Tag Archives: healthcare information

How much is your healthcare information worth on the “black” market?


According to an article in Reuters, your information from a healthcare hack can sell for $20 or more on the black market. Why, you ask? Because that information is much easier to use to paint a whole picture of a person and their identity than the previously targeted financial data. They can use the healthcare data to receive medical care, obtain prescriptions, and use your social security number and date of birth to obtain credit in your name. With the financial sector locking down their information in response to the many hacks of late years the healthcare industry is an easier target as they have not been previously worried about hacking.

In a recent Washington Examiner article, it was reported that:

 Hackings of data from healthcare firms and doctors jumped over 1,800 percent from 2008-2013…

Reviewing Health and Human Services reports of data breaches where more than 500 patients were exposed, the Brookings Institution found that the number went from just 13 in 2008 to 256 in 2013, impacting 9 million in 2014.

Healthcare systems that are hacked and have the weak security can/will be fined up to $1.5 million dollars – which should serve as incentive to tighten up that security.

What does this mean to you? It means you should keep an eye on your credit, listen to the news for reports of hacking, and you might even ask your health care provider and other healthcare entities if their security is appropriate. Of course, most of those clinical providers on the front end (those doctors & nurses) probably can’t answer the question as it lies deeper in the organization or operations, such as the information technology department, so don’t be too upset if they can’t tell ya about it.

Thoughts?

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Big Data & Analytics


Did you know that we are already using big data (extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions) to help with Parkinson’s disease (Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research) and to help the first responders to arrive on the scene earlier than previously experienced (Jersey City’s Medical EMS)? It’s true. (reference here)

I’ve also talked about big data in previous posts:

Data & Big Brother in Healthcare

How Well Will Wearables and mHealth apps Work with the Individual

So what is happening with our data? It is being evaluated to determine the care level of the patient. Or, in other words, we are analyzing the data from both clinical and claims systems to identify patient health status, compliance with physician orders and gaps in care that may be needed proactively for the patient.

This collection of data is being used by insurers and clinicians for the purpose of making the care of the patient more effective, efficient and comprehensive. It is also being used by the more commercial side of the healthcare business, such as pharmaceutical companies evaluating the use of their drugs with claims data on prescriptions filled, but with this use the patient information is not part of the package that the commercial side provides.

What does this mean for the general public? Well, a couple of things. For the individual it helps them to manage their health and diseases and to proactively ensure that they are progressing in a positive direction for a healthy life. For the public it means that we now have the ability to see what the community might need to make it healthier and to identify the potential for commonalities of disease in the community.

We are moving toward an industry that can have the tools to make us healthier as individuals and a community. This quote from David Richards (in the first article link above) sums it up:

…future breakthroughs may have less to do with chance discovery than the systematic analyses of existing data. And while these are the early days of data-driven hospitals, the writing is on the wall for healthcare as we know it.


Data & Big Brother in healthcare


I happened across an article on data and the Big Brother effect which included data in healthcare. I’m a bit perplexed, surprised and honestly a teeny bit worried. We know that they get data on what we watch on TV. We know that they can track trending health issues using Twitter. We know that health insurance claim information has been tracked and some allegations have been made that it has/could be used against the patient in regard to cost/deductibles and even the ability to obtain coverage. My mother has had issues with this as she has what is called a pre-existing condition in the insurance world – meaning that she had a medical condition before purchasing the insurance so they won’t pay for anything to do with continued treatment.

Now, according the article, even more data is currently being mined and applied to managing/tracking the health of populations.Honestly, I was a bit shocked as to what data they were using.

 

According to report authors Pam Dixon and Robert Gellman, these include: retailer databases, financial sector non-credit information, commercial data brokers, multichannel direct response, online surveys, catalog and phone orders, warranty card registrations, Internet sweepstakes, retailer loyalty cards, lifestyle information gathered from fitness and wellness centers, and non-profit organization member or donor lists.

 

LexisNexis is one of the largest data mining companies out there. They reportedly are using court records and housing information to assist with population health management. I am puzzled by how this information could be used for that purpose. What data or information specifically are they using?

If we start using social media data – and I have to wonder what source(s) they might be tapping for this collection – then they might find out information that isn’t shared with providers of health care – more along the line of their daily habits. Do they party/drink, go skydiving, drive cars too fast…

What are your thoughts on this subject?


Smartphone Apps & the Healthcare Setting


In a recent blog post for Pivot Point Consulting I share information and thoughts on the use of smartphones in the health setting. We use a lot of health apps as we have become a society that is much more aware of our health over the last 10 years. We use fitness app, those with health/diseases use apps to monitor their disease state and the healthcare providers use apps to provide at the hand information. So what do you use your smartphone for related to your health?

 

smartphone


The OpenNotes Initiative: How Transparency is Leading to Consumerism in Healthcare


Take a look at my blog contribution on the OpenNotes project!

If you haven’t heard about it, OpenNotes is a project that initiated in 2010 to see how patients and care providers would react to the patient having access their visit note after they saw the provider. If you want to find out what the patients thought of the experience check out the blog. Did they like having the access and information? How did they use the information after they saw it? And what did the care providers think of the experience?


Social media and healthcare


I bet you use Facebook…bet you Google for information, too. Do you Tweet? If you read my previous post about Tweeting for your health you might know that Twitter is becoming a sort of marketing and information source for healthcare. I know of many hospitals, healthcare organizations and public health organizations that use Twitter as information outlets to target specific chronic disease populations. For example, my mother, sister and I have essential tremor so I “like” the International Essential Tremor Foundation Facebook page. It provides information regularly on the disease state as well as activities that are going on.

courtesy Power DMS Suite

courtesy Power DMS Suite

 

 

This infographic (picture with information) has some interesting statistics on how healthcare is using social media today. Of interest to me, because I am also very careful with my personal Facebook page versus my public pages, is the percentage of the physicians that DO accept Facebook friend requests from their patients. Unless I was truly a friend of that physician I think that I would want to respect their privacy, and mine, by not being their FB “friend”.

So how do you use social media in your healthcare life? Are you a fan/”liker” of any hospital or health system Facebook pages? Do you follow a chronic disease group on Twitter?


Do you print or view? Information today…


Working in IT (information technology) we are always conscious of printing. We try to avoid it. It is, in our world, similar to being caught using your finger to get some icing off the wedding or birthday cake when no one is looking. (yes, Tisha humor/opinion.)

So how do you get your information? Do you print off directions from MapQuest? or do you send them via text to your smart phone? Or even have that handy navigation system in your car? What about your grocery list? Is it on paper or do you have a handy app on your smart phone or iPad? Do you read paperbacks or use a Kindle/Nook/iPad?

A recent article in HIT Consultant noted the top 20 most insightful infographics of 2012. (infographics = pictures with words and/or information.)

courtesy HealthEd Academy

courtesy HealthEd Academy

 

This particular one seems to give some good statistics on how patients are learning in our age of technology. Healthcare extender I take to mean a healthcare provider. It is interesting that the majority of information given to patients is printed. Yet, when I think about some of the meaningful use requirements, one is to provide patient education upon discharge. So they print the information. Even if they were to give you links to videos or websites they print them on paper. I haven’t seen anyone emailing info rather than printing though that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.

The infographic does point out that the provider (extenders) are getting their information from technology (online) resources. I would say that the majority of those resources are available to the general public, also. Yet there is often so much information available that it is contradictory or confusing for us when we search. There are some information providers that we feel are true and correct resources such as WebMD.

So how do you get information from your healthcare provider? Do you do your own research? If yes, is it before or after you see the provider? or both?


The new “drugs” – smartphone apps or patient engagement? or both?


In a recent post I mentioned a quote from Sherry Reynolds:

 “If  # OpenNotes was a new drug that increased patient engagement by 85%,  every doctor in the country would be prescribing it.”

Now I see an article from American Medical News talking about smartphone apps being the new drug. That really caught my attention – mostly because I am trying to use that concept in my graduate class theory paper. But back to the point…We all have kids that can’t put down the phone – the smartphone because they are texting, Facetiming, gaming, or who knows what else. I’m one of those adults that is almost as bad as my child. I am always checking Facebook, checking my WordPress for comments or likes, looking up the closest cupcake bakery, or texting one of my children or Hubby because I’ve forgotten what I was supposed to have been doing while I was doing all of that. Am I addicted to my smartphone? Nahhhh Could I go a day without it completely? Hmmmm, not so sure…..I’ve gotten close while on two cruises. But when you get to shore you can usually see who’s doing what on Facebook that you might have missed. Or even those wonderful work emails that you are truly afraid that someone messed that project up while you were gone. OOYY!!

So you can see where I am going with the familiarity of those people in the US younger than the age of say 55 – no, don’t go all ballistic on me if you are over 55! My dad only knows how to answer and call on his flip phone and my mom is becoming an iPhone guru so people are different! We rely on those smartphones. Sometimes we rely on them to the point of psychically wrong proportions -but that’s another article.

This is the key point I like about this article:

Discussions are taking place in exam rooms across the country about how a $1 app could be a viable alternative to prescribing a medication and help patients monitor their health. Some even have referred to the act of physicians recommending mobile health as “prescribing an app.”

In the traditional sense of prescribing, the phrase is not accurate, said David Collins, senior director of mHIMSS, a subsidiary of the Health Information and Management Systems Society focused on mobile health initiatives. “But in the digital wave of medicine, when it comes to mobile health, I’d say it does make sense. Patients are used to going to their doctor’s office, getting their problem solved and leaving with a prescription in their hands.”

A few things to think about with this theory, from my point of view.

1) are the patients in that group of users that will know how to get the app, download/install it and then use it? If yes, this can be quick – a business card with the name of the app and whether it is available on the Apple platform or the Android.

2)If they can get to the point of using it then do they know how to get the good stuff out of the app? With calorie counter apps it seems to be easier – you program the number of calories per day, track what you eat, see how you do. With apps that are more complicated and linked – usually via bluetooth – then there is a bit more complexity to the use of the app and the information that you get from it. Then how do you share that information at your next visit? Or even before your next visit?

3) The physician – or designated office person – would need to become a person who helped patients go thru this cycle of us. They are going to have questions when they get home. They are going to have questions when they have a weeks’ worth of data in the app and can’t see what they think they should. They will need help. Can a physician office or clinic charge for that service? (my devil’s advocate at work there.)

Overall, this is a great idea. It is moving on the right path to a nation that has been embracing a healthier lifestyle over the last 15 years. Truly, we have. There are still issues with obesity and such but there is a major trend in our population to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles.

These are some great statistics:

PATIENT MOBILE HEALTH BELIEFS

59% say mobile health has given them solutions that have replaced some doctor visits.

52% say mobile health will lower health care costs within three years.

49% think it will change the way they manage their overall health.

48% say it will improve health care quality within three years.

48% think it will change the way they manage chronic conditions.

48% say it will change the way they manage medication.

46% believe it will make their health care more convenient within three years.

PHYSICIAN MOBILE HEALTH BELIEFS

42% say mobile health will make patients too independent.

27% will encourage patients to use mobile health apps.

13% will discourage patients from using mobile health apps.

Source: “Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth,” PwC, June (pwc.com/en_GX/gx/healthcare/mhealth/assets/pwc-emerging-mhealth-full.pdf)

 

Do you think you would use an app that your physician recommended ? How much “help” would you expect to need to use it? How much interaction would you expect with the physician/office if you were to use it – more or less?

 


Is our health care connected? Or is it connected under certain conditions?


Reading an article from newly named Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson-article was written before he attained the position 4 days ago – where Mr. Tyson talks about how connected the patients at KP are with their health records. Having worked as a consultant at KP before (and remember that little page about disclaimers up there to the right….) I think that Mr. Tyson is on the right path.

Technology is changing this paradigm and creating what we at Kaiser Permanente call connected care. This means that all the patient’s providers have access to the same health care records and information is available around the clock. Patients can access their full medical records electronically anytime, viewing all medications, lab results, office visits, and more. They even have direct access to their physicians through e-mail. Patients can connect to health information 24/7 and manage their health care when it’s convenient to them instead of having to wait for an appointment. And it is safer and more secure.

The unfortunate part is that I am not a KP member. I do not live in a KP serviced area. I do not have the connection that Mr. Tyson talks about. And somehow that is wrong – for me. Why don’t I have that same information? I don’t have  health insurance right now. So does that mean I don’t get access to my records? Is it dependent on me having insurance or having a doctor that I use – and then must I use them regularly? Where are the rules for when and what records I get to see? And how long do I have to see them? Can I look back 5 years?

I applaud KP for the work they have put into making this happen. I personally know of the blood, sweat and tears that went into where they have gotten so far. So what is holding the rest of us back? Were we waiting on an election? Shame on us? While we were waiting on that election there were insurance companies buying up hospitals and health systems. Now they have my information even if I don’t.

More to come….just thought I’d ruffle the feathers a little…shake it up some… maybe get your attention…..

🙂

 


OpenNotes link


Take 5 minutes of your day today to read about and familiarize yourself with this initiative. It is well worth it. Then come back and tell me what you think. I’ve been blogging on this topic for a few days now and found this site and initiative very informative and inspiring, actually.

OpenNotes 

Shared/copyright OpenNotes


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