Three hours after giving a keynote speech at HIMSS, during which he discussed the value of mobile health devices and in particular smartphone-enabled ECG solutions, Eric Topol, MD, was flying back to San Diego when flight attendants began asking if there was a doctor on board. Dr. Topol responded and found a patient experiencing an irregular heart beat. He then used the very same device he had demonstrated during his keynote speech at HIMSS to diagnose atrial fibrillation. Dr. Topol was able to calm the woman and the flight landed shortly there-after.
In the week’s last keynote speech, Farzad Mostashari, MD, discussed ONC’s goals for the year ahead, which include: increasing the footprint and effectiveness of the nation’s HIEs, promoting interoperability, and increasing transparency and access to data for patients.
A recent study published in Health Affairs suggests a correlation between an employer sponsored wellness program which required smokers to enter a cessation program, and all employees to promise that they would eat well and exercise and a resulting 41 percent drop in hospital admissions for COPD, stroke, and heart disease. This study, however, comes with a surprise ending. Researchers conclude that wellness programs are unlikely to significantly reduce healthcare costs in the short term because outpatient visit costs rose almost as rapidly as inpatient visits dropped.
CMS and ONC have issued a joint RFI asking for suggestions on what more, or less, the federal government should be doing to advance clinical information exchange.