Thursday, August 25, 2016

Do Efforts to Expand Digitally in Healthcare Compromise Patients' Confidentiality?

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Over the past few decades, the world has seen a dramatic rise in the use of technology. With these changes, sharing of information has also changed as, individuals are more likely to share and seek information through social media avenues, apps, or wearable devices. Though the business world was quick to adapt to these changes, the healthcare industry is just beginning to integrate technology into day-to-day tasks. Healthcare providers have had to make big changes to allow for this transition.

As the interest in digital health grows, many experts have started to ask whether patient confidentiality is at risk. For example, in 2011, Tricare, a company providing civilian healthcare benefits to military personnel, announced that a data breach had occurred involving personally identifiable electronic health records of nearly 5 million patients. According to Kaiser Health News, approximately nine similar cases occurred in the United States involving data of over 10 million patients between 2009 and 2012. Some of these breaches were a result of lost data or computer theft while others were a result of hacking. These cases caused an outrage in the health world, highlighting the flaws that exist when it comes to digitization of health data. 


Does this mean that efforts to expand digitally compromises patient confidentiality? Deven McGraw, director of the health privacy project at the Center for Democracy & Technology, does not think that it does. Truth is that the health industry has been slow to respond to these health privacy violations. In 2010, a Howard University Hospital technician downloaded patient information on to a personal laptop, acting against the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA . In an unrelated event, this laptop was then stolen from the medical technician’s car and 34,000 patients were notified that their medical data had been compromised. According to McGraw, this case and many other similar cases could have been easily avoided using encryption. Encryption is the transforming of data into a form that cannot be easily understood by a third party and can only be read with the use of a password. If patient data were encrypted, information of 34,000 patients would not have been at risk.


Since the beginning of digital expansion in healthcare, there have been a significant number of patient confidentiality breaches in the United States. These breaches however could have been avoided. It is important that the healthcare industry learns from other industries that have already undergone complete digital expansion. It is also important to note that the risk can never be completely eliminated, however, it can be diminished to a great degree. The healthcare industry needs to use its resources to protect patient data present in the digital world.




Related Posts: 
New Technologies Transforming the World of Healthcare
Differentiating Strategies in Healthcare to Separate Yourself from the Competition
Igniting Biotech Innovation in Neurodegenerative Disorders
3 Types of Services Physician Can Use to Grow Their Private Practice

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About the Author:
Rida Haider is a student specializing in Radiation Therapy and Oncology. She is passionate about digital innovation in healthcare and aims to bridge the gap between healthcare, business, and technology. For more about Rida, check out her blog.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Effective Primary Care Can Enhance Disease Prevention

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Research has demonstrated the important role of effective primary care in illness prevention and earlier – and less costly – disease interventions. This certainly applies to chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and mental illness, which drive more than 85% of healthcare cost.  Though in the US there are currently proportionally fewer primary care physicians than other industrialized nations, and patients visit their primary care physician less frequently than in other countries, primary care must play a key role in the successful expansion of healthcare coverage.  Strong primary care has been shown to increase medication adherence, reduce hospitalizations, and improve hard metrics such as cholesterol and HgbA1C.
 
While primary care physicians often are drawn to their work because they view helping people as a calling, the reality of their world today is less than idyllic. Primary care physicians today must navigate an increasingly complex and administratively burdensome environment, with shrinking decision autonomy. They are also being held accountable to a set of measures around quality and outcomes, with an ever-greater load of patients who are suffering from higher rates of chronic illness.
In the face of these challenges, the primary care market remains an important one for the pharmaceutical industry. More than half of US patient visits are to primary care physicians. Serving PCPs well, however, requires new forms of engagement, including:

  •  New means for listening to PCPs and understanding their varied needs and preferences;
  • A multi-channel approach to engagement, information sharing and education that is easy to navigate on-demand;
  •  A focus on sharing real-world evidence and research that will help them in their quest to deliver measurable patient outcomes;
  •  A “total account” approach, where we understand and interact with the entire physician practice, providing information to support NPs and PAs, and also helping the back office to eliminate unnecessary administrative burden, and;
  •  Equipping patients with appropriate information and education to have better dialogues with their health care professionals.

Takeda and our partners have taken a number of creative approaches to addressing these challenges, and to adapting to the evolving needs of primary care. Takeda’s US President, Ramona Sequeira, will share some key insights and innovative examples from Takeda’s journey to continue to effectively serve this important market.

About the Author:
Ramona Sequeira, President, Takeda Pharmaceuticals (United States Business Unit), is responsible for the company’s commercial operations in the U.S. With almost thirty years of experience in the field, she serves as a member of Takeda’s Executive Team.

http://bit.ly/2bkhPpg

Ramona Sequeira will also be speaking at this year's annual PSA: The Pharmaceutical Strategy Conference in New York City. Want to hear what else Ramona has to say about effective primary care and preventative measures? Register for the event!

For $100 off use discount code: PCON16BLOG

Related Posts: 
New Technologies Transforming the World of Healthcare
Differentiating Strategies in Healthcare to Separate Yourself from the Competition
Igniting Biotech Innovation in Neurodegenerative Disorders
3 Types of Services Physician Can Use to Grow Their Private Practice

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

New Technologies that Are Transforming the World of Healthcare

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There is one thing that is certain about modern civilization, technology is always advancing and evolving. This is certainly true of the medical world. Millions of dollars are put into medical research every year. Much of that research is bearing fruit in the form of new and exciting medical technology.

As medical tech improves, so will the lives of people. With this in mind, here is a look at some new medical technologies that are taking the world by storm.


3D Printing 
One technology that has certainly made an impact recently is 3D printing. According to statistics, it's predicted that the 3D printing industry will grow to the size of $21 billion in sales by the year 2020. It’s easy to understand why. 3D printing gives nearly anyone the ability to create 3D shapes out of different materials with pinpoint accuracy in a very short amount of time. 

The prospects for application of 3D printing into the world of healthcare are great indeed. Currently, a lot of research is being made towards this end. Researchers believe with the combination of DNA that 3D printing tech may someday be able to create organ replacements.


The use of 3D printing to create bone replacements is also being explored. The printed bone would be made of a strong bone like substance that combines calcium, silicon and zinc. Once placed at the site of a fracture, real bone would grow around it. Eventually the printed bone dissipates, leaving only real bone in its place. The process has in fact been successful in clinical trials with rabbits.


Human Powered Pacemakers
According to the Circulation Medical Journal, three million people use pacemakers to help regulate their heartbeat. While the pacemaker is an amazing technological feat, it does have its limits. A pacemaker typically only has enough energy to last for seven years in the human body. At that point, it must be replaced via a risky and costly surgery.


However, the need for such a surgery may end in the near future thanks to new pacemaker technology. Instead, new technology that has the ability to create electricity from the heart’s own movements may be used instead. That way, the power source for the pacemaker will not extinguish as long as a patient is alive.


Digital Medical Imaging Management
In the past, medical records, including things like x-rays, had to exist as physical documents that had to be stored in bulky filing cabinets. Today, all medical imaging is created digitally. While this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, the use of digital medical imaging has allowed for the emergence of something known as enterprise imaging technology.


This new tech aims to take advantage of the availability of digital imaging and computer networks to create a much more standardized process for acquiring, storing, managing and accessing medical images. This technology seeks to better unify a patient’s medical imagery within an organization so that multiple doctors and healthcare professionals can have easier access to the images. Medical care is certain to improve as a result.


A Digital Solution to Paralysis
Unfortunately, many people become disabled after injuries or disease destroys the nerve tissue that allows body parts to communicate with the brain. However, advancements in medical technology may soon provide a solution for people who have become paralyzed. Computer chips may be able to act as a replacement for damaged nerve endings.


The computer chip would interpret how a person wishes to use a body part. It would then send the appropriate signal from the brain to the body part to initiate movement. Preliminary tests with the technology have allowed a paralyzed man to regain some movement in his hand.


Technology is improving at a blinding pace. This is also the case for medical technology. As new medical tech is introduced, people will live longer more pain free lives. The future is bright with possibilities.

Related Posts:
Differentiating Strategies in Healthcare to Separate Yourself from the Competition
Igniting Biotech Innovation in Neurodegenerative Disorders
3 Types of Services Physician Can Use to Grow Their Private Practice
Healthcare Marketing: Adapting in the Digital Age

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About the author
Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America. You can follow Greg here.