HIMSS15: The Patient Takes Center Stage

Lisa-Suennen-photoThe following was originally posted by Lisa Suennen on Venture Valkyrie.

Back in 2012 I wrote a blog post called SXSW: Woodstock for Geeks, which became the opening chapter of Tech Tonics, the book I wrote with David Shaywitz. In this piece, I pointed out the marked differences between SXSW vs. HIMSS, both of which I had recently experienced.   I said that HIMSS was best described as “a festival of old-school techno weenies recognizable in the wild by their big company expense accounts and the blue and gray suits that barely cover their pocket protectors.” In contrast, I experienced SXSW as an event that “would blanche at the thought of being called a conference. SXSW is more of a happening.  Rather than suits (the costume is old jeans and rock and roll t-shirts), the primary thing that comes in blue is hair.” My conclusion of the 2012 piece was this:

“In a perfect world, the ideal HIT gathering would be somewhere psychologically between HIMSS and SXSW:  fewer gray suits, less purple hair, more next generation technology, more business models that work.   If we could do a little cross breeding between species here, we just might make it work. Or we could accidentally end up with the Monster from Young Frankenstein.  Wait a minute, my God it’s brilliant! He might actually be perfect!  The Monster had both a gray suit AND a green head.  If he knows how to code, we have a winner.  Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you!” (more…)


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Can Social Media & Healthcare Work Together?

Does the privacy of health and openness of social media work?

Social media has many uses, from the basics of being able to stay abreast of what your friends and colleagues are doing, to a way for companies to communicate with their customers.

It is a way of sharing the big or small moments in your life, but it can be so much more than that.

This is especially true in healthcare, where despite the clear confidentially restrictions put on how people can communicate, it is making a big difference – as will be discussed by Dennis Jolley, Chief Marketing Officer from Gillette Children’s Specialty, at the Digital Health Innovation Summit. (more…)

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Founder Robin Strongin helps Women in MedTech Group Launch at MassMEDIC Forum

The article below originally ran on April 9 in MedTech Boston and can be accessed here. Many thanks to Disruptive Woman Randel Richner who invited Disruptive Women Founder Robin Strongin to participate in this launch. Can’t wait to hear more from this group!

StronginThe first-ever Women in MedTech event launched last week in Waltham, MA as 125 women gathered for a MassMEDIC-sponsored forum titled “Disruptive Technologies in Medicine.” Its founders frame their goal: “To unite New England medical device executive women by providing an inspirational and educational leadership forum.” The message: “You will hear us now.”

Randel Richner, President of Richner Consultants, opened the forum. “Today is a dream of mine, to have all of you in this room,” she said. Two powerful influences have guided her life: her dad, who said, “You will always work,” and Robin Morgan’s 1969 book, Sisterhood is Powerful. Richner started her career as a dialysis nurse on a bus, but has taken her work many places since. She has been called incendiary – inflammable and provocative – and effective, and she believes deeply in an Alibaba quote: “To be more successful, bring in more women.” (more…)

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  • March 30th, 2015 The Digital Health Age Needs a Good Yawn
    By Glenna Crooks
  • Why Your Healthcare Organization Can — and Should — Adopt New Tech

    Asha SaxenaIn a fast-paced, high-stakes hospital setting, delivering premium patient care is everyone’s top priority.

    Naturally, as new tech enters the scene, you diligently work to implement it into your hospital. But when those changes interfere with your staff’s immediate focus on patient care, your push for efficiency might face some resistance. And without employee adoption, you can’t reap the benefits of new tech.

    Say you’re rolling out a new payment method for HR, for example. Updating your system might be breezy, but integrating it into employees’ daily lives poses bigger challenges. While you might be able to force staff to use the new program, nurturing an environment that embraces innovation will take the pain out of tech adoption and allow your entire organization to enjoy the benefits. (more…)

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    TBT: All I Want for Christmas Is Customer Service at My Doctor’s Office

    Casey Quinlan

    Although several years old now several of Casey’s thoughts in the post below sadly still ring true today.

    I have this dream. It’s about how, when I make an appointment to see my doctor – my primary care physician – the process is easy, honors my time as much as it does my doctor’s, and winds up running smoothly for both parties.

    The dream starts this way: I realize it’s time for my annual physical, or any other usual-suspects periodic visit to my PCP. I open up my browser, point it to my doctor’s website, and log in to the secure patient portal. The one where I can see all my prescriptions, my personal health record, make an appointment (using the handy calendar function), request a prescription refill, ask the nurse or doctor a question via email, or download a PDF of my health record.

    In my dream, using the handy scheduling function in the portal, I select a date and time for my appointment. The portal auto-populates that date and time with my name and insurance/contact information, since I logged in and it knows who I am. The system asks me if any information has changed. I click “no”. If I click “yes,” the next screen asks me to make the changes, and “submit”. (more…)


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    Digital health love – older people who use tech like health-tech, too

    Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

    The following post ran on March 4th on Health Populi.

    As people take on self-service across all aspects of daily living, self-care in health is growing beyond the use of vitamins/minerals/supplements, over-the-counter meds, and trying out the blood-pressure cuff in the pharmacy waiting for a prescription to be filled. Today, health consumers the world over have begun to engage in self-care using digital technologies. And this isn’t just a phenomenon among people in the Millennial generationMost seniors who regularly use technology (e.g., using computers and mobile phones) are also active in digitally tracking their weight, for example, learned in a survey by Accenture.Seniors18

    Older people who use technology in daily living (say, for entertainment or financial management) are keen to use tech for health, too. Specifically, illustrated in the infographic, Accenture found that:

    • 2 in 3 older people want to use self-care technology to manage their health
    • 3 in 5 older people are willing to track vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure via a digital device (more…)


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    The phone is a gateway drug to health: what MyFitnessPal knows, and what Under Armour gets

    Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

    The following post first ran on Health Populi.

    65 million people know that food journaling works for losing weight, that it’s engaging to do on a well-designed app, and that health is social. MyFitnessPal (MFP) has the distinction of being a top health app used longer by more people and more effectively than probably any other mobile health tool.

    MFP-acquired-by-Under-Armour-Connected-Health-Feb-15Under Armour, the athletic goods company, now has MFP under its corporate umbrella, along with Endomondo, another very popular motivating mobile health tool.

    You may know Under Armour as a company that manufactures and markets functional workout gear. But this deal is so not about the wearable.

    It’s about building a health data ecosystem, the kind my smart colleague Carol Torgan terms an Electronic Fitness Record (EFR). Carol riffs off of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) concept, which is taking off in the health care system: in doctors’ offices and in hospitals, motivated by financial incentives afforded through the HITECH Act which was bundled into the Stimulus Bill (aka ARRA, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. That’s the digital locus for patients’ personal health care information generated during visits to doctors, clinics, clinical labs, imaging centers, pharmacies, and other touchpoints in the health care system. (more…)

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    Documenting To Death: Are EMRs Eroding The Soul Of Medicine?

    Val Jones, MD

    The following post originally ran on Better Health.

    Electronic medical record systems (EMRs) have become a part of the work flow for more than half of all physicians in the U.S. and incentives are in place to bring that number up to 100% as soon as possible. Some hail this as a giant leap forward for healthcare, and in theory that is true. Unfortunately, EMRs have not yet achieved their potential in practice – as I have discussed in my recent blog posts about “how an EMR gave my patient syphillis,” in the provocative “EMRs are ground zero for the deterioration of patient care,” and in my explanation of how hospital pharmacists are often the last layer of protection against medical errors of EPIC proportions. (more…)

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    HIMSS or Bust

    Regina Holliday

    Last year I had the opportunity to do an amazing interview with Tim from HIStalk.  It was a wide-ranging discussion that covered a great deal of the HIT (health information technology) landscape.   Toward the end of our conversation, Tim and I began to talk about the challenges patients face attending HIMSS.  Many patients would like to go this enormous conference with its thousands of attendees, great educational sessions and access to numerous health care venders; but cannot afford to pay for hotel lodging, airfare and an attendee pass.  We talked about the possibility of working together to create patient travel scholarships.

    regina 1.26

    So today we would like to jointly announce the HIS-talking Gallery Patient Scholarship for travel to HIMSS 2015, April 12-16, in Chicago! (more…)

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    Trend-weaving the 2015 health care trends

    Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

    ‘Tis the season for annual health trendcasting, which is part of my own business model. Here’s a curated list of some of my favorite trend reports for health care in the new year, with my Hot Points in the conclusion, below, summarizing the most salient trends among them.

    TechCrunch’s Top 5 Healthcare Predictions for 2015: In this succinct forecast, Walmart grows its presence as a health plan, startups get more pharm-funding, hospitals channel peer-to-peer lending, Latinos emerge as a “most-desired” health care segment, and Amazon disrupts the medical supply chain.

    Experian 2015 Data Breach Forecast: Healthcare security breaches will be a persistent and growing threat in 2015, with “the expanding number of access points to Protected Health Information (PHI) and other sensitive data via electronic medical records and the growing popularity of wearable technology,” based on this credit/risk management company’s assessment. The value of medical identity threat is very high. As a result, the FBI warned the health care industry that their security systems were insufficient compared with other industry sectors, according to Reuters. (more…)

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    Music as Medicine

    Lisa-Suennen-photoThe following post is written by Lisa Suennen one of our 2015 Women to Watch. It originally ran on her blog Venture Valkyrie.

    It happens every time. I hear “Bad to the Bone” on the radio and suddenly all is right with the world. I love music and I have learned that if I choose the correct genre and tempo  I can improve a depressed state or calm a hyper one. I have song lists on my iPod called Cranky and Stressed, F the World, and Happiness, all designed around my various moods. Music can have a profound affect on my state of mind. I think this is true for most people, actually.

    The therapeutic value of music has long been known to the medical world. Famed neuropsychologist Oliver Sacks used music to engage his patients (this was dramatized in the movie The Music Never Stops, where a brain-damaged patient is able to recall memories otherwise lost when he hears the favorite music of his youth). (more…)

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    Women-centered design and mobile health: heads-up, 2014 mHealth Summit

    Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

    This post is written as part of the Disruptive Women on Health’s series celebrating the 2014 mHealth Summit taking place December 7-11 Washington, DC.

    Women and mobile health: let’s unpack the intersection.

    12.3 1On the supply side of the equation, Good Housekeeping covered health tracking-meets-fashion bling in the magazine a few weeks ago in article tucked between how to cook healthy Thanksgiving side dishes and tips on getting red wine stains out of tablecloths. This ad appeared in a major sporting goods chain’s 2014 Black Friday pre-print in my city’s newspaper last week. And along with consumer electronics brand faves like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung, Sony’s plans for a watch were hiding in plain sight on a Japanese crowdfunding site since September 2014; speaking of fashion-meets-wearables, the strap is designed to morph into 24 different designs. (more…)

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    Mental Health Care Game-Changers: Technology and Social Networks

    Jen Hyatt

    Jen Hyatt

    The world of health care breeds innovative thinkers, radicals, people who see and act to ‘make things better.’ So why is health care so often not a place of change, but a place of stasis?

    Change can be disorientating, and large systems can suffer from barriers to innovations that are hard to break through. And while, with resolve and vision, these can be tackled it is much harder to bring about change that requires a shift in power. This sort of change tends to create fear, often legitimate, that something will have to be lost or given up to enable a change to become embedded. But, by using technology and social networks such changes in healthcare can be realized.

    (more…)

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    Health Anywhere-Data Everywhere: All Roads Lead to Data

    Meryl Bloomrosen

    I cannot help but notice (and comment) on the overwhelming number and type of notices, headlines, press releases, meet ups, mash-ups, Code-A-Thons and hackathons all around us.   Digital health is booming as is obvious by the types of emerging technologies and their capabilities.[1]  [2]  [3]  There seems to be a vast array of diverse options for remote, embedded, wearable, swallow able and implantable devices and gadgets.  Our houses, vehicles, furniture, and clothing are becoming wired to help sense, monitor, track and collect health related data.[4]  [5]   New terms, terminology and jargon abound (i.e., big data, little data, small data, open data,  open gov, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and data analytics and visualization).

    Data are available from many sources including: genetics, health records, clinical registries, public use data files, birth and death registries, clinical trials, insurance claims, public and private sector surveys, drug interaction studies, and patient-generated sources. The availability of increasing amounts and types of data from such diverse data sources presents challenges (technical, technological, legal, political, financial, and cultural) and opportunities.[6]  The ubiquitous nature of devices and gadgets may indeed help patients and consumers have continuous data vital signs such as on blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and fitness indicators such as calories consumed, steps walked, miles run. (more…)

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