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What Will Be the Impact of COVID-19 on the Next Wave of Health IT Innovation?

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The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of all kinds of healthcare information technology, from telehealth to artificial intelligence. As a result, the opportunities that exist for health IT companies are massive.

Crunchbase estimates that healthcare technology companies have raised a record-breaking $36.6 billion globally from 2020 through October 2021. That sizable mountain of cash offers myriad opportunities for innovation in 2022 and beyond.

To get an idea of what this future may hold, Healthcare IT News interviewed Sebastian Seiguer, CEO of the Johns Hopkins-backed health IT company emocha Health. Sebastian discusses how the pandemic has reinforced the need for AI and machine learning technology to help improve patient and clinical outcomes, how health IT can help address the challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system and help mitigate revenue loss, and the top innovation opportunities that exist for health IT companies.

Q. How has the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the need for artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, moving into 2022, with the goal of improving patient and clinical outcomes?

A. While advanced AI applications hold great promise for healthcare, we currently lack the giant datasets and the granularity of data to go beyond fairly simple algorithms and truly improve outcomes.

At the simplest level, AI refers to training machines to act like humans, automating routine tasks such as coding claims or scheduling appointments. Today, AI in healthcare is most commonly used to automate tasks such as call center routing or appointment scheduling.

AI-powered chatbots are a perfect example – these are glorified decision-tree frameworks in a chat window, in content not much different than the automated computer-voice decision tree we experience when calling into large companies or government agencies.

There are at least two reasons why we lack the needed data sets to fulfill the promise of AI in healthcare. First, much of our healthcare data is siloed between providers’ offices, health insurers, laboratories and other locations. Each locale collects patient data, but the data sets don’t talk to each other.

And second, so much of what influences health takes place outside of healthcare settings, where patients live, work and play. Today there’s a huge push to integrate social determinants of health data into these larger datasets, but we remain in a situation where that data is either not collected or too general to be useful. This is not an adequate basis for meaningful machine learning.

We know, for example, that half of patients don’t take their medications as prescribed. This leads to death and preventable hospitalizations, among other terrible outcomes.

Yet we don’t employ the data systems and technologies to track the exact causes and cadences of medication non-adherence. Until we can pinpoint the reasons behind non-adherence on a dose-by-dose basis, we won’t be able to create predictive algorithms to help us intervene effectively.

The good news, though, is that activity in this area is exploding. COVID-19 pushed us to digitize healthcare interactions and federal rules are requiring that datasets adhere to standards that allow for integration. These trends point to exponential growth in both the size and granularity of our datasets, allowing healthcare data scientists to begin to train the models needed to truly realize the potential for AI to impact clinical outcomes.

Q. There are some predictions that health systems may suffer revenue loss in 2022. How can health IT help mitigate such loss?

A. Health systems are at a crossroads. During the early days of the pandemic, they rapidly adopted virtual care models – telehealth and e-consults – and patients adapted. Now, with increasing vaccination, some patients are coming back to in-person visits, but the volume is far less than pre-pandemic levels – and is likely to remain low through 2022.

The solution is for health systems to adapt to and further extend virtual care models. More types of virtual care are now reimbursable thanks to new rules created by CMS.

For instance, by recently approving a new set of reimbursement codes for remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM), CMS has made it possible for health systems to get paid for a wide range of virtual therapeutic encounters. By embracing a hybrid model of in-person and remote care, health systems with employed providers may be able to make up some of their projected lost revenue.

Q. What are a couple of the top innovation opportunities for health IT in 2022?

A. This is a huge question, as health IT touches all parts of the U.S. healthcare ecosystem: payers, providers, researchers, life sciences, etc.

My company is mainly concerned with one dynamic in particular: how relevant healthcare technologies can be combined with human engagement and scaled so virtual care can also improve clinical care and complete the consumer experience.

The first wave of innovation in that space involved allowing providers to communicate with patients via chat, video, photo-uploads and texting. Those abilities have now become standard fare – patients expect them, and all providers will have to offer them.

The next wave is the dawn of digital-first clinics with a primary care focus, while offering certain specialties – such as physical therapy, cardiology, maternity or behavioral health. These providers are interacting with patients in a mix of bricks-and-mortar and virtual care models.

Another emerging opportunity lies in RTM. Built into the 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, RTM codes encompass a broad set of virtual patient care services, including the digital collection and monitoring of medication adherence and “therapy response” data as well as the delivery of “treatment management services.”

RTM also provides reimbursement mechanisms for digital programs that help patients follow “doctor’s orders” in between appointments – including taking medication properly.

Q. What will the next wave of health IT-fueled consumer innovation look like in 2022 and beyond?

A. COVID-19 showed us that providers and patients alike are capable of embracing new digital modalities. Now these interaction formats are becoming normalized and commoditized. Into 2022 and beyond, the implementation, adoption and integration of digital and virtual care across different populations and use-cases will keep expanding.

As healthcare delivery becomes more location-agnostic, consumers will likely expect their healthcare experiences to look and feel more like other online experiences but with greater privacy, and the opportunity for personal connection.

As healthcare leaders, our challenge will be to assure that we integrate in-person and virtual care without sacrificing healthcare outcomes and while continuing to improve patient engagement.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bsiwicki@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

What the uptick in interest and usage of digital health will mean for the future of healthcare and what to expect in 2022 for the industry.

Original Post: healthcareitnews.com

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Health Care

Singapore’s Public Health System Rolling Out the Clinician’s ZEDOC Platform

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Singapore’s health tech agency Integrated Health Information Systems has partnered with Auckland-headquartered digital health firm The Clinician to deploy a patient-reported outcome and experience measures platform across the island state’s public healthcare system.

WHAT IT’S FOR

The Clinician’s ZEDOC platform, the company describes, assists healthcare providers in managing patient-generated health data outside the hospital through digitisation. Integrated with HIS, the system supports timely exchange of health data and information between providers and patients, including subjective PROMs and PREMs, objective wearable device data, and other communication or educational materials. By streamlining the digital collection of critical health data, ZEDOC is able to render real-time, actionable information crucial for improving health outcomes and experiences.

The partners are working on multiple ZEDOC integrations with existing health information systems (HIS). A privacy-preserving hybrid infrastructure has been implemented which ensures that all personally identifiable information stays within the IHiS’s private health cloud while all anonymised health data are collected through a secure commercial cloud platform.

WHY IT MATTERS

Singapore intends to measure and improve health outcomes and patient experience with the rollout of The Clinician’s ZEDOC platform. Their partnership will “bolster patient engagement and enable clinicians to more effectively assess patients’ health status before, during and after receiving a health service – closing the loop when they are outside the hospital,” said The Clinician CEO Dr Ron Tenenbaum. It will also allow providers to deliver “more holistic and personalised care for patients by taking into account their perspectives for the first time,” he added.

To demonstrate the benefit of routine collection and analysis of PROMs, The Clinician shared that this has resulted in over 50% reduction in 90-day complications for hip and knee surgery patients in one study and a five-month improvement in the survival of cancer patients in another.

Among benefits for care providers, the ZEDOC integration will replace existing paper-based forms with an integrated digital platform that automates data capture, as well as benchmark outcomes across providers to reduce variability and waste. For patients, they can become more involved in the treatment decision-making and be informed early of health risks and warning signs.

THE LARGER TREND

Last month, Cabrini Health and The Alfred, two of the largest healthcare providers in the Australian state of Victoria, deployed the ZEDOC platform to automate the collection and analysis of health data from colorectal cancer patients. The installation is said to adhere to the colorectal cancer standards outlined by the International Consortium of Health Outcomes Measurement.

Original Post: healthcareitnews.com

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Health Care

EU Analysis Highlights Digital Health Lessons From COVID-19

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An EU analysis has outlined the effect of COVID-19 on healthcare systems in Europe and the role of digital innovation in building their resilience.

Experts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Observatory have published a set of 29 country health profiles, covering all EU member states, as well as Iceland and Norway. A companion report also highlights a selection of cross-country trends.

Speaking at a virtual launch event on Monday (13 December), Josep Figueras, director, European Observatory, highlighted two main lessons learnt from the use of technology in the pandemic.

Using telemedicine as an example of digital health innovation, he said the number of teleconsultations had increased in all EU countries during 2020. However in some countries, such as France, teleconsultations had decreased when lockdowns ended.

“The key issue here is how we harness and sustain innovation – how we make sure that these improvements in the use of telemedicine (as an illustration of the use of other digital technologies) can be maintained and sustained to increase the effectiveness of the health system,” Figueras said.

He also highlighted that the technology for telemedicine and other innovations was already available in many European countries before the pandemic but was not being used.

Figueras asked: “What did we do within the pandemic that literally within a couple of weeks, we got all this telemedicine in place?”

To sustain the use of telemedicine and other health technologies, he said it was important to look at the regulatory measures, financial incentives, training and changes in culture needed.

“Something the pandemic has taught us loudly and clearly is the importance of digital innovation – not only the new technologies, but the ability to implement them,” Figueras added.

WHY IT MATTERS

The State of Health in the EU cycle is a two-year process initiated by the European Commission in 2016, designed to improve country-specific and EU-wide knowledge in healthcare.

It aims to gather data and in-depth analyses on health systems and make the information accessible to policy makers and stakeholders.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

During the pandemic, digital tools have been used in the EU to boost public health measures such as the implementation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, vaccination booking systems, and cross-border interoperability for contact-tracing apps.

There has also been investment in EU-wide COVID recovery initiatives such as the EU4Health programme.

ON THE RECORD

Maya Matthews, head of unit performance, European Commission said: “COVID-19 illuminated the fact that in many European countries we do not have a strong public health system. We cannot do testing and tracing. Even surveillance is done sometimes in a very fragmented fashion.

“I think if one thing comes out of COVID-19, it’s to say that public health matters – that public health is a very important part of health systems and has not really received the attention it deserves.”

Source Here: healthcareitnews.com

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Health Care

Clinical Messaging Platform Hospify to Close, Bupa Arabia Invests in Global Ventures, and More News Briefs

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Clinical messaging platform Hospify to close

British healthtech startup Hospify has announced it will close its secure clinical messaging platform on 31 January 2021.

Hospify said it suffered a decline in demand after the government suspended the UK 2018 Data Protection Act in relation to healthcare last year for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also cited difficulties caused by “post-Brexit uncertainties surrounding the future of the UK’s data adequacy agreement with the EU”.

A statement from the Hospify team says: “It’s a sad end to a wonderful vision, a vision of universal health care communication that was both free of data exploitation and free at the point of use.”

Insurance giant Bupa Arabia invests in Global Ventures

UAE-based international venture capital firm Global Ventures has announced new investment from Bupa Arabia, the leading health insurance company in the region.

Bupa Arabia’s participation in Global Ventures Fund II as strategic partner aims to foster the healthcare ecosystem in the region and particularly in Saudi Arabia.

The investment is part of the Bupa Arabia’s strategy to participate and invest in disruptive healthcare and insurance technologies, amongst other targeted growth sectors.

Noor Sweid, Global Ventures founder and general partner, said: “Bupa Arabia shares our outlook and ambition on the digital health sector, and its potential for technology and innovation to deliver long-term economic benefits particularly in emerging markets.”

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital achieves EMRAM Stage 6

Specialist NHS trust Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (LHCH) has been awarded Stage 6 of the EMRAM, or Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, by HIMSS.

The EMRAM measures the adoption and maturity of a health facility’s inpatient EMR capabilities from 0 to 7. Achieving Stage 6 means the trust has established clear goals for improving safety, minimising errors, and recognising the importance of healthcare IT.

Kate Warriner, chief digital and information officer said: “Digital excellence must be the cornerstone if we are to continually improve the care that we provide for our patients in the years ahead. Therefore, whilst we are rightly proud of this achievement, we have ambitions for further pioneering innovation and advancing our use of technology to become a Stage 7 hospital.”

More than $110m raised by Sheba’s ARC Innovation Center

Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has announced that six companies from its Accelerate Redesign Collaborate (ARC) Innovation Center raised more than $110 million (EUR97.2m) in 2021.

ARC brings new technologies into the hospital and community ecosystem focusing on digital health technologies including precision medicine, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, telemedicine and mobile health.

Sheba MedTech startups receiving investments this year included: Aidoc, BELKIN Laser, Starget Pharma Append Medical, Innovalve Bio Medical and TechsoMed.

Professor Eyal Zimlichman, ARC director and founder, said: “The ARC Innovation Center has been focusing on ground-breaking, innovative technologies with a prime directive to redesign healthcare.”

Konica Minolta named as part of NHS Digital Documents Solutions framework

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd has been named as one of 46 suppliers on the new ?5 billion Digital Documents Solutions framework.

The firm will provide solutions across five key areas: internal print, external print, digital mail room, scanning and electronic document management solutions.

Jason Barnes, head of public sector, Konica Minolta, said: “Having been chosen through a competitive tender process, we are especially pleased to be newly appointed to the LPP framework, which deepens and furthers our reach into the NHS health sector.”

Original Source: healthcareitnews.com

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