Posts Tagged ‘Google Health’

Usability in Healthcare

May 1, 2012

UX has always been one of my favorite topics. So often ignored in application development, usability is key to the success of any website or app. Fortunately, there is  a Usability Professionals Association dedicated to the concept.  A recent presentation at the Northeast Ohio Chapter focused on the evaluation of the usability of the Cleveland Clinic website. This comprehensive review lead to the development of standards for the website based on user input.

Check out the presentation by Kaitlan Chu:

 

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Favorite Quotes from TEDx Maastricht

April 10, 2012

TEDx MaastrichtLast week I was fortunate to attend TEDx Maastricht in person for the second year in a row. There were several great talks, all inspiring and some surprising. The beginning and end represented innovations in care of very different types. Beginning with a demonstration of FaceTalk, a live demo of an interdisciplinary consultation between 3 physicians on 3 continents sharing CT scans and more in real time. The final presentation of a video of interviews with young adult cancer survivors even facing death with courage. Patients were certainly invited and had an impact on the overall tone of the conference. One example was  Clarissa Silva who said about her recovery from mental illness, “Courage is being afraid but doing it anyway.”

A big hit was Paul Levy who talked about healthcare and soccer (football). One choice quote is advice to a girl from the team of 11 year olds he coaches: “Think about what you are going to with the ball before it arrives.” This certainly applies to future thinking in the dynamic health care environment. Check out his book, Goal Play. Then there was Paul Grundy from IBM made the comparison of physicians as the master builders of European cathedrals, trying keeping everything in their head as knowledge explodes. This leads to his conclusion of Smarter healthcare by smarter use of data.

Much anticipated was Roni Zieger, formerly of Google Health presented on Embrace the Patient Story. He talked about his own experience with a medical problem but then discussed how patients can become experts in their own care and therefore experts with others. His collaboration with Lucien Engelen, MyHealthStory, was a beginning down his new path. Now he is planning with Gilles Frydman of ACOR a new venture called Impatient Health, because they and many patients are impatient to participate fully in not only helping others as Patient Experts but also as active participants in research.

A great surprise was the introduction to the documentary “The Waiting Room.” Afterwards I had the opportunity to view the film – it is a heart-wrenching view of the real struggles of the uninsured in the US using the emergency room for primary care. I hope with the producers that the film will have a role in the health care reform debate.

Thanks to Lucien Engelen and Corine Jansen of the Radboud Reshape and Innovation Center for making this event possible. Looking forward to The Future of Health 2013.

 

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Google Health: New Features, Fit and Trim

September 15, 2010

Today Google Health launched a major update. Many of the features were part of the demo at HIMSS 2010 include the flexible graph feature for lab results. As with the previous version, editing information is easy and intuitive. In viewing individual lab results, a definition is in the right column along with news and articles from Google Scholar – contextual information.  Usability research was an important aspect of the updates which included adding new features:

  • “Dedicated wellness tracking including pre-built and custom trackers
  • Efficient manual data entry as well as automatic data collection through devices
  • A customizable summary dashboard of wellness and other health topics
  • Goal setting and progress tracking using interactive charts
  • Personalized pages for each topic with rich charts, journaling, and related information.”
  • In additional, new partnerships round out the offering: Fitbit, Cardiotrainer, and WorkSmartLabs.  So it appears that in lieu of making Google Health a mobile app itself, they have partnered with mobile app developers particularly around wellness and exercise. Although Google Health displays well on an iPad browser in landscape view.

    Three new provider partnerships are announced as well, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at StanfordUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Sharp HealthCare. Look forward to hearing more about these and how they are encouraging the use of Google Health. UPMC is an Epic shop with MyChart.

    The announcement has led to lots of buzz in blogs and twitter including “Google Health Unbound: Can It Overcome Indifference to Personal Health Records?” and Google Health Takes a Big Step Forward by Dr. Dean Ornish on Huffington Post.

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    New PHR Report from California Healthcare Foundation

    April 13, 2010

    Titled “Consumers and Health Information Technology: A National Survey“, the survey shows some promising progress:

    • users cite taking steps to improve their own health, knowing more about their health care, and asking their doctors questions
    • lower-income adults, those with chronic conditions, and those without a college degree are more likely to experience positive effects of having their information accessible online
    • Two-thirds remain concerned about the privacy and security
    • should not let privacy concerns stop us from learning how health IT can improve health care
    • almost half are interested in medical devices that can be connected to the Internet.
    • Of those who do not have a PHR, 40% express interest in using one.

    Also just released is a major report from Price Waterhouse Coopers, The customization of diagnosis, care and cure. A key part of this report is patient touchpoints inlcuding:

    • coordinated care teams
    • fluent navigators
    • patient experience benchmarks
    • medical proving grounds
    • care anywhere networks (aka, mHealth).

    The common theme here is participatory medicine, which as it turns out, appeared in a post by Roni Zeiger of Google Health in Huffinton Post. His key quote is, “Data on its own is useless. It’s all about conversations.” Health data whether in personal health records or social networking sites or other tools is essential in creating a conversation about how to improve and maintain health.

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    Google Public Data Explorer for Healthcare

    March 16, 2010

    Google recently released its public data explorer which combines the Google visualization tools with public datasets include population data and health data. For healthcare, the initial launch includes Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the U.S. and Cancer cases in the U.S. The charts allow selection by state and time options. For these two charts, CDC data sources are used.

    So could this data explorer be used more broadly with other health data sets. For starters, those at Data.gov (although most of the health data sets are Medicare cost data). But could major disease registries open themselves up to this API so that medical researchers could visualize more data sources and generate more research questions more quickly.  This could be one solution for the for the lethal lag time.  The CDC has additional data sets available. But what about opening closed data sets, such as, those from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons or other disease-specific registries. Then there is the growing volume of patient reported data from sites like PatientsLikeMe and CureTogether.

    The limitation of this approach is having researchers capable of interpreting these data visualizations to make meaningful interpretations. The peer review process would prevent publication of misinterpretations of the data. An additional control would be combining the data explorer with social networking tools for users to discuss visualizations and research observations of the data.  Perhaps this could be accomplished through Google Wave.

    Comments and data sets welcome.

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    Major Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Report on PHRs

    January 19, 2010

    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has published an 7 chapter online book about Personal Health Records. The book is a great summary of the current state of PHRs as well as initiatives promoted by Project Health Design. Chapters are:

    Chapter 1: Personal Health Records 101
    Chapter 2: Project HealthDesign and the Next Generation of Personal Health Records
    Chapter 3: Observations of Daily Living
    Chapter 4: The Health Information Technology Landscape
    Chapter 5: Personal Health Records and Health Information Technology—Costs, Policies and the Incentives Driving Adoption
    Chapter 6: Privacy and Personal Health Records
    Chapter 7: Personal Health Records—Business Models, Open Platforms and the Challenges Ahead

    Worthy of note is chapter 3 on Observations of Daily Living (ODL), the importance of having patients enter their own daily activities and disease experience into a PHR. While the chapter does not specifically mention social networking sites like Organized Wisdom or PatientsLikeMe, the implication is that these type of tools provide value, often unrealized, by most provider organizations. ODLs could also include direct input into a tethered PHR or via home monitoring devices.

    Also presented well is the discussion of the Health IT landscape and the emphasis on open platforms. Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health are described as revolutionary innovations. They provide PHRs with open connections to EHRs and devices as well as a portable, web-based record empowering patients to bring their records to any provider.

    They conclude with addressing business models and incentives to make PHRs successful. “Open platforms create a wide avenue for innovation in health care” and the need to move past proprietary models is promoted. I might add that existing proprietary EMRs must be able to talk to the open platforms through web services or the CCR standard. There is no excuse for not adapting to these standards to enable the transfer of data into patients’ control.

    Looking toward future and the new grant recipients for Project Health Design, the authors conclude: “They will face a number of challenges, including how to capture observations of daily living (ODLs); how to aggregate and analyze those data in a PHR; how to use the findings to inform the clinical encounter; and, ultimately, how to empower patients to understand, influence and improve their health. ”

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    Social Media and Search in Health Care

    January 12, 2010

    Several new stories popped up today:

    • Microsoft’s secret weapon against Google: Health search – although this reviewer sees a some temporary advantage over Google Health search, he notes that even more important is a search within a simple-to-use electronic medical records system for consumers and does not see either as doing a good job of this yet
    • Oncologists Using Twitter to Advance Cancer Knowledge: about physicians using twitter for “Disseminating, correcting, and expanding information in conversation with professional colleagues”
    • Boundary Erosion in Information Technology:  John Glaser points out how social media and other consumer-oriented technologies as risk to Healthcare IT but also sees “Boundary erosion is an underlying, unalterable trend in information technology. It will not reverse itself.” He encourages a balance between unbridled enthusiasm and blocking these technologies.
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    New Google Health Features

    July 24, 2009

    Google Health recently announced two new features: upload of scanned paper documents and recording of last wishes.  Uploading of documents provides a useful way to manage legacy paper documents during the transition to electronic records. Since most people still rely on paper records, this move makes sense as an interim solution.
    Another scanned document type is advanced directives for which Google Health has partnered with Caring Connections. Advanced directives are important for anyone to have, especially those with advanced disease or entering the hospital. It will be helpful in the future if this could be sent to a hospital directly.
    Google Health admits to the limitations of paper documents and the need to move beyond these.
    The post is by Roni Zeiger, a physician, and

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    New Features for Google Health

    March 16, 2009

    Google Health has rolled out a new feature to allow users to share their profiles. This could include your provider, family members or others. It gives view only access to those users. There is also an option for printing a wallet size version of medications, allergies, conditions and treatments. This could be helpful in an emergency. Other options in an emergency are: have a family member login or share a login with and ER or have your login in your wallet although this is not preferred and not stated by Google as an option because of the obvious privacy risks.  Although some have criticized this print feature, the fact of the matter is that most consumers have some printed records at home if not in their wallet.  A smart card might be preferred but only if there is a national standard that can be read at all hospitals.  No perfect answers here yet but a great improvement over paper records and a move closer to a national standard for PHRs or PHR platforms.
    Also new on Google Health is the ability to graph medical test information. Wouldn’t it be great if portions of this could be exported to one’s profile on another site, such as, PatientsLikeMe?  All in due time.

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    PHRs going way of online banking?

    February 8, 2009

    According to Roni Zeiger of Google Health, PHRs may follow the pattern of online banking. Speaking at the Towards an Electronic Patient Record conference, he predicted that like the early suspicions about online banking and now general acceptance, a similar adoption of PHRs will occur as consumers find utility in the tools which are available. He rejected the idea that stronger privacy laws will bring wider adoption. He also notes the concerns of physicians interacting with PHRs – if they are going to view patient data from these, it needs to be simple and fit into their current workflow of information.
    While we’re not there yet, the is some progress in adoption and he emphasized Google’s long term commitment to this initiative.

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