Blog from September, 2017

Susan Biddle

There have been countless ideas about how the cloud could transform the healthcare space and patient care. As healthcare cloud adoption has grown, however, the initial focus has largely been on its ability to store massive amounts of data and expedite the exchange of patient health information.

These two capabilities have primarily been harnessed through medical research and electronic medical records (EMRs). The big data analysis and storage capacity that cloud computing provides has made new forms of medical research possible, while EMRs have streamlined patient records and simplified sharing between physicians. While these advances are beneficial to patient care on a broad level, cloud adoption in healthcare has not had the same effect on people’s day-to-day lives that it has had in other industries.

That’s starting to change, however, as patients are beginning to force the same consumer-focused approach to healthcare as they have to retail.

Patient Care Before the Cloud

Historically, a visit to a physician or hospital was somewhat opaque. While notes were taken by doctors and nurses and filed away, they were seldom if ever seen by the patient. In addition, there was no streamlined way for patients and doctors to communicate about or monitor follow up care. But now, people are taking ownership of their health. They are willing to spend time “shopping” to get the best patient care experience they can for their money. This new form of medical consumerism is facilitated and maintained through such things as digital medicine and healthcare cloud use, allowing healthcare providers to deliver value driven, consumer-centric patient care.

Patients Are Taking an Active Role in Their Care

As consumers do more research about their healthcare plans and treatment options, providers that offer cloud-based solutions and technology will be more competitive. Research shows that consumers prefer healthcare services that provide visibility into their care. For example, 62 percent of baby boomers use healthcare tools to access medical records, while millennials are twice as likely as other age groups to switch to healthcare providers that give them access to a patient portal.

This is more than just providing patients with access to their medical history online. A healthcare cloud can facilitate communication between patients, their medical devices, and their physicians through patient empowerment tools. Data shows that 73 percent of industry professionals are now using the cloud to host such tools.

In addition, patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure can monitor their own health with minimally-invasive wearable devices that are connected to the healthcare cloud. Personal health information can be continuously collected and automatically sent back to a physician, who can then monitor and adjust the treatment plan seamlessly as needed.

Increased Communication Improves Patient Outcomes

Streamlined communication between patients and caregivers provides clear benefits at the individual level, But it also poses an opportunity to improve patient outcomes and experience to a much broader base. Patient reported outcomes, for example, often distributed electronically through a patient portal, allow patients to give feedback on how treatment plans worked for them so that meaningful improvements can be made, and new patients can see and assess whether a new treatment plan is right for them.

In addition, as patient data is collected and integrated with EMRs, analysis of outcomes from large amounts of collected and correlated patient data gives doctors insight into how to best treat specific conditions in the future. These surveys, impossible without electronic distribution, demonstrate another way the cloud is being used to increase overall patient care. 

Security in the Cloud Moving Forward

Of course, the idea of storing such personal health information in the cloud always brings up the issue of cloud security. HIPAA regulations have been a key barrier between the healthcare industry and cloud adoption, as protected health information (PHI) must be kept confidential, and there have been questions in the past about the security of patient data stored, accessed, or analyzed in the cloud.

Healthcare cloud security has been made especially complicated due to the rise in sophisticated attacks, such as ransomware, which accounted for 72 percent of healthcare malware attacks in 2016. And that’s just the start. In addition to simply securing PHI, healthcare providers must now also consider security from a new, more public perspective. Because as consumers get more selective about their healthcare plans, due diligence that reveals that a hospital suffered a major data breach could result in reputational damage that steers patients to other providers.

The healthcare cloud has facilitated a shift in the medical industry, where patients are taking accountability for their own care. Moving forward, providers must harness patient empowerment solutions and open communication to promote transparency with patients and improve overall patient experience and outcomes, while providing the essential security services necessary to protect critical patient data and resources and instill consumer confidence.

 

 

 

 

The cyberREN® EMR solution supports best possible renal care for Veterans

JUNO BEACH, Fla., September 12, 2017Document Storage Systems, Inc. (DSS, Inc.), a leading provider of health information technology (HIT) solutions for federal, private and public healthcare organizations, today announced it has been awarded the Dialysis Electronic Medical Record Software and Maintenance Electronic Health Record (EHR) Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

As part of the contract, the DSS team will implement the cyberREN Renal Patient Care Management System, a comprehensive EMR and clinical data analysis and reporting system for Nephrology. This mature dialysis EMR has been installed in the commercial market since 1996, and is currently being deployed within the VHA at thirteen facilities.

“This new integration will help the VHA leverage a uniform mechanism to capture and report dialysis data – ultimately providing the best possible renal care for Veterans,” said Mark Byers, president and CEO of DSS, Inc.  “VA dialysis facilities will now have access to the necessary software for electronic reporting to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) mandated web-based dialysis quality collection system.”

The cyberREN Renal Patient Care Management System, developed by Cybernius Medical Ltd. (CML), a DSS teaming partner on this contract, will be integrated with VistA using the DSS integration toolkit and overall Integration Framework. With two major modules for Hemodialysis and Chronic Kidney Disease — and other modules available — the solution will enable providers to deliver the best possible renal care for Veterans.

This IDIQ contract enables the VHA to quickly and efficiently acquire a standardized dialysis EHR solution to ensure quality dialysis services.

To learn more about DSS, visit http://www.dssinc.com/products/dss-vista-integrated-administrative-products/.

About Document Storage Systems, Inc. (DSS, Inc.)

DSS is a leading software and services company that creates and delivers advanced health information technology (HIT) solutions. For 25 years, healthcare organizations have benefited from our technical and service integration expertise. DSS has extensive experience working with federal, private and public healthcare facilities to modernize their legacy systems and to improve efficiencies for clinical and administrative users through breakthrough technology. For more information about DSS, visit www.dssinc.com.

About Cybernius Medical

Cybernius Medical Ltd. (CML) is focused on automating and improving renal healthcare delivery, and commits 100% of its resources to this end. CML continually engages in extensive R&D; more than 30% of CML revenues are invested back into product development. This operating philosophy has kept CML at the leading edge in the field, and has established cyberREN as a leader in Clinical Data Management in Nephrology.

For more information about Cybernius Medical, visit www.cyberren.com

Bernie Monegain

 

Authors from Brigham and Women's Hospital urge switch from using claims numbers to mining electronic health records.

Investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have found clinical data more reliable than claims statistics for measuring incidences of sepsis.

The findings, published Wednesday in JAMA, question the use of claims data for sepsis surveillance and conclude clinical surveillance using EHR data provides more objective estimates of sepsis incidence and outcomes.

“Sepsis, the syndrome of life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by infection, is a major cause of death, disability, and cost,” the researchers said.

The researchers found many studies suggest the incidence of sepsis is increasing over time, while mortality rates are decreasing. However, reliably measuring sepsis incidence and trends is challenging, they say because clinical diagnoses of sepsis are often subjective. Also, claims data – the traditional method of surveillance – can be affected by changing diagnosis and coding practices over time.

The Brigham and Women's Hospital research estimates the current U.S. burden of sepsis and trends using clinical data from electronic health record systems of a large number of diverse hospitals.

The findings, published in JAMA, challenge the use of claims data for sepsis surveillance and suggest that clinical surveillance using electronic health record data provides more objective estimates of sepsis incidence and outcomes.

The research team, led by Chanu Rhee, MD, a critical care and infectious disease physician at BWH, developed a new strategy to track sepsis incidence and outcomes using electronic clinical data instead of insurance claims.

After reviewing EHR data from nearly 3 million patients admitted to 409 U.S. hospitals in 2014, researchers found sepsis was present in six percent of all hospitalizations and in more than one in three hospitalizations that ended in death.

Using this data to gauge how many people were affected nationwide, they estimated there were approximately 1.7 million sepsis cases nationwide in 2014, and, of those, 270,000 died.

The researchers also assessed whether sepsis incidence and outcomes have changed over time. In contrast to prior claims-based estimates, they found no significant changes between 2009 and 2014.