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2019 Forecast: Amara's Law: Health Data, Gene Editing, and Artificial Intelligence

I have two predictions for 2019. One is that at the end of 2019 our healthcare system will still look a lot like it looks now. Oh, sure, we'll see some cool new technologies, some innovative start-ups, some surprising corporate pairings, some moves by Big Tech, and some promising clinical findings. But our healthcare system moves slowly, and many in it have strongly vested interests in the status quo. The second prediction is that, more than ever, Amara's Law still prevails. In case you don't know this "law," it is attributed to Roy Amara, who was President of the Institute for the Future, among other things, and goes like this...

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Bio-Linux: A Stable, Portable Scientific Research Linux Distribution

Bio-Linux was introduced and detailed in a Nature Biotechnology paper in July 2006. The distribution was a group effort by the Natural Environment Research Council in the UK. As the creators and authors point out, the analysis demands of high-throughput "-omic" (genomic, proteomic, metabolomic) science has necessitated the development of integrated computing solutions to analyze the resultant mountains of experimental data. From this need, Bio-Linux was born. The distribution, according to its creators, serves as a "free bioinformatics workstation platform that can be installed on anything from a laptop to a large server." The current distro version, Bio-Linux 8, is built on an Ubuntu 14.04 LTS base. Thus, the general look and feel of Bio-Linux is similar to that of Ubuntu.

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3 Emerging Tipping Points in Open Source

Over the last two decades, open source has been expanding into all aspects of technology-from software to hardware; from small, disruptive startups to large, boring enterprises; from open standards to open patents. As movements evolve, they reach tipping points-stages that move the model in new directions. Following are three things that I believe are now reaching a tipping point in open source. As the name suggests, the open source model has mainly been focused on the source code. On the surface, that's probably because open source communities are usually made up of developers working on the source code, and the tools used in open source projects, such as source control systems, issue trackers, mailing list names, chat channel names, etc., all assume that developers are the center of the universe.

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A Public Health Perspective on ONC's Strategy to Reduce Burden on Physicians

On November 28, 2018, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a draft Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs for public comment. The strategy aims to reduce the time and effort and improve the functionality of electronic health records (EHRs) for clinicians, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations. This strategy was developed primarily through the efforts of ONC-convened workgroups in response to requirements laid out by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act (Section 13103). The report itself does not identify who exactly served on these workgroups and what organizations were represented.

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j2 Cloud Services to Showcase Secure Cloud Fax Solutions at HIMSS 2019

j2 Cloud Services™, a world-leading provider of digital cloud fax solutions, will showcase its portfolio of "interoperable" secure cloud fax solutions, including eFax Corporate, Sfax and MyFax, at the 2019 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference & Exhibition. As a HIMSS Emerald member, eFax Corporate's presence at HIMSS is slated to be one of its strongest ever! The j2 Cloud Services portfolio of all-digital cloud fax solutions, including eFax Corporate, Sfax and MyFax, replaces the need for antiquated analog fax machines and paper-based faxing with an online document transfer service that is both secure and HIPAA compliant.

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Creating EHRs that Doctors Don't Hate

It may be difficult to recall now, what with the ongoing Cerner deployment and recent challenges that had little to do with technology, but there was a time when the Department of Veterans Affairs was considered the gold standard for healthcare IT. VA was out front with the initial development in the 1970s of the VistA system, which would come to be widely recognized and frequently honored. Indeed, when VA was overhauled in the 1990s, VistA was the primary tool that enabled the success of new policies. Without question, much of the effectiveness and durability of VA's VistA can be attributed to the way it was developed, specifically to the collaboration between technologists and clinicians that defined the process.

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Apple Watch Leaves Patients Connected with Nowhere To Go

The highly anticipated unveiling of the Apple Watch Series 4 caused a news and social media sensation. Apple coined the iconic timepiece as the "guardian of your health", with health tracking functionalities such as the ability to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib) by a self-performed electrocardiogram (ECG). But from patients' and carepartners' perspectives, there is a long road to a universally accessible, seamlessly implemented, mass-adoption, and meaningful use for this wearable technology...Unfortunately, the vast majority of concerns in the public domain haven't emphasized the risks to health due to poor implementation, integration, and adoption strategies of digital tools and wearables.

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The risks and rewards of IoT in healthcare

The Internet of Things (IoT) is taking the industries of the world by storm, and the healthcare sector is no exception. With 101 million IoT devices worldwide, the healthcare industry is becoming more connected by the day, and this figure is expected to increase by over 62% by 2020. As is always the case with new technology, the growing presence of IoT in the healthcare industry poses several threats to both patients and providers - but do the rewards outweigh the risks? Firstly, let's explore some of the key benefits that IOT can bring to healthcare:

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How are Clinical Decision Support Artifacts Tested Today?

In October 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a Natural Test Collaborative (NTC). Through a series of questions, the RFI seeks opinions and information about "The development of a national testbed (notionally called the National Test Collaborative (NTC)) for real-world testing of health information technology (IT)" and "Approaches for creating a sustainable infrastructure" to achieve it. The scope of this RFI is daunting. It might be useful, rather than to try to tackle this whole topic broadly but superficially, to take just one Clinical Decision Support (CDS) domain and show as completely as possible how testing is currently done.

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The Microsoft Empire Strikes Back: Makes Major Inroads into Healthcare

It seems deeply ironic that a week after I wrote about how even giant companies eventually get surpassed, I'm writing about the resurgence of one such giant, Microsoft. Last week Microsoft won back the title of world's most valuable company (as measured by market cap), passing Apple. Apple had that distinction since 2012; Microsoft hasn't had it since 2002. Admittedly, Microsoft was only able to pass Apple because a recent tech stock downturn dropped Apple from its record trillion-dollar valuation, and, as of this writing, Apple has pulled back in front again, but the fact that it is a race again says a lot about Microsoft.

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