IBMIBM +0.87% and several leading hospital groups which are part of the Premier healthcare alliance are using predictive analytics to improve medication compliance and reduce hospital readmissions.
Studies show that about half of Americans don’t take medications as prescribed, which leads to $100 billion a year in additional hospital re-admissions and treatment. For people with chronics conditions, delaying or missing even one dose can lead to major complications.
We have to make it much easier for the doctor to take information out of an electronic medical record system that has been designed for billing and make it available [for assistance in treatment],” said Paul Grundy, IBM’s director of health care transformation.
Some of the most valuable information in medical records is in unstructured data, he added, such as social factors that are useful predictors that someone with congestive heart failure will be readmitted after a hospital stay.
Now a group of IT and clinical experts have launched the Data Alliance Collaborative (DAC) to develop and share knowledge, data and resources to move toward more integrated systems for health care. Drawing on their knowledge of clinical care, they are developing analytics for population health management.
They have a challenge ahead of them. Legacy electronic medical records cannot integrate clinical, financial and operation data, so providers are making major investments in separate business intelligence and analytic solutions on data that is locked in silos.
“Instead of investing in and developing multiple, fragmented solutions that address the same problem, we’re pooling resources to develop single solutions we all can use,” said Terry Carroll, senior vice president of transformation and chief information officer for Fairview Health Services, and DAC chair. “We’re using big data, as opposed to local or siloed data, and will get richer insights as a result. Sharing assets and testing new and innovative ways to use analytics will help us achieve system-wide change that positively impacts quality, cost and the care experience.”
My predictions include a meritocracy for doctors, a massive reduction in patient costs, and more.
We will see a democratization of medical knowledge
The technology already exists for health information to be published, catalogued, and searched by anybody online. As this trend spreads, this democratization of medical knowledge will offer clinicians worldwide a chance to learn from each other and improve the quality of care. What’s more, platforms that unlock the crowd-sourced wisdom of the medical community will offer patients immediate access to doctor's guidance
A transparent meritocracy amongst doctors
Patients typically choose their doctor by either word-of-mouth referral, or online consumer reviews of a doctor’s bedside manner, waiting room decor, or office staff’s disposition — not by the quality of care they provide. That’s because most consumers aren’t qualified to assess how a doctor’s care affects health outcomes.
Finally — consolidated patient information!
Despite the increasing prevalence of electronic health records, patient information is stuck in the days of the Wild West. Information is siloed in non-interoperable data repositories, from EMRs to health devices, managed by different parties, and stored in various formats.
Tech will catalyze drastic system-wide cost savings and efficiencies
When 30 to 40 million Americans enter the healthcare system in 2014 under Obamacare, our current system will experience enormous demand shock. Without structured change, the influx of previously uninsured patients will yield a shortage of doctors and will strain doctors’ time and resources, particularly among primary care physicians.
Our medical knowledge will advance at record speeds
Medicine will benefit from the wisdom of crowds. With transparent, large-scale knowledge sharing across doctors and patients, medical experts will collaborate to refine treatment regimens, discover new approaches to old problems, and share feedback on unexpected outcomes at a pace previously unimaginable.
Doctors will be trained to bring “care” back into “health care”
The average doctor-patient encounter in the U.S. lasts seven minutes (largely a function of reimbursements being tied to the number of patients seen). As a result, doctors are hard-pressed to find time to build meaningful relationships with their patients.
Not surprisingly, patients often complain about their doctors’ bedside manner. Technology can actually help foster a stronger culture of care in a fast-paced world – when visits are more efficient, doctors have more time to hold a hand, share a smile, alleviate anxiety, and talk with each patient. We’re already seeing medical schools adapt curricula to emphasize making patients feel better not just physically, but also emotionally. Technology will accelerate this trend by providing doctors ongoing access to peer feedback about their medical knowledge and patient feedback about their bedside manner. The result? Making patients healthier and happier.
As intelligent computer systems become more adept at learning and adapting, they are introduced into new industries and forge relationships with humans that recall something from a Science Fiction novel.
Report: Bluetooth Smart to drive growth of health and fitness mobile sensing FierceMobileHealthcare (press release) By 2017, Bluetooth chipsets used for health, wellness, sports and fitness will reach 95.7 million shipments.
In an effort to cut down on unnecessary doctor office visits, the UK’s Department of Health plans to ask general practitioners and physicians working at hospitals across the country to encourage their patients to use mobile health apps to track biometrics and symptoms. According to various reports in local newspapers, the Department of Health claims that some 15,000 NHS patients are already using mobile health apps that transmit such information to their physicians. The apps are used by pregnant women, and people with cancer, diabetes, heart problems, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The information transmitted from patients using the apps will be monitored by healthcare providers who will urge patients to visit their doctor or nurses immediately if an abnormal reading comes in, according to a report in the DailyMail. The Department of Health hopes to save the NHS “millions of pounds” assuming the apps help cut down on unnecessary visits. Health ministers also contend that more frequent monitoring will help providers keep tabs on patients so that their condition, which will make it less likely that their condition’s will suddenly deteriorate and require a trip to the emergency room.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the health minister claim that about 25 percent of the people who use the NHS Choices website and app visit their physicians less frequently as a result. In November the NHS Direct app announced more than 1 million downloads.
“So many people use apps every day to keep up with their friends, with the news, find out when the next bus will turn up or which train to catch,” the UK Department of Health’s Secretary Andrew Lansley said in a statement. “I want to make using apps to track blood pressure, to find the nearest source of support when you need it and to get practical help in staying healthy the norm. With more information at their fingertips, patients can truly be in the driving seat.”
Lansley assembled a list of 500 apps and tools that the NHS plans to recommend physicians prescribe to patients, but the NHS is looking to hear feedback from the UK public on which apps they think should be included. The government said the apps should be free or cheap to use, according to the Telegraph report.
One of the apps helps people with food allergies avoid reactions by using their smartphone camera to scan food barcodes and receive alerts and warnings when an allergen is an ingredient. Another app on the list is from Diabetes UK and it provides people with reminders about checking blood glucose levels and taking their diabetes medications. The list includes apps for post-traumatic stress, breast cancer screenings, blood pressure trackers, and more.
The Telegraph asked Phil O’Connell, an IT specialist at the Department of Health who developed some of the apps for the list. O’Connell told the publication these apps did not intend to “replace clinical judgment.” He also said the apps actually reduce anxiety among healthcare providers since they can better detect when a patient’s condition begins to worsen.
Big (and obvious) questions remain: How will physicians and nurses sift through the information streaming in from all these mobile health apps? How accessible will these apps be for the elderly? Will the encouragement of physicians to use these apps be enough to change the health habits of patients in the UK?
As doctors and scientists continue to make huge leaps in terms of genome sequencing and scanning devices, everything about your medical treatment is going to change.
As a child, you could always count on it, even after--especially after--you struck out playing T-ball, forgot your only line in the grade school play, and came home with chalk in your nose because you took the schoolyard dare. No matter what, your mom would hug you and tell you that you were special. Turns out, she was right.
Each of us is special and unique among the roughly 7 billion humans on this planet. We are the walking, talking instantiation of the 3 billion instances of four nucleotides (abbreviated GATC) that constitute our unique genome’s DNA. Equally important, the interplay of that DNA with the environment and our individual lifestyles determines our susceptibility and predisposition to diseases.
Suppose you’re now middle aged and chest pains send you to a physician. You can’t change your genetic profile; it’s your parents most basic and lasting gift. However, that fondness for double bacon cheeseburgers and butter pecan ice cream, and an exercise regime that is all-too-frequently limited to wistful looks at the running shoes in your closet, both have consequences. That’s why your mother also warned you to eat your vegetables and wash your hands, not that you listened.
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have for the first time created a functional human liver from stem cells derived from skin and blood and say their success points to a future where much-needed livers and other transplant...
People with high blood pressure who used an at-home monitor and had regular phone calls with their pharmacist kept their numbers in check better than those receiving standard care, in a new study.
One in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Only about half of them have successfully used medication and lifestyle changes to get their numbers into the recommended range to prevent heart problems - less than 140/90 or less than 130/80 for those with diabetes or kidney disease.
So researchers have been looking for new and inexpensive ways to encourage people with hypertension to stick to their medication regimen.
mHealth funding up 12% this year, says Rock Health report EHRIntelligence.com In addition to start-ups with mHealth ideas, established EHR vendors are acquiring smaller companies rapidly to increase their portfolio of mobile solutions.
Someday soon having to remember to put on your digital health tracking device in the morning might no longer be an issue. If the latest crop of health-minded wearables companies succeed, health sensors will make their way into things we are already wearing — like undershirts, underwear, and socks.
Digital health wearables are slowly but surely making their way into clothing.
One longtime digital health company, Annapolis, MD-based Zephyr Technology, introduced its Zephyr BioHarness 3 Team Compression Shirt at a strength training event in Rhode Island last summer. The fabric of the shirt itself doesn’t have any sensors integrated into it, but it is designed so that the company’s BioHarness 3 can snap into place right where it should be on the wearer’s chest. The shirt is similar to the one Zephyr used to power for Under Armour, called E39, which was famously used in the NFL Combine in 2011.
Since then smart fabrics have evolved and new startups are springing up to bring them to market. OMsignal, which just announced a $1 million seed round from Real Ventures, Golden Venture Partners, and TechStars CEO David Cohen, is in early production with an undershirt that has sensors woven into the fabric.
The shirt as displayed in the image here captures ECG, activity, breathing patterns and “emotive” states on a continuous basis and presents that data to the wearer via an app on their mobile device. While the shirt can track ECG, the app doesn’t show it in that form because the company itself isn’t looking to make the shirt an FDA regulated medical device.
Today dozens of people are testing OMsignal’s compression shirt — including people from high profile companies like Facebook and Google to create a buzz around the new product — not unlike Google’s marketing plan for Google Glass. The company also has a bra version of the wearable.
“Others have come at this from a textile perspective or an electronics perspective, but if you go from only one perspective, it is not going to work,” OMsignal Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Frederic Chanay told me. “If you want to do a shirt that is comfortable, wearable, washable and manufacturable at scale, you need to understand and respect textile technology.”
While most of the sensors are made out of smart textiles and woven into the shirt, OMsignal still requires its early users to wear a clip-on device that houses the accelerometer and the Bluetooth radio. Chanay says that while this device is currently about one-third the size of an iPhone, the company is working to make it smaller and get it integrated into the garment itself, too. OMsignal aims to get this piece of the device much smaller and, in time, maybe even down to the size of a shirt button.
For most of time medicine was a guessing game. Doctors, or witch doctors, or shaman would inspect a patient, stir a potion and hope it would work. With some notable exceptions, modern medicine isn't so different. The data collection—blood pressure, heart rate, weight, reflexes—is largely rudimentary. We're getting by, but technology can take us so much further.
Even technology that fits in your pocket.
In the past year or two (or three) iPhones and iPads have been a fixture in doctors' offices around the world. Why carry a clipboard when you could pull up records via Wi-Fi and type the information directly into the patient's medical record? Perhaps even more powerful is the idea that these devices can be collecting data all the time.
Smartphones are incredibly powerful tools for anything as simple as data mining to something so sophisticated as measuring a patient's sleeping pattern. There are apps that can help regulate your mental health, apps that can help you keep track of what and how much you eat. There are apps that can take your blood pressure and you blood sugar. There are even apps that help you cope with aging.
While an app can't cure a disease, some of the newer, more experimental medical apps can do truly extraordinary things. This technology can not only help you feel better; it can prevent illness by spotting symptoms early on.
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