Ford Motors has been working on some interesting technologies that the company is calling “mobile healthcare apps” for cars. These in-car health and wellness connectivity services and technologies are pretty interesting and have a lot of implication for how a PHR might be used in the future.
Since Bluetooth in the vehicle is now basically standard, the new things that Ford is introducing use that and some fun technologies and software to do a variety of health monitoring and other tasks. With Ford’s “infotainment” system on the dashboard, these can do basically what any smart phone can do. Couple this with cutting-edge in-vehicle tech and you have some great combos available.
Two reports from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the latest by the Office of the Inspector General, found “a lack of general security controls during prior audits at Medicare contractors, State Medical agencies, and hospitals.” Security is a big concern, of course, and something that all of us in the electronic health record industry take seriously. According to the OIG, some might be taking that a little more seriously than others.
The trouble with security, though, is that one man’s secure storage is another man’s easy pickins. IT security is a big field that has a lot of opinions on what is and what isn’t defined as “secure.” Another problem is with who’s doing the securing and how many are expected to (or not to) have access to the information being secured.
Mainstream medicine is finally acknowledging that the mobile smart phone revolution is entering medical care in a big way. While, until recently, many in the health care industry have been reluctant to embrace new electronic communications and storage solutions, the ubiquitous smart phone is entering the daily lives of doctors, nurses, and practitioners everywhere. Not to mention the lives of their patients.
With the smart phone’s wide adoption has come a flurry of applications for them to help people manage their health care. From our own app here at MedeFile to apps that remind people to take their medications, monitor glucose, watch for drowsy drivers, monitor the elderly for signs of problems, and more. Health-related apps have gone beyond fitness and dieting and entered the realm of medicine.
Mobile apps are making it possible for patients to seize their own health care and become responsible for it like never before. Gone are the excuses to doc about why they forgot their pills or how come they aren’t doing the exercises the physical therapist recommended. Now there’s an app for that.
For years.. more than a decade at least, the idea of having a paperless office, organization, or business has been a dream. As technology improves, less and less paper is being used for everyday business transactions. In health care, sadly, the march towards paperless has not been nearly as fast paced. While I mentioned a hospital in Canada that has gone nearly paperless for most of its day-to-day patient care requirements, that example is only one hospital. There are hundreds of thousands of hospitals worldwide who are still stuck in the 1960s in terms of paper usage.
Another hospital, however, has joined the near-paperless ranks. The Instituto Mediterraneo per I Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione (ISMETT) in Italy is not only one of the world’s leading transplant hospitals, but it’s now almost entirely paperless.
The Canadian government, beginning with the province of Alberta, will be allowing patients full access (via the Internet) to their patient records in the Canadian health care system. MyHealthAlberta, the first in a series of expected rollouts for electronic medical records (EMR) access, will open to the public later this year. The $33 million initiative is a personal health portal (PHP) access system for Canadians in the national healthcare system.
Patients will be able to both allow access to information, including personal health records (PHRs), information about wait times for specialists, and allow patients to input some personal health information as well. It is being designed to allow better access and information sharing between patients and physicians.
The first phase of MyHealthAlberta went online earlier this month and will see five phases of development. The site currently offers general health information on a variety of topics that have been vetted and approved by physicians in Canada. Wait time information is currently appearing as well, with more and more providers and clinics being included daily.