ECHHS alum and UNC student Farai Sikipa has launched a company focused on digitizing the health system. We found out more about where this ambitious undergrad got his start and what we can expect to see from his growing business.
Robin Robinson's insight:
Another bright star in the work of bringing social media into the healthcare system.
The entire session was delivered directly from an iPhone 4S over WiFi, mirrored to an AppleTV, and included demonstrations of augmented reality (AR) as well as some of the latest health applications. This was all ‘live’ and included all the risks of ‘pushing the envelope’ of technology.
Yet the simple fact is that this was not really pushing the envelope of technology. It was merely utilizing the same capabilities which are available to all consumers in this modern age.
Our mobile devices have become so integral to society, that for many of us they are the core computing power for our daily lives. It was 2002 when the movie ‘Minority Report’ showed us a future where information might be presented to us in a customized and personalized way, depending on our location and the context of a perceived data need. This blending of ‘reality’ with the ‘virtual’ is now commonly known as ‘augmented reality’ or ‘AR’. Indeed it is so common that Google recently announced a pair of AR glasses to even further make this vision a reality.
So in preparation for the DIA Clinical Forum, Creation Healthcare sought to research and report on the impact of mobile computing and augmented reality in the context of medical information.
The somewhat unpleasant tagline ‘SoLoMo’, refers to the changing paradigm where information is:
SOcial – that is shared among other people, or used to bring people together through new and existing networks/communities LOcal or Location based - providing a context for information based on the position in which a person is consuming information MObile – using a mobile device, and not necessarily a mobile phone, although this is the exponentially growing device of choice for most consumers
Leading up to the conference, I also committed to several months of using my own mobile device to track all sorts of personal health information which I might use as an example. This included:
Daily calorie intake, using ‘myfitnesspal’
Sleep patterns, using ‘SleepCycle’
Blood pressure and resting heart rate, using a Withings monitor Weight, lean mass, fat, and BMI, using a Withings scale Exercise and heart rate, using ‘RunKeeper’ and a ‘Wahoo Fittness’ monitor
Although initially just a process for gathering insight, I quickly became converted to the ‘game’ of checking how my vital statistics were changing on a daily basis – to the extent that I proudly lost 8 kilograms and now have the blood pressure of an athlete.
Such ‘gamification’ is also one of the trends impacting the health industry. I did not previously consider myself a ‘gamer’ or even that in this case I might be playing a game, albeit against myself. Yet I simply could not help becoming enthused by the ‘life-logging’ process, especially having seen the demonstrable changes in my own behavior – leading to positive health outcomes. It seems I am not alone, with a growing group of people dedicated to the process of collecting data about their lives.
During the DIA presentation we were also able to examine the current provision of health information services ranging from professional applications such as ‘ePocrates’ and ‘medscape’, through to diagnostic services from the NHS in the United Kingdom.
We even looked at an example scenario where a packet of Paracetamol was placed on the lectern, and filmed with an AurasmaLite, such that a virtual assistant stood on top of the packet – ready to provide patient information to the user. Such possibilities mean that real world products can be annotated and augmented with virtual data, or in this case health information.
The point of the session was to help the pharmaceutical and health industries understand that there are some basic considerations that we can be thinking about now, which may impact on how we deliver health information to both patients and healthcare professionals in the near future.
Some key take-aways, when approaching SoLoMo as a concept:
What information do you have, that might be useful to someone while ‘on the move’?
Where might they want to access such information, and how might the location provide relevant context? How would they engage with the information? Could they share or socialise the actions?
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The latest annual Safe-Rx Awards from electronic prescribing network Surescripts ranks Minnesota as the top U.S. state for e-prescribing activity, a significant jump from the state's 11th place ranking in last year's awards.
Boehringer Ingelheim and nonprofit group Cancer Care launched a tool Thursday designed to make cancer care social.
The effort, called MyCancerCircle.net, creates free, private networks that let families and friends sign up to help caregivers with tasks like doing the shopping for patients, delivering meals or signing up to visit. Once the community leader sets up an activity that includes a description and the needed dates, they can send out an email blast. A calendar shows members what's been claimed and what's still needed. MyCancerCircle.net also links members to a list of Cancer Care's services, including events like a dial-in stress-management workshop.
The effort comes amid growing evidence that consumers are becoming more comfortable with using social media as a health resource. A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that a third of adults have read about a loved one's health experiences via outlets like Facebook or Twitter.
Yet, “this is really the first of its kind for oncology patients. We were really looking for a service that we felt was needed in this community and among these patients,” a spokesperson for Boehringer Ingelheim told MM&M.
The website is supported by Lotsa Helping Hands, which has created similar communities for partners such as the Wounded Warrior Project, the Alzheimer's Association and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Lotsa Helping Hands' chief marketing officer, Brooks Kenny, told MM&M the average community size hits at least 50 members, but can be far larger. Kenny said that the National Family Caregiver Association, which is a Lotsa Helping Hand partner, alone brings close to 20,000 volunteers across its sub communities.
Although caregivers can easily be bombarded with advice and books that talk about the importance of setting aside time for personal matters and exercise, Kenny said that it's not enough. Caregivers “need help,” she said. Specifically, Kenny said that family and friends often want to help but lack structure. The result: caregivers and patients “end up with a lot of meals at their doorstep.” She also said that the community leaders are often friends or family members, because caregivers are already overwhelmed.
“When we see someone who has a cancer diagnosis, what do we always say? ‘What can I do to help?'” she said. Stats show the communities have taken off: Kenny said 2.1 million tasks have been claimed since Lotsa Helping Hand launched its communities in 2005.
Pfizer has launched a new website called ‘Campaign Against Migraine’ to help migraine sufferers in the US learn more about their condition.
Campaign Against Migraine offers patients new tools to help them better understand the types of headaches they may experience. It also offers an interactive quiz to help them determine how well their current treatment is working.
Among the website’s other features is the ‘ID Migraine’ quiz, a migraine diary to help sufferers record their symptoms and migraine triggers, and a doctor discussion guide.
Pfizer is hoping this disease awareness campaign will help increase sales of its migraine treatment Relpax (eletriptan HBr), which is licensed to treat acute migraine.
The drug made $341 million last year, around half of which came from sales in the US. The firm currently competes for market space with GSK’s Imitrex, which made around $100 million less than Relpax last year.
But both companies will start coming under pressure from Allergan’s Botox, which recently gained a new license for migraines in the US and Europe.
Campaigns such as these are often used to boost sales of migraine drugs, and to shore up awareness of established medicines for the condition, ahead of a new drug coming onto the market.
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, more than 30 million Americans suffer from migraines.
But Pfizer says that migraine continues to be a poorly understood condition that is frequently undiagnosed and undertreated.
Pfizer points to a recent survey of more than 9,000 migraine sufferers, which shows that 8 out of 10 may not be on the right medication to treat their condition.
“With the availability of effective treatments today, the fact that so many sufferers are potentially not getting the relief they should is disturbing,” said Elodie Ramos, migraine portfolio medical lead for US brands.
“We’re giving patients information that can make a positive change in their lives.”
Pfizer has spent much time and money on digital disease awareness campaigns, such as its interactive online football game for ankylosing spondylitis and its more recent site for Dupuytren’s disease.
Apple starts rejecting medicine dosage apps with huge implications for doctors, patients and other healthcare professionals (Huge overreaction to uChek RT @Medgadget: Apple now rejecting new medical apps that include drug dosages |
Accenture highlights six healthcare technology trends that will impact how life sciences companies use technology in the future to drive growth.
According to a recent Accenture study, more than two-thirds of consumers in the United States seek medical advice via the Internet and social media. Marketing teams could share early feedback on products with the R&D team. Using social media in pharma to foster stronger collaboration and forge links that result in innovation within a life sciences company.
Accenture recommends that life science firms embed use of social technologies across the organization: Many life sciences companies have invested in technology but adoption is patchy within the enterprise and with partners. IT leaders should have a road map for social collaboration to increase adoption throughout the organization.
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If you’re exhibiting at or running a trade show – or thinking of starting one – the correct use of social media can be the single difference between standing out and driving a boatload of footfall to your stand or event… or disappearing without a trace.
Many physicians post YouTube videos to educate patients about specific health issues. In addition, some doctors use YouTube to build their personal brand, post presentations that accompany studies and share information with their colleagues.