Tag Archives: healthcare

An Apple a day…


…will keep the doctors informed.

So maybe you haven’t been in the hospital ever or in years or even this year (we’re only a quarter-ish into the new year)… but now you just might see how an Apple might be just what the doctor ordered.

If you are already wearing that Apple Watch and happen to make it into the patient bed at Cedars-Sinai then you can synch all your info with the hospital issued iPad and your Apple Watch. That makes for a more complete record of your health and keeps the info where it can be accessed for other care providers or, in the worst of situations, where emergency responders can see it.

Back in early 2015, we heard of the hospitals piloting Apple’s HealthKit – and the big name electronic health record providers jumped in with them. John Hopkins (specifically for epilepsy)  and Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans have worked with Epic, an electronic health record company, to integrate with the Apple Watch. Ochsner is making the use of the Apple product line to make their innovationOschner (iO) program a stellar role model for the rest of the electronic world of healthcare. I’m, personally, impressed with their program and how they seem to be making it a part of their strategic vision not just for the company but for their patients. Check out this post from last year on Oschner’s program

Yet, in the field we are all aware of the regulations around electronic health records and those devices that work with them are one of the grey areas – one that we, in the healthcare technology field hopes will stay grey!

What have your experiences been with your Apple products and your healthcare providers?

Here is a great interview article with a patient at Cedars Sinai –  and it speaks to the market that Apple is now wading into…


Can technology help you make better health care decisions?


In previous blogs I’ve talked about using technology to improve your health, such as this one on apps. Most apps today are still focused on general health and wellness. Even though that is the case those apps can help people with chronic conditions monitor those conditions. For instance, the Fitbit can monitor your pulse/heart rate. This is great if you have a heart condition.

Now picture yourself faced with a decision, large or small, about treatment for your health decision. Do you solely rely on the doctor’s advice? Do you have a discussion with the doctor weighing the options and the pros and cons? Do you Google it? What if there were an app to help you review your issues/symptoms? What if it could help you to evaluate the risks?  I think most people would like to have that assistance – especially with the “big” decisions – surgery, cancer, etc.

Then add to it that your can possibly review your own health records (check out my blog post on OpenNotes). This can help you understand your health as a whole. There are also decision aids that help translate the medical talk – you don’t have to go to a medical terminology class now to understand those words!

“There are many health conditions where there are multiple good options for treatment, and not a clear best option,” says Angie Fagerlin, chair of the department of population health sciences at the University of Utah, a research scientist at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and president of the Society for Medical Decision Making. “Shared decision making allows patients to engage in a deliberative, communicative process with their clinicians, and be active participants in their care.”

Take a peek at the article in the Wall Street Journal’s article on getting patients to take more control of their medical decisions. 

Have you used apps or decision aids in making decisions about your healthcare?


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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