As I mentioned in a prior post, the air was full of dedicated and influential healthcare participants and individuals. I wanted to just take a short moment to acknowledge and say thank you to all of those individuals who made time for some very influential brainstorming and informative conversations. My special thanks to Dr. Bill Crounse and Hemang Patel from Microsoft for sharing some of their time. The Microsoft booth was absolutely "slammed" with visitors at all times and for both of them to spend some time discussing Tablets and mobility was truly appreciated, and Dr. Crounse greeted me as the "Medical Quack" upon my introduction...thank you so much for reading the blog...you are so right in stating the "ducks are in the same pond" (no pun intended). I still relate back to what I felt was one of the most influential videos with Dr. Crounse, made back in 2005 showing Overlake hospital using tablets and other new technologies at the time, with real doctors and IT staff talking informally and informatively about how it really works and comes together at the hospital level and look how far we have come by today's standards.
Dr. David Winn, founder and CEO of E-MDs was another individual I spoke with and shared ideas to which I owe a big thank you, a physician who founded the company and created the software; today e_MDs has a great reputation as one of the most "physician popular and driven" electronic records system. Bob Larsen and the folks at NextGen, also had a great booth and offered some additional brainstorming efforts and ideas. The folks at the Department of Defense fully discussed electronic records and the importance of mobility. E-ClinicalWorks also had a great booth and educational series set up. Many of the electronic records folks I have known from EMR Update, a website where we all come together as vendors, physicians, programmers, medical billers, etc. and discuss electronic records and their evolution and work together in open forums for the advancement for better healthcare for all through the use of electronic medical records.
Again, thanks to all for their valuable time at HIMMS and I really felt this year everyone had their sleeves rolled up and we were all were actively down in the trenches working towards the goal of better health care IT technology for all.
It has taken me a while to get my thoughts together to reflect on the annual convention. There were so many influential and powerful organizations and staff in attendance and I felt I was fortunate to find some time to speak with as many as I could squeeze in to my schedule. My reason for attending was to assist in growing the health care vertical market for TabletKiosk for their product line of Tablet PCs, which lend themselves perfectly for the health care market. I knew there were going to be some real influential and informative sessions taking place, especially when the first HIMMS shuttle bus I saw had a picture of John Halamka painted on on the side, the CIO from Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, a true leader in healthcare IT technology.
The interest in mobile hardware this year was truly accelerated from what it has been in the past. When traveling around and speaking with various companies, there was not hardly one who was not interested in the Sahara Tablet I had in my hands. This started from the plane ride to the convention all the way to the airport for my return! Tablet fever was alive and well at HIMMS this year!
For those who are not aware of the the size of the HIMMS convention, there were around 900 booths on the floor, with a trolley service you could catch to get from one end to the other. Being I am an avid Tablet user myself, I found that with so many participants that I needed to do my homework ahead of time, to make sure I was able to make contact with the potential partners I wanted to meet with either for a first meeting or in follow up with phone conversations I had before hand. In order to accomplish this feet, I decided to create my own "One Note Business Intelligence files" to organize myself. It took me a couple days to put the files together, but when completed I had a HIMMMS notebook of all the companies and potential clients I felt I needed to contact.
I can't tell you what a life saver this was to have my information with me on the tablet, portable and ready for me to easily add some handwritten notes during my conversations. As I would enter the booth and begin a discussion, I simply pulled up my file and began to take notes. I also had a couple nice comments from the folks I met with as I had everything together and had done my homework as far as having the basic information on what each company did and how Tablet PCs could fit or help their healthcare missions. In short, everyone who attends spends not only a substantial amount of money, but a good amount of time to prepare for this event, so I felt it was only good courtesy and manners to be apprised myself of how and where they conducted business and discuss mobility solutions as it related to their business, thus cutting down some of the learning processes from both sides. I used the pages to scribble and write all of my notes.
Nick Harrington from EMR Update was helpful in capturing and showing a video in the TabletKiosk booth, and in return I put a tablet in his hands to use for his notes too! I have included the video in a prior post and many thanks for the coverage. Arinc Healthcare had already discovered the Sahara Tablet and had 2 of them on display in their booth. I found I was so busy that I did not have time for pictures, so my apologies there.
I can't begin to tell you how effective using the Tablet was for attending the convention. In my opinion if I am to convince others of the true value of mobility and having your information at hand for use at any time, I have to do the same. Tablets do play a very important role in healthcare, but are not limited to only physicians and nurses, anyone can benefit from information mobility! I also have all my notes for future meetings and follow up.
From my experience this year at HIMMS, one thing I can truly recommend for anyone attending any type of convention, "get a tablet"....ditch the paper....and keep everything in one place. It truly made a world of difference for me and something this simple could easily work for anyone. BD
I ran across their booth at HIMMS and they had just announced their new product...the size of a credit card and it had data. There will be an option to lock the information, but this was meant to be an emergency card to show your medications, current x-rays, etc. in case of an emergency. It had a mini USB connector for use with a PC. The product is not yet up on the website, but you had a general health record with contact information, medical conditions and images for use. The card was only a small bit thicker than a credit card. Anyway, I was very much overall impressed with the card as it fits easily into a wallet, just like a driver's license or credit card. All you need to do to read and activate was a simple push button on the right hand side...nice work..and even the small versions of images were visible on the screen....BD
Do you like to travel or travel frequently for business? A medical emergency can occur at any time, whether you are at home or away. How would care providers access your medical information or contact a loved one in an emergency? What if the language spoken is different than your own? micard affords the frequent traveler, an additional measure of security, by providing you with an essential portable medical record to carry with you when you travel. Micard can be printed into one of several common languages to ensure that treating providers understand your unique medical background no matter the location.
Medical Economics has also started a blogging section...occasionally I feature some of their articles on the Medical Quack...another great resource for information and under the "Medblog watch" section there are some occasional reference back to posts made here...BD
Welcome to Medblogger, your online destination for non-clinical news and commentary affecting doctors’ practices and professional lives. Medblogger taps into the experience and expertise of the editors of Medical Economics, the number one publication for doctors looking to better run their practices, better communicate with their patients, and better manage their personal finances.
Our goal for Medblogger is to build a community of physicians eager to share their opinions on news from around the Web as well as from the pages of Medical Economics magazine. Posts exclusive to Medblogger include both items written by Medical Economics editors and items written by physician contributors. Other posts include links to relevant stories in other publications that we think might interest you.
Anyone who knows me will no doubt laugh at that last statement....one of the most popular new items on display was the new 10 hour clip on battery unit. All throughout the show this was the hot ticket as everyone is always in need of more battery time. By adding on the unit, the tablet can give a user an additional 10 hours in addition to the 3-4 hour battery included with the unit. Mobile technology was on the mind of everyone in attendance this year. As you can see from the picture, the unit is only a little over 1/2 an inch in height and fits snugly on the back side of the unit and also has a couple USB ports. A stand can be clipped on to the battery as well. One conversation I had with a IT manager for a hospital stated this would solve the battery issues for use in the operating room, as now they have to keep changing batteries during the course of the day. The Sahara is only 3 pounds and with the battery it only ads about 1 1/2 pounds, still lighter than many tablets on the market, and compact.
I keep reading these stories about the FDA....last time there were top workers without computers and I thought even the low cost Intel Classmates could benefit, now data bases are corrupted due to similarities....perhaps SharePoint could be in order here for collaboration with SSL connections? If the manufacturer's numbers are used as primary indexes and create duplicates, perhaps another index number could be added...there are mechanisms that can run queries before a duplicate is entered in almost any data base program....sound like migration time to an updated data base program should be in the works...BD
FDA needs to hire more inspectors and update its database that tracks approved prescription drugs, Janet Woodcock, the agency's deputy commissioner for scientific affairs and chief medical officer, said on Wednesday, CongressDaily reports. Woodcock testified at House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies hearing (Edney, CongressDaily, 2/27).
3 Wrong Knee surgeries in 2 years....BD
St. Joseph Hospital in Orange is under state investigation for mistakenly doing knee-repair surgery on a patient's good knee, the third "wrong-site" procedure to occur at Orange County's largest hospital since January 2006.
The Feb. 15 operation was intended to repair a patient's left knee but was "inadvertently performed on the right knee," according to a prepared statement released by the hospital in response to questions from The Times. Citing privacy concerns, the hospital declined to identify the patient or release other details.
Now this is interesting and has some merit...will be interesting to follow this story and see how it works with the folks at the nursing home...GPS has come to the walker...BD
We've already seen GPS used to track elderly patients, but some student researchers now look to be taking the idea one step further, with them outfitting some nursing center patients' walkers with a GPS system that helps guide them around. While the exact technical details are a bit unclear, the system apparently uses GPS when the patients are out and about, and relies on a WiFi-based system to direct 'em around inside the nursing center itself. The entire system has also obviously been about as simplified as possible, with it boasting just five buttons and large arrows pointing the way to the patients' destination. As a student project, however, it's still quite a ways from gaining any widespread use, although it has apparently been at use at the one nursing center their testing it at for several months already
FDA Clears Cellsearch™ Circulating Tumor Cell Test For Monitoring Metastatic Prostate Cancer Patients
Veridex, LLC announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an expanded clearance for the CellSearch™ System to be used as an aid in the monitoring of metastatic prostate cancer (MPC) patients. The CellSearch™ System currently is cleared for monitoring metastatic breast and metastatic colorectal cancer patients.
The CellSearch™ Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Test from Veridex is a simple blood test that captures and assesses CTCs to determine the prognosis of patients with metastatic breast cancer at any time. The test provides an objective, quantitative, real-time reading of tumor information so that oncologists can provide optimum care for their patients.
EClinicalWorks will also offer the product for purchase for those who do not qualify to meet the elegibility requirements...30% of the patients must be uninsured or on Medicaid...there's a $4000.00 contribution to the Fund for Public Health in New York and BYOC (bring your own computers)..BD
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday announced the launch of a new, $60 million electronic health record system that is intended to improve preventive health, the New York Times reports. The EHR system, which the city has developed over two years, was created with $30 million from the city and about $30 million from the state and federal governments. Two hundred physicians with 200,000 patients have committed to using the EHR system, and the city hopes that by the end of the year, the system will include 1,000 physicians with one million patients, according to Thomas Frieden, the city health commissioner.
The system will include patient medical histories, laboratory results and prescription drug regimens. In addition, the system will provide physicians with updated information through a series of alerts, such as overdue dates on prescriptions or cholesterol checks, as well as information on best practices for the treatment of illnesses. The health department will be able to obtain general health care provider data from the EHR system but will not have access to specific information on individual patients.
One partner has been announced...BD
CHICAGO (Reuters) Feb 28 - Quest Diagnostics Inc said on Thursday it will team up with Google Inc to provide patients with electronic access to medical test results.
Quest's proprietary Care360 patient-centric physician portal will serve as the platform for securely transferring patient data into a GoogleHealth account, at the user's request.
After 3 procedures his condition was gone...clinical trial in place and the last step before FDA approval...BD
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- One moment you feel fine. The next, your heart is racing at almost double the pace. Atrial fibrillation affects more than two million Americans. Although it is the most common arrhythmia, medicines for the condition only work about half the time. Now, researchers are testing a new tool that may help put a patient’s heart back on track. He says with this procedure, the ultrasound is delivered very precisely and does not damage other tissue. And since there is no potential for gaps in the scar tissue, Dr. Callan says the symptoms of atrial fibrillation shouldn’t come back.
It took three traditional ablation procedures to make Calvaresi’s symptoms go away. Now, he’s says it’s good to know a new kind of help may soon be available if his heart problems come back.
Being that Microsoft Office now is it's own platform, this entertaining video shows how Office can help you manage your small business...cute...BD
Late night television may not be the same in the UK...although the ads will not be exactly the same as what we see here in the US...but there have been other means of advertising used already such as Pfizer beer mats...BD
LONDON (Reuters) Feb 25 - Europe is preparing to loosen the gags stopping drug firms from communicating with patients, fueling controversy over whether the public will get impartial information on prescription medicines.
Manufacturers welcome new proposals to let them disseminate "non-promotional" information through television, radio and other outlets, since it could spur faster uptake of new drugs
I felt this article needed posting as a warning to all when it comes to botox and who does the procedure...make sure it is a physician, ask for credentials so something like this does not happen..as the article states, it is a procedure and not a spa treatment....BD
Doctors warn that could be dangerous, as some California women found out when they received cosmetic injections at a local salon. Instead of the subtle enhancements they hoped for, these women are now permanently disfigured. Keep in mind, collagen and other authentic fillers come in labeled, prepackaged tubes, with a sticker that peels off and goes in your medical chart as a record of what you've had injected.
Fresno police investigated the incident and arrested Mario Nieves Perez in a sting operation. Perez was not who he claimed.
"The truth is he's not a medical doctor in any way shape or form," said Chief Jerry Dyer of the Fresno Police Department.
This is a relief for the drugmaker, which faced repeated setbacks in gaining agency approval and needs to replace revenue that will be lost when patents on Effexor XR - a $3.8 billion moneymaker - start to expire this year. The next big hurdle for the drugmaker is winning FDA approval to market Pristiq to treat hot flashes caused by menopause. As with the indication for depression, Wyeth has faced repeated delays at the agency and it remains unclear how this will play out.
Another story on re-used syringes...not needles just the syringe...a similar story was long unfolding in New York, relative to the same scenario....40,000 patients during the time frame to be testws for Hepatitis C as there is no way to know who was and who was not treated with a re-used syringe...BD
A clinic may have infected a handful of patients with hepatitis C but about 40,000 more should be tested for that virus, as well as for HIV, health officials said Wednesday. To retain its state license and Medicare certification, the center faces increased on-site inspections and fines yet to be determined.
Six people who underwent procedures at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada now have the blood-borne hepatitis C virus, the Southern Nevada Health District said in a statement.
Great project, great outcomes at the nursing home....myself I am not ready for a digital dog...yet...but when they have one I can program to bite....ok enough of that silly thought! BD
A study by Saint Louis University found that a lovable pooch named Sparky and a robotic dog, AIBO, were about equally effective at relieving the loneliness of nursing home residents and fostering attachments.
This article brings up some very good points...every physician you see needs to know what medications you are taking...did he divulge this information to both MDs? BD
A California doctor and a doctor in Houston, Tex. have been cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with their prescription of painkillers to actor Heath Ledger, who died from a drug overdose after he ingested a lethal cocktail of painkillers, anti-anxiety medicine and sleeping pills.
Thursday, DEA agents grilled the two doctors in Texas and California. In the days after Ledger's Jan. 22 death, the DEA subpoenaed New York Police Department records and the city's medical examiner's report, federal and city officials told ABC News at that time. According to the medical examiner's office, Ledger took "prescribed therapeutic doses...or less" of each medication he ingested. The medications, however, were not meant to be taken together. The cumulative effect was that the actor's brain stem function that controls breathing was impaired, and Ledger "fell asleep and never woke up."
I also post threads at EMR update and one of the members, Dr. Al Borges created a post that I also felt was newsworthy for readers here....he makes some very good points about privacy and the omission of the AMA in the latest government rounds in Washington...is the AMA supposed to be the official representation of physicians in the US? We all want and need medical records that inter-operate for better health care, but the questions on how to regulate, create, and implement are still a huge issue of concern...I just attended the annual HIMMS meeting in Orlando and I can't think of any one company that I met with that does not have integration and interoperability either currently in place or in the works...there are system integrators that do just that as well and it seems to be strange that there is a concern that private vendors would even consider the idea of creating software that doesn't have these capabilities...a hot topic and the jury will be out on this one for some time to come...BD
Congress is now meeting behind closed doors trying to craft another bill. Even the AMA has been left out of the negotiations.
There are a lot of lobby groups trying to influence the process. See the article below:
The U.S. Congress needs to pass health-care IT legislation before private companies develop multiple systems that don't talk to each other, two advocacy groups say.
Members of the Health IT Now Coalition and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) urged Congress to move ahead with health IT legislation such as the Promoting Health Information Technology Act. The bill would establish a public/private group to recommend health IT standards and certification and would budget US$163 million a year for health-care providers to adopt health IT products, such as electronic health records.
Some groups, including Patient Privacy Rights, have raised concerns that the legislation doesn't adequately address patient privacy issues. "The Senate Wired Act has no privacy protections or language ensuring patient control of health records," the group said on its Web site. "It must not pass unless patients have the right to keep their health records private."
Hospitals be ready for a surprise audit...this comes right on the heals of another post today about the breach with Health Net publishing personal information on several physicians on the web...is this a problem...YES...see the comments from Dr. Halamka below (and use the link to read more from his blog under the blog roll section). The HIPAA audits may have finally arrived...and the solutions go way beyond a year's free credit rating services for those who have been compromised...as that is only a Band-Aid for the entire process...BD
Healthcare organizations feel under increasing attack from the Internet, while security incidents involving insiders and disappearing laptops with sensitive data are piling up. On top of that, there's now the prospect of a surprise audit from the federal government agency in charge of overseeing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act security and privacy rules. The prospect of an unannounced HIPAA audit by the government is an event that could shake anyone up, but in the final analysis, the federal probes are probably good for the healthcare industry, says Mark Jacobs, director of technology services in the data-center operations at Pennsylvania-based WellSpan Health.
“There is definitely an uptick in attacks,” says Dr. John Halamka, CIO at both Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in the Boston area. “Privacy is the foundation of everything we do. We don’t want to be the TJX of healthcare.” TJX is the Framingham, Mass-based retailer which last year disclosed a massive data breach involving customer records.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees HIPAA compliance, has contracted with the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to conduct surprise audits of hospitals this year, says Gartner analyst Barry Runyon.
Good news...now the upgrade to Vista becomes a bit more affordable...2 of the features I have found with Vista that were not included with XP are "tablet inking" and "voice recognition"...2 good reasons to think about moving up....BD
In the United States, Microsoft will reduce prices for Windows Vista Ultimate, the company's top-end operating system, to $319 from $399 for the full version and cut the price for an "upgrade" version to $219 from $259 for consumers who already run Windows XP or another edition of Vista.
It also cut prices for upgrade versions of Vista Home Premium, its mainstream product, to $129 from $159. The price cuts vary by country.
Security breach of the week...major insurer this time...at the rate we are going here perhaps all of us will have a one year free subscription to a year's worth of credit monitoring service...which is not the ultimate solution of course, time to take notice and implement some better security....why do we not trust insurers? Of anyone in health care today, the insurers certainly have the funds to invest in this area...without cutting and denying claims to make this a trusted reality....part human error....BD
WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) - A health insurance company in California has notified more than 100,000 doctors in 11 states, including Wisconsin, that their personal information was posted on the Internet, raising a risk of identity theft, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
The doctors' Social Security numbers were accidentally posted on a Web site of Health Net (nyse: HNT - news - people ) Federal Services, of Rancho Cordova, Calif., for about two months, spokeswoman Molly Tuttle said.
HNFS learned about the mistake, caused by 'part human error' and 'part of our software too,' in December, she said. The government contractor provides health insurance for nearly 3 million military families and veterans in 23 states.
Update on the mystery and some real intense forensic investigations to solve the mystery the fumes inhaled were the cause...BD
AUSTIN, Minnesota (CNN) -- A mysterious nerve disorder that hit some slaughterhouse employees with debilitating symptoms apparently was caused by inhaling a fine mist of pig brain tissue.
Susan Kruse remains unable to work but has felt some relief with immunotherapy treatments and medications. While eating pig brains isn't dangerous, inhaling fumes from particles of pig brain matter can be, scientists say. A translator assisting Spanish-speaking patients helped to expose the hidden risk, which prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to name a new disease and led to changes in how pig brains are harvested.
Health investigators said droplets of the mist could have entered a worker's system through the mucous membranes in the nose or mouth. Once in the body, the foreign pig brain matter prompted the immune system to produce antibodies to attack it, in a process similar to an allergic reaction.
UnitedHealth Acquires Sierra Health For $2.6 Bln At $43.50/ Share; To Sell Individual HMO Plans To Humana For $185 Mln
This potential merger has been hanging for a few months in Nevada, so big that the Department of Justice was involved...but still subject to approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services in Nevada...it gets a bit complicated as well with Humana agreeing to buy the Medicare Advantage HMO from United...about 25,000 members under the Secure Horizons HMO plan...so in short United HealthCare now has an even larger market in Nevada with the merging and purchase of Sierra...this has been in the news lately as it could stand to reduce the overall number of insurers in the state and less competition from the policy pricing areas...BD
(RTTNews) - Monday evening, Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. a health and well-being company said it has completed the acquisition of Sierra Health Services Inc. effective as of close of business today. UnitedHealth would acquire all the outstanding shares of Sierra Health for $43.50 per share in cash, valuing the transaction at about $2.6 billion. Under the agreement, a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company, would merge with Sierra Health.
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Justice conditionally approved UnitedHealth's acquisition of Sierra Health. Under the condition, UnitedHealth Group will have to divest its individual Secure Horizons Medicare Advantage HMO plans in Clark and Nye Counties, which represent about 25,000 members.
Critics are stating the current amounts have not been sufficient enough to adequately encourage participating levels....and the financial investments required with technology to drive the process...BD
Williams said IHA data shows significant regional variations statewide, which may help explain why California's P4P initiative has had less success than some similar efforts elsewhere. "One of the reasons California looks lukewarm is that we're mixing areas that are doing well with areas that are not," he added, describing the Bay Area and Sacramento as leading the way, with the Inland Empire region in Southern California bringing up the rear.