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Scientists Uncover Invisible Motion in Video

Scientists Uncover Invisible Motion in Video | healthcare technology |

A group of scientists have developed a system that amplifies tiny movements in videos, a technique that could have practical applications in fields as diverse as health care, manufacturing and law enforcement.

A 30-second video of a newborn baby shows the infant silently snoozing in its crib, his breathing barely perceptible. But when the video is run through an algorithm that can amplify both movement and color, the baby’s face blinks crimson with each tiny heartbeat.

The amplification process is called Eulerian Video Magnification, and is the brainchild of a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

The team originally developed the program to monitor neonatal babies without making physical contact. But they quickly learned that the algorithm can be applied to other videos to reveal changes imperceptible to the naked eye. Prof. William T. Freeman, a leader on the team, imagines its use in search and rescue, so that rescuers could tell from a distance if someone trapped on a ledge, say, is still breathing.

“Once we amplify these small motions, there’s like a whole new world you can look at,” he said.

The system works by homing in on specific pixels in a video over the course of time. Frame-by-frame, the program identifies minute changes in color and then amplifies them up to 100 times, turning, say, a subtle shift toward pink to a bright crimson. The scientists who developed it believe it could also have applications in industries like manufacturing and oil exploration. For example, a factory technician could film a machine to check for small movements in bolts that might indicate an impending breakdown. In one video presented by the scientists, a stationary crane sits on a construction site, so still it could be a photograph. But once run through the program, the crane appears to sway precariously in the wind, perhaps tipping workers off to a potential hazard.

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Social Media and Patient Advocacy

These are the slides from my talk at the 4th Annual Putting Patients First Conference in Mumbai.

If god were to manifest the world using technology, he would first create something like social media. Conceptually provide technology with the ability to understand the thoughts of a population

SocMed leaves behind the old model of 1-to-1 communication – “talking to someone over the phone”  Enables one-to-many communication (via blogs or microblogging) or many-to-many communication (discussion forums, social walls). Now anyone can setup an online community site/portal to represent a small or big offline community.

Further, anyone can setup an online site related to a treatment, a disease, a doctor, a drug , a concept or anything and see it grow into a popular site which in effect is simply the manifestation of a community which exists/ed but which no one ever knew of.

Marie Ennis-O'Connor's curator insight, November 17, 2013 4:09 PM

Thanks so much for sharing your slides - i am looking forward to reading them. 

PatientView's curator insight, November 28, 2013 5:19 AM

We have figures on the scale of soical media intreaction by patient advocates. In countries where the impact of the finanical crisis is at its worst, patient advocates have turned to social media to interact with one another and raise awareness  of the predicaments of their country's healthcare system to place pressure on government when undertaking reforms. 

Plaza Dental Group's curator insight, January 29, 5:53 AM

Great info! I think SocMed  will boost the thought of population and will effect change in local communities. 

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3 advantages of using mHealth in the OR | mHealthNews

3 advantages of using mHealth in the OR | mHealthNews | healthcare technology |

The perioperative environment is commonly acknowledged as one of the hospital’s most complex.

This condensed and complex environment is precisely why complete command and control of the OR is imperative – and why mobile technology is an optimal path for helping achieve it.

In particular, mobility offers three distinct advantages that support command and control and help ensure all parties have the information they need to keep workflow and patient flow moving:

1. A near real-time, patient-centric OR perspective 

During this highly compressed episode of care, a patient is treated by a team of clinicians who are often from different departments. In addition, supporting staff such as surgical scrubs and radiology play an important part in efficient patient movement. Having a single, shared view of patient milestones – for instance, when prophylactic antibiotics are administered, anesthesia is induced and the incision is made, or surgery is complete and the patient is on his way to PACU – allows the entire care team to know exactly what is happening which supports the delivery of more coordinated care. Giving everyone this same view on a mobile device can further synchronize care among disparate care providers.

As a result, the patient is more likely to move efficiently between care events, and clinicians are less likely to miss specific timing for milestones such as medication administration.

2. A comprehensive OR view supports better decisions with fewer interruptions

A patient-centric view enables the OR team to keep one patient on the most efficient, highest quality care path. Sometimes, however, this path requires an adjustment that can impact the entire OR.

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NHS tests 'plaster' patient-monitor

NHS tests 'plaster' patient-monitor | healthcare technology |

The NHS is starting to test a sticking-plaster-sized patient-monitoring patch.

Placed on the chest, it wirelessly transmits data on heart rate, breathing and body-temperature while the patient is free to move around.

Independent experts say the system, developed in Britain, could ease pressure on wards and has the potential to monitor patients in their own home.

But the Royal College of Nursing says there is no substitute for having enough staff.

Routine checks for vital signs - including temperature, blood pressure and heart rate - are a key part of care and safety in hospitals.

Typically they may be carried out every four hours, depending on the patient's condition.

But patients can deteriorate between checks, putting them at risk.

A hospital in Brighton run by the private healthcare firm Spire has been testing the battery-powered patch, which updates information on some of the vital signs every couple of minutes.

The wireless device, developed by the Oxford-based firm Sensium Healthcare, then issues an alert if the readings fall outside pre-set levels, indicating a potential problem.

The patch is placed on the chest just above the heart when the patient is admitted. There are no cables to any monitors. Instead, readings are recorded and transmitted to a box in each room that works like a wi-fi router, passing on data to the hospital IT system.

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Is Integration the Key to Google Fit and HealthKit’s Success?

Is Integration the Key to Google Fit and HealthKit’s Success? | healthcare technology |

As tech giants like Apple, Google and Samsung compete over dominance in the healthcare market, with their latest platforms and apps, the question remains will any or all of these innovations truly tap into the greater realm of consumer health?  Aside from the buzz now emanating from consumers’ pockets, is there a real signal being sent out here about how to change healthcare, or will these latest consumer-concentric technologies add nothing more than noise?

Welltok's Scott Rotermund explains that what we really need from Google Fit and HealthKit is an integrated approach that not only collects data, but also meshes with the current healthcare ecosystem.

What lessons learned from the disappointments associated with the consumer use of FitBit and others tell us about behavior change?

We’ve learned two things:

1. A cool gadget is not enough – The novelty will wear off along with the use of the wearable. In my experience, most people lose interest in their tracking device after a month – they learn their sleep patterns, know average steps, etc. To maintain usage, we’ve tied tracking devices to challenges, participatory incentives and personalized action plans with defined goals.

2. Relying on the consumers to take action – With the startling statistics associated to preventable diseases like obesity and diabetes, it’s safe to say that we cannot expect consumers to take action on their own. These big tech giants are treating health activities as they would consumer electronics – the same rules don’t apply. To move beyond early adopters, they need to tie into programs that provide personalized guidance on how to use the trackers and the resulting data, and align those defined actions with the right incentives to get people moving.

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Could health apps save your life? That depends on the FDA

Could health apps save your life? That depends on the FDA | healthcare technology |

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates everything from heart monitors to horse vaccines, will soon have its hands full with consumer health apps and devices.

The vast majority of the health apps you’ll find in Apple’s or Google’s app stores are harmless, like step counters and heart beat monitors. They’re non-clinical, non-actionable, and informational or motivational in nature.

But the next wave of biometric devices and apps might go further, measuring things like real-time blood pressure, blood glucose, and oxygen levels.

More clinical apps

The FDA is charged with keeping watch on the safety and efficacy of consumer health products. Lately, that includes more clinical apps as well as devices you might buy at the drugstore, like a home glucose testing kit.

“It’s these apps that the FDA says it will regulate,” David Bates of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Physicians Organization told VentureBeat in June. These apps will have to go through the full 510(k) process,” he said.

Dr. Bates chaired a group to advise the FDA on how to review health apps for approval, and on how the FDA should advise developers.

“It was intended to help them think through the risk factors involved with these products and then give guidance on how to stay within the guidelines,” he said.

“The device makers were asking from some guidance from The FDA on what types of things would be accepted and what wouldn’t,” Bates said.

Bates believes the FDA wants to use a light regulatory touch when looking at new medical devices. “The FDA definitely wants innovation to continue in clinical devices,” he said. “In general the FDA knows that the vast majority of apps are just informational.”

The FDA’s final guidance focuses on a small subset of mobile apps that present a greater risk to patients if they do not work as intended.

Health apps go mainstream

The big software companies (Apple, Google, and Samsung) have brought attention to, and lent credibility to, apps and devices that do more than count steps. These companies are building large cloud platforms designed to collect health data from all sorts of health apps and devices.

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I make house calls: A tablet, a stethoscope and the future of medicine

I make house calls: A tablet, a stethoscope and the future of medicine | healthcare technology |

As I see it, mobile-savvy physicians have half-a-dozen distinct advantages over their office-bound brethren:

Mobile physicians can provide better care. I follow my patients everywhere, from my office to the hospital and their homes. In fact, I’ve made more that 10,000 house calls since 1984. Many of my patients have diabetes-related disabilities, so it’s not unusual that trips across town to my office would be next to impossible for them. But I know that I can often keep a patient out of the hospital by providing timely care. That simple fact alone - that I can better serve my patients - keeps me going to their homes as needed.

Mobile health requires less equipment. I started making house calls long before I started using technology. Today’s devices and software are catching up with the way I practice. I now carry only two instruments as I move from location to location: a stethoscope and an iPad.

Mobile physicians can stay connected. Being mobile means I can pull up information I need anytime through a secure Internet connection. Log-in is almost instantaneous with the iPad and I can switch easily from screen to screen, so I can stay focused on the patient. Because I’m always connected, I can take care of many tasks right away - before, during or after seeing a patient. At the end of the day, I’m not chained to the office. I can take my device home with me and finish the day’s “paperwork” after spending time with my family.

Mobile health improves continuity of care. Traditionally, care falters anytime a patient goes from one stage of care to the next. Mobile health is closing some of those gaps. I recently visited a patient with bedsores, for instance. In the past, I would have written a paragraph describing the wound. With the iPad, I can take a picture of the wound, send it to my team and tell them what I did to treat it and how I want them to follow up. They don’t have to interpret my words; they can see the wound for themselves.

Mobile technologies speed workflow. The system I use from Greenway Health enables me to complete and manage most tasks on the iPad. Dictating notes through Siri saves me hours of manual documentation. I still need to use the office computer to integrate unstructured data into the patient’s record, but each release provides more mobile functionality. I fully expect that someday I will be able to do everything from a single portable device.

Mobile physicians are poised for interoperability. My practice in Brooklyn is a completely integrated electronic practice. Within my office, we maintain a complete record of every patient, no matter where that patient was seen. We attested to Stage 1 meaningful use in 2011 and - thanks to all of our work to integrate knowledge across our practice - I’m confident we’re ready for the subsequent stages of meaningful use. Most importantly, our records are more complete, we have access to important details about our patients, and that helps us deliver better care.

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ProTransport-1 to Deploy Google Glass in Ambulances and Mobile Medicine Units

ProTransport-1 to Deploy Google Glass in Ambulances and Mobile Medicine Units | healthcare technology |

ProTransport-1, a Northern California based medical transport provider has announced a software partnership with CrowdOptic, maker of mobile and wearable broadcasting solutions to deploy the CrowdOptic Google Glass broadcasting solution in its ambulances and mobile medicine units.

ProTransport-1 will use CrowdOptic’s software solution that will allow paramedics and nurses to broadcast through Google Glass a live view of complex cases from the ambulance to medical teams at the receiving hospital during transport. According to the press release, the companies aim to “improve documentation and expand medical consultative opportunities for patients en route.

“CrowdOptic’s see-what-I-see technology allows paramedics and nurses on our ambulances to broadcast the live view of complex cases to medical teams at the hospital”, said Glenn Leland, Chief Strategy Officer for ProTransport-1.

Additionally, ProTransport-1 envisions multiple opportunities to utilize CrowdOptic’s software particularly in the mobile medical setting by enabling a two-way educational forum between a patient in their home and providers.  “We additionally envision a variety of dispatch, navigation, documentation and operational processes will migrate to CrowdOptic and Google Glass over time” said Glenn Leland, Chief Strategy Officer for ProTransport-1.

ChemaCepeda's curator insight, July 18, 4:41 AM

Una de las múltiples utilidades de las Google Glass en salud es su aplicación en el ámbito de las emergencias, como forma de transmisión de información en directo a las centrales de coordinación, como para soporte visual durante el tratamiento de los pacientes. ¿Acabaremos llevándolas como un dispositivo de trabajo más?

Marco Antonio Gonzalez's curator insight, July 18, 8:25 AM

Google Glass in Emergency

RixhPlayZ's curator insight, July 22, 1:24 AM

Smart Doctor That uses Google Glasses.!!

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Personalized medicine for breast cancer patients may be just around the corner

Personalized medicine for breast cancer patients may be just around the corner | healthcare technology |

For breast cancer patients, the era of personalized medicine may be just around the corner, thanks to recent advances by USC Stem Cell researcher Min Yu and scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

In a July 11 study in Science, Yu and hercolleagues report how they isolated breastcancer cells circulating through the blood streams of six patients. Some of these deadly cancer cells are the "seeds" of metastasis, which travel to and establish secondary tumors in vital organs such as the bone, lungs, liver and brain.

Yu and her colleagues managed to expand this small number of cancer cells in the laboratory over a period of more than six months, enabling the identification of new mutations and the evaluation of drug susceptibility.

If perfected, this technique could eventually allow doctors to do the same: use cancer cells isolated from patients' blood to monitor the progression of their diseases, pre-test drugs and personalize treatment plans accordingly.

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Bringing Big Data Analytics To Health Care

Bringing Big Data Analytics To Health Care | healthcare technology |

Big data offers breakthrough possibilities for new research and discoveries, better patient care, and greater efficiency in health and health care, as detailed in the July issue of Health Affairs. As with any new tool or technique, there is a learning curve.

Here are some guidelines to help take full advantage of big data's potential:

Acquire the “right” data for the project, even if it might be difficult to obtain.

Many organizations – both inside and outside of health care – tend to stick with the data that’s easily accessible and that they’re comfortable with, even if it provides only a partial picture and doesn’t successfully unlock the value big data analytics may offer. But we have found that when organizations develop a “weighted data wish list” and allocate their resources towards acquiring high-impact data sources as well as easy-to-acquire sources, they discover greater returns on their big data investment.

Ensure that initial pilots have wide applicability.

Health organizations will get the most from big data when everyone sees the value and participates. Too often, though, initial analytics projects may be so self-contained that it is hard to see how any of the results might apply elsewhere in the organization.

Before using new data, make sure you know its provenance (where it came from) and its lineage (what’s been done to it).

Often in the excitement of big data, decision-makers and project staff forget this basic advice. They are often in a hurry to immediately start data mining efforts to search for unknown patterns and anomalies. We’ve seen many cases where such new data wasn’t properly scrutinized – and where supposed patterns and anomalies later turned out to be irrelevant or grossly misleading.

Don’t start with a solution; introduce a problem and consult with a data scientist.

Unlike conventional analytics platforms, big data platforms can easily allow subject-matter experts direct access to the data, without the need for database administrators or others to serve as intermediaries in making queries. This provides health researchers with an unprecedented ability to explore the data – to pursue promising leads, search for patterns and follow hunches, all in real time. We have found, however, that many organizations don’t take advantage of this capability.

Health organizations often build a big data platform, but fail to take full advantage of it. They continue to use the small-data approaches they’re accustomed to, or they rush headlong into big data, forgetting best practices in analytics.

It’s important to aim for initial pilots with wide applicability, a clear understanding of where one’s data comes from, and an approach that starts with a problem, not a solution. Perhaps the hardest task is finding the right balance.

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BlackBerry boosts mHealth interoperability with new OS

BlackBerry boosts mHealth interoperability with new OS | healthcare technology |

With the unveiling of a new clinical operating system for medical devices, BlackBerry is once again making a play for mHealth.

QNX Software Systems, which was acquired by BlackBerry in 2010, has released a new operating system that's billed as being IEC 62304-compliant. With its sights set on alleviating the regulatory and financial burden for device manufacturers, the operating system supports both single- and multicore devices based on ARMv7 and Intel x86 processors. The OS also features an application programming interface to make it compatible with other QNX operating systems, officials said.

"When it comes to medical device software, the OS sets the tone: Unless it provides the architecture to enable reliable operation and a clear audit trail to substantiate claims about its dependability, the entire process of device approval can be put in jeopardy," said Grant Courville, QNX's director of product management, in a July 15 press statement. "By providing an OS that has been independently verified to comply with the IEC 62304 standard, we are helping manufacturers reduce the cost and effort of developing devices that require regulatory approval from agencies such as the FDA, MDD and MHRA."

This is far from BlackBerry's first big move into the healthcare space. In April, the telecommunications behemoth lent financial support to cloud-based health IT company NantHealth, a startup spearheaded by billionaire healthcare mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD.

"We've built supercomputers that can do the genomic analysis in real-time; we've built super computers that can actually take feeds of CT scans from EMRs and feed it directly to mobile devices. All of that, regardless of where it comes from, regardless of the EMR, regardless of the device, whether it be via ventilator, or IV tube, we're agnostic to, and it speaks to this operating system," said Soon-Shiong.

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EHR Analysis More Effective, Cost Efficient Than Clinical Trials

The use of electronic health records to identify the best treatment option for patients is more efficient and less costly than the current clinical trial process, according to a study published in the journal Health Technology Assessment

Study Details

For the study, which was funded in part by the National Institute for Health Research and the Welcome Trust, researchers from several universities in the United Kingdom, used a new computer program in 23 approved general practitioners across England and Scotland.

The first part of the study used 300 patients' electronic health records, which are stored in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink and updated during routine medical visits, to monitor the effects of their prescribed treatments.

A second part of the study, which involved 31 participants, looked at the use of antibiotics among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Study Findings

The researchers determined that they were able to understand health patterns related to specific prescribed medications and determine which treatments were more effective by analyzing EHRs.

They added that the EHR analysis offers a larger and more diverse overview of the general population than current clinical trial methods.

The researchers also noted that using EHRs allows the analysis to be conducted with minimal effects on the lives of the patients, whose involvement in the process stops after their initial consent.

According to the researchers, 26 out of 27 general practitioners who participated in the study expressed strong support for the use of patients' EHRs for research purposes. In addition, 10 patients who were interviewed by the researchers all said that their involvement in trial was an acceptable practice

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Genetic researchers have a new tool in API-controlled lab robots

Genetic researchers have a new tool in API-controlled lab robots | healthcare technology |

A life-sciences-as-a-service startup called Transcriptic has opened its APIs to the general public, allowing researchers around the world offload tedious lab work to robots so researchers can spend more of their time analyzing the results.

Using a set of APIs, researchers can now command Transcriptic’s purpose-built robots to process, analyze, and store their genetic or biological samples, and receive results in days.

The high concept idea, says Founder and CEO Max Hodak, is cloud computing for life sciences — only with “robotic work cells” instead of servers on the other end. “We see the lab in terms of the devices that make it up,” he said, meaning stuff like incubators, freezers, liquid handlers and robotic arms to replace human arms.

And although Transcriptic’s technology is complex, the process for getting work done is actually pretty simple. Researchers write code to tell the robots exactly what to do with the samples (right now, the company focuses on molecular cloning, genotyping, bacteria-growing and bio-banking), and then they send their samples to the Transcriptic lab.

Alternatively, Transcriptic’s robotic infrastructure can also synthesize samples for users.

And although Transcriptic’s technology is complex, the process for getting work done is actually pretty simple.

Researchers write code to tell the robots exactly what to do with the samples (right now, the company focuses on molecular cloning, genotyping, bacteria-growing and bio-banking), and then they send their samples to the Transcriptic lab. Alternatively, Transcriptic’s robotic infrastructure can also synthesize samples for users.

When the job is done, researchers get their results. That process can take anywhere from a day to weeks, Hodak explained, in part because the company’s operation is still pretty small and in part because “cells only grow and divide so quickly.”

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70 percent of physicians now send prescriptions electronically

70 percent of physicians now send prescriptions electronically | healthcare technology |

New numbers from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT show that far more doctors are filing prescriptions electronically than in 2008.

As of the end of April, 70 percent of doctors say that they are using the e-prescribing function common in electronic health record (EHR) software to send prescriptions to pharmacies.

The prescription pad, the phone, and the fax machine have been the dominant means of writing prescriptions for most of medicine’s modern age.

Just 4 percent of new prescriptions and refills were filed electronically in 2008. By 2013, that number had risen to 57 percent.

“We believe that financial incentives can drive providers’ adoption and use of health information technology, such as e-prescribing, and that health information networks can be a powerful tool in tracking incentives’ progress,” the authors said.

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How Apple and Google plan to reinvent health care

How Apple and Google plan to reinvent health care | healthcare technology |

Mike Dittenber had always wanted to go skydiving. There was only one problem: “At my heaviest I clocked in around 330 pounds,” says Dittenber, a technical writer from Michigan. “That’s above the weight restriction for a tandem jump.” During a doctor’s visit last spring, he got some more bad news. “I had delayed getting a physical for a while, but eventually I had to. Turned out I was borderline diabetic and right on the cusp of hypertension.” His doctor warned him that if he didn’t get his weight under control quickly he would need to begin taking medication. “It was a wake-up call.”

Dittenber had previously tried Weight Watchers, which worked for a time, but didn’t last for long. This time he decided to take matters into his own hands withMyFitnessPal, a mobile app that helps users track their calorie intake and exercise. The app became a gateway to a universe of digital health products. “I ended up buying a Fitbit, because that pairs with MyFitnessPal,” he says. “Turns out I don’t hate running. I don’t love it, but I can take it.” He added the Runkeeper app to log his distance and purchased a Garmin Forerunner 220 to help him maintain the right pace. Since he began using the tracking his health data in June of 2013, Dittenber has lost 110 pounds.

Using a smartphone as the central hub for tracking, analyzing, and motivating exercise has become a phenomenon. MyFitnessPal, which now claims over 65 million registered users, is one of the most popular digital health apps. But its success is part of a much broader trend. Venture funding for startups in the sector reaching $2.3 billion in the first half of 2014, more than was invested in all of 2013. More importantly, three of the biggest players in tech — Apple, Google, and Samsung — have all thrown their weight behind platform plays aiming to aggregate and simplify the universe of devices and apps available to consumers.

“We could be at a real tipping point,” says Harry Wang, an analyst who leads health and mobile research for Park Associates. “Fitness devices and apps have been a fast-growing but still relatively niche market. These new ecosystems, if they gain traction, could finally push the industry into the mainstream.” Success isn’t guaranteed, but Wang says it makes sense for the fragmented digital health industry to rally behind powerful companies. Apple's Healthkit and Google Fit can help reach a broader audience and forge partnerships with the traditional health care industry that would be hard for startups to accomplish alone. “It would be a transformation, with a lot of big winners, and losers as well.”

Hardware gets the squeeze

For many years the digital health industry has been driven by wearable devices like the Fitbit, Nike’s Fuelband, and Jawbone’s Up. But if the titans of the smartphone industry succeed in creating a dominant platform for health and fitness data, this business could be in trouble. "A lot of the basic functions we have seen in fitness wearables — tracking your steps, taking your heart rate — those functions will become basic features on a smartphone or smartwatch," says Wang.

Software’s turn to shine

While some big hardware players may get squeezed by the rise of mainstream smartphone platforms for digital health, app developers stand to make huge gains. "Devices like Fitbit and Jawbone have been essential to driving the industry forward, but they never got above 2 or 3 percent penetration with the general population," says Malay Gandhi, a managing partner at the venture capital firm Rock Health. "With smartphones as the central device powering this ecosystem, software companies will suddenly have access to tens of millions of new customers."

Gandhi believes this change will broaden the demographics in the digital health market. "Right now most of the people using this stuff are early adopter types, techies who are into the quantified lifestyle, or younger people who want to optimize their athletic performance." With just your smartphone as the baseline, he sees a chance to get older and less tech savvy people involved. "Your average consumer isn’t going to learn about pairing a wristband or managing a dozen different apps. But he or she might use the software that comes standard on their iPhone."

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What Health IT Can Learn Fom the Food Network

What Health IT Can Learn Fom the Food Network | healthcare technology |

Here are three lessons we can learn from Chopped:

More doesn’t necessarily mean better, the details are what matter. Any chef can tell you that one can cook a delicious spread, but over/under season the dish, and he or she will be doing the walk of shame. Those of us in health IT also know the importance of applying a discerning eye to data. We have seen the dangers of things such as note bloat and copy forward, and we need ensure that those who are accessing the health data are able to immediately find what they need. Just as you shouldn’t have to eat an entire bowl of spaghetti to find a meatball, you shouldn’t have to manually parse through a patient’s entire medical record to find a glucose level from last week.

Presentation is everything. My wife says, and she is always right, “you eat with your eyes first.” A good chef knows the importance of combining and arranging the ingredients of a dish in a way that is appetizing to the foodie. The same goes for personal health data. We can be tracking every heartbeat and measuring every level in our body, however, if it is not organized and presented in a meaningful way, it will not be accepted by physicians or health consumers.

Vision needs to become reality. Chefs who do not thoroughly think through the elements of their recipes often find themselves out of time or presenting a dish that differs from what they had envisioned. Similarly, while it is great to imagine the future of health IT, what we need right now are well-thought out, logical, and achievable solutions that transform even the most challenging ingredients into a delicacy (Remember the monkey brains served during the dinner scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?).

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Big Data Peeps At Your Medical Records To Find Drug Problems

Big Data Peeps At Your Medical Records To Find Drug Problems | healthcare technology |

It's been tough to identify the problems that only turn up after medicines are on the market. An experimental project is now combing through data to get earlier, more accurate warnings.

No one likes it when a new drug in people's medicine cabinets turns out to have problems — just remember the Vioxx debacle a decade ago, when the painkiller was removed from the market over concerns that it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.

To do a better job of spotting unforeseen risks and side effects, the Food and Drug Administration is trying something new — and there's a decent chance that it involves your medical records.

It's called Mini-Sentinel, and it's a $116 million government project to actively go out and look for adverse events linked to marketed drugs. This pilot program is able to mine huge databases of medical records for signs that drugs may be linked to problems.

The usual system for monitoring the safety of marketed drugs has real shortcomings. It largely relies on voluntary reports from doctors, pharmacists, and just plain folks who took a drug and got a bad outcome.

"We get about a million reports a year that way," says Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "But those are random. They are whatever people choose to send us."

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Can Mobile Technologies and Big Data Improve Health?

Can Mobile Technologies and Big Data Improve Health? | healthcare technology |

After decades as a technological laggard, medicine has entered its data age. Mobile technologies, sensors, genome sequencing, and advances in analytic software now make it possible to capture vast amounts of information about our individual makeup and the environment around us. The sum of this information could transform medicine, turning a field aimed at treating the average patient into one that’s customized to each person while shifting more control and responsibility from doctors to patients.

The question is: can big data make health care better?

“There is a lot of data being gathered. That’s not enough,” says Ed Martin, interim director of the Information Services Unit at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. “It’s really about coming up with applications that make data actionable.”

The business opportunity in making sense of that data—potentially $300 billion to $450 billion a year, according to consultants McKinsey & Company—is driving well-established companies like Apple, Qualcomm, and IBM to invest in technologies from data-capturing smartphone apps to billion-dollar analytical systems. It’s feeding the rising enthusiasm for startups as well.

Venture capital firms like Greylock Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as well as the corporate venture funds of Google, Samsung, Merck, and others, have invested more than $3 billion in health-care information technology since the beginning of 2013—a rapid acceleration from previous years, according to data from Mercom Capital Group. 

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4 ways wearables will transform the healthcare experience

4 ways wearables will transform the healthcare experience | healthcare technology |

Wearable technologies are set to transform health and wellness experiences and massively increase our expectations of health and wellness services.

This customer shift will transform the health and wellness industry as a whole, dragging regulation and governance kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Because there’s nothing quite like a vast, shouting mob (of wealthy voters) to drive change.

But first, a little background.

The smartphone IS the killer wearable

Most of us have a smartphone. Comscore reports 69% of US citizens and 62% of Canadians own one. Every day more of us are connecting them to our daily activities, homes, cars and communities.

The expanding universe of “wearable” sensors and peripherals are often simply data inputs for a smartphone-based experience. We expect to see few devices succeed without this symbiotic relationship. Those that try, usually offer an experience that’s inferior to simply pulling out your phone.

The major smartphone manufacturers are heavily invested in developing wearable “ecosystems” around their devices. Through close-range sensing technologies like BLE (iBeacon), NFC and RFID, plus increased availability of mobile web access through Wi-Fi hotspots and cheaper data plans, there’s every reason to expect this trend to continue.

The smartphone already is a wearable. And it’s the hub – a “life tracker” with a growing entourage of sensory peripherals on our bodies, in our homes and all around us.

We’ll share our lives in return for transformative wellness experiences

A paradigm shift is coming to the world of health and wellness. With the devices on our bodies and in our pockets gathering useful data about our movements, behaviours, preferences and wellbeing, more informed decisions become available.

So what happens next?1. The value we receive from sharing our wellness data will erode our privacy fears.2. Augmented reality will eventually become the new normal for healthcare professionals.3. Personal healthcare innovations will be swiftly subsumed into the major ecosystems. (Apple and Google)4. Healthcare providers need to embed digital capabilities, fast

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Zheng Pupeng Megan's curator insight, July 21, 8:59 PM

Having wearable technology that aids in healthcare is indeed an ideal. As this futuristic idea is one that will shed positivity to many aspects of healthcare monitoring, this article is carefully framed in a way that presents this technology as one that is more advantageous than detrimental.


The "impression management" of such a technology is done in a positive way that would allow people to digest and accept this new technology with an open mind. Even the listing of the limitations of this technology was rounded off with possible solutions to give a flawless image that would not arouse negative suspicions.


The overall article does provide sufficient knowledge on wearable technology and also effectively gives a two sided argument on the pros and cons of it, without ruining its good branding image.

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The pacemaker of the future might be made of heart cells

The pacemaker of the future might be made of heart cells | healthcare technology |

Cardiologists in Los Angeles have developed a gene-therapy technique that allows them to transform working heart-muscle cells into cells that regulate a pigs’ heartbeat. This procedure, described today in the Science Translational Medicine, restored normal heart rates for two weeks in pigs that usually rely on mechanical pacemakers. The experiment, researchers say, could lead to lifesaving therapies for people who suffer infections following the implantation of a mechanical pacemaker.

"We have been able for the first time to create a biological pacemaker using minimally invasive methods and to show that the new pacemaker suffices to support the demands of daily life," Eduardo Marbán, a cardiologist at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and lead author of the study, told the press yesterday. The approach is practical, added Eugenio Cingolani, a cardiogeneticist also at Cedars-Sinai and a co-author of the study, because "no open-heart surgery is required to inject this gene."

In the study, researchers injected a gene called Tbx18 into the pigs’ hearts. This gene, which is also found in humans, reprogrammed a small number of heart-muscle cells into cells that emit electrical impulses and drive the beating of the heart. The area in which this change occurred — about the size of a peppercorn — doesn't normally initiate heartbeats.

"We were able to get the biological pacemaker to turn on within 48 hours," Marbán said. To get the gene to the heart, the researchers sent a modified virus into the right ventricle through a catheter. The viral vector isn’t harmful, the researchers said, because the virus they employed was engineered to be "replication deficient" — meaning that it will not reproduce and spread beyond the heart.

Overall, the results of the study demonstrate that the pigs who received the gene therapy experienced an increase in heart rate that allowed them to be much less dependent on backup pacemakers. In contrast, the backup pacemakers were responsible for more than 40 percent of the beats in pigs who didn’t receive the gene therapy, but still underwent surgery.

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How to Boost Patient Portal Usage

How to Boost Patient Portal Usage | healthcare technology |

While portal technology has been available in other industries for some years, access to health information and records via a secure login is only now becoming common place in healthcare by the end of the year.

Patient portal are excellent opportunities for providers to expand the way they engage with their patients. Here are a some best practices for using portals in your practice.

Increase Availability

Patients with full-time jobs don’t always have the flexibility to communicate or interact with you during your traditional office hours. By offering a robust patient portal system, ideally tied into your cloud-based EHR, you provide patients with the opportunity to learn more about your practice and their health at their convenience, whether that’s late in the evening or on a weekend. This type of access provides patients a sense of comfort because they know their records are always within reach, even when your office isn’t open or you’re not on call. Including some personally written content or material for patients to view and reference online will go a long way towards creating a helpful presence, while also reducing the amount of time you have to spend explaining that information.

Improve Communication

Similarly, many portals offer secure communication channels so patients can ask questions of you or your team. Have a plan in place to respond to these questions. Try to be as prompt as possible – within reason of course.

Some patient portals also allow for the ability to schedule – or at minimum request – appointments. By taking advantage of this feature, you can help eliminate lengthy wait times on the phone, which helps both your patients and your staff.

In return, you also have the ability to easily send patients appointment reminders or contact information when a patient needs their information for a referral.

Maintain Records

Allowing the patient to fill out forms in advance of appointments or update their own address and billing information and emergency contact list not only helps the patient get through the intake process more quickly, it helps your team become more efficient. In addition, many portals also offer patients the ability to pay outstanding balances through a secure payment system. In more complex patient portals, patients can update their prescription information and problem list to help physicians reduce the likelihood of adverse events.


Explaining esoteric health information like lab results over the phone, or even in person, can be an inefficient method for educating patients. Since the information is often unfamiliar, the chance they’ll forget the information or misplace their printed instructions can be high.

Through a patient portal, you can not only deliver test results that can be read at any time, you also have the opportunity to educate the patient and his family about what those results mean. Having a library of fact-based information regarding specific conditions or upcoming tests can help alleviate stress or confusion – and maybe even prevent the patient from conducting random searches online, finding inaccurate information, and arriving at ill-founded conclusions.

It’s also a great way to educate a patient about specialists or other doctors that you may be referring him to. While the patient portal system can be very disparate – different offices may or may not be using the same portal – you still have the ability to give a patient a basic fact sheet and office contact information for the referred doctor. This is yet another way to put a patient’s mind at ease.

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nrip's insight:

PHRs/Patient portals must look beyond MU. Patient Portals should go beyond being enterprise portals and become mediums for patient engagement, health tracking and a tool towards personalized health.  They must include inputs from the patient and as such should be a bidirectional application rather than being a customized gorgeous front end to an EHR database.

I believe if done right PHR's will be a very useful tool to improving diagnostics, lowering care costs and also in prevention. 

If you'd like to take a look at an inclusive bi-directional PHR system which goes beyond MU and is always evolving, contact me on twitter at @nrip or use the form on the right to setup a call.

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New tool allows researchers to stimulate neurons and observe their signals in real time

New tool allows researchers to stimulate neurons and observe their signals in real time | healthcare technology |

In oncology, the notion of personalized medicine—in which genetic tools can be used precisely to characterize a patient's cancer and tailor treatment to a genetic profile—is now all but standard practice.

Though personalized treatments for diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, and bipolar disorders have remained frustratingly out of reach for neurologists, Harvard scientists say that could soon change.

A new technique for observing neural activity, developed by Adam Cohen, professor of chemistry and chemical biology and of physics, and colleagues including Venkatesh Murthy, professor of molecular and cellular biology, and Bernardo Sabatini, the Takeda Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, will allow scientists to stimulate neurons and observe their firing pattern in real time.

Tracing those neural pathways can help researchers answer questions about how neural signals propagate, and could one day allow doctors to design individualized treatments for a host of disorders. The study is described in a paper in Nature Methods.

"This is a tool for looking in great detail at how signals flow through neurons, and how the signal flows through circuits of neurons," Cohen said. "You can think of this as a complete neuro-electronic interface, where you can stimulate any piece of the circuit, or any subcellular region, in any pattern of space and time you can dream of. And you can then record absolutely everything that's going on in that circuit."

In addition to offering invaluable insight into how healthy neural circuits work, the system can be used to probe how disease might cause those circuits to go awry.

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Apple, IBM team to work on mHealth apps

Apple, IBM team to work on mHealth apps | healthcare technology |

It’s one of those thoughts many mHealth insiders and observers have at some point had: What if one could put the power of Watson analytics into a smartphone and interact with it like Apple’s Siri at the point of care?

Well, that specific dream moved closer to reality on Tuesday when Apple and IBM joined forces to create a mobile platform christened IBM Mobile First for iOS.

“For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a prepared statement. “This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty added that the intention is to bring the same “innovations [that] have transformed our lives,” into the ways that people work, thereby “allowing people to re-imagine work, industries, and professions.”

To that end, the companies hope that IBM Mobile First for iOS will “transform enterprise mobility through a new class of business apps,” they explained.

It’s not all that often technology giants align and rattle off healthcare as one of their target verticals, much less that Apple joins forces with any of the IT old guard — which gives the partnership a booster shot of luster. And in an mHealth industry currently going like gangbusters with too many startups to count, the sheer scale that Apple and IBM bring at the very least has the potential for significant market-shaping.

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An Apple a Day: Cues From Human Centered Design For Healthcare

An Apple a Day: Cues From Human Centered Design For Healthcare | healthcare technology |
What would a medical device suite from Apple look like? More importantly, how would it feel?

When we think about the “why” of how we design products and services, our best work usually makes this planet a better place for all of us to live. Of course, not every product can make that claim, but with the design of medical products it’s almost built in. That said, especially with the constraints imposed by regulations, it’s to claim that our hands are tied and settle for a design compromise instead of looking for the best possible and most poetic answer. One day a hospital room will need to have the equivalently delightful experience of shopping in an Apple store.

It’s coming soon.

Hard to picture? Maybe so in the short term, but as we progress, patients no longer will be willing to accept a care system or the products within it that view them as passive recipients of treatment. Patient loyalty can mean the difference between success and failure for healthcare organizations. Gaining patient loyalty comes down to one core factor: the ability of healthcare organizations to consistently deliver positive patient experiences. Organizations that can do so will own the future of healthcare.

The adoption of a patient-centered care model is becoming the main focus of innovative healthcare organizations as accountability for clinical patient satisfaction continues to grow. Positive patient experiences are no longer a nicety for healthcare systems; they are an absolute necessity. We are seeing an industry wide consciousness shift of this understanding with the steady increase of CXOs (customer experience officers) being appointed to C-suite positions across major healthcare organizations.

The future of healthcare will be won by those who put patients first, who think about patients as customers of healthcare. Again, this core value— always put your users first—is long understood in the design community.

A good way to think about it is to design these experiences looking through three lenses: beauty, ingenuity and charisma.

While we may not often think of medical products as beautiful, there is no reason not to; their expression in form and detail have the power to inspire and comfort.Ingenuity solves for problems of use and manufacture, and charisma draws people to a product because of a true understanding of need.

The trick is an uncompromising commitment to all three lenses in every solution and product designed.

With the widespread consciousness shift seen in healthcare organizations toward understanding the importance of focusing on positive patient experience, I believe that this is incredibly exciting time for design leadership to be brought to the table.

Let me pose a final question, hinted at in the first paragraph: Suppose instead of computers, Apple decided to make medical devices. What would a medical device suite from Apple look like?

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Google Smart Contact Lens Focuses On Healthcare Billions

Google Smart Contact Lens Focuses On Healthcare Billions | healthcare technology |

Google is developing a smart contact lens, with pharmaceutical giant Novartis, to help patients manage diabetes – in one of a number of moves focused squarely on billions of dollars of  potential revenue available across the total digital healthcare market.

As technology moves further into treatment with remote consultations, monitoring and operations, robotic treatments, and advanced digital diagnosis, Google has seen the opportunity to apply its own eyewear technology (up until now limited as glasses called Google Glass) to the healthcare field.

Google’s 3D mobile technology and its offering around health record digitization form potential other strands of its expansion in the health market. Last month, it released the Google Fit platform to track exercise and sleep, among other health factors – but it is far from alone, as Apple and Samsung offer similar systems in that area.

Today, under a new development and licensing deal between Google and the Alcon eyewear division at Novartis, the two companies said they will create a smart contact lens that contains a low power microchip and an almost invisible, hair-thin electronic circuit. The lens can measure diabetics’ blood sugar levels directly from tear fluid on the surface of the eyeball. The system sends data to a mobile device to keep the individual informed.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin said  the company wanted to use “the latest technology in ‘minituarisation’ of electronics” in order to improve people’s “quality of life”.

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Jay Ostrowski's curator insight, July 16, 4:52 AM

This is not directly related to mental health-yet, but shows how health technology is rapidly expanding.

jenii brain's curator insight, July 16, 6:11 AM


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How machine learning is saving lives while saving hospitals money

How machine learning is saving lives while saving hospitals money | healthcare technology |

When most people leave the hospital after a lengthy stay, they probably assume they won’t be coming back again soon to deal with the same problem. Unfortunately, that’s often just wishful thinking. In fact, re-admissions — sometimes within just a couple weeks — are such a big problem that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) includes measures to address the problem.

Put simply, the law provides financial incentives for hospitals to improve readmission rates and financial sticks with which to punish hospitals where the problem persists. Improve the problem, get more funding. Keep readmitting patients within short windows after discharge, don’t get paid for treatment. The latter scenario is bad for patients and bad for hospitals.

According to studies, about a quarter of Medicare patients treated for heart failure are readmitted within 30 days, and heart-failure re-admissions alone cost Medicare about $15 billion a year. Predictions about how many of those are preventable range from less than 20 percent up the the Department of Health and Human Services estimate of 75 percent.

“If you can predict that, that’s a huge, huge cost saving for the hospitals,” said Ankur Teredesai, who manages the Center for Data Science at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

However, help might be on the way thanks to a research project by Teredesai and his Center for Data Science colleagues. It’s called the Risk-O-Meter, and it’s already being used by one hospital system in the Seattle area. Now, the researchers who created it are looking to commercialize it, either by licensing the access to the cloud-based service or by starting their own company.

Under the hood of the web and mobile applications that allow doctors to enter patient information and receive a risk score is a machine learning system that analyzes more than 100 attributes about each patient. These range from standard stuff such as vital signs, lab results and medical history to more-personal stuff such as a patient’s demographic information and living conditions.

However, the Risk-O-Meter has much more utility than simply as a one-off risk-scoring app, Teredesai explained. Risk scores change as patients progress through treatment, helping doctors to evaluate treatment options on an ongoing basis. Even after patients leave the hospital, hospital staff can benefit from alerts indicating it’s a good time to check up on a patient, or to call with reminders about taking medication.

Doctors can also drill down into the data in order to figure out what factors are causing a score to spike. This type of analysis is important because a high score could be caused by a non-medical factor that’s easy enough to account for once a patient is discharged. For example, Teredesai said, “The chances of then getting readmitted are higher — much higher — if [patients] live alone. … The models actually show that.”

What might be most appealing about the Risk-O-Meter is that it’s a broadly deployable cloud service that promises better patient outcomes while also helping hospitals where it matters most to them — their bottom lines. Hospital CIOs and administrators know they need to do both, and anything that can plausibly deliver has to at least get a serious look.

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Social Network Sites as a Mode to Collect Health Data

Social Network Sites as a Mode to Collect Health Data | healthcare technology |

Background: To date, health research literature has focused on social network sites (SNS) either as tools to deliver health care, to study the effect of these networks on behavior, or to analyze Web health content. Less is known about the effectiveness of these sites as a method for collecting data for health research and the means to use such powerful tools in health research.

Objective: The objective of this study was to systematically review the available literature and explore the use of SNS as a mode of collecting data for health research. The review aims to answer four questions: Does health research employ SNS as method for collecting data? Is data quality affected by the mode of data collection? What types of participants were reached by SNS? What are the strengths and limitations of SNS?

Results: The inclusion criteria were met by 10 studies and results were analyzed descriptively to answer the review questions. There were four main results.

(1) SNS have been used as a data collection tool by health researchers; all but 1 of the included studies were cross-sectional and quantitative.

(2) Data quality indicators that were reported include response rate, cost, timeliness, missing data/completion rate, and validity. However, comparison was carried out only for response rate and cost as it was unclear how other reported indicators were measured.

(3)The most targeted population were females and younger people.

(4) All studies stated that SNS is an effective recruitment method but that it may introduce a sampling bias.

Conclusions: SNS has a role in health research, but we need to ascertain how to use it effectively without affecting the quality of research. The field of SNS is growing rapidly, and it is necessary to take advantage of the strengths of this tool and to avoid its limitations by effective research design. This review provides an important insight for scholars who plan to conduct research using SNS.

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