Also: US Army purchases Fitbits for remote monitoring pilot; VR workouts reduce pain, improve results.

CareCloud adds practice personalization features, algorithm prescribes antibiotic therapies, and more digital health news briefs

By Dave Muoio
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New features to personalize practices. Miami-based EHR and practice management software company CareCloud announced that it is expanding its platform with a slew of new features for its platform Breeze. Among these are support for personalized URLs and webpages for practices, configurable patient feedback surveys, and a new patient experience management dashboard. Breeze, which includes native support for Clover payment processing devices, first launched roughly a year ago.

“We’re proud that Breeze has become an essential part of how a practice engages with patients inside and outside their time at the office,” Ken Comée, CEO of CareCloud, said in a statement. “We’re excited to put cutting-edge capabilities in the practice’s hands that will give them more transparency and insight to identify areas of opportunity to deliver an excellent patient experience — and to make it extremely easy for them to act on those opportunities in real time.”

Automating care decisions. An algorithm designed to guide testing and antibiotic treatment of 509 adult patients with staphylococcal bacteremia achieved noninferior clinical outcomes compared to standard care, according to a randomized trial recently published in JAMA.

Tested among a sample of 509 patients, 209 of 255 patients assigned algorithm-based therapy and 207 of the 254 receiving standard care achieved clinical success in their infections (82 percent versus 81.5 percent). Serious adverse event rates were significantly similar between the groups, and the mean duration of therapy was significantly shorter among those assigned to the algorithm.

Army buys Fitbits for remote monitoring pilot. The US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity is purchasing 540 Fitbit Charge 2 Activity Tracker devices for just over $80,000, according to a contract notice published on FedBizOpps. The devices will be used to “expand the Military Health System (MHS) Virtual Health remote home monitoring activities by allowing the newly established Virtual Medical Centers (VMEDCENs) at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) and Walter Reed National Medical Center (WRNMC) to issue equipment to selected and approved patients for a pilot effort in remote home monitoring.”

According to the notice, Fitbit’s devices are the only such trackers that are proven to be interoperable with the group’s Mobile Health Care Environment system.

Virtual workouts, real results. An 80-person VR study found that use of the technology reduced pain when performing an isometric bicep curl exercise. Published in Psychology Sports and Exercise, the study also found increased performance and lower heart rates among those wearing the headsets.

“It is clear from the data gathered that the use of VR technology can improve performance during exercise on a number of criteria,” Maria Matsangidou, a PhD candidate at the University of Kent and the lead researcher, said in a statement. “This could have major implications for exercise regimes for everyone, from occasional gym users to professional athletes.”

Web interventions on par. An internet-based education and counseling program coupled with face-to-face for patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (n = 278) drove weight loss and other healthy lifestyle changes similar to standard group-based interventions (n = 438), according to a study published in the Journal of Hepatology.

"Lifestyle changes are pivotal for the treatment of NAFLD. The use of web-based education tools in the management of non-communicable diseases has long been suggested, considering the huge number of cases at risk and patients' needs,” Dr. Giulio Marchesini, of the S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna, Italy, said in a statement. “Web-based programs might help maintain contact between patients and therapists, since the majority of cases are in an age range in which job constraints make it difficult to use a systematic face-to-face or group approach.”

Managing surgical expenses. ORHub, a provider of HIPAA-compliant surgical software focused specifically on data analytics for cost effectiveness, has launched a new hospital-vendor module called VendorPay. The automated, cloud-based payment system integrates with hospital’s master billing systems to manage procurement reconciliation, and plays nice with legacy EHR systems.

"We pride ourselves on understanding the business of surgery and providing a combination of innovative software that drive real solutions such as VendorPay," Colt Melby, CEO of ORHub, said in a statement. "For many complex health systems, upgrading and integrating legacy systems is a daunting task. It's vital they have the right technology partner to solve inherent problems to create a new generation of business intelligence."Air Jordan XVIII 18