Patient Data Collection Best Practices

 
  ILLUSTRATION:   ANASTASIA VASILAKIS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (  June 29, 2015)

ILLUSTRATION: ANASTASIA VASILAKIS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (June 29, 2015)

 

Patient engagement” has long been a rallying cry by patient advocates and many health care providers. The idea being that having your records will empower you through more accurate and transparent information sharing.

The capabilities exist now to significantly change the way health care providers respond to patient requests for information – one such tool being ImageInbox®.

Indeed, federal law gives people rights to obtain copies of electronic medical records from where they receive medical services.

A recent Wall Street Journal article titled “How to Take Charge of Your Medical Records” offers readers an overview of controlling patient medical records and suggestions for handling data, all towards becoming a more effective repository of important health information:

Demand it – As quoted in the WSJ piece, “Farzad Mostashari, a former federal official in charge of health-information technology who is also involved in the Get My Health Data campaign, tells a story about a… doctor [who] told him that now that he was giving his patients copies of their records, he heard from at least one each week about an error they had spotted. “He said, ‘I love it! It’s cheaper than a lawsuit.’

Organize it – Apps can make medical records available on smartphones and computers, like ImageInbox does with medical images to clearly display image results that are stored securely and in full diagnostic quality.

Share it – Having health information handy allows people to share data as they see fit, with healthcare providers and family members. All without waiting for a doctor’s office to get around to doing it. 

Protect it – Many apps are free because they sell your data so be sure to thoroughly read the privacy policies of any apps you choose. The good news is some apps take a 100% private data model approach to medical information, like NexGenic!

Patient-centered technology advancements in recent years have made big strides in digifying medical records at health care entities and expanding patient access to electronic records. Patient's having full access to their medical records makes sense in a multitude of ways – all of this does, after all, belong to that individual.

As Apple’s vice president for software technology is quoted in the WSJ article describing Apple HealthKit’s privacy policy as a model of protecting sensitive data, “It’s really putting the user in the driver’s seat with respect to how their information gets used.”

We agree that patients are ready to take the wheel and play a more central role in their healthcare decision-making. As a company we are excited to continue delivering innovative and essential mHealth tools like ImageInbox, while also ensuring patient privacy is protected and preserved.

Video: how to take charge of your medical data

www.radiologybusiness.com: InfoGraphic - 5 ways use your medical records fullest

AHRA 2015 and Eliminating CDs in Radiology Workflows

The recent AHRA annual meeting in Las Vegas was a great opportunity to speak with many thoughtful leaders in Radiology departments around the country.

The feedback from so many about their routine headaches with broken image-CDs confirmed that many in Radiology are fast realizing radiographic data exchange must eliminate CDs from the transfer equation in order to create safe, quick and reliable patient transitions.

Interestingly, its not just radiology departments that are realizing the importance of improving patient image exchange workflows. A recent report about image sharing by peer 60, and discussed in Radiology Business, identified orthopedics, trauma, cardiology, neurosurgery and neurology as other departments with great need for image sharing capabilities.

ImageInbox solves the common problem of rapidly exchanging images and eliminating CDs once and for all.  We’ve made it easy for our customers, whether Radiologists or sub-specialists, to get the functionality they need, without the unnecessary costs and long-term contracts they don’t.

Please contact us to learn how ImageInbox can securely connect your referring providers and patients with the diagnostic images they need, for free!

SIIM 2015 - Imaging Informatics Focus on Enterprise Imaging Exchange

NexGenic was proud to exhibit and participate in this year’s 2015 Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) annual meeting. Conference activities included hackathons, white board sessions, roundtables and presentations covering the latest trends, methodologies, and standards being developed and deployed in diagnostic imaging.

Every year SIIMs is attended by the worlds leading imaging informatics professionals and it was great to discuss with the attendee’s our ImageInbox solution for sharing images "as easy as email." In particular because the primary theme of SIIM 2015 was adopting enterprise imaging technology and policies regarding how to interface images and related information across the healthcare continuum.

Image sharing is central to discussions regarding enterprise imaging and many prominent institutions have responded to these new demands by using ImageInbox to meet HHS Meaningful Use requirements for image sharing.  Adding further consequence are new criteria put forth recently by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), requiring Level I and II trauma centers to have a mechanism in place utilize outside radiographic images from referring providers.

We at NexGenic are already seeing that one of the upsides in this trend towards adopting enterprise imaging solutions that enable networked communication is that it can elevate the radiologists consultative role and the strategic importance of radiology collaboration as the doctor’s doctor. Identifying with referring physicians and participating in patient care planning and best practices.

If we didn’t get to talk at SIIMs 2015, please contact us about using ImageInbox to meet your organizational workflow and regulatory requirements for secure image sharing, all with no upfront cost or obligations.

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Children's Hospital Los Angeles Announces ImageInbox Use in Pediatric Patient Care

CHLA_WeTreatKidsBetter

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), the best children’s hospital on the West Coast and among the top 5 children’s hospitals nationwide for clinical excellence, according to US News and World Reports, announced it’s implementation of ImageInbox®, NexGenic’s flagship software for patient medical record exchange.

The announcement (links below) highlights the patient benefits of controlling medical records, specifically diagnostic images, anytime and anywhere by using our ImageInbox smartphone app. The release focuses on one patient’s story from CHLA, as quoted below in the announcement:

Lee Daly’s daughter, Alexandra, was treated at CHLA for several years, where brain surgeons performed three craniotomies. The family later moved to Oregon where, at age 19, Alexandra exhibited mysterious symptoms that worried her family and new doctors.

Daly said that she found it nearly impossible to obtain her daughter’s early brain scans to share with the neurosurgeons at Oregon Health and Science University Medical Center, so they could compare the large mass they were now seeing on Alexandra’s tonsil with images of the brain-stem bleed she had experienced as a child. Facing exploratory surgery for her daughter, since OHSU were unable to compare their images to earlier ones, Daly reached out to Dr. Nelson and his team for help to quickly obtain Alexandra’s previous CT scans and MRIs from CHLA.

“We were one of the first families to use ImageInbox in an emergency situation, and it was an absolute life saver,” she said. Alexandra’s imaging records from CHLA showed doctors in Oregon that the mass they were seeing on their scans was actually an abscess that had been there for many years, and not a tumor.

“If we hadn’t been able to get these images quickly, my daughter would have faced unnecessary, invasive and potentially dangerous surgery,” Daly says.

She and Alexandra now have the imaging records stored on their personal cloud storage and accessible on their smartphones; the information is at their fingertips should they ever need it.

“I’m all for this and think we should all be the holders of our own medical records,” Lee said, adding that as people move, or even need medical assistance while traveling, “you just never know when an emergency will occur.”

ImageInbox addresses both the needs of patients for portable imaging records, images clearly being so important when consulting with doctors about the right decisions; as well as current US healthcare provider requirements for exchanging essential information between providers and importing image CDs rapidly to PACS.

Like CHLA, more and more providers are addressing modern patient needs and not relying on CD, but rather providing a free, digital, full diagnostic quality record to their patients.

Those that aren’t, please contact NexGenic to discuss how we can become your trusted partner in securely connecting your patients and referring providers to necessary diagnostic imaging records with our robust ImageInbox® software.

Original CHLA News Release Here: http://www.chla.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ipINKTOAJsG&b=7632571&ct=14685765&notoc=1#.VV5dQNNViko
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150518006749/en/#.VVu3GtNViko
Healthcare Management: https://healthmanagement.org/s/app-from-children-s-hospital-la-enables-image-sharing
mobihealthnews.com: http://mobihealthnews.com/43663/childrens-hospital-los-angeles-offers-patients-imaging-app/
Yahoo Finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/children-hospital-los-angeles-shares-211200780.html

12th Annual Brain Mapping Society Conference

This year's 2015 World Congress of The Society for Brain Mapping & Therapeutics included nearly 600 talks regarding the latest developments in clinical translational neuroscience.

With medical imaging vital to brain mapping advancements, NexGenic was proud to sponsor this growing community of scientists, neurosurgeons, physicians, and engineers.

 

NexGenic Co-founder Stephan Erberich, PhD, presented a talk entitled "Medical Image Communication in Research and Clinical Applications."

 

Another great presentation regarding the latest imaging technologies in Brain Tumors and Alzheimer's Disease was given by Prof. Keith L. Black, Founding Chairman of Neurosurgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center (View here: https://player.vimeo.com/video/121971614).

I believe their are plans to have all 600 talks from the 2015 World Congress available for viewing on the SBMT University Channel. Be sure to check them out, as learning from and discussing with the attendee's was fascinating.

The scientific brain mapping community is set to rapidly develop in the coming years with President Obama's ambitious 'BRAIN' initiative -- Creating 100's of millions of dollars in brain-related grant awards from five participating federal agencies (NIH, NSF, DARPA, FDA, IARPA)

As Dr. Kieth Black states at the very end of his talk above, "We are approaching a very exciting time, an inflection point...where research has the potential to make a real impact to treat the disorders that affect the human brain."

It's certainly an exciting moment to be participating in this burgeoning field of brain mapping! 

Stephan Erberich and Austin Aker SBMT
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Consumer Reports on Radiation Risks with Medical Images

Consumer Reports recent “investigation” covers a common topic we’ve featured on the NexGenic News Blog (Ex. 1, Ex. 2) regarding patient safety, and information for receiving a medical test involving ionizing radiation.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/video-hub/4013641777001/

An interesting aspect of the Consumer Report write-up is the description of personal examples where scanning patients inappropriately leads to further and further follow-up scans. These incidental findings are so common that doctors have established a name for such findings: incidentalomas.

The supporting research features an article titled “An Appeal for Safe and Appropriate Imaging of Children”, from September 2014 issue of the Journal of Patient Safety.

The Consumer Report investigation ends with 5 recommendations for Patients regarding managing their Radiation exposure from imaging tests – including assurance that the study will be read by a radiologist.

To conserve imaging expenses and control radiation exposure the investigation recommends patients avoid unnecessary repeat scans as follows:

The Institute of Medicine reports that $8 billion is spent annually on repeat testing, much of it unnecessary. That often happens because doctors may prefer to get a new test rather than look at a previous one. So let your doctor know if you recently had an imaging test.

 To track your scans, jot down the date, facility, and ordering physician in a journal. And ask for copies of your scans to be put on a CD so that you can show them to new doctors.

The only thing we’d add to the CR.org recommendation above is to use the ImageInbox® app and leave CD-ROMs back in the 90’s where they belong!

#XRayEfficiency #ImageExamEfficiency #ImageInbox

http://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Citation/2014/09000/An_Appeal_for_Safe_and_Appropriate_Imaging_of.1.aspx

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/01/the-surprising-dangers-of-ct-sans-and-x-rays/index.htm

 
 

Choosing Wisely: ASH Releases 2nd Annual Patient Best Practice List

American Society of Hematology

Last year the American Society of Hematology (ASH) published its inaugural Choosing Wisely® list, a set of five patient-friendly recommendations when considering disease management and treatment options. Last week at its annual conference in San Francisco, ASH again released another five recommendations for hematology patients and providers, bringing the total to 10.

Published in the journal Blood, 2 of the 10 evidence-based society recommendations deal with appropriate medical imaging usage and therefore will be relevant to some ImageInbox® users. 

These suggestions by ASH are important to help make wise decisions about the most appropriate care based on a persons' individual situation. Armed with this information, providers and patients can better discuss the cost vs. benefit of the medical intervention. Citing exposure of patients to small doses of radiation with inadequate clinical benefit, both recommendations by ASH are regarding CT scans for clinical observation. 

Suggestion 5:
Limit surveillance computed tomography (CT) scans in asymptomatic patients following curative-intent treatment for aggressive lymphoma.

Suggestion 8:
Don’t perform baseline or routine surveillance computed tomography (CT) scans in patients with asymptomatic, early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The Choosing Wisely ASH Task Force also cited how CT scans can detect incidental findings that are not clinically relevant, leading to unnecessary procedures and wasted healthcare system costs.  

According to their website, Choosing Wisely® is led by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation (ABIM) to support and engage physicians in being better stewards of finite health care resources.

Participating specialty societies are working with the ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports to share the lists widely with their members and convene discussions about the physician's role in helping patients make wise choices. 

Learn more at www.ChoosingWisely.org.

Important Info on Medical Scans for Patients

Most major treatment decisions in healthcare today are made using the added diagnostic value provided by medical scans.

Yet so often when a patient has a medical scan performed in one location, and then get’s referred to another outside healthcare provider, the imaging results are unavailable at the next point of care and a repeat medical scan occurs.

These duplicative tests create additional costs on the healthcare system, and just as importantly pose a safety issue as they can expose patients to unnecessary, harmful ionizing radiation.

ImageInbox eliminates these duplicative tests and ensures the full-resolution medical images are available for treatment decision-making.

A recent article by health.com covered in both ABC News and TIME magazine provides important information for patients to better understand medical imaging procedures, and the value of securely saving their medical images and reports with ImageInbox.

Advances in medical imaging scans, like computed tomography (CT), can “detect differences between normal and abnormal tissue about 1,000 times better than a traditional X-ray,” according to Richard Morin, PhD, professor of radiologic physics at the Mayo Clinic, as quoted in the article.

Because of this advanced ability for doctors to peer into the human body, imaging exams have become a medical necessity for diagnosing all various health problems. Important for patients to understand however, is that while the benefits almost always outweigh the risks, there is the potential for negative consequences with certain medical imaging tests.

As indicated by the article’s title, “The Hidden Dangers of Medical Scans,” some medical exams like X-rays, CT scans, and mammograms, use so-called ionizing radiation. This type of radiation has been well studied and over time shown to damage cells.

As the article states, “the actual danger to an individual receiving a scan (or even two or three) is relatively low.“ But that said there are guidelines for appropriate medical radiation use and the article finishes with -
5 Questions patients should ask before having a scan

As more and more patients are having medical scans performed, as evidenced by the 76 million CT scans performed in 2013 as compared to the 3 million performed in 1980, it is important for patients to have control over their imaging records to be informed when consulting with their doctors about the right decisions for them and their family members.

The critical issue of patient medical record portability

At NexGenic we regularly hear stories from ImageInbox users about the barriers they’ve experienced in getting copies of their diagnostic imaging records. The stories themselves are frustrating, but hopefully articles like this recent one in the NY Times will help bring much-needed attention to the problem of patient medical record mobility.

Titled, Medical Records: Top Secret, the author Elisabeth Rosenthal describes her experience following a patient who needed to get copies of their medical records. As she states, “Hospitals are computerized, and patients have a right to their own records, so I assumed getting the chart would be easy.”

The article goes on to summarize how even as the digitization of medical records becomes commonplace, it is still difficult for patients to gain access to their medical data. Even in our connected, digital age.

Most of these difficulties revolve around concerns about patient privacy as relates to HIPAA, a law enacted to protect patient confidential medical information and provide patient assurances for medical record security. As Harvard Law School professor I. Glenn Cohen is quoted in the NYT article, “You should be able to walk into a provider’s office and say, ‘I want a copy’ – you are legally entitled to that.”

Yet it’s not that easy, as the NYT article illustrates very well. What has resulted is a burdensome, sometimes costly process requiring patients to physically go to the hospital or clinic to retrieve their records.

As the author of the NYT article describes, despite numerous contacts with phone and email over six-weeks, it finally required the patient to actually visit the hospital and wait until they were physically provided to him.

This all-to-common occurrence where patients and caretakers must take time off work to physically go the hospital to get their records is a particularly frustrating situation to patients. What’s even worst, the problem of accessibility is not limited to patients –it’s also a problem for other healthcare providers.

The barriers to healthcare provider information exchange was described in another recent NY Times article from October, titled “Doctors Find Barriers to Sharing Digital Medical Records.” This article reviewed the various experiences of different healthcare providers’ who were not able to access their patient's digital medical records from other institutions even though they were using electronic medical charting.

Medical record exchange is important to patient care because as patients migrate from hospital to hospital, clinic to clinic, and office to office, they acquire mountains of diagnostic information.

Specifically where radiology imaging is concerned, because nobody can connect the various medical imaging studies, patients are subject to unnecessary radiation, magnetization, and uncomfortable, intimidating exam environments (arguably more damaging than radiation)  – all because nobody connects the dots.

ImageInbox solves this problem once and for all by addressing both the current healthcare provider requirements for exchanging imaging results and meeting security requirements, as well as the critical issue of patient medical record portability.

We hope more providers and patients will soon realize that overcoming the current barriers described in these two recent NYT articles is only a download away with ImageInbox!

For Patients, Knowledge is Power

     

 

 

An article in MedCityNews titled “For Patients, Knowledge is Power,” reviewed a recent address given by the former chief privacy officer for HHS, Joy Pritts. The article shares some of Ms. Pritts incredible insights on the movement toward more patient engagement in healthcare, and the proliferation of technologies being applied directly to this space.

As the former chief privacy officer for HHS, Ms. Pritts knows better than anyone the detailed, stringent policies regarding patient medical information disclosure under HIPAA. Additional recent policies to patient protections for electronic health records include California Assembly Bill 658. The bill’s stipulations add to HIPAA’s protection of personal medical information by establishing acceptable disclosure standards of confidential health information in mobile health apps (mHealth) in California.

And even while recognizing the many security and privacy requirements when handling medical data, former privacy officer Pritts explained that greater patient ownership over their own medical record is important for patients because “Knowledge is Power.”

In her address, she cited a temporary pilot program where 105 physicians from multiple hospital systems shared their notes electronically and securely with 19,000 patients. The study resulted in 99 percent of patients wanting to keep the information sharing program ongoing with their physicians.

According to this description, the study outcomes provided strong evidence for opening up information to patients as standard practice, which helps patients better understand their health and conditions.

We are excited that ImageInbox, which compresses, encrypts, and securely transfers diagnostic medical images (DICOM), enables patients to play a key role in bridging the information gap that exists in medical information communication. With ImageInbox, healthcare providers transparently share exam records and patients can securely store and share DICOM at a moments notice.

We agree with Ms. Pritts and all those recognizing that patient information exchange is truly powerful, and the time is now for patients to personally and privately manage their own electronic medical records.