Posts Tagged ‘prevention’

Slip Proofing Your Home

Jack and Jill, a Mother Goose nursery rhymeBy Brian Schiller

Here are just a few of the statistics:

  • Each year in the United States, one of every three persons over the age of 65 will experience a fall. Half of which are repeat fallers.
  • For people aged 65-84 years, falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death; for those aged 85 years or older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death.
  • Falls account for 87% of all fractures among people over the age of 65 and are the second leading cause of spinal cord and brain injury.
  • Half of all elderly adults (over the age of 65) hospitalized for hip fractures cannot return home or live independently after the fracture.

Elderly people face an increased risk of slips, trips and falls due to diminished mobility, strength and balance that comes naturally with old age.  The increased risk of falling is coupled with a higher likelihood of health complications related to the fall. An elderly person faces twice the chance of death due to falls than younger people according to the Centers for Disease Control. Read the rest of this entry »

The BUSINE$$ of Obesity

Over two thirds of American adults are overweight.Because March is National Nutrition Month, we’re featuring this infographic (below) and these related articles.

  • America’s Obesity Epidemic, a BIG Problem – features the trailer and all four episodes of HBO’s documentary, “The Weight of the Nation,” along with a collection of supporting statistics.
  • How States are Battling Obesity – a byline article by Scott Kahan, M.D., an Obesity Medicine physician and Director of STOP Obesity Alliance
  • Is Obesity a Disease – discusses the pros and cons of labeling it as a disease or just a risk factor for health problems and not a disease itself
  • MyPlate replaces Food Pyramid – Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveil the federal government’s new food icon, MyPlate, to serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices
  • The Hunter-Gatherer Diet – Dr. Terry Wahls presents an incredible TEDx talk, shares how she learned to properly fuel her body, and tells of the diet that cured her MS and allowed her to get out of her wheelchair
  • Six Ways TV Might Be Killing You – about typical Americans who watch an average of four hours and 39 minutes of television every day, one-quarter of their waking life, and how their lives may shorten considerably
  • Donuts Don’t Grow on Trees – a music video about healthy eating by health advocate Barry David Butler
  • A Place at the Table –- a new documentary about the relationship between Poverty, Hunger & Health
  • Working Poor Families Struggle to Pay Bills – featuring statistics and a video of Congresswoman Nancy Peloci about the direct relationship between poverty, obesity, and the cost of healthcare.
  • Poverty in America – featuring The Line, an important documentary that covers the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line
  • Sleep Apnea and Poverty – a byline article by doctors Susan Redline and Michelle Williams about how socioeconomics impacts proper diagnosis and treatment
  • Americans are Sicker and Die Younger – a byline article by Marty Kaplan, Director, Norman Lear Center and Professor at the USC Annenberg School
  • What the Fork — featuring the $100 HAPIfork device that functions like a friendly shock collar by paying attention to when you eat, how many bites you take, and the intervals between each bite, vibrating to tell you when you’re eating too fast or too much
View the Infographic and Read the rest of this entry »

Working Poor Families Struggle to Pay Bills

There’s a Direct relationship between poverty, obesity, and the cost of health care.

Here’s some statistics, mostly from the 2010 census:

  • 15.1% of Americans (46.2 million) live in poverty, including 22% of our children. 20% live in extreme poverty.
  • 3.2 million Americans were kept out of poverty by unemployment insurance.
  • 20.3 million were kept out of poverty by social security.
  • The poverty threshold for a family of four is $22,113; the 2010 avg. income of the bottom 90% was $26.364.
  • $6,298 — decline in median working-age household income from 2000 to 2010.
  • 49.1 million — number of people under 65 without any health insurance.
  • 13.6 million — decline in people under 65 with employer-sponsored health insurance from 2000-2010.
  • Public health officials can accurately predict obesity and longevity rates by zip codes. One inner city example had an average lifespan of just 64 years while it was 90 years in a wealthier neighborhood just 8 miles away. (HBO’s documentary, The Weight of the Nation)
  • Disadvantaged communities are at higher risk for many preventable health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis B and C, and infant mortality, largely due to the lack of health care, nutritious food at affordable prices, and sidewalks and parks to encourage exercise.
  • Pressures from Job, Money, Divorce and Violence cause a vicious cycle of Stress = Obesity = Stress.

Tech innovation and automation also plays a role, increasing productivity and profits for some, but eliminating jobs faster than creating new ones. Dr. Oz apparently agrees, as shown in this article, which also features a CBS report on the jobs impact of robotics and a collection of slides that I recently presented to a local jobs group.


 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/15/us-working-poor_n_2476463.html

CES 2013, Digital Health Revolution: Body, Mind & Soul

On the first day of CES I attended a Digital Health Summit panel discussion hosted by Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post. To introduce the discussion, she described Americans’ increase in antidepressants, sleep medications, and stress, and how 75% of healthcare spending is spent on preventable diseases, and 80% of medications are for pain. All of these conditions are preventable through other means, she said.

The panel discussed a perfect storm of multiple trends: (1) stress (and I’d add sleep deprivation) is a killer, (2) our broken & expensive sick care system, and (3) technology & wearable devices that can help us focus on health & wellness. Market researchers note that 30 million wearable devices shipped in 2012, going to 60 million in the next year. In addition, 44 million health apps will be downloaded to smartphones and tablets this year.

Read the rest of this entry »

CES 2013, GPS for the Soul and Digital Health Revolution

I attended CES in person this year instead of monitoring the show from the comfort of my home office and writing my traditional report, CES in Pajamas. On the first day I attended “The Digital Health Revolution: Body, Mind and Soul,” a  panel discussion hosted by Arianna Huffington and am thrilled that Huffington Post is so prominently promoting conversation and innovation supporting better health & wellness. Its GPS for the Soul smartphone app, for example, complements lifestyle articles around the theme “Less Stress, More Living.” Here’s an article that Arianna published on the first day.

CES 2013, GPS for the Soul and the Digital Health Revolution

By Arianna Huffington, 1/07/2013

Greetings from Las Vegas, where I’ve landed in the midst of a perfect storm. I’m not talking about the weather — it’s a crisp, beautiful day here. No, I’m talking about one of those moments in which several trends converge to create something larger, a moment we will look back on as the time everything changed. Read the rest of this entry »

Sensor Network to Protect the Elderly

Marge Skubic

Marge Skubic developed a remote sensor network to monitor seniors’ activity and baseline health. Click image for credits and larger version

System monitors seniors’ health in the comfort of their own homes

By Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation, December 6, 2012

Many elderly dread the prospect that chronic medical issues will force them to leave their homes for an assisted living facility or nursing home, making them dependent upon others for their care and personal needs. Sometime in the near future, however, new technology could help them remain in their homes longer, perhaps indefinitely, without having to give up their independence.

“Our goal is to keep people in their private homes for as long as possible,” says Marjorie Skubic, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri. “The idea is to detect functional decline or early signs of illness, so we can identify problems when they are very small and proactively address them before they become catastrophic. That way, mom won’t have to leave her home.” Read the rest of this entry »

As Our Health Goes, So Does Our Economic Recovery

 

It’s the Health Care, Stupid:

As Our Health Goes, So Does Our Economic Recovery

As Our Health Goes, So Does Our Economic RecoveryBy Peter Abaci, M.D., Chronic pain specialist
(original on Huffington Post)

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein

As we head into the final stages leading up to election day, expect the fight over whom and what is best for our economy to rage on. Debating how best to stimulate the economy has been anointed as the de facto topic of importance heading into our upcoming election, but let’s not forget that the health of Wall Street and Main Street is inextricably linked to the health of our citizens. As I have written here in the past, I am no economic expert, but I do work in the trenches every day in a profession that impacts our nation’s budget like no other.

The fact that doctors like me seem to drive the spending of tax dollars more than other occupations like teachers, governors, and generals tells you right there that health care is the elephant in the room of any debate on our economic future.

Read the rest of this entry »

Improving the Nation’s Health with More Efficient Care

Professor Carl J. Schramm wrote about Improving the Nation’s Health with More Efficient Care as part of a GE Ideas Roundtable that included two good interactive infographics about working in America and how different nations view innovation. But I don’t think improving the efficiency of care is where the biggest benefits lie, so I added this comment:

TechnologyGE's Innovation Barometer can be a two-edge sword. On one hand it has contributed to the doubling of the amount of published medical information every year or two, causing general practitioners to specialize just to keep up with changes in their field. On the other hand, innovations such as telehealth, remote monitoring and analysis of medical & environmental sensors, and IBM’s Watson supercomputer applied to medical diagnostics, will help to move many procedures and tests down-market from MD to PA, NP, RN, aid and consumers in their homes.

But aren’t we still addressing the wrong problem? It’s not so much about the efficiency of delivering care but eliminating the need for it. We currently have a “sick care” system, not a health care system, and that’s the real problem to focus on. When patients are viewed as customers of the health care system, practitioners and institutions have financial incentives to keep them as patients – i.e. treat symptoms rather than provide cures or prevent illness in the first place. Even health insurance providers fuel this backwards view, since more demand for medical care leads to higher premiums and larger profits.

Some of the most effective progress in health care has come from public health programs such as immunization, clean water, and education about smoking, nutrition, and exercise. I’d throw poverty and obesity into that mix since, according to HBO’s documentary The Weight of the Nation, public health officials can reliably predict a community’s average weight by zip code and have noticed lifespan differences of more than 20 years between poor neighborhoods on one side of town and affluent ones on the other side just 8 miles away.

Read the rest of this entry »

Addressing Healthcare Inefficiencies

How do you deal with the inefficiencies of the healthcare system?

Doctor-Radiologist
This question was posed to a LinkedIn discussion group by White Glove Health, an Austin-based company that provides health care directly to you at home or work or over the phone. It’s a new discussion thread, but here’s my initial response.

 

Given advancements in technology, and related but slower advancements in regulatory oversight, I see companies like White Glove Health leading us into a more efficient future where advice, tests and procedures move down-market over time from specialists to general practitioners, PAs, NPs, RNs, medical aids, and health consumers themselves. I see many functions moving from hospitals to clinics, satellite clinics, and homes. And I see eventual changes in licensing that allows care to extend across state lines, and even international boarders.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 the rest of this entry »

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