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News 3/27/17

March 27, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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President Trump’s decision to table voting on the AHCA didn’t stop several PACS from running television ads congratulating Republican lawmakers on passing the bill. Two legislators thanked in the ads did not, in fact, vote for the bill. Twitter commentary was understandably quick to follow, with commentary from former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt not far behind. Slavitt, who recently announced his affiliation with the Bipartisan Policy Center as a senior advisor, took to USA Today to share his advice on how the administration can move forward with crafting healthcare legislation that will appease both sides of the aisle, and, more importantly, meet the needs of the American people. A snippet:

“In recognition that bigger solutions will take time, the president and Democratic leaders should create a bipartisan commission with experts from Congress and the real world, charged with exploring smart ways to reduce healthcare costs that could result in bipartisan legislation. Healthcare is too expensive. It’s the cost of a prescription or a night in the hospital that drives our premiums.”


Webinars

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March 29 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Improving patient outcomes with smartphones: UW Medicine Valley Medical Center’s story.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Jones, MBA, MSN, VP of patient care services and nursing operations, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center; Wayne Manuel, MBA, SVP of strategic services, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center. UW Medicine Valley Medical Center dramatically improved patient outcomes after moving to a smartphone-based platform for clinical communication and alarm and alert notification. Before-and-after analysis shows a reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and skin integrity events, fall and slip events, and medication errors. By limiting overhead paging, the medical center also created a calmer, quieter environment and improved engagement among nursing and hospitalists. Hospital executives will describe their experience and vision for the future in addressing quality, cost, and the patient-caregiver experience.

April 26 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “SSM Integrated Health Technologies Clinical Data Migration: Functional and Technical Considerations.” Sponsored by Galen Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Sandy Winklemann, MHA, RHIA, project manager, SSM Integration Health Technologies; Tyler Mawyer, MHA, managing consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions; Kavon Kaboli, MPH, senior consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions. GE Centricity and Meditech to Epic EHR transition. Join us for a complimentary webinar as present the decisions that are important to consider when performing a clinical data migration from the point of view of  the healthcare organization program manager, the clinical analyst, and the technical implementation team. Our expert panel will survey data migration considerations, best practices, and lessons learned. The webinar will present a unique client perspective, offering insight into considerations surrounding staffing, clinical mapping, legacy application support, and validation and testing.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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South County Orthopedic Specialists (CA) installs Toshiba Medical’s Vantage Elan MR system.


Telemedicine

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AHRQ asks stakeholders to submit information, including details on completed and ongoing studies, to help inform its review of telehealth for acute and chronic-care consultations. The systematic review will focus on answering the following questions:

  • Are telehealth consultations effective in improving clinical and economic outcomes?
  • Are telehealth consultations effective in improving intermediate outcomes?
  • Have telehealth consultations resulted in harms, adverse events, or negative unintended consequences?
  • What are the characteristics of telehealth consultations that have been the subject of comparative studies?
  • Do clinical, economic, intermediate, or negative outcomes vary across telehealth consultation characteristics?

People

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Paul Markowski joins the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists as CEO. He has quite a track record with medical associations, having most recently served as EVP and CEO of the American College of Chest Physicians. Markowski has also done stints with the AMA, CHEST, and the American Academy of Otolaryngology.

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From “snake oil” to salaried staff: The AMA seeks a digital health programs manager to “manage and execute initiatives focused on improving the quality, usability, and effectiveness of EHRs and mobile health technologies for Physician Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability Digital Health Strategy,” among other things. Glassdoor.com reviewers give the association’s CEO, James Madara, MD a 36-percent approval rating. Forty-two percent would recommend it to a friend. I don’t have access to full reviews; however, recent review titles like “No Substance,” “A pool of talent squandered by poor leadership decisions,” and “Glut of mediocre to horrific middle-management” don’t paint a pretty picture for prospective employees.


Government and Politics

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CMS recognizes Healthcare Access San Antonio as a qualified registry. Originally formed as an HIE in …, it is the first such entity in the state and the first to receive such a designation. Recognition as a registry will enable the nonprofit to expand its service line to include clinical reporting and revenue-capture assistance, particularly for small physician practices. “Since we collect patient information and provide community reports, it made sense for us to develop a suite of services that can relieve the burden from the physician’s practice,” says HASA Executive Director Gijs van Oort. “Approval from CMS to report on behalf of a practice is a critical component of that.”


Research and Innovation

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NIH researchers use facial recognition technology akin to that used by Facebook and in airport security screenings to correctly diagnose DiGeorge syndrome, a rare, genetic disease that affects African, Asian, and Latin American children. Using technology developed by Marius Linguraru, an investigator at Children’s National Health System’s Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, researchers were able to correctly diagnose the disease in children across all ethnic groups nearly 97 percent of the time. The technology has also achieved similar results in diagnosing children with Down syndrome.

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CDC releases the results of its most recent National EHR Survey, which looks at the EHR adoption and utilization of in-office physicians. The survey of 10,302 physicians found that primary care docs were the largest group of adopters at 89.6 percent. Cardiologists (95.6 percent), neurologists (94.5), and urologists (94) were top specialty-practice adopters. The field of psychiatry showed the lowest rate of adoption at 61 percent.


Other

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Coming soon to our shores? Given the proclivity of pedestrians to stare down at their phones while walking, Dutch officials embed traffic lights in the pavement as part of a one-street pilot project aimed at curbing traffic accidents. “Smartphone use by pedestrians and cyclists is a major problem,” explains a representative from HIG Traffic Systems, which installed the experimental LED light strip/traffic light. “Trams in The Hague regularly make an emergency stop because someone looks at their smartphone instead of traffic.”

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I like this idea: Lyft will test an in-app payment feature that allows customers to round up their fare and donate that difference to charity. It has not yet disclosed what charities it will support. The ride-sharing company is no doubt looking to set itself apart from Uber, which is working its way through a number of crises including several sexual harassment allegations.


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News 3/23/17

March 23, 2017 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Milwaukee, Portland, and Minneapolis take the top spots for shortest wait times in the latest Vitals report. The study shows that, on average, a patient spends 18 minutes and 35 seconds waiting to see a physician – a decrease of over a minute compared to 2016. Wait times have decreased 13 percent since the annual study launched in 2009. The study’s authors surmise that wait times will continue to decrease as options like telemedicine and urgent care facilities continue to proliferate.


Webinars

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March 29 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Improving patient outcomes with smartphones: UW Medicine Valley Medical Center’s story.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Jones, MBA, MSN, VP of patient care services and nursing operations, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center; Wayne Manuel, MBA, SVP of strategic services, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center. UW Medicine Valley Medical Center dramatically improved patient outcomes after moving to a smartphone-based platform for clinical communication and alarm and alert notification. Before-and-after analysis shows a reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and skin integrity events, fall and slip events, and medication errors. By limiting overhead paging, the medical center also created a calmer, quieter environment and improved engagement among nursing and hospitalists. Hospital executives will describe their experience and vision for the future in addressing quality, cost, and the patient-caregiver experience.

April 26 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “SSM Integrated Health Technologies Clinical Data Migration: Functional and Technical Considerations.” Sponsored by Galen Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Sandy Winklemann, MHA, RHIA, project manager, SSM Integration Health Technologies; Tyler Mawyer, MHA, managing consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions; Kavon Kaboli, MPH, senior consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions. GE Centricity and Meditech to Epic EHR transition. Join us for a complimentary webinar as present the decisions that are important to consider when performing a clinical data migration from the point of view of  the healthcare organization program manager, the clinical analyst, and the technical implementation team. Our expert panel will survey data migration considerations, best practices, and lessons learned. The webinar will present a unique client perspective, offering insight into considerations surrounding staffing, clinical mapping, legacy application support, and validation and testing.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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Santa Monica, CA-based Casetabs develops a surgery coordination app for Iphone users, especially ideal for physician practices, ambulatory surgery centers, and hospitals that want to coordinate care amongst caregivers, send and receive real-time patient updates, and reduce cancellations and delays.

Zynx Health will integrate Healthwise patient engagement and educational resources with each step of its care plans, giving providers a more efficient way to pull such content from their EHRs.


People

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Sam Karam (Optum) joins AMC Health as CTO.

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Endotronix hires Mike Dilworth (Nanosphere) as VP of manufacturing and operations, Katrin Leadley, MD (HeartWare) as CMO, and Richard Powers (CardioMEMS) as CIO. The Woodridge, IL-based company has developed cloud-based technology and sensors to help providers and patients detect the onset of heart failure.

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Senior-focused primary care medical, management, and tech company ChenMed hires George Wheeler (Bon Secours Health System) as market president for JenCare Senior Medical Center (VA), Donald Trexler (Acadia General Hospital) as market president for JenCare Louisiana, Jim Whitling (Alcon) as chief of HR, and Gaurov Dayal, MD (Lumeris) as EVP, chief of strategic growth.


Government and Politics

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The House vote to repeal and replace the ACA is postponed due to a lack of Republican support.


Other

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The South Florida Business Journal looks at the waves Miami-based EZLabz is making in the world of mobile lab testing. Launched in 2015 by Physicians Group of South Florida MDs Jordan Hackmeier and Joel Lusky, the company is working to offer local physicians and their patients a cheaper and less time-consuming alternative to blood work done in house or by more well-established companies like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp. It added an online platform to its mobile in-office services this week. Its founders have yet to draw salaries; instead, they are pouring revenue back into the company in hopes of securing additional investment and launching a mobile app.

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The local news profiles the innovative yet tech-less ways in which one local pediatrician is teaching her patients and their parents some pretty basic concepts about good nutrition. Nimali Fernando, MD started Yum Pediatrics (VA) in 2014 to offer traditional healthcare appointments and cooking classes via her Doctor Yum nonprofit. “This way,” she says, “I can see patients on one side of the building or go into the kitchen side and participate in whatever is happening. It’s proven to be a really interesting way of practicing pediatrics, but it’s absolutely different and fun every day.” 


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Readers Write: Winning the Cutthroat Competition for Health Tech Talent

March 23, 2017 Guest articles No Comments

Winning the Cutthroat Competition for Health Tech Talent
By Rachel Neill

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In the past 10 years, we’ve gone from a massive recession to an amazingly low national unemployment rate of 4.6 percent. It’s hard to believe that not long ago, senior managers were scrambling to take on entry-level work just to stay afloat in their respective industries. However, in 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released reports that healthcare, and professional and business services added over 900,000 jobs in the preceding 12 months. Competition for talent in the health tech industry has become cutthroat, in part because of the rapid pace of industry growth. Established companies with significant market share have historically been able to lock up the best and brightest workers by virtue of buying power alone, but those days are over for now. Top talent is fleeing traditional powerhouse companies and jumping to nimble, well-funded competitors.

Employers have to think beyond traditional hiring processes and employee incentives if they want to stay competitive. Elaborate job descriptions and standard salary and benefits paradigms fall short. In order to attract and retain the best workers, especially those much-maligned-yet-undeniably-desirable Millenials, companies can make simple, yet significant, changes to adapt to the evolving needs and desires of the people they employ. Consider the insights below as you begin to rethink how your organization attracts and retains the best talent.

Keep an Open Mind … and a Short Job Description!

I hate job descriptions (Note to HR: Are they really a necessary evil?). Job posters may think they’re doing potential hires a favor by making an exhaustive list of qualifications, duties, and descriptors, but they’re probably not. There always seems to be a big disconnect between the actual hiring manager and the HR department, and a smart-sounding, long job description written out for legal or other well-intentioned purposes that often – and unfortunately -  eliminates some potentially good fits before they’re even in the door.

Hewlett-Packard’s internal report findings show that men apply for jobs when they are 60-percent qualified on paper, but women don’t until they feel 100-percent confident or have checked off every item on the description. That isn’t good; it means that a lot of talented people, women in particular, don’t even have a chance to succeed in many positions. The longer and more verbose a description, the less likely you are to get a diverse candidate pool. Job descriptions don’t lend themselves to transferability, either. For example, Epic implementers make great project managers across multiple industries based on the training and hands-on experience they get while traveling and working at multiple healthcare systems. They can define the scope of a project, put together a detailed plan, manage a budget, and get executive buy-in. None of those skills is unique to health tech, or any other industry for that matter.

What can you do that is actionable? Keep job descriptions short and simple. Don’t be overly specific unless a skill can’t be learned or there isn’t a substitute skill out there. Think about complementary skill sets someone might have and incorporate examples into your job posting. Finally, make the application process simple and encourage current employees to refer people they think have the chops.

Employee Perks and Benefits Matter

You may have heard about Netflix’s unlimited paid parental leave or France’s new law that aims at making it illegal to require employees to answer after-hours email. (Supporters of the law have compared humans and technology to dogs and leashes). More and more employees are seeking work-life balance and flexible employment. You may not have the budget for unlimited parental leave, but there are plenty of other programs you can put in place.

Develop an employee perk page. Don’t worry, It’s free. Work with local and national companies to negotiate discounts – this can be on anything from gym memberships to clothing. Think creatively, but don’t overload employees with perks they might not use. If you aren’t sure, ASK. Most people would appreciate lower-cost access to health and fitness programs, but not everybody wants 10-percent off at the local drapes emporium.

Re-think your vacation policy. Maintaining an open vacation policy and becoming a results-based work organization doesn’t mean your employees will never show up to work. Actually, compensation and benefits research indicate that employees with flexible vacation policies don’t take any more time off than those with formal PTO programs in place. However, it gives an employee autonomy and the ability to stay healthy and take care of life as it happens. Tying paid time off into a results-based plan means that you can limit the program for any outliers who may not be meeting standards or that are taking advantage of the program.

Remote work. These days, technology allows us to fulfill many of our professional responsibilities from just about anywhere. Offering employees the option to work from home can help employers recapture time that may have been lost because an employee felt that they needed to take PTO.  If your employees can get their jobs done from another location, then why not let them have some flexibility?

Workers Want to Make an Impact

Today’s employees today, especially Millennials, are looking at the impact their position will have beyond the four walls of their office. They want to know that the work they are doing is meaningful, often in ways wholly unrelated to the job itself. Many are making a difference with data, or attacking and solving big problems in healthcare. Firms attracting top talent like Healthfinch, Catalyze, Redox, and CareMerge are sifting through and connecting the massive amounts of data to improve patient outcomes. Consider making this meaningful impact a highly visible part of the much-dreaded job description I mentioned above.

In the end, Professor of Management and Human Resources Peter Capelli leaves us with some parting wisdom: “If there’s nothing distinctive you can offer to set your organization apart, and you don’t want to pay enough to buy the talent you prefer, then, just like any other shopper, you’ll have to start compromising on what you want.”

Rachel Neill is CEO of Carex Consulting Group in Madison, WI.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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News 3/22/17

March 22, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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GE Healthcare CEO John Flannery says the company will double its workforce of 5,000 software engineers within the next several years as part of a previously announced broader plan to invest $500 million in software talent and development. Flannery says the engineers will most likely be put to work making the company’s Predix industrial cloud platform more medical-app friendly. He added that, “We’ll be hiring software engineers, data analysts, imaging analysts, to develop our own apps, but also to develop the platform and the capability of the platform to host hundreds of other applications.”


Webinars

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March 29 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Improving patient outcomes with smartphones: UW Medicine Valley Medical Center’s story.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Jones, MBA, MSN, VP of patient care services and nursing operations, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center; Wayne Manuel, MBA, SVP of strategic services, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center. UW Medicine Valley Medical Center dramatically improved patient outcomes after moving to a smartphone-based platform for clinical communication and alarm and alert notification. Before-and-after analysis shows a reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and skin integrity events, fall and slip events, and medication errors. By limiting overhead paging, the medical center also created a calmer, quieter environment and improved engagement among nursing and hospitalists. Hospital executives will describe their experience and vision for the future in addressing quality, cost, and the patient-caregiver experience.

April 26 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “SSM Integrated Health Technologies Clinical Data Migration: Functional and Technical Considerations.” Sponsored by Galen Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Sandy Winklemann, MHA, RHIA, project manager, SSM Integration Health Technologies; Tyler Mawyer, MHA, managing consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions; Kavon Kaboli, MPH, senior consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions. GE Centricity and Meditech to Epic EHR transition. Join us for a complimentary webinar as present the decisions that are important to consider when performing a clinical data migration from the point of view of  the healthcare organization program manager, the clinical analyst, and the technical implementation team. Our expert panel will survey data migration considerations, best practices, and lessons learned. The webinar will present a unique client perspective, offering insight into considerations surrounding staffing, clinical mapping, legacy application support, and validation and testing.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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CareWire adds predictive analytics from Connance – including behavioral and socio-demographic data – to its text-based appointment reminder and patient engagement platform.

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The Center for Family and Child Enrichment (FL) selects TenEleven Group’s behavioral health EHR to streamline administrative functions and better serve families in Miami-Dade County.

Entrada adds enterprise mobile scribing capabilities to its physician documentation solution, giving physicians EHR-friendly options based on their note-taking preference in one solution.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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HIE image-exchange and clinical referral technology vendor EHealth Technologies will invest $310,000 in expanding its headquarters in West Henrietta, NY by nearly 12,000 square feet. It also plans to hire an additional 84 staffers over the next three years.


Telemedicine

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Salus Telehealth partners with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors to offer military family members virtual grief counseling at no cost.

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Austin Regional Clinic (TX) partners with local telemedicine company EMD Access to launch virtual urgent-care consult services in May. It is in the process of developing a similar offering for patients with chronic conditions. ARC, which has 20 locations, seems to be on a bit of a health IT buying spree: It added evidence-based clinical guideline support from Wolters Kluwer to its Epic HER earlier this month.


People

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Richard Moran (Menlo College) joins VideoKall’s Board of Directors. The Potomac, MD-based company is preparing to launch a line of virtual consult kiosks that seem similar in scope to HealthSpot, which, as readers may recall, sold its assets to Rite-Aid for $1.5 million after shutting down for unspecified reasons last summer. None of the company’s three presumably full-time employees ties to healthcare, which makes me wonder how well the company will fare.


Government and Politics

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My “Government Faves” Twitter list has been relatively quiet since the Trump Administration took over (with the exception of one former CMS staffer.) Eight tweets in, CMS Administrator Seema Verma seems to be getting the hang of the social media tool.


Sponsor Updates

  • CompuGroup Medical will exhibit at CLMA KnowledgeLab 2017 March 26-29 in Nashville.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at AMGA March 22-25 in Grapevine, TX.
  • Healthwise exhibits at Ehealth Initiative’s annual conference March 21-22 in Washington, DC.

Blog Posts


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Readers Write: Disrupting the Traditional Physician Practice

March 21, 2017 Guest articles No Comments

Disrupting the Traditional Physician Practice
By Waqaas Al-Siddiq

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The emerging field of connected healthcare is rapidly becoming a reality and has the potential to overturn a healthcare system deeply rooted in pen, paper, and people. This leaves healthcare workers wondering what their future role will be. Big data at the individual level will introduce terabytes of biological, anatomical, physiological, and environmental information that a human will simply be unable to process. This data-deluged future will require synergy between man and machine, which will ultimately transform life science into data science. It will also markedly improve healthcare and health outcomes.

Remote patient monitoring is the use of wireless, remote technology to manage patients at a distance. This includes not only apps on smartphones and tablets, but smart sensing technologies coupled with artificial intelligence. They have low-power connectivity, streamlined user interfaces, data processing, and the capacity to store and analyze data for medical use. This, and other kinds of connected care, promises to make diagnosis, treatment, and prevention widely accessible at a fraction of current costs. Even today, wearable devices are available that can diagnose heart conditions; asthma monitoring sensors that detect poor air quality and adherence to medication; and glucose monitors that send the data of diabetics straight to their smartphones. By improving patient adherence and preventing unnecessary physician visits, connected care technologies like AI-enhanced RPM promise to reduce costs and improve lives.

A facet of healthcare that is particularly poised to benefit from AI-enhanced RPM is chronic care management. CCM is the most expensive branch of care, soaking up 86 percent of America’s healthcare dollars. Typically, a physician will prescribe medicines, suggest lifestyle changes, and schedule follow-up visits, which leaves much of the ongoing “management” of the disease to the individual.

In their summer 2015 Equity Research publication entitled “The Digital Revolution comes to US Healthcare”, Goldman, Sachs & Co. name two specific ways that RPM can improve chronic care management:

  1. By digesting and presenting data in a customizable and comprehensible way, RPM applications will enable physicians to act immediately. This will also help the patient to immediately understand their health status and counter any negative progression.
  2. By continuously monitoring a patient’s vital signs, AI-enhanced RPM can catch or even predict acute care events and initiate action that will save the patient.

Currently, cardiologists use Holter monitors to capture a patient’s heart’s activity over a 48-hour period. The data is brought back to the physician, who then renders a report based on that past activity. Conversely, RPM would capture and relay activity in real-time to doctors, catching any immediate dangers as well as conditions that take longer periods of time to diagnose. The AI would then analyze the data for variances, comparing it to other patient data, and amalgamating a personalized data set. This will not only improve health outcomes, but more effectively leverage a physician’s time by eliminating the need to compile reports and personalized treatment plans. This will free their schedule so that they can interact with more patients, and focus on the complex cases that require human intervention.

Jack Kreindler, MD founder of London’s Center for Health and Human Performance, sees great potential for RPM enhanced with AI. He envisions being able to move beyond the simplistic rules of current monitoring to “use these technologies to eliminate all avoidable hospitalization and in the process, solve the trillion-dollar problem of chronic disease, which is crippling our economies.”

Properly employing healthcare technology can result in better patient outcomes, improve convenience, and potentially lower healthcare costs, but there is still concern about the doctor’s future active role in patient care. The shift in the healthcare reimbursement paradigm from fee-for-service to value-based care is only the first step towards the implementation of connected healthcare, which began with the desire to keep patients out of hospitals beds. Now that the motivations of both patients and physicians are aligned, technology is positioned to facilitate and empower this new collaboration. Implementing highly sophisticated tools like AI-enhanced RPM would allow physicians to engage patients and offer better treatment that is also more comprehensive.

AI-enhanced technology is poised to disrupt the current healthcare paradigm. It will support the physician’s traditional role in healthcare while also empowering patients, and inviting collaboration and knowledge, which will result in a better partnership for overall health.

Waqaas Al-Siddiq is founder and CEO of Biotricity in Redwood City, CA.


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