News roundup: FCC RPM/telehealth push, NHS EHR coding breach, unstructured data in geriatric diagnosis, Cerner-Lumeris, NHS funds social care, hospital RFID uses

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Lasso.jpg” thumb_width=”125″ /]FCC backs post-discharge RPM plan. The “Connected Care Pilot Program” proposed by FCC commissioner Brendan Carr would provide $100 million for subsidies to hospitals or wireless providers running post-discharge remote monitoring programs for low-income and rural Americans such as those run by the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The goal is to lower readmissions and improve patient outcomes. The proposal still needs to be formalized so it would be 2019 at earliest. POLITICO Morning eHealth, Clarion-Ledger, Mobihealthnews

NHS Digital’s 150,000 patient data breach originated in a coding error in the SystmOne EHR used by GPs. Through the error by TPP, SystmOne did not recognize the “type 2 opt-out” for use of individual data in clinical research and planning purposes. This affected records after 31 March 2015. This breach also affects vendors which received the data, albeit unknowingly, but the duration of the breach makes it hard to put the genie back in the bottle, which NHS Digital would like to do. Inforisktoday, NHS Digital release

Unstructured data in EHRs more valuable than structured data in older adult patient health. A new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society compared the number of geriatric syndrome cases identified using structured claims and structured and unstructured EHR data, finding that the unstructured data was needed to properly identify geriatric syndrome. Over 18,000 patients’ unstructured EHR notes were analyzed using a natural language processing (NLP) algorithm.

Cerner buying a share in population health/value-based care management company Lumeris through purchasing $266 million in stock in Lumeris parent Essence Group Holdings. The angle is data crunching to improve outcomes for patients in Medicare Advantage and other value-based plans. Lumeris also operates Essence Healthcare, a Medicare Advantage plan with 65,000 beneficiaries in Missouri. Fierce Healthcare

NHS Digital awarding £240,000 for investigating social care transformation through technology. The Social Care Digital Innovation Programme in 12 councils will be managed by both NHS and the Local Government Association (LGA). Projects to be funded span from assistive technologies to predictive analytics. Six winners from the original group of 12 after three months will be awarded up to a further £80,000 each to design and implement their solutions. New Statesman

Curious about RFID in use in healthcare, other than in asset management, access, and log in? Contactless payments is one area. As this is the first of four articles, you’ll have to follow up in Healthcare IT News

More tattletale data gathering: EEGs and sub-cutaneous RFID chips

There’s a new biometric marker in town being used for authentication: the EEG (electroencephalograph). Brain waves have a cacaphony of information about emotional state, learning ability and personality traits, now being collected in relaxation or gaming apps through inexpensive headsets as simple as earbuds. So instead of iris scans and fingerprints, now it’s EEGs. However, it’s yet another privacy invading and eminently hackable source of data. Privacy: the collectors of information off that app may be matching your brain wave pattern to those on a data base–say, alcoholics. “In a blind trial, a machine learning classifier, trained to recognize brain patterns associated with alcoholism, used the brain wave data from the authentication systems to accurately identify 25 percent of the alcoholics in the sample.” You may not be a drinker, and the reading may be utterly ‘off’, but now it’s in the open, you have no idea of how it will be used. Similar patterns can be used to match from databases to identify learning disabilities, mental illnesses and more, which could make you tough to insure, for instance. IEEE Spectrum  Hat tip to former editor Toni Bunting.

The next generation of peripherals may not be external at all. Already around 50,000 early adopters or bodyhackers are implanting glass RFID chips in their hands or other parts of their bodies to let themselves into their homes and offices or to store emergency information. The head of a digital unit of Capgemini stored his Scandinavian Airlines boarding pass and travel information in a December test. This type of chip, about the size of a rice grain, uses no electricity but will activate when scanned by a reader. It’s easy to forecast medical uses such as records before surgery (operate on the right foot, not the left), an ID and information for someone post-stroke or with dementia, or as smart card loaded with funds. But this Editor can see it coupled with a nanosized battery as being tested now in external sensor patches or biostickers as John Rogers at University of Illinois, MC10 and others have been designing for several years–and the potential geometrically increases to send out other data such as vital signs. Perhaps EEGs one day? Wall Street Journal — plus a collection of our coverage of sensor patches

The traditional PERS as ‘ancient history’

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Fallen-woman.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Something to think about. How many families and older adults are aware that the traditional PERS emergency pendant, which has been around for at least 40 years, is sadly outdated and in fact inadequate for those at greatest risk? While major advertisers on US media such as Life Alert, Life Call, ADT and Philips Lifeline present crisis situations where the older person is on the floor and is rescued after pressing the pendant button, they barely advertise their other available products that incorporate passive fall detection and cellular, even if somewhat inadequate for soft falls or unconsciousness. Families unwisely feel ‘protected’ when paying for traditional PERS, not realizing that more advanced technology is readily available and not that much more expensive. Moreover, and only mentioned in the context of his grandmother’s fall while in senior housing, there is a distinct recalcitrance of senior housing executives to rid their apartments of the (cheap) old pendants and replace them with (pricier) passive/cellular assistance systems, much less more advanced wearables/RFID systems or mobile/watch combinations. This Editor also notes that the major drugstore chains also sell PERS; while they trumpet wellness in their advertising, they are as behind the curve in this area as senior housing. Neil Versel in MedCityNews.

For our Readers: can we compare/contrast how the UK, EU and US are still wedded to traditional PERS after 40 years, and if more advanced forms are starting to take hold? Click on the headline to see comments, including this Editor’s opining on traditional PERS as ‘cash cow’.

Enterprise wearables for clinical health–and more

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Evena-veins-620×454.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]This ZDNet story technically has only one wearable in health–the Evena Medical Eyes-On Glasses which help medical staff find that vein (left) and is being trialled at Stanford University Medical Center. The other four profiled are being used in businesses as wide-ranging as engineering, restaurants, retail stores and manufacturing, but they are being used in the ‘here and now’: Abeseilon work-stream video; Google Glass for reviewing/recording work, training and coaching; the Theatro Wearable Computer ‘targeted’ messager; and, somewhat Big Brother-ish,  the Hitachi Business Microscope, an RFID-like device the size of an ID card that captures employee interactions and collaborations. A savvy HIT developer or implementer could, as has been done with Glass, find different uses for the other three in hospitals, home care or practices.

And you’ll be surprised what made TechRepublic’s list of wearables’ 10 biggest flops. (Already!)

Excellent new report on using digital tech in health

An excellent new report is out now on the use of digital technologies in health systems covering all the [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/A-digitally-enabled-health-system.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]key areas of application. A digitally-enabled health system studies the Australian health system and how it is to be improved by the use of various digital technologies.

Published by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, this is a well researched and written report with the underlying analysis applicable to most countries, not just Australia. With contributions from eight experts, and presented in clear language, this is well worth a read. A free download of the report and links to infographics are available on the CSIRO report page.

Australia, in common with many other countries, faces pressures on its health system: “Treasury estimates suggest that at current rates of growth, and without significant change, health expenditure will exceed the entire state and local government tax base by 2043, and require almost half of all government taxation revenue” says Sarah Dods in the introduction to the report. CSIRO suggests several developments to meet this challenge – no surprises here, but nevertheless useful to remind ourselves of these: reduce reliance on hospitals, better manage hospital resources, make in-home patient monitoring (telehealth) the norm and introduce rigorous data security and privacy.

On hospital admissions there is a discussion on managing CSIRO logoEmergency Departments and re-routing ambulances to hospitals with shorter queues, a practice that is already taking place in some parts of the country. There is a section on the use of RFID tags to manage both equipment and continuity of care in hospitals. Another section looks at telehealth and self-monitoring. Other sections look at video conferencing (“tele-presence”) and remote diagnosis.