighted in JAMA, which found routine appendectomies can cost as little as $1,529 or as much as $183,000.  As PBGH Medical Director Dr. Arnie Milstein so eloquently stated in the Wall Street Journal, “Fantasy baseball managers have more information evaluating players for their teams than patients and referring physicians have in matters of life and death.”

Now Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR), an independent, non-profit corporation working on behalf of large employers and other health care purchasers to catalyze improvements in how we pay for health services, has just released a suite of tools to catalyze price transparency.  The suite includes a first-of-its-kind Statement by CPR Purchasers on Quality and Price Transparency in Health Care, endorsed by several partner organizations, that takes plans and providers to task: give us price data by January 2014.

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