Checklist for Extended Travel – Preparation & Protection

Travel Rome

From communicating in a foreign language to finding your way around in a new city, exploring abroad is full of daily challenges. Minimize any travel-related stress by controlling what you can by keeping your finances and health in order while abroad. Avoid trouble by doing your homework ahead of time so you can be prepared to navigate any speed bumps on your trip so that they don’t prevent you from thoroughly enjoying your journey.

Travel Alerts and Warnings

These are easy to find by country through the U.S. Department of State. They cover everything from extreme weather alerts to country-specific travel precautions. Be sure to check for any alerts or warnings in your destination country on a weekly basis in the months preceding your departure. 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 …

Going on a Cruise? How to Stay Healthy On Board

Going on a CruiseCruises are a great way to see the world, and if you haven’t gone on one yet, you probably know at least a few people who’ve come home raving about how wonderful it was. Cruises are also fertile ground for illnesses like the norovirus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says causes more than 90 percent of cruise ship diarrhea outbreaks.

No one wants to get sick on vacation. Keep in mind that while incidents do happen, in general, they’re few and far between. The best way to reduce your risk of illness is to be prepared and take some common sense safety precautions. Read More …

How Good Sleep Benefits Seniors

This article first appeared on Senior Care Corner, another resource for family caregivers of seniors.

InsomniaSleep eludes many of us as we age, seemingly more and more as the years pass.

We might tend to wake early or not sleep as deeply. Women who are experiencing extreme temperature changes chalk it up to the change and try to deal with it. Others just accept sleep deprivation as a normal part of aging.

Perhaps your aging loved one has even told you, “I didn’t do anything today to tire me out, why should I sleep OK?” I have heard that from many older adults through the years.

The truth of the matter is we all need a good, deep, restorative sleep every night to stay healthy as we age. The amount and the quality of our sleep does matter, regardless of our age.

When we are sleep deprived our health suffers, including our mood, energy levels and now we are learning — our cognition. Read More …

Medical Tourism is a Growing Trend

Medical TourismToday’s short post features my response to a Forbes article by Dr. Robert Pearl, Offshoring American Health Care: Higher Quality At Lower Costs?, about the Cayman Islands, which are known for inviting coral-sand beaches, laid-back island culture and tax-free status.

Medical Tourism is a growing trend

This trend is not just in the Cayman Islands. Over 8 million people worldwide, and 1.3 million Americans, cross international borders for better and cheaper care. That trend will increase as insurers offer low-cost policies with high deductibles that encourage consumers to seek the best value in health care and lifestyle decisions. Read More …

If Air Travel Worked Like Health Care

If the principles of Moore’s Law had been applied to the airline industry…The video below makes fun of the health care industry with a satirical look at what the airline industry would be like if it worked the same way.

Neither industry, however, has shown the same innovation & improvement as the computer industry, which I come from as a retired IBM technologist. To put that statement into perspective, here are some observations.

Moore’s Law and Air Travel

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Smart Car Features for Older Drivers

Nearly Nine in 10 Seniors Drive a Car that Doesn’t Fit their Aging Needs

AAA research helps “silver tsunami” match vehicle features to health concerns

Click to read about the future of driverless cars.

This photo by Henry Fountain pictures one of Google’s fleet of self-driving vehicles. The Lexus hybrid has a range-finder on top but otherwise looks reasonably conventional. We may eventually be able to buy cars that drive themselves (see comment below), and three states already license experimental models for operation on public roads, but until they’re commercially available, AAA offers advice on selecting car features for older drivers.

Washington, D.C., (Dec. 3, 2012) – With nearly 90 percent of motorists 65 and older suffering from health issues that affect driving safety, finding a car that not only adapts to conditions, such as lack of flexibility or muscle strength, while maintaining safety and comfort can be difficult. Data from a new AAA survey also reveals that only one in 10 senior drivers with aging health issues are driving a vehicle that has features like keyless entry and larger dashboard controls that can assist with such conditions.

To better equip the “silver tsunami” for driving safety and comfort, AAA has updated its Smart Features for Older Drivers resource to address a broader range of health conditions and include new data on 2012 vehicle features. As a leading advocate for senior driver safety, AAA launched Smart Features for Older Drivers in partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation in 2008. In the update, Smart Features identifies vehicle features that optimize older driver safety and comfort, lists current vehicles with those features, and allows users to explore their individual needs through an interactive online tool.  Read More …

Abreviated Vision of the Future of Health Care

Why aren’t more health care organizations using social media to connect with patients and their community?” is a question posed to the LinkedIn discussion group, Innovations in Health. What follows is my response.

RFID diagnostic skin patchWhile HIPAA and regulatory oversight can inhibit progress, that’s not all bad unless extreme. On the other hand, social & political pressures can drive progress, and technology can enable it.

As an amateur futurist, I often view various potential future outcomes from three perspectives: (1) extrapolating trends, (2) examining market inhibitors, and (3) considering market drivers and enablers. Progress happens more quickly when #2 is minimized and #3 is maximized. So here’s what I foresee.

Artificial intelligence in Watson-like cloud computing services will combine with the remote monitoring of medical sensor devices and other mHealth technologies to move more & more physician functions down-market to PAs, NPs, RNs, aids, and patients themselves. Read More …

mHealth – Is it Mobile Health or Modern Health?

What is Mobile Health?  That’s the subject of a Linkedin discussion started by Wendy Thomas, founder of the Mobile Health Association in Austin, TX.

Her purpose was to clear up confusion between syllogisms, and the analogy she used was that Lions are all Animals, but not all Animals are Lions. The same goes with the health terms such as digital health, ehealth (electronic healthcare), mhealth (mobile healthcare), and telemedicine, so she argued that…

Mobile Health IS Wireless Health AND Mobile Health IS Telemedicine, but Wireless Health AND Telemedicine are not necessarily MOBILE HEALTH.

Syllogism examples in healthcare

While I agree with the premise of Wendy’s argument, people often associate Mobile Health with the ambulance that shows up to provide care and transportation, rather than the use of mobile devices and wireless networks. That’s why I drew the diagram with Mobile Health not entirely within Wireless Health or within Telemedicine. Confusion still persists, and I’m adding to it with yet another term – Modern Health. Read More …

Flying with Medical Devices and Supplies

Image of Wheelchair and Airport SecurityGuest article by Marlo Sollitto, AgingCare.com

Recent reports allege that security officials at a Florida airport forced a 95-year-old woman with cancer to remove her adult diaper as part of a security pat-down.

While this is an extreme example, some medical equipment and assistive devices– such as pacemakers, wheelchairs and oxygen tanks – can hinder airport security screening procedures.

In response to the incident involving the adult diaper, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials released this statement: “While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, the TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner.”

How can caregivers ensure their elderly relatives are treated with dignity, yet expedite the process of getting an elderly loved one through airport security safely? AgingCare.com asked Sarah Horowitz, spokesperson for the TSA’s Office of Public Affairs, to weigh in on how certain assistive devices may affect airport security:

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Travel & Tourism with a Disability

image of wheelchair and airport securityTo help you make travel plans during the holiday season I’d like to highlight a reference with all sorts of travel and tourism tips for people with disabilities.

Opening Doors for People with Disabilities in Travel & Tourism

Open Doors Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that envisions a society in which all persons with disabilities have the same consumer opportunities as everyone else.  They help empower the disability community and teach businesses how to become more accessible. Here are some of their useful tips for planning accessible travel of all types, from outdoor adventure to cruises. Read More …

Are we Bringing Health Care Home or Sending it Overseas?

Doctors at We Care Health Services, IndiaGet ready for outsourced health care. Last week I wrote TeleHealth: The Doctor Will See You Now, Remotely, but what if Remotely means someplace in India or China?

As Dr. David Lee Scher notes, interest in mHealth is driven by several factors, including:

  1. The rising costs of health care;
  2. The worsening shortage of primary care physicians, and an even greater shortage of specialists;
  3. The shift away from diagnosis-related fee for service management of diseases to reimbursement based on wellness & measured outcomes; and
  4. The advent of more widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs).

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The Rural Health Care Challenge and Opportunity

Urban and suburban patients have advantages not generally available to those living in rural settings, including easy access to more healthcare professionals, specialists and well-equipped medical facilities, better roads and taxi service, public transportation systems, and broadband Internet. The challenges of providing rural health care present opportunities for innovative organizations willing to take them on, because doing so helps improve the nation’s health care system overall.

It’s kind of like when President Kennedy visited Houston’s Rice University in 1962 and said, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

And it’s why we support Intel’s Eric Dishman and his call for a “Going to the Moon” type of effort to reduce health care costs with technology solutions – solutions that enable home health care and aging in place. As a nation, we must address the rising costs by creating personal, networked, home-based care options and move at least 50% of care from hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted care facilities to homes.

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When Healthcare Hits Home

illustration of gall bladder with stonesGuest article by Jessica Wapner (www.jessicawapner.com, @jessicawapner), from WorkInProgress blog.

Jessica gained a new perspective of our healthcare system when a relative needed emergency surgery in a small village in Cyprus to remove gall stones and her gall bladder. Her story is included because it relates to Health Concerns for Oversees Travel. If you’d rather not see this type of story, reply below.

Over the course of the decade-plus that I’ve been writing and editing material on healthcare (cancer research and treatment, in particular), people have asked from time to time whether my interest is driven by some personal stake in the matter. Read More …

Health Concerns for Overseas Travel

image of travel documentsThis is vacation season, so last week I published Flying with Medical Devices and Supplies. It was a guest article by Marlo Sollitto about how to get through TSA screening, but it just covered domestic travel.

If you’re going overseas, there are many other things to know, as my wife reminds me often. She’s a registered nurse and travel specialist at ADC Travel Clinic. It’s a fun job since she provides pre-travel advice and vaccinations for international travel and talks to people going on fun trips for business or pleasure. Her advice varies considerably by region, which is why it’s important to see someone like her before leaving.

An ABC News special report last week caught my attention since it covered health concerns for foreign travel. The video is embedded below, but here are some highlights:

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