CVS to Share Medical Records With 4 Major Providers Jun30

CVS to Share Medical Records With 4 Major Providers...

CVS Health announced June 24 that it will be partnering and sharing data with four new healthcare providers across the nation via their electronic health records. “In this era of health care reform, we are pleased to work with these health care organizations to develop collaborative programs that enhance access to patient care, improve health outcomes and lower health care costs in the communities they serve,” Troyen A. Brennan, chief medical officer of CVS Health, said in a news release. “By allowing our electronic health records and information systems to communicate and share important information about the patients we collectively serve, we will have a more comprehensive view of our patients, which can aid in health care decision making and help ensure patients adhere to important medications for chronic diseases.” In practice, that means that CVS pharmacy prescription and MinuteClinic visit information will be fed directly into patients’ EHRs so that doctors can have more relevant data when providing counseling and treatment and ensure patients are taking their medications as prescribed. The four providers are Sutter Health of California, Bryan Health Connect of Nebraska, Mount Kisco Medical Group of New York and Millennium Physican Group of Florida. CVS has more than 7,800 retail pharmacies and nearly 1,000 MinuteClinic locations in the United States. The latter are walk-in clinics that are open seven days a week and offer evening hours. They are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. It is quickly becoming common for healthcare providers to use EHRs to store patient information. In 2013, a full 78% of office-based physicians were using some type of EHR; in 2001, that figure was only 18%. CVS first began using its current EHR system in 2014. The challenge in sharing data more widely, however, is that...

Can The U.S. Do More To Bring Blind And Deaf Americans Online?...

This June, the U.S. Library of Congress rolled out a free mobile app that will give more Americans with physical disabilities access to almost 65,000 books, magazines, and music albums in both audio and braille formats. The BARD app was previously only available for Apple products, but now Android smartphone and tablet users will have access to the Library of Congress as well. “The BARD Mobile app allows searching, downloading, and reading books and magazines on one fully accessible, mainstream device,” said Karen Keninger, president of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). “It’s a library in your pocket.” The NLS is a department of the Library of Congress that provides free braille and audio-books to Americans who are blind, deaf, or otherwise physically disabled. Internet and mobile access are generally lower among disabled demographics, and the NLS hopes the expansion of the BARD mobile app will help bring more Americans online. Across all demographics, 63% of cell phone users go online using smartphones, as of 2013. For comparison, a recent U.K. study surveyed internet use among more than 4,000 disabled and 17,000 non-disabled people. The report found that among younger disabled people, internet access was similar to those without disabilities, at 90% and 93% respectively. But across all age groups in the U.K., internet access among disabled consumers was just 55%, compared with 83% overall. Plus, those access numbers dropped sharply among low-income disabled populations. Keninger hopes the BARD app will help bring Web services to more disabled American citizens, while allowing existing Web users to download Library of Congress material even faster. “BARD Mobile for Android continues our efforts to enhance the delivery and reading experience of NLS patrons,” Keninger said in a June 18 press release. Disabled...

Startup Backed By Google Ventures Is Making Online Shopping Profitable for Retailers...

Most consumers these days love the idea of online shopping, but businesses may not be equally as thrilled by it. Not only are the security risks greater and costlier, but there’s one common occurrence that just doesn’t seem to happen as often in the stores themselves: the full and abandoned shopping cart. For businesses that rely heavily on e-commerce sales, this can be a major problem. In fact, Fortune reports that 70% of items on average are abandoned by consumers who choose to leave business’s online sites before making a transaction. Even though e-commerce sales generate about $1.2 million every second for U.S. businesses, it’s clear that businesses are losing a lot of potential sales when a consumer changes their mind halfway through an online shopping experience. One company based in London is trying to change that. Yieldify is a two-year-old startup company with $11.5 million worth of investments from Google Ventures Europe and Japanese telecoms company Softbank, according to Business Insider. Instead of sending out a standard email to potential buyers, Yieldify uses “predictive analytics” to create more personalized responses, Fortune states. By analyzing a person’s browser history, Yieldify can send out more personalized offers in pop ups, followed by emails if the person leaves the website — offers which pertain to the individual’s interests. Forbes has called Yieldify a “combination of big data and behavioral science.” And although consumers might be more likely to call it “creepy,” there’s evidence proving that the analytics actually work. Yieldify currently provides software for about 800 businesses around the world, including brands such as Marks and Spencer and French Connection. Between April 2013, when the business began operating, to April 2014, the company’s revenue grew by...

Small Businesses Aren’t Prepared for EMV Chip Regulations, Surveys Find...

Is EMV (chip) credit card technology actually going to pay off in the long run? It depends on who you ask. For U.S. banks, EMV chips will hopefully reduce some of the millions of dollars paid out each year when fraudulent charges are made on credit cards. The magnetic strips on traditional cards, which hold the individual’s personal information and which allow money to be transferred when the card is swiped at the register, are actually very vulnerable to thieves. For consumers, the change from magnetic-strip cards to EMV ones means nothing more than getting a new card in the mail. The replacement cards are being sent out at no extra cost to consumers, along with the promise that EMV technology will lower the risk of fraudulent charges and identity theft. It seems like a pretty good deal. But for businesses — small and independently-owned businesses, in particular — the new regulations are mostly confusing and costly. USA Today has reported that about 50% of all credit and debit cards in the U.S. will have been replaced with chip-enhanced cards by the end of 2015, and “tens of millions” of businesses will have to upgrade their payment processing systems to comply. Beginning on October 1, 2015, NerdWallet states that all U.S. businesses will be required to accept EMV chip cards; if they refuse to upgrade their systems in order to accept the new cards, they’ll be held responsible for paying back a fraudulent charge (instead of placing that responsibility entirely on banks). The problem? Not every business has the technology, many small businesses lack the time and/or money to install upgrades, and a significant portion of businesses in the U.S. aren’t even aware of the EMV regulations and the liability clauses that will be...

This Device Could Cut Your Air Conditioning Bills By 30%...

With summers growing hotter each year, scientists predict that global air conditioning use will skyrocket over the rest of the century. And like many of life’s luxuries, air conditioning certainly isn’t free. To help lessen the financial pressure of staying cool and comfortable during the hottest days of the year, a Texas-based startup has unveiled the Mistbox: a device that can slash an air conditioner’s energy consumption by an amazing 30% or more. According to a June 11 Tech Hive article, Mistbox’s energy savings are greater than its cost, meaning the device pays for itself in just one season. And because it’s a solar-powered system, its users qualify for an impressive 30% federal tax credit. It wasn’t hard, then, for Mistbox to reach its funding goal when its Kickstarter campaign began late last year. So how does it work? Mistbox is a smart device outfitted with sensors that can detect when to spray a cool mist toward air entering the air conditioning unit, a process known as evaporative cooling. This mist effectively saps heat from the air surrounding the air conditioner, cutting the air’s temperature by about 30 degrees and greatly reducing its workload in the process. Another simple way to start cutting your household energy costs? Replacing your old air conditioning unit. Simply upgrading to a high-efficiency air conditioning system can slash energy costs by 20 to 50%, saving hundreds of dollars every year without sacrificing comfort. Thanks to its smart features, Mistbox offers a unique way to stay on top of household energy use. The device relays data related to air conditioner power consumption and savings over WiFi; users can look at this data via an app on their smartphones. While Mistbox’s starting retail value is currently $449, there’s no denying the...