Aug 2014   
Population Health Management
Population Health management, an area that currently lacks the focus it should be given, is slowly making people sit up and notice. The long term impact of effective population health management cannot be ignored any longer. Says, David Nash, MD, founding dean of Thomas Jefferson University's School of Population Health in Philadelphia, “Population health is so central to where the world is going to go." It is the outcome that we should be bothered with, not the volume of patents or the number of procedures that can be done, he elaborates further.

In this melee of physician practice managers, hospital CIOs, technology vendors and other stakeholders in the healthcare sector, where interoperability and meaningful use are central to all discussions, the real prize really is: population health management. The movement toward value-based payment is a "complete cultural change," Nash said. "This is bringing a whole new science of population health." And that is where the IT sector is gaining relevance. "We're going to need tools, all kinds of new tools," Nash said. "We need comparative data," he continued. "We're going to need the analytics behind it."

Since most health practices take place outside hospitals and clinics, the feedback on patients’ methods of taking care of themselves becomes vital. This is where Analytics comes in and provides the much needed data to analyse the trends that need to be re-evaluated and addressed accordingly. According to a 2013 report on obesity from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 88 percent of health-related spending in the U.S. goes to medical services, with just 4 percent to healthy behavior. The solution to changing this culture is enabling clinicians to practice based on evidence; reduce "unexplained clinical variation"; end their "slavish adherence to professional autonomy;" continuously measure and close the feedback loop; and, engage patients across the entire care continuum.


mHealth Boost planned by FDA

mHealth: realizing the future of Healthcare
In a 12 page document issued on Aug, 1, 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration made an announcement that also included the draft guidance for the regulation of mobile medical devices and apps. The FDA has proposed that there will be no need for premarket submission requirements from certain Class I and II medical devices under the reserved criteria of section 501(I) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 2012.

In other words, the proposal is a huge boost to the mHealth industry since the FDA has released dozens of mHealth medical devices from the requirements of added regulation. This proposal exempts a number of devices, such as stethoscopes, thermometers, talking first aid kits, fertility diagnostic devices, hearing aids and exercise equipment.

Terming this decision as “practical”, many experts are happy with this decision since these devices don’t pose a risk to the users. This move is also being interpreted as a precise communication to the whole industry, including the mHealth sector.

The devices identified by the FDA in its latest guidance come under the following categories: Anaesthesiology devices; cardiovascular devices; dental devices; ear, nose and throat devices; gastroenterology and urology devices; general and plastic surgical devices; general hospital and personal use devices; neurological devices; obstetrical and gynaecological devices; ophthalmic devices; and physical medicine devices.


Healthcare top ranking industry for Job Growth in 2014

Healthcare Staffing: potential magnified
A recent study conducted by DiscoverOrg, a provider of IT sales and marketing intelligence tools, concluded that Healthcare is the top ranking industry for job growth in 2014. According to this study, 75.5% of the respondents said that healthcare is set to grow as one of the biggest sectors in IT jobs, followed by software development (52.9 percent) and banking/financial services (27.5 percent).

The top 3 emerging job descriptions included mobile developer/mobile app developer, business intelligence developer and big data engineers/architects. The positions or areas with the highest turnover rates were sales, IT staffing, software developers and networking professionals; C-level executives saw the lowest turnover rate. Amongst other trends, “Reaching the right person” was the number one challenge listed, selected by 45% respondents, followed by “identifying open opportunities” (20%) and “identifying a company’s key players” (13%).


Healthcare Conferences around the globe
Healthcare Staffing Summit
Location: Sheraton Dallas, Texas
Date: 8th – 10th September, 2014
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National Health IT Week 2014
Location: Washington, DC
Date: 15th -19th September, 2014
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Big Data Conference | Northern Ohio & Western Pennsylvania | HIMSS Chapters
Location: Global Center for Health Innovation | Cleveland, OH
Date: 5th September, 2014
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A Smart Watch that predicts heart attacks!

Samsung has recently announced its entry into the new wave of wearable technology that centers on personalized health and medicine. The company’s innovation and strategy team discussed plans to launch a smart watch that works on the idea of intelligent digital health”. This smart watch would store personal health information in a database that provides a “wellness score” of how the individual is eating, sleeping and exercising. Most importantly, the device would be connected to the individual’s doctor for a real-time look at their health.

Samsung also revealed a prototype called “Simband”, which features smaller, more modular tracking sensors than that currently exist and offers better battery life than current earable devices as well. Samsung demonstrated how the watch could track things like heart rate, blood pressure and electrocardiography (ECG) in real time.
The Power of Wireless Medication
With the advent of smartphones, the mobile market has witnessed a surge in mobile health applications. According to a recent research by Pew Internet, 85% of adults in the US have mobile phones of which 53% were smartphones. In addition, 19% of adults in the US who have smartphones downloaded at least one health app on their phone. It also states that there were 31% of smartphone users who were seeking health information, especially those who have had any some kind of medical problem.

According to a new report by Research and Markets, mobile tools are transforming healthcare as more Americans are adopting mobile devices and harnessing the power of wireless connectivity. The mobile health application market is destined for an explosive growth, which has projected that the market will swell by 61 percent by 2017, reaching $26 billion.

The stupendous growth and innovative uses of mobile digital health technology, has made mHealth an integral part in physician treatment plans. The following statistics shows the current trends in mHealth popularity.

mHealth on a power trip
  • 247 million Americans have downloaded a health app
  • 95 million Americans are using mobile phones as health tools
  • Mobile health is a $1.3 billion industry and by 2018 is expected to reach $20 billion
  • 42% of U.S. hospitals are using digital health technology to treat patients
  • Remote mobile patient monitoring will save $36 billion in healthcare costs by 2018
  • Wireless pill bottles helped increase medication compliance to over 95%
  • 77% of U.S. seniors own a cell phone and smartphone ownership among U.S. seniors has increased up to 55% in the past year

“Mobile health technology is helping to improve health outcomes for millions of Americans but we are still very early in the digital health revolution,” Mobile Future Chair Jonathan Spalter said. “With increasing smartphone adoption, faster wireless networks and new technologies just around the corner, the opportunities are endless and the mobile future is bright”, concludes Spalter.

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Staffing solutions to meet rising needs in HealthcareIT

HealthIT Staffing needs being redefined
The toll of chronic diseases and ageing population around the globe has increased the demand for healthcare services, products, devices and a qualified work force. This is the main reason the healthcare industry has emerged as the world’s largest industry with a value and cost three times greater than the banking sector, says a McKinsey report. Consequently, the life science industry that comprises mainly Biopharmaceutical, Device and Consumer Health companies has become a trillion-dollar global sector.

In order to meet the rising demand of the skilled workforce, the US is increasingly depending on the emerging economies which boast of millions of technology graduates annually. However, volume does not equal quality. Many life sciences companies still find it difficult to get the right workforce capable of meeting the expected quality levels. Companies nowadays are looking out for ways to secure and retain valuable talent within the organization as well as to create a flexible work culture and schedule. The growing shortage in world-class STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) talent indicates that life science companies are becoming more vigilant and resourceful in their recruitment strategies.

A flexible staffing solution that allows for a combination of full-time employees as well as highly skilled temporary legal professionals can help organizations to better meet business demand. This also helps organizations to avoid overstaffing or layoffs or shutting down their projects by providing a variable cost option.

Legal temporary and project professionals can supplement the need of core business goals. Staffing services and solutions have proved to be increasingly helpful in bridging the staffing gaps when a team member is on vacation or a sabbatical. They provide technical expertise for a missing skill set, and suffice the requirement for that period.

The advantages of having a combination of legal temporary and project professionals as a permanent part of legal staffing strategy are:
  • Helps in adjusting staffing levels to meet the required business cycle and workloads, keeping overhead costs under control
  • Helps in easing the work burden on direct employees who are already overburdened with rising workloads, client demands or additional duties
  • Helps in handling special legal projects that do not match the expertise of current staff
  • Helps in completing short projects by engaging high level specialists on a short-term basis and still meet budget demands
  • Helps in increasing job stability for full-time employees, especially in highly cyclical sectors where layoffs are more common

This kind of scenario of hiring workers in a combo of legal temporary and permanent basis is gaining popularity. This environment allows organizations to take advantage of the in-depth knowledge and experience that these legal professionals possess at a reduced cost, which in turns improves productivity and is helpful to the organization in the long run.

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