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Rush University Medical Center Rolls Out Electronic Consultation Service

April 4, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center will soon be offering primary care patients an online medical evaluation service, via a web-based application that will allow a patient to conduct an electronic consultation with a physician.

Officials from Rush say that the organization will be among the first healthcare providers in the U.S. to offer primary care patients the convenience of an online medical evaluation service. Called Rush SmartExam, the web-based application will allow a patient to conduct an electronic consultation (or e-visit) with a physician, who will determine a diagnosis and treatment plan that may include prescriptions. Rush will begin offering SmartExam to some patients in April.

The visits are meant for low-acuity conditions, such as coughs, colds, allergies, ear pain, sore throats, and rashes, to name some.

Patients ages 18 and older who have an established primary care physician at Rush and have visited that doctor at Rush within the last year can use the service. They have to register for the service via MyChart, Rush’s online health records system, and then would be able to make the electronic visit by logging into Each patient will answer approximately 25 to 75 questions that gather information about the patient’s symptoms. The questionnaire typically takes patients 12 minutes on average to complete.

Once a questionnaire is completed, SmartExam sends it to participating Rush providers, who will receive a text message alerting them that a patient is waiting to receive care. The doctor then can log in from any device and review the information gathered from the patient, along with an automatically, computer-generated diagnosis based on a sophisticated algorithm. The diagnosis uses the information gathered from the patient questionnaire and provides physicians with a thorough, personalized, and evidence-based set of information to support the diagnosis and recommended treatment, according to Rush officials.

The doctor then decides on the best course of treatment, and then SmartExam emails the patient a link to the after visit summary. Any prescriptions that are issued as a result of the visit are sent to a pharmacy designated by the patient, and the patient then is charged for the visit. The entire e-visit is completed in less than an hour and costs $30, which is collected at the beginning of the session but is not charged until diagnosis and treatment is delivered. If a patient is too sick for an e-visit and is advised to come in for an office visit, the patient will be exited from the e-visit at no charge.

“Patients will be able to get a medical evaluation electronically from the comfort of their home for non-urgent conditions commonly treated by a primary care physician,” Dr. Anthony Perry, M.D., one of the e-visit practicing physicians and chief medical officer for Rush University Medical Group. “People have busy lives and we want to create convenient and high-quality options that work.”

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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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