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Unthinkingable 10 Years Ago…

There’s this really awesome post over on the mHealth Insight blog that looks at what mHealth will make what’s unthinkable now a reality in the future. I love the concept and encourage those of you who read this to participate in the thinking exercise.

Here were a few they offered that caught my eye:
“10 years ago it was unthinkable that we would be making the majority of our incomes from something that wasn’t the office visit” -Family GP

“10 years ago it was unthinkable that when our health declined we’d learn about it first from our mobile phones” Patient

I’d add a few:
“10 years ago it was unthinkable that a video visit led to a prescription drug being automatically delivered to my house by drone within the hour.”

“10 year ago it was unthinkable that heart attacks wouldn’t exist because the risks for it were all determined well before they happened.”

What a powerful concept!

February 10, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Net Neutrality and mHealth

This tweet caught me off guard. I was struck even by the suggestion that net neutrality would be good for mHealth. As I read the article, I just kept thinking that this person doesn’t understand net neutrality. I think they must have read something off of a press release. Then, at the end they talked about the coming Google Fiber (it’s already in place in a couple cities) and I realized they were just not very well informed.

The article tries to make the case the mHealth and things like telemedicine could benefit from net neutrality. Here’s that section:

Many speculate that network neutrality brings with it benefits for mHealth and the healthcare field as a whole by allowing companies who can afford it (such as the telemedicine industry) faster internet speed.

I’d like to see which telemedicine companies can afford to pay extra for the bandwidth. As a fan of startups and innovation, I can think of nothing worse than net neutrality. It places an extra tax on any company that wants to try and innovate in a space. If you can’t afford to pay for the faster internet speed, then you’re shut out from participating. That shuts out most startup companies and helps companies with a lot of cash to throw around.

What are your thoughts on net neutrality and mHealth? Is it a good or bad thing?

February 6, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Online Medical Visits Using Google Helpouts

As most of you probably know, I’ve been a big fan of the Google Plus hangout. In fact, I’ve been doing a series of video interviews with leading Healthcare IT thought leaders using the Google Plus hangout technology.

Google recently announced a twist on the Google Plus hangout technology that they’re calling Google Helpouts. These Helpouts are “real help from real people in real time” as it says on the website. Some of the help is Free and in other cases you have to pay a fee to get help. Why am I talking about this on a mobile health website?

The answer is simple. One Medical Group is one of the first partners to work with Google Helpouts. You’ll see on that page that if you’re a One Medical Group member in one of their cities, then you can get Free Medical Advice on the Google Helpout. Pretty cool, except for the fact that I’m not a member or in any of those cities, so I can’t try it out. They do offer Health and Wellness Coaching and Nutrition Counseling for $30 per helpout and $65 per helpout respectively.

My first question after seeing this was, “Are Google Helpouts HIPAA compliant?” The answer is probably that it depends. If I as a patient give permission to do it, then it’s fine. Although, if I’m One Medical Group, I wonder if they were able to get Google to sign a business associates agreement. Considering Google’s track record with Google Health, I’ll be really surprised if they did. Although, they should.

This should be of interest to all those people in the Telehealth world. Obviously, One Medical Group has a unique care model that makes this possible. However, once you start giving patients something like this, it’s hard to take it away. Plus, other patients start getting jealous of their friends and start wanting the service as well.

Hopefully these Google Helpout medical visits will help to crack this open and make the e-Visit a reality.

November 8, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

The HP ElitePad in Healthcare

One thing I often forget when thinking about mobile computing in healthcare is that it’s not just the smart phone. Certainly the smart phone is incredibly powerful and has a strong place in the future of mobile health. However, it has its limitations. Often you just need more screen real estate to do what you need to in healthcare. This is particularly true on the enterprise healthcare side of the world compared to the consumer side.

This is what makes the Windows 8 and iPad tablets such an important part of the mobile health ecosystem. In fact, I think these tablets could do more to transform healthcare than their smaller smart phone counterparts. In fact, these tablets are more powerful than your smart phone in every single way except size.

I was reminded of the power of these tablets when I got the chance to use the HP ElitePad. It was my first time to really dig into a Windows 8 tablet and I was really interested to see how well it performed.
HP ElitePad 900_Front Center
My intrigue in the Windows 8 tablets had been originally sparked by Fred Holsten, CIO of Intermountain, who told me that in their hospital they didn’t allow Android tablets, but they did allow Window 8 tablets. They had real security concerns with the Android tablets, but felt confident in the security of the Window 8 tablet. Plus, he even was fond of the way that the Windows 8 tablet handled application management.

With this in mind, I wanted to see how the HP ElitePad felt in my hand. From a pure hardware perspective, it was well designed and as comfortable as any other tablet of similar screen size. I also had the HP ElitePad expansion jacket. I had mixed feelings about the expansion jacket. The tablet felt pretty bulky with it on, but I also felt the jacket seemed to be a pretty good protection for the device. In the end, I usually leaned towards using it with the expansion jacket off. Either way, the tablet definitely passed the look and feel test.

When I first started actually using the ElitePad, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the interface. It took me a little while to get use to the separation of apps from the more standard windows interface. Plus, I had to get use to swiping the side to pull up the menu. After using it a little bit I really grew to like the interface. It balanced the touch interface applications with the ability to run any regular windows applications quite well.

I could see how this balance of applications could work really well in healthcare. Many healthcare applications won’t be ported over to become a native tablet application. At least they won’t be moved over in the near future. So, there’s a need for devices that can handle both native and legacy applications. The app store was a bit disappointing, but I think that will continue to change over time. Plus, when it wasn’t in the app store, I could find a regular windows application that worked fine. Not to mention most of what I needed was also available in a web browser.

I do wish that there were some native external keyboard options for the device, but a simple USB keyboard worked just fine and are available in every shape and size. I didn’t try using voice recognition on the device, but it has a nice microphone and would have likely worked well. However, sometimes I just like a nice keyboard for data entry. I did use the built in camera and microphone on a Google Plus hangout and that worked perfectly. You can easily see a telemedicine visit happening with this device.

Overall the device worked really well for me. My only real complaint with the device was the charger connection. The charger doesn’t really snap into the hole and so it’s hard to know if the charger is connected properly or not. Plus, the charger can bend back and forth in the charging hole. I often had to check to make sure that the device was indeed charging. It usually was plugged in just fine, but it would be much nicer if the charging plug kind of locked into place so you knew it was connected properly.

Overall, I can definitely see a place for a Windows 8 tablet like the HP ElitePad in healthcare. I think this is particularly true in the hospital and practice environment where they want to use their existing security software to manage their computing devices. However, with the built in camera and microphone, I can also see a number of telemedicine applications really liking this device as well.

This post is sponsored by HP Healthcare, however opinions on products and services expressed here are my own. Disclosure per FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

August 12, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

The Future of Health Care: Empty Hospitals – Catchy Title

This was the title of an article on Money Talks News: The Future of Health Care: Empty Hospitals? Certainly it’s a fantastic title, but is so far from the reality. If anything, it should say: The Future of Health Care: Empty Doctors Offices. When I think about all of the work that’s done in hospitals, it’s hard to imagine most of the work done there to happen outside of a hospital. Most hospital patients are there for a reason.

The same can’t be said for doctors offices. There is a good percentage of visits to a doctor’s office that could be done virtually. Certainly it’s no where near 100% of in person visits to the doctor that can be replaced, but it’s a much larger percentage than hospitals.

The ED is one area of the hospital that could be changed dramatically by telemedicine and other virtual office visits. Even then, it won’t leave the ED empty, but it could change how an ED is operated. In fact, we’re already seeing this today. I loved to hear about how the HealthSpot kiosk was used in EDs to do virtual visits with ED doctors at other hospitals. That’s a powerful concept.

Of course, Dr. Nick’s right that technology can prevent a lot of visits to the doctor. However, doctors and hospitals won’t have to worry about empty offices and hospitals anytime soon.

August 2, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Face-to-Face in Medicine


What a great tweet and insight into healthcare. Indeed, most people really underestimate what can be done face-to-face in healthcare. I first realized the value of this when a doctor visited my blog and described to me all of the things a doctor was observing in a face to face office visit. Everything from the way someone breathes, to the way someone sits, to the way someone coughs. It’s amazing how much data is available from just visually seeing the patient.

I agree that face-to-face is the best way to treat a patient. However, can an online video visit accomplish almost all of the upside of face-to-face interactions while minimizing any downsides? I think this is the challenge of telemedicine and something we’re making great strides in accomplishing. Of course it will never be as good as face-to-face, but I think it can get very close.

The other reason I’m a huge fan of the e-visit is that there’s a large percentage of visits where there’s no need for the visual part of the visit. Doctors know that much of the physical part of a patient visit is often just theatrics for the patient. The only reason we’re not doing more e-visits today is that doctors don’t get paid if they do e-visits. If they got paid they’d do many more with the same quality of care.

As we get more and more health sensors constantly tracking our health, we’ll need even less physical interaction to be seen by a doctor. For example, if I’ve been tracking my blood pressure twice a day at home, then is there a need for a patient to go into the doctor to get another blood pressure reading?

We’re just at the very beginning of these health sensors. The next generation doctor will be as good at understanding vast amounts of self generated health data as they are at understanding physical queues. The physical will never leave us completely, but what a doctor will be able to treat virtually will grow exponentially. The face-to-face interaction will just likely be by video instead of in an exam room.

July 29, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

“The Kaiser Way” – Kaiser Permanente’s Approach to Mobile Healthcare

Kaiser Permanente is the healthcare provider I went to since the time I was born, until I went to college. Imagine my surprise when I headed off to school and discover that it didn’t even exist in the state I moved to. In my limited scope of knowledge, I think I thought Kaiser was the only healthcare provider out there!

Even though I’ve come to realize there is definitely more than one healthcare provider out there, I think I’ll always like Kaiser. My husband and I are back in Colorado, and are currently working to get a plan covered by Kaiser. As I’ve heard my parents talk about them, and seen some of the services offered, I’ve been impressed with what they have to offer, and how it seems like they’ve been very involved in mobile healthcare. So I wasn’t too surprised when I saw this article that talks about how Kaiser has made it possible for their patient’s to connect with their doctors via email.

In the article, Bernard J. Tyson, Kaiser Permanente’s Incoming Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said of this mobile app that “It’s something our members wanted, they have it and they love it.” I think that this goes to show that Kaiser is really trying to be intune with the changing healthcare world, and what their patients wnat. Since being launched, there have been 14 million e-visits, Tyson said, and members can access these visits through a free mobile app.

Patients are able to connect with their doctor through the app by emailing them questions, making appointments, and accessing lab results. It allows patients to decide whether or not they actually need to make an appointment, as well as build a stronger relationship with their physician. Kaiser has worked hard to ensure the safety of the patients using this app, as that is definitely a big concern across the board when it comes to mHealth.

Personally, I love the idea about being able to email your physician. Back in Utah, I was overall impressed with the patient portals that were available to me, but I was disappointed that it wasn’t easier to connect with my doctors. In fact, there was one instance where I tried to get in contact with a physician for over a month, just getting the run around from her assistants, and I eventually just gave up. The doctor seemed very on top of things, but her staff was not, and I always wished I had been able to just contact her quickly and easily through a method like the one that Kaiser has in place.

I won’t go over everything that is talked about in this article, but I highly recommend reading it. It sounds like Kaiser has a lot in store for the future. Tyson mentioned that the obvious next “natural progression” is for telehealth. I really found this article to be really excited, and I can’t wait to see what Kaiser has in store. Hopefully other healthcare systems will take note and follow in their suite.

June 24, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

“Instagram” for Heart Attacks Could Save Lives

What do you think of when you think about Instagram? Probably not a life-saving device, right? Turns out, the popular social media platform is the inspiration for ECG Capture, an iPhone app that is being lauded as the “Instagram for Heart Attacks.” 

Students and faculty from the University of Virginia created an Instagram-like app for the iPhone to assist in helping heart attack victims get treatment quicker. With the app, the user taks a photo of the ECG and sends the image, via a cell phone network, to a secure server at a hospital. At the hospital the heart attack victim is being sent to, physicians are able to see the ECG before they arrive and determine the best course of action.

It appears to work faster than the traditional way of sending ECGs. In more than 1,500 tests, it was found to transmit images in less than 6 seconds — the traditional method took up to 114 seconds to send. These few seconds difference could change, and possibly save, a person’s life.

This sounds like a great way to increase efficiency. Obviously, there’s always the concern of being in an area where there’s no cell service, or something else malfunctioning, but it seems like a pretty reliable method so far, after the 1,500 tests that were conducted. It’s nice to see that people are taking note of successful social media, and finding a way to adapt it toward health care.

May 22, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Smart Phone Health Exam at TEDMED

One of the big announcements going into TEDMED was the idea of a Smart Phone Physical. It was such an intriguing proposition that Katie wrote about it here and Anne wrote about it here. Maybe that means we should coordinate content more, but in some ways I think it’s interesting to see what topics my writers find worthy to write about. The fact that they both independently wrote about the concept says something important.

I think the core message is clear: we all would love a smart phone physical. I think this is underscored by the opposing idea that we all hate going to the doctor. It’s not about the doctor in particular, I love the doctors I’ve seen. There’s just nothing beautiful about the experience of going to the doctor. Those visits are plagued by long wait times, added expense, uncomfortable situations, and often poor customer service.

I realize there are exceptions to the above, but this is the stigma of a visit to the doctor. Some of this can be solved by rethinking the physician visit (something some doctors have really done well) and some of it is just inherent with the nature of a medical visit. The later is difficult to change. The former is likely why the smart phone physical is so intriguing from a patient perspective. It flips the experience on the head and in many ways takes out the unpleasant parts of a visit to the doctor.

Although, the following tweet illustrates that just doing the physical on the smart phone won’t solve all the issues:

Just because the visit is electronic doesn’t mean that they can’t still have long wait times, added expense, and poor customer service, but I still love the idea of my kids terrorizing my house instead of the waiting room.

April 22, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Get Peace of Mind and Avoid The ER With Snap.MD

As I was perusing HisTalkMobile.com today, the first article on the page caught my eye. A new start-up from LA aims to decrease ER visits from “worried” moms with telemedicine visits.

According to the article about Snap.md, on average, a new baby visits the doctor’s office about eight times in the first year, and when those visits are to the ER, they definitely could have been avoided. Snap.md plans to connect parents with someone in the Emergency Room for a consultation, within 10 minutes.

We’ve taken my son to the doctor many times in the past eight and half months. While many of those times were actually warranted (our son really is sick, all the time), I think this could be come in handy. Our average wait time at the doctor’s office is about 30-45 minutes, and the ER is even longer (we went a few months ago, and we were three for three hours…before we even saw someone.) This may not be the typical wait (or maybe it is!) but something like this really could cut down on the amount of time wasted going to the ER for things that may not be an emergency. Sometimes, just getting the reassurance from a health professional is all a new mother needs, and I think that is one of the goals behind this.

The article said the company is targeting three different “categories” of parents:

  1. Those without insurance
  2. Those with private insurance
  3. Medicaid families

So, it sounds like, just about anyone! The fee for those without any insurance will be around $60, which is a whole lot less than the going to the Emergency Room. From what I can tell, it looks like medicaid and private insurance companies may cover that cost, or at least, that is the hope I’m guessing. Dave Skibinski, the man behind the company, said the company isn’t trying to replace seeing a physician.

Our goal is not to direct the care. If the patient wants to see their own physician or go to a different ER, that’s fine. The point is to avoid an unnecessary visit to the ER.

In my opinion, that’s a great goal. Perhaps that would clear up the wait time at Emergency Rooms, so those that truly do have an emergency don’t have to wait quite as long.

I do think telemedicine is definitely going to play a prominent role in healthcare in the very near future, and be a significant part of mHealth. Snap.md doesn’t have a lot if information available yet, or even when it’s going to be released, but it looks like contracts have already been negotiated with a few different children’s hospitals in California, with plans to expand. I sure hope this comes to my town.

November 23, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.