Mobile phone use in Africa has spread far, wide and fast. By the end of last year, it was estimated that 70 percent of the population would have a mobile phone. Now, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says it’s using the technology to save lives.
In Kenya, the IFRC has developed the Rapid Mobile Phone-based survey, otherwise known as RAMP. It allows the medical aid group to learn a lot about the health of people in remote, rural communities in very little time.
Volunteers use RAMP to collect data on such things as antenatal and newborn care, immunizations, malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and other health issues. Peat says the mobile phone survey has sharply reduced costs. It’s 10 times cheaper compared to the old clipboard method. And it saves a lot of time.
Traditional health insurance reimbursement to providers (though payment is a more appropriate word) for healthcare services and products is at the root of our healthcare crisis. Our traditional fee for service system in the USA rewards hospitals and providers for doing more (and more costly) procedures to patients.
Some interesting findings from a study from Harvard Medical School were that the higher the cost of surgery, the greater the likelihood of complications and the more out-of-pocket a patient with Medicare or private insurance paid, the more complications were reported. In addition, if a patient paid for the surgery fully out-of-pocket or through government-funded Medicaid, the likelihood of complications was lower.
The Affordable Care Act, which introduces newer payment models including bundled payments, is creating an economic environment which is conducive to the widespread use of remote patient monitoring (RPM) for recently discharged hospital patients and those with chronic diseases. RPM will be most focused on vital signs monitoring for cardiac and pulmonary patients and diabetes monitoring. Larger opportunities abound for weight management, medication adherence, and preventive medicine.
Walgreen’s latest push into primary care has one major doctor group taking issue with the retailer’s expansion into “management for chronic conditions” such as high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension.
The nation’s largest drugstore chain earlier this week announced that its more than 330 Take Care clinics staffed by advanced degree nurses known as nurse practitioners were expanding the scope of the health care services beyond routine maladies like treating strep throat or pink eye.
Walgreen is now providing new services that include “assessment, treatment and management for chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma and others, as well as additional preventive health services.” Walgreen said it was moving further along than clinics run by rivals like CVS/Caremark (CVS) or Wal-Mart Stores (WMT).
But some physicians are upset by the expansion, saying it will further splinter an already fragmented health care system and therefore harm quality and patient safety.
What makes a social network valuable ? Facebook (FB), with more than 1 billion active monthly users posting photos, sending messages, and updating their status, has an impressive market capitalization of $65 billion, or about $65 per user. But Wall Street has assigned a valuation of almost $18.5 billion, or $92.50 per user, to LinkedIn (LNKD), the professional networking site that offers its 200 million members arguably more crucial services, such as help finding jobs.
Now a cadre of social platforms aims to disrupt the way consumers share information about personal health, physicians, and treatments. Despite a proliferation of apps that let people monitor every movement and morsel they eat, information technology has yet to revolutionize health care the way it has upended, say, shopping.
What the upstarts lack in scale (for now), they more than make up for in utility. Imagine joining an online global community of people with the same rare disorder, or finding a doctor on the basis of detailed patient reviews. Facebook may provide its fans with tools they love, but this new wave of social networks offers tools that its users can't live without -- in some cases literally.
A recent article published in Auntminnie, iPad offers value in mobile emergency CT reading, discusses the relevance of using the iPad for reviewing diagnostic imaging.
The article states: "Although the experience provided by an iPad for reviewing medical images still has room for improvement, the popular tablet can be employed for remote reading of emergency CT studies by radiologists on the move, according to research presented at the RSNA 2011 meeting in Chicago.
A study team from the Imperial College Healthcare National Health Service (NHS) Trust in the U.K. found that radiologists reading emergency CT cases on an iPad did not have statistically significantly higher overall error rates compared to radiologists reading on PACS workstations. On the downside, a high error rate was found in CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) studies, and the mean score that radiologists gave of their experience with the iPad ranged between average and good.
"Overall iPad error rates are comparable to a workstation in both major and minor errors," said presenter Dr. Daniel Fascia. "CTPA error rates are not acceptable at 27% [for major errors], but confidence is lower reading CTPA and CT abdomen [studies], indicating that radiologists appreciate these limitations."
Patients are actively looking to engage their physicians online, but doctors aren’t too keen on the idea. What’s the big fuss?
Fears of potential lawsuits and concerns with patient privacy are a big part of what’s holding doctors back from starting their own Twitter handles, but Kevin Pho (he’s a real doctor and a social media doctor) thinks physicians must embrace social media, albeit smartly. He concedes it can “blur the line between a professional doctor-patient relationship and one that brims on being too personal.”
But for doctors to stay sidelined is hardly the right tactic. Pho says the reality is that “an increasing number of patients get health information on Facebook, so it’s important for physicians to have a presence there.” Does that mean doctors must let patients in on their vacation photos and updates on what they ate for dinner? No, instead Pho advises they keep a professional Facebook page.
A new ‘report card’ ranking 54 American and Canadian top research universities on their “contributions to urgent global health research and access to treatment worldwide” has found that a tiny 3% of research funding is devoted to diseases that afflict the world’s poor.
The University Global Health Impact Report Card, a project of the student group Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), published its first ranking last Thursday based on publicly available and self-reported information from 2010.
"Hospitalization is extremely expensive. Every year, hospitalizations account for one third of the $2 trillion in total annual health spending in the U.S. But what you may not know is that one in nine hospital admissions is actually a re-hospitalization – when a patient is readmitted to hospital within 30 days.
Some patients are more prone to readmission than others; in fact, nearly a quarter of all Medicare patients return to hospital within a month of discharge. The total cost of these repeat hospital stays is estimated to be between $25-$45 billion. Despite the increased attention this problem has received from the Obama Administration, hospital executives and health care industry leaders, the national readmission rate still hovers around 19 percent.
For the elderly, re-hospitalization can be traumatizing, yet it is often avoidable. Research shows that 75 percent of Medicare hospital readmissions (4.4 million patients) may be preventable, suggesting potential savings of up to $12 billion in annual Medicare spending..."
One of the hardest things to do as an Alzheimer's caregiver is learning how to understand, cope, and communicate with a person living with dementia.
Learning how to communicate effectively requires change. How hard it is to change the way you have been doing things with a person you have known all of your life? How hard is it to change a pattern of communication that has been ingrained in you all your life?
Darn hard. Although, I might use a few different choice words to explain this if I was talking to you in person.
The bottom line here. Beyond a certain stage in the progression of Alzheimer's, communicating in the same way we have all our lives will not work well with a person living with dementia.
Blue Highway's insight:
Amazing article about how to effectively communicate with a person living with Alzheimer's.
Last year, the FDA approved Proteus Digital Health's ingestible biosensor for monitoring drug compliance. The technology blurred the line between the world of pharmaceuticals and medical devices in the way that no medical device had before. Unlike combination products such as drug-eluting stents, the device illustrates the convergence of sensors, apps, and wireless technologies exemplified by the consumer devices such as smartphone and tablets. And the swallowable Proteus biosensor is able to offer that functionality in a computing system made out of ingredients found in food: silicon, copper, and magnesium. The biosensor powers itself in a manner similar to a potato battery.
Telling a white lie to a friend is not always the best idea. Telling one to your doctor could lead to serious health problems, but many still seem to do it.
CBS News medical contributor Dr. Holly Phillips told "CBS This Morning: Saturday" that people go into their doctor's office with a problem and do not always tell the whole truth simply because they do not want to feel criticized.
"Research shows that, again, people don't want to feel judged. It is a reflex," she said. "When you're in an interview setting, you want to make a good impression, but ultimately it's not about that."
According to a study conducted with the Cleveland Clinic, 28 percent of patients say they "lie or omit facts" when visiting their health care providers.
On the flipside, 77 percent of doctors and health care providers felt that a quarter of their patients knowingly leave out facts or flat-out lie to them. Meanwhile, 28 percent of doctors and providers estimated that at least half of their patients leave out facts or lie.
Imbalances in the microbial community in your intestines may lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes.
Dandona's ongoing experiments—and others like it—could upend much of we thought we knew about the causes of obesity, or just that extra pesky 10 pounds of flab.
If what some scientists now suspect about the interplay of food and intestinal microbes pans out, it could revolutionize the $66 billion weight loss industry—and help control the soaring $2.7 trillion we spend on health care yearly.
Rather than isolating doctors, the new technology promises to be fundamentally enabling, allowing doctors to redefine and strengthen their relationships — with patients and with colleagues. The result: a new sense of connection and meaning.
Imagine your company is developing a new product that needs testing that cannot be completed in-house. To go to an external company would mean thousands of dollars in rental equipment alone. To go to a research university would mean months of negotiating the collaboration agreement and intellectual property rights.
What if there was a collaborator to connect you to these testing resources in less time for less money?
Animal trials of the electronic implant are about to begin and its makers say it could provide a more effective alternative to weight-loss surgery.
The chip is attached to the vagus nerve which plays a role in appetite as well as a host of other functions within the body.
Human trials of the implant could begin within three years, say its makers.
The work is being led by Prof Chris Toumazou and Prof Sir Stephen Bloom of Imperial College London.
It involves an 'intelligent implantable modulator', just a few millimetres across, which is attached using cuff electrodes to the vagus nerve within the peritoneal cavity found in the abdomen.
The chip and cuffs are designed to read and process electrical and chemical signatures of appetite within the nerve. The chip can then act upon these readings and send electrical signals to the brain reducing or stopping the urge to eat
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