Why Gamify Health Care? Why Not Healthify Blockbuster Games?

Ayogo doesn’t ask why gamify health care but why not instead “healthify” blockbuster games? It’s an interesting twist to the current trend of ‘gamifying’ everything, from the number of steps we take each day to making better choices in our diet. At Ayogo, a Vancouver B.C. mobile gaming company, they believe games can be used as effective tools for motivating and educating the common person, like me! The thought behind this is that if we want to get people to do the things they need to do, the best way to get them to do it is to make it playful.

Playful! Hear that health care?? We want to PLAY  and have FUN!!!

There seems to be a growing trend for game developers to not only to entertain folks using console & social networks, but to create game apps for the health sector. Ayogo’s slogan is very cool too, building “Games for Good”! Whodathought that gaming could be so good & healthy for you 10 or even 5 years ago!


Noninvasive Skin Sensor Technology for Future Healthcare Monitoring

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

New skin sensor technologies are being developed and this video demonstrates how a small tattoo like this device can be applied like a band aid! It would read and transmit electrical input and collect data of that patient for doctors to monitor remotely.

Laws & regulations surrounding the evolution of Telemedicine

Where is telehealth heading?

Digital media and the Internet has allowed our society to better communicate; no longer are we subjected to hear a one way dialogue between marketing messages, we have a voice, a responsibility to be active and engaged to shape the society. We live in the age of transparency and accountability and all businesses must adapt or diminish. I believe that society will be better managed if we remain vocal and in control of our health records.

The speakers at the InformationWeek Healthcare’s IT Leadership Forum agree that complete access for patient information and more exchange between patient and care giver are in our future.

“If there’s one thing that’s going to revolutionize healthcare, whether it’s IT, ACOs, or any aspect of health reform, what you’re going to see is patients taking back healthcare from their providers,” states Neil Calman, MD, the CEO and co-founder of the Institute for Family Health. “You’re going to see patients who want complete and unfettered access to their medical records. Forget all this where we’re going to keep the data to ourselves for seven days before it’s released to patients, or we’re going to create models of abstracted data to give to people. They will have total and complete, instant access to their medical information, whenever, in multiple formats, however they want it.” Under the HITECH Act we will see more accessibility to access to our health records, but establishing and maintaining a secure web portal which would allow access for the patient to exchange data on file has many complications. I hope to see more advances in electronic health records which would allow users to directly enter their own data or possibly share data with their loved ones and caregivers. Monitoring health will no longer be a passive event. Correlation to patients active involvement (and with graphic visualization of feedback) is important if change of behavior is the desired outcome.

Microsoft HealthVault

Microsoft HealthVault (and Google’s now defunct Google Health) are patient portals where their sensor data can be stored and later accessed by the user and their healthcare professional to monitor chronic disease. HealthVault vendor Akevelon recently joined the mobile bandwagon and released a health app for their the Windows phone which synchs up with records on file and displays data (also includes social media shares in case you desire to let the world know that you’ve lost weight, lowered your blood pressure).


Akvelon website

Regulatory Issues – Crossing the border & the state of Washington

Typically, healthcare professionals need to obtain a state medical license in the state where they wish to practice, yet with the emergence of telemedicine, there is no clear law resolving the question of “where care actually occurs”. The patient and the health care provider may be in different states. Questions arise whether care is legally provided at the location of the patient or at the location of the practice.

The Center for Telehealth and e-Health Law (CTeL) has created an interactive map, to review each states’ regulatory license, just click on the map to learn about your jurisdiction.

Washington state has no rules or laws on telemedicine, but the following general guidelines:

•Place the welfare of patients first
•Maintain acceptable standards of practice
•Adhere to recognized ethical codes governing the medical profession
•Properly supervise physician extenders
•Protect patient confidentiality
Learn more about the Appropriate use of the Internet in Medical Practice from the Washington State Dept of Health site.
Categories: Telehealth

Who’s not required to follow HIPAA & why it’s so important to go after those who violate

“People say they are afraid that if their private information becomes known, they may not be able to get health insurance.”

– Dr. Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

The first civil penalty levied under the HIPAA Law: 41 patients could not access files

This is an example of a case where the health insurance denied patient’s right to view their own records. Cignet Health of Prince George’s County Md. has been charged 4.3 million dollars as civil penalty for denying accessibility to 41 patients to their medical records. For more information on this story.

A pre-existing health condition should not discriminate any citizen from obtaining health insurance, but there is legitimate fear that if patients’ private health records are open to entities that do not have to follow HIPAA, they will be vulnerable to prejudice.

These are the entities that are not required to follow HIPAA:

  • life insurers
  • employers
  • workers compensation carriers
  • many schools & school districts
  • many state agencies like child protective service agencies
  • many law enforcement agencies
  • many municipal offices

The adoption of EMRs is critical to the telemedicine cause. It’s imperative that these violators from “The Wall of Shame” be publish and held responsible for violating HIPAA. Due to the The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health act or the HITECH Act (under HIPAA) the Secretary of Health & Humans Resources much post all violators of 500 patients or more.

The Department of Health and Human Service website exposes 281 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) security violations that affected more than 500 individuals as of June 9, 2011.

Categories: HIPAA

Privacy, Security & Confidentiality (HIPAA)

In order to guarantee patient security, privacy and confidentiality the department of Health and Human Services created HIPAA to streamline the process of create Electronic Medical Records (EMR). The adoption of EMR (which involves telehealth) is critical for telemedicine. 

“People need to be assured that their health records are secure and private.  I feel equally strongly that conversion to electronic health records may be one of the most transformative issues in the delivery of health care, lowering medical errors, reducing costs and helping to improve the quality of outcomes.”

– Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services

Our health information is protected under federal law. The following entities must follow HIPAA:

  • Health Plans, including health insurance companies, HMOs, company health plans, and certain government programs that pay for health care, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Health Care Providers—those that conduct certain business electronically, such as electronically billing your health insurance—including most doctors, clinics, hospitals, psychologists, chiropractors, nursing homes, pharmacies, and dentists.
  • Health Care Clearinghouses—entities that process nonstandard health information they receive from another entity into a standard (i.e., standard electronic format or data content), or vice versa.
Categories: HIPAA