It is too easy to dismiss today's seniors as not tech-savvy and resistant to mHealth, electronic health records and other modern technologies. They were born into a world where modern technology was the stuff of science fiction, not actual homes and offices. Many didn't even need to use technology in the workforce, so they never got used to everyday casual use. The cliché joke about helping your Mom or Grandpa with the Internet, program her TV remote control is so old it has a beard. Yet, it's not unusual for many baby boomers to be trainable on technology. It's a matter of demographics and willingness to learn: based on the research, for every technically skilled senior, there is at least one other in the wings wishing that someone would help them step into the 21st Century too.
Based On US Census Data
There were 41.4 million people who were 65 and older in the United States on July 1, 2011, This group accounted for 13.3 percent of the total population. By 2060, there will be a projected 92.0 million people who are 65 or older. 18.2 million will be 85 or older. Based on this data, attempts to engage our older population and help them understand why they may want to embrace technology become urgent.
While it is true that many of seniors are going to be resistant to learning new technology no matter their willingness, facing obstacles ranging from atrophying skills to diminished eyesight or short term memory loss, we need to not give up. As an industry, it's our duty to help even those who do want to learn and hopefully they will inspire or help their peers discover some new information or healthcare tools that will make their lives better.
How Do We Inspire Life-Long Learning In The Golden Years?
One way to make the case for life-long learning is by showing our senior patients, friends and family members the billboard that is popping up all over major US cities with the quote, "The first person to turn 150 as already born" according to leading British gerontologist Dr. Aubrey DeGrey.
Another is by sharing the great quote from Presidential Mom Lillian Carter, 80 at the time: "Sure I'm for helping the elderly. I'm going to be old myself some day." This will surely hit home with some. Simply stated, the premise is that we stop living when we stop learning. If we can inspire our older citizens to embrace the challenge and have fun when learning new things, then the goal of improving lives via new healthcare methods and a better connection to their health providers will truly be attainable.
Resources To Help Inspire Learning
- Consider sharing some of the following tools to help ease some of our more curious seniors into trying a venture online. If not alone, maybe attempt to enlist their children or grandchildren toe help teach them with these tools? A terrific starting point is this great toolkit that was created by the National Institute on Aging.
- Consider priming the knowledge pump by sharing a list of helpful websites to inspire some web surfing. Have their grandchildren introduce them to Facebook, YouTube and some other fun websites to break the ice.
- The AARP website is easy to navigate and is a great place to learn and discover a variety of health information,games for brain health, entertainment, travel and other helpful tips for those over 50. AARP has also built a great YouTube channel with educational videos. When met with major resistance, sharing a video may be a good stress buster and feel familiar enough for the new user to want to try more.
- Share new assistive devices that can compensate for diminished sight or hearing loss. This tablet computer was designed for tech-wary seniors. It has larger buttons and is adapted for easy use by a novice. As with learning anything new, some early victories can go a long way and help encourage continued use.
Just like with younger learners, all outcomes will not be the same. It's going to take a lot of trial and error to find the right fit for some seniors. It's up to us and their peers to help them find a way to help themselves.
Infographic courtesy of CDW Health: www.cdw.com/communit
Fan of heavy metal or not, it's hard to not admit that John "Ozzy" Osbourne is notorious rock star. What might be in his genetic history?
These days, fast and inexpensive DNA analysis allows taking a peek into more than ever of what makes people's bodies tick and can reveal facts that capture interest and imagination. Which is why we find genetic peeking like this programmed on TV shows more and more. Interesting people + reveals of hidden history = TV success. History Detectives, Genetalogy Roadshow, and Finding Your Roots are just a few in this burgeoning TV genre.
What plays on the small screen can work on any stage, including at medical/technology conference TEDMED 2010. Nathan Pearson, geneticist at Knome, Inc leads this TEDMED presentation with a light-hearted playful tone that suits the Osbourne family.
Not just show business is at work here. Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne's need to know about her own genome, namely to explore her own cancer and her father's Alzheimer's proved to be a strong incentive to Ozzy who agreed to undergo this mapping. Ozzy was interested for his own benefit too - he's been diagnosed with a form of Parkinson's disease and he was curious about his future and past with this disease.
We can't help but think about Ozzy's thirty-eight year career and his pre-disposition to bad behavior when the reveal comes about his genetic make-up. The discoveries will shed some light on the character Ozzy and the man, John Osbourne.
One of the central intentions of the Affordable Care Act is to increase access to healthcare for all of us. With the numbers we're looking at, it's going to be difficult to do this without embracing telehealth. There will be a large influx of newly eligible patients and an increase in the need for doctors and other clinicians to care for these newly approved patients. Will there be enough face-to-face opportunities to deliver the care? If the answer is no, telehealth fills the gap.
Telehealth is the use of computers and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care and patient education. Some of the technologies used includeaccess via the internet, videoconferencing, streaming media, chat clients, wireless communications such as smart phones, tablets, wearable sensors and on-demand video libraries.
Cases where telehealth can improve access to care and save lives:
- Immediate care via telecardiology when every second counts
Locationally challenged patients can obtain care and see specialists
Mental health counseling in comfort of patient's home
Prescription refills that require a consultation
Elderly can wear assistive devices and turn them up to hear better than they would in the doctor's office
Monitoring and follow-up care that doesn't require an office visit
Constant in-home care of Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and other degenerative disorders
Medical device monitoring
Diabetes care, monitoring and follow-up
Sleep Apnea monitoring of breathing patterns and body movement
Care for the elderly in their home, with their family members
In-home care for childhood illnesses such as measles and chickenpox
Ability for doctors to observe patients in their homes
True privacy during care, satisfying HIPAA compliance
There is great promise in telehealth, but there are still a few barriers to actually offering it as a standard medical option. Telemedicine uses video communications in order to bring a physician's expertise into areas where doctors can't easily travel themselves. Hospitals and other care providers are using telehealth in many unique ways, but standardized use is still limited by some very real issues.
Some of the barriers to standardized telehealth adoption include:
Many insurance companies are not offering reimbursement for telehealth care. Check if your payer is.
- Initial diagnosis via telemedicine may not be accepted as legitimate exam by payers or administrative policies.
Doctors are required to be licensed in every state that they offer care to, so doctors who are treating long-distance patients find themselves limited by the number of states where they carry a license.
Some patients do not have access to the necessary technology such as a laptop, tablet or smart phone for access to treatment.
HHS Support for Telehealth
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Telehealth Advancement (OAT) promotes the use of telehealth technologies for health care delivery, education, and health information services. The office is part of the Office of Rural Health Policy, located within Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HRSA’s mission is to assure quality health care for underserved, vulnerable, and special needs populations.” The HRSA offers many resources for those who are considering setting up or using telemedicine in their practice.
While many agree that the potential benefits of using this modern technology application far outweigh the barriers to adoption, the road map to adoption and standards is far from clear today.
Photo courtesy of: www.hrsa.gov
London based ABI Research predicts the global installed base of smartphones will total 1.4 billion by the end of 2013. Of this base, 57% will run on Android and 21% on iOS.
Meanwhile, there will be "268 million tablets in active use, with 62% of them built on iOS and 28% on Android. The annual growth rate against 2012 will be 44% for smartphones and 125% for tablets. Despite of Apple’s and Google’s strong hold on the market, ABI Research anticipates that the future won’t be quite as duopolistic as it may seem now." Mobile medical devices and smartphones will continue to increase in popularity for the foreseeable future.
That 1.4 billion figure does not represent product being shipped to sit in inventory - that figure represents devices that are or will be in use. Nor is a billion and a half smart devices in people's hands that hard to visualize. A recent Ovum research study showed that almost 60% of all US employees bring some type of mobile device into the workplace. This number is up exponentially since last year at this time. We have rapidly become a society where a device that is larger than 6" wide is considered inconvenient to use everyday. This merger of personal and business life is driving the need for more mobile devices and the need for a serious mobile device strategy.
Many employers budget in the purchase and maintenance of all technology devices including smart phones and tablets for their staff and consultants.
Benefits of employers providing devices:
Peace of mind and security of a company approved mobile device use policy
Applications, security and maintenance installed and controlled by in-house IT staff
Ability of in-house IT to block unapproved applications
In-house safeguards against malware, spyware
Ability to shut-down devices to protect data if lost or stolen
Regular upgrades and maintenance to ensure best security
Increasingly, BYOD, aka bring your own device is a common occurrence in many workplaces including hospitals, medical practices and healthcare service providers.
Some of the benefits of allowing BYOD into the workplace are:
cost savings for the employer
ease of use by the clinician and other employees, convenience
promotion of longer, possibly 24 x 7 work day
nice perk for staff member
While that all sounds great in theory, there is a downside to allowing employees to bring and use their own devices for work.
Some possible BYOD difficulties include:
Introduction of cross platform technology may make it difficult for access especially to proprietary applications. Some expamples of cross platform technology include: Blackberry, iPad, Android smart phone, Windows phone, Android tablet etc.
It is extremely important to incorporate personal devices into the mobile device use plan of the company who owns the network.
Some of the reasons for inclusion include:
Increase the likelihood of proper device maintenance
Ensure proper approved and secure applications are installed
Allows corporate IT to shut down device if lost or stolen
Allows monitoring of BYOD to make sure HIPAA compliance is enforce
Regardless of what your organization decides, it's important to have a complete and forward-thinking mobile device strategy to ensure data security, HIPAA compliance and a happy and healthy practice.
Image courtesy of: www.energy.gov
It's Friday - a great day to take an assessment of how your work week was successful and not so successful. Are there tweaks that the best-run medical practices use that you might try to improve your medical practice or lab?
This happens to be the theme of the video series based on the book, “2nd Edition, Secrets of the Best-Run Practices” by Judy Capko.
About The Author
Noted practice management expert, Judy Capko of Capko & Company has assisted hundreds of clients over the last 25 year with medical practice management consulting and market research. Capko & Co. have served physicians and healthcare companies across the United States. Some of their clients include: Johns Hopkins Health Systems, Baltimore, MD; Medtronic, Chattsworth, CA; Merck Pharmaceuticals, Princenton, NJ: and Northwestern's Childrens Practice in Chicago, IL to become more efficient and profitable.
Due to the nature of the medical industry and the constantly shifting landscape, the need for dedicated consulting assistance is needed more than ever. The implementation of new technology, the Affordable Care Act, shifting duties at all levels across the medical industry, advances with medical devices and the need to shift focus to a satisfied and engaged patient verses a lower bottom line make it difficult for doctors and clinicians to stay up do date and run a thriving practice.
These 15 short videos highlight the best practices that will improve the management and long term welfare of your practice. This book also includes 46 forms to customize your office.
Some of the areas that will be covered in this video series include:
Conquering work flow problems
How to manage traffic at the reception desk
Techniques for receptionists to use technology to enhance efficiency
Mastering clinical flow for doctors
Improving appointment scheduling
Compliance and risk management
Taming the paper monster--electronic health records
Tips for improving patient collections
How to use outsourcing to improve your bottom line
Good food for thought to inspire your staff and improve your patient's satisfaction.
Family Wellness Month can be a great time for pediatric specialists and internal medicine practitioners to offer free consultations and wellness workshops to patients and their families. It's a great way to get the whole family involved in taking better care of themselves and each other. Why not use this month to engage your patients through fun activities and family oriented workshops? Inform them of services that you offer that they may not know they need or that your practice offers them.
Obesity On The Rise In Children
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, there is a 70% chance that obese 5-17 year olds have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The CDC states that children who are overweight by the age of 2 are more likely to be obese adults. Childhood obesity and a lifetime of bad habits learned in childhood have been linked to having a high risk for cancer, diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea and psychological problems.
How Can We Help?
Many pediatric specialists who battle obesity such as pediatric dietitians will join forces with schools, corporations and neighborhood centers to help combat childhood obesity. This is a great first step, but why not take the next step and get the whole family involved in better eating and exercise? It's important for parents to lead by example, but children can also inspire their parents to pay more attention to their health and better care of themselves. Hosting or co-hosting events such as neighborhood clean and greens, memorial walks, parades, bike rides and other family oriented fun can be a great way to market your business, meet new neighbors and potentially spread your wellness message to whole families at the same time.
Forming Good Dental Habits For Life
Pediatric Dental Specialists can really make an impact in a child's short and longterm health. It's most important to learn proper dental care when you're a child, so that you maintain that good habit your whole life. Unhealthy teeth or gums can cause many health problems that are unseen, such as heart trouble or potentially bone loss and decay of their teeth. Perhaps co-sponsoring a workshop on childhood obesity and dental health with a pediatric dentist or pediatrician would be a great way to talk about overall health and the cost of not brushing your teeth properly. Plan outings to local schools to share the truth about good and bad dental care and pass out dental products such as brushes, floss etc. Make sure that you give the students an action plan that they can take home to share with their families. Make a game out of it and ask the whole family to play.
Encourage Good Communication
Mind and body need to be in tune with one another. Physical health is obviously important, but not any more than good mental health. It is important for a family to be able to communicate comfortably about any issue that arises. Family activities that encourage wordplay such as Scrabble or reading a book together will also help form the bond needed to be able to have frank discussions. Suggest reading books that will help them bond or teach them new skills that they can go out and use like gardening or kite building and flying.
Suggest A Long Term Family Plan
Sitting down as a family to map out something good healthy activities for a full year is a great way to establish good health habits. This sample calendar will give you some guidelines and help you craft a sample for your own patients. Point out that it's up to themselves and each other active and honest.
Photo courtesy of: www.nih.gov
April showers have brought us May flowers and the American Medical Association's (AMA) check-up series, "Prescription For A Healthier Practice”. This month's series focuses on helping physicians and their staff examine how their practices are performing in key administrative processes. There are great lessons in how to decrease the amount of time spent on administrative waste during the claims process.
Join the AMA Practice Efficiency and Management LinkedIn group for additional helpful resources.
May is Out-of-Network Month
"Hold Health Insurers Accountable For Out-Of-Network Services."
Ensure that your practice receives payment for service
How to have an up-to-date defensible fee schedule
Understand your state laws regarding health insurers and other payers’ obligations
"Get Paid What You Deserve For Out-Of-Network Services"
Receive educational resource “Out-Of-Network Payment Challenges For The Physician Practice”
Gain understanding about a third-party payer’s obligation for payment to out-of-network providers.
Understand payment receipt challenges for out-of-network physicians
“Receive Out-Of-Network Payments For Services You Have Provided”
Learn how to obtain payment for service from a non-contracted insurer
Protect your practice from future administrative waste
Gain detailed resources, knowledge, tools and confidence to ensure fair payment
“Protect Your Practice From Inappropriate Discounts”
Review health insurer benefits to understand possible inappropriate adjustments
Learn invaluable electronic remittance advice
Receive resource, “Is Your Practice Losing Revenue Through
Inappropriate Health Insurer Adjustments?”
Image Courtesy of: www.ama-assn.org
NotifyMD hosted a live webcast on March 28, 2013, with practice management expert Elizabeth Woodcock of Woodcock and Associates.
In this enlightening educational webinar attendees learned the protocols for collecting fees at the time of an office visit.
What is a practice allowed to collect for fee for service
How to enforce your practice uniform policy
How to implement financial controls and safeguards
During this webcast, topics such as integrated patient communications will be discussed. Studies show that improving communication will help increase patient's participation and satisfcation with their providers. This extra effort will also help improve data collection and care outcomes.
Join thousands of healthcare providers who have already learned that partnering with NotifyMD for services such as: appointment reminders, patient outreach, answering services, compliance outreach and other time consuming administrative tasks is a wise business decision.
Need to see if for yourself? Try NotifyMD services for 30 days, risk free.
Call our Patient Communication Specialists at 1-866-783-9820 with questions.
Mobile technology has taken over much of our communications landscape. With portability, reliability and security all improving, it only makes sense that mobile devices (tablets, smartphones and laptops) and mobile applications (apps) for healthcare (mHealth) are increasingly common tools in the hands of both patients and clinicians. The ability of a clinician to be able to place a tablet in a pocket, able to connect to EMR, healthcare technologies and sites from a patient's room, plus run applications to assist the doctor or nurse with their work is exciting stuff.
Portio Research predicts that mobile subscribers are due to reach 6.9 billion worldwide by the end of 2013. According to network communications hardware vendor Cicso, "Among various verticals, health care machine to machine(M2M) segment is going to experience the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) at 74 percent from 2012 to 2017, followed by automotive industry at 42 percent CAGR."
US Consumers Using mHealth
Ruder Finn's (RF) latest survey set out in October 2012 to determine how US consumers are using mobile technologies to manager their health. The survey consisted of 1,000 consumers, 670 who had access to tablets, smartphones or both. The RF study data shows that the patients who are the most active users of health apps are the 35-44 age group coming in at 23% of all polled who use smartphones or tablets. Only 7% of the 45-64 group downloaded and regularly used (1x a week) health apps.
The RF study also in showed that there is a slower adoption of mHealth apps in the US compared to other countries. This reality has not deterred the creation or investment in mHealth apps by the healthcare industry, startups and developers. Right now there are 40,000 mobile health apps available for tablets and smartphones. The future is bright for the global mHealth market which could see its numbers rise to $10.2 billion by 2018. It's amazing to think that in 6 years (2012-2018) that the market could increase by ten-fold.
Ruder Finn's study also uncovered that minorities and women are more likely to use not only smartphones and tablets, but are the most likely candidates to look for health information online and/or to download an mHealth application.
Benefits Could Include
Benefits of adopting mHealth apps and integrating mobile technologies into the healthcare delivery model include:
additional tools for patients to manage their daily health
capture of little data from individual patients
more opportunities for physicians to monitor their patient's remotely
ability for clinicians to care for a larger number of patients.
centralization of IT resources and developments
options to share patient data
Patients Use These Kinds Of Apps Most:
Ruder Finn's research uncovered the most highly sought after mHealth applications:
49%-- healthy living
47%-- fitness and training
41%-- general health information
13%-- patients managing chronic conditions
7%-- medication reminders
Some of the great advantages discussed in the survey is the ability to assist your doctor or his staff with monitoring of medical devices, medicines and other certain chronic conditions.
Infographic courtesy of: www.xcubelabs.com
Earlier this week the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) announced their new "National Medical Device Postmarket Surveillance System". According to the FDA the system will, "monitor medical devices and radiological products for continued safety and effectiveness after they are in use and to help the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to improve their health."
The FDA reports that they have developed this new surveillance system with the assistance of many key US and International stakeholders. Reportedly, all parties agreed that in order to strengthen the medical device industry, post market surveillance is not an option. The FDA believes that it is crucial that all stakeholders buy-in because they would not be able to effectively implement and maintain this system on their own.
New Post Market Surveillance System Includes
The new system will include a mobile application that will allow patients, doctors and clinicians to report necessary data in a quick and efficient way. All data will be incorporated with the patient's electronic health record (EHR). Based on this data there should be a deeper understanding of these devices and quite possibly allow more devices to be delivered in a quicker and more successful way.
The April 2013 FDA report calls for the surveillance system to accomplish four things:
In 2012, the FDA issued the proposed rule for a unique device identification (UDI) system for all medical devices, exempting lower risk devices from some or all of the requirements. The UDI is quite detailed and will include a device identifier based on its model, a batch number, seriel number and expiration date along with a unique numeric or alphanumeric code to track the device. (see example photo above)
The US Food and Drug Administration requires medical device manufacturers to submit most of their new devices along with their scientific and technical data for analysis. These results and other pertinent information will be contained in device registries such as the FDA's medical device database to help track devices worldwide. This feature is imperative for monitoring post market devices.
FDA Cautions That Some Challenges Will Occur
As with most new systems there will be a few challenges that need to be considered when examining the data that is collected.
Patients may need to use devices for months before a true pictured of its success, adverse reactions or flaws surface
Some critical care devices such as dialysis, infusion therapy and ventilators are being used in hospitals by professionals and in patient's homes by minimally trained caregivers.
Devices that are implanted in patients such as heart valves or cochlear implants are meant to last for decades, so evaluations must go on for a longer periods of time.
Devices must be easy to use by patients and caregivers. Depending on the device and its application, this could be very difficult to accomplish.
Photo courtesy of www.fda.gov