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

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.

Healthcare in South Africa – Two Systems, Common Challenges

When it comes to mHealth, most industrialised nations such as the U.S. and Europe have a head start. Money for healthcare technology investments is available, the infrastructure is in place, and most of the population is already engaged in the healthcare system.

As a country of about 52 million people, South Africa shares many characteristics with its larger brethren. There is a mix of public and private healthcare providers and health insurance plans, physician shortages in key areas, and South Africa is beset by many of the same chronic diseases that industrialised countries face (cardiovascular and obesity-related diseases, diabetes, etc.).

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Today’s Pressure Breeds Tomorrow’s Solutions

It is no secret that health systems are under intense pressure to deliver better outcomes at lower costs, and standardizing acute care workflow will only carry providers so far. Truly moving the needle on cost and outcomes will require a fundamental redesign in care delivery; otherwise, health systems may well find themselves left out. Care keeps shifting to environments in which hospitals have less influence: what was once critical care can now be managed in an in-patient unit; what was once in the hospital is now in an office; what was once in the office is now at home.

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Embracing Security Challenges

 Over the past year, the perception of mobile technology in healthcare has changed dramatically.  mHealth is now being recognized as a tool that can help address the challenges our healthcare system is facing, including a shortage of caregivers, an influx of newly insured patients, decreased reimbursements and readmission penalties.  Historically, there have always been barriers that kept hospitals from making the leap to mobility – lack of infrastructure, costs, or the fear of security breaches, among other reasons. Yet as mobile technology becomes deeply ingrained in our day-to-day work and social lives, healthcare is following suit and migrating toward mobility as a component of care delivery.

However, concerns about security remain at the forefront.   According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than 41 million people have had their protected health information compromised in a reportable HIPAA privacy or security breach.  Additional data from the 2014 Healthcare Breach Report from Bitglass suggests that 68 percent of all healthcare data breaches are due to device theft or loss and 48 percent of breaches involve a laptop, desktop or mobile device.

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HIPAA on the Hill

healthcare_governmentThe pace of mHealth innovation shows no signs of slowing down. New technologies are not only improving the lives of patients, but also empowering clinicians. However, healthcare is a highly regulated space dominated by major vendors, and it is vital that the regulatory environment keep up with the changing world. Specifically, it’s time for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take a fresh look at the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to ensure it better fits today’s mobile world.

Current HIPAA guidelines – while critical – need to be revised to support smaller companies that can transform the space. Leading app developers across the industry are working together to seek clearer guidelines that will encourage innovation. The App Association recently joined with AirStrip, CareSync, and other mHealth companies urging government representatives to look at this issue so we can better align our practices with theirs and together work towards the goal of improved patient care.

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