KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Advances In Health IT

News outlets report on advances in health information technology.

The New York Times: A "broad transformation in health care underway" is "fueled in good part by technology" that "promises to shift a lot of the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease from hospitals and specialized clinics, where treatment is expensive, to primary care physicians and patients themselves - at far less cost." The Times looks at a sleep medicine start-up in order to "glimpse the business opportunity - and the challenge - at the forefront of this emerging, decentralized health care market" (Lohr, 5/21). 

NPR: Meanwhile, "[s]ophisticated mobile phone apps are being developed and tested around the world for use in the mental health field. ... Dr. Margaret Morris, a clinical psychologist working at Intel Corp., is designing a cell phone app to help manage stress in everyday life, in order to improve mental health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease." The app, called "Mobile Therapy," asks the user several times during the day to report on their mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, diet, etc., and then offers exercises based on the results. Her research was recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. "She writes that by using the Mobile Therapy app, participants were able to increase 'self-awareness in moments of stress, develop insights about their emotional patterns and practice new strategies for modulating stress reactions'" (Trudeau, 5/24).

Kaiser Health News profiles David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services, who "is guiding the deployment of up to $27 billion in federal stimulus money over 10 years to help health care professionals and organizations overcome the uneasiness that underpinned his own resistance to change at his hospital. … Appointed in March 2009, Blumenthal has spent the last year refining Congress' blueprint to encourage doctors and hospitals to adopt EMRs. He says those who 'get on board' will be paid more by Medicare and Medicaid, beginning in 2011. But in 2016, the subsidies disappear and those still using paper records risk sanctions, including reduced Medicare fees" (Wielawski, 5/24).

Bloomberg Businessweek: "Half of all American parents polled say they would like to be able to communicate with their child's physician via the Internet, a new survey reveals. Yet fewer than 15 percent of those said they are currently able to do so to make appointments for vaccinations or lab record retrievals, to complete screening forms, to fill prescriptions or to get health advice. The findings were gleaned from the national C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, which was conducted in January of this year" (Mozes, 5/22).

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