Putting personal health records into the hands of everyone
We are at the age of consumerism for everything and finally it’s coming to healthcare. The world has evolved to give every person on the planet access to information about everything on their smart phone. According to Dr. Bettina Experton, a former practicing physician, data scientist and public health officer and now founder and CEO of a mobile health technology company – Humetrix – based in California, we in healthcare are still running a big legacy system which forgets about mobile technology. There is a tremendous opportunity to empower people with technology tools they know about, which connects them with their personal healthcare records and data.
Every year, between 200,000 and 400,000 Americans die from preventable medical errors and many of these are due to a lack of information at the point of care, leading to diagnostic or therapeutic errors, adverse drug reactions, costly redundant tests and procedures, and preventable hospitalizations. Most of these preventable and life-threatening medical errors affect older Americans who are more likely to be on multiple medications and who suffer from multiple chronic conditions, which are too often unknown or partially known, given that on average a Medicare beneficiary sees seven different physicians in a year, most of whom don’t have access to their patients’ outside medical records.
“If we don’t want a drug being prescribed interacting with an other medication of if we don’t want that MRI to be repeated we need to make sure patients have access to all their healthcare data and become knowledgeable to partner with their physician to receive safer care”, said Experton at CES 2019. “There is more harm in not knowing then in knowing something which may not be correct. Technology driven innovation can be truly transformative to address the loss of life and the waste costs in our healthcare system.”
Experton’s company Humetrix has publicly released at CES 2019 its iBlueButton 8.0 mobile health platform approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for use by 53 million Americans covered by Medicare. iBlueButton 8.0 is built on Blue Button, a cornerstone of the White House open source health IT strategy to unlock the potential in healthcare data, to deliver better outcomes at lower costs. “The Trump administration has put up Blue Button 2.0 for technology innovators to access an API and build integrations that can help individual patients and healthcare organizations to access and monitor health information in one place. As a response, we have developed iBlueButton, the first native mobile platform approved by Medicare for its new Blue Button 2.0 program, which now counts 16 approved applications.”
The new mobile health record with up-to-date medical history can become a life-saving tool for information sharing at the point of care, for and by a digitally empowered patient. “Access to information is key. We have arrived at a time where the power of information placed in the hands of patients on their own smartphones with access to critical data such as Medicare Blue Button data and computed with intelligent software tools can help cure horrific pain and suffering, such as these due to preventable medical errors which are the 3rd cause of death in America.”
iBlueButton 8.0 automatically generates alerts and safety notifications based on the user’s medical history and immediately upon changes in the user’s medical information, such as alerting a user of the potentially addicting opioid drug they have just been prescribed, or of a dangerous drug-drug interaction their prescribing physicians don’t know about, or letting them know about the standard for care for common chronic conditions.
“One out of three Medicare patients are prescribed opioid medications, who usually do not know that these can be even more deadly when combined with other cognitively impairing drugs such as sleeping pills, which are too often dangerously prescribed to older Americans. The best way to prevent unnecessary harm is to inform patients themselves, for them to discuss with their physicians”, says Dr. Experton.
But also reducing waste costs
The US has an incredibly costly healthcare system with about $10, 300 spent per capita on healthcare expenditures. The next closest country is Switzerland with about 8,000. The average for high income countries is about $5,200. One-third of the expenditures are wasted* on redundant care and medical errors, having immediate access to a patient’s health history can also significantly reduce healthcare costs. “We believe that disruptive mobile technology, developed in the private sector, and placed in consumers’ hands, can be the needed disrupter to change the face of health care.”
* Erin P. Balogh, Bryan T. Miller, and John R. Ball, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, 2015; Committee on Diagnostic Error in Health Care; Board on Health Care Services; Institute of Medicine; The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine