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Can Mobile Money Enhance Access To Healthcare?

Can Mobile Money Enhance Access To Healthcare? | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

Mobile health (mHealth) deployments have grown dramatically in recent years, particularly in emerging markets, where base-of-the pyramid populations often lack access to basic health services, but possess a mobile phone. However, despite the proliferation of mHealth platforms, many remain limited in scale and are poorly integrated into existing healthcare systems. Introducing mobile financial services (MFS) within these platforms may offer a way to drive reduced costs and enhanced efficiency – resulting in more affordable, inclusive healthcare systems. 


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Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care
Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care
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89% of US physicians would recommend a health app to a patient

89% of US physicians would recommend a health app to a patient | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

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Martin (Marty) Smith's curator insight, March 16, 2013 6:05 PM

Yes, this is where we are headed. Anything that can reduce costs and increase quality of care I am all for. 

eMedToday's comment, April 9, 2013 8:09 PM
A key target market for Pharma marketing are doctors and their medication strategy. Doctors are recommending mobile app for medication adherence which should attract Pharma attention to this mobile app area. What are the best medication apps?
Sven Awege's curator insight, May 3, 2013 3:44 AM

There is still much debate needed around what the role of Pharma is here. My cut is that we need to get involved to understand the dynamics and fine our place.

Clearly some elements will be huge barriers, such as linking adherence apps to EHR (I can't see Pharma going that far for at least the next couple of years - the task is mamouth and fraut with regulatory questions that the pack of nay-sayers will jump on!), but with 93% of doctors valuing this there might actually be a nugget here to dig up!

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Only 9% of European hospitals allow patients to access their electronic health records

Only 9% of European hospitals allow patients to access their electronic health records | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

Some nice stats from two new Europa reports on the state of digital health in Europe:

 

According to two surveys in acute care hospitals (those intended for short-term medical or surgical treatment and care) and among General Practitioners (GPs) in Europe, the use of eHealth is starting to take off, with 60% of GPs using eHealth tools in 2013, up 50% since 2007. But much more needs to be done.

 

The main findings of the surveys include:

 

* Top performing countries for #eHealth uptake in hospitals are Denmark (66%), Estonia (63%), Sweden and Finland (both 62%). Full country profiles are available by clicking through on the title link above, then the embedded text in the second bulleted paragraph.

 

* eHealth services are still mostly used for traditional recording and reporting rather than for clinical purposes, such as holding consultations online (only 10% of GPs hold online consultations.

 

* When it comes to digitising patient health records, the Netherlands take the gold with 83.2% digitisation; with silver medal for Denmark (80.6%) and the UK taking home bronze (80.5%).

 

* However, only 9% of hospitals in Europe allow patients to access online their own medical records, and most of those only give partial access

 

* When adopting e-health, hospitals and GPs experience many barriers ranging from lack of interoperability to lack of regulatory framework and resources. 

 

 


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Kathi Apostolidis's curator insight, April 17, 3:32 AM

In Greece, patients have legally the right to consult their medical record but many hospital administrations put obstacles. Lack of Interoperability is another ailment.

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Samsung's latest smartphone monitors your heart

Samsung's latest smartphone monitors your heart | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it
News Technology Smartphones Samsung's latest smartphone monitors your heartKorean company's new flagship Galaxy S5 packs a heart rate monitor and will track your motions and monitor your steps Share 131 1inShare31EmailSamuel GibbsThe Guardian,Sunday 13 April 2014 22.00 BSTA customer gets to grips with his new Samsung Galaxy S5 in Jakarta. Photograph: Beawiharta/Reuters

• Samsung's last smartphone watched your eyes; its new one will also listen to your heart. The Korean company's new flagship Galaxy S5 packs a heart rate monitor and will track your motions and monitor your steps, as part of a push into the health and fitness market. The innovation comes after Samsung introduced eye-tracking technology last year to pause your phone when you looked away. Samsung's new Gear smartwatches will also measure your heart rate and order you to step up the pace when out for a run. The future, it seems, will not only be watching us closely but will also be nagging us into better health.

• Recharging your smartphone could stop being an overnight process and become a sub-minute one. Israeli startup StoreDot has demonstrated a charger the size of a laptop power supply capable of fully juicing a smartphone in just 30 seconds, and reckons it will be able to offer a $30 (£20) charger in just three years.

• In the spirit of making everything tech smaller or faster, the desktop printer has not been pronounced dead: mini-robot printers are the future. A little bot from Zuta Labs looks like a small puck shuffling across a piece of A4 leaving a trail of ink, but will autonomously print a full page in about 40 seconds. It takes its orders from an iPhone over Bluetooth and costs £120 from Kickstarter.

• Hearing aids have become smart. The ReSound Linx hooks up to an iPhone and will not only pipe the phone's audio from calls, music, navigation and videos to the hearing aid, but also allows users to tweak their audio settings. Bass, treble and volume can be altered and associated with a specific location so that it automatically adjusts to the right settings as a user enters their favourite coffee shop.

• The end of struggles with wrong-way-up USB connectors is nigh. A new reversible USB plug is on its way. It is identical at both ends, so it does not matter which way up it is or which end goes in where. The new "Type-C" connector the one connector to rule them all, eventually.


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iWatch cost could be subsidized by health insurers, analyst suggests

iWatch cost could be subsidized by health insurers, analyst suggests | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

(iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton)

Apple could be planning to subsidize the cost of its upcoming wearable product through health insurers, Cowan & Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri speculates.

“We continue to believe it is possible the product (iWatch) is backstopped by some sort of insurance subsidization model similar to the carrier subsidization model for iPhone.”

The report, which believes Apple will announce the fitness-related device in September and launch ahead of the holidays at an average selling price of $250, says Apple will position the iWatch as a device that makes customers more health conscious.

 

While its unclear if Arcuri’s healthcare subsidy prediction holds any merit (his production and price estimates are based on conversations with companies in the supply chain), it is evident that Apple’s anticipated wearable entry will have a strong emphasis on health and fitness.

Earlier last month, we shared Apple’s upcoming health and fitness app in-detail dubbed Healthbook and aimed at a future version of Apple’s iOS mobile software.

The app illustrates Apple’s interest in collecting and presenting extensive health data including respiratory rate, heart rate, hydration, blood sugar, and more. We’ve also reported on several of Apple’s health and fitness-related hires as well as on the iWatch’s sensor-laded potential in development.

Earlier this week, KGI Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released his 2014 prediction timeline for Apple’s product launches which included an iWatch in two sizes in Q3 with one model potentially priced at the several thousand dollar price point.


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We need to start taking care of our health data

Read my previous post to see why our health depends mostly on our involvement and not on the health care institutions.

Did you tell everything about your condition, the last time you visited your physician? Maybe you skipped something? Or maybe it was something else which had happened months or years ago but you thought it was totally unrelated to your current condition?

Maybe you did tell everything.

But maybe next time you’ll have to visit another specialist, in another institution. And the specialist you’ve visited before could have used one EHR software (e.g. DrChrono), and the new specialist could be using another (e.g. Practice Fusion). And things can get really messy (EHR compatibility and connectivity: two obstacles to patient care):

If a patient needs to go to a specialist outside his or her provider network, or to an emergency room outside the network, access to the patient’s records can regress from a click of a button to a series of phone calls, faxes, and piles of paper, even when both facilities have EHR systems. That’s because there is often little consistency between such systems, and patients have to rely on a busy human being to pull all the pertinent electronic data and get it to the requesting physician in a format he or she can read: usually, paper.

Maybe the problem won’t be in the EHR software compatibility but in the different attention to detail of the two specialists, or in the different things, which they consider important.

Too many maybes but the result could be that you end up having inconsistent health records or missing information in your health records, and this could be a real problem and in some situations it could be even dangerous.

The Solution?
As with many other similar problems related to organizing personal data, the first step towards a working solution is not some magical tool but it’s in changing our mindset.
We need to change our mindset and consider our personal health data most important to us and not to the doctor who’s normally taking care it. It is us who can provide the most extensive details and it is us who will benefit the most from having our health data complete and well organized.

The natural question to ask is: won’t it take too much time and effort to achieve this on our own?
And here is where the tools may come really handy.

Update: Read my next post to see how Healee can help with organizing your health data.



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Apple vs. Google. The battle for digital health begins #hcsmeu #hcsmeues #hcsmeufr

Apple vs. Google. The battle for digital health begins #hcsmeu #hcsmeues #hcsmeufr | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

It’s an exciting time in digital health right now. The industry is going mainstream, becoming more consumer focused and large well-known multinational corporations are beginning to put the necessary infrastructure in place to capitalize on the oncoming digital health revolution.

 

These are the cash-rich forward-thinking companies that, over the last fifteen years, have changed the way we interact with technology and, perhaps more importantly, change the way we live our lives forever. They’re about to do the same all over again but in a deeper and more personal way.

Which companies am I describing? Apple and Google of course.

Both tech giants have been on a hiring and acquiring spree in the last couple of years and both are bringing in the necessary talent, expertise and IP to take digital health in to the home and the body. Both Apple and Google and their iOS and Android mobile operating systems stand to benefit from digital health profoundly so it’s little wonder why both companies are investing in this space.

They aren’t the only tech companies investing in digital health of course but Apple and Google are investing in it in a much deeper way, particularly Google that has made a string of acquisitions in the last year. Before we look at these though, let’s take a look at the movements in digital health among other well-known consumer companies.

Sony has partnered with Japanese medical company, M3, and genetics company Illumina to create a “genome information platform business” which focusses on genome researchSamsung has recently received FDA approval for its S-Health fitness tracking appXbox Fitness, a fitness service for the Xbox One, has 1.5m users and may be going mobile according to MobileHealthNewsNintendo announced in January 2014 that it plans to move in to healthcare according to the New York Times

While it’s great to see the technology behemoths above looking at digital health seriously they fade in to comparison in terms of what Apple and Google are doing in the space. Let’s take a look at both companies. 

Google

Picture from the Economist

April 2012 – Announces the long-rumoured Google Glass project - a head-mounted wearable technology device with camera, display and touchpad. It’s been speculated that Glass can – and will – be used in a number of digital health related activities and Dutch technology company Philips is looking at how it can be used in the operating theatre.

Dec 2012 – Hires author, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil to assist with machine learning and language processing. Kurzweil is synonymous with transhumanism and the Singularity and is a well-known author, speaker and thinker on both topics.

Sept 2013 – Announces newly formed Calico, a new company that will focus, according to Google co-founder, Larry Page, “on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases.”  Calico is headed up by Arthur D. Levinson who is also chairman of Genentech and Apple.  

Dec 2013 – Acquires Boston Dynamics, a robotics design company best known for the development of BigDog, a dog-like robot that is capable of walking over difficult terrain and has an arm that can pick up and throw heavy objects. 

Jan 2014 – Acquires UK startup, DeepMind Technologies, for a reported $400m/$500m. DeepMind focusses on artificial intelligence and ‘deep learning’ machines which have a human-like understanding of our environment.

Jan 2014 – Announces in January that it is testing a smart contact lens that can measure glucose levels. Google said on its blog “It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype.”

Jan 2014 – Acquires Nest Labs, the maker of a learning thermostat and smoke detector. While not directly related to digital health, this is Google’s venture in to the ‘smart home’ market. How the home monitors your health will be an important part of this market and how new connected home appliances will be tracking and advising us on making better lifestyle decisions.

Apple

Picture from the Telegraph

Feb 2013 – Files patents for wearable technology and “movement monitor devices.”

July 2013 – Hires Michael O’Reilly from digital health company, Massimo, which has developed a pulse oximeter for the iPhone (reviewed on Bionicly here)

July 2013 – Hires Paul Deneve, CEO of luxury fashion company, Yves Saint Laurent, to work on “special projects.” Could this be Apple bringing in expertise on how to make wearable technology for the fashion conscious?

Oct 2013 – Announces hiring of Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, who joins the company in the middle of this year as head of retail and e-commerce. Or perhaps to assist with bringing wearable technology (including wearable clothing) to the masses?

Nov 2013 – Acquires Israeli based motion sensor company, PrimeSense, for a reported $360m. PrimeSense makes technologies for a range of industries including healthcare and Microsoft’s Kinect is notably made by the company.

Jan 2014 - Hires hardware engineer Nancy Daugherty from digital health company, Sano Intelligence.

Jan 2014 - Apple executives meet with the FDA allegedly to discuss the forthcoming new app in iOS 8 called Healthbook that monitors health, fitness and workout information, via the iWatch.

Feb 2014 – Hires sleep research expert Roy J.E.M Raymann from Philips who is thought to be helping with the introduction of the iWatch.

Conclusion. Or who’s your money on?

Both companies have their own agenda and it’s easy for outsiders to speculate who’s doing what correctly. Apple’s movements in digital health seem very much aligned and specific to the hotly anticipated iWatch. Google on the other hand seem to have their fingers in a number of pies and have diversified their digital health investment somewhat.

My conclusion is that both will be equally successful but in different ways. The iWatch will be a huge success and will be the next evolution of the iPhone and Apple will continue to reap the rewards it has done for bringing to the market products that consumers want to buy.

Google on the other hand seems to be thinking much more broadly and, dare I say it, more innovative. The rewards are bigger but so are the risks and no doubt some of its investments will not come to fruition. Some will however and Google will move further in to the home and further in to the human body itself. As a bold prediction, I can see Google acquiring the innovative sensor company, MC10, to make this happen.

Agree or disagree?

Tags: AppleGoogle

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App-Using Patients Less Likely To Be Readmitted

App-Using Patients Less Likely To Be Readmitted | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

The Mayo Clinic has found cardiac rehab patients who use apps to monitor their health were less likely to be readmitted

According to the Mayo Clinic, results of a three-month study show cardiac patients who used a health app designed by the researchers were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. Use of this smartphone app led to a 40 percent reduction in admissions, and only 20 percent of participants were admitted to the ER within 90 days. In the control group, 60 percent of participants were readmitted in the same timeframe.

“The takeaway is that digital health, mobile health, can be used for cardiovascular disease prevention, especially in a high risk group,” lead researcher Dr. R. Jay Widmer told MobiHealthNews. “But the success of an intervention does depend on the use and the amount of use. This is something that can be used to reduce disease burden across the healthcare system at times when paying for value is going to be at a premium.”

“We know from studies that patients who participate in cardiac rehabilitation lower their risks significantly for another cardiac event and for rehospitalization,” says Amir Lerman, M.D., Mayo Clinic cardiologist and senior study author. “We wanted to see if offering patients a smartphone app, in addition to their cardiac rehab, would increase their ability to reduce their risk even further. We know that people use their mobile devices all day, and we hoped using it for cardiac rehab would help them in their recovery.”

Researchers also found patients using the app saw other benefits as well. According to iHealthBeat, app users weighed an average of nine pounds less than those in the control group and also had an average blood pressure around 8 mmHg lower than the control group.

“Patients who had a more frequent number of logins and the amount of time they logged in, as that increased, the patients’ blood pressure dropped more precipitously,” said Widmer. “So there was a dose-response [relationship] between the use of the intervention and the secondary measures of cardiovascular disease we examined. Patients were less stressed as they used the application more and had a better diet and more physical activity as they used the application more.

“Results of this study reinforce the importance of cardiac rehab. There are multiple versions of cardiac rehab, and this is just one more option in our technological age. We hope a tool like this will help us extend the reach of cardiac rehab to all heart patients, but, in particular, it could help patients in rural and underserved populations who might not be able to attend cardiac rehab sessions.”


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Sven Awege's curator insight, April 11, 3:10 AM

.... so yes,  going the extra mile with the CE can be worth it!

DundeeChest's curator insight, April 13, 5:34 PM

Take 2 iPhone apps, three times a day.

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Green Paper on mobile health ("mHealth")

The objective of this Green Paper, announced in the eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020, is to launch a broad stakeholder consultation on existing barriers and issues related to mHealth deployment and help identify the right way forward to unlock the mHealth potential. The consultation will be open from 10 April until 3 July 2014 12:00h.Related Documents: 
Green Paper on mobile health
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Doctors Going Mobile, But Still Skeptical of Connected Health

Doctors Going Mobile, But Still Skeptical of Connected Health | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

At least two-thirds of American doctors surveyed use mobile-health apps on the job. But about two-thirds also think a truly connected healthcare system in the U.S. is more than five years away—or won’t happen at all.

That’s according to a new report by MedData Group, a healthcare marketing firm based in Topsfield, MA. The report surveyed 532 doctors around the U.S., across specialties and practice sizes, between December and March.

As health IT booms with startups, investors, and tech giants getting into the game, the MedData findings provide a snapshot of which mobile technologies physicians are using—and what they want to be using.

That information could be useful for companies trying to develop software for healthcare providers or consumers, and for observers wondering how the personal health and clinical technology landscape will evolve over the next few years.

First, the respondents’ current mobile usage:

Nearly half of the doctors surveyed say they use mobile apps to look at medication interactions; presumably they are using the technology to help make drug-prescription decisions. The next-highest type of app cited is for diagnosis. Interestingly, less than 20 percent of those surveyed are currently using apps to access electronic health records.

The picture changes quite a bit when you look at what doctors say they are considering using in the next year:

Leading the way are apps that enable mobile access to electronic medical records, followed by apps for secure texting, point-of-care information on drugs, devices, or diagnoses, and patient portals. Also on doctors’ radar: mobile health monitoring and virtual clinic visits via mobile devices—both emerging areas for startups these days.

The doctors reported time and cost efficiency as their top reasons for adopting mobile-health technologies. But they remain largely skeptical that a connected healthcare system will become a reality any time soon; 57 percent of respondents say it will take longer than five years, and an additional 9 percent say it will never happen.

In this survey, “connected healthcare” means things like interoperable electronic health records, remote health monitoring, patient-communication portals, and clinical telepresence using video technology.

The respondents cited a number of reasons for their skepticism:

More than 70 percent of the doctors mentioned cost as a challenge for connected health systems. Technology problems, clinicians’ resistance to change, and privacy concerns also scored high on the list.

The bottom line: many doctors seem to be using the latest mobile technologies. Now companies, government, and healthcare organizations need to make this trend pay off for the benefit of all.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang


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HACK FOR HEALTH- H4H

HACK FOR HEALTH- H4H | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

The Stanford lab in Bioingeneering directed by Manu Prakash that have just recently surprised us with the FOLDSCOPE a paper based origami microscope of 0.5$ (http://catai.net/blog/2014/03/50-cents-microscope/ ) is now ofering  a paper based microfluidic system for less tan 5$ (http://www.popsci.com/article/science/21st-century-kids-home-microfluidics-and-neurology-kits#FlE4ha0rXYfbQowS.01 )


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Unesco Telemedicine's curator insight, April 9, 6:05 AM

It is a true H4H (hack for health) that demonstrates how REVERSE INNOVATION is becoming a very serious R&D solution to democratize GLOBAL HEALTH building robust objects.

Paper based high-tech solution are here; Arduino started with paper based boards and now we have numerous solutions.

We will present them in the IWEE 2014 (social medicine).

Bart Collet's curator insight, April 9, 9:50 AM

#hackforhealth  all over the world

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Mieux que les Google Glass ?

Mieux que les Google Glass ? | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it
Mieux que les Google Glass ?Meta, une start-up israëlienne, annonce pour septembre 2014 les Spaceglasses, des lunettes qui pourraient faire de l'ombre aux Google Glass.Il ne s'agit plus ici d'afficher des informations en partie haute du verre, mais d'immerger l'utilisateur dans la réalité augmentée avec l'affichage d'images virtuelles devant soi, en détectant les interactions avec les mains de l'utilisateur (selon la technologie de la Kinect).Une interface holographique dans les deux verres permet d'interagir avec l'environnement, avec une vision 3D.Quelque 500 applis en cours de développement - notamment dans le domaine de la santé - pourront fonctionner avec ces lunettes. C'est par exemple le cas de celle mise au point par digital iris pour faciliter une intervention en urgence sur un blessé et transmettre des informations sur son état.Ces lunettes sont disponibles en pré-commande au prix de... 3 650 $, dans une version aboutie.

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Is Health IT Reducing the Cost of Healthcare Right NOW?

Is Health IT Reducing the Cost of Healthcare Right NOW? | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it
t’s a simple Yes, or No question.

Is Information Technology reducing the cost of healthcare?

But it’s a tough question to answer definitively.

Current healthcare spending in the USA will reach $2.8 trillion annually. Healthcare costs continue to rise even with new technology. In nearly every other industry… publishing, banking, manufacturing, distribution and retail… technology has LOWERED costs.

Will IT reign in and control rising healthcare costs?

How long will it take for IT to impact rising healthcare costs? 

After reading through the comments on this Linkedin discussion, it seems that EHRs are at the center of the debate about getting control of healthcare costs.

Yes, hospitals and healthcare organizations are spending millions on upgrading EHR systems. However, didn’t other industries do the same and ultimately figure out how to lower operating costs and increase profits?

Yes.. they have.

When industries such as banking and manufacturing, retail and distribution integrated information technology within their operations it created massive disruptions and change. Thousands of jobs were eliminated. The customer’s buying experience moved online. Each one of these industries needed to adapt to satisfying a more empowered customer.

Take for example, the experience of buying a car today. Today, the car buyer can go online and get an estimate of his or her current car value at sites such as Kelly Blue Book. Car shoppers are no longer at the mercy of the car salesperson who has the secret of current used car values tucked away in a little yellow book. In addition, getting a price on the car a customer wishes to purchase is done online. 

Today’s car shopper shows up at the showroom armed with the data. It empowers the consumer. But it also benefits the car dealer. The car dealer now can focus on serious buyers without playing games. The smart car dealer has the ability to use IT to keep in touch with prospective buyers at low cost.

Isn’t the promise of lower… and better and improved… healthcare ultimately in the hands of an empowered patient? Patients don’t want unnecessary and duplicate tests. Patients don’t want to take drugs that have no or little impact on their health. Patients don’t want surgeries that aren’t needed.

But patients haven’t really been part of the conversation. The doctors and hospitals determine the treatment. Typically patients accept the treatment plan without question… as long as the third party, an insurance company or the government… pays the bill.

Information Technology will arm patients with data. 

The question is:

Will they assume responsibility and demand changes to how healthcare is delivered? Will this demand result in lower healthcare costs?

It has happened in other industries.

The difference in healthcare is the third party payer.

Whether the Affordable Care Act has insured more uninsured, or will lower healthcare costs remains to be seen. One thing it has done is educated millions more Americans of the real costs of health insurance.

As increasingly more people understand the actual costs of healthcare and health insurance… PLUS they are armed with data about healthcare options concerning their individual health, they will apply pressure forcing hospitals and physicians to operate more efficiently and lower costs.

Healthcare organizations, physicians, and health insurance companies will be forced to respond to the demand of the empowered patient.

The empowered patient is the answer to lowering healthcare costs.

Finally, let’s bring this back to a marketing perspective.

If you’re in the health IT or mHealth app game…

How does your product or service empower the patient?

 


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Can Mobile Technology Cut Health Costs?

Can Mobile Technology Cut Health Costs? | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

Mobile technology could vastly improve access to health care services and lower costs, but policymakers aren't taking the right steps to incorporate technology into care, a new report concludes.

Researchers at the Brookings Institution studied China and the United States—two countries that face similar challenges in reducing health care costs due to aging populations and are looking at mobile technology as part of the solution, said Darrell West, founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings.

Among the barriers to widespread use of mobile health technology in China and the United States is the fact that physicians don't get reimbursed for using the technology to deliver care. Also, developers are unclear about the rules and regulations surrounding mobile health applications, which limits innovation.

"There's a chicken-and-an-egg problem," said West, who was also a coauthor of the report. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "doesn't want to reimburse until there are demonstrable benefits, but it's hard to demonstrate until it's adopted," he said. "And mobile health won't be widely adopted until there's reimbursement."

Mobile health has the potential to dramatically impact the health care market in part because the technology has become widely available worldwide. The number of mobile Internet subscribers has skyrocketed from 2.3 billion in 2008 to 3.4 billion in 2013, and it's expected to surpass 3.9 billion by 2017, according to a GSMA Wireless Intelligence report.

Among the benefits of mobile health listed in the report are that it can provide rural populations with access to urban specialists, reduce inefficiencies and errors in prescriptions and medical testing, help physicians remotely monitor patients with chronic illnesses, and remind patients about appointments and taking their medicine.

Research about how mobile technology improves patient outcomes is ongoing, West said, but early findings look promising.

"What people are finding is that patients pay closer attention to their health when they're wearing a device knowing that their vital signs are going directly to their doctor," West said. "You get a preventive health benefit, and doctors get real-time data to make proactive decisions about treatment."

Increased technology use, the researchers say, will also empower policymakers to make better decisions about health care—what works and what improves costs—by giving them more information about population health.

"We think there are tremendous opportunities in mobile health in terms of improving the patient experience and controlling costs," West said. "When you get people using mobile health, it creates the possibility of doing data analysis that helps us answer basic questions about health care."

China and the U.S. are two countries where health costs have spiraled out of control, underlining the need for innovation to rein in spending. Annual health spending in China has grown from 4.55 percent of the nation's gross domestic product in 2006 to 5.15 percent in 2011, according to government figures. Health spending in the United States is projected to rise from 16.2 percent of GDP in 2006 to 19.6 percent in 2021, according to the Health and Human Services Department.

Aging populations account for much of the growth. By 2050, 20 percent of the U.S. population and 33.3 percent of China's population will be over 65, researchers anticipate.

The rise in the two nations' elderly populations has been accompanied by a rise in the number of people suffering from chronic illnesses. Some 260 million people are diagnosed with chronic illnesses in China each year, according to government figures, accounting for 70 percent of overall costs. The U.S. also struggles with the cost of chronic care, amounting to about 75 percent of overall health care costs, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both countries also wrestle with disparities in access to care, especially with rural and low-income populations. Rural areas have fewer medical personnel per capita, a problem that could easily be solved by allowing rural patients access to urban doctors through video conferencing and other remote monitoring technologies, the report says.


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Google patents smart contact lens system with a CAMERA built in

Google patents smart contact lens system with a CAMERA built in | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

Health-tech startup Omada Health promises to help people with health issues change their behavior. And it’s starting out with a program to help diabetes sufferers.

“It is a digital therapeutic, and they deliver weight loss over an Internet connection,” Balaji S. Srinivasan, a partner at investor Andreesen Horowitz, told VentureBeat in an interview.

The company, which is announcing a hefty $23 million in new funding today, takes landmark behavioral science research and turns it into programs that use various digital technologies to help people who are at risk for or suffering from a particular health issue.

Its first program, named Prevent, aims to help people at risk of Type II diabetes through weight loss, a proven way to prevent or reverse the disease in many cases.

The 16-week program is based on the Center for Disease Control’s National Diabetes Prevention program, and consists of an online portal as well as a digital scale containing a cell chip (meaning it doesn’t need to be connected to Wi-Fi). At the beginning of the program, participants are put into cohorts of 12 or so peers and are given a health coach. They receive resources, advice, and notifications through the online portal and app, and use the digital scale to report their weight regularly.

The company is “using software to put people out of their bad habits and put them in a group with good habits,” said Srinivasan.

Using technology to apply behavioral science on a large scale is really at the core of Omada Health. And that’s not an easy challenge, according to Omada chief executive Sean Duffy. If you think of all the ingredients you need to really help someone, “its really hard to scale up face-to-face programs for the millions of people that need them,” he said in an interview with VentureBeat.

The company has already been testing its Prevent program with partnering organizations such as hospitals and health insurance providers, but it plans to use its new funding to double down on its sales to make the program available more widely, as well as to begin working on some potential future health areas, though it has yet to pick its next one.

‘Fitness as a drug — how would you be able to deliver that?’

Andreesen Horowitz led this second round of funding for Omada, with Kaiser Permanente Ventures and existing investors such as U.S. Venture Partners and The Vertical Group also chipping in. Srinivasan will be joining the company’s board.

This deal is actually Andreesen Horowitz’s first major investment in a health-tech company, according to both Duffy and Srinivasan.

Srinivasan joined the venture capital firm this past December and said he was quickly overwhelmed by health-tech company pitches. However, Omada caught his eye.

Historically, weightloss has been a very difficult challenge, so if it can be achieved through software (and a digital scale), so much more can be possible, he said.

Beyond that, data science can also come into play in Omada’s products — once a participant reaches 25 percent of their weight loss goal, a data scientist can figure out what it would take to get them to reach 50 percent, he said.

“It’s opening all sorts of quantified self things down the line,” he added.

Omada Health was founded in 2011 and is based in San Francisco. It participated in health accelerator Rock Health’s first batch. This new round brings its total funding to $28.52 million.

 


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By the numbers: digital health in the U.S.

By the numbers: digital health in the U.S. | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

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Wearable Devices Won't Succeed On The Mass Market Until More Apps Become Available

Wearable Devices Won't Succeed On The Mass Market Until More Apps Become Available | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

Tech More: BI Intelligence Wearable Computing Apple Google

Wearable Devices Won't Succeed On The Mass Market Until More Apps Become Available

 

Tony Danova


Apr. 14, 2014, 2:25 PM 547

 inShare29   

 

BII

Despite all the new wearables on the market, there still aren't many apps in these devices' app stores. And without apps, there's not a great reason for mainstream consumers to adopt the devices. 

The wearable app ecosystem's immaturity is largely a result of platform fragmentation. The smartphone market is dominated by Android and iOS. Developers can choose to create apps for either one of these platforms knowing that they are reaching a wide swath of the smartphone market.

Not so for the wearables market. It isn't just that there's no dominant platform yet, the devices are also in the hands of far fewer users (compared to smartphone brands), creating an even greater disincentive to create apps for any one wearable device.

However, development isn't completely stymied. The outlines of some general concepts for wearable app development have begun to emerge, and will become clearer now that Google has released "Android Wear," its platform for wearable devices. 

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we make sense of the current wearable apps landscape, look at why app ecosystems are so minimally stocked, explore the types of wearables that are likeliest to take off, and try to pinpoint a few "killer apps" that could make the devices truly compelling. We also look at the strong potential for Google or Apple to instantly take over the app market.  

Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Free Trial>>

Here is some key information about the current state of wearable apps:

The entire wearable apps ecosystem is highly fragmented, and this is a big reason why there are so few wearable apps right now. All of the prominent wearable devices on the market run on different platforms, which has made it difficult for developers to create apps for all of these environments. Wearables will create fundamentally new use cases. The apps need to break away from the model of extending smartphone and tablet experiences, and do things that no smartphone app can do. An early example might be the Allthecooks Google Glass app that allows for hands-free cooking while recipe instructions are visible at eye-level. App developers would be wise to focus on wrist-worn devices in attempts to break into the wearable app markets. We believe smart wrist wear will make up 70% of wearables shipments throughout the next five years.On wrist-worn devices, we believe the health and fitness category will produce the killer apps. The whole field of personal fitness and health apps will boom as the hardware matures and adds more advanced sensors. Dieting apps, workout apps, and medical apps will try out different approaches — e.g., gamification, social media integration, and data visualization — to see what sticks.Apple and Google have all the pieces in place to dominate the wearables market. If they can make it easy for developers to translate their phone and tablet apps into wearable apps, these two companies will leap far ahead in the wearables race. Google has already jumped ahead with the debut of its wearables-optimized platform, Android Wear.

In full, the report:

Navigates through the current state of wearable apps markets and the devices surrounding them.Examines the successes and failures developers have faced in early wearable app development.Identifies some of the most popular mobile apps and outlines their wearable crossover potential.Pinpoints wrist-worn devices and their companion health and fitness apps as early leaders in the space. Considers the scale of Apple's and Google's existing mobile platforms and qualifies their potential to take over the entire wearables market.

For full access to all BI Intelligence's charts, data, and analysis on the mobile industry sign up for a free trial subscription today.

 

B


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/wearables-devices-wont-succeed-on-the-mass-market-until-there-are-more-apps-available-2014-4#ixzz2yzEL2XeB

 


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Seniors Find Connection, Support In Technology

Seniors Find Connection, Support In Technology | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

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Neelie Kroes: mHealth will reduce costly visits to hospitals

Mobile health apps that measure your blood pressure or remind you to take your medication could save the EU 99 billion euros in healthcare costs by 2017, acc...

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The future of health


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Andrew Spong's curator insight, April 11, 12:26 PM

You've read it all before, but at least it's conveniently collated in a single document

Stefano Viaggi's curator insight, April 14, 8:27 AM

Nice overview about what's going on in the health sector...

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Open Data : ouverture des données publiques de santé | Modernisation

Open Data : ouverture des données publiques de santé | Modernisation | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it


Vous êtes ici
Accueil > L'action publique se transforme > En ouvrant les données publiques > Open Data : ouverture des données publiques de santé
L'action publique se transforme
       
914
Open Data : ouverture des données publiques de santé
04.04.14
Etalab Santé

Etalab publie une cartographie des données publiques de santé et lance une consultation publique en ligne. Une première en France.

Etalab, la mission du SGMAP en charge de l’ouverture des données publiques, publie aujourd’hui une cartographie des données publiques disponibles dans le domaine de la santé. Plus de 260 bases ou jeux de données ont été recensés.

Ce travail de recensement intervient dans le cadre du débat sur l’ouverture des données publiques de santé décidé lors du CIMAP du 17 juillet 2013 et lancé par le ministère des Affaires Sociales et de la Santé en novembre 2013.
Une première en France

Etablie à partir de nombreux entretiens et ateliers de travail avec les acteurs de la santé et d'une analyse de leurs portails d'information, cette cartographie regroupe, pour la première fois en France, l’ensemble des bases ou séries de données existantes ou extraites des systèmes d'information de santé. Ce répertoire, le plus complet possible, fournit également des indications relatives à la source de ces données, à leur gestionnaire, à leur contenu ainsi qu'une évaluation de leur statut et degré d'ouverture.
Donnez votre avis !

Pour compléter ce recensement, une consultation publique en ligne est lancée sur le sujet. Les Français y sont invités à se prononcer sur les jeux de données qu’ils souhaiteraient voir ouvrir, sur les raisons qui motiveraient cette ouverture et sur les jeux de données existants ou utiles qui n'auraient pas été identifiés dans la cartographie actuelle.

Les résultats de cette consultation, ouverte jusqu'au 28 avril 2014, nourriront les conclusions des travaux de la commission en charge du débat sur l’ouverture des données publiques de santé.

Aller plus loin

    Plus d’infos sur le site de la mission Etalab
    Consulter la cartographie des données publiques de santé
    Participer à la consultation publique

- See more at: http://www.modernisation.gouv.fr/laction-publique-se-transforme/en-ouvrant-les-donnees-publiques/open-data-ouverture-des-donnees-publiques-de-sante#sthash.nxTKts2l.dpuf

Vous êtes iciAccueil > L'action publique se transforme > En ouvrant les données publiques > Open Data : ouverture des données publiques de santéL'action publique se transforme        914Open Data : ouverture des données publiques de santé04.04.14

Etalab publie une cartographie des données publiques de santé et lance une consultation publique en ligne. Une première en France.

Etalab, la mission du SGMAP en charge de l’ouverture des données publiques, publie aujourd’hui une cartographie des données publiques disponibles dans le domaine de la santé. Plus de 260 bases ou jeux de données ont été recensés.

Ce travail de recensement intervient dans le cadre du débat sur l’ouverture des données publiques de santé décidé lors du CIMAP du 17 juillet 2013 et lancé par le ministère des Affaires Sociales et de la Santé en novembre 2013.

Une première en France

Etablie à partir de nombreux entretiens et ateliers de travail avec les acteurs de la santé et d'une analyse de leurs portails d'information, cette cartographie regroupe, pour la première fois en France, l’ensemble des bases ou séries de données existantes ou extraites des systèmes d'information de santé. Ce répertoire, le plus complet possible, fournit également des indications relatives à la source de ces données, à leur gestionnaire, à leur contenu ainsi qu'une évaluation de leur statut et degré d'ouverture.

Donnez votre avis !

Pour compléter ce recensement, une consultation publique en ligne est lancée sur le sujet. Les Français y sont invités à se prononcer sur les jeux de données qu’ils souhaiteraient voir ouvrir, sur les raisons qui motiveraient cette ouverture et sur les jeux de données existants ou utiles qui n'auraient pas été identifiés dans la cartographie actuelle.

Les résultats de cette consultation, ouverte jusqu'au 28 avril 2014, nourriront les conclusions des travaux de la commission en charge du débat sur l’ouverture des données publiques de santé.

Aller plus loin

Plus d’infos sur le site de la mission EtalabConsulter la cartographie des données publiques de santéParticiper à la consultation publique- See more at: http://www.modernisation.gouv.fr/laction-publique-se-transforme/en-ouvrant-les-donnees-publiques/open-data-ouverture-des-donnees-publiques-de-sante#sthash.nxTKts2l.dpuf
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EUROPA - Press release - Healthcare in your pocket: unlocking the potential of mHealth

EUROPA - Press release - Healthcare in your pocket: unlocking the potential of mHealth | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

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Sven Awege's curator insight, April 10, 11:48 AM

he European Commission is today launching a consultation on #mHealth or mobile health, asking for help in finding ways to enhance the health and wellbeing of Europeans with the use of mobile devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, patient monitoring devices and other wireless devices.

Rowan Norrie's curator insight, April 11, 4:54 AM

Links to useful European strategy and green papers on eHealth

 

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Patients want more services, online outreach from pharma | mobihealthnews

Patients want more services, online outreach from pharma | mobihealthnews | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

Patients want pharmaceutical companies to reach out to them through more digital channels, and to offer more value-add services, according to a new survey from Accenture of 2,000 American adults who are taking one or more medications and have a household income of $25,000 or more.

“Providing personalized and value-add services in support of the products they sell is common across almost every other consumer-facing industry from retail to telecomm, hi-tech and travel,” Accenture writes in the report. “Why should pharma be any different? Especially when addressing something as important as someone’s health?”

Accenture found that those surveyed still most want to receive medication information by mail and email — 66 percent wanted information from their pharma company in printed form and 69 wanted it via email. For pharmacists, 72 percent wanted printed information and 73 percent wanted email. But demand was still reasonably high for mobile and web outreach — for pharma company information, 48 percent wanted to be reached via websites, 44 percent via mobile devices, and 38 percent via social media. For information from pharmacists, 64 percent wanted website outreach and 38 percent wanted an app, but only 15 percent were interested in hearing from their pharmacist on social media.

More generally, 68 percent of patients said they spend several hours a day online, including 69 percent of patients over 65. Eighty percent of patients said they were proactively seeking information about their medications. 

The survey also asked patients about specific “beyond the pill” services from pharmaceutical companies — what they wanted to receive and what they were receiving. The biggest disconnect was rewards programs — 63 percent wanted them but only 10 percent were receiving. The second most wanted service was product information at 53 percent, although 48 percent of respondents received it. The second biggest disconnect was financial assistance, which 51 percent wanted and only 10 percent received.

With one exception, the demand for every service exceeded the supply. Only physician referrals were provided more often than desired — with only 28 percent wanting them and 42 percent receiving them. Other services Accenture asked about were measurement tracking and alert (35 percent wanted, 20 percent received), access to patient support forums (29 percent wanted, 16 percent received), and access to clinical trials (28 percent wanted, 7 percent received.)

For patients who got the services, Accenture tracked their satisfaction. Patients were most satisfied with product information (80 percent) and measurement tracking and alert (79 percent). They were least satisfied with access to clinical trials and financial assistance, though those scores were still reasonably high at 63 percent for each.

Finally, Accenture found that 64 percent of patients were willing to provide information about their own health in order to get the services they want.

For pharma companies, the decision about how to engage with patients digitally is a little more complicated than surveying customers to see what they want. As IMS pointed out in a recent report, pharma social media interaction is regulated by the FDA, and online communication with patients can open the companies up to risk. Nevertheless, there is a steady pressure on the pharmaceutical industry to get more engaged with patients.

 


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iPhone attachment allows doctors to view the front and back of an eye

iPhone attachment allows doctors to view the front and back of an eye | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it
Researchers have developed two low cost adaptors that allow smartphones to capture high-resolution images of the front and back of an eye.

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Nearly three-quarters of prescription-takers use mobile apps, including most older adults and seniors

Nearly three-quarters of prescription-takers use mobile apps, including most older adults and seniors | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

Most patients taking prescription medicine (72%) also use mobile apps (Android smartphone, iPhone, Android tablet, iPad, or Kindle Fire),

Mobile app adoption rates are high across all medication-taking adult age groups: 93% (age 18-24), 90% (age 25-34), 88% (age 35-44), 80% (age 45-54), 66% (age 55-64), and 50% (age 65+),

App-using patients prefer the privacy-protected single app Mobile Health Library (MHL) system (by a factor of 11 to 1) over email programs often offered by medication manufacturers.  This high preference for a privacy-protected single app, customized to a user's needs for medication education and support services, was observed across all adult age groups.


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Dr Martin Wale's curator insight, April 8, 11:05 AM

I've not been able to verify the funding source for this research, so it could just be marketing.  If you know, please comment.  Thanks!

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Cheap Mobile Eye Exams For Rural Poor Made Possible With Smartphones

Cheap Mobile Eye Exams For Rural Poor Made Possible With Smartphones | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

he World Health Organization estimates some 90% of the world’s visually impaired folks live in the developing world. Most suffer from correctible but undiagnosed refractive errors like cataracts.

Opthalmic equipment is big, heavy, expensive and immobile. It can be difficult or even impossible for people living in rural areas of developing countries to get to the nearest eye doctor—and the doctor can’t bring the equipment to them.

We’ve written about a few startups working the problem. MIT Media Lab’s $2 NETRA clip-on smartphone device and app, for example, can give eye tests and prescriptions for glasses. Another organization, Peek, similarly offers a clip-on, smartphone-compatible device. Beyond exams, the device can image both the front and back of the eye.

Peek device images a patient’s eye

More recently, Stanford opthalmology resident, David Myung, and assistant professor of opthalmology, Robert Chang, unveiled a similar smartphone-compatible device, dubbed EyeGo, to image the front and back of the eye.

A hacker at heart, Myung whipped up early prototypes using off-the-shelf parts he mostly ordered online—caps, spacers, macrolenses, LEDs, even a few Legos. After a few rounds of tinkering, he modeled and 3D printed a run of the adapters attaching optical equipment to phone.

Chief ophthalmology resident, Lisa He, is leading a clinical study in Stanford’s Emergency Department grading the device’s image quality. Another resident, Brian Toy, aims to test the device’s ability to keep track of eye disease in diabetes patients.

Myung and Chang will use cash from two seed grants to produce more adapters for research and, down the line, seek FDA guidance to make them more widely available. So far, the device costs $90 to produce, but they hope to go lower.

As startups have begun making mobile devices to measure vital signs like blood pressure, blood oxygen, and more, Peek, NETRA, and EyeGo are some of the first we’ve seen that address the eyes specifically.

Such devices may allow patients to take health measurements at home and electronically send them to their doctor, avoiding all but the most necessary office visits and keeping closer tabs on chronic conditions.

In the developing world, though most folks don’t have smartphones yet, that’s likely to change in the coming years. In the meantime, mobile health devices like these promise to allow healthcare professionals, or even assistants with limited training, to go where they’re needed, diagnose disease, and provide basic healthcare to the rural poor.

Image Credit: Stanford, Peek


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Why Doctors Still Use Pen and Paper

Why Doctors Still Use Pen and Paper | Mobile Health: How Mobile Phones Support Health Care | Scoop.it

The health-care system is one of the most technology-dependent parts of the American economy, and one of the most primitive. Every patient knows, and dreads, the first stage of any doctor visit: sitting down with a clipboard and filling out forms by hand.

David Blumenthal, a physician and former Harvard Medical School professor, was from 2009 to 2011 the national coordinator for health information technology, in charge of modernizing the nation’s medical-records systems. He now directs The Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that conducts health-policy research. Here, he talks about why progress has been so slow, and when and how that might change.

James Fallows: From the lay public’s point of view, medical records seem incredibly backward. Is the situation any better than it looks?

David Blumenthal: It’s on the way to getting better. But we still have a long way to go. The reason why the medical profession has been so slow to adopt technology at the point of contact with patients is that there is an asymmetry of benefits.

From the patient’s perspective, this is a no-brainer. The benefits are substantial. But from the provider’s perspective, there are substantial costs in setting up and using the systems. Until now, providers haven’t recovered those costs, either in payment or in increased satisfaction, or in any other way. Ultimately, there are of course benefits to the professional as well. It’s beyond question that you become a better physician, a better nurse, a better manager when you have the digital data at your fingertips. But the costs are considerable, and they have fallen on people who have no economic incentive to make the transition. The benefits of a more efficient practice largely accrue to people paying the bills. The way economists would describe this is that the medical marketplace is broken.

JF: This is a subset of the general brokenness of the medical marketplace, right?

DB: Yes. There are many problems that come from the brokenness of the health-care market. To put it another way, if the medical market functioned like the car industry or the computer industry or the service industry, with true competition based on quality and price, providers would have adopted electronic records long ago. I’m not advocating pure market competition in health care. But there are many ways in which the medical marketplace should work better, and this is one of them.

JF: What’s the best thought-experiment example of medical-marketplace incentives working the right way? The VA?

DB: When the benefits of using better technology are “internalized,” as the economists would say, there has been much more rapid, complete, and effective adoption of electronic medical records. So, the VA: the benefits are internalized, because the VA has to live within a budget. In private health-care organizations like Kaiser or the Geisinger plan in Pennsylvania, or the Group Health Cooperative in Puget Sound, electronic medical records were adopted decades ago, and are widely used and highly effective. You don’t need a thought experiment to find living, breathing examples of what happens when the incentives work right.

JF: What’s the connection between the electronic-records effort you directed and the larger Obamacare strategy?

DB: This may be a Beltway detail, but the law that I implemented was not in the Affordable Care Act. It was actually part of the earlier and much maligned stimulus bill. The hope was that promoting medical records would lay the groundwork for a more efficient health-care system, and thereby make universal coverage more affordable to the country—

JF: And—

DB: And you’re about to ask whether it did.

JF: Yes.

DB: It would have. And it will. But it needs time to realize its potential.

“If the medical market functioned like the car industry … providers would have adopted electronic records long ago.”

I think the parallel is the time it took from when computerization became prevalent in other industries to the time when worker productivity improved. We are only three years into the process of making digital information widely available in health care. And health care is an extraordinarily complex, knowledge-intensive industry. If you want a thought experiment, you could ask yourself how good modern medicine is when physicians and nurses know nothing at all about the patient. So information is absolutely the critical resource in health care, more important than steel in making cars. When you change the way information is used and collected in medicine, you change everything about the way work is done. It is an enormously disruptive process within the health-care system. It takes time to accommodate. In places like Kaiser and Geisinger, electronic medical records are already making a big impact. But that is mostly because those organizations started using them a long time ago.

JF: What about when you switch from too little technology in the patient experience to too much? When the doctor is staring at a laptop rather than looking at you?

DB: This is a transition issue. Most physicians’ offices, and I’ve been in a lot of them, are set up so that when the physician looks at the screen, he or she can’t look at the patient. Often they have their back to the patient. That is because no one has given a lot of thought to how to maximize the ergonomic quality of inserting this technology into the office.

That will come. I also think that voice-recognition technology is going to be an enormous relief both to the physician and to the patient, because the physician will be able to talk to a machine rather than typing into it. Those technologies are improving—as you can tell from your smartphone—and as they do, a lot of this ergonomic problem will go away.

JF: In the broadest sense, what difference will better information technology make in our lives and health?

DB: Fundamentally, every medical record is a tool for collecting information: the information a physician collects when looking at you in a physical examination; the results of lab tests. The constant automatic information collection is going to increase, whether it’s your phone monitoring your heart rate or your scale sending information about your weight to your health provider, or the contact lenses Google wants to market that measure blood glucose levels.

They all are sources of information about your health and well-being. And the challenge we face collectively, inside the health-care establishment and outside it, is how to take all this information, separate what’s useful from what’s not, and then apply it to improve the decisions of patients and care providers.

This is a generic problem in society. We have lots of information, and we don’t always know what to do with it. Your doctor, your nurse, is not prepared to process the information they already have. It’s already overwhelming. And adding more in will just make it even more anxiety-provoking and overwhelming. That is, in a sense, the big data challenge facing health care in the future.

This will move us into a field that is taking shape right now, that of analytics. It will help us take these data and turn them into diagnostic information—into recommendations a physician can give a patient or that patients can get directly, online.

That’s where the future lies, and of course people want the benefit of it right now. Before, there was no market to make this sort of analytic product. Now that we have a growing electronic infrastructure for health information, there is a surge of traditional capitalist interest in turning that information into valuable knowledge, and selling it back to patients and doctors. That will happen. But it could never have happened until we got the data into digital form.


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