Officials of the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) revealed that they implement their electronic health records (EHR) projects by March 2020 in their three Pacific Northwest sites. In May 2018, VA and Cerner signed a deal that would see the latter spearhead the aligning of the country’s largest health system with that of the Defense Department. VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization executive director John Windom said mapping of 22 domains of clinically important data were completed and about five billion records are waiting to be queued up and transferred. Congressmen present during the committee meeting with VA officials expressed concern over the cost and timeline of the project. Representative Debbie Wasserman of Florida commented that this effort started in 1998 and is concerned how it is still not resolved in 2019. Other lawmakers also expressed concern over the influence of some Mar-a-Lago Polo Club members on the VA.
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Patients might be overwhelmed with managing their own electronic health record, according to a healthcare chief information officer (CIO). The statement was made during a focus group on the future of patient-owned medical records. The main topic of the focus group centered on questions that appear in healthcare technology news sections including:
- How can providers be confident they get access to a complete and accurate record to ensure they make accurate medical decisions?
- Can organizations trust the information, and might it put providers at risk for medical errors?
The event also saw CIOs addressing other areas they would prioritize in 2019. In terms of cybersecurity, many expressed concerns over protecting patient data while earning their trust. They are also big on interoperability of medical data among healthcare organizations. Many expressed going beyond data exchange in terms of interoperability, and instead focusing on data consumption and the use of data in an effective way.
A survey sponsored by supply chain management vendor Syft found that many hospitals still manually manage their supply inventory. Common manual inventory practices include the use of spreadsheets instead of specialy-made tools for inventory management. Despite half of its respondents doing manual inventory management, many in the healthcare field proved that investment in supply chain management tools bring great return of investment. Some 86% of hospitals expressed that their investment led to improved care quality while 67% disclosed it improved their ability to deliver value-based care. Despite the findings, SCM vendors are stepping up their game to deliver more benefits to hospitals. May are exploring new technologies like artificial intelligence and how it can help complex supply chain environments.
Articificial intelligence will be used by Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine to improve screening of cardiovascular diseases. The pilot is using an Eko cardio monitoring platform that makes use of AI-enabled digital stethoscopes. The digital stethoscopes are capable of interpreting heart sounds, particularly heart murmurs and valvular damage. The technology makes use of not only AI but also machine learning. This combination helps the AI-enabled digital stethoscopes to better assess normal heart sounds from abnormal ones. Eko chief executive said heart murmurs is one of the most common things missed by health practitioners. He added that if detected early, treatment can be provided before complications arise. Northerwestern Medicine commented they decided to work with Ekon due to the simplicity and cost-effective manner it employs to identify different heart conditions.
Clearwater Cyber Intelligence Institute found endpoint data loss tops the vulnerability list affecting users in the healthcare field. The news comes as data breaches is becoming a norm in healthcare technology news. The Clearwater Cyber research listed several reasons following the findings:
- Laptops’ ports, like USB and Firewire, are difficult to lock down.
- Most laptops suffer from the capability to prevent data loss.
- Most laptop users store their data locally instead of utilizing their organization’s programs and via cloud computing.
Jon Stone of Clearwater Cyber said hospitals need to consider whether security measures they have adopted are enough to protect health data, and whether risk ratings they have adopted have the right level of protection the organization needs. The firm revealed that hospitals need to review user activity regularly. It is because a log aggregation and analysis program is capable of scanning across the enterprise for suspicious activity.
Artificial intelligence continues to headline healthcare technology news and is expected to play an essential role in improving healthcare. In radio imaging, the technology is expected to also bring several benefits, but is facing hurdles including the lack of related data to implement the technology. Key players are having difficulties in applying the technology in medical imaging due to the lack of data needed to train machine learning algorithm. AI diagnostic toolkits is one new product that incorporates AI. The solution is capable of detecting more than one health issue, in some cases in a single part of the body. Experts are also looking to integrate AI into mainstream radiology. Their main goal is to help radiologists manage their work time more effectively.