2,061 Days in the Making




It has been 365 days since my last post on xchangehealth and so much has happened. I have been so focused on things at MINES that I haven’t been very active on Twitter or my blog so it’s probably about time for an update and a little taste of things to come at MINES.

As of July 3rd, 2017, MINES is now using a fully-CRM-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) system for patient management. I can’t even begin to explain how big of a deal this is for us, but to suffice it to say that there aren’t many others out there. Why is this so uncommon? Because rather than using the billing method to determine how to organize our records, we use the relationships that people actually have in their lives as our core operating assumption.

If that doesn’t make sense to you, let me put it another way: this was the result of over 5.6 years of planning, designing, and testing (several cycles, in fact) to create a system that would allow for this schema to be viable for a long-term records solution while minimally impacting daily operations and creating the opportunity for further development down the road.

“So what does that “down the road” really look like,” you might ask. I’d be happy to provide some examples!

Create your own (EH)Record!

Beginning in 2018, our clients will be able to submit all of the necessary information to get a referral for sessions and manage their own authorizations and provider interactions.

New provider value scores!

Our patient satisfaction data will be tied directly to patient and provider records, allowing real-time data regarding patient satisfaction for future referrals.

More in-depth reporting for HR!

Beginning in 2018, a new utilization report will be released for HR that provides greater insight into problems at the worksite and what interventions might help improve the operations of the company.

Better workflow for patient management!

Using the functionality that business development has been using for years means being able to apply the workflow of communication and client management to patient coordination.

Deeper insights into how patients actually work with their peers!

As early as 2019 we’ll see the implementation of a social media connection opportunity for those looking to leverage their social networks to improve their therapeutic performance. We’ll also be leveraging the growing relationship data to provide a basis for Social Network Analysis, giving us the opportunity to engage in a population health model at worksites.

A REAL app for an EAP!

Many EAPs have released limited versions of their website and/or online content, which is a start, but the app we will be releasing will allow clients to manage their account, see their appointments, share notes with their provider, and potentially launch an ad hoc telemedicine session.

The end of the traditional therapy model!

MINES will also be launching a new program model for purchase by employers to move away from the traditional “1-some number of sessions” model, allowing employees to call, video, text as they please. This allows for the EAP to work even more proactively with clients and to tailor clinical response to the particular need.

The team at MINES has been exceptionally open and excited about this critical difference in our record structure, and while we opened with a few glitches (as to be expected with any software roll-out) we’ve experienced no disruption in our regular processes.

Today marks the beginning of a new, more data-driven patient management era for the team at MINES and a new opportunity to “save lives and influence the course of human events.”


Disruption in #healthIT


Chat topics for #HITsm

Over the last few years, I’ve had some amazing opportunities to meet and work with seasoned disruptors, health IT and healthcare veterans, and even outsiders that are trying to move into this space as it continues to get press as a growing industry. Of course, as complex and regulated as healthcare, any level of health IT disruption requires being able to overcome the proverb about describing an elephant.


In health IT, the problems can be exacerbated by each part of the anatomy fundamentally changing the physiology of other parts as workflow and UI interact. Simple changes in one arena can have extremely important consequences in other parts of the system and when you are in an industry where human factors (such as behavioral economics, lack of sophistication, error, genomics, consumer experience, and MANY others) critically impact the use, misuse, and even nonuse of the constituent parts, the simple interest in getting involved can quickly spiral out into frustration.

I don’t think that this means that we need to shut out outsiders, though. Certainly there are going to be business factors such as proprietary systems and intellectual property to always consider. However, one place where I have seen great inspiration is here in Colorado, where the Catalyst HTI project is currently lifting off. A community of companies including large and small, young and old, established and disruptor, are coming together with a focus toward collaborative solution-finding.

I should say at this point that I don’t think being a disruptor or establishment health IT person are mutually exclusive. I personally work for a 35 year old company and my entire job is disruption. I see them as two axes on a graph, much like below:

disruption square

With this as our teaser, what are the considerations for healthcare and IT when they bump up against one another? In a recent post, the @theEHRguy posits that jamming tech into health can complicate the picture and increase the opportunity for fraud: http://bit.ly/1lblI2f. Is that because our systems are being built on false pretenses or for another reason?

Intro question: Do you consider yourself a #healthIT veteran or outsider? Have you ever been on the other side?

#HITsm T1: Is there value in designing new #healthIT from outside #healthcare organizations, or shd we bring them inside the “garden?”

#HITSM T2: What is the most disruptive #HealthIT, in your opinion, and did it come from w/in a major healthcare co. or outside?

#HITsm T3: Would smaller companies do any better than larger organizations in creating disruptive #healthIT?

#HITsm T4: w/all the disruptive #HealthIT being created, is there value in a national, coordinated effort for tracking dev?

#HITsm T5: Specifically when it comes to #makers, what advice do you have for those looking to break into #HealthIT?

The Ashley Madison hack and healthcare


I was really hesitant to write anything about this topic at all, but a recent article in Gizmodo convinced me that there is something really critical here to be discussed. Yes, I am talking about the Ashley Madison data hack and its implications for the healthcare industry.

What do we know so far? Well, we know that there were approximately 35 million records dumped onto the “dark web” and that within that data was quite a bit of information. In fact, I’ve recently seen a sampling of that data including addresses and names and it’s frankly startling to see someone you know show up on the list. I don’t recommend it.

What I don’t know is anything other than the limited data that I’ve seen and what is presented by what I hope are reputable sources. What I present here is not presently vetted as it would be quite an undertaking to do so on my own. I’m hoping by publishing through this medium (heh — get it!) that we might be able to get some clarification on this topic and to help me with my own thoughts about how this impacts the healthcare industry.

First, let’s talk about privacy versus security

There is a certain amount of privacy that one should expect when engaging with a site that purports to maintain a secret for you, or to help you evade telling the truth. Privacy is “the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.” In contrast, security is “ the state of being free from danger or threat.” There is a nuance to the interplay between these two, but they are absolutely distinct.

In the healthcare industry, we’re well aware of the difference between these two things — or at least we should be. But all too often we confuse the strictures of HIPAA as being about privacy. That’s not inherently true. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It’s about security, not necessarily privacy. In fact, HIPAA even covers how healthcare entities should handle informing their patients on how things are handled with regards to privacy because HIPAA doesn’t specifically provide for them. The “P” throws everyone off.

In fact, your Private Health Information (PHI) likely moves around the system in all kinds of ways that you may not realize. When you are seen for a service, your information probably goes to a payer on a claim form. That claim form may be accompanied by clinical documentation that may go to a Managed Care company. Your data ends up going through all kinds of people that you don’t explicitly give your permission to. All KINDS of people.

But just because your information is being moved from company to company, person to person, doesn’t mean your information isn’t secure. Most of the time, the system works just fine. Other times, you run into a problem like Anthem had where a breach in their IT structures resulted in a massive data leak. In such cases, there are actual federal guidelines as to how that breach is handled that are clearly defined. And those breaches are very expensive to the healthcare company.

The reason for that is that PHI can sometimes be more difficult to protect oneself in a breach than, say, your financial information. Because there is no national ID for the healthcare system, often a Social Security Number is used for transactions between systems. While an insurer might also provide you with an individual ID for their internal systems, for those data to move between entities, you have to use an SSN.

But even SSN can be protected against a breach with credit monitoring when it comes to your financial information. What is a little different about PHI is that it can contain deeply personal information about the individual such as diagnoses, current or past treatment, and even likelihood for future diagnoses when it comes to genetic information. Your genome can’t be changed like your SSN or bank account information. That’s all yours.

Let’s bring it back to Ashley Madison

What did Ashley Madison actually promise, then?

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We can discuss the morality behind the purpose of the site all day long, but the site exists and people signed up for it. So let’s just move on past that topic and dig into how this is relevant to our purpose here.

After looking at the data from Annalee Newitz’s article, there’s clearly something else going on here. There are not a ton of married people who are successful in cheating on their spouses. There are a ton of married men who are flirting with the idea of cheating on their spouses.

The societal impact of the hack

Well, we know that Josh Duggar admitted to cheating on his wife andentering rehab after the hack was announced and that he was on the list. I haven’t seen that he successfully met anyone on the site, but looking at the numbers in the Gizmodo article, I’m going to guess not. And there arereports that there may be suicides that have been linked to the hack. And there has even been reporting on the pervasiveness of the use of the site by federal employees.

So, we’re seeing some significant potential impact of the site across many walks of life and affecting many groups throughout the world, in fact. But again, going back to the numbers, this probably isn’t nearly the situation that we think it is.

Let’s focus on the men that were probably brought to this site, since the Gizmodo article all but dismisses the women that were on the site — especially after highlighting that a number of those women could have been checking for cheating spouses, rather than looking to cheat.

There is the issue of Ashley Madison’s promise to its users. That it would allow for discretion in cheating. That’s a privacy promise in my opinion, and not necessarily a security one. Would one assume that their information was being secured as well? Maybe, but I don’t think that’s inherent to their brand promise. Again, I haven’t dug into the language of their policy yet — this is a working document — but there was going to be no protection when you moved from the online world to the offline world anyhow, so how one could have reasonably expected security is beyond me.

You’ll have to draw your own line as to what is considered cheating and what is not, but most of these individuals that were active on the site were more than likely talking to robots. Those that weren’t may have been casually flirting. And of those left, well, I’ll just say the proportions would show that likely if anyone was successful in cheating, they were probably 4th or 5th in line in their area.

For the first two categories, you were made a promise by Ashley Madison and you were either duped or you got exactly what you needed. If you expected you would actually find an affair, the first category; if you were looking for an outlet that let you flirt, you probably got a robot and received exactly what you needed from the site.

What this means for healthcare

Does or would the Ashley Madison hack have an effect on healthcare more broadly? I don’t know. There’s certainly a couple of considerations here.

Does this inherently decrease the public’s trust of the internet and data security generally? I hope not. You should absolutely be concerned about security, but let’s be honest — Ashley Madison is not the healthcare industry, it’s a site for people wanting to cheat. There’s an inherent, goal-oriented difference between the two, we’ll call them, “industries.”

Does the new data lessen the impact that the hack actually has on the greater societal opinion surrounding the fear of data integrity? Probably, but it really shouldn’t. This still highlights a critical misunderstanding that we have about our data and how it gets used. That’s no less true in the healthcare industry as I’ve pointed out above.

Will it change the way that healthcare handles data? I cannot imagine it would. Your data is being protected pretty well already, but this type of hack is the result of something far different than why someone would go after healthcare — that’s largely financial.

Is the Ashley Madison hack still relevant? You bet your sweet you know what it is! We’re entering a new phase in the healthcare industry’s development where you as a consumer are going to be able to make more decisions about the way in which you interface with that system. That means you have more control over who is getting your data initially, and within the new Health Information Exchange models set up in each state, maybe even after your initial input of data. Some systems are prepared to share data down to very granular levels. That means you will have to make some decisions about how you want your information to be shared.

Does this mean you shouldn’t share your data? I wouldn’t go that far. Your data, if properly secured, doesn’t need to be private from legitimate sources in the healthcare industry. That data can be very important for medical advancement for one. But there is also a possibility that your information can help providers make better decisions to help you in making decisions about your own healthcare.

Healthcare is not just about the people who work in HealthIT, it’s about everyone…


Special thanks to the many influences that have contributed, directly or indirectly, to my questions leading into this #HITsm chat: @leonardkish @ochotex @avantgame @gzicherm @connected_book @paullikeme @robertamines @kellymcgonigal @joepine @hankgreen


I’ll be moderating the #HITsm chat on August 28th at 10am MDT and wanted to put together a couple of thoughts related to the topic before going into the chat. Maybe you’ll find these useful. Also, feel free to join us if you are interested in the topic. The more the merrier! Toward that end, let’s have a discussion about what we, in #HealthIT can do to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of those who are our end-users.

Considerations should include #EHR & #App design from #Payer, #Provider, #Patient, and #Peer per this posting on #4PHealth.

It’s the convergence of all four P’s (Provider, Payer, Patient, and that Patient’s Peers) that will allow for greater healthcare reach. When the Payer and the Provider are able to engage the Patient’s Peers, then true health generation is possible and the benefits of one’s social network can then be fully leveraged.

People:Person Design

We have historically looked at healthcare (and by extension, #HealthIT) as though it exists outside the “natural” world, or as though health is outside the realm of our social experience. Yet, we know that health is not divergent from our health reality or our everyday lives.

Healthy behavior is not dependent on what payment models, medical technology, or other innovations come about in the healthcare debate.  We know that your friend’s friend has a great impact on what you do – and vice versa.

How do we reconverge these two realities knowing that what we do in our daily lives result in healthcare outcomes? Framed differently, how do we leverage the way we make decisions every day in considering how #HealthIT is designed?

Our health is not our own. We are bound to others, near and far, and by each decision and every sharing of those decisions, we birth our health.

#HITsm T1: Knowing that #health is dependent on daily life, how do we design #HealthIT in consideration of the larger, social world?

Cognitive Bias, Iterative Decision-making, Behavioral Economics, Game-Theory

Considering the depth of our knowledge related to cognitive bias, are we considerate of this branch of psychology in design? Knowing what we know about iterative decision-making (that decisions have to be made in sequence, often after new or different information) how do we prepare adaptive #HealthIT that responds to new information as it becomes available, like it does for Human Beings? For details on Cognitive Bias and Decision-making, see here and here. For Game Theory (including iterative decision-making), see here.  

So what does a salutogenic framework look like?  Mindfulness, resilience, focus on daily health-promoting activities that increase our ability to get healthier, rather than fend off illness.  Of course, a fee-for-service model doesn’t bode well with this concept, so unless you’re enrolled in a highly visionary health promotion healthcare system, you’re probably on your own – for now.  

Antonovsky’s explanation of Salutogenesis was well depicted by a river.  His concern with the current model of health (Pathogenesis) is that it’s generally believed that we are healthy from the beginning but that because of environmental / circumstantial events, we become sick.  Antonovsky expressed this as a river, where all healthy people stand on the bank, safe from the raging river’s flow.  Once one stepped into the river – got sick – then something needed to be done.  Salutogenesis, however, sees all people already in the river; but at different distances from the mouth.

There are some obvious benefits to these advances in Health IT, but one of the things that may not be fully clear yet is the application of Watson to understanding more about human behavior. While Watson can absolutely tell a clinician the likelihood of a set of symptoms’ association with a given disease, I’ll bet Watson can’t tell you how the patients’ family impacts their overall wellbeing through behavior reinforcement. If Watson knew who the patients’ workout buddy was, Watson might be able to help identify with a high confidence whether that workout buddy was a statistically-sound partner in the overall health management of the patient. Further, Watson would be able to weigh in on the evaluation of treatment adherence based on real-time data pouring into the health record for the given individual.  This is the game state evaluation of the health of the individual in a real and meaningful way.  With this, a total and complete understanding of the long-term treatment of chronic conditions (and even more important to the salutogenic framework that I’ve discussed previously in this blog series, total health production) through the understanding of actual human behavior devoid of the clinical separation from reality is the “social human” version of epigenetics that will become more useful in the coming years.  This is where the data comes to life.

#HITsm T2: How do we achieve #patientengagement over time considering that a one-off solution can’t fix #health?


A recent post mentioned that Gamification is failing due to a lack of accurately applying the concepts of gamification; in short, supplanting “badges” for increasing levels of difficulty appropriately. If Gamification is going to solve the #engagement problem, why can’t we quite figure this out? Gamification in health, generally, see here.

Whether we admit it or not, it is the promise of the potential emotional pay-off that lures us into working ridiculous hours already. But unlike gaming environments where we are totally immersed, our modern work environments seem contorted — almost criminally — to keep us from feeling blissfully productive. And once we give up hope that epic wins are possible, our careers turn into drudgery.

It takes more than a website to do this – including focus on using the resources available to a company’s natural habitat, the worksite, to engage employees during the 40 hour work week, and more, by creating a story.  As described in the burgeoning world of Alternate Reality Games and Transmedia Storytelling, the ability to tell a cooperative narrative – on and offline – among those with which you work is an opportunity to actively create health, the benchmark of Salutogenesis.  When you have many platforms for engaging in this storytelling, you increase the modes of access to actively engage all employees where they are, rather than forcing them into a platform that they may not be comfortable with, or is not ideal for their way of engaging in their health generating behaviors.

 #HITsm T3: What game mechanics in #HealthIT are currently being used appropriately? Which are not?

Integration with the larger #healthIT world

Specifically looking at the #payer and #provider perspective, how can we ensure that the same #psych principles are being used to ensure adoption of #HealthIT throughout the Healthcare continuum? When we consider #wearables and #IoT, what do we focus on in terms of integration versus simple cataloging?

#HITsm T4: What should be made usable by #enterprise #healthIT to ensure the #Human element does not get lost?

Free-for-all on Design

#HITsm T5: What design considerations have you seen that work well in #HealthIT / #mHealth?

In review:

#HITsm T1: Knowing that #health is dependent on daily life, how do we design #HealthIT in consideration of the larger, social world?

#HITsm T2: How do we achieve #patientengagement over time considering that a one-off solution can’t fix #health?

#HITsm T3: What game mechanics in #HealthIT are currently being used appropriately? Which are not?

#HITsm T4: What should be made usable by #enterprise #healthIT to ensure the #Human element does not get lost?

#HITsm T5: What design considerations have you seen that work well in #HealthIT / #mHealth?

To our health,

Ryan Lucas
Manager, Engagement & Development

Health inSite: Privacy, Security, and “What’s with my damn data!”


I will be moderating a tweet chat on May 16th with the crew that participates in #HITsm (Health Information Technology / Social Media) and thought I’d go ahead and post those here for anyone else that might be interested or wanted a teaser for that chat.

These topics will be cross-posted on the HL7 Blog for TweetChats closer to the event.

We live in a data-damp world.  While we’ve always generated tons of data, never has it ever been so catalogued and retrievable.  We have begun a shift in our willingness to allow outside groups to do this for us in some cases, for example, in cloud-based applications, social networks, and the like.  It’s not true for everyone, but there’s no question there’s a shift in our culture toward allowing more of this.

#HITsm T1: Is releasing more a/b ourselves an increase in trust, or risk-taking? Is that a positive thing? How is it impacting healthcare?

Some might make the case (myself included) that this is a positive thing as we continue to share ourselves in a way that allows our impact on each others’ decision-making to become more transparent (blog posting) and potentially affect-able.

#HITsm T2: What is the balance between transparency and privacy/security that makes sense when it comes to healthcare? How?

Twitter Head of Safety, Del Harvey (@delbius), recently gave a TEDtalk about how the scale of Twitter requires significant considerations in how Twitter protects its users, in many cases, from themselves.  For example, Twitter made the decision to remove geo-tagging meta-data from photos that are posted to Twitter to ensure that users could not be tracked live as they posted information.

#HITsm T3: What patient data in healthcare may be innately helpful or harmful to safety/security, known or unknown? Examples?

If we accept the premise that some information should be shared for the benefit of the social network (friends, family, neighbors, etc.) in terms of how behaviors affect the health and wellbeing of all who access the healthcare system (effectively all citizens under the Affordable Care Act), who should set what/where/how that information should be shared?

#HITsm T4: Who should control access to data re: healthcare info? Should there be suggested min. shared data? What parallel models exist?

In a somewhat humorous interview with former NSA chief Keith Alexander on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver asked if recent outcry regarding privacy among the US population was simply a branding issue for the NSA to which there was some assent from the former head.  Sarcasm aside: there may be value in rebranding the healthcare system to focus on increasing sharing to leverage shared health decision-making.

#HITsm T5: If we want to increase sharing data to leverage shared #HC decision-making, how can #HealthIT and #SoMe help?

Have thoughts you want to share? Feel free to comment below!

To our health,

Ryan Lucas
Manager, Engagement & Development
Follow me on twitter: @dz45tr

Health inSite: #4PHealth


Each week I take an hour to join with a few colleagues and thought-leaders around the world on twitter to discuss all kinds of interesting topics related to where healthcare is going, what to expect in the intersection between Health and Technology, and how we might play a role in that changing landscape. These TweetChats are an opportunity to learn, share, and ultimately understand how social media, technology, and the role of various players in the healthcare world might better work together. Often, we turn to the topic of patient engagement. This is focused on what tools, technology, and other needs might help to get patients more involved in their own health. This can come in the form of tracking various metrics (see the Quantified Self movement) to making sure that individuals on medication are staying on top of that treatment to ensure their continued health improvement. While in our last TweetChat, which emphasized Patient Engagement and Experience specifically, we discussed that it was important for us to focus on what the patient could do, yes, but also what the provider and the payer could do. This is a common picture of the players in the healthcare world. Someone needs the service (patient), someone provides the service (provider), and someone pays for the service (payer). It looks sort of like this:


But that’s not really the whole picture, now is it? The truth is that this is the model of a sick-care system. As I’ve mentioned in blog postings beforehand, in order to keep people as healthy as possible before they need to access the healthcare system, the system must account for one more “P” in this proverbial puzzle (or pie, if you’d like!); one’s Peers:


It’s the convergence of all four P’s (Provider, Payer, Patient, and that Patient’s Peers) that will allow for greater healthcare reach. When the Payer and the Provider are able to engage the Patient’s Peers, then true health generation is possible and the benefits of one’s social network can then be fully leveraged.

With that, I submit a new hashtag for the consideration of a community that continually strives to make the very complicated healthcare system a little simpler as we move towards greater total health and wellbeing of the individuals that have to access this system. #4PHealth represents the four core stakeholders in healthcare that ultimately are responsible for the health of the patient and responsible for keeping that patient out of the hospital, involved and engaged in their total health and wellbeing, and always striving to improve one’s total health picture. When the Patient, Provider, Payer, and Peers come together, total wellbeing is possible.

This doesn’t have to be limited to the TwitterSphere, though. Take a moment and think about the real-world applications of this for you in your life. What can you be doing to help those in your peer group become healthier? What opportunities are there for you to help generate greater health for yourself and for your friends, family, and coworkers? What can you ask of your peers to help you with to create better health for yourself? The 4P model may not be the easiest thing for us to accomplish in our current healthcare system given the disjointed nature of care models, but you still have the ability to start working on the fourth “P” today. What will your first step be?

To our health,

Ryan Lucas
Supervisor, Marketing
(illustrations assembled myself!)

Health inSite: Do We Need Doctors or Algorithms?


Now is a great time to work in the Healthcare industry.  While the changes in the landscape following the Affordable Care Act (and the challenges to the Affordable Care Act) have led to some pretty interesting scrambling to meet “the market,” it has also been fun to see new, emerging voices that have the foresight to begin considering the effect that Health IT can have on our overall well-being as patients.

Today’s inSite highlights a very well-written article (Do We Need Doctors or Algorithms?) that lays out some of the ways in which Healthcare may be changing, be it through our intentional effort or our naturally-occurring social meanderings (I use the Wikipedia article intentionally!).

Consider some of these possibilities with a view of their overall impact on our Healthcare landscape.  While some of these may, at first, seem far-flung, they are quite insightful and not as far off as one might think when you consider what we are already capable of accomplishing with mobile technology as well as data integration and management systems.  While it may be a natural reaction to respond with some concern – how fantastic would it be to have systems that imbue all providers with the confidence and accuracy that a system like the one mentioned in this article could provide.  Then our providers could be really focused on treating the relapse issues that can often creep their way into the patient’s treatment compliance.  It’s very possible that our docs’ roles may be shifting once again from diagnosis to advising to (now) nudging as patients become more empowered and informed to make their own decisions.

Ryan Lucas