In an effort to collaborate around healthcare innovation, Harvard's prestigious Business and Medical Schools formed a joint initiative last year called the Forum on Healthcare Innovation. They described the joint effort this way:.
"Sharing the latest medical research on your hospital’s blog and social media accounts can help you attract followers and build up buzz for your facility. In addition to keeping consumers informed about breakthroughs being made at your own hospital, you can also monitor peer-reviewed journals for interesting developments and summarize them for your followers.
Once you’ve found something newsworthy to talk about, you’ll need to determine the best platform or platforms to share it on. If you’re sharing an article that doesn’t require much explanation, you might just write a quick summary and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or LinkedIn. For more complicated items, you might want to write a new blog post and share it. You could also an image to go along with the post. The image can then be shared on Facebook, Pinterest, or Flickr. It’s a good idea to put your website URL or the name of your hospital on the image so that people can tell where it came from no matter how many times it gets re-shared."
Tactus Therapy Solutions, based in Vancouver, Canada, brings the latest technology to speech rehabilitation. "Tactus" means touch in Latin, and the touch screen is what makes Tactus Therapy Solutions so unique and easy to use.
While most industries today collect data – a lot of data – the healthcare industry may take the proverbial cake when it comes to the amount of potential data to collect. Think about it: given that science had now decoded the human genome, every patient walks into the front door of a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital automatically carrying about a terabyte of data before any patient history is even taken or physical examination is begun.
Beyond the codes contained in a patient’s body or the background contained in his or her medical history, or the images that can be captured via x-rays, CT scans, PET scans and MRIs, there is a plethora of other information that can be added to the “big data” pile, according to Frank X. Speidel, MD, writing for HIT Consultant.
“Beyond clinical, physiologic metrics, we ought also to capture the data of all that affects the patient,” writes Speidel. “Much of this expanded data will be unstructured such as is present in social network data set or quantified but predicted such as weather reports and pollen counts.”
Speidel recounts the story of two college students who presented to a hospital where he once worked as an emergency physician with lesions characteristic of meningococcemia. In an era before social media, university officials had to painstakingly piece together the students’ movements and activities over the past several days in order to determine whom the students had had close personal contact with.
“Flash forward to 2013,” writes Dr. Speidel. “Given the same presentation of two college students with meningococcemia, how much improved would our care be if we had access to their Twitter and Facebook data as we sought to identify those who had close contact with the students?”
Public health officials have already begun to tap social media as an excellent tool for tracking disease outbreaks. This, of course, raises privacy issues, which are much on the nation’s mind since the revelations about the NSA’s data tracking.
“There’s a challenge here in that some of these [data] systems are tightening in terms of access,” John Brownstein, director of the computational epidemiology group at Children’s Hospital Boston and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, told the NIH publication Environmental Health Perspectives. “But we are seeing a movement towards data philanthropy in that companies are looking for ways to release data for health research without risking privacy. And at the same time, government officials and institutions at all levels see the data’s value and potential.”
In the future, we might see ourselves signing waivers or addenda to our social media accounts indicating that it’s OK for health officials to mine our data for critical information in case of an outbreak or a pandemic. It’s one more element of “big data” that could ultimately be used to save lives.
Part two of a first-person experiment: Two weeks with the Fitbit Flex exposes the power, and the limits, of wearable fitness tracking devices.
Since living with the Fitbit, I am far more consciously aware of everything I do that even remotely affects my health. Wearing a tracker makes you think about how often you opt for the elevator, how full your plate is at every meal, and how much sleep you get on a daily basis. While I'm not neccesarily eating any better, I'm becoming more aware of what I eat too often (bagels) and not enough (anything green).
On the flip side, since wearing the tracker I've been sleeping more - and I feel that I've been sleeping better. Before using the Flex I'd been down to about five to six hours a night. And my sleep efficiency for the last two weeks has risen to a pretty stellar 94%.
The Fitbit Flex wristband, which carries the tracker, is a surprisingly comfortable device. It's waterproof and unobtrusive while sleeping. Plus, one of its best features is a silent alarm function far less jarring when compared with a blaring alarm clock.
But like I said earlier, I'm not getting much in the way of suggestions. It would be great, for instance, if the Fitbit app on my iPhone let me know when I was spending an unhealthy amount of time sitting, perhaps with a nudging notification telling me to go take a walk. Instead, it just shows a depressing pie chart, making sure to highlight my time spent wasting away in a chair with the color gray.
Proteus Digital Health, the ingestible sensor company that raised $45 million in May — the largest funding raise in digital health this year so far — has published the results of a small clinical trial in a peer-reviewed journal.
In the era of the iPhone, Facebook, and Twitter, we want frictionless, “turnkey” solutions to the major difficulties of the world. We prefer instructional videos to teachers, drones to troops, incentives to institutions.
Companies are rushing to win approval for a drug mimicking the effects of a rare gene mutation linked with astoundingly low LDL cholesterol levels, and many heart researchers are bracing for a blockbuster.
Wearable computing devices are projected to explode in popularity over the next year and with a wave of new gadgets set to hit the consumer market, could soon become the norm for most people within five years. ABI Research forecasts the wearable computing device market will grow to 485 million annual device shipments by 2018.
Currently, sports and activity trackers account for the largest chunk of wearable technologies shipped today. Smart activity trackers are widely available, and the device’s trendy and stylish appearance makes them very popular with a broad range of customers. It is estimated 61% of the wearable technologies market is attributed to sport/activity trackers in 2013.
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