John Lynn, prolific blogger and health IT media magnate, and I are teaming up again for the second year to produce and deliver a marketing conference focused on helping digital health, health IT, and medical device  innovators. We’re going to be providing actionable advice and specific techniques you can use to cut through the noise when trying to market healthcare and medical tech products to physicians, hospitals, health systems, ACOs, patients, and similar customers. Called The Healthcare IT Marketing Conference, last year’s event covered very important subjects by some of the world’s best experts on those topics and we’ll continue the tradition again in 2015.

Learn the difference between Marketing, Advertising, PR, and Branding

Everyone tells small companies that they need to “do marketing” but that’s really hard to do so I started with a quick visual to explain what it means. It comes from Marty Neumeier on pages 24 and 25 of ZAG by way of the Brand Autopsy Blog (which I highly recommend reading) and illustrates the differences between Marketing, Advertising, PR, and Branding. It’s a wonderful visual and clearly shows that small companies should focus on marketing and free PR, shoot for branding and probably eschew advertising until they have enough money. Our expert speakers at HITMC know the difference and will teach you how to make sure you’re not taking the wrong steps.

Learn how to conduct appropriate market research

Lots of (even innovative) companies don’t do basic market research so we will cover:

  • Find the right search terms for your industry or product. Don’t be esoteric. Because most products will only be found through word of mouth or on the Internet, don’t choose terms to describe yourself that no one else understands. Selling to hospitals is not about creativity, it’s about value. If the customer doesn’t understand what you’re selling give up now.
  • Use competitive intelligence to locate your competitors and existing firms.

Learn about the different kinds of of Business Models to consider

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) and subscription model  — best model for startups with something they can maintain in their own data centers
  • Consulting and Solutions model — when you can provide packaged help
  • Licensed model — when privacy or complexity requires solutions to be installed in house
  • Freemium model (and open source)

Learn about major healthcare industry fallacies

Selling to the healthcare community is very hard and there are many myths that our conference will dispel:

  • Healthcare folks are neither technically challenged nor simple techno-phobes. Because they are in the business of saving lives and improving health, they care about technologies that help them achieve their mission.
  • Most product decisions are no longer made by clinical folks alone, CIOs are fully involved. Don’t try to sell just to the clinical folks — make sure the IT side is engaged and on your side.
  • Complex, full-featured, products are not easier to sell than simple, stand alone tools that have the capability of interoperating with other solutions are much easier to sell. Software as a service is a good approach.
  • Hospitals will not buy unless one proves value. This seems obvious but many companies think that because they think something is important, their customers will just agree.
  • Selling into doctors offices is not easy. There were a few startups looking to sell to individual physicians’ offices. Selling to to your first dozen physicians is pretty easy since we all know doctors. Just be careful, though, since selling to the next dozen and beyond is where companies fall.

Learn how to align the Payers, Beneficiaries, and Users (PBU) of your Health IT or MedTech product

There are three distinct groups you’re marketing and selling your products to:

  • The payer or the person/entity that writes the check for your product.
  • The person or group that benefits most from the use of the product.
  • The person or group that actually uses the product.

I call this the “PBU alignment” problem. In a complex environment like healthcare, the three groups are often not the same — if you can find a market in which the payers, the beneficiaries, and the users are all the same then your sales job is easy. However, that’s commonly not the case. Let’s take a look at the typical example of a complex product like an electronic medical records (EMR) software package in the era of ARRA, HITECH, and meaningful use (MU). The “payer” may ultimately be government reimbursements through  Medicare, the “beneficiaries” are the healthcare insurance firms and the government agencies that need the MU data, and the “users” are the doctors and staff at physicians offices and hospitals. Why has it taken decades for EMRs to be sold to just a tiny fraction of the total industry? Because the PBU alignment hasn’t been reached — until the users, beneficiaries, and payers of the products all understand the value and are willing to work together to achieve a goal it will be tough.

Join us at the conference to talk with experts on the PBU lesson and advice for your product. Figure out the PBU alignment problem and see how you’ll sell to each of the groups and make the right arguments — you do it right and you’ll make money. If you forget the complexities of the PBU and you’ll be languishing, too.

Go home with many tips and tricks:

  • Make sure your company and its value is easy to explain
  • Make sure your value is defendable and differentiated (but without being esoteric)
  • Make sure that you have ability to attract partners and can either create or be part of an ecosystem
  • Ensure that you have word of mouth opportunity
  • Have scaleable staff and systems
  • Have a scaleable product — build once, sell many times
  • Have an uncomplicated pricing and deployment model
  • Be very focused — you can’t “solve healthcare” but you can solve very specific problems
  • Try to own the relationship with and information about customers — don’t rely on partners that won’t give you access to customers

 

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Earlier this year NueMD created a nice looking Meaningful Use Infographic — asking the question whether MU was helping or hurting EHR Adoption. I loved the summary but I wanted to dig in a little further so I asked Dr. William Rusnak, a resident physician in radiology and a healthcare IT writer for NueMD, to tell us what that infographic meant for innovators and folks building solutions. Here’s what Dr. Rusnak said:

When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched their Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs, coined “Meaningful Use” (MU) back in January 2011, the main goal was to reward healthcare practitioners and administrators for adopting EHRs and increasing efficiency within their practice. NueMD, a medical billing software company, decided to take a closer look at the effectiveness of this program. They compiled research from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CMS, and the American College of Physicians (ACP) looking to identify adoption trends and determine potential obstacles to successful implementation.

The results are quite interesting and have shed some light upon the massive opportunity for technical breakthroughs in healthcare. If tech innovators want to join the movement, they should be continually searching for processes in medicine that still involve some sort of manual transmission of information. Talk to your friends that are nurses, doctors, office managers, billers, or administrators. You would be surprised simply by the amount of information still being written on papers and stuffed in pockets throughout the day!

Adoption, attestation, and a younger generation of physicians

According to a survey of more than 1,200 physicians, EHR adoption is certainly taking place, but when it comes to officially attesting to Meaningful Use – the numbers suggest there’s still room for improvement. Practices with more than 50 physicians had the highest rate of EHR adoption at 85%, with 62% attesting to MU. The big disparity exists among small practices (less than 10 providers) in which half have implemented EHR technology, while only 25% have attested to MU.

This will improve, though. With younger physicians beginning to practice and take on leadership positions, it is very likely that adoption rates will increase substantially over the next decade. In the past, one of the biggest challenges EHR vendors have faced is working with a userbase that wasn’t keen on technology. Soon, however, the majority of practicing physicians will be of the generation that was introduced to technology much earlier in life. Additionally, Medical Economics states that even many older physicians have become comfortable in using technology in their practices, claiming that this age-group has begun to see some of the highest rates of EHR adoption. Thus, the market, not only only for EHR, but also nearly any kind of health technology, is just about ready to surge.

User satisfaction and efficiency, or lack thereof

Although this data suggests EHR adoption is on the rise, providers’ feelings about implementing and using EHRs is showing another trend.  Between March 2010 and December 2012, user satisfaction decreased 13% from 61% to 48% while dissatisfaction rose 14% from 23% to 37%.  What’s to blame? Of those surveyed, 67% claimed system functionality as their primary reason for switching EHR vendors.

One could look at this on the surface and think that since satisfaction is decreasing, healthcare information technology (HIT) is a struggling industry. But, let’s not kid ourselves. HIT is here to stay and most of the gripes and complaints about EHR are typical for any developing technology. If anything, these data suggest that within this storm of inefficiencies exist ample opportunities for improvement. Developers should take this into consideration for future healthcare software. More emphasis needs to be the true effectiveness of the software. This problem could be solved rather quickly with focus groups consisting of healthcare providers. Let them pick apart your software and find bottlenecks, set-backs, and other negative features. In the end, the electronic version of any process must absolutely be less time-consuming than the old-fashioned paper method.

Another very common complaint of many EHR systems is that the usability is far from intuitive. This could be the lowest-hanging fruit in the tree of improvements to this kind of software. Although each user will differ in education — from patient to nurse to physician — all of them should be able to easily access any and all of the health information stored from the patient encounters. Innovators can easily overcome this obstacle by make a significant effort to create simple, user-friendly interfaces. Again, use focus groups or chat with current clients and find out where users struggle with simple tasks. Are there too many unused features on the “home” page? Is there are particular action that users frequently perform, but must search through several menu options to get to it?

The data entry dilemma

The next problem is rather complicated and that is of data entry. Currently, physicians and other providers are using either dictation software or typing to get information into the EHR. Streamlining this process even further will decrease the time necessary for documentation, thus providing more time for the patient interview. Innovators should be looking to try to design alternative ways input information into EHRs.

Since most devices now have voice recognition, an app that could allow physicians to quickly record the patient interview then allow for review and submission into any EHR would be an amazing product. It would be even more impressive if the app could create custom documents and help to avoid repetition. For example, physicians could record physical exam findings while s/he speaks them during the exam. This eliminates some documentation after the interview.

In the future, similar apps for wearables will be even more helpful. Imagine devices, such as otoscopes, thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and stethoscopes recording data directly into the EHR as you use them. This reality is not too far off and any software that facilitates this data collection is likely to thrive.

Government intervention: Does it help or hurt?

Let’s get back to the question at hand. Is the government’s intervention helping or hurting? Unfortunately, the positive effects of the incentives seemed to have plateaued, given the lower amount of attestations in 2013. Furthermore, in a few rare instances, they have actually indirectly caused some healthcare leaders to commit fraud. A hospital CFO in Texas aided the hospital in receiving $800,000 in MU incentives, yet the system barely used its EHR. He was also reported to commit identity fraud in order to receive MU incentives. Additionally, on the innovation side of things, much of the funding in the form of grants, has run out, leaving most of the HIT companies that received them struggling to sustain themselves.

There are some good points. MU has initiated the transition to EHR for both vendors and providers. It was a surge of development in healthcare. In the process, providers were given software that was quickly designed and lacked key features. Therein lies the opportunity. Innovators now have customers with large demand for features such as usability, interoperability between software packages, and mobile implementation. Even though the EHR space in particular is crowded, there is still room for companies to create better patient portals, educational apps, analytics apps for wearables, and additional software that can be integrated into existing EHRs. And as far as the drought of government funds, venture funding for healthcare start-ups and companies is still plentiful.

Bad news can be good news

Overall, this data should be a wake-up call to everyone in the industry. Hospitals and smaller practices are struggling with the transition to a completely electronic system. Not to mention, they are unable to achieve true interoperability – open communication channels between everyone involved in patient care. However, this massive amount of problems is really a gold mine for HIT entrepreneurs. My advice to these innovators in the industry is to start connecting with physicians (or any other healthcare professional) willing to provide constructive input. Being that kind of doctor myself, I can tell you that I want nothing more than for developers to collaborate with those of us on the front lines of patient care. It’s only going to result in better software and devices.

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I’ve written a number of articles and a few video interviews on job opportunities in digital health recently and have received a steady stream of questions since then. Given healthcare IT professionals can make $90,000 or more annually, there has been growing interest in the industry. To help separate fact from fiction and dive a little deeper in to the realities of these opportunities, I reached out to Beth Kelly, a freelance writer from Chicago, IL to summarize the projected outlook for specialized positions within the field of health IT. Careers in healthcare IT are appealing whether your preference lies within the computer or medical sciences; what’s clear though is to succeed you’ll need to have your passion fit somewhere between both.  As positions in the industry are constantly evolving, the ability to adapt to new technology is also crucial — whatever is “cool” today will be different tomorrow. As healthcare providers and physicians strive to  implement new technology systems, the expertise of HIT professionals will guide the industry into the future so knowing the Outcome Driven Innovation (OID) and JTBD of clinical professionals will be a differentiator for those who possess such skills. The market for health care information technology continues to show enormous growth potential – with no signs of slowing down any time soon. Here’s what Beth thinks the outlook is:

General Qualifications and Useful Certifications

It’s clear that the expanding field of healthcare IT affords plenty of opportunities. But of course, making the move into this field isn’t as simple as picking up the phone and interviewing. Qualifications are important — in a recent salary survey report completed by HealthITJobs.com, it was noted that certified workers are on average making $10,000+ more than those without certifications.  If you are an IT worker currently, CISSP, CCNA, and PMP are a few technical certifications that are in high demand in Healthcare IT. But beyond the classroom, health IT requires a unique set of skills, and not all of them are related to technology. In healthcare, the right applicant needs to understand more than codes and processes. Many hiring managers look for applicants with “soft skills” who are willing to work in a highly collaborative environment. Applicants for HIT positions need to be aware that in a hospital environment, their position is not the star of the show. Ultimately the healthcare world revolves around the patient, and IT roles provide supportive care. In many cases when hiring, institutions prefer applications with a combination of IT and clinical skills.

Optimizing opportunities afforded by the changing healthcare landscape requires a lot of hard work and insight into the diverse nature of the healthcare IT job market. Whether you are transitioning to IT from a clinician position, or you have an IT background already but are new to healthcare, challenges are inevitable. But in an increasingly digital world, where people use technology in more ways perhaps than they even realize, an HIT skill set is almost guaranteed to pay off.

The healthcare sector of IT is as diverse as the industry itself. There are numerous areas in which to specialize; the following domains being several of the most promising.

Mobile Healthcare

Looking purely at the numbers, Americans are inseparable from their phones. And with nearly one third of all mobile applications being health related, the opportunity to access and utilize vast amounts of health data is there, also. As Silicon Valley tech companies take a greater interest in mobile health devices, advances in analytic software now make it possible to capture illuminating data about our daily lives. The sum of this information is aimed to transform medicine. Even as privacy concerns loom, the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets promises career opportunities in the realm of HIT.

Joseph Hobbs, CIO at Community Hospital at Anderson located in Anderson, Indiana, had this to say about mobile technologies: “This is a huge topic for any organization. Whether it is a mobile cart, a tablet or a smartphone, you need to give caregivers access at their fingertips. The [other] challenge in healthcare is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all initiative. Beyond just finding a solution for all you then have to worry about security and application presentation to all of these types of devices.”

Many health professionals agree that the data from medical devices and data from modern EHR solutions should be integrated. When mobile devices are capable of being linked to EHR, physicians can provide patients with appointment alerts and medication reminders, as well as additional medical assistance. In the remote patient monitoring space, cell service provider Verizon represents the Converged Health Management solution, one of the first products that hopes to bridge the gap between monitoring devices and EHRs. Partnering with Ideal Life, a medical device company, Verizon’s platform is capable of measuring blood pressure, oxygen saturation, glucose levels and weight.

The market for mobile healthcare apps promises many new opportunities for with room tremendous growth and earning potential. According to German market research firm research2guidance, the worldwide market for mobile health applications and their corresponding services reached $2.4 billion in revenue in 2013 and will grow to $26 billion by the end of 2017.

Mobile apps are becoming increasingly significant in the healthcare community, their influence extending throughout both the medical and insurance industries. Mobile app developer positions are in extremely high demand. With medical health app growth ahead of the general mobile market, there are tremendous number of opportunities for people interested in these positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, from the years 2010-2020, there is a projected growth rate of 57.4% for software application developers. For software systems developers, there is a projected growth rate of 71.7%. It’s estimated that overall employment in the industry will continue to grow rapidly.

Clinical Informatics

Clinical analytics are a top priority for two reasons: data mined by those with analytic skill can be used to understand population health, helping better identify infectious disease outbreaks and other population health trends, and can also be used to help a hospital’s bottom line. Big data allows providers to better see how their resources are spent, and where they can trim the fat. The recent deal between Apple and IBM only promises to fuel the market for data analyst positions.

In the current market, an advanced degree in health informatics is very useful. Because of the move toward electronic health records, hospitals and health systems need qualified people to undertake complex projects. A degree opens the door to working for a hospital, a health system, a vendor that sells electronic records or computer software or as a professional consultant. From 2010 to 2020, the U.S. bureau of Labor has said that employment of computer systems analysts in computer systems design and related services will grow 43 percent. Businesses will typically hire them to reorganize IT departments to operate more efficiently.

HIPAA, Meaningful Use and ICD-10 Project Managers

Now that both HIPAA and HITECH are being fully enforced, affected entities can be audited for compliance at any time. At Stage 2 of the HITECH act a certain percentage of provider’s patients must use and interact with patient portals. Navigating HIPAA privacy regulations and the proprietary nature of the portal software is a convoluted process. And the transition from ICD-9-CM to ICE-10-CM is a hefty task as well; ICD-9-CM contains 13,000 3-5-character alphanumeric diagnosis codes with 855 code categories.  ICD-10-CM contains 68,000 3-7-character alphanumeric diagnosis codes with 2,033 code categories. In the transition to greater coding specificity, hospitals typically look for someone who has worked as a coder and in health information management roles.

As health organizations strive toward integrating ICD-10 throughout every aspect of their business, there is an enormous need for medical coding and billing specialists capable of working with the updated diagnostic coding system. ICD-10 skills will put you in the front running for an in-demand position such as project manager, ICD-10 coding specialist, or even ICD-10 educator.

Skills in HIPAA Compliance qualify you for a high level HIPAA Privacy Officer position, a role that typically pays over $60,000 annually. Meaningful Use Director positions, a recent addition to the healthcare landscape, can pay anywhere between $35-80,000 each year.

Privacy and Data Breach Prevention Specialists

Health Information privacy specialists are in extremely high demand. EHR applications, particularly when accessed on mobile devices, require enhanced security access and monitoring. Data breaches are expensive, embarrassing, and damaging to to health groups, but many physicians still neglect to encrypt the patient information they’ve stored on various devices. Healthcare organizations need to take security seriously, and bring on IT professionals to ensure they are doing everything they can to reduce instances of identity theft.

Information security spending is expecting to increase nationwide, especially within industries that deal with sensitive information such as hospitals. New security measures are added and reconfigured constantly, and as a result the demand for privacy and data protection specialists is always high. Job growth for this title is projected to grow upwards of 25% within the next 5-10 years.

Pharmaceutical companies, naturally interested in joining the digital health movement as well, have found it more difficult to gain traction. A 2013 Deloitte survey found that, while people trust doctors and medical professionals the most, they trust companies like WedMD next and then internet search results. Big pharma companies come in dead last. Healthcare organizations and pharma companies are competing, not within their respective sectors, but against one another. Digital pharma is only now beginning to take off. According to M2i2′s Chief Medical Information and Innovation Officer Sachin Jain in a May interview, “the ultimate incentive is that we as a company are gradually finding our way into the outcomes improvement business, as opposed to the pill and vaccine business, and as we do that, I think we realize that data and technology and HIT is going to be a critical enabler.”

Getting started in healthcare IT is not as intimidating as it may seem. For new job seekers, however, it is important to research the different types of positions available and where you may be most helpful. Additionally, for those without a background in health, learning clinical workflows and the other processes that go into healthcare is imperative. Experience, if it’s outside the realm of healthcare, can be transferable, but you will need to be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter around the language of the health industry. If possible, volunteer in a hospital or similar healthcare IT setting to obtain hands-on experience.

Unlike humans, which can handle diversity, computers hate variations. Hospitals and physicians have experienced workflow disruptions and productivity loss as they adopt more advanced EHR systems. Health IT workers, cogs in the digital health machine, fulfill hybrid roles that blend the skills of clinicians and traditional IT workers. As the nature of the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the future for healthcare IT continues to look very bright.

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I’ve been interested in the new “wearables” segment for a while. I reached out to Cameron Graham, the managing editor at TechnologyAdvice where he oversees market research for emerging technology, to give us some evidence-driven advice about wearables that entrepreneurs, innovators, healthcare providers, and payers can use for decision making. Specifically, what does the current research show and what are the actionable insights for how to incentivize patients to use them and figure out why patients might pay for them? Cameron thinks that wearable health technology could help improve patient outcome monitoring, if insurance companies and providers work together. He elaborated:

Wearable health technology (or mHealth as some call it) is one of the emerging frontiers in medicine. Fitness tracking devices could allow the healthcare industry to better measure patient outcomes, monitor patient populations for emerging trends, and give preventative healthcare advice based on quantitative measurements (such as daily step counts or heart-rate). We surveyed 979 US adults about their fitness tracking habits, in order to determine current the usage rate for this technology. We then further surveyed 419 of those adults, who identified as non-trackers, about what incentives would convince them to use wearable health monitors. Here are some of our takeaways for vendors and providers:

1. The wearable health market remains small, but is growing steadily

In order to gauge how many adults are currently generating personal health data that would be useful in either patient treatment or preventative medicine, we asked a random, nationwide sample of adults whether they currently tracked their weight, diet, or exercise using a fitness tracking device or smartphone app.

74.9 percent of respondents indicated they did not track any of those variables using either a fitness tracker or smartphone app. 25.1 percent reported tracking such stats.

Out of the roughly one quarter of adults who do track their fitness, 14.1 percent said they used a smartphone app, and 11 percent said they used a fitness tracker. There is currently little data on such demographics, although the Pew Internet Research Project conducted a survey in 2012 looking at similar trends. In their report, they noted that seven percent of adults tracked health indicators using an app. Combining these results, we can see that the market for health tracking applications has approximately doubled over the last two years.

As more consumers adopt such technology, and rely on it for monitoring their health, providers need to become involved in the discussion. There is limited data that can be draw from a sample of just 25 percent of a patient population. If providers can encourage adoption among a majority of their patients however, they will gain greater insight into current health habits, and be able to provide more tailored advice.

2. Physicians can play a large role in encouraging tracking but there are are few incentives in place for them to do so

Looking into what incentives could convince non-tracking adults to use such devices, we found great potential for healthcare providers to encourage tracking habits among their patients. It appears patients want their physicians involved more in monitoring but our healthcare system doesn’t have the right incentives or payment structures available to compensate providers.

48.2 percent of adults said they would use a wearable fitness tracker if their physician provided one. While this may be financially unrealistic for smaller practices, wearable activity trackers (like the FitBit or Jawbone UP) will likely become cheaper as more sophisticated, multi-purpose devices enter the market, such as the forthcoming Apple Watch.

If physicians were able to get half of the three-quarters of non-tracking adults to start measuring their fitness with wearable devices, it would create huge amounts of patient-generated data for the healthcare industry to analyze.

The infrastructure for handling this data is largely in place. The most popular electronic health record provider, Epic Systems, recently announced a partnership with Apple that will allow hospitals to easily integrate wearable data through Apple’s HealthKit platform into patient portals and records.

Promoting the use of such devices should now be a goal for physicians looking to gain greater insight into their patient population. The question would be why Physicians would do this without additional compensation either directly from their patients or indirectly through insurers.

3. Insurance companies and providers need to form partnerships

While a significant portion of adults would use physician-provided devices, health insurance companies may be the ultimate key to promoting widespread fitness tracker adoption.

A total of 57.1 percent of respondents said they would be more likely (or much more likely) to wear a fitness a tracker if they could receive lower health insurance premiums. In fact, this was a more compelling incentive than the possibility of receiving better healthcare advice from their physician (just 44.3 percent of respondents said that would make them more likely to use a tracker).

By agreeing to use a fitness tracker, insurance customers would become eligible for special discounts, perhaps for walking a set number of steps each day, or raising their heartbeat for a certain period of time. Discounts could be given out directly or through an employer.

Some companies are already experimenting with such systems. Humana insurance has a new Vitality program that allows employees to opt-in to fitness tracking in exchange for possible discounts. Car insurance companies have also found success by offering lower rates for safe-driving, as measured through in-car tracking devices.

If providers want to encourage fitness and health tracking among their patients, they should evaluate the possibility of providing devices to their patients, either for free or at a reduced cost. At the very least, they should make patients aware of the benefits of such devices, and encourage them to automatically share such data through their patient portal.

Long term, providers will likely need to collaborate with insurance companies in order to establish a data sharing system for such information, which can allow for physicians to better monitor their patient population, and provide more accurate, tailored diagnoses. A universal patient record system would be ideal, although given current interoperability standards, an insurance-provider arrangement is more likely.

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Top 9 Insights for patient-centric Digital Health Innovators from the ENGAGE conference

MedCityNews invited me to attend their ENGAGE “Innovation in Patient Engagement” Conference and I found the content, speakers, and overall quality quite good. Since I chair several conferences every year I know how hard it is to pull off a good one so I’d like to congratulate MedCityNews for pulling off a great event. The goal of the ENGAGE was […]

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The difference between User Stories and Software Requirements Specifications (SRS), especially for regulated systems (part 1)

It’s getting easier and easier to build unregulated software these days but it’s still pretty hard to create regulated/certified systems such as EHRs, medical device software, and government IT. To help create better systems we all know we need better user requirements; however, “heavyweight requirements” efforts have been shunned, especially in unregulated systems, over the past […]

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When you’re looking to buy or replace your EHR, follow these common sense Dos and Don’ts for comparing EHR software

By some accounts, almost 30% of EHR users will be interested in replacing their software as they move from Meaningful Use Stage 1 to 2 to 3 over the next few years. Although I’ve written and spoken extensively in the past about how to make sure you pick the right digital health and EHR software, […]

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Patient portals have a future as a patient engagement tool if clinicians are on board and encourage their use

I wrote my first patient portal site, built into my first EMR software, back in 1998. At that time I mistakenly thought that portals would take off and patients would embrace them. What I quickly learned was that patient portals aren’t really portals in the sense of Yahoo! or Google but enterprise software’s customer-facing front-ends. The enterprise software in this […]

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How to improve your SRS by distinguishing between vague and ambiguous requirements in health IT and medical device systems

Because it’s so easy to build software these days we’re seeing a proliferation of healthcare apps — what’s hard to figure out is whether we’re building the right software. Abder-Rahman Ali, currently pursuing his Medical Image Analysis Ph.D. in France, has graciously agreed to give us advice on how to write good software specifications for health and medical […]

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ENGAGE can help pharma and biotech learn how to benefit from patient engagement

Patient engagement is something that physicians have done for thousands of years as they cared for patients (whether going to their homes or having them come to hospitals or clinics). With new digital health technologies the way providers can engage with patients is changing significantly but we’re not quite sure about the best ways to apply […]

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