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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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 my Modern Health Talk vision. (Click image to see book. Go to end to hear about the MiniTrends conference.)

“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.

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How to Live Long and Healthy

90+

Helen Weil, 92, and Henry Tornell, 94 (CBS NEWS from 60 Minutes segment on “Living to 90 and Beyond”)

Until recently, very little was known about what it takes to live well into our 90s. That’s because there weren’t many people that old to study, and because records were sparse about their diet and lifestyle. But today men and women above the age of 90 have become the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, and there’s new research that helps explain why. 

What can we do now to live long and healthy?

Finding out was the goal of a new research study known as “90+,” which was the subject of a 60 Minutes segment on Living to 90 and Beyond.   Read More …

Doctors Don’t Want Patients to Access EHR Info

Most U.S. Doctors Believe Patients Should Update Electronic Health Record, but Not Have Full Access to It, According to Accenture Eight-Country Survey

EHR survey shows most doctors don't want patients to have full accessMarch 4, 2013 – A new Accenture survey shows that most U.S. doctors surveyed (82%) want patients to actively participate in their own healthcare by updating their electronic health records. However, only a third of physicians (31%) believe a patient should have full access to his or her own record, 65% believe patients should have limited access and 4 percent say they should have no access (See Figure 1). These findings were consistent among 3,700 doctors surveyed by Accenture in eight countries: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.

Patients Access to Records

While nearly half of U.S. doctors (47%) surveyed believe patients should not be able to update their lab test results, the vast majority believe patients should be able to update some or all of the standard information in their health records, including demographics (95%), family medical history (88%), medications (87%) and allergies (85%). And, the majority of doctors (81%) believe patients should even be able to add such clinical updates to their records as new symptoms or self-measured metrics, including blood pressure and glucose levels. Read More …

Restyling Electronic Medical Records

Electronic medical records (EMR) can be extremely useful tools to help improve patient care and reduce costs — if designed and used properly. But unfortunately, good design is hard to come by in this market. The lack of Health IT data standards, privacy laws, and impenetrable health systems complicate an already challenging design process and usually lead to lackluster products. So, the White House sponsored a contest to restyle the Blue Button, a medical record that was first implemented by Department of Veteran Affairs as a text-only record. Read More …

Will the Affordable Care Act Help Telehealth Flourish?

Nurse Jennifer Witting

Nurse Jennifer Witting stands beside newly installed telemedicine equipment at the Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium, Mich., on June 20, 2012. Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

By Brian Heaton (original article at govtech.com)

Opportunity is knocking for telehealth to become a common method of practicing medicine in the U.S.

One-on-one Web-based video chats and other electronic consultation between doctors and patients isn’t new — it’s been used throughout the U.S. in varying degrees for a few years now. But health-care reform, a ballooning  and aging population and a shortage of available family physicians may be a perfect storm that could blow the doors open for telehealth to go mainstream.

As states’ health insurance exchanges — online marketplaces where citizens can compare and purchase insurance plans — begin to debut in advance of the 2014 deadline set forth by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), access to health-care providers should expand for many Americans. Obtaining insurance coverage soon may be easier, but the gap between the number of incoming patients and available primary care doctors is widening.

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Medical students invent app that checks your symptoms

Craig Monsen and David Do show off Symcat

Craig Monsen and David Do show off their diagnostic tool for consumers.

Craig Monsen and David Do are fourth-year medical students at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine students. According to this article, they recently created a smartphone compatible website that uses big data, analytics, and artificial intelligence to analyze your symptoms and help determine the cause.

Using Symcat (symptoms-based, computer-assisted triage), you enter various ailments (fever, rash, cough, swelling etc.) and receive a diagnosis, prioritizing potential causes by likelihood and color-coding them by urgency. As you’ll see in the video demo below, entering and refining the symptoms and medical history is an iterative process, and the results are quite impressive. At some point, if you decide to see a doctor, the system also recommends local practitioners based on their specific specialty and experience.

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How Tech Makes Life Better for Boomers, Seniors

Technology ‘Saved My Life’: Making Life Better for Boomers, Seniors

From improving fitness and aging in place to ending isolation and engaging
more easily with family and friends, technology solutions help baby boomers
and seniors successfully address many of the issues associated with aging.

Orlando Estrada

Orlando Estrada, 77, uses Microsoft HealthVault to manage his health information online at the St. Barnabas Senior Center in Los Angeles.

REDMOND, Wash. – July 9, 2012Milton Greidinger of New York and Concha Watson of Miami, Fla., were in their mid-80s when they first learned to use a personal computer. The experience dramatically changed both their lives, enabling them to reconnect to the world by pushing through the loneliness and isolation that had threatened to engulf them.

“It saved my life,” says Greidinger, a former buyer for Korvette’s department store, in assessing the Virtual Senior Center, a Microsoft public-private partnership that uses technology to link homebound seniors to activities at their local senior center and to provide better access to community services. “Before this project, I was bored to death. I was just waiting for my time to finish. Now, all of a sudden I’m wide awake. I’m alive again.”

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Patients Find and Help Each other in Social Media

A new PwC market research study shows that Consumers use Social Media far more than Health Companies.

Patients are turning to the Internet and Social Media to find solutions to health problems when their doctors don’t know the answers. While some docs are overwhelmed with new literature about medical advancements and resent patients who question their advice, others welcome the self-educated patient who has found treatment alternatives online and wants to discuss them. If you’re one of those e-patients and have used social media to connect with others like you to exchange stories and knowledge, I want to hear how you did it.

mHealthTalk Positioning - at the intersection of important trends and between Support Groups and Technology PagesDid you use an online support group like e-Patients.netPatientsLikeMe.com, and WebMD.com? Did you stumble upon a technology solution by landing on a website for a specific product or service? Did you use a smartphone app? Toni Bernhard uses Facebook Groups for this. Do you?

Why I ask… Modern Health Talk is positioned between these extremes, at the intersection of several important trends, including rising costs, aging baby boomers, wireless Internet access, telemedicine, and increased interest in social media, digital sensors, telepresence, and smartphones & tablets. BUT… We’ve found that the good online support groups focus on a single medical condition and NOT the combination of conditions and limitations associated with aging. We so far have been unable to build a vibrant community that engages the elderly in discussions of tech solutions for aging and want to learn from the success of others, potentially partnering with them. So please share your experience by email or a comment below.

e-Patient Katherine Leon

Below, NPR reports on patients with rare diseases who are finding each other online and promoting new research. The story features Katherine Leon, a woman with an extremely rare heart condition who managed to do what many hospitals couldn’t. She set up a virtual patient registry, allowed patients from all over the world to submit their medical records and scans online, and then used the data to convince researchers at the Mayo Clinic to run clinical trials where there was no interest before. Her story became national news. Read More …

Friends from Beyond, and your Digital Will

Friends from Beyond is shown as an Internet cloud hosting email, social media and other websites.

By Wayne Caswell, retired IBM technologist, market strategist, and founder of Modern Health Talk

Friends from Beyond explores the role of social media and digital assets after death, and the need to think about this ahead of time, even creating a digital will to say who acts as executor and who takes ownership of the accounts, which ones get deleted, as well as if any should be preserved for perpetuity.

The article extends the thinking of last week’s post, The Legacy of a Digital Generation, which asked, What will be your legacy?

Will future generations remember you, what you did, and what you valued? Where will they go to reflect on your life? Will it be a grave site, a virtual memorial setup as a perpetual website, or your social media accounts? Read More …

Health Reform needs a WELLNESS emphasis

This intimate but tasteful photo of a man and wife in bed shows how Sex can be used to promote Health & Wellness.How can healthcare systems encourage patients to take greater ownership of their health so they live longer? That was the question posed to a Linkedin discussion group that generated some interesting responses. I initially weighed in with:

Public Health and Social Programs

We don’t often think of clean running water, indoor toilets, sanitation systems, and school vaccinations as having profound effects on the health of our citizens, but they have. So too would programs that address poverty, unemployment, and the widening income gap. That’s why next on my list is access to nutritious food, exercise opportunities, and full-time employment, which translates into access to health insurance.

Others said consumers would need support from various health care organizations and suggested several initiatives designed to move from medical response systems to health, wellness and prevention systems. Read More …

Medical Records in the hands of Patients

Various types of Medical Alerts are shown. Click to read a related article about Maintaining Personal Health RecordsEach time you go to the doctor’s office, they start by scanning through your medical record for notes entered last time, as well as vital signs (including pulse & blood pressure), past test results, medications & vaccines,  etc. If it’s your first visit, the doctor begins by looking over any medical history and health records or narrative of symptoms you provide.

That information doesn’t automatically follow you as you see multiple healthcare providers. Your primary care physician may be a general practitioner, but you may also see an allergist, cardiologist, dentist, dermatologist, gynecologist, radiologist, urologist, and more. Because each office or medical facility maintains its own records and doctor’s notes, you likely have to give nearly the same information again and again each you visit someone new.

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How Safe is your Personal Health Information?

HackerGoogle

By Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk

People worry about the security of their identity, financial and medical information when they hear stories of hacker attacks on large commercial and government websites, including AOL, Hotmail, Microsoft, MySpace, NASA, Sony, Stratfor, USBank, VeriSign, VISA, Xbox, Yahoo, and many others. They also worry when they read about Target, Google, Facebook, and Twitter pushing privacy boundaries and taking liberties with their collected customer data. Both types of stories dilute trust.

It doesn’t much help if a company that overreaches and gets caught simply promises to do better, and then if public outrage prompts potential legislation, they join industry initiatives to propose new plans for self-regulation, such as the publication of privacy policies that users seldom read.

This article addresses the question, “How Safe is your Personal Health Information?” It examines the benefits and security risks of storing your personal health information online, based on my own personal experiences and decades of IT experience. But I’d like to hear of your experiences in the comments section too.

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Let me down Easy is a must-watch performance

image from Let Me Down Easy on PBS.orgYvonne and I loved Anna Deavere Smith’s solo performance of Let Me Down Easy, which blends theatrics, journalism and social commentary about Healthcare, and I highly recommend watching it. PBS aired the program as part of its Great Performances series this week on Friday the 13th, how fitting with the state of our nation’s healthcare system. Here’s what they said about it.

She performs 19 characters in the course of an hour and thirty five minutes. Their stories are alternately humorous and heart-wrenching, and often a blend of both. Building upon each other with hypnotic force, her subjects recount personal encounters with the frailty of the human body, ranging from a mere brush with mortality, coping with an uncertain future in today’s medical establishment, to confronting an end of life transition. The testimony of health care professionals adds further texture to a vivid portrayal of the cultural and societal attitudes to matters of health.

Watch this 2:10 min video preview;

Read about what PBS had to say and what New York Times critics said.

My Family Health Portrait, a tool from the Surgeon General

Image from NIHTalking with your health care worker about your family health history can help you stay healthy!

Using My Family Health Portrait you can:

  • Enter your family health history.
  • Print your family health history to share with family or your health care worker.
  • Save your family health history so you can update it over time.

Selected Q&A

Why is family health history useful?

Your family health history can help your health care practitioner provide better care for you. It can help identify whether you have higher risk for some diseases. It can help your health care practitioner recommend actions for reducing your personal risk of disease. And it can help in looking for early warning signs of disease.

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Maintaining Personal Health Records

Medical Alert Options

What would you want the ER doctor to know about you, or your loved one? And how would you tell them? Let us know in the comments below.

Lee Howard produced this YouTube video to share her experience and endorse electronic medical records as an alternative to paper. She had scheduled a visit to the Mayo Clinic to help with a difficult diagnosis and was worried sick because her twin sister died earlier. She thought she might have the same thing. The clinic asked for a thorough medical history, but the records were spread everywhere and were in paper form. Lee’s nursing background gave her insight into how to gather and present them in a binder for the medical staff.

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Google Health end is near

Google HealthOn June 24th, Google announced that it’s retiring its Electronic Medical Records (EMR) project, Google Health, with personal data available for download through 2012. Google created the service to give people access to their personal health and wellness information. They hoped to translate their success in other consumer-centered domains into healthcare but were apparently disappointed in slower than expected adoption rates.

Google Health was one of several EHR/EMR products described in an article by Shannon Martin, Choosing a service for Electronic Personal Health Records.

Electronic Personal Health Records

This article is republished with permission from Shannon Martin, Aging Wisely, LLC. The original article is available here.

Personal Health Records (PHRs) or Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are undoubtedly the next wave in our ever expanding “online life”. According to Medicare.gov, “ A personal health record (PHR) is a confidential and easy-to-use tool for managing information about your health. A PHR is usually an electronic file or record of your health information and recent services, such as your medical conditions, allergies, medications, and doctor or hospital visits that can be stored in one place, and then shared with others, as you see fit. You control how the information in your PHR is used and who can access it. PHRs are usually used on the Internet so that you can look up your information wherever you are.” Typically the term EMR is used to refer to the records held by other parties (doctor, hospital, insurance company), just like you old medical chart. However, you will often see the terms used interchangeably.

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