DOES APPLE WANT TO BE IN THE GYM, OR IN HOSPITALS? Apple Analyst Philip Elmer-DeWitt has an interesting take on where the real opportunity might lie in the future for any Apple iWatch, which is what the tech press has imagined any new wrist-worn Apple gadget will be called. It may be that the real opportunity for disruption isn't in fitness, but in health care, he argues. Advanced in heart rate, blood pressure, and hydration sensors would make any new wearable device a possible sensor-loaded personal health monitor, and possibly lead to health care savings thanks to its role in boosting preventive care.
ccording to the latest IMS report on social media Wikipedia is the leading single source of healthcare information for patients and healthcare professionals. Wikipedia is used throughout the entire patient journey, not just at the point of treatment initiation or change in therapy and the correlation between Wikipedia use and medicine use
can be identified for a large number of disease areas. Facebook who?
Mitch Rothschild, the CEO of online physician appointment and ratings website Vitals, sees 2014 as a mix of positive and negative consumer healthcare trends that could play to the strengths of digital health companies. As provisions of the Affordable Care Act continue to roll out and the industry responds, Obamacare pros and cons will begin to take hold. With millions of people expected to join the healthcare system, Rothschild anticipates even more demand for the services of digital health companies. Here’s a look at five trends in healthcare he identifies as big trends influencing Vital’s business in 2014 in a report published this week.
Wait times will go up: With fewer primary care physicians to meet the demand, there’s nowhere for wait times to go but up. The Vitals Index, which tracks wait time data, shows that from 2010 to 2013 the average time a patient waits in the office rose by…30 seconds. I think it would be more interesting to track the average wait to get an appointment since that is likely to get significantly longer. With the amount of time spent with the physician expected to decrease, nurse practitioners and telemedicine are seen as attractive alternatives in some states, where they are changing their regulations accordingly.
What do we think of when we hear the words ‘wearable technology’? Google Glass and fitness trackers such as Nike+ Fuelband will probably spring to mind. But as this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will reveal, a diverse and dizzying array of wearable devices that record and monitor every aspect of our health (and our dogs) are now on offer. Will wearable tech be relegated to the domain of gadget enthusiasts or could these budding fashion statements soon become part of our day-to-day lives?
Predictions from analysts suggest that this year 1.5 million pieces of wearable tech will be sold around the world. The two prime pieces of body real estate soon to be adorned with all manner of health tracking functions are the head and wrist. CES has even dedicated an entire exhibit called ‘WristRevolution’ to the various offerings from Qualcomm, Sony, Pebble and a host of smaller companies looking for a stake in the smart watch market. A fair amount of wearable technology to be exhibited at CES has also been designed for other parts of the body too, such as the legs, arms and lower back. Some of us may even start wearing several pieces of technology simultaneously, each providing a unique insight into our health.
It’s no secret that social media has transformed our lives significantly: we are able to track down long-lost friends, we can inform all of our peers about our whereabouts, and we may even find the love of our life online. Now, social media even plays a growing role in healthcare. About 20% of Americans already search for medical content on social media sites, according to a 2011 National Research Corporation survey. Furthermore, a 2012 report by the Pew Internet Project found that half of American adults between the ages 50 and 64 are using social media sites, which is substantial as this also is the prime age group of caregivers. There is also a rising demand for health social networking sites like Sermo or PatientsLikeMe, which are virtual communities that enable people to connect through common problems and share health data.
As a matter of fact, various healthcare organizations are seeking to incorporate social media technology as well. For example, Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles is testing a new cloud-based secure social networking platform developed specifically for healthcare. Cedars-Sinai, which encompasses an 896-bed medical center, decided to participate because it wanted a secure and flexible method to incite collaboration regarding a variety of subjects. "Part of the challenge with social networking is figuring out if you are in a trusted community," states CIO Darren Dworkin. The Connect platform from New Wave Connect allows Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) specialists to exchange ideas about particular privacy policies or practices with their peers at other organizations.
While social media can offer great ways to communicate health-related issues more effectively and healthcare organizations usually take extensive precautions regarding their social media management of medical information, many healthcare professionals are still wary of social media’s impact on the field. A report published in the 2011 edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 79% of medical professionals expressed concern about maintaining patient confidentiality when using an online social network. It should be obvious that the sharing of sensitive data like medical information on the Internet is a very delicate matter. Considering that 81% of Internet-initiated crimes involve social networking sites and the vast majority of Americans is (increasingly) using such platforms, people should be especially careful when it comes to publicly sharing personal health data.
Over the last five years, tablets have made their way into almost every medical practice in the U.S. In fact, an ongoing Manhattan Research survey found that physician tablet adoption rates spiked from 30% in 2010 to a surprising 72% in 2012.
Any electronics salesman could tell you that the mobility, instant Internet access and note-taking capabilities featured in most tablets are reason enough for doctors to purchase one for the practice. However, this would be cutting tablets’ value short.
Tablets posses an abundance of features that can make treating patients easier for physicians, and, in turn, allow them to make better clinical decisions.
Today, let’s take a look at the emerging medical uses for tablets and how they’ll help you become a better physician.
According to Pew Internet, 60% of e-patients say the information found online affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition, 56% say it changed their overall approach to maintaining their health or the health of someone they help take care of and 53% say it lead them to ask a doctor new questions, or to get a second opinion from another doctor. In other words the Internet is important for patient health care choices.
We have gone from an era of too little information to information overload. Type any health condition into Google and you’re likely to see a lot of potential sources of health information.
The bad news, according to Pew, is that 50% of people who search for health information say the Internet was no help.
The concept of telemedicine is still in its infancy, but has some appeal to doctors and patients, especially in rural U.S. communities where doctors have great distances to cover for short in-person patient visits.
Medical technology watchers know the ‘telemedicine’ concept isn’t as far-fetched as it would have sounded a decade ago: patients can now connect with a doctor from home or a clinic using a web cam, and the provider can offer a basic diagnosis, a referral or a prescription. The concept is still in its infancy, but has some appeal to doctors and patients, especially in rural U.S. communities where doctors have great distances to cover for short in-person patient visits.
A Cisco study from last spring showed that a majority of 1,547 customers from 10 countries are willing to embrace this direction in health care. As many as 74 percent said they would be comfortable talking with their doctor in other ways besides in person, such as email, text, or video chat, and 80 percent of surveyed residents from North America said they’d feel comfortable with their medical information shared online.
In-person visits aren’t going away immediately, but more and more advantages are in the spotlight for using cutting edge technology:
In the Affordable Care Act environment, healthcare providers have a real opportunity to transform the way they treat people. The objective? Delivering a better patient experience, with improved results, at lower costs. The key to this transformation is digital health technology.
Wearable technology is an industry that continues to grow and adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of our world. Many health- and fitness-related technologies are easy to useand unobtrusive, and they make interpreting statistical feedback quite simple.
The applications are endless. They encourage wearers to be more engaged in their own fitness, help modify behavior by reminding you to exercise or take your medicine, and provide a platform for patients and physicians to share data and collaborate on health strategies.
How Wearable Technology Will Impact Healthcare
A number of innovative wearable technologies have emerged in recent years that aim to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Wearable technology will:
1. Educate and empower patients to take control of their health.
2. Help physicians and patients monitor and diagnose disease.
3. Assist in medical procedures.
4. Allow patients to control and manage their pain.
The digital health revolution is empowering people to better track, manage, and improve their health.
And the tools are there – smartphones, wireless devices, desktop apps, patient portals, and many more – all able to monitor, analyze, and report health data on an ongoing basis.
But where do people go to discover what tools and technologies are available to help them manage their health?
Well the Internet is a leading source of information. Pew Research indicates that 85% of U.S. adults use the Internet, and 72% of those get their health information online. But do people look for information about digital health on traditional news media outlets like CNN, Foxnews or NBC news?
And if they do, what kind of information do they find once they get there? In fact while we’re on the subject, how much of the digital health conversation do traditional media outlets cover anyway? Is it helpful and productive or is it biased?
It has been quite some time since I first wrote about the ways in which healthcare can leverage Pinterest, the content sharing service that allows members to "pin" images and videos to a virtual pin board. Since then I have seen some note-worthy examples of healthcare pinners who have used the site to build community, to raise awareness and enhance the understanding of a specific health condition. In this article, I will showcase three users who represent different sectors of healthcare and who are using Pinterest to good effect.
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