Powering tiny medical circuits in the body

Batteryless Electrostimulator

A batteryless electrostimulator next to medicinal pills for size comparison. (Photo: Austin Lee)

In my interview last year with Dr. Metin Akay, he described the daunting problem of powering tiny computer chips deep inside the body. Neurologists, he said, can already control the misfiring of rogue neurons that cause epilepsy by implanting small electrodes in the brain cluster of misbehaving neurons, but they still must resolve battery-life issues and need a reliable power source.

Today they do this by connecting the electrodes to a power source worn outside the body, but Stanford assistant professor of electrical engineering, Ada Poon, has found a safe way to transfer energy to tiny circuits the size of a grain of rice using targeted ratio waves. Read More …

Home Automation and Home Health Care

In the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) kept a watchful eye on the crew.How Home Automation Can Change the Home Health Care Industry

By Spencer Blohm

In-home care is one of the biggest growth industries of the last twenty years. It makes sense; elderly folks don’t want to be chained down to a nursing home, and an in-home care aid gives them independence without sacrificing their health needs. However, in-home care aides and family members can’t always be with grandma and grandpa. That’s why home automation systems make sense for protecting the dignity of your loved one, while giving you, the caretaker, some room to run out and perform necessary chores. Here are some features to consider. Read More …

Healthcare in the age of Dr. Google

Dr.GoogleHealthcare in the age of Dr. Google: the 2014 digital patient journey is sponsored by Fathom Healthcare, a healthcare marketing company.

Ask any medical professional what has changed about patient behavior the last few years, and she is sure to talk about a physician who never was accepted to med school … the ubiquitous “Dr. Google.”

When patients start to notice something doesn’t feel quite right, they google their symptoms and make a preliminary diagnosis. In fact, 86 percent of patients conduct a health-related search before scheduling a doctor’s appointment. 90 percent of adults ages 18-24 say they would trust medical information shared by others in their social networks. Forty-one percent say social media impacts their choice of healthcare providers. Read More …

How Tech makes Long Distance Caregiving Easier

Caregiving 2.0:
How Technology Makes Long Distance Caregiving Easier

By Michelle Seitzer

Stethoscope on a Computer KeyboardToday’s guest post is by Melody Wilding, a licensed medical social worker (LMSW) and Community Manager for eCaring.com.

It’s 11 a.m. Two meetings down: what’s next? Maybe check emails or tackle the pile of papers growing on your desk?

Just as you’re hitting a stride, the phone rings. It’s Mom … and something is wrong. She fell this morning. Read More …

Helping Seniors Master Computers

Teaching Dad to use the PCHelping Seniors Master Computers is a guest article by James Owens with many added comments by the editor.

A Pew Internet survey shows that 53 percent of people over 65 are now online. Only a third of these adults actually use social media, with email being their preferred way to communicate.

EDITOR: The oldest age group in most market research, including the Pew survey, is 65+, but what about the “real” seniors 75+ or 85+? They are far less likely to use technology and will need more help getting started, according to this article by Laurie Orlov.

With some support, your senior friends and family members could be using their computers for a whole lot more. These suggestions will get you thinking of ways you can help them branch out with new computer skills: Read More …

5 mHealth Tech Trends to Shape Industry


Alivecor Heart Monitor

 

By Snookie Lioncourt

With continuous advancements in technology, more and more innovative solutions have been invented to facilitate global healthcare delivery services. These include a number of medical and healthcare mobile applications, remote Caregiving tools, assistive wearable devices for elderly and disabled patients, live mobile pulse monitoring systems, and emergency response GPS trackers. So, what do all of these innovations portend for 2014 and onwards? In 5 mHealth Tech Trends to Shape Industry, we’ll take a closer look at five significant technological trends this year that will vehemently shape the future of the mobile health (mHealth) industry. Read More …

We Endorse Telehealth Across State Lines

Medicine Unplugged: Your phone, your DNA, your data

By Wayne Caswell

Modern Health Talk strongly endorses telehealth and efforts to break down barriers to wider adoption nationwide. The TELE-MED Act of 2013 (HR 3077) is still not out of committee but is intended to start breaking down barriers related to licensure and payment when medical care is given online across state lines, starting with Medicare providers. Hopefully Congress will pass this bill and then start extending telehealth to all insurance carriers. Read More …

Global Telehealth Market to Expand 10x by 2018

According to market research firm IHS Technology, the global telehealth market is expected to grow by more than a factor of 10 from 2013 to 2018, as medical providers increasingly employ remote communications and monitoring technology to reduce costs and improve the quality of care.

Telehealth Forecast

Worldwide revenue for telehealth devices and services is expected to swell to $4.5 billion in 2018, up from $440.6 million in 2013, based on data from an IHS report entitled “World Market for Telehealth – 2014 Edition.” The number of patients using telehealth services will rise to 7 million in 2018, up from less than 350,000 in 2013, as presented in the chart above. Read More …

Regulations Not Keeping Up with Technology

Health ReformBy Wayne Caswell

The rapid and accelerating pace of tech innovation has profound implications for healthcare delivery & payment, aging, and disability employment, but regulations that support that are spotty or nonexistent.

The good news

“Durable medical equipment” is a class of assistive technology that can be paid for by Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance plans. Motorized wheel chairs most often fall into this category. Read More …

The role of Standards in Telehealth

Standards DilemmaNew market research on the convergence of telemedicine and mHealth suggests that “telemedicine now delivered on proprietary devices is becoming obsolete,” and I agree. I first wrote about the role of standards in telehealth two years ago in an article on Video Conferencing for Home Healthcare and have written several articles on the topic of standards since then, including The Smart Refrigerator & Smart Medical Device.

Platform Standards

Earlier this week I weighed in on a LinkedIn discussion of Tablets used in Video Telemedicine. It morphed into a discussion of HIPPA, so the comment I added applies just as much to HIPPA regulations as to the use of standards in telehealth. Read More …

Telehealth Enhancement Act takes Important Step

Telehealth KioskAs a member of the American Telehealth Association (Austin chapter), I too support the Telehealth Enhancement Act, however I see it as just a baby step and think much more is needed. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.

The proposed bill would modernize the Medicare program by allowing Medicare patients to be cared for remotely by a licensed healthcare provider from any state. That way, if you need medical help while on vacation, you could connect online or by phone with your own doctor back home without requiring that they be licensed in the state you traveled to. I urge Congress to adopt this bill and expand it beyond Medicare, to other federal agencies and health benefit programs.

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The $49 Doctor Visit, Online

Doctor Visit

Oh, the indignity of it all.

Instead of searching for a doctor, calling for an appointment, taking time off work, and then driving to the doctor’s office, just connect online with video.

Healthcare just got a whole lot easier for consumers, thanks to American Well and a new telehealth service that connects people to physicians through their iPad, iPhone or Android device as well as any web browser.

The company’s technology manages physician availability and allows consumers to either choose a specific doctor or simply connect to the next available one. They can also review doctors’ professional profiles and see how other patients rate them.

Doctors accessed via American Well are currently available for live video consults 24 x 7 x 365 in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The $49 cost of a 10-minute video call can be paid via credit card, debit card or health savings account, and at that rate it costs less than a typical office visit, which averages $68 and can reach up to $120 Read More …

Moore’s Law and The FUTURE of Healthcare

By Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk
Which Future

This article examines a future driven by Moore’s Law and the trend of circuits and components getting smaller, faster and cheaper exponentially over time and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). I approach this topic from the unique perspective of an IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, and consumer advocate. See About the Author and About Modern Health, below, to better understand what shaped this view of the future. You can also see my slide presentation and related articles & infographics at the bottom.

Which Future?

Futurists regularly consider alternative scenarios and examine factors that can steer the future in one direction or another. That way, clients can select a preferred version of the future and know what they might do to make that future happen.

It’s relatively easy to extrapolate past trends, assuming that nothing prevents those trends from continuing at the same rate, but will they? One can also look at what’s possible by tracking research lab activity and then estimating how long it will take to bring those new technologies to market.

But a potentially better approach is to start with a solid understanding of market NEEDS and what drives the development of solutions for them, or factors that inhibit solutions. Changes in politics and public policy, for example, can be a huge driver, with Obamacare as an example, or a huge inhibitor. That’s why I’m so interested in various healthcare reforms that accompany tech innovation. Read More …

Don’t Look Back – the inspiring story of Danny & Shelly

Don't Look Back. Shelly now walks a mile three days a week using the gait trainer shown here.Danny Long became a 24×7 caretaker for his wife, Shelly, after a botched spinal cord operation in 2008. The surgery was supposed to improve the failing sense of touch in her hands and feet, but instead it left her a quadriplegic with no feeling at all, except the severe pain in her back.  Afterwards, no doctor would predict that she could ever walk again. But today, with help from her friends and faith, and the loving support of her creative and supportive husband, Shelly walks a mile every three days using the large gait trainer shown.

At some point, Danny decided to document her progress and their therapy journey in a series of videos. One showed how he adapted an old exercise bike to work for someone in a wheelchair. Another showed home-build parallel bars that Shelly used to practice standing and walking. And a third showed the walking harness he made to establish weight bearing safely. There are other videos on his Vimeo page, but the one I include below is a summary of their story.

Read More …

Health Benefits of High Definition Videoconferencing

Lev Gonick discusses innovations using HD videoconferencing.

Next Generation High Definition Video Conferencing Will Provide Immediate Public Benefits

Researchers expect it to revolutionize health care delivery and STEM education

By Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation, January 31, 2013

The patient, who sees her neurologist regularly for “memory coaching” to counter the effects of short-term memory loss, never has to leave home for her appointments. The doctor, who is 40 minutes away, never has to leave his office. They “meet” by video.

“There is nothing she needs to do, as long as the system is on,” says Lev Gonick, vice president for information technology services and chief information officer at Case Western Reserve University. “She just needs to be in the right place at the right time.”

In some ways, it’s almost better than meeting in person, since this is not just any standard video system.

Read More …

CES 2013 prominently features HealthSpot Station

“Real doctors. Real medicine. Really convenient.”

HealthSpot Station was prominently featured in the central lobby just as you entered the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2013, an honor that only the most interesting companies get.

Doctors and patients meet face-to-face like they always have, only in this case, the face-to-face is virtual: the doctor is in his home or office; the patient is seated in the kiosk; and the kiosk is located in a retail store. The HealthSpot Station kiosk allows board-certified doctors to conduct remote diagnosis and treatment using high-def videoconferencing and digital medical devices that appear behind locked doors when needed.

Read More …

Holiday Togetherness When You Can’t Be There

iPad2 FaceTime Test

Review by Justine Ezarik (www.iJustine.com)

While in Houston with family for Thanksgiving, I discovered an article in USA Today that I just had to share. Thanksgiving togetherness when you can’t be there is a well written article about using a PC, tablet or smartphone with video conferencing software to bring families together virtually. It not only applies to holidays but any time you want to get family & friends together online. Please follow the link above to read the article.

Below is text from a previous article on this tech trend that I wrote about a year ago.

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.

Read More …

AT&T blocks FaceTime, impacts the Deaf

AT&T blocks FaceTime, and sign language for the deaf and hard of hearingBy Brendan Gramer, in Wired Magazine

When I learned that Apple would finally be enabling the iPhone’s FaceTime app to work over mobile connections, I was ecstatic. As someone who is deaf, I could now use this one-touch, always-on video chat app to communicate with friends and family in my natural language: American Sign Language (ASL).

But then I found out that AT&T will block mobile FaceTime unless customers sign up for an expensive unlimited voice plan. I wasn’t thrilled with the thought of having to pay this AT&T “deaf tax” just to use the mobile data I’m already paying for.

It’s disappointing that AT&T is standing in the way of innovation that addresses the needs of its deaf and hard-of-hearing customers. Sometimes it takes a while (and some prodding) for technology and technology companies to catch up to and embrace accessibility. In this case the technology is there, but it’s AT&T that’s throwing up the barrier.

Read More …