Industry Watch – April 2017

March 30, 2017

Tech Watch

Microsoft, partners combine cloud, AI, and research to focus on transforming healthcare

Microsoft believes technology—specifically the cloud, AI and collaboration, and business optimization tools—will be central to healthcare transformation. Healthcare NExT, a new initiative to transform healthcare, will deeply integrate greenfield research and health technology product development as well as establish a new model at Microsoft for strategic health industry partnerships. Through these collaborations between healthcare partners and Microsoft’s AI and Research organization, their goal is to enable a new wave of innovation using Microsoft’s AI expertise and global-scale cloud. This initiative includes investments in resources for partners to capture new opportunities to apply AI to healthcare, such as the Microsoft AI in Health Partner Alliance, an expanding group of partners focused on advancing health technology. Alliance members will receive training and access to Microsoft technologies, engineering expertise, and data sets.

The first planned strategic research partnership for Microsoft’s Healthcare NExT initiative is with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery networks in the United States. The $13 billion Pittsburgh-based system, comprising more than 25 hospitals, a 3 million-member health plan, and 3,600 physicians, will be a core partner in the efforts to improve healthcare delivery through a series of projects, beginning with a focus on transforming clinician empowerment and productivity.

Microsoft Office 365 Virtual Health Templates provide new functionality to connect people and providers through voice, video, and messaging in any interface or application powered by Skype for Business. The open source templates make it easy for industry partners, developers, and enterprises to build solutions to provide care wherever patients may be.

New services from their partner ecosystem, powered by the Microsoft cloud, help address business process challenges outside of the clinic. Available today is CGI ProperPay for claims analytics. ProperPay provides predictive analytics, rules management, and best practices for reducing healthcare claims fraud, waste, and abuse, a $450 billion-plus problem driving up healthcare costs around the globe. CGI ProperPay for claims analytics joins a growing number of business and engagement applications in the Microsoft AppSource catalog like Tribridge’s Health360 Care Coordination.
Source: Microsoft Blog


Telemedicine ambulance may deliver faster stroke care

When experiencing a stroke, people who are brought to the hospital in an ambulance with a CT scanner and telemedicine capabilities are evaluated and treated nearly two times faster than people taken in a regular ambulance, according to a study published in March in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
To improve treatment times, the Cleveland Clinic has created a mobile stroke treatment unit, an ambulance equipped with a mobile CT scanner and telemedicine technology. It was first used in the city of Cleveland in 2014. The medical team onboard includes a registered nurse, a paramedic, an emergency medical technician, and a CT technologist.

For the study, researchers compared the stroke care of the first 100 people transported by the mobile stroke unit to the stroke care of 53 people brought to the hospital by a regular ambulance in 2014. People in both groups had similar stroke severity.

Researchers found there was a significant reduction in the time from the initial call for help to getting a CT scan, an average of 33 minutes for those transported by the mobile stroke unit compared to 56 minutes for those transported by regular ambulance. Average time from the first call for help to receiving clot-busting drugs was 56 minutes compared to 94 minutes. Average time between arrival at a hospital to treatment with clot-busting drugs was 32 minutes compared to 58 minutes. Average time from the start of symptoms to receiving clot-busting drugs was 97 minutes compared to 123 minutes.

Of those evaluated in the mobile stroke unit, 16 people received clot-busting drugs and 25% of them received the drugs within an hour of the start of symptoms. Source: Newswise

Wearable IT

Consensus launches orthopedic post-surgical wearable device

Consensus Orthopedics, a joint reconstruction manufacturer, has entered into the orthopedic wearable devices market. TracPatch is a wearable device that remotely monitors a patient’s post-surgical activities by continuously sending activity data back to the healthcare provider, including range of motion, ambulation, exercise compliance, and wound site temperature trends. Healthcare providers will now have insight 24/7 into how a patient is recovering from total joint surgery, thus improving outcomes and reducing costs.

The first six weeks of at-home recovery after total joint surgery are critical for a positive outcome. Visibility into the patient’s at-home activity is nonexistent. This limited insight along with the emergence of value-based medicine, including programs such as Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement( CJR), signifies a new paradigm shift in cost control and responsibility for hospitals and surgeons. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is sending a clear message with CJR: They want hospitals and post-acute providers to partner and coordinate for a patient’s entire 90-day episode of care. Through an Internet of Things approach, TracPatch helps both the patient and healthcare provider coordinate care and accountability.

The TracPatch device is placed on the lower leg just below the joint line, using nonallergenic adhesive disposable pad.

This machine learning device optimizes the patient’s entire episode of care by enabling a proactive approach. Whether the recovery is going well or needs immediate attention, the healthcare provider can adjust the patient’s post-surgical activities and goals anytime to better facilitate and improve the patient’s recovery. The device transmits key post-surgical data points directly to a secure cloud-based platform where healthcare providers can track patient progress on the TracPatch mobile app or web dashboard. The TracPatch app features an intuitive interface for operation on any smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth technology. Source: Consensus


Empowering modern workspaces

Modern workspaces are moving toward open and flexible environments, but the need for collaboration must be balanced with the employees’ need to focus on individual tasks. Additionally, shared and open workspaces must not compromise safety. Lencore offers sound masking along with emergency notification solutions for modern workplaces to make them more productive and safe. Each installation consists of a head-end controller that networks with input sources like microphones, telephones, music systems, fire alarm systems, and public emergency notification systems, and output devices such as speakers, visual indicators, and paging horns distributed across the facility.

Sound masking involves the strategic placement of sound sources and unobtrusive “pink noise” to reduce distracting noises and increase privacy within a space. Currently, it is estimated that the healthcare segment makes up between 20% and 25% of the sound-masking industry and that sound-masking can help to reduce noise distractions by as much as 35% to 40% in any given space. Furthermore, sound-masking technology has evolved to allow the integration and zoning of paging and background music. Through proper design, a healthcare facility is able to get three systems in one. Source: Sierra Monitor Corporation


One in four U.S. consumers have had their healthcare data breached, Accenture survey reveals

One in four U.S. consumers (26%) has had personal medical information stolen from technology systems, according to results on a survey from Accenture released at HIMSS 2017.

The findings show that half (50%) of those who experienced a breach were victims of medical identity theft and had to pay approximately $2,500 in out-of-pocket costs per incident, on average.

In addition, the survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers found that the breaches were most likely to occur in hospitals—the location cited by more than one-third (36%) of respondents who experienced a breach—followed by urgent-care clinics (22%), pharmacies (22%), physician’s offices (21%), and health insurers (21%). Half (50%) of consumers who experienced a breach found out about it themselves, through noting an error on their credit card statement or benefits explanation, whereas only one-third (33%) were alerted to the breach by the organization where it occurred, and only about one in seven (15%) were alerted by a government agency.

Among those who experienced a breach, half (50%) were victims of medical identity theft. Most often, the stolen identity was used to purchase items (cited by 37% of data-breached respondents) or used for fraudulent activities, such as billing for care (37%) or filling prescriptions (26%). Nearly one-third of consumers had their social security number (3%), contact information (31%), or medical data (31%) compromised. Unlike credit-card identity theft, where the card provider generally has a legal responsibility for account holders’ losses above $50, victims of medical identity theft often have no automatic right to recover their losses.

Despite the myriad of breaches occurring, significantly more consumers still trust their healthcare provider (88%) and payer (82%) to keep their healthcare data secure than trust health technology companies (57%) or the government (56%) to do so. And while more than four in five consumers (82%) said they want to have at least some involvement in keeping their healthcare data secured, fewer than two-thirds (64%) said that they have such involvement today.

In response to the breach, nearly all (91%) of the consumers who were data-breach victims took some type of action. Some changed healthcare providers (cited by 25%), insurance plans (21%), or sought legal counsel (19%). Others took personal steps, such as changing login credentials (29%), subscribing to identity-protection services (24%), or adding security software to their computer (20%). Only 12% of data-breach victims reported the breach to the organization holding their data. Source: Accenture

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