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AMIA Urges FCC to Consider Access to Broadband a Social Determinant of Health

May 25, 2017
by Heather Landi
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The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) is calling on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) to support broadband-enabled health care delivery by bolstering its efforts to better target those with chronic conditions, and ensure that those populations have access to affordable broadband and broadband-enabled health technologies.

In a letter to the FCC, AMIA made recommendations on ways FCC can collaborate with other federal partners and highlighted potential focus areas for program development supporting broadband-enabled healthcare delivery.

The letter, written by AMIA president and CEO Doug Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., was in response to the FCC’s request for comment on the agency’s current approach to accelerating adoption and accessibility of broadband-enabled health care solutions and advanced technologies.

AMIA wrote that it strongly agrees with the FCC’s assertion that “health care is being transformed by the availability and accessibility of broadband-enabled services and technologies and the development of life-saving wireless medical devices.” And, the organization praised the agency’s deliberate focus on both “health and care to reflect and include the broad range of participants in the emerging broadband health ecosystem.”

“Thus, AMIA believes that access to broadband is, or soon will become, a social determinant of health. Social determinants of health are ‘the structural determinants and conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.’ They include factors such as socioeconomic status, education, the physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as, access to health information and care via broadband-enabled technologies.”

Further, AMIA wrote, “We note that fully developed, fully operational national broadband service is necessary to ensure that Americans benefit from the electronic health infrastructure that was initiated with the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health(HITECH)Act, and supported by the 21st Century Cures Act. Hardware and software developments now permit implementation of such capabilities as electronic health records, technology-mediated public health monitoring and response, consumer-mediated health data exchange, and technology-enabled patient-reported outcomes measures. These and other technologies provide for improved outcomes at the individual and population levels and facilitate clinical efficiencies that offer the possibility of less costly and more cost-effective health care. “

AMIA stated that FCC has a critical role in ensuring that this infrastructure is both fully operational and fully implemented in every area of the country, and the agency should seek to do so alongside federal, state and local partners.

Specifically, AMIA recommends that FCC partner with federal and state/local agencies to leverage broadband-enabled health solutions and technologies against the opioid epidemic and align programs that can bolster efforts to better target individuals with chronic conditions and ensure that those patients have access to affordable broadband.

In addition, AMIA recommends that FCC examine other agency sources of administrative data, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to assess broadband-enabled health solutions capacity and needs.

And, AMIA suggested that FCC leverage the work done by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, also known as NSTIC, to ameliorate privacy and security concern in accessing health care-related information via public broadband.



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LabCorp Joins Apple Health Records Project

November 5, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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LabCorp, a provider of clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services, has announced that it has enabled Apple’s Health Records feature for its patients.

This iPhone feature aims to make it easier for LabCorp patients to access their LabCorp laboratory test results, along with other available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose, according to officials.

In January, Apple announced that it would be testing the Health Records feature out with 12 hospitals, inclusive of some of the most prominent healthcare institutions in the U.S. Since that time, more than 100 new organizations have joined the project,  according to Apple.

LabCorp test results are viewable in the Apple Health app for LabCorp patients who have an account with the company, and enable integration with the Health Records app. In addition to their LabCorp test results, patients will have information from participating healthcare institutions organized into one view, covering allergies, medical conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals.

Patients will receive notifications when their data is updated, and the Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID, according to officials.

“LabCorp on Health Records will help provide healthcare consumers with a more holistic view of their health. Laboratory test results are central to medical decision making, and broadening access to this information will help patients take charge of their health and wellness, and lead to more informed dialogues between patients and their healthcare providers,” David P. King, chairman and CEO of LabCorp, said in a statement.

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HIMSS Analytics Introduces Infrastructure Adoption Model for Health Systems

October 25, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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HIMSS Analytics, the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, announced the introduction of the Infrastructure Adoption Model, or INFRAM, which is designed to measure the technical infrastructure used within a health system.

The INFRAM focuses on five technical subdomains, allowing organizations to benchmark how their infrastructure operates within the following areas: mobility; security; collaboration; transport; and data center.

Similar to HIMSS Analytics’ well-known Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, or, EMRAM, the INFRAM is an eight-stage model (0 – 7) that allows healthcare IT leaders to map the technology infrastructure capabilities required to reach their facility’s clinical and operational goals, while meeting industry benchmarks and standards.  The final stage, Stage 7, guides organizations towards optimized information integration, contextualization and orchestration essential for the delivery of higher order local and virtualized care processes.

For reference purposes, Stage 0 on the model represents that an organization does not have a VPN, intrusion detection/prevention, security policy, data center or compute architecture. Stage 3 signifies that an organization has an advanced intrusion prevention system, while Stage 5 represents having video on mobile devices, location-based messaging, firewall with advanced malware protection, and real-time scanning of email hyperlinks.

HIMSS officials note that by identifying specific benchmarks for organizations to reach before they go live with EMR, systems, the INFRAM aims to ensure that a health system’s infrastructure is stable, manageable and extensible. Through this, organizations can ideally improve care delivery and create a pathway for infrastructure development tied to business and clinical outcomes.

 “The INFRAM is a welcome addition to our maturity model suite and addresses a longstanding need – guiding healthcare organizations in securely implementing the infrastructure with which their EMRs are built upon,” Blain Newton, executive vice president, HIMSS Analytics, said in a statement. “We have seen health systems engage with advanced clinical applications, only for them to ‘glitch’ under infrastructure that isn't powerful enough to support their tools. With the INFRAM, healthcare providers can develop a detailed, strategic technology plan that defines their organization's current state, desired future state, and each stage in between to achieve their clinical and operational goals.”

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