It appears we need to further streamline health care and HIPPA now in effect is quite a nightmare trying to comply with and implement without making a mistake and possibly being sued as the trial lawyers testing the law. The Malpractice insurance rates may go up again. On one hand you have the 'know your customer" laws and on the other you have "privacy rules."
Usually when new laws and regulations come along they are never welcomed, they cause costs to go up, cause chaos and some smart entrepreneur comes along and solves the problems, we have seen this in Aviation, Communication, Trucking, Auto Industry, Mining, Marine, Construction, Education and let's face it, we have seen it in all sectors. The new regulation is no matter how well intended always a problem. These rules when enforced by mandate rather than implementation by free market pressures and desires of patrons tend to cause the worst problems as, they inevitably are prostituted by greed, back door deals and controlled whiners of a system. The whiners think they are to attain justice, but usually end up causing a worse problem upon themselves and the whole of the users of the system.
Today we have a chance to computerize the HIPPA issue and recently I had discussed this at length with the IT Think Tank President in Omaha, NE. They had a plan, which would take the PDA Wireless Device and put all the information, which would be available in the ambulance and to first responders.
It appears that there are several entrepreneurs and larger Software and IT people who specialize Medical issues. One project with a major player in the legal field is PocketMD (.com). The World Think Tank had asked about a mobile HIPPA solution for first responders and they have built in accommodations for privacy, particularly with the triple DES encryption. So the data is secured. This mobile application can also work in the battle space arena for quick response to personal and the data set will be two-way so it can give data on the patient and run the data and send back an answer. So this could be used for casualties or those nearby who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Nebraska IT Think Tank is looking into the "huge data base" application for the PDA. This would be a relational database (similar to a rubics cube) in which the PDA could make queries for medical information. Access to this information would be "compartmentalized" based on the hospital, physician, or other source of inquiry. This information would be well secured and protected. The whole project would run on an "ASP Model" - application service provider - that charges based on the type of access, amount of data transferred, etc. - a type of subscription model. They are also looking into "medical smart cards" with the PDA - one of the companies in Omaha has made some great products in that area. Privacy, insurance companies and ethics are all worked out by defining the "business rules" for access to the database.
There are several other areas of potential affiliation; dictation, charge capture, and medical reference database content. The wireless system is working on 802.11 - which does not have a very long range. There are specialized PDAs that come with different radio freq and capabilities. They had mentioned to me "I am like you - intrigued by the possible military apps - especially field services - procurement, targeting, etc." So far, the VA Hospitals have been the best opportunity for this test market so this will happen. They hope to have a private hospital pay for implementation soon. They are even working on one "user group" as a conduit for development - if the user group provides access to their members, we would provide a subscription plan for the software and equipment customized to their requirements - saving PocketMD marketing costs and saving the user group members a lot of money in the process.
President George W. Bush had made an interesting and unusual comment about this, unusual because no one realized he was so up on all this stuff. He said that streamlining these things, issues with HIPPA and Healthcare could be done through IT. Absolutely in our opinion, as long as everyone can agree on a standardized system like we discussed above, where everyone is on the same page. In our opinion PocketMD has developed the most robust software for use by physicians in a hospital. They have more features and better security than any on the market, yet there is a risk of becoming the "Betamax" in the "VCR" race. Companies such as MercuryMD and PatientKeeper simply have more marketing dollars. But either way I bet we find a way to take care of this HIPPA issue that everyone is on edge about sense the lawyers are lining up to sue and the HMOs and Private Hospitals are re-doing their entire method of doing business. The investors of PocketMD(PMD) are looking to take MD Tracker public, which for the medical industry looks like an interesting prospect.
There are many start-ups out there and now the investment bankers have stepped in and the free market system should fix it. VC is lining up to spend on these to fix the problem. There will be ROI expected from those who solve this problem and that will still slightly raise prices for health care and there will be some systems with issues, feature creep during programming and implementation costs and some failures. Some lawsuits, but in the end although the problems will be quite burdensome and much will be fought by the employees who do not like it as with any new system, innovation or change due to resistance of the status quo.
In the trucking industry they have mobile technologies we have been studying are mobile and work off data bases in the dispatch office. These similar systems with real time data, Video Cell Phones could save lives, monitor school buses, Rapid Transit Districts, Bus Stops, Airliners when used in connection with WiFi in the sky and passenger trains, trolley cars and trams.
The systems are so powerful and robust that it appears with such a system it could be placed on telephone poles and catch bad guys, which drove down a street in a Ryder rental truck with bomb material odors. They could be set up with sensors which could be triggered by infrared and could detect illegal migration, troop movement into areas, stick it on top of a Socorro cactus. Great for plant security, hook it to a sound non-lethal fire mechanism up the road 500 yards, and take out bad guys with remote button and/or force them to run back where they came from or risk burst ear drums and brain damage? These units could be put them on Sarge units from Sandia to patrol borders, infrastructures, military bases, important buildings and plants. Put them on UAVs, ATVs, UUVs and all kinds of stuff, even organic birds to track migration and give real time data.
But back to the IT solutions for HIPPA, yes in fact this is absolutely the way to fix this potentially disastrous problem caused by more regulations in the health care industry when they probably just need tort reform and less law suits and reality based systems with ethical people working in them. The problem is that the over all issues with ethics in America has permeated every part of civilization, so it should not be too surprising that up until now your medical records may have been available to more people than you might have wanted.
In the end HIPPA is here to stay and is a noble calling for privacy, even if there may have been other free market solutions to stop the data leak for privacy issues. This implementation is occurring and the entrepreneurs are solving the problem with their belief that anything worth doing is worth doing for a profit.
HIPPA is no doubt the greatest controversy other than the need for tort reform in Health Care Industry since the turn of the millennium. IT will assist in streamlining the internal systems, which are now dealing with the new HIPPA regulations, but it will take time to implement and ramp up. In the end patients will be happy to know their privacy is protected, even when it travels thru the wireless airwaves to mobile hand held devices.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs