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Digital Tools Help Children Better Manage Type 1 Diabetes, Children's Minnesota Study Finds

March 13, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A digital health-based pilot program by UnitedHealth Group and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota showed meaningful improvements in blood glucose control and quality of life measurements, according to new research.

The study specifically showed that children and teens with Type 1 diabetes enrolled in an intensive remote therapy (IRT) pilot program experienced improved blood glucose control and better quality of life during the six-month study compared to those who received conventional care. The study, titled “Intensive remote monitoring vs. conventional care in type 1 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial,” was published in a recent issue of Pediatric Diabetes

Adolescents ages 13 to 17 enrolled in the IRT program achieved a lower mean hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level than other children their age and younger in the program. The researchers noted that controlling T1D becomes more challenging as children enter their teen years, due to a number of physiological factors and behaviors, including hormonal changes and growing independence from parents and caregivers.

In addition to achieving improved blood sugar levels, pediatric patients and their parents reported better health-related quality of life with regard to diabetes care, despite the additional time and attention required by IRT therapy.

This study leveraged the recent advent of blood glucose monitoring systems that let users store and share their data remotely, enabling T1D patients to provide information about their blood sugar levels to their healthcare providers quickly and consistently. Patient age and program adherence played a role in achieving positive outcomes. Also, IRT participants who uploaded their data more frequently experienced better outcomes, according to the researchers.

All study participants had quarterly clinic visits, and uploaded and sent data on their blood glucose, insulin delivery and fitness activity weekly to their medical team. For the IRT group, the medical team sent a weekly email responding to the patients’ results and, if necessary would recommend a regimen adjustment. Through this ongoing communication, doctors and patients were able to identify issues and respond with care adjustments quickly, which can have significant long-term effects on patients’ health. In addition, IRT participants’ doctors noted that the clinic visits were substantially shorter than usual since issues, analysis and regimen changes were addressed on a weekly basis.

“By arming care providers with up-to-date information, families are no longer ‘flying in the dark’ with their diabetes care between appointments,” Deneen Vojta, M.D., executive vice president of research and development at UnitedHealth Group, said. “With today’s technology, healthcare professionals can provide deeply informed, high-quality care, as frequently as needed. This detailed, near-real-time care will help patients in both the short term and the long term.”

Indeed, as UnitedHealth Group officials noted, patients with T1D test their blood sugar levels several times a day and adjust their insulin dosage based on the results. However, patients meet typically with an endocrinologist only about four times per year, reviewing data retroactively and after treatment decisions may have been made. As such, this is where remote monitoring has the potential to make intervention from a health professional and subsequent adjustments more convenient, effective and efficient, and even reduce the frequency and length of clinical visits without sacrificing care.

“Innovations in diabetes technology and communications pathways allow patients to partner with their providers in Type 1 diabetes management like never before,” said Aylin Altan, senior vice president of research at OptumLabs, part of UnitedHealth Group, who analyzed the project data, and who has lived with Type 1 diabetes for more than 40 years. “If we can find a way to make maximum use of technology and collaborative decision-making with care providers, the standard of care for young patients with Type 1 diabetes will better position them to manage the disease through adulthood.”

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/news-item/mobile/labcorp-joins-apple-health-records-project

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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Clinical Team Communication and Data Access in the Palm of Your Hand

Thursday, October 25, 2018 | 1:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. CT

Eisenhower Health, a west coast-based Magnet Hospital, implemented an enterprise-wide solution enabling mobile communications and collaboration across all care teams, linking the entire enterprise, advancing its communications capabilities, creating access to an enterprise directory, and improving care team response and turnaround times.

Additionally, the system provided extensive and comprehensive reporting with data analytics showing where and to what extent response improvements were made, but also providing the information the hospital needed to better utilize the system and make adjustments to improve results.

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