Use Wufoo integrations and get your data to your favorite apps.

Category: Health tech

There are 4 posts published under Health tech.

The Importance of Online Desktop and the Involvement of Cloud Computing in the US Healthcare System

Virtual desktops are not a new technology. They have been around for a few years now. However, with the advances in cloud computing, the virtual desktop infrastructure is now moving towards hosting data in the cloud rather than on local data centres.


The role of online cloud desktops is increasingly important for sectors like health care and medical recording keeping. Online cloud desktops do not require upfront infrastructure development as the backend technology is outsourced. Also known as “Desktop as a Service” or DaaS, online cloud desktops score over traditional virtual desktop setups by reducing costs and complexities. Perhaps a significant advantage lies in the security framework of cloud computing. In the case of a failure, cloud hosted desktops can secure data and get back online much faster.


Remarkable Remote Access Software:


The benefits of cloud computing are harnessed by remote access software. The remote access software can now be housed in USB drives which allows for multiple desktop accesses from one central location. In other words, “headless” computers can allow for centralized access and control. With advanced features and connectivity options, remote access software creates the backbone of any successful cloud computing system. Online cloud desktops coupled with remote access software provide for a sustainable and scalable health care solution.


Rapid Technology:


Cloud computing underpins the rapid technological advances seen in network management over the last few years. Premised on innovation and rapid change, cloud computing is the future of all record keeping systems. While security and privacy issues may prevail, these can be sorted out to ensure seamless, quick and efficient access to crucial and sensitive medical records of patients or allied information.


The Electronic Medical Recording System:


Electronic Medical Recording systems are slowly moving towards cloud based setups. Resource pooling, on demand access, rapid elasticity and broad network access ensure that cloud based record keeping is here to stay. With the ease of use and advantages it offers over traditional methods of medical recording keeping, the online cloud desktop is going to play a vital role in the future. Around 15% of US healthcare system is using cloud based services to allow multiple device data access. The availability of medical records instantaneously improves the efficiency of doctors as well due to easy comparisons with past records.


Healthcare Recording Systems:


The use of cloud computing to further enhance the US healthcare recording system is a given. Some of the concerns that are raised include that of data security and privacy of patient records. It is suggested that patients be made aware of their data records shifting to a cloud setup. The Health Information and Management Systems Society or HIMMS is global non-profit organization working on integrating information technology with healthcare systems. Organizations like HIMSS can play a significant in role in establishing the importance of online desktop and cloud computing within the US healthcare system. With a dedicated focus on technology interventions in the healthcare systems, the future of health services is bound to change for the better. These developments will significantly reduce waiting lines, delays, medical emergencies and costs to hospitals and other institutions. Cloud computing will usher in a new phase for the medical fraternity and provide a long lasting healthcare solution.


The New Driver of Healthtech Growth

I am not a doctor, nor I do not play one on TV. However, even I can recognize that heathcare technology is a sector set for massive growth and poised to have a transformative effect on how medicine is practiced.


While not a new part of the technology ecosystem, up until recently, health technology has been viewed by many ‘mainstream’ technologists as the purview of doctors and medical professionals — for good reason, too. After all, what do engineers know about the human body?


The recent growth in healthtech was given momentum when, at the recent TechCrunch Disrupt SF show, SUN Microsystems’ co-founder, technology VC giant Vinod Khosla pronounced that: “in the next 10 years, data science and software will do more for medicine than all of the biological sciences together.”


Consistent with Khosla’s proclamation, many of the startups now emerging in this sector do not require a medical degree or even familiarity with the healthcare business to understand, because they are using software, hardware, or data to solve some glaring, practical problems with healthcare that have to do with efficiency, productivity, and challenging the dominant paradigms that have operated (excuse the pun) in the hospital environment for decades.


This newly-honed focus on healthcare technology was evident at the DEMO Fall show in Silicon Valley — an annual gathering of entrepreneurs, media, technologists, and VCs, where early-stage companies debut and DEMO their products and services to a sophisticated audience. Here are the three healthtech startups at DEMO that stood out most for me:


Hello Doctor: Let me start by saying that Hello Doctor was also popular with the other attendees at DEMO. This was confirmed when it was awarded one of the ‘DEMO God’ awards — essentially a ”best in show” for DEMO — that is voted on by the crowd. It was born out of the founders’ own experience with the U.S. healthcare system, and offers a straightforward and strong value proposition: helping patients better organize and use their personal health data. For patients and family members who have dealt with a major medical issue, this really hits home. Hello Doctor turns paper health records into scanned, searchable electronic records and works with cell phone cameras, replacing the need for a scanner or any specialized equipment. It allows patients and care givers to get rid of binders full of records — a ubiquitous characteristic of navigating the U.S. healthcare system if you have a major illness.


Hello Doctor targets the fact that much of the healthcare system, at least on the patient side, is run on paper records. Founder and CEO Maayan Cohen said that the idea for the company came from her own experience with a partner who came down with a serious illness, and her disbelief at the large quantities of paper records that came along with it. Since it resides in the cloud, the app can be accessed via mobile device, and includes an extra layer of interactivity by allowing patients to search their records and compose notes as they review them. They also offer a tagging service where Hello Doctor essentially organizes the records for the patient.


Pristine: Pristine, another DEMO God winner,is an example of the stunning potential of new technology in the hospital setting and on the way doctors do their jobs. The company has developed a platform using Google Glass that enables doctors to collaborate on patient care in real-time. The potential benefits to this are obvious, especially considering that most healthcare professionals in hospitals still rely primarily on pagers, land-line phones, and whiteboards to collaborate, costing money and time. Thisundoubtedly results in less efficient and lower quality care for patients.


For any healthcare technology like this, there are hurdles—in the U.S. they include HIPPA regulation, the fact that the platform has to be purchased and implemented hospital-wide, and overcoming the potential hesitancy of healthcare professionals to adopt new technology. On top of this, these kinds of platforms will require extremely reliable broadband networks in order to work effectively. However, the potential is huge, and Pristine’s demo—which included a simulated surgery—powerfully showed the extent to which a technology like this could enhance doctor collaboration, and potentially improve patient outcomes.


Seratis: This is a smartphone-based platform that allows doctors, nurses, and caregivers to better coordinate and track in-patient care. Co-founder and CEO Divya Dhar, a physician by trade, argues that the vast majority of doctors still use pagers to communicate with each other about patient care in hospitals. She argues that this results in tremendous inefficiencies that lead to extended hospital stays and increased per-patient spending on care. The Seratis solution is a mobile app designed to enable doctors, nurses, social workers, case managers and even patients to collaborate in real-time on a case. The goal is to increase efficiencies and responsiveness, get patients out of the hospital faster, cut costs, and move on from the pagers.


Clearly, healthcare tech is on an upward trajectory and is poised for a breakthrough in terms of growth and revenue in the long term. These three startups and their peers exemplify the fact that it is all being driven by a sea change in the way technologists and entrepreneurs are approaching health and patient care. It is the new recognition that ‘mainstream’ technology, like data analysis, wearable tech, and the cloud, now have a critical place in the healthcare ecosystem.


Top Tech and Startup News: 7 Things You Missed

Below is today’s top technology and startup news.


1. $6200 Bitcoin Heist Threatens Android Operating System

Hold onto your digital wallet. As expected, flaws in operating systems are being exploited to “pilfer” bitcoin. Google developers confirmed the cryptographic vulnerability, claiming there is a serious threat to “hundreds of thousands” of Android apps.

Undoubtedly, this is bad press for Bitcoin. Yet, this is even worse news for Android, with over 90% of mobile malware being detected on this mobile operating system.

Update: Today, it was reported Google is distributing patches through the Openhandset Alliance.

Here’s a quote from Alex Klyubin, a Google security engineer who first reported the situation:

“We have now determined that applications which use the Java Cryptography Architecture (JCA) for key generation, signing, or random number generation may not receive cryptographically strong values on Android devices due to improper initialization of the underlying PRNG.”


2. Google Blocks Microsoft’s YouTube app

Just days after announcing the release of the YouTube app on Windows Phone, Google has officially blocked the app.

This action was in response to errors which started to pop up this week. Google stated the full YouTube experience could not be enjoyed with the current browser.

Here’s a quote from a Google spokesperson:  “It has been disabled. We value our broad developer community and therefore ask everyone to adhere to the same guidelines.”

3. Washington Post has been Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army

It’s been a big week for the Post. After Jeff Bezos announcement to buy the Post for an estimated $250 Million, the website is now being hacked. Reportedly, readers of some articles are being redirected to the Syrian Electronic Army website.

4. “Julian Asssange with a Hypodermic Needle” - The Silk Road drug peddling website to be featured in magazine

He’s the Al Capone of the internet, known more commonly as Dread Pirates Roberts, and has been carefully building a website to meddle drugs over the last two years. And, these are not just your typical over-the-counter drugs. We’re talking heroine, meth, crack, LSD and ecstasy - all mailed through our local, friendly post office.

Forbes plans to run a full-feature article on Roberts.

5. Paypal freezes IndieGoGo campaign worth over $100,000 - then reverses the decision

With 9 days to go in the campaign, a Google Glass competitor ‘GlassUp’ was told they will only receive “a tiny amount of the funds.” The Italian hardware manufacturer would have been greatly hampered by this decision. But, after receiving mainstream press, Paypal reversed their decision stating:

“We looked into what was happening with GlassUp and corrected the situation earlier today. GlassUp now has access to all of the funds that they’ve raised on Indiegogo through PayPal. We think they are developing a fascinating product and don’t want to impede their innovation in any way.”


6. Awesome Fashion Designer Fights Government Surveillance

Here’s one way to speak out against Government surveillance. An activist and designer has created an anti-drone garment, resembling a burqa to demonstrate the seriousness of our situation. The garment reflects heat, masking the wearer’s thermal signature while reducing visibility to infrared sensors. You can check it out here:

Adam Harvey /


Fashion designer fights against surveillance

Fashion designer fights against surveillance



7. Design Your Heart Out: Getty Releases 4600 Amazing Images to the Public

In a world of stock photos and vector art, the newest announcement by Getty is a pleasure to hear. Perhaps one of the World’s finest collections of artwork is now open to the public, free of use. The iniative, which sets a precedent for other art collections, is called the Open Content Program and is free to use.

You can browse the collection here:


daily tech news


Can Healthcare Catch up in a World of Digital Payments?

Healthcare reform has delivered new potential benefits for patients. However, it has also forced hospitals to tighten their operations or face big losses.

Fortunately, other industries show us that the application of proven online and mobile payment strategies can reduce these pressures while benefitting patients.


Historically, hospitals offset regulatory revenue pressures through a reliance on public payers and private health insurers for revenue. But as public money becomes less predictable and private insurers shift the cost burden to individual patients, hospitals must re-examine their payment and collections philosophies.

Overall, five major trends are converging to put stress on the traditional revenue mix for hospitals and their financial outlook.


1. Growing patient out-of-pocket responsibilities. As part of the consumer driven healthcare trend, health insurers are shifting a greater portion of costs to patients through high deductible health plans and higher co-pays. For hospitals with legacy payment platforms, this has led to extended payment times, increased overhead for larger patient collection efforts, and a greater risk for bad debt from non-paying patients.


2. Medicare payments based on quality of care. Medicare reimbursements are a key source of revenue for hospitals. New health reform legislation links these Medicare reimbursements to patient care and satisfaction through Value Based Purchasing (VBP). This means that higher patient satisfaction scores result in a higher percentage of Medicare reimbursements. Similarly, low scores could result in financial penalties. Medicare payment rates will also be tied to hospital readmissions so that reimbursements can be cut if a discharged patient must return to the hospital because of a complication.


3. Uncertain Medicaid funding. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that states would not be required to expand their Medicaid programs as originally mandated by the health reform act. Medicaid covers people with limited income, and the bill was aimed at expanding coverage for more uninsured single adults. This ruling means that hospitals that were expecting their patients to pay more for coverage may now face higher than expected costs to treat the uninsured.


4. Lower rates from commercial health plans. In anticipation of the federal health insurance exchanges that become effective January 2014, large health plans have begun to pressure hospitals and health systems to agree to lower rates. In some cases, insurers have asked hospitals to cut current rates by more than half. While this strategy will help keep premiums attractive for new customers shopping for plans, it could further strain hospital revenues.


5. Experimental payment models. In addition to these already significant revenue burdens, the federal government and many private health insurers are rolling out new payment models that introduce more uncertainty into hospital revenue streams. Bundled payments and Accountable Care Organizations are the hot, new thing in healthcare reimbursement. However, they force hospitals to work harder to capture savings because they require better coordination between the doctors and hospitals that treat the same patient. While the concept is promising from a patient perspective, none of these models has been around long enough to demonstrate savings.


While some of these new changes hold the promise of positive change for patients, they all create significant financial and administrative hurdles for hospitals. And even as patients win small gains, insurers will continue to push high deductible plans, which will force individuals to more closely manage their medical care and their medical bills. In response, some forward thinking hospitals and medical providers are exploring the application of online and mobile bill pay technology as a way to resolve their financial pressures and give patients greater control over their healthcare financials.


For those hospitals, online and mobile bill pay trends in other industries can act as a model for how to best apply these technologies in healthcare. Utility providers, retailers, and others show us that the convenience of online and mobile bill pay can help shrink payment cycles for hospitals, reduce bad debt, and increase patient loyalty – effectively mitigating many of the economic pressures they are navigating now. Innovative hospitals have an opportunity to engage their patients through self-serve payment plans, prompt payment discounts, and hospital loyalty programs. This is a powerful vision for the future of the healthcare industry where both hospitals and patients win.