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Tag: athenahealth

The Luxury of Less

by: Katherine S Rowell author of “The Best Boring Book Ever of Select Healthcare Classification Systems and Databases” available now!

Originally posted here

I often find myself torn between wanting to get as much useful information as possible onto a single page of the reports and dashboards we design and build, and my love of white space, or “The Luxury of Less.” In a page lay-out, white space (also called “negative space”) is the portion of a page deliberately left unmarked. When well chosen and placed, it is a key contributor to attractive, effective design. Done poorly, it can make a page appear incomplete or even pretentiously minimal.

Consider the following example of the potential power of white space, illustrated by Edward Tufte’s redesign of a table of cancer survival statistics.

Original Table:

Source: Hermann Brenner, "Long-term survival rates of cancer patient[s] achieved by the end of the 20th century; a period analysis," The Lancet, 360 (October 12, 2002), 1131-1135.

Tufte First Iteration Table Redesign:

Source: Edward Tufte

Second Table-Graph Iteration:

Source: Edward Tufte

The original table, which is similar to the ones we are accustomed to seeing in scientific publications, is ordered by body system and is perfectly adequate for the look-up and comparison of values, including details about the Standard Error (SE) of each value-that is, it serves its purpose. But could it be improved?

Tufte’s first redesign highlights a particular (and newly featured) aspect of the data: five-year survival rates by type of cancer. Notice how each row in this re-done table has a bit more white space: heavy black lines framing the titles and column-headings, and parentheses around the standard errors, have been removed, giving some visual respite and making the figures more legible. The re-categorization of the data also makes a trend it illustrates somewhat easier to spot (take a minute to look at the information in the first column and follow it across; you’ll see it). The entire table looks and feels cleaner, and especially for research publications that require reporting and display of all relevant statistics, this table redesign works very well.

The third table-graphic-a hybrid of the two forms-provides yet another view, and a different data-visualization lesson. It presents the viewer with a clear picture of survival time gradients, illustrating the slope of survival rates for each type of cancer. In this last table-graphic, there is an even greater use of white space, and every visual element contributes directly to understanding-simply, elegantly, clearly. The use of space coupled with a line to show the slope of change leaves no doubt about the story in the data.

Although I see no compelling reason why a view like this couldn’t be used in a research publication (adding back in the standard errors), this is of course wishful thinking on my part: it simply won’t happen any time soon. What isn’t wishful thinking, however, is that we have immediate opportunities to use these techniques to build the tables and other displays we create for our clients, supervisors, and colleagues. We can most certainly use them to simplify and clarify information for patients and the general public, too.

Bottom line? Tufte reminds us yet again of the power of simplicity, and that showing less often reveals so much more.

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10 Companies Changing Health Care in the Hub

– BostInno, Custom Content Coordinator

Health care is a hot topic across the nation. Evolving policy and advancing technology have entirely transformed how we seek, receive, and pay for medical care. While people in every corner of the country are coping with these changes, Boston is firmly at the forefront of the next frontier in health care. Boasting world-class hospitals and a booming tech scene, Boston has become a crucible for health care innovation. Companies here in the Hub are conducting pioneering research, developing advanced technologies, and discovering solutions to the world’s most urgent health care challenges.

From detecting diseases to improving patient-physician communications, these companies specialize in a diverse range of medical services, but they all ultimately strive to improve health care for all.

Check out ten of the top companies changing health care here in the Hub. While these all might be notable, award-winning organizations, they still only scratch the surface of Boston’s booming health care scene. Feel free to share impressive health care innovators we missed in the comments below.

1. Partners HealthCare

Partners HealthCare

Founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, Partners HealthCare is a not-for-profit healthcare system and the state’s largest healthcare provider. Partners is deeply committed to innovation and leadership. The integrated healthcare system is constantly devising new ways to advance the industry, especially when it comes to applying technology to patient care. Partners was one of the earliest adopters of health information technology including electronic medical records. This year, they are rolling out their Partners eCare initiative which will implement an integrated, electronic health information system at all institutions across the Partners network by 2017. A division of Partners, Boston’s Center for Connected Health was also the first to launch “connected health” programs where patients monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and other biometrics using a smartphone device that automatically transmits data to an electronic medical record in the Partners’ database.

2. Nanobiosym

Nanobiosym

Cambridge-based Nanobiosym creates highly scalable, portable, disruptive technology aiming to solve our current healthcare crisis. The innovation center recently rocked the industry with their product GeneRADAR. The iPad-sized mobile device can test for AIDS and HIV, E.Coli, tuberculosis, diabetes and even some types of cancer in mere minutes, with only a drop of blood or saliva. The device delivers results faster and cheaper than current systems. Nanobiosym is currently working with Partners in Health to roll out GeneRADAR in the organization’s clinics around the nation.

3. Iora Health

Iora Health

Iora Health is on a mission to reform the existing healthcare model. Frustrated by the current system’s flaws and the growing gap between costs and quality, Iora has been building better models producing improved clinical outcomes at a lower cost. Founded in Cambridge by two physicians, Iora offers employers healthcare for employees on a per-person basis rather than through insurance. After raising $12 million last year, Iora continues to open practices and reinvent primary care.

4. PatientPing

PatientPing

Emergency room visits are rarely smooth sailing for the patient or the physicians. Patients must seek treatment from unfamiliar hospital staff who must scramble to piece together patients’ medical history. One of Boston’s newest health tech startups, PatientPing aims to solve this problem by sending real-time notifications to healthcare providers when their patients receive ER, hospital and post-acute care. The company plans to eventually scale out to nursing homes to create a comprehensive communication network of healthcare facilities.

5. Foundation Medicine

Foundation Medicine

Foundation Medicine is a molecular information company leading a transformation in cancer care. Their leading edge clinical products, including genomic test Foundation One® and FoundationOne® Heme, have been proven to be among the most accurate, sensitive, and comprehensive tests available. This fully informative genomic profile combined with a “patients first” approach empowers them to match patients with targeted therapies and meaningfully advance the field of routine cancer care. Most recently, the Cambridge company launched FoundationOne® CareLine, offering personalized case management services to patients who are uninsured, underinsured or face other challenges.

6. CareCloud

CareCloud

The future of the health care is in the cloud and CareCloud is the company to prove it. CareCloud is a leading national provider of cloud-based electronic medical record and billing services, supporting 3,700 providers in 45 states. The user-friendly, streamlined system enables physicians to deliver efficient, high-quality care, plus plug into a fully integrated digital healthcare ecosystem from any device. CareCloud has been expanding rapidly since its inception and raised $25.5 million last year.

7. athenahealth

athenahealth

Watertown-based healthcare software firm athenahealth is a pioneer of the electronic medical record and on a mission to modernize the industry. Since its founding, athenahealth has expanded and diversified its cloud-based services to include medical billing and practice management, patient communication, and order transmission services. The company also strives to spur healthcare innovation through their the program “More Disruption Please,” supporting entrepreneurs, health care IT companies, and thought leaders who want to change the status quo in health care.

8. MC10

MC10

MC10 creates the high-performance medical electronics that are virtually invisible, conformable, and wearable. These cutting-edge devices can serve to protect our troops, treat heart arrhythmias, and monitor sleeping babies. Among their award-winning innovations is the Reebok CHECKLIGHT, a sports impact indicator that measures the severity of blows to the head.

9.Wellframe

Wellframe

Wellframe builds intelligent systems to re-engineer care delivery, essentially equipping patients with a “care GPS” to help them navigate their health challenges. The mobile app gives patients personalized wellness to-do lists to help them stay on top of managing their disease. It also integrates a cloud-hosted electronic medical record. Patients can now leave the hospital with a care plan in their pocket, monitoring their progress and instructing them how to deal with their condition day-by-day. By empowering patients to take control of their own care, Wellframe helps minimize costs. The company recently raised $1.5 million and is continuing to transform the prevailing care model.

10. ZappRx

ZappRx

ZappRx is another mobile innovator transforming the health care status quo. The “Uber for medicine” company strives to simplify the management of prescription payments by connecting the three stakeholders – patients, pharmacists, and medical providers – on a single e-platform. The mobile app cuts out the paperwork and the delays that often accompany the prescription process. The Cambridge-based company has secured a total of $2 million in funding to further develop the platform to fit the speciality pharmacy market.

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