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HHS, AT&T partner on mobile diabetes self-management program

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, the American Association of Diabetes Educators and AT&T on Monday announced an initiative to evaluate the use of mobile devices to deliver diabetes self-management training within an underserved minority community in Dallas.

"The Office of Minority Health is excited to collaborate on a consumer-focused health information technology initiative that will have the opportunity to significantly improve access to education on diabetes," Office for Minority Health deputy assistant secretary Garth Graham said.

AT&T will contribute $100,000 to the AADE to fund the study and provide approximately 150 smartphones with voice and data plans for the patients, diabetes educators and other education personnel. The diabetes educators will deliver DSMT to patients using a video application on the mobile devices.

"People of color are at higher risk for diabetes, and we’re pleased to be part of this unique effort to help diabetes educators effectively use mHealth to aid those who need the most help managing their disease," commented Xavier Williams, SVP public sector and healthcare at AT&T. "With proactive management of chronic diseases like diabetes, it could potentially help to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs."

The AADE is in negotiations with the Dallas-based Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute, an accredited DSMT program and an affiliate of Baylor Health Care System and Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, to recruit participants for the study. Once complete, the AADE also will evaluate the project, with support from the Office of Minority Health.
 
"Telehealth and mHealth have the potential to greatly increase access to health services such as DSMT, which has been proven to reduce complications associated with diabetes," AADE CEO Lana Vukovljak said. "This project is critical to evaluating mHealth and demonstrating whether it results in positive health outcomes comparable to face-to-face interactions. If so, it can be a solution to the challenge of providing diabetes education and meeting the needs of people in underserved populations with diabetes."

DSMT is a collaborative process through which people with or at risk for diabetes gain the knowledge and skills needed to modify behavior and successfully self-manage the disease and its related chronic conditions. The initiative is intended to measure the effectiveness of evidence-based DSMT interventions delivered to participants by diabetes educators using mobile health (mHealth) programming.
 
DSMT must be prescribed by a Medicare beneficiary’s healthcare provider in order to be eligible for Medicare reimbursement.

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Dr. 2.0: WellPoint uses IBM Watson technology to develop healthcare applications

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS — Healthcare giant WellPoint has inked a deal with IBM whereby it will develop applications using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology to deliver healthcare information to patients.

Watson, named for IBM founder Thomas Watson, is a system developed by IBM scientists designed to mimic a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language that earlier this year appeared on the TV game show "Jeopardy!" and won against two human contestants.

The companies said that Watson’s ability to analyze the meaning and context of human language and process large amounts of information would assist physicians and nurses in identifying the most likely diagnosis and treatment options for their patients.

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McKesson forms new specialty health division

BY Michael Johnsen

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — McKesson on Monday announced the creation of a new division: McKesson Specialty Health.

Less than a year ago, McKesson Corporation acquired US Oncology with a vision of enhancing its customer offerings. Through integrated technology offerings, including iKnowMed, a top-ranked Web-based oncology electronic health record, and the Lynx Mobile drug inventory management system, McKesson Specialty Health hopes to improve the financial health of its customers, while empowering them to advance the science, quality and efficiency of patient care.

"Through innovative technology, clinical support and business solutions, McKesson Specialty Health offers the broadest and deepest suite of services available today, all focused on improving the health of community practices and the patients they serve," McKesson Specialty Health CEO Bruce Broussard. "We are thousands of committed experts who believe that the long-term vibrancy of community practices will be achieved through the leadership of physicians committed to clinical excellence and innovation," he said. "Our mission is to strengthen the community patient care delivery system through our deep clinical, operational and technological expertise."

"We have taken the best of McKesson Specialty Care Solutions and US Oncology to create McKesson Specialty Health, an organization that can truly help the community-based care system achieve better health," McKesson Specialty Helath president Mark Walchirk said. "Our customers now have even more ways to engage with us as suits their needs, better enabling them to secure their own future at the forefront of excellent, high-quality and efficient patient care."

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