Creating the Patient Records of the Future

First Place – gravitytank

The first place winners sought out to identify the pain points of current medical records before beginning the actual design process. They made a few interesting assessments:

Most people have a minimal understanding of their own healthcare

Therefore, people have little ownership of their own healthcare and seek out doctors to interpret records for them

Medical records are poorly organized and should have the appearance of a grocery store receipt that lists medications, doctors, lab results, etc. in a clear order.

Based on these discoveries, they decided the solution should be designed based on these four principles: Dynamic, Holistic, Understandable and Personalized.

Second Place – StudioTACK

StudioTACK is actually an architecture firm that took on the challenge to showcase their additional talents. The project leader for StudioTACK stated, “You don’t start with design, you start with observation and analysis.” They interviewed doctors and nurses and found that most doctors do not read patient records in order. With this information, they approached the design with “problem first, timeline second” and it resulted in a design that listed what doctors needed to see in order from first to last.

Third Place – Blue Button by Method

Method discovered the Healthcare Challenge two weeks before the deadline. With limited time to do research, they approached the challenge with a focus on the different ways to present information – cell phone, tablet, computer – in order to give patients access to their records from anywhere.

The full interview is available on the Profitable Practice blog.


Submit Your Health Information or Pay a Fine?

CVS Pharmacy recently sent out a memo to employees that has public health professionals—and the media—discussing just how far an employer can go to mandate employee health management. CVS employees will now be required to submit their weight, body fat, glucose levels, and other vital statistics to the company. If they don’t, they’ll be subject to a $50 monthly fine.

While those opposed to the mandate are calling it “coercion,” according to an article on ABCNews, others believe that it is a positive step toward putting employees in charge of their health—and rewarding them with decreased health insurance premiums.

“The goal of these kinds of programs is to end up with a healthier work force. If your employees are healthy they’re going to work better and they’re going  to cost the employer a lot less money,” says Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor.

What’s your opinion? Will mandates like CVS’ lead to increased public health?


New Study Spotlights How Influenza Spreads

Science Daily reports that “people may more likely be exposed to the flu through airborne virus than previously thought.” The article cites a University of Maryland School of Public Health study that concluded “there are nearly nine times more influenza virus present in the smallest airborne droplets in the breath exhaled from those infected with flu than in the larger droplets that would be expected to carry more virus

Dr. Donald Milton, who directs the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and led the study, states that “this has important implications for how we prevent the spread of flu.”

The CDC has long recommended that people with influenza wear surgical masks to prevent transmission of the virus. But the University of Maryland study is the first that provides data showing that mask use can reduce spread of even small exhaleddroplets containing a virus. “For this reason, health care facilities should put surgical masks on those suspect of having influenza, and individuals with influenza can protect their families by wearing a mask.”


Collaboration and Communication Key to Health Information Sharing Success

A recent article from Healthcare IT News, citing a poll of hospital and health system business leaders, found that 71 percent are more than halfway complete with their EHR adoption.

While this seems like promising news, only 48 percent of those polled believed that they are ready to meet initial Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirements.

“Industry leaders’ lack of confidence in their ability to integrate electronic health information throughout an enterprise is a concern as the healthcare industry moves toward creation of a nationwide health information network,” according to the article’s author, Gary Palgon.

Palgon asserts that many organizations that have adopted EHRs are not fully utilizing their systems and he recommends the use of e-prescription, e-lab, and e-radiology systems to collect information as a part of the EHR. This, he states, will “eliminate the data silos that typically exist.”

Palgon mentions that collaboration is key to success. “Once an organization can communicate seamlessly within its own four walls, the groundwork is set to share information with entities outside those walls.”


2013: The Year of the EHR Switch?

A recent article in HealthCare IT News cites Black Book Rankings showing that “as many as 17 percent of medical practices could be switching out of their first choice EHR by the end of the year.”

17,000 active EHR adopters were interviewed for the study, which found that Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements had made it difficult for some EHR providers to keep up and meet the needs of clients.

“Most concerning to current EHR users are unmet pleas for sophisticated interfaces with other practice programs, complex connectivity and networking schemes, pacing with accountable care progresses and the rapid EHR adoption of mobile devices,” according to the survey.

And while 31 percent of respondents stated that their dissatisfaction was high enough to consider changing systems, many added that internal issues might keep them from making the switch. Reasons to stay with the current EHR? Upcoming mergers and acquisitions, management issues, and internal staff training issues.

Read the full article below or click to HealthCare IT News (login required).