Innovation in health information technology

In our coverage of the healthcare industry this week, we turn to health information technology. This is always a fascinating area with so many applications. We asked our Zintro experts what they believe are the most innovative sectors of health information technology today and which companies are leading the way.

Milestones, a healthcare project manager, says that data stream technology and availability, such as automated checkout systems in grocery chains, hardware stores, and even renting DVDs, is a trend that is advancing into the healthcare world. “Step one has been gathering vast healthcare data that are held in the minds of healthcare providers and charting methods that keep providers in the loop on patient health. All of these data must be gathered in an efficient reproducible manner to accomplish the goal of automating healthcare,” says Milestones. “The current solution is electronic medical records. Companies that provide EMR solution are Epic, McKesson, Cerner, Allscripts, and GE Centricity. These EMR products need to standardize to become truly efficient between systems.”

An area that is showing real progress is the virtual eICU solution. “This solution combine a variety of data sources, including audio and video, into a remote command center allowing intensivist physicians and nurses to remotely watch over multiple ICU rooms at the same time,” says Milestones. “Using virtual ICU technologies allows smaller medical facilities to provide ICU level care without having expensive intensivists on staff.”

Milestones says that many companies will be involved in this transition, but at the center of integration and connectivity is Cisco. “A simple Google search on Cisco and healthcare will provide an interesting take on its view of the future. It makes sense that the leader in connect technologies together will play a key role in healthcare connectivity,” he says.

Mark Elliot, a 20-year veteran of the pharmacy sector of healthcare information technology, says that nearly all claims are processed in real-time with pharmacies receiving complete adjudication of member eligibility, drug utilization compliance, pricing, and/or alternative recommendations from healthcare payers in seconds. “Electronic prescribing is promoted by Medicare and Medicaid with incentives to physicians through government funds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” he says.

D Scher, MD, a consultant concentrating in business development for mobile health, says that the most innovative sectors in healthcare today involve companies and technologies that focus on making patients active participants in their own health care. “The reasons are obvious. Most chronic diseases are preventable and best managed when present with changes in lifestyles. Technology can do this with patient health record portal (PHR) in electronic health records (EHR) and with mobile technology,” says Scher. “PHR is the part of the EHR that is accessible to patients. It furnishes a summary of diagnoses, medications, allergies, and test results. It has educational online materials about diseases, medications, and procedures. A fully functional PHR is one of the key goals of Meaningful Use, the Federal regulatory requirements of EHRs.”

Scher says most of the larger EHR companies have some form of PHR. Mobile health, or mHealth, is the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices. The term is commonly used in reference to using mobile communication devices, such as mobile phones and PDAs for health services and information. “MHealth has been in use in underdeveloped countries for almost ten years. It is gaining momentum in the Western world because of physician shortages and the severe increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases,” notes Scher. “Technologies include Alivecor’s ECG recording, InnovateWireless Health’s multidirectional medication adherence tools, and HealthPAL’s data collection from blood pressure monitors, weight scales, and pulse oximeters.”

Our experts would love to hear from you!  Post your question for health information technology experts here.  Are you a subject matter expert?  Sign up as a Zintro expert to start generating free leads for your business.