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Technology Advancements Provide New Options For Patients

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The shift in focus toward proactive health care rather than reactive health care is opening the door to more options for patients, with the hope being a healthier America. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.

When Ryan Howard launched Practice Fusion, an electronic medical records company, in 2005, the hope was always to expand out, not only giving doctors immediate access to patients' records, but eventually giving patients more control over their own health history, arming them with information about, and immediate access to, doctors.

"Twenty-seven-thousand doctors," Howard says. "It's more reviews about those doctors, about a million and a half reviews, and then there's, on a month over month basis, we have about 3 million open appointments at any time."

Howard just launched the new site, Patient Fusion, and hopes more and more of the 150,000 providers on their Practice Fusion platform will open up their calendars.

"A third of all staff time is spent on scheduling and booking, so the product inherently solves some of that, frees up time for those staff members to do higher value services within the office," Howard said.

As access and quality increases on the patient-provider end, a growing number of innovators are creating tools to help people take better control of their health on a daily basis.

AT&T researcher Emiliano Miluzzo walked NY1 through his app at the company's innovation showcase. He uses the smartphones' sensors to tune in to how much a user is moving throughout the day, and once a food log is provided, the program doles out advice about how to eat healthier and exercise more efficiently.

"We are tailoring the suggestions in a way that there's no, again, one-size-fits-all solution,"
Miluzzo says.

Miluzzo's colleague, Karrie Hanson, has found a way to alert asthma suffers of present environmental triggers before the onset of an attack with a small sensor.

"If you can catch things before they get to be big things, you maybe can get a better outcome," Hanson says.

That could result in healthier communities and, in the long run, a much smaller bill for taxpayers.

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