Blitab Braille Tablet for the Blind – Is it needed?

Blitab Braille TabletAs someone who has promoted the Universal Design concept for decades, I was taken back by a Futurism video I saw on the Blitab braille tablet. It is billed as “The World’s First Tablet for the Blind”, but that’s not true, and it’s arguably not nearly the best either. That title, in my view, goes to the Apple iPad with all of its accessibility features, but more on that later. This short article explains my concerns with the Blitab product and the company developing it, because they don’t seem to understand their market or target user. I urge any of my blind friends to challenge me on this assertion in the comments below.

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‘The Patient Will See You Now’ Envisions New Era

The Patient Will See You Now (book)The Patient Will See You Now’ is a book by Dr. Eric Topol that envisions a New Era in healthcare where we consumers take more responsibility for our own health and wellness and have the tools to do so. Often these are smaller, cheaper, and easier to use versions of what doctors have used for years, but digital and in some cases more accurate or beneficial.

Dr. Abigail Zuger wrote a review of Topol’s book for The New York Times and described the overall thesis as “the old days of ‘doctor knows best’ are as good as gone. No longer will doctors control medical data, treatment or profits. Instead, thanks to the newest science, humanity will finally achieve truly democratic health care: Up with patients! ‘Our Bodies, Our Selves’ for all!”

As Tool says in the following video, “What bothers me most about healthcare is the unwillingness to give rightful info to patients.”

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Google expands Health Search feature

People won’t trust Dr. Google if the search results they get are from Joe Blow or who knows who with no assurance of information accuracy, so Google is improving the quality of health information we find online using the company’s its prolific search engine, and this has tremendous potential.

Maybe you just heard a news story about gluten-free diets and then go online to ask, “What is celiac disease?” Or maybe a co-worker shook your hand and later you found out she had pink eye, so you look up “pink eye” to see if it’s contagious and what the symptoms and treatments are. It’s comforting to know that real medical experts have vetted the information presented.

Mobile search example

Starting back in February, when you asked Google about common health conditions, relevant medical facts from reputable sources began to appear, such as this one for tonsillitis. Google Health Info Curated

Google expands Health Search feature

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Grandparents – the fastest growing demographic on Twitter

Senior Tweeter Sure, you can follow me on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Flipboard and Paper.li), but this video makes me feel like a social media newbie.

Grandparents were described as the fastest growing demographic on Twitter.

So far Modern Health Talk has posted nearly 6,000 tweets and has over 350 followers, but I seem to have much to learn as social media evolves. Please comment or email me to suggest ways to improve our reach and impact. Here’s what I’m looking for, but tell me what you think I should hear too.

  1. How do you prefer to follow me? (Twitter, Facebook, newsletter, etc.)
  2. When do you use Twitter or other social media ? (day of week and time)
  3. What gets your interest? (images, videos, articles, cartoons)
  4. Is there anything you’d like from Modern Health Talk that we’re NOT providing?

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Eldercare and the Wireless Revolution

TeleHealth

Photo source: healthcaredive.com

Home Sweet Home: Eldercare and the Wireless Revolution

Byline article by Jamie Dalzell

Telemedicine | Telehealth | Connected Health  —  Technology’s role in modern medicine goes by many names, and has seen massive growth since Modern Health Talk last examined it in detail. Not only are emerging technologies like wireless charging and wearable devices changing the medical landscape, but the increasing uptake by doctors and patients alike is driving growth: recent surveys show some 64% of consumers are ready for Telehealth.

With this increased adoption? The aged-care sector, in particular, is changing. And changing fast. All at once this new technology is providing a better quality of life for seniors, as well as a greater peace of mind for their friends, family and caregivers. But how, exactly? And to what end? Read More …

Is FaceTime HIPAA Compliant?

Is FaceTime HIPAA Compliant? 

By Jon Taylor, President and Founder of Bayon Health FaceTime HIPAA Compliance

In the first part of this series we wanted to address one of the most common questions we get asked; “Is FaceTime a HIPAA compliant solution?” If one was to search the internet for this answer, you’d come across a lot of mixed answers and confusion. FaceTime is such an easy tool to use when it comes to video conferencing, so it’s only natural for us to want to use it, but with all the rules and regulations regarding HIPAA, healthcare professionals want to make sure they are compliant. We decided to do a deep dive into FaceTime, looking for any information that not only answers this question, but gives us resourceful information to make a conclusion ourselves. In this report, we are going to cover what it means to be HIPAA compliant, how FaceTime works under the hood, and how FaceTime is currently being used in the healthcare industry. Read More …

Video Games and Mobile Tech Make Healthcare Easier

Senior couple play health-related games on iPad

Via http://www.lifelinesys.com/content/blog/aging-amp-health/virtual-pills-how-video-games-can-boost-senior-brain-fitness

Video Games and Mobile Tech Make Healthcare Easier

By Jessica Oaks, Freelance Journalist

Gamification is one of the hottest buzzwords in schools and in the workplace, so why not in the doctor’s office, too? It turns out the tech and apps driving the mobile industry’s exponential growth are also advancing the healthcare industry in positive ways. Part of this emerging market for mobile is being driven by changes in technology. For instance, devices and programs that are legitimately useful in the healthcare space have gotten less expensive.

As advanced mobile device technology from companies like Snapdragon is becoming standard issue in new tablets and smartphones, healthcare professionals are looking for ways to tap into the devices the majority of us – including seniors, most of whom describe smartphones as freeing or connecting – already own.

Games are a natural point of focus because it’s already well known that gaming is good for the brain. A 2014 study found that fast-paced action games could promote better learning and data retention. A German study showed that people who played video games for 30 minutes a day actually gained gray matter in the areas of the brain responsible for forming memories, special navigation, keeping motor skills sharp and planning. Other research has replicated these findings in both school age and elderly participants. Read More …

Why should I Tweet or even Read Tweets

Why should I tweet or even read what other people tweet?

TwitterBy Janice Friesen

I am regularly asked why anyone would use Twitter. This is because I work mostly with people aged 40-80 who have not used technology much. I always try to respond with my own experience. Sometimes I have used it and sometimes I ignore it for months. I don’t feel like I have to read what everyone I follow says. If I don’t like what someone I follow writes about I can stop following them without any hurt feelings. I can choose to only follow people who write and share what I think are interesting things. Once a friend I knew shared about the Egyptian Spring AS IT HAPPENED!

When I share it is because I have found an interesting resource. Or maybe I have had a universal and interesting experience. Maybe I retweet something I think is really important that someone else tweeted. Also, many teachers I know have found that it is a great way to connect to like-minded people across the globe and support one-another’s teaching. It makes meeting at a conference somewhere really exciting.

This morning though, I read a terrific article in the New York Times Week in Review Section about why Scott Simon of NPR tweeted his Mother’s last hours. It was the best description of why someone tweets that I have come across. I cannot do it justice here, but here is a quote. Read More …

Millions of free iPads for Seniors

Can Apple and IBM change Health Care?

Ruth Schoon learns to use the iPad

Ruth Schoon describes how she now uses an iPad to follow her great grandchildren from afar.

That was the title of a recent Forbes article that prompted me to comment, and my comment is the basis of today’s post. Basically, it was reported that IBM and Apple are partnering with Japan Post, that country’s largest health- and life-insurance company, to provide millions of free iPads for seniors with the aim of improving their health and their lives.

My Response

The Apple iPad is truly an amazing device for seniors. When they’re shown how to use it, the benefits go way beyond just extending life (i.e. more revenue from premiums for insurance companies) or improving health (less expense from claims).


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The Best Smartphone Apps for Caregivers

WebMD MobileBy Glenn Randolph

Caregivers have a demanding job that can be downright overwhelming at times. These days, many caregivers are using modern mobile smartphone apps to do their jobs more effectively. Smartphone apps can be used for countless purposes, such as scheduling, looking up pertinent health information, identifying pills and so much more. What are the best smartphone apps for caregivers? Here are a few of the best to consider using.

This list should help you cut through the clutter of over 1.2 million different apps listed for iOS alone by July 2014. 240 of them were specific to medicine or health care. Read More …

Telehealth Legal Obstacles Delay Home Healthcare

Doctor Robot

DOCTOR ROBOT: Technology like this RP-VITA device at Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael, Calif., lets doctors beam themselves to remote patient bedsides, but government rules need to catch up. (AP / Rich Pedroncelli)

Home telehealth” technology promises to be a critical component of providing quality care to the growing number of Americans who need long-term services and supports to “age in place” at home. Home telehealth and related technology can make it cheaper, easier and more comfortable for seniors to remain at home and avoid nursing facility placement.

But government regulations lag behind telehealth technology, according to this article in the National Law Journal. This is disappointing because “24-hour monitoring would allow Americans who need long-term care to ‘age in place’ at home.”  Read More …

4 High-Tech Medical Management Apps for Seniors

Medical Management Apps for Seniors

 

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” — it’s a catch phrase from a popular commercial in the late ’80s for a medical alarm pendant manufactured by LifeCall, an emergency alert service. The device was designed for elderly people who lived alone. If a medical emergency arose and they couldn’t get to a phone, they could speak into the device and be immediately in touch with a dispatch service. It was a technological medical wonder.

Technological medical wonders have come a long way since then. These sample medical management apps for seniors can make life safer, give caregivers more options for better care and ease the minds of relatives. Read More …

Lack of Fast Internet threatens Telehealth Future

I responded to an online discussion of a call for Congress to Expand Telehealth Services to Improve Patient Access and Outcomes and Decrease Healthcare Costs. Key to delivering telehealth is the availability of high-speed Internet access, and that prompted me to comment on an online conversation of this HIMSS problem description.

The enormous potential of telehealth or telemedicine to positively transform healthcare delivery in America is not being realized due to numerous impediments. These include out-of-date public and private reimbursement structures, inadequate broadband availability, and varying licensure and practice restrictions between some states. … In many areas of the country, there are not enough health professionals to provide in-person visits or appropriate follow up care, especially for mental health and highly specialized services like pediatric critical care. In other areas, distance or unavailability of transportation presents impediments to care.

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MiniTrends affecting Telehealth

Skype TranslatorOverlapping MiniTrends affecting Telehealth include

  1. health reform,
  2. the Internet of Things,
  3. speech recognition & synthesis, and
  4. real-time language translation.

I’ve written a lot here about health reform, telehealthmedical tourism, the Internet of Things, and the overlap of healthcare MiniTrends, but today I saw a video that evolves my thinking further. It’s about Microsoft’s Skype and their newest Skype Translator Preview.

The Skype Translator video below gave me a glimpse of what telehealth might be like in 5 years or so. This vision includes the Internet, video consultations, smart sensors, and the trend of medical devices becoming smaller, cheaper, easier to use, and widely used among consumers for telemedicine. But the video consultation may be done from anywhere, in any language, and that could dramatically increase competition and result in much better outcomes at lower prices.

As you watch, imagine that it’s a conversation between you and a doctor in Costa Rica, where you went for your knee surgery and recovered on the beach in a 4-star hotel, paid for by your insurer because the outcomes were better than most any U.S. provider. It’s the sheer volume of procedures they do that led to their world-class expertise and efficiency.  Read More …

Cars for seniors who can’t drive themselves

Google's Driverless Car

EDITOR: When seniors can no longer drive a car, they lose their independence and become dependent on others for the simplest things — shopping for groceries or Christmas gifts, getting a haircut, going the bank or doctor or the movies, and more. That can be devastating and even force them into institution care, ultimately shortening their lifespan. So it’s why I’m a fan of the autonomous, self-driving car, and Google, the company that’s so far leading the way. And it’s why I’m happy to republish this article by Zachary Shahan at FIX.com about cars for seniors who can’t drive themselves.

Hands-Free Driving: Google’s New Driverless Car

One of the biggest tech stories of the year is definitely the unveiling of Google’s driverless car. The general story is this: Google is manufacturing some completely self-driving cars – no steering wheels, accelerator pedals, or brake pedals. But the details are pretty fascinating, and even more interesting are the broad societal implications. Read More …

Remote Patient Monitoring Platforms Emerge

ABI Research logoClose to 100 million wearable remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices will ship over the next 5 years, according to ABI Research. This growth is boosted by the growing interest in moving healthcare away from the hospital and into patients’ homes. A key part of that trend is the ability to collect data from consumer devices and share it securely with patients, healthcare providers, and payers. The last six months alone have seen Apple (HealthKit), Google (Fit), and Samsung (S Health) all announced RPM platform plans.

RPM offers patients greater flexibility and care while bringing efficiency and cost savings to health service providers. While this trend is an opportunity for some, it’s a threat to others. And adoption has been stymied by a range of factors that include device availability, regulation, inertia and a high barrier to entry for new players in the space.
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Why doctors are so afraid of apples

Old Rotten AppleAs implied in An Apple a Day… the fruit and the smartphone can both keep doctors away, and that has many of them terrified for good reason.

Those at the top of the healthcare mountain especially fear the Healthcare MiniTrends, because they know 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies (1955) are no longer in business today. And they’re looking down at a new class of hungry competitors who are already exploiting these minitrends.

Let’s look at just two of the trends: (1) the new focus on wellness, and (2) new smartphone uses. Read More …

What Quadriplegics can do with an iPhone or iPad

EDITOR: 9 Surprising Things Quadriplegics can do with an iPhone or iPad, by Mauricio Meza, is republished here with permission. It shows how Tecla gives iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android access to people with spinal cord, brain, or muscular disorders or anyone else who can’t use a touch-screen, including quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injury, and stroke.

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Telehealth is Shaping Healthcare for the Better

Game ChangerBy Karen R. Thomas, President of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions

As incredibly innovative and efficient as telehealth is at providing greater access to care for consumers, lowering healthcare costs for both patients and healthcare systems, and improving outcomes, barriers have always existed that hinder the widespread adoption of telehealth. Yet recently, issues such as state requirement hurdles, reimbursement limitations, and a general resistance from physicians to learn and integrate new technologies into their care routines are quickly evaporating in the wake of the overwhelming proof of telemedicine’s many benefits. Read More …

Exploring New Health Technologies

Monitoring Vital SignsBy Beth Kelly

There are more new health technologies on the market than ever before. Mobile phones and tablets provide health apps, many of which are capable of interacting with wearable fitness tracking devices. Trackers and their accompanying apps, which can be used to measure heart rate and steps per day, take medical awareness a step further than programs that simply focus on caloric intake.

EDITOR: While the accuracy of many of these wearable devices disappoint medical professionals, the simple ability to track progress, no matter how accurate, is a big step forward. And accuracy will improve over time with better sensor technology.

Managing diabetes and other medical illnesses, losing weight, and obtaining a higher level of health has never been easier as a result of the new technologies. Read More …