Free Hospital EMR and EHR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to Hospital EMR and EHR for FREE!

Talking Secure Healthcare Communication with Telmediq Founder and CEO

Posted on June 9, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve had a keen interest in the secure text message space ever since I started advising a company in the space many years ago. That company has since been acquired, but I’ve still been keeping watch over the secure text message market. Even back in the early days, we knew that the real holy grail of secure text was to integrate with the EHR and other applications and become a full communication suite and not just a simple text message platform. However, it would take time to really get there. What’s exciting is that we’re starting to see companies that are finally getting there.

One company that’s been making great progress in this direction is a company called Telmediq. Unlike most secure text message companies who started with the physicians, Telmediq approached the secure healthcare communication problem initially from the perspective of nurses. This together with a number of their integrations with EHR and other hospital IT systems prompted me to sit down with Ben Moore, Founder and CEO at Telmediq to learn more about their company and the evolving healthcare communication market.

If you’ve never heard about Telmediq or if you’re interested in what’s happening in the healthcare communication space now and where it’s heading in the future, then you’ll enjoy our interview with Ben Moore. We cover a lot of ground including things like EHR integration, voice integration, alert fatigue, hands free communication, and future items we’re just starting to see like AI and chatbots.

Enjoy our interview with Ben Moore, Founder and CEO at Telmediq:

How Much Does Healthcare Consumerism Matter to Hospital CIOs?

Posted on April 14, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today I was greeted on Facebook with a quote from an interview the always wonderful Kate Gamble did with Michael Marino, Chief of IS Operations at Providence St. Joseph Health.

Patients don’t just want “the Marcus Welby experience anymore,” says Michael Marino.
“They want care where they want it, when they want it, how they want it.” The challenge? How to enable that without overburdening clinicians.

I found this evaluation to be spot on. It’s great to know that Michael Marino understands what patients want. However, he also understands how challenging it is going to be provide patients what they want.

The reality is that the system wasn’t set up to provide care “where they want it, when they want it, how they want it.” This is going to require a dramatic way in how we think about care and how we provide that care.

However, the 2nd part is the key point. How do we make this change without overburdening physicians. If the solution overburdens physicians, then it’s unlikely to happen. They’ll kick against the change and patients won’t get the change they desire.

There are simple, win-win solutions out there. Take for example a secure text with your patients with a picture attached. This can be a really efficient way for a doctor to interact with the patient. It can save the doctor and the patient time. It can discover issues earlier than if the patient waited for the next office visit. In some cases, it also frees up the doctors time to do a higher paying office visit.

How many hospital CIOs think about this shift in healthcare consumerism? My guess is that many are so overwhelmed by things like EHR complaints and cybersecurity challenges that most aren’t giving much of a 2nd thought to the shifting patient dynamics. Most of them have an idea that things are changing, but I imagine that most haven’t invested time and money in a way that will prepare them for this shift.

What’s your experience? Are hospital CIOs spending time on these changes? Should they be spending time on healthcare consumerism? What are the consequences if they don’t?

HIPAA Compliant Texting

Posted on July 23, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We’re quickly seeing HIPAA compliant texting as a standard in healthcare. Certainly there are some organizations that are resisting, but I fear for those healthcare organizations that are letting SMS run rampant in their organization. SMS is not HIPAA compliant and so that’s a real risk for an organization that allows it to go on. However, I’m seeing organizations across the country adopting a secure text messaging solution.

I’ve often said that the best way to solve a problem is to make doing the right thing easy or better than doing the wrong thing. This can easily be applied to HIPAA compliant texting. I outlined 11 reasons why a secure text message solution was better than SMS before and one of those reasons wasn’t the fear of HIPAA. Can someone really argue that SMS is better or acceptable?

Besides the argument that secure text messaging is dramatically better than SMS, the great part is that a plethora of secure text messaging solutions are available that are just as easy as SMS. I’m personally bias to docBeat since I’m an advisor to them and they’ve created a really great product. However, there are lots of other dedicated secure messaging companies including TigerText, docHalo, qliqSoft, and many more. Plus, that doesn’t even include large companies like Imprivata who offer Cortext and even athenahealth’s Epocrates has secure text messaging built into their product.

The day will soon come when a hospital gets hit with a HIPAA violation (possibly during a HIPAA audit) and insecure SMS will be the culprit. Considering the advancements in secure text messaging options, hospitals won’t have anywhere to hide. It’s very clear that there are HIPAA compliant options available and so I can’t imagine they’ll be lenient with organizations that aren’t doing something about it.

I’d love to hear your experience with HIPAA compliant text messaging. Do you use it in your hospital? What do you love or hate about it? Are you still using SMS?

The CIO’s Guide to HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging

Posted on January 15, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Yesterday I wrote a piece on EMR and EHR where I talk about why Secure Text Messaging is Better Than SMS. I think it makes a solid case for why every organization should be using some sort of secure text messaging solution. Plus, I do so without trying to use fear of HIPAA violations to make the case.

However, you can certainly make the case for a secure text messaging solution in healthcare based on HIPAA compliance. In fact, the people at Imprivata have essentially made that case really well in their CIO Guide to HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging. This is well worth a read if you’re in a healthcare organization that could be at risk for insecure texting (yes, that’s every organization).

They break down the path to compliance into 3 steps:

  1. Policy – Establish an organizational policy
  2. Product – Identify and appropriate text messaging solution
  3. Practice – Implement and actively managing the text messaging solution.

Texting is a reality in hospitals today and the best solution isn’t suppression, but enabling users with a secure solution. The checklists in the CIO Guide to HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging provide a great foundation for making sure your organization is enabling your users in a HIPAA compliant manner.

CA Hospital Jettisons Nurse Communications Gear For iPhones

Posted on July 22, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

At Keck Medical Center of USC, nurses will no longer use standard hospital communications gear.  In an effort to simplify and improve communications, the academic medical center is rolling out an initiative placing specialized adapted iPhones in the hands of each nurse.

According to an article in USC’s The Weekly, Keck’s IT leaders  have ordered 300 “specialty” iPhones for  use by the nursing staff. “The idea is to give them one device to do everything,” Keith  Paul, chief technology officer for USC Health Sciences, told The Weekly.

Paul chose to go with the iPhones when the firm installing its EMR said that they could link it with the smartphones. (The EMR is in the process of being rolled out, the paper reports.)

When the devices are completely functional, nurses will be able to receive secure messages from patients and other nurses, as well as emergency alerts, the article notes. The devices, which come with enhanced batteries and a tough casing, will also be able to show when a specific nurse is available.

Nurses are not going to be given their own phones, but instead, will pick up a phone at the start of their shift, entering their user ID and password to activate the device.  At the end of their shift, they’ll be asked to return the phones to a charging station.

One way in which the phones are unique is that they won’t have cellular capabilities. The modified iPhones will function only on the Keck campus, with calls made over the facility’s secure Internet infrastructure.

This is the first time I’ve heard about a smartphone or tablet rollout which crippled the cellular communications functions of the device, but it probably won’t be the last.

As we’ve previously reported, few smartphones are secure enough to meet even half of Meaningful Use or HIPAA requirements, according to ONCHIT. So it makes sense to run voice communications through a hospital-controlled voice-grade Internet network if you have the option (which Keck obviously did). But to date few hospitals (that I know of) have taken the plunge.

What’s equally interesting here is the extent to which the new iPhone rollout superceded investment in standard nurse communication platforms such as, say, Vocera phones. I wonder if vendors of such equipment will see iPhones or other smartphones begin to eat into their market share. What do you think?

A Quick Hospital View from SXSW

Posted on March 11, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m in the middle of the arduous two-fer of HIMSS and then SXSW. I guess I should call this the year of the enormous conferences since I started the year at CES. The amazing thing is that healthcare is starting to have a larger and larger presence at CES and SXSW (of course it is HIMSS). I personally came to SXSW with a number of goals in mind. Although, I must admit that finding something interesting for hospitals was not really on that list.

Fast forward to yesterday when I was taking a brief moment in the blogger’s lounge to get off my feet, power up, and browse what was happening online. Across my Twitter stream came a tweet from one of my hospital colleagues that included the hashtag #sxsw. You can imagine my surprise. In fact, I thought for sure that she must have just been watching the SXSW proceedings from back at her Ohio home. I dropped her a message that I’d love to see her at SXSW if in fact she was at the show.

Well, I was wrong and she was indeed at the show. In fact, when I met with her I learned that not only was she at SXSW, but it was her second time attending. We joked about how amazing it was that she was able to get the travel/training approved for SXSW a second year. Of course, she tole me that she found a couple great ideas last year that they implemented, so it made the case for coming this year event better.

I actually talked with her about a new Physia product which we haven’t announced. Plus, I suggested she check out docBeat’s secure messaging for healthcare solution while she was at SXSW since she mentioned wanting a secure text message solution for their residents. So, even if she finds nothing else, I think she now has something interesting to take back to her hospital that she wouldn’t have seen if she wasn’t at SXSW.

I guess the leaders of SXSW were right when they said that you never know who you’re going to meet at SXSW. They call it serendipitous interactions. Obviously it was quite a surprise for me to meet this hospital connection in Austin when I live in Las Vegas and she lives in Ohio. I have a half dozen other interesting interactions that I would have never expected at SXSW. On the one hand the event is so large that you don’t know where to turn and what to do next. On the other hand it’s been a tremendous experience meeting and learning from people across the spectrum of life.

I’m not necessarily suggesting that every hospital needs to come to SXSW, but I’ve been surprised how even a healthcare IT nut like me could find much value at SXSW.