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Technology Pulse

Technology Pulse

Providers’ Attitudes Impact Patients’ Technology Adoption

A new report published by The Lancet claims that patients’ access to emerging diabetes technology can be influenced in part by the attitudes of their healthcare clinicians towards embracing specific technologies. According to the report Access to Diabetes Technology: The Role of Clinician Attitudes, the role of clinicians in recommending or approving technology for patients suggests that their attitudes could be central in mediating patient access to technology. Other factors taken into account include funding limitations and varying characteristics of different clinics. Visit www.thelancet.com for the full report. 

Company Introduces Sepsis App

ESCAVO Inc., a company based in Los Angeles, CA, that develops mobile health applications and digital health content, has announced the release of its Sepsis Timer app. The app offers a timed checklist and clinical decision support tool designed to help clinicians perform key treatment steps within prescribed time intervals. The treatment steps and timelines are based on Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines that are also recommended by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to company officials. The app also provides expert commentary and detailed explanations of the guidelines throughout the step-by-step checklist. Sepsis remains the ninth leading cause of disease-related death, according to the Third International Consensus on Sepsis. 

Smith & Nephew Launches MolecuLight in Europe

Officials at Smith & Nephew, London, have announced the launch of the product MolecuLight i:X, a handheld imaging device that instantly measures wound surface area and visualizes the presence and distribution of potentially harmful bacteria in wounds, for European distribution. Using fluorescence, MolecuLight i:X quickly, safely, and easily visualizes potentially harmful bacteria in wounds, which may otherwise lack signs or symptoms of infection, officials said. The device also reportedly enhances a clinician’s ability to choose the right therapy at the right time for the patient and can help to guide wound sampling and debridement, monitor wound progression, improve patient engagement, and simplify wound documentation.

“We are proud to partner with MolecuLight Inc. and bring this innovative technology to our customers,” said Paolo Di Vincenzo, senior vice president of global marketing at Smith & Nephew. “It strongly complements our range of advanced wound care products, and we believe is set to start a revolution in wound care clinical practice. The MolecuLight i:X enables healthcare professionals to see what they have never been able to see before.” Visit www.smith-nephew.com for more information. 

Report Finds Most Healthcare Email Fraudulent

A joint report by the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (NH-ISAC), Global Cybersecurity Alliance (GCA), and Agari, a cybersecurity company, claims the healthcare industry is at the highest risk of fraudulent emailing, with 57% of messages sent “from” the healthcare industry being fraudulent or unauthenticated. In an effort to reduce this fraud, the NH-ISAC, a global, nonprofit, member-driven organization that offers healthcare stakeholders a community and forum for coordinating, collaborating, and sharing cyber threat intelligence and best practices, is urging its members to implement DMARC (domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance) in 2018, if they have not already done so. The report Agari Industry DMARC Adoption Report for Healthcare also reveals that 98% of top healthcare providers have not implemented enforcement policies for DMARC, which is considered to be an email authentication standard that virtually eliminates phishing emails that impersonate web domains. On Oct. 16, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security mandated federal agencies to adopt DMARC within 90 days. NH-ISAC responded that same week, asking its members to pledge to adopt DMARC. To date, more than 57% of NH-ISAC members have pledged to implement DMARC or to research DMARC for implementation, officials said. Additionally, the GCA, an international, cross-sector effort dedicated to confronting cyber risk, has issued a “90 Days to DMARC” challenge that began Dec. 1. Each month, the challenge offers new webinars, guides, and additional resources for organizations to plan, implement, analyze and adjust DMARC. For the report, officials at Agari, a company that seeks to eliminate email as a channel for cyber attacks through security platforms, analyzed the DMARC policies of more than 500 domains in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, more than 800 million emails, and more than 1,900 domains. Key findings included:

  • More than 77% of the healthcare industry has not deployed DMARC to protect email.
  • 92% of healthcare domains had been targeted by fraudulent email over a six-month study period and 57% of emails sent claiming to be from the healthcare industry were fraudulent or unauthenticated.

Visit www.agari.com/healthcare-dmarc-adoption-report for more information.n

Website Offers Weekly Updates For “Best New” Medical Apps

For wound care and other healthcare clinicians looking to keep current on some of the newest medical apps available for their smartphones, MedPage Today offers an iMedical Apps tracker. From diabetes management and wellness checks for patients to symptom tracking and diagnosis challenges, this resource allows providers to review highly rated apps and to search for apps that fit their specialties, including the capability of key-word searching for “wound care” apps. Visit www.imedicalapps.com for more information. 

CMS Adds Quality Information To Physician Compare

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has added new quality information to Physician Compare (www.medicare.gov/physiciancompare), a website established by the Affordable Care Act as a means to help patients and caregivers make informed choices about Medicare physicians and other clinicians. The first quality measures were added to the site in February 2014. Since then, CMS has continued a phased approach to public reporting.

As the “next step” of the process, as of December 2017 CMS is publicly reporting certain 2016 performance information that has been designated as available for public reporting in the 2016 Physician Fee Schedule’s final rule. Data are available for public reporting on public-facing profile pages and/or via Physician Compare’s downloadable database (https://data.medicare.gov). Because of the different primary audiences, CMS publicly reports information differently in the database as compared to profile pages. The measures now included on Physician Compare profile pages represent a variety of clinical care by groups representing many different specialties. The 2016 Physician Quality Reporting System performance information is divided into eight different categories, ranging from general care to more specialized care. In addition to the measures being reported for groups and individual clinicians, 2016 data for the Shared Savings Program and the Pioneer and Next Generation Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are now also publicly reported on Physician Compare. The site now also includes information about group ACO affiliation. If a group is part of an ACO, there will be a link to that ACO’s Physician Compare profile page from the group profile page. The criteria for public reporting require that the measures must be statistically valid, reliable, accurate, and comparable across reporting mechanisms and meet the minimum reliability threshold to be included in the downloadable database. To be included on public-facing profile pages, the data must also prove to resonate with patients and caregivers. Visit www.medicare.gov/physiciancompare for more information.

New Telehealth, Telemedicine Rules Adopted by Texas Medical Board

Officials with the Texas Medical Board have announced the adoption of telehealth and telemedicine rules and regulations in an attempt to improve digital health adoption in the state. According to a report by mHealthIntelligence, the new rules took effect Nov. 26 following a period of public comment and conform to a law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott that enables healthcare practitioners in Texas to establish a doctor-patient relationship with new patients through telehealth programs. The guidelines also define how physicians can utilize telemedicine to “write” prescriptions. According to the report, per state law, the board has to set those rules jointly with the state’s board of nursing, physician assistant board, and board of pharmacy. The new rules come at a time when there is still a level of uncertainty and controversy within the state from providers and professional organizations claiming that during the comment period the rules were too vague and could deter the use of telehealth. However, according to the report, among those groups supporting the rules are the Texas e-Health Alliance, the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants, and the Texas Hospital Association. 

California Develops Digital Portal To Aid Disaster Response Efforts

Due to the wildfires in the state of California, a disaster response health information portal has been established by the California Health Information Exchange (CAHIE), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and the California Emergency Medical Services Authority. According to a report by HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare in quality, safety, cost-effectiveness, and access through the best use of information technology and management systems, the Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies (PULSE) portal provides licensed healthcare professional volunteers with access to critical electronic health information during a major disaster. The PULSE program has also been assisted by the Sequoia® Project, a nonprofit set up to advance the implementation of a secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange; the eHealth Exchange, a rapidly growing network of exchange partners who securely share clinical information over the Internet using a standardized approach; the CareQuality network, a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework that enables exchange between and among health data-sharing networks; and several other exchange partners. Visit www.ca-hie.org/initiatives/pulse for more information. 

Healthcare IT Startup Expands Into Midwest

Tissue Analytics Inc., a startup healthcare information technology (IT)company based in Baltimore, MD, has opened its first satellite office in the Kansas City region. The new office in Lenexa, KS, will drive strategy and sales for its mobile wound-measuring technology, according to a report by the Kansas City Business Journal. The company’s image analysis technology works with smartphones and tablets to gain more accurate wound measurements and to track healing. Visit www.tissue-analytics.com for more information. 

Higher Use of EHRs Linked To Better Care & Lower Costs?

According to a report by Health Affairs, healthcare practices that had a higher use of electronic health records (EHRs) and opted in to performance-based bonuses performed better in terms of both care and cost in the first year of Medicare’s value-based payment modifiers. 

According to the report, the study was intended to highlight the impact of the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System and the practices that made it more or less valuable. The full report can be accessed at www.healthaffairs.org. 

Antimicrobial Technology Found To Impact Biofilm Infection

Officials with Vomaris Innovations Inc., Tempe, AZ, have announced what they’re calling breakthrough results of the first controlled, preclinical in vivo evidence on the antibiofilm impact of the company’s bioelectric antimicrobial technology. 

The study, Electric Field Based Dressing Disrupts Mixed-Species Bacterial Biofilm Infection and Restores Functional Wound Healing, has found that the technology can prevent and disrupt biofilm infection and restore functional wound healing, according to officials. 

Research was led by Chandan Sen, PhD, professor of surgery and director of the Comprehensive Wound Center at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. 

Visit www.vomaris.com for more information. 

Smartphone Camera Used For Depth Measurements

Swift Medical, Toronto, ON, has introduced its new Swift AutoDepth technology, which allows clinicians to take wound depth measurements using a smartphone camera. The company’s new technology will be first integrated into PointClickCare Skin and Wound (PointClickCare, Mississauga, ON). This new technology is a contact- and pain-free alternative to measuring depth with a cotton swab. 

Users wave a smartphone over a wound in a wand-like fashion, and the technology generates measurement information based on the images. Visit https://swiftmedical.com for more information. 

New Test Detects Range of Microbes in Wounds

CogenDx, San Diego, CA, the genetics brand of Millennium Health, San Diego, CA, has announced the launch of its newest molecular diagnostics test for wounds. 

DxWound utilizes a simple swab to collect microbial DNA directly from the infection site and leverages a special transport buffer that preserves the wound microbiome during specimen transit. Test results are typically delivered the next business day from specimen receipt at the laboratory. Visit http://cogendx.com/cogendx-launches-new-test for more information. 

Researchers Test Nanotechnology for Wound Care

Researchers at Ohio State University are developing a nanotechnology chip aimed at helping the body heal wounds, according to school officials. 

The Tissue Nanotransfection method reprograms the cell through a cuff link-sized chip. This chip will noninvasively deliver reprogramming factors, such as preprogrammed DNA, into living skin cells through a high-intensity, focused electrical field; through the stimulation, the chip can convert the cells into whatever type is needed for healing. 

The technique has been previously tested in mouse models and showed an ability to promote limb regrowth. Approval for safety and efficacy trials in humans are expected within one year. Visit https://medicine.osu.edu for more information. 

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