One in three of us is allergic. From grass pollen to latex, peanuts to pets, allergies send 20,000 of people in England to hospital every year. But generations before did not suffer from this epidemic, so what is it that's making us so allergic in our modern world?
GlaxoSmithKline, better known as GSK, has launched a new web effort aimed at providing both information and inspiration for people with coronary obstructive pulmonary disease, in what the company says is arguably the most engaging platform in the marketplace.
According to a survey of thousands of patients in Germany, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, the adoption of digital healthcare services remains low because existing services are either low quality or not meeting patients’ needs. The survey, conducted by consulting firm McKinsey, included responses from at least 1,000 patients in the three countries.
“Many healthcare executives believe that, due to the sensitive nature of medical care, patients don’t want to use digital services except in a few specific situations; decision makers often cite data that point to relatively low usage of digital healthcare services,” McKinsey analysts Stefan Biesdorf and Florian Niedermann wrote in a recent blog post. “In fact, the results of our survey reveal something quite different. The reason patients are slow to adopt digital healthcare is primarily because existing services don’t meet their needs or because they are of poor quality.”
McKinsey found that more than 75 percent of respondents would like to use some kind of digital health service. Many are interested in “mundane” offerings, the firm wrote.
After attending OPEN Health's inaugural 'Health Innovation: Big Ideas' event in London, Paul Tunnah outlines some of the concepts that could be game changers for the pharma industry and the broader future of healthcare.
The non-English speaking patient population in the U.S. accounts for an estimated 30 million people. Navigating our health system is challenging enough for native speakers, but what about for those for whom English isn’t their first language?
Searching online for a travel destination or a recipe is simple enough. But what if you wanted to diagnose a medical condition? 35 percent of US adults say they’ve used search tools to find a diagnosis.
Perhaps not surprising to physicians, of these “online diagnosers” less than half (41 percent) got their diagnosis right.
Rare Diseases and Online Community
For rare disease patients, finding others with the same unusual set of symptoms can be a lifeline. With a confirmed diagnosis, patients can connect digitally in a way that is often impossible in real life.
Rare disease is defined in the US as having less than 200,000 patients; in the EU it is one in every 2,000 people. Inherently, patients are sparse for the7,000+ known rare diseases. Only about 50 percent have advocacy groups or organizations fighting on their behalf.
Rare Disease Patients Are Power Internet Users
The Pew Research Internet Project found rare disease patients use the internet to connect with others in far greater numbers than other patients. Overall, only five percent of patients say they have interacted online with a fellow patient, but 50 percent of rare disease patients say they have connected with others sharing their condition.
The mother of a patient in the study noted,
“When a disease is so rare, and there are no folks in your town, and few in your state who are going through what you are going through, you need a support group that encompasses people from all over the world. Getting to know people through the disorder has been an amazing experience and has created incredibly wonderful friendships and ties.”
Where Does the Online Search Begin?
Seventy-seven percent of online health-seekers start with major search engines such as Google or Bing. No matter how their searches begin, physicians wish their clicks would lead them away from social media and toward more technical information sites.
In a recent survey, we asked Sermo member physicians, “Where should rare disease patients search online for information?”
69 percent preferred medical literature sites such as the Journal of the American Medical Association or the New England Journal of Medicine.54 percent approved of research hospital sites such as Massachusetts General Hospital or Stanford Medical.32 percent gave a nod to patient communities such as Patients Like Me.11 percent approved of social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
Registries Can Be Life Saving
Rare disease patients like to connect for emotional support and information as their issues progress. For researchers and physicians, online registries are a boon. Clinical trials can find participants quickly and speed the path of a drug to market, potentially saving lives and easing symptoms.
In an NPR article, Sue Byrnes, a patient and founder of a rare lung disease registry said,
“the internet actually facilitates research. Researchers can search that database or ask the foundation to survey its members online for information about symptoms and treatment. Scientists don’t have the time to do these sorts of things, so we do it for them.”
Overall, rare disease patients use online resources to connect, for support in their diagnoses, to compare treatment notes and to participate in research studies. Physicians and researchers use online connections to find patients and collaborate on treatment plans.
As a physician, have you directed a rare disease patient to an online resource? Have you found patients have better outcomes if they have an emotional connection? Has a rare disease patient ever questioned your treatment plan based on information they received online?
Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, Vol. 7, Issue 1 Jan. 2013.
El-Gayar, Timsina and Nawar.
Background: Advancements in smartphone technology coupled with the proliferation of data connectivity has resulted in increased interest and unprecedented growth in mobile applications for diabetes self-management. The objective of this article is to determine, in a systematic review, whether diabetes applications have been helping patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes self-manage their condition and to identify issues necessary for large-scale adoption of such interventions. Methods: The review covers commercial applications available on the Apple App Store (as a representative of commercially available applications) and articles published in relevant databases covering a period fromJanuary 1995 to August 2012. The review included all applications supporting any diabetes self-management task where the patient is the primary actor. Results: Available applications support self-management tasks such as physical exercise, insulin dosage or medication, blood glucose testing, and diet. Other support tasks considered include decision support, notification/alert, tagging of input data, and integration with social media. The review points to the potential for mobile applications to have a positive impact on diabetes self-management. Analysis indicates that application usage is associated with improved attitudes favorable to diabetes self-management. Limitations of the applications include lack of personalized feedback; usability issues, particularly the ease of data entry; and integration with patients and electronic health records. Conclusions: Research into the adoption and use of user-centered and sociotechnical design principles is needed to improve usability, perceived usefulness, and, ultimately, adoption of the technology. Proliferation and efficacy of interventions involving mobile applications will benefit from a holistic approach that takes into account patients’ expectations and providers’ needs.
Apple is currently in talks with electronic health record provider, Allscripts, as well as several hospitals, in an effort to discuss the use of its cloud-based health information platform known as HealthKit.
Whether it’s striving for simplicity in design or recognizing that people are capable of countless mistakes while using something, Qmed has collected plenty of tips on medical device design. Here are four dos and three don’ts to get you started.
Rowan Norrie's insight:
All MedTech companies developing new products should read this!
This is the sensible trajectory of connected sensor technology. The world around us gains the ability to perceive us, rather than wearable sensors trying to figure out what’s going on in our environment by taking a continuous measure of us.
A useful lesson - wearables should not just be about harvesting data for the sake of it. By incorporating into objects we are in contact with, e.g. seat belts, we can make it a seamless part of our everyday life to gather information when it really matters.
After decades as a technological laggard, medicine has entered its data age. Mobile technologies, sensors, genome sequencing, and advances in analytic software now make it possible to capture vast amounts of information about our individual makeup and the environment around us. The sum of this information could transform medicine, turning a field aimed at treating the average patient into one that’s customized to each person while shifting more control and responsibility from doctors to patients.
The question is: can big data make health care better?
“There is a lot of data being gathered. That’s not enough,” says Ed Martin, interim director of the Information Services Unit at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. “It’s really about coming up with applications that make data actionable.”
The business opportunity in making sense of that data—potentially $300 billion to $450 billion a year, according to consultants McKinsey & Company—is driving well-established companies like Apple, Qualcomm, and IBM to invest in technologies from data-capturing smartphone apps to billion-dollar analytical systems. It’s feeding the rising enthusiasm for startups as well.
Venture capital firms like Greylock Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as well as the corporate venture funds of Google, Samsung, Merck, and others, have invested more than $3 billion in health-care information technology since the beginning of 2013—a rapid acceleration from previous years, according to data from Mercom Capital Group.
In 2012, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created a walking biological robot powered by cells from the heart. The heart cells proved capable of generating movement in the small bio-bots (measuring less than a centimeter in height), but controlling the bot proved difficult as the cells are programmed to beat continuously. In addition, it was difficult to turn those robots on or off.
Without a doubt, 2014 will be declared the year mobile became mighty in healthcare. No matter where in the world you live, whether you are talking about patients, consumers, or healthcare providers, mobile is revolutionising the future of healthcare – so much so, that it's worth taking a closer look at 10 powerful trends emerging throughout the mobile health space. We'll also be showcasing our findings on mobile health user experience at the Mighty Mobile seminar at the inauguralCannes Lions Health festival.