News 5/5/11

CMS issues a final rule on credentialing requirements for telemedicine services. The new rule, which will go into effect in 60 days, eases the process of credentialing for telemedicine services. It allows hospitals that use telemedicine services to rely on the organization providing the service (a hospital or physician group) for credentialing. 


A new survey of consumers use of the Web for health information finds WebMD to be the most popular source, with government-sponsored sites to be the most trusted.  Not surprisingly, user-driven services like Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia are not as popular or trusted. If I don’t use UpToDate, and I usually don’t because it takes to long to access remotely over VPN, I tend to lean towards Wikipedia as my filter and then use the sources cited to gather specifics and verify.

It was reported earlier this week that Apple acquired a paging-related patent. The story speculates that the technology could enable Apple to offer hospitals in-facility, iOS-integrated paging on Apple mobile devices. I’d be interested to see how Apple would go about offering this directly to healthcare customers.

A new report from The Institute for Health Technology Transformation highlights 10 strategies to engage patients with technology. The 10 strategies aren’t exactly mind-blowing and in many ways are just common sense, 30,000 foot-level things – use social media (it’s cheap), use mobile, ROI is hard to assess, reform is making patient engagement more relevant, be mindful of privacy and security, and a few others. To be fair, I read the press release and skimmed the full report, which seems to have a lot more detail, or at least more statistics and graphics.


Patient scheduling service ZocDoc comes to Houston and initially offers appointments with PCPs, OB/GYNs, and dermatologists.   


Phoenix Kiosk and MedApps announce a jointly developed product, the Personal Health Station. The kiosk measures blood pressure and weight that is then transmitted to MedApps’ hosted platform, CloudCare. The press release makes it sound as though Phoenix and MedApps will be targeting retail pharmacies and employers to host the kiosks.

InTouch Health announces a new suite of solutions for documentation specific to telemedicine. The tools aid in distribution of order sets and notes to remote facilities receiving telemed services.


Presbyterian Healthcare (NC) rolls out AirStrip OB to enable obstetricians to remotely monitor laboring patients.

Children’s Hospital Boston uses an online diabetes social network, TuDiabetes, to collect A1C data from patients, de-identify it, aggregate it, and display it in real-time by geography. The story speaks to the power of social networks as tools to collect public health data.

Travis Good is in his final year of an MD/MBA program and is involved with multiple health IT startups.

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