Adapting to the New Wave of Nursing

doctor or nurse with stethoscope and tablet pcMuch of how we approach healthcare improvements today is focused on physicians.  At first blush, this makes sense since traditionally they are perceived as key decision makers.  But, it is important to remember that patient care is delivered by collaborative clinical team – including nurses.

As the American Association of Colleges of Nursing notes, nursing is the nation’s largest health care profession, and registered nurses comprise one of the largest segments of the U.S. workforce as a whole. Additionally, the role of nursing in care delivery is growing at the same time that healthcare is experiencing a nurse shortage. Nurses now juggle several fundamental responsibilities including coordinating care, administering medications, interpreting patient diagnostics information, and directing/supervising care. These individuals care for a caseload of anywhere from 1 to 15 patients during an 8-12 hour shift.

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HIPAA: Helping or Hurting?

HIPAAMuch has changed in the years since HIPAA was first passed into law, not the least of which is the use of mobile technology in healthcare. As a physician, patient, and healthcare technology business leader, I have experienced numerous frustrations and inefficiencies resulting from practices struggling to adhere to the letter of the HIPAA law rather than embracing its spirit.

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Cybersecurity: New Area for Mobile Medical App Compliance, Part 2

A two-part series examining regulatory compliance to raise awareness around cybersecurity risks.

cybersecurity 2The trap many developers – from software architects to programmers to designers – fall into is thinking they know enough about cybersecurity to adequately identify and address the risks, while falsely relying on the underlying OS for protection.

It is important to remember, cyber criminals are professionals diligently working on new ways to exploit networks, mobile phones and applications. Anything connected to the Internet must be assumed to be actively under attack, and even more so if the information within these devices is considered valuable. Reuters reported in 2014 that patient health credentials are 10 to 20 times more valuable than credit card numbers. The reality is that any network connection enabled by an app may introduce new risk.

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Cybersecurity: New Area for Mobile Medical App Compliance, Part 1

A two-part series examining regulatory compliance to raise awareness around cybersecurity risks.

cybersecurity

Regulatory compliance. While this phrase may strike an ominous tone for many traditional mobile app software companies, it is familiar territory for veterans in the mobile medical app space. It is unlikely the software developers behind the first calorie counting app gave regulatory compliance much thought. Applications, after all, have been a source of convenience, entertainment and education for years. However, as mobile apps have grown more integrated and mobile device sensor technology has become more sophisticated, that calorie counting app may be transformed into a tool for treating obesity, diabetes and sleep disorders. Smart software developers have come to realize that mobile medical apps are a way to future profits as well as a benefit to patients.

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Looking Ahead in 2016: More Consumerism and Innovation, Less Gadgets, Still Not Enough Interoperability

consumerismWith a new year just getting started, most realists recognize that for all intents and purposes ACA is here to stay. No matter what discourse has transpired or how the next presidential election turns out, we are down a path of value-based care with no turning back. With that in mind, 2016 will see consumers having no other choice but to get more involved in their healthcare spend. Many more people are now insured, and benefit designs increasingly place more burden on the consumer to understand what’s covered, what’s not, and how best to spend their healthcare dollars. With this backdrop, here are four developments I expect to see: Continue reading

Serving the American Healthcare Revolution

matt blogIn my ritual of year-end reflection, I am struck by an unshakeable parallel between the general healthcare climate today, and the atmosphere surrounding the late stages of the American Revolution and the start of our fledgling nation. I’ve found myself returning to this construct as a way to organize my efforts in alignment with a sincere desire to bring about lasting improvements in the way we care for each other and promote health in our country.

I do not intend to trivialize the events and complexity of our nation’s birth, nor do I seek to elevate healthcare to an unmerited ideological loftiness. My words will reveal that at my core, I am a patriot. I served in the U.S. Navy and feel forever connected to protecting the key elements of our constitution. Many of those guiding principles were important to forming my personal mission to bring about effective, accessible care and improved health for all people. My transition away from day-to-day clinical practice toward addressing systematic enhancement of healthcare delivery was prompted by an atmosphere of disruption that I see as akin to what occurred in the late 18th century. Then, like now, there existed a pervasive air of opportunity, challenge, and responsibility that seldom occurs in a lifetime. The thoughts, experiences, and work of John Adams illustrate all of these elements well.

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Innovating at the Intersection of IT and Care

doctor healthcare BYOD tablet ITBreaking down the silos between data sources and departments involves a complex blend of technology and people that, not surprisingly, can result in conflict along the way. However, the ultimate goal remains the same for all: protect the patient. Understanding the concerns of each department and encouraging communication amongst the groups can reduce this tension, allowing for innovation to take hold and enhance care throughout an organization.

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Telehealth Brings Non-Stress Tests to the Home

Non-stress tests (NSTs) are the current standard of care for monitoring high-risk pregnancies. Intended to reduce the risk of stillbirths, these tests are for those who have one or more risk factors, whether they be maternal, fetal or obstetric complications.

Currently, these tests can be very time-consuming for patients. NSTs involve attaching the mother to fetal and contraction monitors to watch the fetal heart rate tracing and uterine activity. However, many rural and remote areas don’t have ready access to NSTs. Consequently, mothers sometimes travel up to several hours each way to get to our facility for their NST appointments once or twice a week. Once they arrive, there’s the usual wait time, the 30-60 minute testing process, plus an additional wait time for the test to be interpreted by a staff member and a clinician. These appointments, on top of any additional prenatal visits the mothers have scheduled, can therefore add up to a considerable amount of time, even for patients who live nearby.

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Why 2015 is the Worst Time to be a Physician

With the ONC’s recent release of their 10-year interoperability vision, it might seem like the industry is starting to make things easier for clinicians. In reality, 2015 is starting off to be one of the worst times ever to be a physician. Interoperability is a critical issue to support a transition from fee-for-service to value-based care. Physicians will eventually be reimbursed around their ability to impact clinical outcomes, so the need for clinically relevant information at their fingertips is mission critical.

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Sense4Baby Comes Full Term

S4B-Sensor-Pic3As a father, I have loved seeing my children grow into mature and independent adults. There’s something incredibly special about seeing your children leave the nest and start the next chapter of their lives. As the chief executive of West Health, I have been fortunate enough to have some of those same feelings when it comes to the progress of Sense4Baby, one of the first technologies researched at our organization.

Read the full post from the West Health Institute here. AirStrip acquired the assets of Sense4Baby Inc. in March 2014.