Free Healthcare IT Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Get all the latest Health IT updates from Neil Versel for FREE!

Great news for Health eVillages

As a board member of Health eVillages, a program that provides mobile health tools to help extend the reach and knowledge of health workers in remote and underserved parts of the world, I am thrilled to hear that the organization has raised $58,000 this month.

Most of the money, $38,000, came from the first-ever “Apps Save Lives” golf tournament, held Aug. 16 at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough Township, N.J. The other $20,000 was in the form of a grant from the Vodafone Americas Foundation, announced Aug. 11.

From Physicians Interactive, which established and provides administrative support to Health eVillages:

Health eVillages Raises $58,000 for Global mHealth Program in August

Mission Benefits From First “Apps Save Lives” Golf Tournament, Vodafone Americas Foundation Grant

READING, MA–(Marketwired – Aug 27, 2013) – Health eVillages, which provides mobile health technology to rural healthcare providers around the globe, announced today that it raised $58,000 in August through its inaugural “Apps Save Lives” golf tournament in New Jersey and a grant from the Vodafone Americas Foundation.

The tournament, hosted by Physicians Interactive (PI), the leading provider of online and mobile clinical resources and solutions for healthcare professionals, and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, was held on August 16th at the Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey. It drew representatives from fifteen different life science organizations, including eight major pharmaceutical companies, and raised $38,000.

The Vodafone Americas Foundation, which strives to improve lives through wireless and mobile technology, also announced a $20,000 grant on August 11th to benefit Health eVillages programs. The grant will be used to help further the Health eVillages mission to empower healthcare providers in the most challenging clinical environments anywhere in the world through mHealth technology that helps them to save lives.

“I want to thank all of the Apps Save Lives tournament sponsors and the Vodafone Americas Foundation for their tremendous support of Health eVillages,” said Donato Tramuto, Founder of Health eVillages and Chairman of the Board and CEO of Physicians Interactive. “There was an electrifying sense of energy throughout the day at the tournament as everyone united in support of our mission to use mobile apps to help save lives and advance care delivery in underserved regions around the world.”

Tramuto and Physicians Interactive founded Health eVillages in October 2011 in partnership with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights to address the knowledge gap faced by healthcare providers around the world. Since then, Health eVillages has provided support to clinicians who have conducted more than 50,000 patient interactions in underserved areas.

Health eVillages provides iPods and iPads loaded with medical reference and clinical decision support apps through six pilot programs to medical professionals in Uganda, Kenya, China, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Pacific Island nations and rural Louisiana. Physicians Interactive supplies the medical content for the mobile devices through its Skyscape platform.

Anyone interested in contributing money or devices to Health eVillages can do so through its website. Corporate sponsorships of Health eVillages are also available. For more information about corporate sponsorships, contact Merrill Press at merrill.press@healthevillages.org.

Also, Health eVillages founder Donato Trumato is a finalist for the 2013 Modern Healthcare Community Leadership Award. I encourage you to vote for him here. Voting is open through Sept. 20.

 

August 29, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Another incentive to do the wrong thing

I found this in my Twitter stream this morning (and I apologize for the language, which is not mine, not that we aren’t all adults here anyway):

 

What’s apparently going on here is that Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, part of the not-for-profit LifeBridge Health organization, is that nurses are being given a financial incentive, albeit a small one, to make sure that as many patients as possible are discharged by noon each day. Each unit “must be at 20% discharges by noon,” according to this sign, which looks legit, though I can’t say I have been able to verify its authenticity. The sign says nothing about medical necessity. Let’s just keep those beds turning over so we can admit new patients and make more money.

Someone please tell me this is a hoax or that the tweeter has taken things out of context. Our healthcare institutions couldn’t possibly be that misguided, could they? Who am I kidding? Of course they could.

August 27, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

I sense a delay in MU2

I have no evidence to back this up, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the feds are giving serious thought to delaying some of the timelines in Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

The pushback has been building for some time, and advanced in the past couple of weeks with the opinions of three important industry associations.

The American Association of Family Physicians called for a one-year delay and proposed separating providers into “three distinct cohorts,” depending on what year they first met Meaningful Use standards. HIMSS wants the attestation period for the first year of MU2 extended to April 2015 for hospitals and June 2015 for physicians and other “eligible professionals.” The MGMA asked CMS not to penalize physicians who reach Stage 1 but can’t make it to Stage 2 when penalties are due to start in 2015.

All cited the short timelines for vendors to get their products ready and certified for Stage 2.

And then there was the big news this month, the resignation of national health IT coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari, seemingly without warning. I can’t take credit for this idea, but an industry insider I spoke with this week suggested Mostashari may have wanted out because he didn’t want to be in charge of a watered-down or delayed program. Again, I have no evidence to support the idea, but it sounds absolutely plausible.

I welcome your thoughts on this matter.

August 22, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Things change pretty fast in health IT, don’t they?

Yes, things do change pretty fast in health IT. I realized this over the past couple of weeks when I updated my database of contacts by scanning and categorizing about 300 business cards I’ve collected over the past 2½ years. (I really let things pile up this time. Now that my desk is reasonably clean, I hope I never do that again. I can claim extraordinary circumstances in 2012, but that only accounts for one year.)

What really struck me, in addition to the amount of time I let this slide, is the number of new categories I had to create in the database and the number I had to modify. My contacts go back to when I started covering healthcare in October 2000, and I’ve had a card scanner for at least 10 years. I had “PDA” and “ASP” as two of the choices until I changed them to “smartphone” and “SaaS” within the last couple of years.

Here are a few terms that are new in my database since I last did a thorough update, probably early in 2011:

  • accountable care
  • analytics (as opposed to data mining)
  • business incubator
  • remote monitoring

I also can’t believe I didn’t have CIO as a category until this month.

Some of the changes reflect a shift in what I’ve covered, but some terms are pretty new. Did you know what accountable care was prior to 2010? Were there many business incubators or accelerators in healthcare before Rock Health started up in 2011? I don’t know of any.

By the same token, when was the last time anyone talked about a PDA, an ASP or RHIO? Perhaps it’s just been a change in semantics, but the real change has been in the technology and the focus of healthcare executives. (Come to think of it, some of the tags on this blog are a bit out of date. I’ve been blogging since 2004. You get the picture.)

On another note, thanks to Healthcare Scene guru John Lynn, who hosts this blog for me, for, without my prompting, promoting the fact that I’m cycling 100 miles in an event called the Wrigley Field Road Tour on Sunday, Aug. 25, for the third year in a row. The ride supports an organization called World Bicycle Relief, which provides specially made bikes to remote villages in Africa so people who are otherwise without transportation can get to school and jobs. It also benefits Chicago Cubs Charities, which funds a number of youth programs in the Chicago area. (The ride’s co-founders are World Bicycle Relief founder F.K. Day, whose family owns bike component maker Sram, and Todd Ricketts, whose family controls the Cubs.)

Within the last two weeks, I suddenly got a surge of donations from people within the health IT community, and I couldn’t figure out why. Now I know. If you’d like to help, here’s my fundraising page.

One unexpected donor was Todd Stein of healthcare PR firm Amendola Communications. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that he is fundraising to help offset medical expenses of a colleague whose 3-year-old son faces surgery for a brain tumor. From that page:

Kathy C., a friend and colleague (who has always been the first to help but the last to ask for help and so wants to remain anonymous) is a single mother of three children all under the age of 7. Her 3-year-old son “James” was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The surgery will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, Kathy has a $10,000 deductible on her health insurance plan and stands to pay out of pocket costs that are estimated at three times that amount. James is going in for the first of a series of surgeries this week and paying tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses is a hardship for anyone, especially a hard working single mother of three young children.

Please keep Kathy and James in your prayers and give whatever you can to support their urgent need. Just giving up a daily coffee for one week and giving that amount would make a world of difference.

And now, it’s just about 5 o’clock here in Chicago, so please enjoy your weekend.

 

 

August 16, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

‘Dilbert’ takes on wireless health

Perhaps I’m getting loopy, or just distracted, but I’ve been reading the funnies again. (Hey, we all need a laugh from time to time, right?) But here goes my second consecutive post involving  a comic strip, this time a certain one called “Dilbert.” Today, Scott Adams, who spoke at HIMSS in 2005, addresses digital health, specifically wearable sensors and how unscrupulous employers like Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss might exploit all the new health data being generated.

Dilbert, ©2013 Scott Adams

All of our bosses can’t be so intrusive, can they?

 

August 15, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

A new HIT comic, and perhaps a Google fail?

Healthcare Technology Online reports this week that there is a new comic strip online called Hacking N’ Healthcare. “Hacking N’ Healthcare is a comic strip that takes a humorous look at the challenges often associated with implementing health information technology,” the magazine says. Here’s what appears to be the first edition, taking a swing at user experience design, but also, perhaps inadvertently, mocking personal health records and gamification in healthcare. (The timing is interesting. In a MobiHealthNews column that should be published Friday, I take the most measured, hopeful look at PHRs that I have since about 2007.)

Hacking ‘N Healthcare (from Health Technology Online)

 

I can’t determine if Healthcare Technology Online or Pathfinder Software is the source of this comic, or if it’s going to be a regular feature in either place. I Googled “Hacking ‘N Healthcare” and found nothing relevant. And speaking of fails, there is no word in the English language spelled “sceptor.” It’s “scepter” in American English and “sceptre” in the Queen’s English. Did I mention I’m available for all your editing needs?

 

August 8, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

RIP, Mitochon Systems?

I’m not sure if this got reported anywhere, because I couldn’t find anything online, but the following message is on the home page of free EHR vendor Mitochon Systems:

Mitochon message

The company hasn’t posted any news releases online since March 4, which was during HIMSS13. No tweets have been posted since Feb. 11, which is also the last time the company updated its little-used Facebook page. I guess we can safely say the winnowing of the ambulatory EHR market has begun.

 

 

August 6, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Breaking news: Mostashari to leave ONC

National health IT coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari will leave the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at an unspecified time this fall.

From Twitter:


Government Health IT reports this morning that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius broke the news in a letter to agency staff.

“During this time of great accomplishment, Farzad has been an important advisor to me and many of us across the Department. His expertise, enthusiasm and commitment to innovation and health IT will surely be missed,” Sebelius wrote, according to Government Health IT. “In the short term, he will continue to serve in this role while a search is underway for a replacement.”

The fourth national coordinator since the position was created in 2004, Mostashari has been in his current job since April 2011. Prior to joining ONC in 2009, he led the Primary Care Information Project for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

UPDATE, 10:46 am CDT: I have the full memo from Sebelius.

Hello Colleagues,

I am writing to share the news that Dr. Farzad Mostashari has advised me he will be stepping down as National Coordinator for Health Information Technology this fall.

Farzad has been a leader in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) for the last four years.  Farzad joined the office in 2009 as Principal Deputy National Coordinator and took over as the National Coordinator in 2011.  During his tenure, ONC has been at the forefront of designing and implementing a number of initiatives to promote the adoption of health IT among health care providers.  Farzad has seen through the successful design and implementation of ONC’s HITECH programs, which provide health IT training and guidance to communities and providers; linked the meaningful use of electronic health records to population health goals; and laid a strong foundation for increasing the interoperability of health records—all while ensuring the ultimate focus remains on patients and their families.  This critical work has not only brought about important improvements in the business of health care, but also has helped providers better coordinate care, which can improve patients’ health while saving money at the same time.

During this time of great accomplishment, Farzad has been an important advisor to me and many of us across the Department.  His expertise, enthusiasm and commitment to innovation and health IT will surely be  missed.  In the short term, he will continue to serve in this role while a search is underway for a replacement. Please join me in wishing Farzad all the best in his future endeavors.

Kathleen Sebelius

 

 

I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.