News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

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News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Best Buy Health and Atrium Health Collaborate on a Hospital-at-Home Program, Leveraging the Electronics Retailer’s ‘Specially Trained’ Geek Squad, Omnichannel Expertise

Hospital-at-home programs like that of Atrium Health are a trend that may create new opportunities for local clinical laboratories to support physicians treating patients in the comfort of their own homes

Here is a deal that shows the hospital-at-home (HaH) movement is gaining momentum, a trend that clinical laboratories need to recognize for the opportunities it represents. Best Buy Health is partnering with 40-hospital Atrium Health in an HaH program that the healthcare system plans to scale nationally.

This newly-announced collaboration means that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Atrium Health—as partner—may include the hospitals and providers that are part of the 26-hospital Advocate Aurora Health system (now known as Advocate Health), a non-profit healthcare system that Atrium merged with in December of 2022. Providers and hospitals from North/South Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio all could be participating in the new HaH venture.

This latest partnership between a retail giant and healthcare network demonstrates how innovation is working its way into the US healthcare system via companies not traditionally involved in direct patient care. These two organizations see an opportunity to combine their strengths to “enhance the patient experience of receiving hospital-level care at home,” according to a Best Buy news release.

Rasu Shrestha, MD

“This is the coming together of technology and empathy,” said Rasu Shrestha, MD (above), Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Commercialization Officer at Advocate Health, in a press release.  “We’re able to leverage the power of social workers, paramedics, nurses and physicians, but also technology to take care of the patients in their homes. We can bring forward things like remote patient monitoring and sophisticated wearable devices that capture their vital signs and combine it with the human touch—bringing it directly into our patients’ homes.” Clinical laboratories that support providers in the states Advocate Health serves may want to contact Best Buy Health. (Photo copyright: Advocate Health.)

Dispatching Geek Squads to Support Telehealth in Patients’ Homes

Best Buy Health brings to its collaboration with Atrium Health expertise in omnichannel business strategies, supply chain, and a platform to enable telehealth connectivity between patients and providers, as well as deploying specially trained Geek Squad agents for in-home support, according to an Atrium Health press release.

“With Atrium Health, we want to help enable healthcare at home for everyone. It’s getting the devices to the home when Atrium Health and the patient needs them,” said Deborah Di Sanzo, President of Best Buy Health.

Atrium Health sees Best Buy Health as a partner that can grow its program while addressing complex in-home technology that can be “tricky” to operate, Retail Dive reported.

“This transition that happens from discharging a patient from a hospital to the void of their home is the dark side of the moon: it’s disconnected, confusing, expensive. What we’ve been doing in the past is working through our hospital-at-home program and putting together a lot of these devices,” Rasu Shrestha, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Commercialization Officer at Advocate Health, told Fierce Healthcare.

“By working with Best Buy Health, we’re developing the seamless connected care experience and an opportunity to truly scale this,” he added.

Geek Squad

Supporting hospital-at-home services in collaboration with Atrium Health will be a new role for at least some members of the Geek Squad. “They won’t necessarily be the same team that’s doing your home theater. They will be Geek Squad agents specially trained in health to deliver specific services in the home,” said Deborah Di Sanzo, President of Best Buy Health. (Photo copyright: Best Buy.)

Best Buy’s Healthcare Acquisitions and Growth in Hospital-at-Home Programs 

In making its commitment to healthcare, Best Buy Health recently acquired companies in remote patient monitoring, medical alert services, and telehealth.

The electronics retailer’s acquisitions, according to Fierce Healthcare, include:

  • GreatCall (now known as Lively), maker of health and safety products, in 2018.
  • Critical Signal Technologies, developer of remote monitoring technologies, in 2019.
  • TytoCare, a telehealth device company, in 2019.
  • Current Health, a remote monitoring care-at-home platform, in 2021.

While Best Buy was busy acquiring healthcare companies, more HaH programs popped up across the US due in part to rising inpatient costs and providers’ need to be more efficient and resourceful.

Atrium Health started its Hospital-at-Home program in March 2020 as a way to care for COVID-19 patients. The HaH program now serves people with:

According to Healthcare Dive, Shrestha claimed Atrium’s HaH program “has served more than 6,300 patients and freed 25,000 hospital bed days since it launched in March 2020,” and produced clinical outcomes that were “the same or better” when compared to the health systems’ own hospitals, and with higher patient satisfaction scores.

“We anticipate the partnership will combine Atrium Health operational and clinical expertise with Best Buy Health’s technical and logistical expertise to allow us to scale the program to 100 patients at a time and beyond within our market,” Shrestha told Healthcare Dive. “When you put that into context, this would be the equivalent of having an additional mid-sized hospital and have a real impact on capacity in our bricks-and-mortar facilities.”

Taking Atrium’s HaH Program Nationwide

According to federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predictions, healthcare spending will reach $6.8 trillion by 2030. This might explain why Best Buy increased its investment in healthcare at the same time its sales declined 9.3% in the fourth quarter of 2022 amid softening consumer demand for electronics, Reuters reported.

And, according to Forbes, though financial terms on the Best Buy/Atrium Health partnership were not released, additional investments are planned to “scale [Atrium’s HaH program] beyond the system.”

“We combine our omnichannel, Geek Squad, caring centers, and Current Health services to enable care,” Di Sanzo told Forbes. “At scale, no other company has the holistic combination of resources that when combined, will change the lives of consumers and enable them to heal right in their own home surrounding by the people and things they love the most. Those strengths, combined with Atrium Health’s extensive clinical expertise and deep experience leading in virtual care, will help us improve and enable care in the home for everyone.”

Clinical Laboratory Testing at Home

Clearly there are opportunities for clinical laboratories to support providers who treat patients in their homes. Lab leaders may want to reach out to colleagues who are planning HaH programs in partnership with Best Buy Health, Atrium Health, or other companies around the nation launching similar hospital-at-home programs.

As medical laboratories address staffing challenges, HaH strategies for performing blood tests and other diagnostics on patients in their homes could lead to important new revenue.   

—Donna Marie Pocius

Related Information:

Atrium Health and Best Buy Health Partner to Improve Experience When Receiving Care at Home

Atrium Health and Best Buy Health Partner to Enhance Hospital-at-Home Experience

Atrium, Best Buy Partner to Co-Develop Hospital-at-Home Programming

Hospital-at-Home Steps Out of the COVID-Era Through New Atrium Health, Best Buy Partnership

Best Buy Pushes Deeper into Healthcare with Hospital-at-Home Partnership

Atrium Health, Best Buy Ink Hospital-at-Home Deal

Best Buy, Walmart, Other Major US Retailers Tout Health Services

CMS Office of the Actuary Releases 2021-2030 Projections National Health Expenditures

Orlando Health’s New Hospital-in-the-Home Program Brings Quality Healthcare to Patients in the Comfort of Their Homes

Oregon Health and Science University Announces Program to Provide Patients with Hospital-Level Care in the Comfort of Their Home

Australia Launches Pilot Preventative Cancer Screening Program That Offers Low-cost DNA Genetic Testing to Healthy Adults Between Ages 18 to 40

Studies into use of population-level genomic cancer screening show promising results while indicating that such testing to find evidence of increased cancer risk among non-symptomatic people may be beneficial

In another example of a government health system initiating a program designed to proactively identify people at risk for a serious disease to allow early clinical laboratory diagnosis and monitoring for the disease, cancer researchers at Monash University in Australia have receive a $2.97 million grant from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to study ways to “identifying people who are living with a heightened cancer risk who would ordinarily be informed only after a potentially incurable cancer is diagnosed.”

The MRFF is a $20 billion fund controlled by the Australian Government’s Department of Health.

According to a Monash news release, the researchers, led by Associate Professor Paul Lacaze, PhD, Head of the Public Health Genomics Program at Monash University, plan to use the award to develop a “new low-cost DNA screening test which will be offered to 10,000 young Australians. The new approach, once scaled-up, has the potential to drastically improve access to preventive genetic testing in Australia, and could help make Australia the world’s first nation to offer preventive DNA screening through a public healthcare system.”

Called DNACancerScreen, the clinical genetic test will be offered to anyone between the ages of 18 and 40, rather than to a select group of people who have a family history of cancer or who present with symptoms. The Monash scientists hope to advance knowledge about the relationship of specific genes and how they cause or contribute to cancer. Such information, they believe, could lead to the development of new precision medicine diagnostic tests and anti-cancer drug therapies.

Gap in Current Cancer Screening Practices

The DNACancerScreen test will look for genes related to two specific cancer categories:

These are considered Tier 1 genetic risks by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome is associated with an increased risk of developing breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancers, as well as melanoma. Lynch Syndrome is associated with colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, and other cancers.

Currently, screening practices may miss as many as 50-90% of individuals who carry genetic mutations associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, and as many as 95% of those at risk due to Lynch Syndrome, according to the Monash news release.

But currently, only those with a family history of these cancers, or those who present with symptoms, are screened. By targeting younger individuals for screening, Lacaze and his team hope to give those at risk a better chance at early detection.

“This will empower young Australians to take proactive steps to mitigate risk, for earlier detection, surveillance from a younger age, and prevention of cancer altogether,” Lacaze said in the news release.

Paul Lacaze

Along with the possibility of saving lives, Associate Professor Paul Lacaze, PhD (above), Head of the Public Health Genomics Program at Monash University, expects that the screening program will have an economic impact as well. “This type of preventive DNA testing will not only save lives, but also save the Australian public healthcare system money by preventing thousands of cancers,” he said. There’s evidence to back up his statement. In 2019 he led a team that published a study, titled, “Population Genomic Screening of All Young Adults in a Healthcare System: A Cost Effectiveness Analysis.” That study concluded, “Preventive genomic screening in early adulthood would be highly cost-effective in a single-payer healthcare system, but ethical issues must be considered.” (Photo copyright: Monash University.)

Similar Genetic Studies Show Encouraging Results

Although the DNACancerScreen study in Australia is important, it is not the first to consider the impact of population-level screening for Tier 1 genetic mutations. The Healthy Nevada Project (HVN), a project that combined genetic, clinical, environmental, and social data, tested participants for those Tier 1 conditions. The project was launched in 2016 and currently has more than 50,000 participants, a Desert Research Institute (DRI) press release noted. 

In 2018, HVN began informing participants who had increased risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, Lynch Syndrome, and a third condition called Familial Hypercholesterolemia. There were 27,000 participants, and 90% of those who had genetic mutations associated with the three Tier 1 conditions had not been previously identified.

“Our first goal was to deliver actionable health data back to the participants of the study and understand whether or not broad population screening of CDC Tier 1 genomic conditions was a practical tool to identify at-risk individuals,” said Joseph Grzymski, PhD, lead author of the HVN study in the DRI press release.

Grzymski is Principal Investigator of the Healthy Nevada Project, Director of the Renown Institute for Health Innovation, Chief Scientific Officer for Renown Health, and a Research Professor in Computational Biology and Genetics at the Desert Research Institute.

“Now, two years into doing that it is clear that the clinical guidelines for detecting risk in individuals are too narrow and miss too many at risk individuals,” he added.

A total of 358, or 1.33% of the 26,906 participants in the Healthy Nevada Project were carriers for the Tier 1 conditions, but only 25% of them met the current guidelines for screening, and only 22 had any previous suspicion in their medical records of their genetic conditions.

Another project, the MyCode Community Health Initiative conducted at Geisinger Health System, found that 87% of participants with a Tier 1 gene variant did not have a prior diagnosis of a related condition. When the participants were notified of their increased risk, 70% chose to have a related, suggested procedure.

“This evidence suggests that genomic screening programs are an effective way to identify individuals who could benefit from early intervention and risk management—but [who] have not yet been diagnosed—and encourage these individuals to take measures to reduce their risk,” a Geisinger Health press release noted.

Realizing the Promise of Precision Medicine

Studies like these are an important step in realizing the potential of precision medicine in practical terms. The Tier 1 genetic conditions are just a few of the more than 22,000 recognized human genes of which scientists have a clear understanding. Focusing only on those few genetic conditions enables clinicians to better help patients decide how to manage their risk.

“Genomic screening can identify at-risk individuals more comprehensively than previous methods and start people on the path to managing that risk. The next step is figuring out the impact genomic screening has on improving population health,” said Adam Buchanan, MPH, MS, Director of Geisinger’s Genomic Medicine Institute.

These are positive developments for clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology group practices. The three examples cited above show that a proactive screening program using genetic tests can identify individuals at higher risk for certain cancers. Funding such programs will be the challenge.

At the current cost of genetic testing, screening 100 people to identify a few individuals at high risk for cancer would probably not be considered the highest and best use of the limited funds available to the healthcare system.

—Dava Stewart

Related Information

Landmark New DNA Screening Study to Offer Free Genetic Testing to Young Adults for Cancer Risk

Population Genomic Screening of All Young Adults in a Healthcare System: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Population Genetic Screening Shown to Efficiently Identify Increased Risk for Inherited Disease

Population Genetic Screening Efficiently Identifies Carriers of Autosomal Dominant Diseases

Results of Observational Study Published in Genetics in Medicine

Geisinger Researchers Find Genomic Screening Effective in Detecting Risk for Previously Undiagnosed Conditions

Aspenti Health Takes Home Grand Prize in Nation’s First Clinical Lab 2.0 ‘Shark Tank’ Competition Showcasing Added-Value Clinical Success Stories

Vermont-based clinical laboratory company integrates social determinants of health (SDH) with lab data to help doctors at University of Vermont Health Network better manage their opioid patients

Aspenti Health, a full-service diagnostic laboratory specializing in toxicology screening, has won the nation’s first ever Clinical Lab 2.0 “Shark Tank”! The competition was held May 2, 2019, in conjunction with the 24th Annual Executive War College on Lab and Pathology Management in New Orleans.

The Clinical Lab 2.0 “Shark Tank” showcased forward-thinking clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups that are committed to the Clinical Lab 2.0 movement, a Project Santa Fe Foundation initiative aimed at guiding laboratories from test volume to lab value models.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our work serving the unique needs of substance use healthcare. And, most importantly, across our organization for our unyielding commitment to employing innovations to solve this [opioid] crisis,” Aspenti Health CEO Chris Powell stated in the news release.

The projects were judged on Clinical Lab 2.0 attributes, such as:

  • Risk stratification by population;
  • Closure of care gaps;
  • Lab results as early detection; and
  • Lab intervention for improved clinical outcomes.

“This project, as well as all of the other cases that were presented, were quite strong and all were aligned with the mission of the Clinical Lab 2.0 Movement,” said Khosrow R. Shotorbani, President, Executive Director, Project Santa Fe Foundation, in a news release. “This movement transforms the analytic results from a laboratory into actionable intelligence at the patient visit in partnership with front-liners and clinicians—allowing for identification of patient risks—and arming providers with insights to guide therapeutic interventions.

“Further, it reduces the administrative burden on providers by collecting SDH [social determinants of health] predictors in advance and tying them to outcomes of interest,” continued Shotorbani. “By bringing SDH predictors to the office visit, it enables providers to engage in SDH without relying on their own data collection—a current care gap in many practices. The lab becomes a catalyst helping to manage the population we serve.”

Co-Use of Opioids Tied to Social Factors

Aspenti Health’s “Shark Tank” entry—“Integration of the Clinical Laboratory and Social Determinants of Health in the Management of Substance Use”—focused on the social factors tied to the co-use of opioids and benzodiazepines, a combination that puts patients at higher risk of drug-related overdose or death. The project revealed the top two predictors of co-use were the:

  • Prescribing provider practice, and the
  • Patient’s age.
“This was a unique project because it integrated social determinants, which are a key part of our overall health and wellness, with laboratory data, which is well-defined, quantitative, and very accurate,” said Jill Warrington, MD, PhD (above), Chief Medical Officer at Aspenti Health and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine University of Vermont Medical Center, in an exclusive interview with Dark Daily. “So, combining something that is really meaningful clinically with something that is very predictive and accurate has a nice blend of strengths.” (Photo copyright: Aspenti Health.)

Myra L. Wilkerson, MD, who served on a three-judge panel tasked with selecting the winning project, said the Vermont toxicology laboratory’s entry stood out in two key areas.

“We felt their project had an application to a broader population, but also moved beyond traditional [laboratory] functions or even medicine,” explains Wilkerson, who is Chair of the Diagnostic Medicine Institute for the Geisinger Health System. “Patient advocacy groups, payers, and providers all have come to realize you can identify a disease, you can provide a treatment, but so many other things impact it, especially in this community. When it is an addiction, there are so many other factors that play into whether or not they are going to be successful in their treatment plan. And a lot of them are social things.”

Educating Care Givers and Public on Dangers of Co-Use Drug Addictions

Working in collaboration with Staple Health and the University of Vermont Health Network, Aspenti selected “co-use” for this initial lab outcome study because of the significant patient safety implications and relative simplicity of its definition—the co-presence of positive laboratory results for both opioids and benzodiazepines.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 30% of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines. Aspenti’s “Shark Tank” presentation highlighted the fact that co-use of the drugs accounts for nearly 2.5% of opioid-related emergency department visits, costing the healthcare system an estimated $47.5 million per year.

Based on the study results, Aspenti Health plans to develop educational programs that warn about the dangers of co-using opioids and benzodiazepines.

“We identified geographically hotspots where co-use was more prevalent, so we can target our educational initiatives centered on those geographical locations—not just to providers, but also to families and patients—to raise awareness about co-use so the risks are mitigated collectively,” Warrington said.

Advancing the Value-based Healthcare Agenda

The Executive War College Clinical Lab 2.0 “Shark Tank” advances a conversation about the lab industry’s future that began at the inaugural 2016 Project Santa Fe meeting. Lab industry stakeholders brainstormed about the transition from volume-based to value-based healthcare, and the role laboratory-driven innovations could play in reducing total cost of care.

As healthcare shifts to a value-based reimbursement model, Wilkerson believes laboratory leaders must re-engineer their role in the continuum of care by creating meaningful clinical diagnostic insights for population health initiatives.

“What’s your executive leadership concerned about? What are your payers concerned about? What are your accrediting or regulatory bodies concerned about? What are their top priorities and how can you do something that improves patient care but helps them address their problems as well?” she asks. “That’s where you create value.”

As the Clinical Lab 2.0 Innovation Award winner, Aspenti Health will receive:

  • An invitation to speak at national lab conferences this fall;
  • A consultation with a Project Santa Fe member lab to discuss successful Clinical Lab 2.0 innovations and identify new ways to deliver more value in patient care; and
  • Publication of a case study of their Clinical Lab 2.0 project by Dark Daily or its sister publication The Dark Report.

With labs in Vermont and Massachusetts, Aspenti continues to identify opportunities for directly contributing to improvements in the care of substance abuse and pain management patients. Warrington says that with its SDH project, Aspenti plans to focus on other key laboratory outcome measures—such as treatment adherence and relapse. Next steps include integrating this work into the practices of partner doctors within the University of Vermont Health Network.

Wilkerson’s advice to other clinical laboratories is to follow Aspenti Health’s lead.  

“When you look at the national trends, the percentage of traditional fee-for-service or volume-based healthcare is going to go down to 25% of the total healthcare spend by 2021,” she points out. “The other 75% will be based on value-added services around quality metrics, efficiency, cost reduction, utilization, etc. Labs that aren’t starting to think this way now are going to be behind and at risk in the future.”

—Andrea Downing Peck

Related Information:

Aspenti Health Wins Clinical Lab 2.0 Innovation Award

First-Ever ‘Shark Tank’ on Clinical Lab 2.0 and Adding Value Happens May 2 in New Orleans: Clinical Laboratories with Innovative Services Invited to Present

Improving American Healthcare Through “Clinical Lab 20”: A Project Santa Fe Report

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Benzodiazepines and Opioids

Project Santa Fe Labs Deliver Value with Tests

Improving American Healthcare Through “Clinical Lab 2.0”: A Project Santa Fe Report

Apple’s Update of Its Mobile Health App Consolidates Data from Multiple EHRs and Makes It Easier to Push Clinical Laboratory Data to Patients

January’s press release confirmed the tech company is working to integrate critical medical data into its mobile devices, while further promoting interoperability and patient access

While interoperability has improved since the earliest electronic health record (EHR) systems, today’s active patients often need to sort through multiple healthcare portals—including those of clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups—to get a comprehensive view of their medical history. Not only can this be time consuming, but also inconvenient if the patient lacks access to a computer.

Thus, it’s no surprise that in a January 24 press release, mobile technology giant Apple announced plans to enter the development ring and create an improved EHR for its mobile device users by updating its existing “Health” mobile application (app). The iOS 11.3 update, among other things, is designed to enable Apple iPhone owners to receive critical medical data, such as medical laboratory test results, directly on their devices.

“Our goal is to help consumers live a better day. We’ve worked closely with the health community to create an experience everyone has wanted for years—to view medical records easily and securely right on your iPhone,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams in the press release.


Jeff Williams (above), COO at Apple, notes that, “By empowering customers to see their overall health, we hope to help consumers better understand their health and help them lead healthier lives.” (Photo copyright: Apple.)

The new features are already available to developers in the latest iOS 11.3 beta 3 release. However, release to the public is expected soon with the issuance of the iOS 11.3 final release. This means that patients will not need to download extra apps—or remember to use them—to take advantage of the feature.

New Way to Improve Patients’ Access to Health Data or Just Another Data Silo?

The Apple Health Records platform adheres to Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) protocols for transmission of data. Providers send information to Apple which then aggregates the information, transmits it to patients’ iPhones and notifies them of the updates.

All information stored on the device is encrypted in storage and protected from unauthorized access by the user’s password.

Through the new Health Records interface, users view this aggregated data as a timeline, conduct searches, and share information with other parties as they deem appropriate.

Current medical information listed in the press release includes:

  • Allergies;
  • Conditions;
  • Immunizations;
  • Clinical laboratory results;
  • Medications;
  • Procedures; and,
  • Vitals.

Currently, the platform integrates data from three major EHR developers:

  • Epic;
  • Cerner; and,
  • AthenaHealth


Apple’s update to the Health app makes it easier for people to access and control of all of their health records and data. This included medical laboratory tests. (Image and caption copyright: Apple.)

Apple is also working with 12 health institutions across the US in the first phase of the project, including:

In the Apple press release, Stephanie Reel, CIO at John Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, stated, “Streamlining information sharing between patients and their caregivers can go a long way towards making the patient experience a positive one. This is why we are excited about working with Apple to make accessing secure medical records from an iPhone as simple for a patient as checking email.”

Previous Attempts at Mobile Health Record Devices Got Mixed Results

This isn’t the first time a major technology company has attempted to enter the mobile health market. Google Health was shuttered in 2011 citing low adoption. Wearable fitness trackers, such as Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) enjoyed a bubble, but are now seeing mixed success in terms of long-term adoption and use, according to The Motley Fool. More to the point, they’ve never quite become the holy grail of monitoring and data collection that some experts predicted, Huffington Post reported.

However, Apple’s investments and interest in healthcare-related technologies has led to wide speculation that they would enter the health market this year. (See Dark DailyApple May Be Developing Mobile Device Technology to Monitor User’s Health and Transmit Data in Real Time.”)

Larry Dignan, Editor-in-Chief at ZDNet, builds a compelling case for why this could be the attempt that succeeds in providing a consolidated platform for clinical laboratories, physicians, and other care providers to push data directly to patients and—with the patient’s permission—to each other, regardless of the platforms healthcare facilities use to store and transmit data.

He notes that much of Apple’s newest features build on foundations laid by the healthcare industry to create scalable, functional EHR systems. By working with existing protocols, Apple’s Health Records platform is already positioned for compatibility with many healthcare providers.

Furthermore, Apple is already known for partnering at the enterprise level with major businesses and industries, while also holding the trust of millions of Americans who store their personal information on Apple devices.

Is Apple the Future of EHRs?

Despite this, until the platform—and adoption by the public—is proven a success, it will be yet another walled garden of medical information. Even then, Apple is only one segment of the global mobile market.

Unless Apple provides access to other platforms (such as Android), those patients—and the medical communities serving them—are left consolidating information on their own through a sprawl of various portals. This also means that medical laboratories, pathology groups, and other service providers must continue to invest time and funding into communicating data in ways compatible with a plethora of internal and external systems and software.

Still, the platform offers an intriguing glimpse at the future of medical records and heralds a shift toward empowering patients with easy, comprehensive access to their own data, which would be a boon to the medical laboratory industry.

—Jon Stone

Related Information:

Apple Previews iOS 11.3

Apple Announces Effortless Solution Bringing Health Records to iPhone

With Medical Records Tools, Apple Wades Deeper into Digital Health

Apple Confirms “Health Records” Solution with Aim to Bring Medical Records to iPhone

Apple Will Let You Keep Your Medical Records on Your iPhone

Apple Unveils mHealth Integration with EMR Data through Health App

Apple, Inc. Wants to Solve the Problem of Electronic Health Records

Viewpoint: How Realistic Is Apple’s Attempt at the EHR Industry? Very—6 Reasons Why

Apple Can Win Electronic Medical Record Game with Health Records in iOS 11.3: Here’s 7 Reasons Why

Apple Is Officially in the EHR Business. Now What?

Apple to Launch Health Records App with HL7’s FHIR Specifications at 12 Hospitals

Could Amazon or Apple Actually Make a Dent in the EHR Market?

Apple May Be Developing Mobile Device Technology to Monitor User’s Health and Transmit Data in Real Time

NIH Awards $48.6 Million in Grants to Advance Putting Genomic Information in Electronic Health Records of Patients

Goal is to enable gene sequencing data to reside in EMRs, which would provide pathologists and clinical lab professionals with an opportunity to add value

More federal grant money is available to speed up research designed to make it possible to incorporate genome information into the electronic medical record (EMR). This is a development that can have both positive and negative consequences for clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is awarding more than $48.6 million in grants to researchers seeking to better understand the clinical implications of genomic information and determine the best ways to deliver news to patients when their genetic data indicates they may be predisposed to certain diseases or medical conditions.

The grants are administered by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and represent the third phase of the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) program. This is a national consortium working to move genomics research closer to clinical application by identifying the potential medical effects of rare genomic variants in about 100 clinically-relevant genes. (more…)