Sabianet News

Ehrhardt speaks out on Empowering Consumers with Health IT

14-Nov-2013 Palo Alto, CA- Marilyn Ehrhardt, CEO and President of Sabianet, was invited to speak at the Hispanic IT Executive Council's Q4 IT Leadership Summit. She was joined by other industry leaders in Healthcare Information Technology and Telecommunications: Romulo Juarez, Managing Director, Technology Growth Platform Lead for Connected Health, Accenture; Juliana Su, Chief Operations Officer, Openet; Aloha McBride, Federal Health Sector Lead, Ernst & Young LLP. Ehrhardt spoke with insight and passion on the empowerment of consumers through usage of technology in the Healthcare Industry citing two real-life examples that brought home the message that Information technology combined with Telecommunications technology reduces the cost of healthcare but even more critical--it saves lives! Given the widespread concerns on healthcare costs, access to healthcare professionals and Insurance, Marilyn Ehrhardt emphasized that we are only scratching the surface on how technology can provide solutions with impact to these concerns and clearly stated that empowering individuals to participate in their healthcare via Technology is the key.

The mHealth Panel at Hitec
The Healthcare Panel at Hitec's Q4 Summit

One of the cases Ehrhardt spoke of demonstrated a clear pathway to cost reduction through empowerment of caregivers of chronic care patients utilizing health information technology and a smartphone. The patient, having chronic hypertension combined with depression had a prescription medication multi-drug interaction that led to a heart attack and congestive heart failure. After successful treatment of these events, the caretaker took simple steps to establish a Personal Health Record for the patient that could be accessed via Smartphone. This single up-to-date view of the patient's current health conditions aided all providers to remain on the same page, having a clearer, fuller picture of the patient. The smartphone, which is always with the patient, is a unique delivery platform for access to this critical information and for keeping it up to date. This chronic patient, after having costly initial encounters with the healthcare system has managed to avoid having any other costly medical events due to the simple use of technology. Still, there is much to be improved, stressed Ehrhardt, and the major challenge for IT professionals in the Healthcare Industry is to create a consumer experience that is simple and easy to use by ALL stakeholders in the system. Additionally, with today's vast collection of structured and unstructured data, IT Professionals must begin to create integrated platforms that can ingest and integrate volumes of data from Big Data with traditional structured data to produce contextual snapshots of what is needed by a patient, in his current condition, in his current location, with pertinent history that can be easily delivered to healthcare professionals.

iPhone ECG Application
AliveCor's iPhone ECG device/app

The other case Ehrhardt described showed how healthcare can be administered to save lives using technology in a mobile setting. She describes an event that occurred on a transatlantic flight where a person on the plane was experiencing chest pains. A physician, seated nearby, had a smartphone that had a prototype device/application that was capable of producing a real-time electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG, similar to the now available product from AliveCor). The physician was able to diagnose the patient with acute STEMI, a critical condition of the heart. With this information, the pilot conducted an emergency landing and the patient's life was saved. With technology, we are empowering the healthcare community, patients and providers with the ability to diagnose and treat health issues outside of traditional venues like the physician's office or the emergency room. Healthcare is becoming manageable everywhere.

The fitbit flex
Monitoring the body with a fitbit product

Healthcare and personal health awareness is becoming manageable on a personal 24 hour clock with new devices being introduced frequently. Devices available today, such as those provided by Fitbit and devices or sensors available in the future that are embedded in clothing will monitor and collect your body's vital statistics. These small bits of data will be accumulated to Big Data stores in the cloud for trends and analysis. This is not only valuable from a personal perspective, but this data can be de-identified, aggregated across a population and studied for health trends, locational outbreaks and other even now unidentified requirements for the improvement of healthcare, medicines, treatments and outcomes.

About Sabianet Inc.

Sabianet is a strategic transformation and information technology firm servicing the Healthcare and Telecommunications industries. We help hospitals, medical centers, clinics, and physicians transform their information systems to improve information capture, include mobility, collaboration, and security, resulting in improved quality, cost and access. More at Sabianet does not endorse or recommend any products mentioned in this article and the citing of same is for illustrative purposes only.


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