Hospitals and Wearables

I’ve been pretty closely following the various wearable options that have been entering the tech marketplace as part of my mobile health coverage. The most recent coverage is of the Apple Watch that was just announced. It’s a fascinating market and one that’s just barely getting started. It includes everything from smartwatches to eyeware (led by Google Glass) to contact lenses to fitness trackers to even your smartphone and more.

As I think about the wearable marketplace, I was thinking about how these wearables will apply in the hospital setting. I’d divide wearables impact on hospitals into two main categories: enterprise wearables and consumer (patient) wearables.

Enterprise Wearables
In the enterprise wearables space, I think we’ve seen the most traction with Google Glass. There are a whole plethora of eyeware computing companies that are using Google Glass in enterprise applications in hospitals. I’d say that most of the solutions revolve around telemedicine like applications, but we also see a few that are starting to integrate with other outside data and displaying that to the doctor. We’ve also seen a few applications where Google Glass has been used to document something for the patient. I’m interested to see how these technologies evolve over time. The tests of all of these things are so early that it’s hard to say if they are must have features for every hospital organization.

I have yet to see an enterprise smartwatch implementation. I expect that the first implementation will likely be in the healthcare communication space. One challenge in hospitals is definitely around hospital communication. Access to various messages on your watch could make accessing them easier. I’m not so bullish on this idea because it’s not that much easier than just pulling out your smart phone.

In the enterprise wearables world, what does seem clear to me is that these applications will have to integrate with the legacy systems. There are a few implementations (ie. Telemedicine applications) where this isn’t completely necessary, but the applications will have limited benefit to a hospital without a great integration with the other hospital systems.

Patient Wearables
I’m much more bullish on the various patient wearables. Many of these wearables were designed for consumers, so it makes sense that they would work well for consumers. Take for example, a smart watch. What a perfect way to track a diabetic and remind them of appropriate treatment. I’ve seen this done with smartphones and that’s pretty smooth, but a watch is even easier. Done right, it can be made so easy, even my mother could do it (no offense to my mother, but she’s not very technical). I love that type of monitoring and tracking that could be done with patients and hopefully reduce hospital readmissions and ensure care plans are followed. I haven’t seen anyone doing it yet, so maybe that’s an opportunity waiting for you.

I’m less excited about eyeware computing with patients. There might be some edge cases, but I haven’t seen or heard of any great patient focused applications with Google Glass. If you know of some, I’d love to hear of any.

Those are a few of my thoughts on wearables in the hospital. I’m sure there are plenty of implementations and technologies I’m missing. It’s a rapidly changing area. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s happening with wearables in hospitals or things you think could or should happen with them.

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Podcast: Greenway Health CEO Tee Green on interoperability, consumerism and more

Health IT vendor Greenway Health recently finished its rollout of a cloud-based EHR to all 8,200 Walgreens stores in the U.S. When I was offered the chance to interview CEO Wyche T. “Tee” Green III about this, I decided to take it a step further.

In all my years of covering health IT, I’ve never met nor even spoken to Green, so I figured a podcast was in order. After all, I had written a piece for Health Data Management earlier this year about how pharmacies are reshaping themselves as true healthcare companies. (This interview also comes in the wake of CVS Caremark ending its sale of tobacco products and changing its name to CVS Health.)

I also had a lot of questions about interoperability issues in health IT and the many criticisms that lately have been heaped on both EHR vendors for perceived usability problems and the federal Meaningful Use EHR incentive program. The timing couldn’t have been better.

Podcast details: Interview with Greenway Health CEO Tee Green, recorded Sept. 8, 2014. MP3, mono, 128 kbps, 25.5 MB. Running time 27:51

1:00 Walgreens rollout and EHRs for “retail health”
3:20 Future expansion to Walgreens Healthcare Clinic locations
4:15 My own experience with lack of interoperability at a CVS MinuteClinic
5:30 Achieving EHR interoperability
7:30 Frustration with slow progress on Meaningful Use
10:30 Data liquidity
12:30 Update on CommonWell Health Alliance
14:25 Addressing criticisms that vendors are hindering interoperability
16:30 EHR usability
18:10 Greenway Marketplace app store
22:15 Patient engagement and slow start to Stage 2 Meaningful Use
24:10 Dealing with the rise of consumerism in healthcare

I’ve been kicking around in my mind the idea of hosting a regular podcast, perhaps as frequently as weekly. If so, what day of the week would you prefer to hear a new episode?

Posted in consumerism, EMR/EHR, health information exchange, health it, health reform, Healthcare IT, interoperability, Meaningful Use, podcast, polls, vendors | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Pri-Med and Amazing Charts Unveil New Technology to Address Clinician Dissatisfaction With Electronic Health Records

Pri-Med InLight™ EHR Is the First Commercially Available System to Feature Intuitive, Problem-Oriented Workflow to Help Clinicians Save Time and Improve Patient Care

BOSTON, MA–(Marketwired – September 12, 2014) – DBC Pri-Med LLC, the leading provider of professional medical education to a community of more than 260,000 clinicians, today announced the release of Pri-Med InLight EHR. This latest advancement is the first problem-oriented, clinical documentation system designed to increase professional satisfaction and improve patient outcomes by enabling clinicians to deliver higher quality care more efficiently.

Rob Tholemeier, Director of Chilmark Research, a global research and advisory firm that focuses solely on the market for HIT solutions, said: “Current EHRs look like they were designed for back-office staff, not physicians making life or death decisions. There is a gaping need for a new approach to clinical documentation that actually enhances the practice of medicine. From the demos I’ve seen, Pri-Med InLight appears to bring a new level of intelligence to EHRs by learning from you as you practice, and then organizing and presenting information in a way that actually enhances interaction with patients instead of detracting from it.”

InLight combines the highly-rated usability features of Amazing Charts with a pioneering problem-oriented medical record developed at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the legacy of Pri-Med’s world-class medical education. The key breakthrough is a problem-oriented workflow that organizes information more intuitively, making it faster and easier for clinicians to use. Advantages include:

  • Easy to Use - Pri-Med InLight is a thinking EHR. InLight learns as clinicians practice and then anticipates their needs, providing the right information when they need it. Innovative features, such as the physician-friendly problem vocabulary and one-click ordering, make InLight powerful yet incredibly easy to use.
  • Saves Time – Pri-Med InLight minimizes the distractions of documentation and coding so clinicians can focus on face-to-face interaction with patients and deliver high-quality care. InLight users can access information in a fraction of the time of most current EHRs, giving them more time facing patients and less time facing a screen.
  • Improves Patient Care – Pri-Med InLight improves the hand-off of patients between primary care and specialists for continuity of shared care. Point-of-care medical education, tailored to patients’ specific needs, helps clinicians make more informed clinical decisions.

“Until now, most EHR systems have been seen as a burden, feeding a rising tide of professional dissatisfaction,” said Dr. John Goodson, staff internist at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “They create a barrier to patients, and keep clinicians in the office late completing charts. Pri-Med InLight not only solves these issues but also gives clinicians new tools for better patient care.”

“We set out to pioneer an electronic health record that is uniquely designed to think the way doctors think and help them make sound medical decisions,” said John Mooney, founder and CEO of Pri-Med. “Built by clinicians for clinicians, InLight is problem-oriented so clinicians can be people-oriented.”

For more information, please visit

About Pri-Med
Pri‐Med is an operating division of Diversified Communications. Based in Boston, Mass., the organization has been a trusted source for professional medical education to over 260,000 clinicians since 1995. Through live meetings in over 30 U.S. cities and online at, clinicians rely on Pri‐Med for opportunities to engage with local peers, meet internationally renowned faculty, and participate in world‐class educational activities. In 2012, Pri-Med purchased Amazing Charts, a leading provider of electronic health records (EHR) to independent medical practices. Amazing Charts operates as an independent operating subsidiary of Pri-Med. For more information, visit:

Posted in EHR, EHR Vendors, Electronic Health Record, Electronic Medical Record, EMR, EMR Vendors, Healthcare IT | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Thinking About 9/11

Today we’re going to see a rash of tributes for September 11th. I think that’s beautiful and wonderful. My football team, BYU, is playing Houston tonight and they even have 9/11 tributes on their helmet with the American Flag incorporated into the logos. I love it. I hope we never forget the tragedy of that day.

Although, I can easily see why tragedies are too quickly forgotten. I’ll certainly never forget what happened that day because I saw it. However, my children weren’t alive and so they have no memory of that day. They just have the stories we tell them. In some ways, that’s a good thing. Our lives need to continue forward and we shouldn’t let a tragedy ruin our lives. However, just because we continue forward with our lives, it’s important to remember the lessons of that day. I’m sure those that experienced the tragedy of Pearl Harbor feel the same way. If it weren’t for a little help from Hollywood, I probably would still be pretty naive about what happened at Pearl Harbor.

As I think back on 9/11, what I remember most wasn’t the tragedy of lost lives and the terrible things that occurred (and they were indeed terrible). Instead, I remember most the way the country came together in ways I’d never seen before. There was a unity in the country that likely only occurs after tragedy. It’s unfortunate that unity dwindles away even faster than grief. The lesson I take from it is that service for a noble cause with friends and colleagues is a powerful way to unify people.

Excuse the personal side note, but I wanted to take a few minutes to remember. My thoughts are with all those who lost someone they love that horrible day.

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M*Modal Launches Comprehensive Outpatient Medical Coding Services

Outsourced coding enables healthcare providers to optimize HIM resources and manage transition to ICD-10

Franklin, Tenn. – September 10, 2014 – To help the healthcare industry address medical coder shortages in advance of the ICD-10 mandate, while preserving accurate revenue realization, M*Modal today announced the availability of comprehensive outpatient medical coding services. M*Modal’s technology-enabled services program combines coding experts with advanced cloud-based solutions to deliver quality results with fast-turn-around time, enabling organizations to offload high-volume outpatient coding, increase productivity and improve their cash flows.

Outpatient services is the fastest growing healthcare segment in terms of spending, according to the Health Care Cost Institute. Using AHIMA-certified coding experts, M*Modal’s outpatient coding program delivers high-quality, accurate coding for all outpatient areas, including Observation, Ambulatory Surgery, Emergency Department/Urgent Care, Specialty and Diagnostic.

“Qualified coding professionals are in short supply, and HIM departments face an ongoing challenge to stay ahead of coding and ICD-10 demands,” said Matt Jenkins, SVP and General Manager of HIM Services at M*Modal. “M*Modal’s outpatient coding services offer a cost-effective way for organizations to offload routine coding and move their existing coding resources onto critical inpatient and ICD-10 preparation programs.”

In a recent AHIMA and eHealth Initiative survey of healthcare providers, 50% identified lack of staff as a top concern to meet ICD-10 demands. ICD-10 is a revised standard that reflects a seven-fold increase in the number of potential code assignments. Many organizations lack the coding staff to manage their discharged not final billed (DNFB) coding requirements, as well as support the dual-coding and end-to-end testing programs needed to prepare for ICD-10’s rollout in October 2015.

M*Modal is one of the largest transcription and coding services providers in the U.S., providing credentialed coding resources to hospitals, clinics and practices for nearly 20 years. M*Modal offers essential coding services – including staffing, auditing and education – to hospitals looking outside their organization to manage resources. In addition, M*Modal’s cloud-based technology platform ensures a unified workflow for delivering high-quality, compliant documentation.

“Accurate billing begins with accurate and complete clinical documentation. By partnering with M*Modal for transcription, clinical documentation technology and coding services, HIM departments can optimize a unified workflow which yields superior physician satisfaction, more complete patient information and higher productivity from the revenue cycle process,” said Mr. Jenkins.

About M*Modal

M*Modal is a leading healthcare technology provider of advanced clinical documentation solutions, enabling hospitals and physicians to enrich the content of patient electronic health records (EHR) for improved healthcare and comprehensive billing integrity. As one of the largest clinical transcription service providers in the U.S., with a global network of medical editors, M*Modal also provides advanced cloud-based Speech Understanding™ technology and data analytics that enable physicians and clinicians to include the context of their patient narratives into electronic health records in a single step, further enhancing their productivity and the cost-saving efficiency and quality of patient care at the point of care. For more information, please visit www.mmodal.comTwitterFacebook and YouTube.

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Apple Watch and Other Apple News

Yesterday you probably heard that Apple came out with the new iPhone 6, Apple Pay, and the new Apple Watch. The iPhone 6 wasn’t terribly exciting. They have some new form factors that are similar to what Samsung’s been doing with the Android and will be a pain for developers who have to deal with multiple form factors. The iPhone 6 also has a bunch more storage.

Apple Pay is an interesting announcement since it has the chance to really change the way we pay for things. I’m still torn on how retailers and consumers will adopt the technology, but it’s a big bet and could really revolutionize the way we buy things. Our phone literally could become our credit card like many have envisioned for a long time. Of course, the recent iCloud leaked celebrity nude photos was bad timing for the announcement that Apple wants you to use your iPhone as your credit card. In reality, they are two very different security issues, but for the consumer that will get lost in the discussion.

The bigger news from a health standpoint is the Apple Watch (they chose not to go with the iWatch name). As you’d expect from Apple, the design is beautiful and well thought out. They’ve added a scroll wheel on the side to do things like zoom and also can be pressed to go to the home screen. Hard to say how functional this feature really will be until we get a chance to try it.

The Apple Watch does have some health features, but it basically feels like a Fitbit, Fuelband (discontinuted), or Jawbone on your arm. It does have a heart rate sensor and accelerometor. I thought they’d probably announce more health features. So, that was a disappointment. Maybe they are working on other health features, but they didn’t announce them. The Apple Watch doesn’t come out until early 2015 and will have a $349 price point.

I expect that many will buy the Apple Watch, but they’ll do it more for the status of the watch than the functionality. The smartwatch space hasn’t done all that great. Will the Apple Watch change that dynamic? It doesn’t feel like enough for me to want to go back to wearing a watch. Apple is leading with style and so they’ll get some uptake, but I’d like to see a little more substance.

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Patient IO Care Plan Platform Announces Integration with Apple HealthKit

Combined offering allows providers to automatically import critical health data into patient care plans

September 10, 2014 (Austin, Texas) – Filament Labs today announced the integration of its Patient IO care delivery platform with Apple’s newly announced HealthKit, enhancing the ability of health professionals to manage patient health behaviors between doctor visits. Integrating HealthKit with the Patient IO platform will allow providers to automatically pull critical health data from a patient’s HealthKit-supported device and import the details directly into the patient’s individual care plan.

“We are excited to be one of the first companies to offer a patient engagement platform integrated with Apple’s HealthKit,” said Filament Labs CEO and Cofounder Jason Bornhorst. “Having a patient’s care plan automatically populated with current, accurate and complete data will help providers monitor patient adherence to treatment plans and in turn improve patient outcomes.”

Patient IO helps health professionals create personalized care plans that can be seamlessly delivered to patients outside of the clinic setting. The platform’s mobile care plans enable patient self-care and unlock superior data insights about adherence and patient health outside the clinic.

For patients, Patient IO enables doctors to deliver treatment-specific tasks, reminders and educational content directly to patients’ or their caregivers’ smartphones. Patient IO synthesizes multiple care plans from multiple providers into a unified set of daily tasks for the patient. Health professional can review submitted health information in real-time as patients complete their care plan.

“The integration between Patient IO and Apple’s HealthKit allows patients to provide their care team with real-time health information updates, such as glucose levels and blood pressure, without having to launch the Patient IO app,” said Colin Anawaty, Filament Labs Chief Product Officer and Cofounder. “Providers can then be automatically alerted should a patient require their increased attention.”

Patient IO is a drop-in solution for care plan delivery that works seamlessly with third-party health IT solutions. Using the Patient IO API, other healthcare IT vendors can take advantage of Apple’s HealthKit by sending their patient care plans through the Patient IO platform.

Filament Lab will launch the integration of Patient IO with HealthKit following Apple’s release of iOS 8. Existing Patient IO providers will automatically receive the update, while prospective care team providers may contact Filament Labs to learn more about connecting HealthKit and their patient care plans.

About Patient IO:

Patient IO is a care plan delivery platform that helps health professionals create fully-customizable care plans that can be seamlessly delivered to patients outside the clinic. Patients receive treatment-specific tasks, reminders and educational content directly on their smartphones, helping health professionals manage patient health behaviors between doctor visits.

Patient IO is the flagship product of Filament Labs. The company was founded in March 2013 by CEO Jason Bornhorst (Mobiata, Expedia), Chief Product Officer Colin Anawaty (Plerts, Rev Worldwide), and CTO Brian Gambs (HealthShare, WebMD). They are joined by Head of Mobile Sebastian Celis (Mobiata, Expedia).

To learn more, please visit:

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Defining the Business Case for Interoperability and Health Information Exchange

CHICAGO (September 9, 2014) – Even with many competitors within an industry, it is in the interest of all industry participants to have a core culture of functionality that is interoperable. With this philosophy in mind, The Business Case for Interoperability and Health Information Exchange sets the transformational stage for healthcare reform with a strong connection between health information exchange and interoperable exchange of patient health data.
The newer model of sustainability would be supported by a realignment of financial and policy incentives to support HIE, according to the white paper. This approach shifts away from the current system of provider incentives to purchase and implement EHRs and toward rewarding those vendors and stakeholders within the health marketplace who actively design for interoperability and demonstrably prove its value in practice.
“The imperative of health information exchange is now, but in the drive to move from EHRs to information exchange, several tasks still lay ahead. 
“HIMSS envisions a world where we move from static data to a liquid interoperable future, but to advance interoperability toward this goal, there are still challenging tasks ahead. Many of these tasks will require consensus building within the healthcare industry and the development of new policies, laws and ideas that have not yet been conceived or imagined. 
“Each task toward recognizing the business value of HIE also requires an understanding of the problems of the current status quo within health information technology, and a change in the U.S healthcare system to a “culture” of interoperability.” 
The Business Case for Interoperability and Health Information Exchange, p. 18
“This report serves as a primer on our country’s growing national focus on health IT, prompted by President Bush’s 2004 executive order declaring EMR availability by 2014.  It provides a history from where we’ve come and identifies the challenges ahead for HIE, healthcare integration and interoperability,” said HIE Community member Charlie Rogers, CEO, CoreHealth Technologies Inc.
 “While it is too early to say, initial indicators see interoperability and health information exchange bringing value to healthcare in terms of outcomes, quality, patient engagement and other factors that indicate the investment is paying off,” said  Keith Salzman, MD, IBM, and member of HIMSS Clinical and Business Intelligence community.
“The connection between health information exchange and interoperability continues as a primary focus for HIMSS through the Interoperability Showcase – held around the world each year – as well as our tools and resources on health IT standards and interoperability. This new white paper extends our vision of better health through IT and demonstrates support for the Office of the National Coordinator’s current 10-year vision of establishing interoperable health IT networks,” says Joyce Sensmeier MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, Vice President, Informatics, HIMSS North America.
• Download the white paper on the HIMSS’ website.
• Watch a video on the HIMSS YouTube channel featuring John Loonsk, MD, FACMI, HIMSS Interoperability Maturity Model committee member, discussing the importance of adoption of interoperability and health IT.
HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.
HIMSS is a cause-based, global enterprise producing health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause. HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
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The Various Approaches to Mobility in Healthcare

I’m about to head down to the CTIA Super Mobility Week conference. I try to attend a few conferences each year that aren’t directly related to healthcare and health IT in order to get a broader perspective on what’s happening in the rest of the world. I think this will be one such case (although, they do have some mHealth sessions and exhibitors as well).

As I started to think about mobility and where it’s headed, the industry is all about the smart phone and smart mobile devices. I think it’s an incredibly powerful concept and one that will only become more important. However, I think that many people are taking it too far. While I love my smartphone and its capabilities, I still love the productivity that’s possible with a great desktop setup with dual monitors, a mouse and a keyboard. I’m not sure we’ll replicate that in a mobile world and I’m not sure we should.

In fact, it’s one of the trends I hate most about many of the website designs that are coming out lately. They are going all in on mobile and in the process they’re killing the productivity of the desktop experience. It’s a travesty and continues to annoy me with many of the applications I use on a daily basis.

We can apply this same principle to healthcare IT. Often we need to step back and ask ourselves if something really needs to be mobile or not. Plus, if we decide to make something mobile, we need to ensure that those who still use the same application in a non-mobile environment have their workflow optimized as well.

At the end of the day, we need to create a much more sophisticated approach to mobile computing. There are many times when a doctor or nurse really need whatever they’re working on to be mobile. There are extreme benefits to having a point of care device which allows the nurse or doctor to document at the point of care. However, there are just as many times when mobility is actually a hindrance to the required workflow.

What are you doing in your organization to leverage the amazing mobile technologies that are out there while still maintaining the optimized workflow?

Posted in Hospital EHR, Hospital Electronic Health Record, Hospital Electronic Medical Record, Hospital EMR, Hospital Healthcare IT, Mobile Technology | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

The Importance of Defining a Legal Health Record with Mary Beth Haugen, RHIA, MS

In this interview, we sat down with Mary Beth Haugen, founder and CEO of Haugen Consulting Group, about the intricacies and challenges of the legal health record and how it’s been impacted by EHR and other healthcare technology. Plus, we give HIM leaders some firepower on how to convince hospital leadership that defining the legal health record is important for every healthcare organization. Enjoy the video below.

Posted in Healthcare Leadership, Hospital EHR, Hospital Electronic Health Record, Hospital Electronic Medical Record, Hospital EMR, Hospital Healthcare IT | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off