Food versus Medicine [Infographic]

Food vs Medicine ThumbWhile mHealthTalk is mostly about tech solutions for home health care and aging-in-place, we recognize the role of these pillars of good health:

  1. Nutrition,
  2. Exercise, and
  3. Sleep.

That’s why we occasionally publish articles on those topics and why today we feature this infographic by a website that helps students find and compare nursing programs. After the infographic is a summary of key points for automated screen readers to aid people with visual disabilities. Read More …

Life Over 60 Infographic – Stats and Advice

Life over 60INFOGRAPHIC HIGHLIGHTS

These bullet points from the infographic (below) are for screen readers and search agents

More seniors – The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will double from about 11% to 22%. Life over 60 doesn’t mean that positive lifestyle and outlook changes can’t be made.

  • 400 million – By 2050, the world will have almost 400 million people aged 80 years or older.
  • 80% – By 2050, 80% of older peole will live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Help needed – The number of older people who are no longer able to look after themselves in developing countries is forecast to quadruple by 2050.
  • The main health burdens of older people are from non-communicable diseases.
  • WHO maintains that all health providers should be trained on ageing issues.
  • Creating “age-friendly” physical and social environments can have a big impact on improving the active participation and independence of older people.
  • The risk of premature death decreases by 50% if someone gives up smoking between 60 and 75 years of age.

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 …

PRICELE$$ – Life Expectancy isn’t even in Top 50

Pricele$$ ThumbRanking countries by life expectancy, the United States isn’t even in the top 50. We even rank behind Guam. Why?

  • SLEEP — Could it be our high stress and deficient sleep? Sleep deprivation (sleeping less than 6 hours/night when we need 7-9) is associated with 2.5 times higher Diabetes risk, 62% increase in risk of Breast Cancer, 48% increased risk of Heart Disease, 27% higher Obesity risk, and even higher risk of developing early Alzheimer’s. Heck, it makes you 20% more likely to die in 20 years.  Read More …

The High Cost of Health Care – Infographic

High Cost of Health CareBlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina produced the following infographic about the high cost of health care, and I added the following comment.

The key to getting costs under control is to get the incentives right all along the health care continuum.

PAYERS — Where insurance companies once were able to control profits by selecting only the healthiest customers and cutting off those who became too expensive, that’s no longer the case under Obamacare, so they’re finding new ways to stay profitable, including extending wellness programs, which were initially developed for self-insured corporations, to their other customers. They’re also offering deep discounts on premiums to customers willing to accept higher deductibles and copays, giving them more skin in the game. Some are even starting to pay for medical tourism and home health care with telehealth video consultations and the necessary medical devices and home modifications when the costs are less and outcomes better. That’s promising. Read More …

US Health Care vs The World

World PopulationsWe have well over 700 health care infographics on Pinterest and are in process of manually indexing them HERE. This one is especially interesting. Using data from the World Health Organization, it shows that Americans spend well over twice as much per person on health care than other developed nations, yet we tend to live sicker and die younger.

Summary for screen readers:

Demographic & Social Economic Statistics — The chart shows 2011 population size with China first with 1.35 billion people, followed by India with 1.24 billion, and the US third with 313 million.

Gross National Income per Capita — Singapore came in first even though it has one of the smaller populations with just over 5 million people, followed by the US at number two and Germany at number three. Read More …

The Need & Positive Effects of Restorative Sleep

Arianna Huffington

Watch Arianna Huffington’s TED Talk below to see why it’s time to open your eyes to the need to close them.

By Wayne Caswell

Sleep deprivation has become a terrifying problem in our on-the-go society, where working more and sleeping less can be seen as a badge of honor. But even nodding off momentarily can have disastrous results, as we saw in graphic news reports of the December Bronx Metro-North train derailment

“I was in a daze,” engineer William Rockerfeller told investigators about the moments leading up to the crash. “I don’t know what I was thinking about, and the next thing I know, I was hitting the brakes.”

Sleep scientists think Rockerfeller may have slipped into what’s known as microsleep, when parts of the brain are awake and parts just doze off for a few seconds. But his momentary lack of attention before approaching a dangerous curve too fast derailed more than just the train; it also ended the lives of four people, injured more than 70 others, and probably cost Rockerfeller his career.

Short sleep, or getting less than 6 hours when 7-9 hours is recommended, drastically dampens our attentiveness and reaction times, as well as our health overall. While I’ll describe the negative effects of Short sleep, this article is really about the positive benefits of Restorative sleep, and it concludes with an excellent speech on the topic by Arianna Huffington. I hope it motivates you to add a New Years’ resolution — get more sleep. Read More …

Why Health Care Costs are Obscenely Expensive (Infographic)

Health Care Spending

 

Americans spend more on health care
but live sicker and die younger. Why?

 

We’ve published dozens of articles addressing that issue and have accumulated thousands of statistics in hundreds of Infographics. But today we include an important infographic that combines 12 charts created by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post. Afterwards is a video description, a counter-point argument, and my own view of how Obamacare will address some of the issues.

 

Read More …

Understanding Obamacare in Three and a Half Minutes

Main CAHCBy Wendell Potter, Author, consultant, columnist at Center for Public Integrity and healthinsurance.org

Since 2010, the year President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, more than $400 million has been spent by the law’s opponents to turn Americans against it, according to an analysis earlier this summer by the Campaign Media Analysis Group at Kantar Media. That compares to just $75 million spent by supporters to defend and explain the legislation.

The vast majority of that anti-Obamacare advertising has been misleading and in many cases downright false, but, hey, this is a free country and truth-in-advertising rules don’t apply. People who have an agenda, motivated by political or financial gain, just make stuff up. And then they use TV ads and the Internet to make sure the made-up stuff is repeated often enough so that gullible Americans eventually accept it as truth. Or at the very least grow confused and skeptical. Read More …

As Boomers Age, Who Will Care for Seniors?

the romanian mob

Photo by Flickr user jonrawlinson

Guest article by Albert Lester (editor enhanced)

Americans keep living longer. According to the CIA World Factbook, 26% of Americans are older than 55. Just more than 40% fall in the 25-54 age range, double the rate for those under age 14, and dwarfing the number of 15-24 year olds. Moreover, our population growth is less than one percent. For baby boomers, some of whom have already entered retirement, this brings an interesting question: will there be enough entitlement funds to help support them in old age, and will there be enough caregivers in the smaller generation groups that follow them to meet the demand? Read More …

Defining Digital Health

Science & Technology Convergence

What’s Digital Health?

According to Paul Sonnier, Head of Digital Health Strategy at Popper and Company, “Digital Health is the convergence of the digital and genetics revolutions with health and healthcare. He sees digital health as empowering us to better track, manage, and improve our own and our family’s health. It’s also helping to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine more personalized and precise.” Read More …

The Costs of Job Stress

The Costs of Job StressJOB stress only adds to a host of stressors facing unpaid family caretakers, and this all can take a toll on both your career and your health.

If you are a family caregiver, think about how much time do you spend, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Some 65 million unpaid family caregivers look after elderly or disabled loved ones, averaging 20 hours/wk. AARP did a study that put the 2009 annual burden on unpaid family caregivers at $480 billion/year, including lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional health and related costs. It’s more than the $361B in Medicaid spending and nearly as much as the $509B in Medicare spending.

The infographic below, from Top10OnlineColleges.org, identifies JOB stress as a leading factor in poor health, but so is not getting enough sleep.  Of course the two are closely related. After the infographic and listed highlights (for blind people using a screen reader) are related infographics and articles on both Stress and Sleep. Enjoy, but don’t stress out. Read More …

The Digital Diagnosis

The Digital DiagnosisAs shown in the infographic below, digital devices with access to the Internet are redefining healthcare and driving a revolution in its delivery systems.

FIRST is the wealth of medical information available online and the tools to find and make sense of it. This helps medical professionals and patients alike, and consumers can now take more responsibility for their own wellness. Realizing they have a greater stake in the game than their physician, they’re regularly engaging in online conversations using social media or searching online websites like WebMD, PatientsLikeMe and mHealthTalk for healthcare information.

NEXT is mobility, with smartphones, tablet computers, and Read More …

Redefining Success – The Third Metric

Redefining Success, The Third MetricJust 30% of full time workers are engaged at work, while half are uninspired, and another 30% simply “roam the halls” spreading discontent. Some call this presenteeism. Either way, there’s a personal and economic cost.

A Huffington Post article and infographic (below) encourages us to re-think what success means and reassess our priorities, possibly leading to jobs that we really WANT to be doing.

According to Arianna Huffington, “We’ve all bought into this male definition of success, money and power, and it’s not working. It’s not working for men, and it’s not working for women. It’s not working for anyone.”

Update: That was also the message of her TED Talk on The Need & Positive Effects of Restorative Sleep and her new book, THRIVE.

That’s where their Third Metric infographic comes into play. After the graphic I list some of the key points, as well as related statistics from a similar infographic on sleep. That way, blind people using screen readers can “see” the data too.

Read More …

What’s holding up the Internet of Things?

Internet of Things, showing the Cloud and connected devices and services

Brian Profit wrote a good article about technology embedded in ordinary objects and how they are being connected in ways the industry calls “The Internet of Things.” Since I introduced IBM to the connected home market in the early 1990s and ran a Digital Home consulting firm after retiring, I felt compelled to share my perspective in a comment to Brian’s article, which I include below.

The “smart home” concept has been stuck in the niche of DIY geeks and high-end new homes with professional installation for over 40 years, always just on the cusp of becoming a mainstream market. Brian touched on the issue of protocol compatibility, but why is that such an issue, and what other issues are there? Read More …

Is Your Glass Half Empty, or Half Full?

Is your glass Half Empty, or Half Ful?Can your attitude affect your health?

YES. According to this article and most of the studies I found, optimism appears to be good for your health and pessimism seems to be bad. But I also found one study that suggested the opposite – that people who are overly optimistic about their future actually faced greater risk of disability or death within 10 years than did those pessimists who expected their future to be worse. So I guess the question about the glass being half full or half empty still depends on your perspective.

Optimism about the Future

This week I was one of several presenters giving short talks to the World Future Society about what makes us optimistic about the future. Rather than rant about health reform, as I often do, I chose instead to talk about BIG Broadband and Google’s choice of Austin for its next gigabit fiber network, Kansas City being their first. I spoke of the applications enabled by Internet access that’s more than 100 times faster than what we currently have, how it enables exciting new applications and innovations in telehealth, telework, distance learning, e-commerce, e-government, and more.

But this article takes a different spin, with text provided by Anne Boysen, one of the other speakers. Her interesting approach fits nicely with the half empty / half full question, because she looks at several trends that bring out the pessimist in us, followed by balancing trends that give us hope.
Read More …

The Internet of Things: Prediction

The Internet of Things

Le Web Paris (see video) explores a future of technology that connects everyday devices all the time, often described as The Internet of Things.

This story and video from Reuters and the Huffington Post form the basis of my own observations and developer recommendations as a 30-year IBM technologist, futurist and Digital Home consultant. Included at the end are four interesting infographics from Cisco, Intel, Casaleggio Associati, and Beecham Research. Read More …