Feature Articles

MOTECH: How An Open Source SMS Medical Platform Is Improving Patient Engagement and Reaching Underserved Populations in Developing Nations

Implementation of the MOTECH Suite is spreading rapidly among government health services and humanitarian organizations that address the health of potentially vulnerable or at-risk populations across the globe. As an open source solution, MOTECH affords a number of advantages for health services, particularly in low resource areas of the world. Organizations or individuals who work with software solutions to healthcare-related humanitarian issues will need to know what MOTECH is, how it works, and how it might be used to improve the health of various populations...

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OpenMRS Conference in Uganda Redefines Global Health IT Collaboration

Hundreds of developers and health experts gathered in Uganda this past December to attend the OpenMRS Implementers conference. This event has in many ways redefined the global health IT landscape. This is the first OpenMRS conference that has been officially sponsored by the government of a nation, setting the stage for future conferences that can bring together open source developers and government officials to build national health IT solutions. Read More »

South Carolina Awards BIS Contract: the First Multimillion-Dollar Opportunity of Many

On December 30th, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) indicated its intent to award the SAS institute with a substantial contract to furnish a new Business Intelligence System (BIS). The contract, finalized on January 10th, represents a $45 million dollar, seven-year commitment on behalf of South Carolina. Other bidders on the contract included Truven Health Analytics, Deloitte, Optum, and Elder Research. James Samimi-Farr. This business intelligence platform constitutes part of South Carolina’s overall Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) replacement project.

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Wyoming Is Taking Medicaid to the Cloud

Over the past decade the state of Wyoming has become a national leader in migrating state government services into the cloud. A large and beautiful state, roughly the size of New England, Wyoming has a population of less than 600,000. With such a sparse population and tax base, the state decided to invest its IT budget in cloud-based services. Wyoming was the first state to roll out Google Apps for Government. It is using NEOGOV for human resources management, and it is studying Salesforce.com for use as a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

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A Discussion of Medicaid’s $5 Billion/Year IT Infrastructure Transformation

CMS provides funding to the tune of 5 billion dollars per year to support the Medicaid information technology platforms run by the states. In December 2015, CMS issued a final rule, Mechanized Claims Processing and Information Retrieval Systems (90%  Federal/10% State), to assist states to update Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS) in over 20 states. These changes will allow states to improve customer service and support the dynamic nature of Medicaid eligibility, enrollment, and delivery systems. Also within this rule was language directing the Medicaid Enterprise towards an open, modular architecture.

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Will “Digital Fingerprint” Forensics Thwart the Data Thieves Lurking in Hospital EHR Corridors?

As Halloween approaches, the usual spate of horror movies will intrigue audiences across the US, replete with slashers named Jason or Freddie running amuck in the corridors of all too easily accessible hospitals. They grab a hospital gown and the zombies fit right in.  While this is just a movie you can turn off, the real horror of patient data theft can follow you...Unfortunately, this horror movie scenario is similar to how data thefts often occur at medical facilities. In 2015, the healthcare industry was one of the top three hardest hit industries with serious data breaches and major attacks, along with government and manufacturers. Packed with a wealth of exploitable information such as credit card data, email addresses, Social Security numbers, employment information and medical history records, much of which will remain valid for years, if not decades and fetch a high price on the black market.

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VistA is Going Places, and Also Staying Put

The Veterans Health Administration's hospital software, VistA, is a computing legend. Few pieces of software have become the subject of a popular book (Best Care Anywhere), won repeated awards for their usability, or been credited with a 180-degree turn-around in an organization's quality. But VistA is getting long in the tooth, and many--including now the VA itself--are questioning whether it's time for something new.The speculations aren't just about VistA. They extend to all health care software of that generation, including the industry's leading electroinc health record (EHR) system--Epic--and the venerable Intermountain Healthcare.

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Is the Technology Gap the Reason Why Medical Errors are the 3rd Leading Cause of Death in the US?

Hardly a day goes by without some new revelation of an information technology (IT) mess in the United States that seems like an endless round of the old radio show joke contest, “Can You Top This” except that increasingly the joke is on us. From nuclear weapons updated with floppy disks, to critical financial systems in the Department of the Treasury that run on assembler language code (a computer language initially used in the 1950s and typically tied to the hardware for which it was developed), to medical systems that cannot exchange patient records leading to a large number of needless deaths from medical errors.

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Plug and Play Healthcare: Open Middleware and the Emergence of a Functional Interoperability Framework

“A middleware architecture has been shown to be the best technological solution for addressing the problem of EHR interoperability. The middleware platform facilitates the transparent, yet secure, access of patient health data, directly from the various databases where it is stored. A server-based middleware framework supporting access to the various patient health data stores allows for a scalable, unified and standardized platform for applications to be developed upon.  The middleware architectural design has been successfully used to link data from multiple databases, irrespective to the database platform or where the database is located,” says Voltz. Read More »

Ripple: Making Waves in Healthcare IT

The Ripple Program, based out of Leeds and building upon the lessons learned from the Leeds Care Record, has recently been set up to positively disrupt health and social care towards those ends. Importantly the ethos of “open” is at the heart of the work and for very good reason. It is clear that interoperability between Health IT systems will drive real change but, what is even clearer is that only an open source approach will positively disrupt this health and social care landscape across the NHS and across the globe. Funded by NHS England and hosted by Leeds City Council, the focus of Ripple is to support health and social care organizations by providing six open source elements which can be used individually, in combination or as a whole, and are consistent patterns of need when embarking on an work towards healthcare improvement with information technology.

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Adrian Gropper Calls for "HIE of One" to Protect Patient Privacy

Leonard Kish talks with patient privacy advocate and expert, Dr. Adrian Gropper, about his work in providing better patient control over their health data and the role of agency, identity and existing internet tools to fulfill better patient control. Dr. Gropper's take on The Pledge for interoperability and patient access: it's a deflection to try to skirt around government action. According to Gropper, who was interviewed during the HIMSS16 conference, the patients' right of consent around their data has been seen as too risky, but the converse is now that there is zero accountability and massive amounts of data are being sold on the black market.

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Shahid Shah Predicts CMS Value-Based Payments Will Drive Adoption of Open Source in Health IT

Shahid Shah, the CEO of Netspective, is one of the most knowledgeable healthIT voices in the world, and he's also is optimist when it comes to open source in health care. Leonard Kish talked with Shahid about open source in health care and where it's headed in the hallways at HIMSS16. Shahid believes open source is just picking up steam because open source is about building connections and driving middleware. That's just the place that healthcare is at at the moment.

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A Primer on the Open Source Movement from a Health Care Perspective

Open source, in myriad forms, has emerged as a significant development model that drives both innovation and technological dispersion. Ignore it at your peril, as did the major computer companies destroyed or totally remade by Linux and free software, or encyclopedia publishers by Wikipedia, or journalists and marketers by social media. The term "open source" was associated first with free software, but it goes far beyond software now. People around the world use open hardware, demand open government, share open data, and--yes--pursue open health. The field of health, in particular, will be transformed by open source principles in software, in research, in consultations and telemedicine, and in the various forms of data sharing all these processes call for.

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The Patient-Data Pipeline: The Missing Juncture of Flow and Connectivity in Healthcare IT Systems

Part of today’s complexity in healthcare stems from the way our healthcare IT systems have emerged. There are multiple entry points for patients into the healthcare system, from a relationship with a primary care physician to the sporadic, disconnected and random interaction with emergency departments, urgent care and wellness clinics. Based on current technology and the overall nature of the beast, it is highly doubtful that a single point of entry into the healthcare delivery system will ever occur and is actually less important than the quality and cost of the care delivered.  The key is the understanding of how patients’ data flows through healthcare IT systems and building an infrastructure that optimizes that flow of data and information.

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Overview of Major eClinical Trends and Clinical Research

Clinical research is well on its way to transforming its paper-driven model to an all things electronic format. During the past year, the clinical trial industry has made considerable progress in adopting technology as a way to streamline data collection, transmission, and monitoring. This article focuses on the top eClinical trends of 2015 and beyond. Among the latest developments- adoption rates are higher for electronic data capture (EDC), electronic source data (eSource), and eClinical integration, as the focus is now on capturing real-time data as a continuous stream. These trends are partially the result of high-tech devices, sensors and wearables entering the clinical trial industry, as well as the FDA embracing technology and opening up a dialogue with experts on how to best channel this revolution in order to advance clinical research.

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