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Report: U.S. Still in Early Stages of Leveraging Connected Care to Promote Healthcare Integration

June 10, 2016
by Heather Landi
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A new report indicates that the U.S. healthcare system does well when it comes to patient access to healthcare and connected care technology adoption, yet lags with regard to healthcare integration.

According to the Future Health Index report published by Royal Philips, while healthcare system integration is recognized as important and beneficial in the U.S., it is still in its early stages. “Additionally, although interest in connected care technology is high, the U.S. is not yet taking advantage of opportunities to realize the full benefits of these devices in powering integrated healthcare, signaling areas of improvement and opportunities for radical change in the American healthcare system,” the report authors wrote.

The Future Health Index (FHI) report is an international study exploring how 13 countries around the world are positioned to meet long-term global health challenges through integration and connected care technologies.  The FHI measures the perceived readiness of 13 key countries to realize the benefits of integration and connected care by assigning each a score out of 100 based on three criteria—healthcare access, connected care technology adoption and healthcare integration.

According to Royal Philips, the report measures the attitudes and opinions of patients, healthcare professionals and industry thought leaders in order to identify key areas where digital innovation has the potential to improve not just the provision of healthcare, but overall health and well-being.

The U.S. ranked 6th out of 13 countries, with a score of 57.4. The 13-country average was 56.45. While the US scores just above average on healthcare access (68.4) and connected care technology adoption (49), it falls below average on healthcare integration (54.7), indicating potential missed opportunities to leverage connected care technology to promote integration of the health system.

A few of the key highlights of the report:

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranks highest on the FHI, Japan lowest

The UAE leads the other countries on the index by a significant margin due to positive views on the current state of integration throughout the health system and patient and healthcare professional readiness to adopt technology—43 percent of UAE patients feel the health system is very or completely integrated. Japan, meanwhile, is stifled by a perceived lack of access to health services and a perceived lack of knowledge regarding connected care—just 27 percent of Japanese patients say they have access to the information and resources they need to live healthily.

Developed countries score better in terms of access; emerging countries rank high with technology adoption

Three-quarters (76 percent) of healthcare professionals in developed countries agree their patients have access to the treatments needed for current and future medical conditions, versus just over half of those in the emerging countries polled. However, some emerging countries, such as South Africa and the UAE, appear to be leading the way in terms of connected technology adoption.

Patients and healthcare professionals are divided about patients’ ability to monitor themselves

Technology is making it easier for patients to track their health indicator and a majority of patients surveyed feel they have the tools (56 percent) to manage their own health effectively. However, less than half of healthcare professionals (46 percent) agree that the patients have the knowledge and tools necessary to manage their own health.

Data is proliferating, but doesn’t travel

Sharing data between institutions or agencies is a key step in integrating healthcare. Yet despite progress towards universal medical records in some countries, the vast majority of patients (74 percent) report having to repeat the same information to multiple healthcare professionals, and most (60 percent) have also experienced repeatedly taking the same tests. Many patients also have yet to share data from connected technology with their healthcare professionals even though two-thirds (60 percent) own or use the technology.

Connection comes at a cost

The investments required to encourage the adoption of connected technology are a concern across developed and emerging countries, and are shared by the patient and healthcare professional populations. Half of healthcare professionals and patients (52 percent and 51 percent, respectively) believe connected care technology would increase the cost of healthcare overall. There are also concerns about the resources needed, such as training and data security.

“These findings also indicate that even if relevant health data is being collected, it is not being examined by a professional who could potentially deliver recommendations and discuss observations that could positively impact an individual’s health. Further validating that today’s connected devices need to move beyond lifestyle products and support collaboration and better health management,” the report authors stated.

In addition, in order to explore how integrated, coordinated care will impact the future of U.S. healthcare, Philips partnered with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to examine the market perceptions that are impacting the FHI findings, as well as the future forces that will impact what the future of U.S. health might look like in 2026.

IFTF highlighted three key forces that will inform and influence patient and provider views on access, integration and technology adoption over the next decade:

Flipped Care: Access to healthcare will change from provider-centered to person-centered where encounters between patients and the healthcare system will occur virtually and in new consumer-directed settings.

Integrative Health Systems: A system of health that will include the external factors well beyond the walls of the clinic or hospital: housing, family support, food, wealth and education.

Encoded Intuition: A shift in technology from assistive to empowering devices that will rely heavily on the patient’s willingness to take a proactive role in managing their health.

 

 

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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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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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