Getting data to work across settings

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Finding ways to better share and integrate healthcare information was a hot topic at a recent technology conference that took place in Baltimore.
Finding ways to better share and integrate healthcare information was a hot topic at a recent technology conference that took place in Baltimore.

An emphasis on data assessment and standardization across care settings was a hot topic at a recent senior living technology summit held in Baltimore.

Clinical leadership often operates in silos, noted Kelly Cronin, director of the Office of Care Transformation, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Care plan functioning should allow for task tracking, and data should be dynamically updated multi-directionally in real time, as well as become aligned, she said.

“The challenge in [long-term care and post acute care] is to think about partnerships,” Cronin said. “We need your involvement to get this right.”

Multiple care providers need to be able to see electronic medical information.

“We really want to make sure it's not just doctors and hospitals exchanging data, but the whole care continuum,” she said.

CMS is working on a data element library with assessment data elements and linked HIT standards, which is expected to be available later this year, according to experts discussing the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act during a morning session.

Having the data element library linked directly to quality measurements is meaningful, noted National Association for the Support of Long Term Care Executive Vice President Cynthia Morton.

“CMS connected the dots for us,” she told McKnight's. “It's one thing to have data. It's another thing to have that standard.”

Presentations included a case study from Evangelical Homes of Michigan, which created a program called LifeChoices. The customer pays an entrance fee of $40,000 plus a monthly fee of around $400, CEO Denise Rabidoux said. A navigator is assigned, with a care team working to keep the independent adult at home.

FOOT ULCER TOOL

Worcester Polytechnic Institute investigators have developed an advanced smartphone application, called Sugar, for those with diabetes. The app can measure status of chronic foot ulcers.

The app is entering a pilot clinical study at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It was built by an engineering and technology team at WPI with wound care, diabetes and behavioral specialists at UMMS. The work is supported by a National Science Foundation grant.

The new app runs on Android smartphones and can integrate a patient's personal glucose meter and scale to track blood sugar levels and weight, the research team said. It also tracks exercise and other physical activity based on user input, and can provide prompts. It could say, “It's been five days since you last exercised,” for example.

The wound-assessment system uses the smartphone's camera, which can track the wound area and then send the information to caregivers.

The pilot clinical study at UMMS will enroll 30 diabetic patients who are being treated for foot ulcers at the medical center's wound clinic. Patients will use the app for approximately six weeks.

NEW INFECTION FIGHTER

Researchers have developed a dynamic “smart” drug that targets inflammation in a site-specific manner, according to a story in the Journal of Immunology. The drug has the potential to enhance the body's natural ability to fight infection and reduce side effects. When injected, the drug is non-active; it will activate if inserted near an extremely inflamed area of the body.

TOOL AIDS WALKING

A new smartphone app, called CuPID, has been designed for patients with Parkinson's disease who experience Freezing of Gait — brief episodes of inability to step forward. The app is a rehabilitation tool that provides external cueing for motivational training with audio feedback. Small sensors are placed on the patient's shoes to identify deviations in their walking pattern.

TAKING HEART (IMAGES)

Two common imaging techniques have been integrated to produce a three-dimensional anatomic model of a person's heart by researchers at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. 

The 3D model printing of patient's hearts has become more common recently as it can enhance diagnosis and allow more preparation for surgery.

A BETTER LOOK

Computer vision specialists are working to develop an adaptive mobile phone with a “smart” vision system embedded inside to help blind and visually-impaired people navigate unfamiliar areas. 

The team plans to use color and depth sensor technology inside smartphones and tablets to create 3D mapping, navigation and object recognition. The interface will be used through vibrations, sounds or voice.

MOBILE ROBOT

A new mobile robot to help people suffering from paralysis or limited mobility is in the works. The robot will be remotely controlled by the patient and will have a video camera, screen and wheels to enable it to film as it moves around.

EXPLORING GENETICS

Computer scientists have developed a new interactive tool to help researchers explore cancer genetics. The tool, Mutation Annotation and Genome Interpretation, is a web application that allows users to search, visualize and annotate data on cancer genetics.

 Viewers also can upload their own data and compare findings to larger databases. n Getting data to work across settings Finding ways to better share and integrate healthcare information was a hot topic at a recent technology conference that took place in Baltimore. “We really want to make sure it's not just doctors and hospitals exchanging data, but the whole care continuum.”

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