The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a landmark 1996 patient-privacy law, only covers patient information kept by health providers, insurers and data clearinghouses, as well as their business partners. At-home paternity tests fall outside the law’s purview. For that matter, so do wearables like Fitbit that measure steps and sleep, testing companies like 23andMe, and online repositories where individuals can store their health records.
Advances in technology offer patients ways to monitor their own health that were impossible until recently: Internet-connected scales to track their weight; electrodes attached to their iPhones to monitor heart rhythms; virtual file cabinets to store their medical records.
“Consumer-generated health information is proliferating,” FTC Commissioner Julie Brill said at a forum last year. But many users don’t realize that much of it is stored “outside of the HIPAA silo.”
As startups gather in Helsinki for the annual Slush event, one of the fastest growing areas on the scene is the health and wellness sector. Within that growing category, digital health and wellbeing wearables are shifting from wrist-top to ring-top, with two Finnish companies poised to make their mark.
Dr. Robert Pearl of the Permanente Medical Group recently implied that wearable tech fitness trackers like the Fitbit don’t serve much purpose in medical practice. While Fitbit does have a disappointing user abandonment rate of 50%, general purpose wearables like the Apple Watch—which has sold an estimated 5-6 million units—has a tiny 6% abandonment rate. And 83% of users state that the apps like the three-rings (activity and stand-up alerts) have contributed to their overall health and fitness. Also, the Hello Heart app reported that Apple Watch users were nearly 4 times more likely to stick with the cardiovascular health management program vs other users. They discovered that 25% of users decreased their blood pressure by 22 points or more.
Coming back to how we get wearable tech and other digital health data into the medical system, Drew Schiller, co-founder and CTO of Validic, a Durham, North Carolina-based vendor that provides access to data from digital health apps and devices (and one of my valued ecosystem partners), agreed that consumer/patient-generated digital data must be provided to a physician and care management team in a form that makes it actionable. “Patient-generated data is useful for showing health trends,” according to Schiller. So if that’s the case, it seems that as we see the wearable tech market doubling in the next four years, there will be a wealth of data available to healthcare systems with an interest in seeing patient trends and influencing their behavior, especially to prevent, manage, and even predict chronic disease. According to the CDC, chronic, behavior-based diseases account for 86% of healthcare costs.
IBM is partnering with Triax Technologies to potentially harness its supercomputer for identifying head injuries on social networks.
The companies are working to embedWatsonnatural language capabilities into a smart impact sensor headband that Triax offers.
Triax is among a number of companies working with wearable sensors to combat and treat concussions, which comprise the vast majority of the 3.8 million sports-related head injuries per year.
So far, the technology is being used in sensors that measure hits to the head, as well asdecision supporttools that help trainers and medical personnel test an athlete for evidence of a concussion immediately after the incident.
IBM and Triax could advance the ability to identify whether certain patients are in fact concussive and do so outside of a doctor's office or hospital, potentially spotting head injuries the athlete does not even know about yet.
The technology might pick up on questionable or risky content used by an athlete in social media, for instance, then examine whether that athlete recently sustained a head injury.
"Watson's language service enables the wearable to factor in more diverse data sources such associal mediato analyze sentiment and infer cognitive and social characteristics to provide a more holistic view of athletes,"IBMexplained in a prepared statement.
The sensors in smartphones can accurately detect the changes in mood that are indicative of bipolar disorder, according to a new study. That could lead to faster treatment and better outcomes for sufferers.
Researchers from Intel and the Michael J. Fox Foundation are testing a wrist-borne monitor on Parkinson's patients, with the hope of creating a platform to improve diagnosis and treatment of the debilitating disease.
SOURCE NoNovember 11, 2015 The common method for diagnosing Parkinson's disease is a 60-question test, with answers rated on a scale of 1 to 5. "Pass" the test, and you've got Parkinson's mHealth is going to change that. Intel and the Michael J. Fox Foundation are joining forces on a project to collect and analyze data from Parkinson's patients through wearable devices – more specifically, a Pebble watch. The idea is that a wrist-borne monitor will give researchers more insight to the debilitating disease than any Q&A. TO CONTINUE, GO TO mHEALTH NEWS
A new study published in the journal Obesity finds that mobile health applications were no more effective than informational handouts provided during a physician visit in promoting sustained weight loss. Unlike other weight-loss research, the study was conducted over two years and focused on individuals between ages 18 and 35. MobiHealthNews, Obesity.
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