As the hands on the clock move forward at an unstoppable pace, social media-type websites are being increasingly used in the healthcare field. This as well as the increasing obesity rates in the United States (with the CDC reporting that obesity rates have nearly tripled from 1960 to 34 percent), have been major factors in driving wHealthy Solutions to unveil what is touted as the first scientific-based social network service all about healthy nutrition.
Seamlessly integrating both food and beverage ranking algorithms that have been derived from medical and scientific methods in addition to providing important information are helping the public to put down that potato chip once and for all and insead pick up a healthier snack, such as maybe an apple.
It’s easy to access this site on-the-go throughout your busy day via a PC, smartphone, netbook or tablet. In essence, this Web page serves as a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about how to raise the bar on improving your lifestyle via healthy choices. Complete with product lists to help you choose more nutritional items during your weekly grocery shopping, warnings about unhealthy ingredients, taste reviews, and even a way to share what it is on your own grocery list with your family and other users of the platform are also provided.
But that’s not all; consumers can even leverage their mobile devices to scan bar codes of various items at the grocery store, which will then automatically deliver vital details on how healthy their selections are. If ranked unhealthy, shoppers may want to go with something else.
"wHealthy Solutions solves the problem of information overload with a single-source solution that enables consumers to easily and quickly select foods and beverages that are both healthy and delicious, while saving them time and effort," said wHealthy Solutions' CEO and Co-founder Michael Segal, in a statement. "Additionally, unlike any other solution on the market today, wHealthy Solutions will soon enable consumers to personalize their 'nutritional baskets' to meet the needs of their specific health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or certain food intolerances."
While there are some other similar solutions currently available, wHealthy Solutions stands out from the pack due to the fact that it combines continuously updated scientific data based upon USDA guidelines and medical Subject Matter Expertise (SME) to offer health rankings of a large array of items within the offering’s database. Also, this product can be quickly personalized according to each user’s likes and dislikes, ultimately improving the world by making its citizens healthier one bite at a time.
To view a demonstration on how this next-generation health focused solution truly works, click here.
This week research came out in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggesting that taking a daily multivitamin may reduce the incidence of cancer in older men (specifically, the study concluded: “daily multivitamin supplementation modestly but significantly reduced the risk of total cancer”).
On the face of it, this seems like good news for the vitamin industry and has probably already boosted sales. But, we really need to examine these findings within the larger context of what research has indicated about vitamin supplementation in recent years.
The next generation of doctors' surgeries could feature:
* Patient check in – already an effective solution providing the ability to self-check in for appointments * Medical Triage – many small items can be taken independently and combined into a self-service solution such as blood pressure, weight and height * Physician communication portal – this solution could be used to communicate and document the purpose of the patient visit and input questions. * Patient checkout –already an effective solution providing the ability to checkout, submit insurance and pay for service. * Pharmacy - a self-service solution to scan a prescription into the pharmacy or a separate medication dispensary overseen by a qualified pharmacist. * Directory/Wayfinding – this is already a successful self-service solution to help guide and direct patient flow to appropriate areas in the hospital. * Nutritional planning kiosk - nutrition is a huge piece of healthcare and can impact positively or negatively patient health. Healthcare facilities could incorporate nutritional planning kiosks into wellness programs with recipes, cholesterol checks, weight loss and shopping lists. * Weigh-in – with two-thirds of the adult population being overweight, a weight loss self-service kiosk could provide extended options for weight management and goal obtainment * Patient communication portal – Patient satisfaction is evaluated in healthcare but performance is hard to document retroactively. A patient communication kiosk could provide opportunities for surveys and real-time feedback on staff.
A new study led by MIT neuroscientists has found that brain scans of patients with social anxiety disorder can help predict whether they will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy.
Social anxiety is usually treated with either cognitive behavioral therapy or medications. However, it is currently impossible to predict which treatment will work best for a particular patient. The team of researchers from MIT, Boston University (BU) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that the effectiveness of therapy could be predicted by measuring patients’ brain activity as they looked at photos of faces, before the therapy sessions began
Sufferers of social anxiety disorder experience intense fear in social situations that interferes with their ability to function in daily life. Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to change the thought and behavior patterns that lead to anxiety. For social anxiety disorder patients, that might include learning to reverse the belief that others are watching or judging them.
Philosys, a company based in New York City, received European CE Mark approval for its Gmate SMART glucose meter, an iPhone/iPad attachment that is the world’s smallest glucometer. The meter uses the iOS device via the headset jack as the interface to display results and track readings. It would seem that the same glucometer should also be compatible with other smartphones as long as an appropriate app is developed.
Philosys is currently looking to partner with cell phone firms to help distribute the Gmate SMART and hopes to have it’s device available to European customers by the end of the year.
India's emergency medical care system in tattersModernHealthcare.comAmbulances have no medical equipment, and very few doctors are trained in emergency care, said Piyush Tewari, whose nonprofit helps trauma victims get medical attention within the...
Habits are behaviors wired so deeply in our brains that we perform them automatically. This allows you to follow the same route to work every day without thinking about it, liberating your brain to ponder other things, such as what to make for dinner. However, the brain's executive command center does not completely relinquish control of habitual behavior
Mothers who take folic acid pre-pregnancy can cut the risk of their baby developing a childhood brain tumour by almost half, a new study suggests.
This is the result of a five year study by the Australian Childhood Brain Tumour Consortium (Aus-CBT), led by Professor Elizabeth Milne at WA’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. Published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, the study stands out as the largest and most comprehensive national research performed so far on this topic.
Diabetes patients have to check their blood glucose levels like some people check their Facebook pages: several times a day.
With the rise of mobile apps that let users log everything from running to restaurant attendance, it seemed natural to Alliance Health Networks, makers of the Diabetic Connect social network, to create an app for people with diabetes to track their personal health records and get support from their friends.
America's favorite dietary supplements, multivitamins, modestly lowered the risk for cancer in healthy male doctors who took them for more than a decade, the first large study to test these pills has found.
The result is a surprise because many studies of individual vitamins have found they don't help prevent chronic diseases and some even seemed to raise the risk of cancer.
Ease-of-use is emerging as the critical factor for the uptake of telehealth consulting in Australia.
A six-month trial implementation of telehealth at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne has been declared a success, with more than 150 patients seen and countless hours saved for families and clinicians.
The director of neurology at the Royal Children's Hospital Professor Andrew Kornberg said previous telehealth attempts, including trial consultations via Skype, had not worked, as connection dropouts and scheduling difficulties led doctors to stop using it after just one or two bad experiences. The new system uses GoToMeeting, a web-based videoconferencing service from Citrix Online.
"We're trying to make it seamless for families and doctors, and make it as business as usual," Prof Kornberg said. "So rather than just rolling it out and saying 'here's telehealth', what we're doing is ironing out all the issues, all the glitches in the system, to make it easy for everyone."This included making it easier for families to book consultations and for specialists and GPs to coordinate their schedules.
The program kicked off in January and the hospital is now conducting three to four half-day telehealth clinics every week, treating six to eight patients per session.
Ten departments are now using telehealth, including neurology, allergy and dermatology, and uptake is accelerating. It is also being used for emergency consultations.
Prof Kornberg said that while telehealth would not eliminate face-to-face consultation, it was reducing its frequency, and was also proving crucial in assisting the hospital in keeping up with growing demand for outpatient services. Previously doctors would drive hundreds of kilometres to conduct clinics in regional areas.
"We can't continue to see an extra 10 to 20 per cent each year with a finite number of rooms," Prof Kornberg said. "It has opened an opportunity for us to build capacity by really using telehealth as just another waiting room and clinic room."
Prof Kornberg said the technology was used for both consultation with patients in their homes via the internet, and at the office of a GP. He had also conducted multidisciplinary sessions with multiple specialists.
He said one of the key advantages of the chosen technology over services such as Skype was the ability to share computer screens alongside the video stream, enabling doctors to show images from computerised tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
"I can bring up an image and go through it with the family by sharing my screen and showing their results, their images, and I can talk through them," Prof Kornberg said.
He said the connections achieved with a dedicated system were also more consistent than those achieved with Skype, and were easier to manage through the hospital's firewall. While restricted bandwidth to some patient's homes had made simultaneous use of audio and video problematic, Prof Kornberg said Citrix also provided access to an accompanying toll-free telephone number.
Dr Richard Bills is one GP who has made use of the system for treating allergy suffers at his practice in Woodend, 70 km northwest of Melbourne.
"We've really enjoyed the opportunity that the videoconferencing has provided to save people having to travel down to Melbourne to access services," Dr Bills said.
"There are terribly long waiting lists for the Royal Children's Hospital for a lot of outpatient appointments, and yet a lot of that can be managed by cooperative videoconferencing with the GPs and the specialists. And it is proving a very efficient way to reduce those waiting times."
Prof Kornberg said his goal was to make telehealth a 'business-as-usual' tool within the hospital.
"We see it as a longer term strategy of building capacity or having better relationships with community providers and families, and that's why we want it to proceed," he said. "So one day I would say there would be 100 clinics a week run in this way.
A recent article at Healthcare Collective takes the position – in asking the question, “What’s the Matter with Mobile Health Apps Today?” - that most mobile healthcare apps aren’t used, at least not beyond an initial download and trial, after which the apps are discarded as quickly as they were downloaded. The article also noted that healthcare apps have appeared in record numbers of late – from just under 3,000 to just over 13,600 of them. Most of these apps focus on personal healthcare, and most of them are redundant in terms of what they do – some do certain things better than others, but most are destined for the delete bin.
At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in January 2012 there was an entire exhibiter space dedicated to mobile healthcare. We noted a potentially useful collection of applications, especially some that appeared to us to do a rather good job of checking vitals and keeping track of them. As we roamed the aisles, it turned out that there was one exhibiter – UnitedHealth Group, a rather major name in the health insurance industry – that had a significant booth there. Why?
Nick Martin, vice president of innovation, research and development at UnitedHealth Group says, “At UnitedHealth we believe that we need to use mobility to create a tight bond with our policyholders. Users know how to put their mobile devices to work, and this provides us with a means to communicate closely with them. We engage our users through experiences and interactions that are typically fun for the user, but that ultimately lead us to teach our clients how they can achieve savings on medical costs. Our mobile apps are accessible anytime and anywhere, but more specifically, they give our users the freedom to engage with us when they want to.”
“In our case it isn’t simply about providing some sort of health app that substitute for such things as tracking blood pressure,” Martin continued. “In our case we are looking to specifically provide real financial and medical benefits. It becomes a differentiator for us – and as long as we provide real value, the users keep coming back and using the apps.”
For Martin, the apps aren’t simply a means to earn a few pennies on an app download. The use of mobile apps is a specific healthcare driver that aids in direct user engagement, and one that will continue to grow significantly, not just for UnitedHealth, but for its competitors as well. From this perspective mobile health apps are doing extremely well.
Doctors and Mobile Apps
The Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada is an example of a healthcare provider that has deployed an iPad mobile app - not for consumers but for doctors. The app, a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system, was deployed to more than 1,000 doctors. The goal Ottawa specifically had was to change the process that had evolved for doctors to gain information about patients – a process that involved keeping doctors glued to computers rather than keeping them out in the field, so to speak, where they could visit in meaningful ways in face to face conversations with their patients.
Once the doctors became mobile through the iPad and the CPOE app, there was an immediate, measureable and very positive impact in the doctor-patient relationship. Doctors were able to gain substantial valuable time back, time that was then devoted entirely to face-to-face patient visits on a daily basis. Patients were able to sense a difference in terms of the quality of engagement, and doctors were able to specifically hone in on what patients needed right at the point of their interactions.
Having iPads in hand, providing immediate patient information, vitals, and other valuable insights literally at their fingertips changed the doctor-patient relationship from a reactive to a proactive one. Proactive engagement, in turn, allowed patients – as well as other family members – to collaborate on medications, treatment alternatives and medical reviews. Ottawa Hospital officials say that engaged patients take a much stronger interest in their own treatments, a perhaps subtle but significant change that increases overall treatment benefits.
These are but two of numerous examples of where the real value in mobility is to be found in the healthcare industry. Whether engaging with an insurance company, a pharmacy or a doctor (or a nurse or an intern…you get the picture), mobility drives immediate engagement with caregivers. It is the immediate engagement between the caregiver and patient that makes the difference.
Other mobile app examples include those that provide secure, real time patient data – an extremely valuable service in the emergency room, those that monitor patients through their mobile devices, and those that communicate real time information – whether between doctor and patient, or doctor and doctor in consultative situations.
The bottom line is that consumer apps that do very simple things are of likely very little value – and simply not worth talking about. Those that aid doctors, emergency rooms, nurses, and so on, and those that drive better patient-health provider/doctor engagement or that monitor health from the perspectives described here, are the real mobile applications that matter in any discussion of mobile healthcare.
Tony Rizzo has spent over 25 years in high tech publishing and joins HealthTechZone after a stint as Editor in Chief of Mobile Enterprise Magazine, which followed a two year stretch on the mobile vendor side of the world. Tony also spent five years as the Director of Mobile Research for 451 Research. Before his jump into mobility Tony spent a year as a publishing consultant for CMP Media, and served as the Editor in Chief of Internet World, NetGuide and Network Computing. He was the founding Technical Editor of Microsoft Systems Journal.
Devotion to self-tracking has a name -- "Quantified Self" -- which is a website established by Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf, Wired contributing editor. Wolf's own website, Aether, says more than 12,000 people worldwide are members of Quantified Self Meetups.
Inside Larry Smarr's refrigerator this week was a stool sample that he planned to ship to a laboratory, which will send back a report of information about what's going on inside Smarr.
This monthly test is not part of his doctor's orders, nor is the plethora of mobile technologies that Smarr uses to track what's going on inside his body. But Smarr believes everyone should take charge of monitoring their own health, given how little time people tend to spend actually talking to their doctors.
Smarr may be an extreme example, but many people are turning to available technologies to gain knowledge about their bodies that they can use to optimize their health, beyond what information annual doctor's visits might bring.
"I am trying to respect my doctor by doing my part of the homework," said Smarr, 63, of La Jolla, California. Smarr is the director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, a research center at the University of California's San Diego and Irvine campuses.
As of Thursday, there were 873 people registered for the Quantified Self message boards, where people discuss the latest apps and research. The website has a list of hundreds of apps and tools available for tracking different aspects of your life, from mood to diet to sleep. The movement hosted the conference Quantified Self 2012 last weekend, with Smarr as a guest speaker.
Medical education could benefit from new forms of communication between health professionals made possible through social media - a collection of technologies that use the Internet to connect people. These technologies will be familiar to many and include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. These social media create connections between individuals and form networks within which information is shared. In this short review I will outline some of the opportunities and challenges facing the use of social media and medical education. I will not focus on any particular form of medical education so the discussion includes undergraduate and postgraduate.
Although there have always been networks and communities of physicians it has not been on a scale and immediacy that is now possible with social media. In the past the size of communities was restricted by geography and slower modes of communication. This has broadened in recent decades. For example, the use of Twitter at conferences has increased and can be "successfully used by physicians ... to engage in clinical discussions" even if the author is not present at the event . Scientists see social media as a critical form of communication , especially with the public, but also with colleagues and experts within and outside their disciplines. Some academics have called for the career recognition of the open, digital and networked exchange of information . They argue that publishing should not be seen as a restricted, academic activity within journals but as part of a more open discourse and discovery.
The adoption of social media technologies has been rapid. The telephone took 100 years to be used by 50% of UK households. Facebook has taken just 5 years to reach 50% of the UK population and the most rapidly adopting group is now those aged over 50 . However, social media can blur the distinction between professional and personal lives making professionalism and social media an uneasy mix . There have been many reports of inadvertent disclosure of confidential information and public displays of unprofessional behaviour which have led many to look in horror at what social media could do to the profession. Doctors associations  have published - and regulators are drafting  - guidance on the use of social media.
However, I'd argue that social media and other new technologies are here to stay and we should become familiar with them. How can they be used in medical education? How should they be used to increase our knowledge and the reach of our profession?
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