Health IT

Digital health and interoperability: 5 must-read stories from MedCity News this week

How do medical informatics professionals feel about digital health and will we achieve interoperability of health information?

This week, I traveled to San Francisco to cover the American Medical Informatics Association conference. It was at least my seventh consecutive time covering the event, but it may be new to a lot of MedCity News readers.

Friday on MedHeads, my colleague Stephanie Baum and I talked about the conference, which is heavy on academics and peer-reviewed research, but still offered some exciting insights into innovations in digital health, interoperability and payment reform.

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Watch the archived video above, and also check out five important stories we covered this week:

1. PatientPing has raised $9.6 million to grow data sharing network

Providers receive “Pings,” real-time notifications, whenever their patients receive care at any facility that is a part of the national PatientPing network. At the facility where patients are getting care, providers receive guidelines that include contact information for others on the patient’s care team, helpful instructions from the care team, and patient visit histories. The idea is that by sharing this information when it is needed, providers will seamlessly coordinate their patient’s care.

2. Former chief medical officer of Merck subsidiary turns attention to behavioral health startup

Dr. Thomas Tsang has a background that includes working in community health, serving as a CMO at Merck subsidiary Healthcare Services and Solutions and a role with the Office of National Coordinator. He also shaped some of the policies and regulations in the Affordable Care Act. Now he’s turning his attention to health IT startup Valera Health, which seeks to develop an infrastructure for behavioral health care coordination.

3. 7 things about digital health from PwC’s report on primary care

“Digital health is the buzzword now, but it’s a true change in the business model for primary care,” said Vaughn Kauffman, PwC’s global leader for new entrants in healthcare markets.

“We look at digital beyond the wearable or the app,” Kauffman explained. “Digital and virtual care centers will be taking the pressure off the primary care physician shortage.”

4. Survey: Remote patient monitoring shifting from point solution to disease-specific, patient engagement

About 66 percent of healthcare organizations have deployed remote patient monitoring programs, according to a survey by Spyglass Consulting Group. That’s a substantial increase over 2013, when it first produced a report on this topic. It speaks to the interest by hospitals in developing a better understanding of their patients health between appointments and identifying deteriorating conditions earlier.

5. Can digital health tools help schizophrenia patients manage chronic conditions?

Wellframe, a digital health startup that works with health plans to extend care management, is collaborating with Darmouth Centers for Health and Aging on a two-year study. It’s designed to evaluate the effectiveness of digital health tools to help people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, manage their chronic conditions.

Photo: PatientPing