Stories about: health information technology

Crisis Care: A unique suicide prevention app

 

More than 100,000 smartphone apps are currently categorized as “health apps.” There are apps for physical health—apps that log work-outs, track nutritional intake, and monitor sleeping patterns. And there are apps for mental health—apps that identify your mood, guide meditation and alleviate depression. But can an app tackle a public health problem as serious as teen suicide?

Turns out, mobile phones and suicide prevention may not be such strange bedfellows.

Elizabeth Wharff, PhD, and Kimberly O’Brien, PhD, clinician-researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital, specialize in working with adolescents who struggle with suicidal thoughts. Noting that teens are already turning to their phones whenever they need something, they believe a mobile app may be the perfect platform to support them through tough times. Wharff feels that existing apps designed to help with depression and anxiety lack something crucial: parent mode.

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IBM’s Watson at work: Transforming health care

Part of a continuing series of videotaped sessions at Boston Children’s Hospital’s recent Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards 2014.

What’s IBM’s Watson been up to since winning Jeopardy? Among other things, it’s been trying to help doctors make decisions. “We live in an age of information overload,” says Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President of the IBM Watson Group. “The challenge is to now turn that information into knowledge.”

Interestingly, most of the inquiries Rhodin received post-Jeopardy were from doctors, who were interested in the way Watson sorted and ranked possible answers. Here, Rhodin and Dan Cerutti, VP of Watson Commercialization, outline IBM’s vision to improve global health care through a technology platform called CarePlex:

Stay tuned as we post more sessions from the Pediatric Innovation Summit (also available on YouTube) and read our blog coverage.

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Health claims data: Taking a 30,000-foot view on disease associations

Stethoscope and keyboard health insurance claims dataThe only time most of us ever look at an insurance claim is after a hospital or doctor visit, when we get a claim summary from our carrier. And then as far as we know, it gets filed away, never again to see the light of day.

But there’s a lot to be learned from these claims data.

As with electronic medical records (EMRs), behind every claim an insurer receives is a detailed record about symptoms, tests, diagnosis and treatment. Properly compiled and analyzed, claims data can be an excellent resource for taking population-level snapshots of disease, helping to identify trends and reveal or probe associations.

That’s why claims data recently caught the eye of Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, and Mei-Sing Ong, PhD, two researchers in Boston Children’s Informatics Program (CHIP). Using claims records for roughly 2.5 million Americans, they turned their attention to two conditions—epilepsy and asthma—with interesting results.

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Has the patient experience changed in 20 years? Retooling for engagement

Israel Green Hopkins MD croppedIsrael Green-Hopkins, MD, is a second-year fellow in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and a fierce advocate for innovation in health information technology, with a passion for design, mobile health, remote monitoring and more. Follow him on Twitter @israel_md.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) defines patient engagement as having two primary objectives: to enable patients to “view online, download and transmit their health information” and to enable providers to conduct secure messaging with patients.

In 2007, focusing largely on these goals, Microsoft launched HealthVault—a Web-based electronic health record designed to fit the needs of both patients and providers. Countless private and public institutions have followed, including Boston Children’s Hospital.

But aside from satisfying regulatory requirements, are these interventions the improved engagement that patients are demanding? How can we be transformative in our approach to care and create an environment that is receptive to the engaged patient?

We first need to reconsider what it means to maneuver through the health care system as a patient.

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New app streamlines and improves emergency care

It may seem like just a smartphone application, but BEAPPER, a real-time alert and communication platform, has been making waves in the Emergency Department (ED) at Boston Children’s Hospital, which sees an average of 150 patients per day.

The app sends Twitter-like alerts when beds become available, when orders have been placed and when lab results are back, reducing waiting time for families. Physicians working together can view each others’ profiles, and can quickly check on their patients’ status without having to sit down at a computer and log in.

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10 market questions for valuing mobile health apps

A mobile developer at work (Jennifer 8 Lee/Flickr)

Keeley Wray (@Market_Spy) is technology marketing specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston’s Technology and Innovation Development Office. Her post first appeared on Hospital Impact and is re-posted here with kind permission.

My role at Children’s Hospital Boston is to determine market entry strategies to transform the innovative ideas our physicians come up with into nifty products.

Increasingly, this includes valuing new mobile applications. There are sets of questions I like to ask inventors (and myself) to determine whether a product is worth investing resources in. Given the limited resources available to develop new applications, it’s important to know whether an application will provide value to patients, within our institution and externally, and (a harder question) whether it could be commercially viable. Several commercial barriers tend to come up repeatedly, such as security challenges, limited market size, or difficulty integrating applications with EMR systems.

That’s why this question list has served me well–and maybe it will you.

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