Seven Times Tech Saved the Day in Healthcare

by | Nov 16, 2018 | Health Tech

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Healthcare is one of the largest and most complex industries in the United States. However, unlike other advanced industries, such as manufacturing and finance, we don’t often think of it as a “well oiled machine” – it’s often closer associated to a slow moving barge.

Part of the reason for this perception, we think, is that Healthcare organizations have a reputation for being laggards in technology adoption. While other industries have been propelled forward by cost saving and efficiency boosting platforms and processes, the relationship between Healthcare and Technology has remained somewhat contentious, due to rigorous security and HIPAA compliance requirements. However, while we’ve seen, and often written about, some examples of poorly designed technology in Healthcare, we still believe in the potential for technology to improve care, reduce costs, and enable a better system for all.

For that reason, we wanted to compile some of our favorite examples of technology that have advanced care, improved lives, and given us all hope for a better, more connected, more digital future for healthcare.

In no particular order, here are some of our favorites.

Health information exchanges prepare for patient displacement as Hurricane Michael gains steam

From the article: “As Hurricane Michael touched down on the Florida panhandle on Wednesday, health information exchanges (HIEs) in the surrounding states were readying their emergency plans to allow clinicians to access medical records for displaced patients.

Recent storms, including Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Irma in Puerto Rico and Florence in North Carolina, have helped HIEs refine their approach. In the days ahead of Michael, HIEs in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, the Carolinas, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma were coordinating a response to the storm. Thanks to prior partnerships, most of those states easily activated existing data exchange infrastructures in the days leading up to the storm.”

Why we love it: Even under normal circumstances, managing patient data is difficult. Adding the chaos brought on by extreme weather and dangerous conditions, managing that data and giving clinicians necessary information to make quick, well informed decisions, becomes even more daunting, but crucial. By learning from past experiences, these HIEs are taking some of the guess work out of disaster response – what better use for data and technology is there?

How Apple Watch Saved My Life

From the article: “I followed the app’s instructions. When I clicked on “Call a Doctor” I was immediately patched through, via telemedicine video call, to one of the Heart Study cardiologists — employed by American Well, a telemedicine company. We discussed the results.

While they could not be absolutely certain, there were indications I might have Atrial Fibrillation or “Afib”, which is a common form of heart arrhythmia that affects tens of millions of people.”

Why we love it: First – we love anything that blurs the line between consumer tech and healthtech. Bringing consumer devices, such as wearables, into the healthtech fold has the potential give doctors more data for better clinical decisions, while giving patients more access to the services they need. With heart disease being one of the leading causes of death in the United States, it’s important that we start using tech to detect early symptoms and prevent further damage. Additionally, this story speaks to a seamless integration of a few tech platforms – a wearable device, big data analytics and telemedicine – which is always a win in our book.

AI Powers Prediction Tool for Condition Associated with Bowel Disease

From the Article: “To address the shortcoming, the Mayo Clinic—along with researchers from the Norwegian Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Research Center—leveraged machine learning to analyze the available clinical data regarding patients with the disease and, in the process, discovered and validated a tool that predicts outcomes at five years.”

Why we love it: Despite years of training and clinical experience, some conditions still remain hard for clinicians to diagnose and provide an accurate prognosis. One such condition is primary sclerosing cholangitis, which is a progressive liver condition that can lead to serious liver damage. Recognizing that clinicians needed additional support, Mayo Clinic turned to Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics to assist with predicting a patient’s prognosis. Providing support to clinicians is the reason we’re in business – we’re glad organizations like Mayo Clinic are taking steps to make clinicians more effective.

World Mental Health Day: tech tackles anxiety and depression in the workplace

From the article: “The World Health Organisation estimates that between 35% and 50% of people in developed countries suffer from severe mental health problems, while between 76% and 85% of those living in developing countries receive no treatment for mental health conditions.
World Mental Health Day was created to focus on education, awareness and advocacy against the social stigma related to mental health conditions, as well as reflect on how much progress has been made. It is observed on 10 October and was created by the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992.”

Why we love it: With World Mental Health Day recently passing, we wanted to give a nod to technology fighting to change the stigma of mental health issues. We chose this article because it speaks to 5 applications that are taking different approaches to managing mental health in the workplace. With our goal of helping clinicians combat physician burnout, we understand the importance of feeling happy and fulfilled in the workplace. There is no shame in seeking help, and we’re happy that these app creators have made it easier to do so.

Boston Children’s Hospital investigating Alexa skills for doctors in the clinic

From the Article: “If you’re a parent who’s concerned about if your child is experiencing weird symptoms, you want to know that you are getting an answer that comes from Boston Children’s Hospital or some other [credible] source,” Devin Nadar, partnerships manager at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator, said this week at the Voice of Healthcare Summit at Harvard Medical School, Boston. “We saw an opportunity with KidsMD to be that trusted source of pediatric information.”

Why we love it: Alexa isn’t just for tracking your grocery list anymore! In every day life, there are hundreds of applications and devices that we use to make our home lives easier. We love this article because it proves that some of those devices originally built for convenience are potential game changers in the medical field. In addition to KidsMD, Boston Children’s Hospital is testing how voice activated technology can be used to assist in a clinical setting. We’re all for any consumer technology that will make medical practitioners lives easier.

Real-Time ADT, PDMP Alerts Support Population Health in Rhode Island

From the article: “The alerts, which are available to participating providers within ten minutes of a hospital-related event, is actively helping to reduce costs and improve care management across the state, said Darlene Morris, Senior Director of Development and Grants at the Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI), during a presentation at the annual AHIMA Convention and Exhibit in Miami this week.

‘More than 500,000 patients – half of the state’s population – have enrolled in CurrentCare, and access to the CurrentCare system and Care Management Alerts and Dashboard is available to all healthcare providers throughout the state,’ said Morris in a press release emailed to journalists.”

Why we love it: The rising costs of healthcare continues to be one of the industry’s biggest challenges. As demonstrated by this Rhode Island HIE, costs can be kept in check with better patient data. By providing existing patient data to hospitals when a patient is brought in, Rhode Island hospitals have decreased admissions by 19%, and seen a reduction in duplicated imaging requests – saving the state millions. Better care and reduced costs – that checks two major boxes for a HealthTech win!

PS – TrekIT can help bring HIE data to your clinician’s devices – contact us here to find out how.

Texas-based Children’s Health pilots Proteus’ ingestible sensor pills for heart transplant patients

From the Article:“Across specialities, patient adherence is a universal obstacle in treating patients. The American Heart Association estimates that medication non-adherence in patients with cardiovascular disease results in approximately 125,000 preventable deaths a year. The youth population is particularly impacted by this problem”

Why we love it: While these pills sound like technology from a futuristic Si-Fi movie, we think they’re a great example of using our powers of tech for good. Chronic conditions require patients to adhere to their medication regimen to keep symptoms or relapses at bay. However, in some patient populations (like adolescents) it can be difficult to ensure medication is taken consistently. With this technology, clinicians can remove barriers to medication adherence while also removing it as a potential cause for symptoms – creating a clear picture of the patient’s health.

After reading these examples, we hope you agree – technology in Healthcare can be extremely powerful. It has the potential to diagnose diseases more accurately, remove barriers to care, and reduce costs. However, that can only be achieved with technology that was designed well, and created to meet the unique needs of patients, clinicians and healthcare organizations.

While the goal of this article is to be an objective view of technology that we think is moving Healthcare forward, we would be remiss if we didn’t touch on how our own technology is helping clinicians on a daily basis. TrekIT provides clinicians with a collaborative, patient-centered workspace where they can create and share to-do items with their care team, write assessment and treatment plans, and view real-time labs and vitals pulled directly from the EHR directly on their mobile device – allowing them to spend less time on administrative tasks, and more time on patient care.

To learn more about TrekIT, contact us here.