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  • Data + Technology
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Digital Health Blunders and Wonders: Vaping & Seqster


On the inaugural episode of Blunders & Wonders, Dr. Nick Van Terheyden tackles e-cigs and Seqster, a new digital health integration app.

Hello! I'm Dr. Nick, the Incrementalist, and I'm here today to talk about Blunders & Wonders.

There's a lot of coverage in the news and online about technology to fix — well, just about everything. How about Paigey, the clip-on that you attach to your body or clothing that will notify you whenever you have a notification on your phone? Or the robot designed to solve the age-old problem of "Where's Waldo?" which rather defeats the point, in my opinion.

We've seen a lot of technology that's designed to solve problems like substance abuse, behavioral health conditions, wearables to combat withdrawals, mHealth addiction apps to help combat the addiction of all these technologies, and even sensors to track our alcohol intake and diet.

The Blunder

E-cigarettes and vaping falls into this category, proposed by some as a high-tech solution for smoking cessation, making some form of medical intervention. In fact, so strong are the feelings in some quarters that conversations can quickly derail and degrade online. But vaping means different things to different people, and it depends on where you're coming from.

The data supports the notion that vaping is a better alternative to smoking, but it still comes with downsides. Like all other digital tools, vaping or e-cigarettes are there to help address problems. Technology has always been about enabling human potential, and this is especially true in digital health. It's never about the technology - that's just the supporting act.

The Wonder

Now what about the wonder? Well, Seqster is the new digital integration app that's allowing anyone with access to pull in their data from over 3,000 hospitals and more than 9,600 medical groups around the country. Wow!

They spend huge amounts of energy and resources building this integration into clinical systems, and currently that includes the likes of AllScripts, Athena Health, Cerner, Epic, McKessen, NextGen.

So, if your doctor has any of these, you can bring that data into one place, even if you have different doctors using different systems. But that's not all. They pull in mobile health data from many of the wearable tracking devices, and your genomic data.

For those of you terrified about technology, I'll tell you that I created my account, and integrated five different sources of data in under five minutes. And that experience is just like what you get with the financial software Mint. It's a one-time set up, and you're done.

Right now, you can view things in this integrated, chronological form, but they're working on this integrated view that shows you your data from different systems, like nutrition, medication and clinical data.

Not all the links are there, and you may find that your personal favorite tracking device isn't there either. But this is the first step I've seen for medical information to show up from multiple providers and allowing you to see all of that in one personal complete record. That's just an incredible step for us.

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NICK VAN TERHEYDEN, MD, is a member of the Healthcare Analytics News™ advisory board, and a pioneering creator in the evolution of healthcare technology. He brings a distinctive blend of medical practitioner and business strategist to the realm of healthcare technology. He is the founder of Incremental Healthcare where he seeks out the small changes that can be applied quickly and effectively that offer immediate benefits and value but become part of an ongoing broader strategy to improve quality, reduce cost and increase access to healthcare. Prior to this he was the Chief Medical Officer for Dell where he was responsible for providing strategic insight to help Dell advance its support of healthcare organizations, medical professionals and patients through information-enabled healthcare.

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