Healthcare IT Headlines You May Have Missed – June 2021

Healthcare IT Headlines You May Have Missed – June 2021

Consumers’ growing interest in their health data has mobilized healthcare organizations and tech giants alike to develop new applications that meet demand. 

Fierce Healthcare reported that iPhone users will soon be able to review long-term analyses of their health, receive automated alerts of changes to their loved one’s condition and share health data directly to their provider’s EHR system through the Apple Health app. According to Sumbul Desai, M.D., vice president of Apple Health, “A critical part of taking care of yourself is monitoring changes in your health, which can be subtle and easy to miss; so, this year we’re offering three new features to help you to identify, measure and understand those changes.”

Further, a new report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT stated that 70% of acute care hospitals give patients access to their health data through mobile apps or other technology, and 75% give patients access to detailed clinical notes through a patient portal. However, access is geographically uneven. Healthcare Dive has the full story.

Another aspect of consumer health behavior is also making headlines: A new report from FAIR Health finds telehealth utilization is going down as the pandemic recedes. Claims for telehealth fell by around 5% in March compared to February 2021, which had a nearly 16% drop from January 2021. Despite the drops, many experts believe telehealth is here to stay, and providers would be wise to develop forward-looking strategies for optimizing virtual care before the public health emergency ends.

Look for my next health IT newsletter in July!

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Healthcare IT Headlines You May Have Missed – June 2021

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – March 2021

The Biden administration is making headlines with new appointments to key healthcare posts, while tech giants like Amazon and Google continue to make waves with novel offerings to support a new era of care delivery focused on telehealth services and improved data sharing.

Earlier this month the Senate confirmed Xavier Becerra’s nomination for U.S. secretary of health and human services, making him the first Latino person to hold the position. Only minutes after the confirmation, advocacy groups were reminding him of the need to bring the American healthcare system into the 21st century. In a statement, Connected Health Initiative executive director Morgan Reed said, “Secretary Becerra’s support for digital health tools and services’ increased use will be critical as we continue the fight against COVID-19 and to bring the best healthcare available to all Americans, particularly those in underserved communities.” Get the full story at Healthcare IT News.

Additionally, Amazon made a splash with plans to scale up telehealth services that will heat up market competition for virtual care giants like Teladoc Health. But traditional providers should also carefully watch Amazon’s moves into healthcare. In a report by Healthcare Innovation’s Heather Landi, she quotes Canaccord Genuity healthcare IT analyst Richard Close: “Amazon can offer things that other players can’t, and that is what makes it such a powerful company in the space. It can offer virtual healthcare visits, prescription medication delivery and also can deliver all the over-the-counter products and even durable medical equipment. In addition, they can offer on-demand, in-person visits with a provider.”

Lastly, Google published a blog post about using its technology to accelerate Covid-19 vaccination and improve data sharing in states across the country. STAT rightly points out that the company is far from alone as Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple published similar posts last week. “Just about every tech company under the sun has a legitimately positive story to tell. But taken together, they also tell you just how unprepared the U.S. health care system was to manage this rollout.”

Look out for the next Healthcare IT Newsletter in April!

 

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Healthcare IT Headlines You May Have Missed – June 2021

Health IT stories you may have missed – February 2021

The U.S. healthcare landscape has evolved immensely amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways the changes we’re seeing now have been in process for some time. Virtual care, patient data exchange and engagement strategies have been top of mind for industry professionals for years, but the pace of progress in the last year, particularly by nontraditional players, is noteworthy.  

From making telemedicine more consumer friendly to increasing access to care during the pandemic, retail giants like Amazon, Walmart and Walgreens are further infiltrating the healthcare delivery system by ramping up their virtual care initiatives. A recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review details telehealth expansions introduced by these companies over the past year, and some may surprise you.

But retail companies aren’t the only ones making waves. Terry Myerson, best known for his work at Microsoft developing Xbox and Surface, is at the helm of a new healthcare company with an interesting value proposition. STAT reported that Truveta, which was formed by 14 U.S. health systems, intends to aggregate and sell de-identified data on millions of American patients to help answer some of medicine’s most pressing questions. Not surprisingly, Truveta’s launch is spurring important conversations about the way medical data is defined and put to use.

Lastly, while having an app to engage patients is widely considered table stakes today, some hospitals have been recognized for taking the concept a step further. Modern Healthcare details the journeys of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Baylor Scott & White Health, and El Camino Health in developing and launching apps that engage their patients, particularly during a tumultuous time. As smartphones have become tightly intertwined into so many Americans’ lives, hospital executives have realized that to play a central role in their patients’ health, they need to meet them where they are—via their phone.

Look for our next Health IT newsletter in March!

Healthcare IT Headlines You May Have Missed – June 2021

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – Jan. 2021

Although 2021 may be the year that we finally gain control of COVID-19, the effects of 2020 will impact care delivery for years to come. This was the sentiment of Jerry Penso, president and CEO at AMGA, a trade association that represents medical groups and other organized systems of care, including some of the nation’s largest, most influential integrated healthcare delivery systems.

In a recent contribution to Healthcare Innovation, Penso shared his predictions for the year ahead. The evolution of telemedicine to home care stuck out as very real possibility given its rapid adoption during the pandemic. Penso states, “Providers of care are not only planning how to optimally deploy telehealth for various clinical pathways, but also exploring the huge potential scope of services that can be provided in the home setting.”

Related, Fierce Healthcare reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the public health emergency surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic until April, extending key waivers for regulations on a variety of topics including telehealth. Care providers and patients alike are letting out a sigh of relief. Interestingly, mental health treatment was the most common telehealth service during COVID.

Already in 2021 tech companies are stepping up in new ways to support the massive COVID-19 vaccination effort. Fierce reported that Moderna is working with Uber to raise awareness and increase access to COVID-19 vaccines. The two companies will work together initially to provide accessible, credible information on vaccine safety through Uber’s in-app messaging. The companies will also work with public health organizations to identify additional opportunities to support ongoing efforts to broaden access to COVID-19 vaccines.

These are a few of the bright spots as the nation continues to grapple with the raging pandemic. While there is little doubt that 2021 will be another transformational year for healthcare, the hope is that positive, lasting change is on the horizon.

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Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – November 2020

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – November 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic was the backdrop for this year’s presidential election, triggering important questions about the future of U.S. healthcare. Despite the uncertainty that still exists today, healthcare IT leaders have a strong grasp on the issues and technologies that should take priority in the next four years.

Fierce Healthcare reported on the key issues that healthcare leaders would like to see the federal government take immediate action on. Beyond improving the nation’s public health data infrastructure, the article highlighted improving patient identification, solidifying telehealth reimbursement protocols, advancing interoperability and strengthening cybersecurity in hospitals. All these issues have been exasperated by the pandemic which has created more urgency in addressing them. 

Additionally, an Optum survey of 500 healthcare execs revealed that more than half (56%) are accelerating or expanding their artificial intelligence (AI) deployment timelines in response to the pandemic, demonstrating the importance of this business tool during the most stressful times.

In other AI-related news, a group of researchers at MIT developed an AI model that can detect asymptomatic COVID-19 cases by listening to subtle differences in coughs between healthy people and infected people. The researchers are testing their AI in clinical trials and have already started the process of seeking approval from the FDA for it to be used as a screening tool.

2021 will hopefully look very different from 2020 from a public health perspective, and beyond taking the input of healthcare leaders to heart, the federal government has an opportunity to support broad adoption of advanced technologies that can aid in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.