Here’s a recent survey finding that isn’t too surprising: according to patients, the communication with their doctor and access or interaction with their EHR data has yet to reach a level that meets their expectations.
In a June 2012 survey of physicians, hospital executives and adult consumers, Optum Institute dug into the topics of health information technology and various aspects of patient-centered care. What the study found, not surprisingly, is that “consumers are well ahead of providers in their willingness and ability to engage using health IT,” Optum noted in the introduction to a report on the findings. “Consumers increasingly seek out information and communicate online, while provider health IT systems lag behind.” (To read the Optum report, “Meaningful Patient Engagement,” click here.)
This area of patient-doctor communication, and improved access to EHRs, is going to become more critical as the federal Meaningful Use regulations come into play. According to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use requirements, 50% of a health provider‘s patients should be able to access the EHR and also communicate with their health provider online. In addition, at least 5% of patients must be able to use online tools and “engage in secure messaging with providers,” according to Optum.
But, as shown here in a few of Optum’s findings, there seems to be quite a way to go to reach the Stage 2 requirements:
- 70% of physicians have at least basic EHR capabilities, but only 40 percent currently have an EHR that supports email communication or patient access to health records.
- Patients use e-mail and text: Nearly two-thirds of consumers are interested or very interested in receiving appointment reminders by e-mail and 40% want text reminders.
- Consumers want to use online tools: three-quarters want to get test results and access their medical records online.
At Medivo, we want to help physicians use new technology to improve their interaction with patients. The unique Medivo platform collects clinical data from labs, as well as symptom data from apps and devices, that can be used to help physicians provide better care and enhance the doctor-patient conversation.
These reporting services are free for both patient and physicians.
The Medivo technology and monitoring services also help patients in their effort to track their health through easy-to-understand explanations of lab results, and with relevant education information.
And with Medivo’s easy-to-understand reports, physicians can leverage data more efficiently and thus they can use their time toward improving patient interaction, which is what patients are expecting.
Doctors always have had a lot of influence with their patients. And now, as healthcare continues to evolve via new technology, this physician influence extends even to health apps.
Mitchell Research and Communications, in a recent survey of baby boomers, found that doctors have quite a bit of influence with patients in terms of their recommendations for apps for chronic and life threatening diseases. Among 600 baby boomers questioned in the survey, the consensus was that “they are more willing to download a health and wellness app based on their doctor’s recommendation and were much less likely to download an app recommend by their family or friends,” according to a review of the survey by John Pugh, the director of digital communications at Boehringer Ingelheim’s Global Centre in Germany.
(You can read Pugh’s post on apps here on the PSFK website, or click here for the Mitchell report.)
Among the specific findings based on the baby-boomer responses to the Mitchell survey:
* 5% would download an app recommended by their friends
* 18% would download an app recommended by their family
* 60% would download an app recommended by their doctor
“Patients with chronic or life threatening conditions were 70 percent more likely to download an app to track their medical issues, while only half of users would download an app looking for general information or weight loss help,” Pugh wrote.
In addition, according to Mitchell roughly 1 in 4 (24%) of the nation’s 78 million baby boomers own smartphones.
Medivo is proud to be at the forefront in developing health apps that make managing and monitoring symptoms easier for patients. Medivo GI Monitor is a leading app for patients with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. The app allows patients to easily and accurately log symptoms and provide this data to their doctors for optimal treatment. In addition, patients can see correlations between symptoms, meals and medications
Medivo also is developing apps similar to GI Monitor for patients with lupus and arthritis. These are some of the important product updates expected in the near future.
Mitchell’s findings indicated that Boomers are likely to download apps, and they are in a life stage where they need to monitor their health:
* Almost half (49%) have downloaded six or more apps.
* More than one-fourth (28%) have downloaded between 1-5 apps.
Mitchell also noted that one-quarter of Boomers (24%) have either been diagnosed with heart disease (15%), diabetes (7%) or both (2%).
“Seven-in-ten (70%) with diabetes are likely to download a mobile app dealing with diabetes,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Half (50%) with a heart condition would download a heart disease app. People with serious diseases will download apps to help them live longer.”
(Editor’s note: PSFK and Boehringer have partnered in an effort to provide weekly updates on the news and ideas important to the health and wellness space. )
Doctors, both old and young, have come to embrace technology as a way to make their practices more effective and efficient.
According to a recent study by MedPage Today, 80 percent of physicians said they believe advances in technology have improved their communication with patients. In addition, more than two-thirds of the doctors surveyed said they spend three or more hours daily using a computer, and one in four spend more than three hours on a mobile device, the MedPage survey found.
“Today’s physicians are heavy users of technology in both their professional and personal lives; there is, however, a gap between how they would like to use technology at work and what they can do with it today,” Dr. Kevin Pho, founder of KevinMD.com and a leader in social media space for doctors, said in a MedPage Today statement. “The interest is there, now we need solutions that can help the patient and physician in a simple and seamless way.”
At Medivo, we have been putting new technology to work in creating solutions that help physicians and patients have more meaningful interactions for quite some time. The Medivo platform collects clinical data from labs and symptom data from apps and devices that can be used to help physicians provide better care.
These reporting services are free for both patient and physicians.
On the patient side, the technology helps patients in their effort to more effectively monitor their health through easy-to-understand explanations of lab results, and with relevant education information.
The Medivo platform also answers another concern that was identified by physicians in the MedPage Today survey: there has been a 43 percent increase in the number of weekly patients, which means physicians report having less time to spend with each patient.
With Medivo’s easy-to-understand reports, physicians can leverage data more efficiently and thus they can use their time toward improving patient interaction — a win all the way around.
The healthcare system could use some help in getting patients more involved in preventive services.
According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost one-half of adults in the United States were not receiving key preventive health services from a health care professional before 2010 – services such as screenings, consultations and prescription drug recommendations. (The 2010 date was the cutoff set by CDC in an effort to “provide baseline data prior to implementation” of the Affordable Care Act.)
This is distressing, since health professionals know that increased use of clinical preventive services could save tens of thousands of lives annually. (To read the CDC news release, click here.)
The Medivo database also confirms what the CDC found: many patients are not being monitored effectively. However, Medivo is working to simplify access to some monitoring and preventive measures with its innovative patient monitoring programs.
“Clinical preventive services prevent heart attack, stroke, cancer and other diseases and save lives,” CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., noted in the CDC statement. Frieden noted that the report provides “a snapshot of preventive services for U.S. adults before 2010. As we look to the future, we can track how our nation’s health is progressing through better prevention in health care.”
What the CDC study uncovered was some startling facts about under-utilization of common health services. The study, “Use of Selected Clinical Preventive Services Among Adults-United States, 2007-2010,” was designed to provide an in-depth look at the state of clinical preventive services that should be readily available to most adults.
These services, identified by CDC as public health priorities, were evaluated prior to the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The report offers baseline data on the use of specific preventive services, including aspirin or other blood-thinning therapy, controlling blood pressure, screening for and controlling high cholesterol, and ending tobacco use.
The report found:
* Guidelines for preventing high-blood pressure call for adults (ages 18 and older) with high blood pressure to receive a clinical treatment plan that might include medications and monthly follow-up visits until healthy blood pressure is achieved. However, only 44% of people with high blood pressure had it under control.
* Despite strong evidence that screening and treating for high cholesterol reduces sickness and death due to heart disease, about 33.4 percent of men and 25.6 percent of women were not screened during the preceding 5 years. Of those adults identified with high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, only about 32 percent of men and 32 percent of women had it under control.
* The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Health Interview Summary found that fewer than 1 in 13 tobacco users were prescribed medications during a doctor visit to help them stop tobacco use.
In its news release, CDC noted that is currently has many programs to address the shortcoming in utilization of preventive health services. They include: the Million Hearts initiative for effective treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco addiction. The initiative works to increase the number of clinicians who deliver appropriate counseling on the use of aspirin and other blood-thinning therapies for patients at high risk of heart attack or stroke.
There was a lot of smiling around the Medivo offices on May 8 when the website iMedicalApps published its independent review of the Medivo patient and physician reporting programs, Patient Path and Medivo Monitor.The reviewer, Rebecca Coelius, a soon-to-be physician at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, called the Medivo offerings unique and “sophisticated,” and predicted continued success for Medivo.
“Their differentiation in patient engagement and design will make Medivo a winner, especially in primary care and those specialties heavy in chronic disease management,” she wrote.
To read the complete iMedicalApps review, click here.
For the record, iMedicalApps is an “independent online medical publication written by a team of physicians and medical students who provide commentary and reviews of mobile medical technology and applications,” as noted on its website. The site receives 400,000-plus views per month from the medical community.
“With a shortage of primary care physicians, it is vital that we find lean ways to scale quality health care across large patient populations,” Coelius wrote in her review. “Medivo is building a sophisticated patient panel management toolset that is a significant step towards this goal.”
In comparing the Medivo programs with others, Coelius noted that Medivo’s “data display interface is significantly more intuitive and colorful than other common panel management products, not to mention EMRs.” She also commended the Medivo reports for making it easier for physicians to identify “which patients are not at goal values.”
Additionally, she gave Medivo “likes” for the robustness of its patient-engagement feature and its potential to address the symptom-tracking “workflow integration challenge” prevalent among health care professionals.
And, perhaps most importantly, she noted the Medivo offering is “free.”
By Destry Sulkes, MD
In many ways, 2011 was a landmark year for medical discovery, with many new therapies becoming available for patients.
Overall in the 2011 calendar year, 34 new molecular entities (NMEs) were approved by the FDA . This was the most new prescription medicines launched in at least a decade.
At the same time, however, there were some troubling patient trends that led to a reduction in physician and medication access, and thus a “gap” in the health care offering. Specifically, patients made fewer visits to their physicians and also used prescription drugs less frequently in 2011 than in 2010. These were among the findings published in the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics’ report, “The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2011.”
The number of office visits declined 4.7% last year. One common explanation for this decline is that the increasing costs of co-pays are reducing the frequency of doctor visits.
In a timely fashion, new technologies are springing up to help address this “gap” in care. For example, “virtual” physician visits are available to patients for frequently needed lab testing (such as the free services that Medivo offers).
The virtual visits can help make the subsequent face-to-face office visits more productive, for both physicians and patients. That is, a patient can obtain a lab requisition, get the lab test, complete a symptom survey, and then see their physician in the office AFTER the results are ready or AFTER a symptom-tracker report is delivered.
Another interesting facet of this IMS data is that the five leading therapeutic areas where more and more patients need treatment – cancer, asthma/COPD, diabetes, dyslipidemia and bipolar – all need initial and ongoing monitoring of lab results and symptoms to optimize Rx decisions.
Overall, the year 2011 was “remarkable” for the number of scientific breakthroughs achieved, IMS noted, but this did not diminish the research firm’s concern over the drop in patients going to their doctors’ offices. “The implications of fewer doctor visits and lower drug utilization on patients’ health have yet to play out and require further study,” noted Michael Kleinrock, director of research development at the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
Among the key findings in the IMS report:
* Seniors age 65 and over reduced their volume of prescriptions.
* New generic drugs in several chronic disease areas contributed to higher usage, but a minimal increase in drug expenditures overall.
* First-time therapies became available to treat several types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and cardiovascular conditions.
The IMS Institute report, The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2011, including additional findings and details on methodology, is available at www.theimsinstitute.org.
(Blog editor’s note: Destry Sulkes, MD, is a an Executive Vice President and Co-founder of Medivo. He has held executive positions in healthcare IT settings for over 15 years, including roles as Managing Director at Medsn, Inc., since acquired by Indegene; Managing Director at MedsiteCME, a subsidiary of Medsite, Inc., and Vice President of Medical Affairs and Strategy at WebMD. His research is published in leading peer-reviewed medical journals such as The American Journal of Medicine, The American Journal of Cardiology, Archives of Ophthalmology, Retina, and others.)
A survey by the Mayo Clinic found that one in three patients (or 38%) expect their lab results to be available online as soon as the results are known, and another 29% of patients wanted online access to the results within a few hours after they are known.
The Mayo survey results, announced at the HIMSS12 annual conference, were reported by Family Practice News Digital Network earlier this month (click here to read the FPN report).
In addition, the survey of 1,972 patients found that 61% were “very likely” and 30% “somewhat likely” to view their test results, when given the opportunity, prior to having a discussion about the result with their doctor. “These findings should be taken into consideration during website/portal development, as online access to personal medical information expands,” Dr. Mark Parkulo, an internist and chair of Mayo’s e-health policy work group, told Family Practice.
At Medivo, we are excited to be introducing the Medivo Monitor program that addresses this type of patient need, including providing a means to conveniently schedule lab appointments using Medivo’s online scheduling system and to review test results online just a few days after the lab visit. Medivo Monitor also enables patients to receive supplemental educational materials that help them with managing their health effectively. Physicians can contact Medivo to learn how they can enroll their patients into the program.
The Medivo business program got a big vote of confidence from StartUp Health this week when the entrepreneurship-focused group named Sundeep Bhan as one of its 10 inaugural “Healthcare Transformers.” Bhan, a co-founder of Medivo, will participate in the first StartUp Health Academy for Health and Wellness Entrepreneurship, a three-year program that is designed to support innovators transforming the current healthcare model.
“The best way to transform healthcare is to support and promote entrepreneurs with ongoing inspiration, education, and access to customers, capital and other critical resources so that innovation and growth can occur more quickly,” said Jerry Levin, the chairman of StartUp Health and former chief executive officer of media giant TimeWarner.
This is certainly an area of familiarity for Bhan and Medivo, the business he co-founded to help change the current model for reporting of lab test results and to transform the way physicians and patients leverage technology on their way to improved health outcomes.
In selecting the first class of entrepreneurs, StartUp Health said it focused on “finding extraordinary and passionate entrepreneurs and innovators [who] are on a mission to solve one of the great challenges of our time: fixing a broken healthcare system in ways that significantly reduce costs and dramatically improve care.”
To read the complete press release, click here.
We at Medivo are excited to be broadening our patient and physician offerings by moving into mobile healthcare with the acquisition of WellApps, developer of the innovative GI Monitor app. Already a leader in providing free services to physicians and patients with PatientPath and Medivo Monitor, Medivo will use this acquisition to build upon and expand these services.
GI Monitor is the leading mobile disease-management platform for patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Stay tuned for news on how this exciting acquisition will shape our products to further help patients and physicians improve outcomes.
Click here to read the news release announcing the acquisition.
We’ve known for quite some time that consumers are going online to find information about health and wellness. But now a new survey shows that these consumers are likely turning to digital resources sponsored by life science companies to get this health information.
And more than 4 in 10 of these patients / consumers are then discussing prescription drugs with a health care professional as a result of information they have gathered online.
The ePharma Consumer Study, conducted by Manhattan Research, in the fourth quarter of 2011 was designed to explore how consumers interact with and are influenced by pharma-sponsored resources.
With so many consumers becoming more accustomed to tapping into pharma’s online resources for managing their health, physicians can expect that many queries from their patients will be based on this information. It’s important for doctors to be aware and recognize these resources, and also to find ways to provide their patients with additional digital options that allow them to better manage their conditions.
Among the key findings of the survey released this month (Jan. 25):
- More than half, or 51%, of online U.S. adults over the age of 18 use pharma-sponsored digital resources, such as condition and treatment information, disease management tools, doctor discussion guides, or mobile apps or websites.
- Additionally, these resources are strong drivers of action – 43% of consumers using pharma-sponsored digital resources have discussed prescription drugs with a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist as a result.
- Reliance on pharma-sponsored support is even more common once a consumer is suffering from a chronic condition. For example, 75% of angina patients and 68% of rheumatoid arthritis patients use these types of digital resources.
“Many patients are using digital tools and info provided by pharma companies and talking to providers as a result,” Maureen Malloy, a senior health care analyst at Manhattan Research, said in a statement. “At the same time, we see unmet demand for resources that help patients prepare for these conversations, representing a key opportunity for many brands.”
The survey was conducted online and included responses from among 6,634 U.S. adults.