New Medicare Card is In The Mail
For those of us living on the road for a better part of the year, we know to have our snailmail sent to a central spot for forwarding. If you are new to the RV lifestyle, you may not have embraced this change yet. If you are changing your address to an RV-friendly state, do it soon so you can make the change online with Medicare before your card is shipped.
Check the shipping status here.
Finally, a new Medicare program that promotes full transparency of your medical records in digital format. They are calling it Medicare Blue Button 2.0. You now have the right to get all of your medical records in digital format. This is great for all full-time and even seasonal travelers. One 16 MB flash drive should be able to hold all the scans, prescriptions, consultation notes, and instructions generated.
A new Trump Administration initiative rolls out this month—MyHealthEData—to empower patients by giving them control of their healthcare data and allowing it to follow them through their healthcare journey.
Last year President Trump issued an Executive Order to Promote Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States. In response the Administration is moving towards a system in which patients have control of their data and can take it with them from doctor to doctor, or to their other healthcare providers.
The initiative—designed to empower patients around a common aim—gives every American control of their medical data. MyHealthEData helps to break down the barriers that prevent patients from having electronic access and true control of their own health records from the device or application of their choice.
Patients are able to choose the provider that best meets their needs and then give that provider secure access to their data, leading to greater competition and reducing costs.
The MyHealthEData initiative works to make clear that patients deserve to not only electronically receive a copy of their entire health record, but also be able to share their data with whomever they want, making the patient the center of the healthcare system. Patients can use their information to actively seek providers and services that meet their unique healthcare needs, have a better understanding of their overall health, prevent disease, and make more informed decisions about their care.
This new plan—Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0—allows a patient to access and share their healthcare information, previous prescriptions, treatments, and procedures with a new doctor which can lead to less duplication in testing and provide continuity of care.
CMS has implemented laws regarding information blocking—a practice in which providers prevent patients from getting their data. Under some CMS programs, hospitals and clinicians must show they have not engaged in information blocking activities.
The Administrator also highlighted other CMS plans to empower patients with data:
- CMS is requiring providers to update their systems to ensure data sharing.
- CMS intends to require that a patient’s data follow them after discharged from the hospital.
- CMS is working to streamline documentation and billing requirements for providers to allow doctors to spend more time with their patients.
- CMS is working to reduce the incidence of unnecessary and duplicative testing which occurs as a result of providers not sharing data.
View a fact sheet with more information.
Note from Margo: Recent research into why the big push by the government to digitize medical data revealed some of the answers. With the merging of pharmaceutical and digital analysis companies happening right now, the data the pharma companies need to cut their costs of new drugs is almost within reach. By centralizing medical data, these companies can use it to “cut the cost to the patient.”
Only time will tell if this “trickle down” approach works to lower drug costs.
Fortune Magazine’s article, “Tech’s Next Big Wave: Big Data Meets Biology,” presents the corporate side of this data consolidation.
“Discovering new medicines is a wildly expensive and inefficient endeavor. Companies will often invest billions of dollars and many years chasing a promising scientific hypothesis. Pharmaceutical scientists hope for a moment of chemical serendipity, despite often not fully understanding the complexity of the biological mechanisms they’re targeting—or why something might fail in humans when it works so neatly in a mouse model.”
For the patient, however, new cellphone-based medical apps are truly making a difference. Of course, they create yet more data to be used by Big Pharma.
Portable Health Devices
Dario Glucose Meter
The Dario Smart Meter lets you test blood glucose levels in seconds, directly on your smartphone. Once connected to your mobile device, easily track, monitor and manage diabetes with a simple to use mobile app – when you need it, where you need it!
The Dario mobile app delivers accurate results in real-time and actionable insights, so you always know where you stand and what to do next. Track your blood glucose levels, carb intake, exercise and much more!
- Automatically record entire diabetes history
- Easily share important information with caregivers and family members
- Accurate results in real-time Putting your blood glucose in context with your daily activities
- Special features like emergency hypo alerts via text message including GPS location
If your wheezing keeps you from traveling, take a look at this product.
Respiri devices work like a stethoscope, utilizing contact sensors to acquire breath sounds at the windpipe (trachea). The world’s first digital wheeze detection & measurement technology.
This technology records airway sounds to detect continuous adventitious breath sounds (CABS) and measure the extent of wheezing caused by airway obstruction.
The convenient and easy-to-use AirSonea device connects via Bluetooth® with a sophisticated smartphone app to detect and measure wheeze.
The app features asthma management diary features; medication usage and reminders; and symptoms and triggers to help asthma sufferers gain a better understanding of how their condition affects them. This unit helps them better adhere to their treatment plans. Future features include weather and pollen count.
If you need a quick electrocardiogram (ECG) reading on the go, AliveCor has created a smartphone case to help with that. The case has 2 sensor points at the back of the case. By placing the fingertips on them, the app can give you an accurate ECG reading in 30 seconds.
The app also tracks your readings and can print it for a doctor to assess. It has compatible cases for the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4, and a universal attachment plate for the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, HTC One, and the 5th generation iPod Touch.
To find out more about the RV lifestyle: