With the outbreak of COVID-19, healthcare systems worldwide began to adopt and implement innovative healthcare technology hoping to mitigate further exposure and better patients’ health and wellbeing. From increased use of telemedicine to the development of contact tracing technology—these initiatives provided a good starting point when it came to lowering viral exposure.
Here at Ellumen we have specialized in medical logistics and Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) for over 20 years. As we look back on the past two years, it is crucial to consider how and where technological improvements can be made to better prepare for the future.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the U.S. in 2020, the medical community quickly realized its heavy impact on the rest of the country. In developing new and adaptive technology to combat the pandemic, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra shared “The pandemic has demonstrated that the U.S. needs transformative technology that is not only available but also widely accessible. Today we are announcing an innovative, cost-effective approach that puts us on a better path to take on the next public health crisis and improve U.S. health care,” in recognition of modern innovation where several areas of healthcare technology has evolved to benefit the public.
Three areas of modern healthcare technology that saw incredible innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic were telemedicine, artificial intelligence, and data sharing. These technologies adapted and expanded furthermore to help enhance medical facilities’ approach to rapidly evolving situations in healthcare and keep high-risk communities safe.
Telemedicine and Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM)
Telemedicine or telehealth offers flexibility; both healthcare providers and patients conduct visits virtually via a third-party platform that connects these two groups in an instant. Essentially, this technology offered an interim solution to patients seeking more relaxed care while maximizing the amount of space for inpatients in the hospital who were in critical condition, whether from COVID or other intense illnesses. The overall experience of telemedicine can greatly improve by expanding its offerings when it comes to transitioning from inpatient to outpatient care. Philips has taken this step with their innovation, Healthdot.
According to Philip’s website, Healthdot changes the way post-hospital visits take place with its remote biosensor. Placed on the body with temporary adhesive, this keeps track of a patient’s “heart rate, respiratory rate, posture, and activity and transmits these vitals every 5 minutes, on average, to the clinical information system.”
This type of invention continues to preserve the connectivity between a patient and their healthcare provider. Simultaneously, this also maximizes a patient’s comfort within their home and retains vital information that is easily digitized and transported to the healthcare system. To have this in place opens more opportunities for inpatient care where they can receive further assistance and/or closer monitoring while minimizing the exposure rate between patients. Innovations like this at Ellumen, where we specialize in the advancement of electronic health record and image exchange reminds us how telehealth furthers the necessity for quick, effective, and cloud-based medical image exchange. Especially as we continue to develop a more seamless experience for both our federal and commercial clients with our recent imaging patent award to help further to mission.
Learn more about Ellumen’s medical image exchange specialty here.
More Advanced Use of Artificial Intelligence
Another way to better prepare for a future pandemic is by applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) in ways that help manage a substantially large influx of inpatients. The addition of AI to carry out screening processes could significantly reduce the number of inpatients in hospitals. Incorporating AI into this procedure could be done by solely using retinal pictures, a minimally invasive and innovative requirement.
AI systems can study patients’ images and compare them to previous samples to provide an estimate of the severity of the illness with extreme accuracy. By including AI in the screening process, we can save a serious amount of time and labor for both the physicians and the patients. By using AI in telemedicine, easier identification can make diagnosis a more time and cost-effective procedure for patients and doctors.
For more on implementing AI in healthcare, check out our AI experts’ podcasts with Dr. Vendana Janeja. Our guest speaker Dr. Janeja, Professor and Chair of the Information Systems department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County shares her insights on how AI research is placing ethics, equity and human input front and center. Our experts go in depth on the importance of heterogeneity in AI research and the ethical use of AI in the emergency room for effective treatment.
Better Data Sharing and Interoperability
COVID-19 has also called attention to the need for better-quality health data exchange across the country. At the height of the pandemic, it became extremely evident to healthcare workers around the world how necessary it is to increase interoperability in healthcare, for both coordination of COVID-19 patient treatments and mass vaccination efforts. The current stream of patient data to health data monitoring systems is extremely outdated.
Healthcare Magazine writer Mikko Hypponen points out the extreme vulnerability within the healthcare sector due to its outdated systems that make it prone to cyber-attacks. “Given that most medical systems are publicly funded, the world’s health data is often stored in old legacy technology, running on outdated operating software” said Hypponen, as he continued to name notable incidents in recent years such as the 2018 Vastaamo Psychotherapy Center breach in Finland that left many patients victimized by hackers.
In combatting situations like this the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) established the Trusted Exchange Framework and Agreement (TEFCA). Recently established earlier this January 2022, TEFCA offers to aid in the secure exchange of electronic health information within U.S. healthcare systems. Not only does this promote stronger security for patients nationwide but it works in tandem with easing the process of carrying information over from one provider to another. Ellumen’s IA & Cybersecurity offer similar services in federal health information security, where we comply with federal and agency requirements and regulations and more.
The range of innovations in healthcare have made great strides in continuously providing the public with better access to personal care especially in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In continuance of better preparation for the future, Ellumen remains focused on contributing to the areas of:
Digitizing and modernizing the healthcare experience through EHRM or cloud image exchange in telehealth and interoperability. Through our full scope of DevSecOps support, assessment, and cloud design, we provide solutions that ensure patient data is interoperable, secure, and accessible. We deployed the first FHIR-based data exchange service at Veterans Affairs (VA), which enhanced time- and life-saving interoperability between the VA and Department of Defense.
Streamlining the medical logistics systems via DMLSS LogiCole and training. Part of the LogiCole application include providing IT support services paired with Ellumen’s combined Documentation, Training, and IV&V Testing service lines represent an agile, matrixed organization comprised of multidiscipline professionals, whose contributions to LogiCole developer releases are driven by shared understanding of our customer’s business goals and stakeholder feedback.
Innovating the overall areas of healthcare, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, imaging patents, cybersecurity and more. Our expertise ranges from exploring the benefits of AI as a tool for the medical community to thoroughly maintaining compliance with federal and agency requirements and regulations. We aim to continue the mission of always putting people first as we develop new technology to improve healthcare systems.
Read more about our services or contact us for more information about interoperability solutions.