WHAT NOW, FOR HEALTHCARE IN EUROPE?

We interview the VP of HIMSS EMEA, Sean Roberts, newly moved to the UK from his native California, for his plans for HIMSS over the next twelve months – and his view of healthcare on this side of the Atlantic. HIMSS is the largest healthcare trade association in the world. Its annual Global Conference resonates around the world; European healthcare vendors, particularly from Scandinavia, use the USA as their launch pad for their European and even domestic healthcare promotion.

It is not the first time that Sean and I have met. Sean is an anglophile. The last time of any significance, that we met, we went to a rather bijou little restaurant somewhere in south west London on one of his frequent stop-offs. It is rare to find an American with such a detailed knowledge of eating places in London where tourists don’t go.

This time it is different. We are in Zoom territory now. Sean has much shorter dark hair this time – he is wearing a dark blue t-shirt, the background in his home office is bare white, and he looks quizzically at the PC screen;

“Can you hear me now?

I get up and move around my own office.

“Yep! I’ve got a better connection if I stand just here….”

And this is no stop-off. Sean has moved his whole family, wife, and dog – across the Atlantic, to use London as the base so to say, for promoting better clinical management and outreach, in Europe. It is an irony compounded by the fact that the HIMSS Global Chief Clinical Director, who advises the PHE – is also already UK based.

Obviously, COVID dominates the first part of the conversation. And I ask; “So, at a time when each European country is fending for itself, why choose the UK?”

Sean hesitates and replies; “it is because English is de facto the international language, but above all, because your frontline NHS worker bees, are so “resilient”.” It is a word Sean uses several times in our conversation.

And it is not because the UK has best healthcare COVID outcomes. That accolade goes to Denmark. They plan on doing 5.5 million vaccinations, by July 2021 and everyone’s bet is that they will do this. I concur; my last time running through CPH just a few months ago, my passport control took just a few seconds and even before getting my bag, there was a nice young Danish girl in blue uniform asking me “would I like a COVID test? It’s free of charge for all visitors”. I was directed through the arrivals area, up some steps and into a covered area, and within twenty minutes tops, I had my first COVID test. “Yes, we will call you at your Hoel in day or two of there are any probs”, the nice nurse said.

What Sean is able to do, is make comparisons between one country and another, and make suggestions to each government, each hospital -“Look, have you thought about mirroring how these other people do it? Their outcomes are better”.

Looking outside one’s own internal bubble, and learning from others, is a key message that Sean is trying to promote in the UK. And the delivery of this message is not without its problems. It may not all be to do with technology, but more about national culture. Those countries that do best in containing COVID, are those who have an implicit trust in their governments. If the government says this is the right road, then this is what we will do.

Despite the fact that we are a Telehealth society now, we are hampered by the lowest common denominator in terms of wifi connectivity. The growth of Telehealth, of video conferencing, has not been because surgeries and hospitals want to go down that road, it is because they have had to take that avenue. The success of Telehealth and remote consultation at surgery and hospital vet, is directly related to each individual organisation’s willingness to adopt these new processes.

But having said that, Sean continues, these messages are getting through. IHE and HL7 and links with the WHO, are the new common standards, and HIMSS has a programme for 2021, for increasing its pan Europe roll out. The next Conference, which may well be hybrid, will be again based around Finland and their new initiatives, – it is scheduled for 7th-10th June.

Scandinavia remains a natural point of departure for HIMSS EMEA, and there is a sadness that only 5% of visitors to HIMSS events are from the UK. In the same way that just a year ago, nobody had heard of COVID – so life and healthcare is a different process now. Let’s see in June if the message has got through.

COVID; Analysis of Key Commercial Benchmarks

We look at the past twelve months and ask – if everything has gone wrong, was that simply because of COVID, or were the downsides always there, it’s  just that Covid was the excuse  of choice? Or are there new trends and behaviours come to the surface that we never considered until now?

Looking at the obvious – you can  say that 2020 was the death knell of Events and Conferences. Major companies globally are in trouble and have not been able to rediscover a new secret sauce as to why you and should even  bother to attend an online event. As long as COVID continues, it is doubtful whether many will still be around with their current offering, thru to the end of 2021. In our discussions with vendors, we have yet to find any vendor that is satisfied that being part of a virtual event has has offered them any benefit at all. Criticisms range from “ this is a scam”, to the more polite “ it’s not the fault of the organiser, they are doing their best”  etc.

It is made doubly worse  by the lack of interest from so many delegates.  Worst in our discussions, were anything to do with the UK NHS. Even those that attend workshops have almost nil interest in pursuing a discussion after they have gone offline and  in almost all cases there is no way for a vendor to progress a discussion. Much better are the Financial events; there is a clear monetary and commercial objective  – but even then – online workshops that we looked at – were sparsely attended, the vendors themselves outnumbering the delegates.

This situation is made worse alas by the naivety and astonishing optimism of the conference organisers themselves, who routinely do not bother to answer emails from apparent interested parties, preferring to have a voicemail, saying “we are working from home”.  Or those who publish and write to us with sentences such as:”We bring people together and excite them with truly life-changing experiences. Creating the ideal environment for doing business, learning about new trends and innovations, and cementing relationships. Discover our unique mission, vision and values.”

This is not what people are saying to us.

At least some organisers are trying tho. This one in Liverpool, sent us a nice paragraph:

It is all down to simplicity and not trying to recreate a inperson conference. It is impossible to recreate an inperson event so why not shake things up and cater for what you have in hand. By having more focused sessions and pre arranged 1-2-1’s rather than a networking area sponsors, delegates and speakers have a much more comprehensive experience’
The trouble is – this  is alas not our experience, as well intentioned as it may be.
In short – the market exists on two levels; established vendors who just want to support their brand. They are not so dependent on  people coming to see them. Or at a deeper level – the vendor who has something new to say – in which case, the conference has work to do to keep the delegate focussed and  on-message. One thing is clear; the lack of face to face contact will continue for longer than we care to admit.
Looking  at our work habits, what is clear is that we all accept, employers and employees, that work is a thing we do, rather than a place we go. The problem is, that the novelty has worn off. What started as a great experiment, working from home – an increasing number of people have told us that six months in, they are much less focussed, and that work expands to fill the entire day. There is no “me” time.  We frequently receive emails at 23.00, from companies and even prospects, wanting our attention.  This is damaging to both our work performance and our personal health.
The good people at the property rental specialists Knotel company in London, who we have spoken to,  tell  us that corporates are looking in increasing numbers for short term flexible packages and locations.
All of which is good, for them, but we expect to see as the vaccine kicks in, a gradual return to the heady days of returning to an office to work. It has to be like this, for reasons of sharper contact with one’s colleagues, as well as the dependence on infrastructure, theatres, social gathering, that we all need as human beings. The only question is one of size; just how many people will indeed retreat from corporate values, and decide they actually like to earn less but are happier in themselves.
Moving on…..as of today (at time of writing I have just received a News Item that we have a Brexit deal, that will deliver us more or less half of what we already had anyway – clearly good news….) – this is a good moment to take stock and see which markets are now relevant, or have changed.
Talking to my colleagues in La Rochelle and Toulouse, and Paris, France; this is not a market that is worth exploring for the time being. The South West France in particular is in deep depression. The empty streets, the 20.00 curfew, has demoralised the french psyche.
Similarly, the failure of COVID free expression in Sweden, has created a sense of uncertainty among an increasing number of areas of Sweden, particularly around the Goteborg area. There are no such hesitations from the south of Sweden, or Norway.
Two things are of interest; there is a new vigour in the UK, to going and doing things. What was unmitigated disaster some nine months ago, has now manifested into something more positive. Similarly, my colleagues in Switzerland are saying “2020 was our best year”, from technology services to  consumer drinks. However – this growth has all been domestic. We would like to see more outreach from Swiss companies internationally.
Ultimately, it will in both  the consumer/delegate, as well as vendor and organiser, to increase their appetite for being serious and implemting change. That thread is the common denominator  of both avenues.  It will be interesting to see in twelve months time, which industries and geo areas have risen to the challenge.,

 

 

Introducing A New Innovative, Incision-Free Treatment from Gynesonics.

MedStar Health is the first health system to provide Sonata, an incision-free, uterus-preserving, outpatient treatment option for women  with symptomatic Uterine Fibroids

Gynesonics®, a women’s healthcare company focused on the development of minimally invasive solutions for symptomatic uterine fibroids, announced today that MedStar Health, a not-for-profit health system of 4,300 affiliated physicians and 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, has introduced the Sonata® Procedure in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area. The first case at MedStar Health was performed by Vadim Morozov, M.D., the Director of the American Academy of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Fibroids are benign growths in or around the uterus, with about 70 percent of white women and more than 80 percent of black women having uterine fibroids before the age of 50. Uterine fibroids may cause significant and debilitating symptoms, including heavy menstrual bleeding. Symptoms may worsen over time if fibroids are left untreated, which leads to more than two million women in the U.S. undergoing treatment for uterine fibroids each year.

“Invasive surgery can be a major deterrent to women who would otherwise seek treatment,” said Chris Owens, President and CEO of Gynesonics. “We are committed to making Sonata available to all women who suffer from symptomatic uterine fibroids. This acknowledgment of the clinical importance of Sonata by Dr. Morozov and MedStar Health is important for patients in the Washington D.C./Maryland area. We are excited to be accelerating our commercial efforts and launch of the Sonata System across the United States and globally.”

The Sonata procedure offers women with symptomatic uterine fibroids an option that is incision-free, has a quick recovery with excellent reduction in heavy menstrual bleeding symptoms, and provides an option to avoid invasive surgery. Sonata uses a unique intrauterine ultrasound handpiece to locate and target the individual fibroids. Radiofrequency energy is delivered to shrink the fibroid and reduce symptoms. The Sonata Treatment is a breakthrough alternative to hysterectomy and myomectomy, and can treat a wide range of fibroid types, sizes, and locations. The fibroids are treated from inside the uterus, so the Sonata Treatment requires no incisions, no tissue is surgically removed, and the uterus is preserved. Clinical studies demonstrate that nearly 90 percent of women showed a reduction in menstrual bleeding at three months and 95 percent had a reduction in bleeding at 12 months. Additionally, 50 percent of women returned to normal activities the next day.

The Sonata System uses radiofrequency energy to ablate fibroids under real time sonography guidance from within the uterine cavity, utilizing the first and only intrauterine ultrasound transducer. The System includes a proprietary graphical user interface (SMART Guide), enabling the operator to target fibroids and optimize treatment. The Sonata system provides incision-free transcervical access for a uterus-preserving fibroid treatment. This intrauterine approach is designed to avoid the peritoneal cavity. The Sonata System is CE marked and is approved for sale in the European Union and the United States.

For more information on the Sonata Treatment and to watch patient testimonials, please visit http://www.sonatatreatment.com.

Coronavirus in Hull.

At a time when the North East city of Hull has become one of the highest rate of COVID in the Uk, – Amelia Grace, leading young blogger in East Yorks in the UK, gives a first hand assessment of where it is going wrong – and where does that leave the uk?

Coronavirus has been a common part of life for close to a year now. It’s plastered all over the news, it’s a massive topic of conversation and it’s all anyone seems to talk about. What do you think about the pandemic? Has the government handled it in the right way? When will we have a vaccine and will it have an impact? Will life ever be normal again?

These are some of the things I’ve discussed with people and I have wondered since March and the first lockdown.

More recently, the government has tackled the situation with a tiered approach, categorising places into medium, high or very high in terms of covid alert level. I’m a resident of Hull, a city in Yorkshire which started off in tier 1 and entered tier 2 just before the whole country was thrust into a lockdown on 5 November. Now, we have the most cases out of the whole of the UK and are set to enter tier 3 once we are released from lockdown. What went wrong in Hull?

Complacency. In my opinion, that is how Hull’s cases have suddenly projected so high. Starting off in tier 1, many of us were holding our breath, waiting and expecting to be moved up to tier 2 because our number of covid cases were closer to that of towns and cities in tier 2. Since tier 1 has the least amount of restrictions, people could still meet up in groups of 6 indoors and outdoors, visit cafes, restaurants and shops and basically live their lives in a fairly normal fashion. The fact Hull spent so long in tier 1 meant some of its people became more relaxed as you would if you were in the bottom tier and abandoned their more cautious attitude towards the virus. From my perspective, I typified this stereotype, spending much of my time in September and October, meeting up with my friends and family in a mixture of indoor and outdoor settings. Towards the end of October, I did start to get more anxious about having to isolate or catching the virus but it didn’t stop me from carrying on with life as normal.

Then all of a sudden, we were in tier 2. But it wasn’t all of a sudden. The truth was Hull had needed to be in the middle of the three tiers for a while. The citizens of Hull turned to outdoor gatherings as opposed to indoor ones and had their Halloween and Bonfire night parties before the 31st October when we were still under tier 1 rules. Was it a little too late though? The cases were already rising and had been ever since September. Alas, we will never know because the day that we moved into tier 2 was the day Boris Johnson announced a lockdown for the whole country. We spent less than a week enduring those tighter restrictions trying to get everything done for Christmas before we were locked back up in our homes.

Could the problem even be tracked back to March? Evidence shows that the first wave of the virus didn’t hit people in Hull nearly as badly as it did in other places. After the first lockdown, I could only name people who I had a very distant social connection to who had contracted the virus. Now, in November, I can name many. My teacher. My classmate. A member of my church. The personal connection to the virus that wasn’t there previously is now in full effect and it’s frightening to know that people you’ve seen recently have experienced the virus. It causes you to worry for your friends and family in a way you didn’t in the first wave and it proves it’s authenticity. It’s real. And it’s not going away.

The virus has affected me in a personal way as I am now isolating for two weeks after being in contact with someone at college who has contracted the virus. All things considered, it may be a blessing in disguise with the rapidly growing amount of cases in Hull. Even before our year group was sent home for this reason, some of my friends were already isolating due to being in contact with the virus. It has been spreading for a while and the hope of the city is that this lockdown will serve to break the chain in terms of infections and stop more people from overwhelming the NHS and ultimately dying from it.

Some positivity that has shone through all the bleakness is the way that the local media have handled the second wave as of recent times. Look North, our local news for East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, have covered stories where they have spoken to people with the virus and hospital staff. Their aim is to spread awareness about the virus and the effects it can have and it is so refreshing to see this sector of the media using their influence for good. Instead of scaremongering or downplaying the virus, they have presented it as it is and are trying their best to help with the worsening situation.

Can Hull turn it around? Only time will tell. With this current lockdown and the tightened tier 3 measures this city could potentially face in December, it looks achievable. However, after the cases in Hull fall again, another area will assume the top spot of the most covid cases in England list. This cycle will continue over and over again until one day we beat the virus. Hopefully, that day will come soon.

 

ARE SHORT STORIES THE WAY FORWARD, INSTEAD OF BOOKS?

The announcement today by The Washington Post, that it is making available its “important election information” free to all readers – should be a wake up call, to anybody who has doubted that the age of giving away your advice, information, expertise online – for free – is already over.

The question is – what are the key markets where this can benefit you?  The answer is not so much in the Content, but in the ease of accessing said Content, and seamlessly paying for it.   Up to now, the market has been addressed by the more corporate players – market leader being The Futureshapers (www.thefutureshapers.com) based in London, whose readership is up to  six figures of serious corporate decision-makers.

But there are newcomers on the block, and leading that entry is Uppsala, Sweden based EXODOX, (www.exodox.link), whose simple link and payment process, is a natural gateway for the personal reading market, in particular, their focus on upcoming authors and bloggers. It is a clever way of maximising revenues for the authors that are published. Articles cost just a few pence or euros to read – but social media gives them great outreach.

Typical examples are: https://unfuckwithable.blog/goodness-grace-great-thoughts-on-fire-chapters/1-perfect-just-as-you-are/ – and more UK based – the recent “the Libraries” (www.thelibraries.co.uk).

The choice is interesting because neither platform require any subscription. You pay only for the specific info or article.

In corporate terms, this is a simple and great way to get brand visibility over a sustained period;  and air a personal level, a great way at pretty much little cost – for authors to get their name out there before moving to the larger book publishing houses.

 

 

NEW PANDEMIC ADVISORY BOARD TAKES SHAPE

The Pandemic Security Initiative Introduces Scientific Advisory Board Founding MembersLeading Scientists Join Together to Prepare for the Next Global Pandemic

In Cambridge, MA; Lebanon, NH; and New York, NY – Celdara Medical announced today the launch of the Pandemic Security Initiative’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), a group of outstanding scientists and infectious disease experts. The SAB is an integral part of the initiative, and informs the initiative’s priorities, approaches, and opportunities for collaboration, all in the pursuit of pandemic preparedness.

Amidst a second wave of Covid-19 infections with still no definitive end in sight, the key structural issue in resolving pandemic scale threats continues to be the lack of commercial incentive for proactive development of diagnostics, prophylactics, and therapeutics, especially for diseases without incidence.

The Pandemic Security Initiative is addressing this issue by bringing together public and private expertise and resources to identify, vet, and develop tests and medicines in preparation for future pandemics. It seeks to unleash and accelerate the copious innovation already present in our universities, government labs and small businesses to prepare and protect the country from future pandemics. Assembling the Scientific Advisory Board is the next step in the public-private partnership launch plan, bringing the leading minds and labs together to dramatically improve our collective readiness.

The Pandemic Security Initiative is pleased to welcome the following Founding Members to its Scientific Advisory Board:

Jason Botten, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Medicine, Immunobiology Unit Department of Medicine at University of Vermont;
Dr. Botten’s research focuses on host-pathogen interactions among pathogenic RNA viruses (e.g. arenaviruses, coronaviruses, hantaviruses, and flaviviruses) and their human hosts and natural animal or insect reservoirs. His research goals include understanding protective immune responses to infection, discovery of key virus-host interactions that can be targeted for the development of therapeutics and vaccines, developing new cutting-edge assays and reagents for the field, and translating the most promising discoveries into therapeutics and vaccines.

Colleen Doyle Cooper, Ph.D. – Principal Scientist, Celdara Medical;
A key member of the Celdara Medical team, Dr. Cooper has led and participated in R&D programs ranging from oncology to fibrosis to infectious disease. She is trained in immunology with specific interests in autoimmunity and infectious disease.

Kendall Hoyt, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College;
Dr. Hoyt is an Assistant Professor at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and a lecturer at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College where she teaches courses on technology and biosecurity. She serves on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Department of Defense’s Programs to Counter Biological Threats and on the advisory board of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Jonas Klingström, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Group leader at Karolinska Institute;
The Klingström group aims to understand the mechanisms behind hantavirus pathogenesis and the consequences of infection, focusing on the capacity of viruses to affect normal cell signaling and functions, especially cell death, immune and inflammatory responses. The ultimate goal is to generate a better understanding of the details of virus-induced pathogenesis to aid in the development of specific treatment of patients.

Richard Kuhn, Ph.D. – Trent and Judith Anderson Distinguished Professor in Science, Department of Biological Sciences and Krenicki Family Director, Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease;
Interested in the replication, assembly and structure of RNA viruses with an emphasis on their host interactions, Dr. Kuhn’s molecular studies utilize cutting edge tools in functional genomics, high throughput systems technologies, cell biology, and structural biology. His recent focus has been on model systems in the enterovirus, alphavirus, flavivirus groups, and include viruses such as EV68, EV71, Sindbis, Chikungunya, dengue, Zika, and hepatitis C viruses.

Jonathan Lai, Ph.D. – Professor, Department of Biochemistry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine;
Dr. Lai’s group is broadly interested in the application of peptide, protein and antibody engineering methods for the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies and vaccines. His projects are highly interdisciplinary and involve aspects such as phage display, structure-based protein design, bispecific antibody engineering, structural biology, virology, and cancer biology.

Carolina Lopez, Ph.D. – Professor and BJC Investigator in the Department of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University;
The Lopez Lab uses a multidisciplinary approach to study the intimate relationship of a virus and the organism it infects. It focuses on dissecting the early events that determine the course of infection with various respiratory viruses. The laboratory places particular attention to the role of defective viral genomes generated during virus replication in determining the outcome of infection.

Jason McLellan, Ph.D. – Jason McLellan, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, The University of Texas at Austin;
McLellan Lab seeks to obtain structural information on proteins and their interactions with host macromolecules and translate this knowledge into the rational development of therapeutic interventions such as small-molecule inhibitors, protective antibodies and stabilized vaccine immunogens. These efforts are highly collaborative and involve domestic and international investigators from academia, government, and industry.

Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D. – Professor of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology;
Dr. Saphire has galvanized five continents of scientists into a unified force to discover, develop and deliver antibody therapeutics against multiple families of emerging infectious diseases, including most recently SARS-CoV-2. Her research explains, at the molecular level, how and why viruses are pathogenic and provides the roadmap for medical defense. Her team has solved the structures of the Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Bundibugyo and Lassa virus surface glycoproteins, explained how they remodel these structures as they drive themselves into cells, how their proteins suppress immune function, and where human antibodies can defeat these viruses.

Ben tenOever, Ph.D. – Professor of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai;
The tenOever lab is interested in the way cells have evolved to defend themselves against virus. More specifically, the lab focuses on what constitutes different cellular defense systems, how these systems have been shaped over time, and how viruses circumvent them and cause disease.

“The Pandemic Security Initiative is honored to collaborate with the best and brightest infectious disease researchers in the country, and beyond” said Dr. Jake Reder, co-founder and CEO of Celdara Medical. “This hand-selected group of experts within the scientific, academic and medical communities will continue to help us advance the Pandemic Security Initiative’s goals by providing insight, innovation, criticism, project selection and more.”

The Pandemic Security Initiative provides a potent layer of security that was previously absent – the proactive development of innovative, purpose-built diagnostics, medicines and devices in anticipation of future pandemic threats. By unleashing the innovative power of America’s university systems and the $6 billion per year in National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) support allocated to the most promising researchers in the country – including those on this SAB – the Pandemic Security Initiative has a singular mission: to secure our nation against future pandemic threats.”

Our Comment; Whilst this is a profoundly US momentum – there is still one European member, from Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm. There are no British or other EU protagonists, which we think is a pity.  If you are interested in keeping up to date with this Organisation, please get in touch with us at ProfoMedia, and we will do our best to link you.

ARE SMALL ARTICLES THE FINANCIAL LIFELINE FOR CHARITIES?

 

We look at how the subtle growth of paid-for online Content, will be the revenue stream of choice for the charity and giving market. We focus on the SHEKINAH homeless charity in Plymouth and ask; is their model the way forward?

Charities are not backward when it comes to asking you and I for money. Every charity has it’s “please give me” column, it’s “terrible hardship” note, or “aspirational” look what we can do with your £5.00, and the list goes on.

They all sound so desperate and deserving in equal measure.

The problem is that in current times, the ordinary guy and family, have less disposable money to make the sort of contributions they used to do. And what is worse there is the hesitation of “what am I actually getting for my money. Feel-good factor is all very well but what about feeing your kids?

For many families, there are today’s choices, when for many, there is no comparison, and no option.

Except that maybe there is.

The growth of online Content has spawned a new payment process that allows Charities (and others), to charge nominal sums, in an instant, to read some of their published material. Instead of ticking the box to give a sum of money, the reader ticks the box to read something that stimulates him, that helps him understand better the charity involved – and in return, his small contribution, goes towards making a difference.

The SHEKINAH charity (shekinah.co.uk) uses the EXODOX (exodox.link) platform in Stockholm, to be the payment gateway. And it works like this.

SHEKINAH create a suitable article – which they publish either on their own site or on a third party News site, They install an EXODOX plugin – and create their unique payment account. They link their article to their payment account. And when you or I visit the Charity or News site, we click on the article, and pay usually £1.00 or so, to access the Content.

It is simple and immediate and you wonder why nobody had thought of this before. Maybe we were all waiting for “tap and go” and familiarity of card based transactions for pretty much not a lot.

But lots of “not a lot” mount up to “quite a lot”, thanks for asking.

The latest SHEKINAH article can be accessed at: https://www.thelibraries.co.uk/financial/society-does-not-depend-on-government-society-depends-on-society/

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TECHNOLOGY IN HEALTHCARE. WELCOME TO AHIMA20

OUR REPORT BELOW LOOKS  AT THE BEST OF USA HEALTH NEW SOLUTIONS.

The AHIMA Trade Association is the bible for healthtech specialists in the USA. Its is far removed from its HIMSS cousins, despite the fact that both are in the same Chicago metropolis. The difference being that AHIMA looks at how do you deliver the technology that will drive patient health in the future. And by that they mean, what is the programming, the system design, the architecture – the digital roadmap.

What AHIMA is not – is a vendor jamboree full of thousand of vendors. The current list of suitable vendors is probably less than 100. You could say it is quality over quantity but even that criticism is not correct. AHIMS is not interested in quantity per se. It is interested in “what is the best tech”. And that does not mean there is no commercial outreach. This is USA after all.

And there is a definite link and focus on American political and government progress; the recent announcement back in July is typical:

“Patient ID Now Coalition Pleased Congress is Addressing Patient Misidentification”

CHICAGO – July 31, 2020 – Patient ID Now, a coalition of leading healthcare organizations, including the American College of Surgeons, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Intermountain Healthcare and Premier Healthcare Alliance, is pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove the longstanding ban in its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill that stifles innovation around patient identification.

Our Report published here today, the opening day of this Conference, gives you an immediate insight into what Seminars are upcoming this week – what are American hospitals and clinics focussing on – and who will wi this year’s prize for the best “pitch”.

Best and winning “pitch” last year 2019 – was the Drugviu company, (www.drugviu.com). Their photo is above. What they say about themselves is this:

Drugviu is a population health platform empowering communities of color to use data to improve health outcomes. Our data helps minority populations know the experiences and side effects of others who have taken similar medication. Our customers are pharmaceutical and insurance companies, and our team consists of health tech executives and medical advisors. Our mission is to help improve the health outcomes of 40% of Americans and empower them to be more engaged in their health. Drugviu was launched in March 2019.

But this year is 2020, and today is today. The AHIMA Conference is a series of jam-packed Education Sessions, covering a wide variety of; What they say is –

“With you in mind, we are advocates and educators in an ever-evolving space, dedicated to providing industry leaders like you with the knowledge and insights you need to continue leading the evolution of healthcare.

Educational Topics include: Clinical Coding • Clinical Documentation Integrity •  Information Protection: Privacy and Security:  Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies • Informatics, Analysis, and Data Usage: Innovation • Patient Identification and Matching • Social Determinants of Health Organizational Management and Dynamic Leadership • Revenue Cycle Management.”

The Link to see ALL of the Sessions, is:

https://conference.ahima.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/FINAL-Agenda-as-of-10.01.2020_ML.pdf.

And the Sessions are more than just a tech discussion. They focus on the key practical issues such as “innovation”, through to actual health examples; “Critical Cancer Registry Data”. They are divided daly into seven vertical markets, ranging from “clinical Coding” on the left of the agenda – through to more philosophical aspects such as “organisational Management and Dynamic Leadership” on the right of the table.

There is a clear focus on connecting you with best-practice providers. The Link rot access these every morning is:

https://conference.ahima.org/exhibits/?utm_campaign=Conference&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=97205242&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–393-Om_ivR_kR-caPUXW_iMAObfFaaHlUKq9PC4EVa1WmV0jB5yqjR_eYP3n94BFbLAZgcv-icd07yj-WHT8imEEskw&utm_content=97205242&utm_source=hs_email#expert-theater.

Plus a whole series of tech demo sessions. That Link is as follows:

https://conference.ahima.org/exhibits/?utm_campaign=Conference&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=97205242&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–Y9R8hg02QfeaTQlBi6zMqBEnmh2b-Gl3AQ9hQSbD4XCVymt_-PeniiDrmgevp5k-b6oXllkz5fk8gwSfggtR_vRk8fg&utm_content=97205242&utm_source=hs_email#tech-demo

Where AHIMA scores, is the link between technology and such actual healthcare problems that clinicians face daily, and where they look to IT to help. You can stop by the AHIMA Virtual Booth, and discuss such items as “Practicing Medicine: It is not a Misnomer”. And “Getting More Out Of Your Healthcare “Investments”.

Talking with Mike Bittner, Head of Media at AHIMA just a few days ago, his view is that “the biggest problem for healthcare professionals is he mix of technology and how can that best be used – in conjunction with a mindset that encourages that exploration”.

This Report gives you the opportunity to register right now – on impulse – and explore the Session that best fit your own ideas and plans for the future, or whether you have no specific plans. The Link to register is:

https://conference.ahima.org.

Ends

 

 

 

 

 

INNOVATION AND THE NHS. DOES IT REALLY WORK?

We look at the progress of Great Ormond Street hospital, London, and ask – was COVID the driver of their reach-out; and can other hospitals learn from this?

I’m sitting at my office desk and the good people at HIMSS media have sent me a long link so I can easily register. The details of my credentials are already known to them and already pre-filled when I click the link. I am on auto-pilot, I click “yes”. Many times. I am going to the HIMSS20 Conference in Helsinki, except that it is no longer in Helsinki. It is staged in a TV recording studio somewhere in west London.

Instead of trains and planes and hotels – I click on this virtual panorama and I could be walking around the Convention Center at Orange County Orlando – I feel sucked in, I pass by the names of the well known vendors, who have their Announcements, and Booths, and I almost miss it. Hidden on Day One, is the modest title:

“Lessons learnt from COVID-19: Supporting and protecting the front line”.

It is redolent of my own far distant days at Uni, the modesty of a non-engaging title that we all know hides far greater truths:

“Some new thoughts on Mozart’s Figaro”.

I pick up the phone, and get through the wait on reception at Great Ormond Street, and get connected. Catherine answers the phone. She is a nice lady.

“Do you want a Soundbite?” She laughs.

I laugh, in my turn. No. I want everything. I want to know how you do it.

What is obvious about this Presentation by Sarah Newcombe and Catherine Peters – is that – despite the turbulence of today’s times, and the recognition that everything has changed – in reality, nothing has changed. As Catherine says in her notes below – Great Ormond Street hospital started on this Innovation journey some four years ago. And HIMSS itself has always been the byword of digital tech reach-out. Speaking at HIMSS has always been a sign that you have made it.

Except that there are of course differences, Innovation itself does not necessarily mean tech. It may simply be a change in the way you approach things. There is no mention of technology in Steve Job’s mantra “think different”. And this is the point of convergence with Catherine’s thoughts; her standout advice is – if you want to get it right, then – “have a Plan; and do it now.”

You can argue that anyone can have “technology”. And anyone can have buzzwords. Just a few years ago it was “interoperability”. Today it is “digital”. I am not sure I know what “digital” actually means, but that does not matter. This discussion and presentation , is the journey that every hospital should be taking but that few have the courage or expertise to do, without a RoadMap.

The notes below, are the RoadMap. This is what Catherine says:

RB; “Innovation” is supposed to be the flavour of 2020.  If COVID had not happened, would you have gone down the innovation route that you discussed at HIMSS?

CP; GOSH has been on a digital maturation pathway for the last four years. The implementation of an enterprise wide electronic patient record (EPR) platform in April 2019 helped us leap forward on this journey. Having a fully digital and paperless health record meant that our staff were able to adapt to COVID rapidly and to continue to work remotely if needed.

The patient portal was included as a key element of our EPR from the outset, and we had actively encouraged patients and families to sign up prior to COVID. However, as the pandemic started, we could see the power of integrating video visits into the portal. Through concentrated power of will and the benefit of a highly functional team, we were able to work with our telehealth and EPR partners at a pace that was breath-taking and skilful. From a completely standing-start, we were able to deliver video meeting capability for 5000 staff and establish fully embedded video-visits capability within our EPR within eight days.

Our vision at GOSH has been to use technology, data and analytics to provide safer, better and kinder treatments and care. This has required strategy, focus and a plan. For us, true digital innovation needed to be a living, breathing entity underpinned by an empowered and enthusiastic workforce where continuous improvement is part of our culture. Innovation that is not nurtured or a fad does not thrive and become a reality.

We are very fortunate to already work within a highly functional and motivated team and for us, COVID has been an accelerating agent; COVID helped focus the minds of those around us to really move at a pace that is difficult to achieve in more normal times. In effect the COVID pandemic forced us to fast forward our plans

RB; Did you have to change your way of dealing with patients?

CP: Our patients are complex, and we have high numbers of face-to-face outpatient visits. This had to change, and we reversed the ratio of face-to-face and virtual appointments within a couple of weeks

The interactions between clinical staff and patients required both groups to adapt to new ways of working (environments, communication and medical assessment itself)
We also had to promote and actively sign up patients to the patient portal in order to schedule video visits. This in turn has opened up the possibilities of the patient portal to many patients and families. Messaging, lab results release and access to letters have been the most popular features of the portal. In turn this means we have improved engagement and communication with our patient groups.

This has fostered our patients being greater partners in their own help. Surely, the patient and their family are the most important members of the care team? We have developed bespoke functionality (“heads-up”) whereby patients are encouraged to ask their doctor or nurse any questions on their mind before each clinic visit. We feel this is a powerful tool to enhance the connection between patients and their clinical team. We are really happy to share any of our news ways of working and ultimately feel this type of capability would strengthen any outpatient consultation.

RB; The impression we had, was that although you have changed how you cope with things – actually you are still restricted by existing processes, i.e., protocols, policies, etc – that in themselves become a substitute for actual new things. How much did you have to throw the rule book out, so to say, or actually – you have never been restricted – there is an inherent flexible mindset?

CP; There are many ways in which our staff and patients have had to be flexible and change working patterns and environments. At the onset of the pandemic, team meetings, patient discussions, and operational meetings moved to telehealth and video conferencing platforms. Patient safety, clinical governance and safeguarding of course remain of paramount importance.

As a specialist children’s hospital, it is vital that our governance, while done in a timely manner, is done to the highest standards. Our approach to using technology and data successfully has been to incorporate it into the workflow of clinicians and we ensure it supports care delivery. This approach itself acts as a built-in parity check.

We also wanted to help the system and all paediatric patients across the country during the pandemic. Working closely with our colleagues in North Central London, we opened up GOSH to take patients with general paediatric conditions.

Our hospital is centred geographically between many other large hospitals. We were able to support patients and staff in these other locations by opening new ward environments and transferred general paediatric patients to our site. This in turn meant beds in other hospital units were available for adult COVID patients. We onboarded over 200 paediatric staff from other sites within weeks. The need for adaptability and flexibility has been required and achieved in so many areas of clinical care and we are really proud of our staff and patients.

Our greatest asset has been our staff and we are very fortunate to have full executive backing at Board Level in the Trust to leverage digital tools and capability to make a difference and enhance the care we delivery.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS FROM SCANDINAVIA

We are well used to Scandi businesses being ahead of the rast of EU and even globally in key verticals of healthcare, IT development and so forth. But what about general management?

We interview Steffen Conradsen, CEO of the Calm Water start-up in Denmark, and ask him – since his reticent beginnings and company launch just a year ago – well – how has it been?

It’s a stupid question. I am sitting in the empty bar area of the Copenhagen Towers. I am struggling with my mask. The day before, I had my first COVID Test as I sauntered through CPH Airport. It took less time to queue and take the test than I would normally spend in line at my local supermarket.

These are not normal times. Steffen is silver haired, smiling, and saunters towards me, he is comfortable in his own skin, and we find a seat at the adjacent coffee bar. Steffen has seen crises all before from his time as VP at Ericsson Denmark. If anybody knows how to launch a Consulting firm offering crisis-management in troubled times it is he.

Clear Water Consulting was not born out of any mid life desire to launch a new business. It was a simple choice of expediency. The downsizing of Ericsson in Denmark, left Steffen with choices – one of which was – where is the work/life balance now, and how best to offer his consulting skills.

And at a time over the last six months of continual crisis for so many large and small companies, in a variety of vertical disciplines, this has already turned out to be the best moment, rather than the worst.

Steffen leans forward and sips his cafe latte. We have moved on from the preliminary pleasantries. What he says is; “these COVID times are not going anywhere any time soon. If companies want to stay relevant in this new world and very different environment, then there has to be a process, a strict methodology – to cope with what will be unexpected situations, quite apart from the need to define what is a go to market plan for the next 12 to 60 months.

Clear Water has a pre-defined process that he has set out graphically, as well as list the four of five key points that govern his thinking. The strategy is explained in English. It is similar to Danish thinking, and their approach to life, the being very methodical and clear, and with no deviation. Reading the corporate blurb, there is little by way of philosophic al and conceptual discussion – apart from on the last page, where Steffen talks about being relevant in society.

Steffen continues; “Sure, things have been tough, but Clear Water is already profitable, and demand is high”. We are meeting mid-afternoon, and Steffen has already had three meetings around the Copenhagen suburbs .

I am expecting to see him any time soon passing through London – but was if to prove a point – Denmark goes into lockdown the day after I return to the UK.

Steffen Conradsen can be contacted at; +45 2812 7445