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Archive for December, 2019

Looking back to look ahead: Our most popular blog posts of 2019 and themes for 2020

It’s hard to make predictions in healthcare. Things do not move quickly, and for good reason: lives are at stake. Each year, it seems like someone asks “will this be the year of <blockchain, AI, digital health, telehealth>.” Poor telehealth, it’s been waiting for its year for over 20 years. Instead of predictions, we like to look back on the previous year, and consider what that means for the next year. Here are our most popular blog posts of 2019, with some thoughts on what that means for the year ahead.

Machine-learning

How to Avoid GIGO

Self-Driving Healthcare 

You Are Here: Voice Assistants In Healthcare

Outcomes and ROI

Study Results: Rehabilitation Enhancing Aging Through Connected Health Pre-habilitation Trial

Boston University Study Demonstrates that mHealth-Supported Exercise Program Benefits People with Parkinson Disease

Calculating Return on Investment for Interactive Care Plans

Partnerships

See You At HIMSS 

Partnership Announcement: Evideon and Wellpepper

Partnership Announcement: Ensocare and Wellpepper

Our most popular posts fall loosely into three categories: machine-learning (or AI if you prefer the buzzword), partnership, and outcomes and ROI. Machine-learning definitely had a moment in 2019. Evidence, outcomes, and data are always popular. The tension between analysis and algorithms created from patient-generated data or “real-world evidence” (RWE) will continue in 2020. Interestingly, ONC recently called for feedback on using RWE in patient care. We believe in both. Analysis on quality real-world data, will help find correlations and breakthroughs that might take decades using randomized control trials, but there is a place for both structured hypothesis generation and testing as well as asking questions of the data in healthcare. The popularity of our posts on best practices for drawing valid conclusions from real-world data (machine-learning posts), and the announcements of the positive outcomes from control trials being published in peer-reviewed journals shows that. In 2020, we expect to see a greater emphasis on return on investment, which is possibly better calculated from real-world evidence.

We announced two partnerships in 2019 that are aimed at helping health systems to deliver great digital experiences across the care continuum. Evideon delivers in-patient interaction and education and pairs seamlessly with Wellpepper’s outpatient interactive care plans. Ensocare offers care coordination software, and their Transitions product helps with discharge location—just make sure patients also have their Wellpepper interactive care plan to help regardless of whether they are discharging to home or skilled nursing.

Wellpepper Director of Customer Success, Luke Feaster always does a great job of sorting through the hundreds of sessions at HIMSS to find the best ones. HIMSS is about content and learning but also so much about partnership. While we wait for the final session list, and Luke’s recommendations, if you want to partner or meet at HIMSS, get in touch. We’re looking forward to a great 2020, and we need all of you for that!

Happy New Year!

Posted in: Healthcare Technology, Healthcare transformation, HIMSS, Outcomes, patient-generated data, Research

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Gift Guide: Books for data, privacy, and healthcare nerds and disrupters

Got someone who is hard to shop for but loves data, healthcare, and disruption? Here’s a round-up of our top picks from our blog archives.

Get Well Soon: A History of the Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

This funny and frustrating look at plagues is an excellent gift. It’s fast-paced and you’ll learn the real story behind the ‘headlines’. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. (ahem, measles). Get this for the medical history buff on your list.

In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope

This true story reads like a medical suspense thriller, and guides readers to the power of empathy, and the indisputable value of seeing things from someone else’s viewpoint.in shock book cover

The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America

For the privacy and data nerds, this history of privacy also shows that the roots of decisions today are often shaped by forces from previous generations. Why can’t we have a universal medical identifier? It’s probably related to why your social security card is a piece of paper. Get this for your security and privacy officer.

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

If you make data-driven decisions, how do you know if you actually have all the data? This book dives into how a lack of data leads to poor decisions that impact the health, safety, and income of women worldwide. If you need to convince anyone about the need for data-driven decisions, this will give you the back-up you need.

An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back 

What’s most interesting in this guide from a former physician and current editor of Kaiser Health News is that if you want to point fingers in healthcare, you need to point them at everyone. This review of how we got in this mess in the US, is key for anyone wanting to affect change. As a bonus, there’s a handy guide for dealing with your own escalating healthcare costs at the end.

And a few oldies but goodies from the very early days of digital health and healthcare disruption.

Posted in: Behavior Change, big data, Healthcare costs, Healthcare Disruption, Healthcare Legislation, Healthcare Policy, Healthcare Research, Healthcare transformation, machine learning

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Know Your User: User-Centered Design in Healthcare

Designing software is both an art and a science. Software developers by nature think about every possibility and edge case, while designers focus on the most common user paths. Handling unexpected failures gracefully is a hard problem to solve.

I’ve been re-reading the classic book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, about the natural tension between design and functionality in software. While it’s a bit hard on developers (they don’t all think in ones and zeros and many have fantastic design instincts), many of the problems the book outlines are still prevalent today, and you can also see the architectural problems that are inherited by lack of user-centered design in software that’s been around a while.

User-centered design puts the end-user front and center, and it’s not just about thinking of what ‘jobs’ that user needs to accomplish, but also the users purpose for those jobs and mental state while solving them.

It’s often easier to illustrate a point by what not to do, so let’s start with two recent examples, one from my experience and one from an opinion piece in the New York Times.

Our accountant at Wellpepper uses QuickBooks. QuickBooks is designed for accountants and business owners. It’s the grand-daddy (or mommy) of accounting programs, and has been around in one form or another since 1984, so they should know their users and what they are trying to accomplish pretty well by now. Guess what? They don’t.

Here’s the error message I see when QuickBooks isn’t able to pull up my data.

quickbooks error message

What have you done with my data, Quickbooks?

Isn’t that cute? No, no it’s not. The job I’m trying to do is look at bank balances, profit and loss, expenses, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. QuickBooks has the data that runs the financial side of the business. I’d like to think they know where that data is, and take both the delivery and protection of that data seriously. This isn’t a situation like the now retired Twitter Fail Whale when a tweet isn’t sent. Even Twitter realized that when someone is trying to accomplish a task a cute error message is more frustrating than appeasing. Add QuickBooks’ inappropriate error message to the fact that they can’t display my business data, and that I get this message at least once per day, I start to worry about whether I can trust them.

Now let’s look at healthcare, where trust and empathy are really important. We’re all familiar with the whimsical Verona campus of Epic Systems. People clamor to visit during Epic’s annual conference. It’s a source of pride for employees. Some of that whimsy comes across in cow-splotch login screens. Is that appropriate in a healthcare setting? Well, we have a dog as a logo, so I’m not going to judge. What is never appropriate is making your users feel bad, as this physician outlines in her New York times opinion piece.

But on a recent Monday morning when I logged into so-called Epic Hyperspace for the first time, I was greeted with a pop-up box and an urgent message: “You currently have deficiencies that are either delinquent or will become delinquent within one week. Please complete at your earliest convenience.” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/01/health/epic-electronic-health-records.html

First run user-experience is so important. It sets the tone for how people will feel about using your product. Doctors have trained for years to be able to care for patients. Why make them feel lacking, and especially not on the first time they meet you?

We know it’s possible for software to be context aware, and deliver appropriate levels of empathy, and also we know when to sound the alarm. At Wellpepper we take user-centered design very seriously, and work with patients and providers to make sure the messages we send, and the overall experience is appropriate for the people using the software. Our patented adaptive notification system is just one example of this. It changes the type of messages people receive based on how they interact with the application.

Since our application is used by people in both acute and chronic conditions, standard messages also provide encouragement but don’t imply that someone will “recover” or “get better.” In the event that a patient records a symptom that indicates a life threatening emergency, we clear the screen of any other tasks, and display a short and clear alert. (We also alert the care team, but we make sure the patient clearly understands what they need to do next.) These are all examples of being aware of not just what the person needs to do, but their potential frame of mind when doing it.

We think a lot about what to leave out of the software. Someone who is recovering from surgery, or newly diagnosed with a chronic disease has enough to worry about. Figuring out a demanding interface shouldn’t be part of that. We like to think about the minimum information we need to help a patient-self manage, and to help the provider track the patient. As a result, we have what we call a deceptively simple user interface, both for patients and providers.

If you’re interested in how Wellpepper patient engagement platform can help support your patients, get in touch!

Posted in: Healthcare motivation, Healthcare Technology, M-health

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