Cloud EHR giant athenahealth offers a sneak peek at its HIMSS22 strategy

Cloud-based health IT vendor athenahealth is among the giants in the field of electronic health records, the lynchpin system in healthcare information technology. It concentrates on the ambulatory market.

The vendor will be exhibiting at the HIMSS22 Conference & Exhibition in March, and it has a lot to serve up to attendees. Some of its focus will be on what it calls an "unprecedented" set of new features and products it has recently released.

Keeping up with industry change

"As a cloud-based healthcare products and services provider, we continuously release new functionality and new products into production, which we unveil to all our customers three times per year," explained Paul Brient, chief product officer at athenahealth.

"This enables customers to keep up with industry change – without burdensome upgrades – and seamlessly scale their technology with their organization's growth."

Behavioral health and telemedicine: What's in store for 2022

There will be a growing acceptance among providers and payers to embrace new technology offerings, particularly as we find ourselves in a COVID-centric era that is so dependent on telehealth and other digital tools to support behavioral health providers and the continued surge in patients seeking care. With the goal of all behavioral health organizations to improve clinical outcomes, the best way to accomplish that objective is to collect and measure evidence-based data. Data, derived from measurement-based care technology including assessments, patient intake forms, and social determinants of health insights and past history, is what ultimately informs clinicians and executives on care and if their treatment plans are working or if they need to make adjustments. This year, more than ever, behavioral health organizations will measure quality using evidence-based data. Measurement-based care – defined as the practice of providing clinical care based upon client data collected throughout treatment – will gain popularity as more behavioral health organizations rely on this methodology to improve quality and consistency of care. With their ultimate business goal to improve clinical outcomes, hospitals and health systems will further recognize that incorporating measurement-based care into their practices is the best way to confirm and document patient progress. Greater use of analytics to analyze patient populations will provide behavioral health organizations with the ability to deliver more personalized care that is tailored to the needs of an individual – for example, digital cognitive behavioral therapy. Q. What role does behavioral health IT have to support value-based care? Here is the link to behavioral health IT: In order to demonstrate value and quality in behavioral health, there needs to be greater emphasis on measuring outcomes with evidence-based data and exchanging that information between payers and providers. Data derived from a robust measurement-based care platform that gathers and analyzes outcomes data will provide the necessary information that is needed to truly understand how well a provider is performing in managing their population's health.

Integrating AI, Blockchain, and Wearable Tech for Chronic Disease Management

In Current Medical Science, researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology discuss a patient-centric technical framework integrating artificial intelligence, blockchain, and wearable technology in chronic disease management. Wearable technology can record and monitor physiological and metabolic parameters for disease diagnosis and treatment to help people pursue a healthier lifestyle. Organising and analysing this data presents challenges in quality of life, patient outcomes, and privacy protection. AI can analyse this mass of physiological data to diagnose and treat diseases. Blockchain can address privacy and reliability issues by authorising decentralised data sharing, protecting users’ privacy, providing data empowerment, and ensuring data management reliability. These technologies used together can shift existing chronic disease management models from hospital-centred to patient-centred.

The authors point out that AI, blockchain, sensors, and wearable devices can improve the efficiency of chronic disease prevention, but first requires integration and AI development for high-performance data calculation. An integrated solution in telehealth can regularly send drug intake reminders to patients, process the collected monitoring data in real-time, and issue abnormal data warnings to patients and doctors, which can benefit elderly patients in remote areas.

Internet of things (IoT) devices can significantly accelerate this process, but there are ethical considerations on security and accuracy which have the potential of causing harm. Since humans design the algorithms that collect the patient data, their ethical review remains under human purview. Medical IoT devices send and receive data; thus, the possibility exists for tampering with this communication. As the communication infrastructure is external to IoT devices, network interruptions can delay medical alarms. Blockchain standardisation among different providers can enable of formation of largescale health ecosystems. Regulatory infrastructure must be in place to encourage the development and integration of these technologies.

How 23andMe plans to harness its massive database to further its ambitions in drug development

Drug development is expensive, can take years to complete and doesn't guarantee a novel therapy for treating disease. But consumer genetic testing company 23andMe is forging ahead to leverage its massive database of genetic data for research and to make and sell its own therapies.

Consumer genetic testing company 23andMe is forging ahead to leverage its massive database of genetic data for research and to make and sell its own therapies. Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe's CEO and co-founder, has often said the company's mission, from the beginning, is to help people "access, understand and benefit from the human genome." Using genetic data based on the company's 12 million genotype customers and billions of phenotypic data points gives 23andMe a distinct competitive advantage for its therapeutics business, Kenneth Hillan, 23andMe’s head of therapeutics, said Thursday during the virtual Fierce JPM Week event. It really is that statistical power, the size and scale of our databases, and using genetics to see things in terms of drug targets within diseases that others just can't see," he said. It's the second cancer drug the company has advanced into human trials, following an immuno-oncology therapy developed through a partnership with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. It's an expensive endeavor, but with the company going public and with the GSK collaboration, it allows us to carry forward a portfolio and it will allow us to make very data-driven decisions about the programs we continue versus those that we stop. I'm excited about being able to use this data to move with greater agility and more nimbly and more quickly so that ultimately we can get therapies moving forward and into the clinic to test if these have the potential to become medicines that can really help patients," he said.

Supporting the greater use of data sharing across healthcare

Why voice recognition is the new competitive battleground in healthcare's digital transformation

It is common knowledge that the most significant burden for many caregivers is documenting and annotating clinical encounters in electronic health record systems; Voice recognition is one of many tools that can alleviate the problem and reduce clinician workloads today. Users of the leading voice-recognition tools acknowledge that the technology delivers better caregiver productivity. Dr. Lahr points out that even with leading technology providers for voice-based tools, a "person behind the curtain" often interprets the conversation and separates the clinical terminology from the overall conversation. Big tech firms and startups alike are keen to expand voice recognition capabilities, considering the significant potential for voice-enabled tools to improve productivity and transform patient experiences. While Oracle is not the first name that comes to mind when hospitals and health systems think of voice-recognition technology, its intent to bring voice-recognition technology to the Cerner platform to address clinical workloads is indicative of the perceived opportunity for voice technologies in healthcare. As mentioned earlier, separating the clinical terminology from other aspects of the conversation is a non-trivial challenge, implying that voice-recognition technology fits in well with some specialties but not others. That leaves us with the question of how patients are responding to voice-enabled tools in their healthcare encounters. At a broad level, voice-recognition technology's true potential lies in going beyond documentation and becoming an intelligent decision support tool through effective listening for clinical indicators and proactively supporting clinical decisions.