A couple of weeks ago, we touched down in New Orleans for HIMSS13, the annual conference hosted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. With over 35,000 attendees and 1,150 exhibitors, the atmosphere was abuzz with excitement over how information technology will continue to change health care delivery and management.
Key Conference Themes
mHealth & mHIMSS
This year Mobile Health was included as a special track within the conference, with speakers, workshops, and information sessions focused specifically on mHIMSS. This included sessions and workshops on building health-related mobile applications, policy guidelines, privacy considerations and real-world case studies. There was also a Mobile Health Knowledge Centre on the tradeshow floor, which highlighted many interesting innovations and developments in the realm of mHealth.
Interoperability continues to be very important across and within healthcare organizations, companies and institutions. HIMSS13 featured the Interoperability Showcase, an interactive demonstration of live clinical information systems allowing participants to assume the role of the patient and watch as their personal health records move across multiple points of care. This was a great way to engage the attendees by allowing them to visualize the complexity of the systems involved and to understand the importance of developing industry standards and interoperability protocols.
Democratization of Medicine & Patient Data
Dr. Eric Topol, the West Endowed Chair of Innovative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, delivered a keynote focusing on how patients must own their medical records and information, and should be able to harness mobile technologies to access and monitor their personal information. Dr. Topol’s inspiring message had a theme of empowering patients by encouraging patients to use their data to manage their health. Ultimately, this type of paradigm shift can help to cut costs, customize care and improve healthcare delivery. Although his talk is not available online, you can see Dr. Topol in action at TEDMED as he discusses The Wireless Future of Medicine.
Healthcare Access and Costs
Focusing on both the developing world and under-developed parts of the developed world, former US president Bill Clinton highlighted the challenges with health care accessibility, costs, policy issues and health care reform. However, he was also very optimistic, suggesting that “there’s nothing wrong we can’t fix.” He inspired the audience by urging the group of health and IT professionals in attendance to “think about the role of IT to empower people to take a bigger role in healthcare, in being healthy and [in] simply understanding the system.” He was hopeful and excited about what technology could do to improve healthcare access and costs.
Notable Mobile Health Solutions
Created by Dr. William Thornbury, a primary care physician in Kentucky, MeVisit is a mobile solution that allows patients to ‘visit’ their doctor via their mobile phone. This is facilitated through the MeVisit mobile application or website. Ultimately, Dr. Thornbury hopes this platform will improve access, lower costs, and potentially reduces absenteeism.
We share in MeVisit’s passion for a patient focused solution. Xtreme Labs developed the Glooko Logbook, a mobile application that helps replace the physical logbook for patients with diabetes. By enabling patients to sync their blood glucose readings from their glucometers directly to their virtual logbook and share their logbook with their healthcare provider via email, patients can better track and manage their diabetes.
Interoperability was a key theme at the Interoperability Showcase and throughout the conference. Launched by Airstrip just prior to HIMSS13, AirStrip ONE is described as the first enterprise-wide, data- and vendor-agnostic mobility solution to securely deliver patient data from medical devices, electronic medical records (EMRs) and patient monitors to clinicians anywhere across the care continuum.
Our team is excited about improving healthcare delivery in hospitals and providing solutions for healthcare professionals. Our team worked with VitalHub to develop VitalHub Chart for the hospital setting. VitalHub Chart collects data from multiple clinical information systems and presents it in a single, integrated view of the patient. Information can be accessed quickly and shared easily and securely on a mobile device or web browser.
Hopp2IT & Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente (KP) is one of the largest not-for-profit health plans in the United States, serving more than 9 million members. KP recently implemented Hopp2IT, a health and wellness application that encourages healthy activities and healthy life choices, as a pilot within their organization. After testing the pilot, this seems like it could be a great tool to offer their current members to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Making the right choices is the best way to prevent health problems and complications. We have worked with SoFit to develop the SoFit application to encourage health and wellness. Both Hopp2IT and SoFit use elements such as gamification, social networking and competition to encourage people to build healthier habits and to lead a healthy life.
After a week of consuming Gumbo, Jambalaya, Shrimp and Grits, Crab Cakes, Po-Boys and Beignets, I probably need to adopt a new health and wellness program, should book a mobile visit with my doctor, and view all my vitals and electronic medical records!
Key take-aways for our Healthcare team at Xtreme Labs include the following:
- mHealth is here to stay and we expect to see mHIMSS continuing to be more prominent each year.
- Companies, organization and associations will continue to work towards interoperability standards and protocols to ensure seamless integration between systems, devices and platforms.
- Data is very powerful and even more powerful when both patients and healthcare professionals can access it and manage it… anywhere and anytime.
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