IBM Watson Health: Transforming Healthcare

Watson Health: Empowering Patients and Transforming Healthcare

IBM WatsonBy Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP

There was an interesting decision to make within IBM about what to call a new business organization that we’re announcing today [4/13/2015]. Should it be named Watson Health or Watson Healthcare? [emphasis added]

“Health” is an aspiration, for individuals and society. “Healthcare” describes an industry primarily focused on treating diseases.

While healthcare is essential, it represents just one of many factors that determine whether people live long and healthy lives. Some other critical factors are genetics, geography, behaviors, social/environmental influences, education, and economics.  Unless society takes all of these factors into account and puts the individual at the center of the healthcare system, we won’t be able to make large-scale progress in helping people feel better and live longer. So, IBM Watson Health it is. Read More …

Trust the Internet or Your Doctor?

Doctors were once the most trusted members of the community, but now it’s the opposite. Why are we so desperate for our doctors to be wrong? I don’t get it.

That was the beginning of an editorial in The Daily Beast that made my hair stand on end. The undisclosed doctor/author did a fine job of writing and defending his profession, but I found it obvious that he/she still doesn’t understand why so many people distrust their doctor. The rest of this is from the two comments I posted, along with links to related articles.

TIME magazine cover

COMMENT-1:

No, you don’t get it. Your sarcastic editorial, although interesting and well-organized, misses the point entirely. Americans pay twice as much on healthcare as other nations but still live sicker and die younger, according to the World Health Organization. Why is that? It’s certainly not because we now trust the Internet more than our doctor. It must be something else, and Steven Brill got closest to describing the problem in his TIME Magazine report, “Bitter Pill: Why High Medical Bills Are Killing Us.”

How has the Internet become a more trusted source of medical information than the family doctor? Maybe it has to do with the natural incentives of an industry that profits from illness and injury and spends twice as much on political lobbying as the military industrial complex to protect its obscene profits. Read More …

BRAINCHANGE with David Perlmutter M.D.

BRAINCHANGEOur local PBS channel (KLRU.org) today aired BRAINCHANGE, a special on Alzheimer’s Prevention that featured Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D.

Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist who gained much of his knowledge about brain science from his dad, who was a practicing neurosurgeon and now has Alzheimer’s. That experience gave him even more motivation to understand why Americans have such a high rate of Alzheimer’s and why that is increasing.

The special served as a PBS fund-raiser but in many ways seemed like an infomercial to sell Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers. Still, it was factual, thought-provoking, and complements work I’m involved with at Intelligent Sleep, where we see sleep as the third leg of wellness and as important as nutrition and exercise. I could not find an online version of the show, but here are my notes and some summary videos: Read More …

Sleep Deficiency – a Public Health Epidemic

By Wayne Caswell, founder of Modern Health Talk and cofounder of Intelligent Sleep

Honor Thy Sleep

Image source: from the 3:10 min video below.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 70 million American workers suffer from chronic sleep problems, and researchers have associated their insufficient sleep with increased risks of inflammation, obesity, diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, and early death. That’s why the CDC has labeled sleep deficiency “a public health epidemic.”

Just as important are the positive benefits that getting good sleep provides. It helps improve alertness, attention, concentration, creativity, decision-making, driver safety, energy, focus, judgment, mood, reaction & recovery times, stamina, and working memory. These are all attributes of good performance at school, work and in sports, and who doesn’t want to make better grades, advance their career, or excel in athletics? Read More …

Take Care of Your Heart This Valentine’s Day

Valentine AppleYou can always tell when it’s a month from Valentine’s Day; stores are screaming love and have filled entire aisles with merchandise from red decorations and heart-shaped boxes of delicious chocolates to mushy cards filled with sentimental poems…and hearts…hearts everywhere. All the red heart-shapes make it difficult not to think of your own heart and its impressive job of steadily keeping blood and oxygen pumping throughout your body.

This Valentine’s Day, why not take care of your heart? After all, statistics underscore the need for seniors to cut their risk of heart disease. An American Heart Association fact sheet for 2013 reported that more than 42 million Americans over the age of 60 have cardiovascular disease, and for those between the ages of 60 and 79, just over 70 percent have heart disease. But while these numbers are concerning, the problem is avoidable. With proper care and a focus on prevention, it is very possible to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Not smoking, regular exercise, a healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption, and adequate sleep can significantly lower your risk by 65% and cut the risk of fatal events as much as 83%. That’s according to this article referring to a large study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Read More …

Patient Attitudes About Doctors and Healthcare

American Health Care is Snake BitPatients don’t like their doctors.
Why is that?

That was the topic of a recent article by Peter Ubel at KevinMD.com that mentioned a New England Journal of Medicine article and included the table below. Ubel explored patient attitudes about doctors and healthcare and the reasons why Americans rate their own doctors high (ranked 3rd worldwide) and rate our healthcare system low (tied for 24th, just ahead of Chili, Bulgaria, Russia & Poland). I responded with this comment…

Yes, consumers see most doctors as compassionate and hard-working, with their hearts in the right place. After all, they got into medicine to help people. But the “system” they work in is preventing them from doing that. Read More …

Top Ways Our Healthcare System seems Evil

America is Snake Bit“A Lot Of People In This Industry Are Just Evil”
(Jeff Kushner, founder Of Oscar Health)

That provocative quote from Josh Kushner at the 4th annual Clinton Health Matters Initiative, was aimed at the healthcare industry and reported by Forbes contributor Dan Munro. Josh was one of four panelists in a 90‒minute opening Plenary Session moderated by Former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton opened by lamenting that technology adoption in healthcare can take as long as 17 years and sarcastically said, “By all means let’s wait 17 years and let people die in the meanwhile.” He then asked Josh to begin a discussion of the issue. But what’s behind his claim of excessive greed or evil? I can’t speak for Josh directly, but here are the top 10 ways our healthcare system seems evil.

Excessive greed (evil?) is natural for an industry that:

Read More …

Find PURPOSE to Prevent Empty-Nest Boredom

Find PURPOSE to prevent Empty Nest BoredomThe kids are grown and out of the house, leaving you with more time on your hands than you’ve had in decades. While that feeling of freedom can be gratifying at first, after a while, it can also start to feel a little boring, especially if you’ve also retired. In fact, launching your children out into the world is considered to be one of the most difficult life transitions to face.

If your life has gotten rather mundane as of late, instead of sinking further into the doldrums, consider taking part in one or more of these activities that are sure to prevent empty-nest boredom, soothe your soul, and boost your happiness levels. Comment below to let us know about your favorite activity, even if it’s not on this list. Read More …

Curing The Holiday Blues

Ho Ho ChristmasEDITOR: We wish you all a Joyous Christmas, but in case your mood is just Ho Ho, this article may help.

A Long Slide Home

By Douglas LaBier, Ph.D. (Huffington Post)

That’s how a man in his 50s described his life to me: “It’s my long slide home.” He was feeling morose, anticipating the long holiday period from Thanksgiving through the New Year and what he knew it would arouse in him.

I often see the holiday blues strike people during this time of multiple holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas; as well as Ashurah, Bodhi Day, and Kwanzaa). The tendency to reflect and take stock of one’s life often triggers sadness, regret, or depression — especially during midlife.

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 …

Snooze or Lose – TODAY Show series summary

Snooze or LoseOn November 9th, TODAY launches a weeklong “Snooze or Lose” series with a commissioned survey exploring why Americans can’t sleep. Highlights with the best statistics and videos are shown below, but more can be found at the link to today.com.

Sleep Statistics

Americans feel so sleep deprived that almost half of adults — 65% of women — prefer a good night’s sleep over sex.

  • 72% of adults see sleep as one of the great pleasures of life, but 46% say they don’t get enough. It’s even worse for women; 58% fall short of their ideal goal of just over eight hours a night.
  • 33% of young adults 18-34 believe to get ahead in their careers, they must survive on less sleep; while 19% of 35-54 year-olds and just 6% for seniors  think this.
  • 40% of young adults, 33% of older adults, and over 11% of seniors believe they must sacrifice sleep to care for their families.
  • 64% of young adults, 49% of older adults, and 35% of seniors agree that being able to survive on less sleep would be an advantage.
  • 32% of young adults say work makes them fret throughout the night.
  • 31% say their children cause sleepless nights.
  • When it comes to children, interrupted sleep seems unavoidable and 42% of people with a child under 18 report inadequate sleep.

Read More …

Life Begins After 70

 

Life Begins After 70Often life begins after 70, so we share this infographic to celebrate seven amazing people who achieved phenomenal things in their later years, including:

  1. Katsusuke Yanagisawa climbed Mt. Everest at age 71.
  2. John Glen went back into space on the space shuttle Discovery at age 77.
  3. Thomas Lackey performed a “loop the loop” on top of an aircraft at age 85.
  4. Leonid Hurwicz won the Nobel Price for Economics at age 90.
  5. Nola Ochs earned a Master’s Degree at age 98. She got her Bachelor’s at 95.
  6. Fauja Singh was 101 when he ran his last competitive marathon race at 8 hrs, 11 min.
  7. Edythe Kirchmaier opened her Facebook account on her 105th birthday. She’s now 106.

Read More …

Digital Sensors, Activity Trackers & Quantified Self

FUTURE OF YOU is a 27-min video by KQED and QuestScience about digital sensors, activity trackers and the Quantified Self movement. From wearable activity trackers to personal genetics, it explores the new digital health revolution that is transforming the field of health care and scientific research, and is radically changing how we take care of ourselves and manage our health information.

How to Help Elderly Overcome “Drug” Addiction

Creative Commons/Borya

Creative Commons/Borya

By Rohit Agarwal

Recent studies and theories show that elderly citizens of all countries seem to be affected by what appears to be a rebellious nature to prevent themselves from becoming delusional or losing control of themselves. This is dangerous not because of their change in nature but because of the reason behind this change, because leading studies have also shown that the elderly face a new trouble: drug addiction.

Read More …

Stress Management Tips

Everyone occasionally has to deal with stress, especially when starting up a business like Dr. Bruce Meleski and I are doing with Intelligent Sleep. So this week, with his permission, I’m sharing this great story from Jeffrey Fry and his 15 Stress Management Tips.glass-of-water

When explaining stress management to an audience, a lecturer raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 6 ounces to 24 ounces, but the lecturer replied that, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it…

  • If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem.
  • If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.
  • If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance.
  • In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, the burden will become increasingly heavy … and we won’t be able to carry on.

Read More …

70 tips to Improve Sleep

70 Tips to Fall Asleep Faster & Stay Asleep Longer

Byline article by Michael Lamb (original at SweatShorts.co)

We all sleep and we all dream. Some nights it is easier to fall asleep. Other nights it’s a battle.

After having some trouble with sleeping these past couple of weeks. I decided to do some research. Since a lot of people wear sweat shorts to bed I thought, why not share this information with you? Hoping that you will find it as useful as I have. After doing all of my research I came up with 70 tips to improve sleep, help you fall asleep quicker, and stay asleep longer. Hopefully this info will have you sleeping like a champ.

If you don’t have any trouble sleeping, then by all means don’t change a thing. Just share these sleep improvement tips with others. Read More …

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 …

101 MiniTrends in Health Care

Watch for Trends Ahead

This image is from MiniTrends, a book by John Vanston that I strongly endorse. I’ve known John for years and did consulting work for his company, Technology Futures. His book inspired the vision of Modern Health Talk, because it helped me see unfulfilled opportunity at the intersection of trends. (Click image to see book)

“What the Hell is happening to health care?”

“And is it an Opportunity or a Threat?”

Insights by Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk.

An awful lot has changed in just the last few years and even more will change in the near future, with the aim of reducing (or at least containing) our health care costs. What’s behind these MiniTrends, and what is their implication for providers, payers and consumers? That’s the $1.5 trillion question. Here I talk about many, many MiniTrends–surely you can find 101 of them if you look! 

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

That quote is important, because 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies [1955] are no longer in business today. That’s a scary thought for those sitting at the top of the healthcare mountain, because they know they must adapt to the megatrend of health reform and Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) or die. And they are looking down with fear at the hungry competitors who are already exploiting the many related minitrends, because for them these are times of great opportunity.

Read More …

Reframing the Question of Doctor Frustration

Frustrated DoctorBy Dr. Stephen Schimpff

Editor: I just love this doctor’s thinking and have published several of his articles here. I’m happy to feature another one from HealthWorksCollective.

There has been a lot of interest in the Daily Beast article written by Dr Daniela Drake, about very frustrated primary care physicians (PCP.) She quoted both Dr Kevin Pho and myself. Dr Drake noted that nine of 10 doctors would not recommend medicine to their children as a career and that 300 physicians commit suicide each year. “Simply put, being a doctor has become a miserable and humiliating undertaking.”  Dr Pho offered his own commentary here pointing out that “it is important to have the discussion on physician dissatisfaction….demoralized doctors are in no position to care for patients…To be sure many people with good intentions are working toward solving the healthcare crisis. But the answers they’ve come up with are driving up costs and driving out doctors.” Read More …