These medical social media innovations are examples of how the medical community is being changed to make dialogues with patients and other doctors easier.
Devices like the EasyPill and Pill Pad are cloud-connected so that whether patients do or do not take their daily medication, a doctor can go online and monitor a patient’s condition, dosage and daily regime. Another example of a secure way for patients and doctors to communicate is BlueStar, an FDA-approved mobile application for diabetics that is one of the first apps ever to require a prescription for download.
One example of an application which helps medical professionals to connect is the ‘Figure 1’ app, which is essentially an Instagram-like, crowdsourced database of images submitted by and for doctors.
If you prefer to take more of a preventative approach to your own health and wellness you could always try the SickWeather app, which notifies users of illnesses detected in their area.
Here are five significant trends healthcare CIOs should pay attention to in 2014, partly because of their bearing on the main events.
Patient portals, Direct messaging, medical identity theft, cloud storage, and mobile devices will keep healthcare execs busy.
1. Patient portals Because of rising consumer interest in health IT, the industry transition to accountable care, and most of all, Meaningful Use Stage 2, patient portals are hot. Nearly 50% of hospitals and 40% of ambulatory practices already provide patient portals, according to a Frost & Sullivan report. The firm predicted that the value of the portal business would soar to nearly $900 million in 2017, up 221% from its worth in 2012.
2. Direct messaging In the past few years, the Direct Project protocol for secure clinical messaging has steadily gained momentum. EHRs must include Direct capability to receive 2014 certification, and Direct messaging is also one way to satisfy the Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirement that providers exchange care summaries electronically at transitions of care. Some health information exchanges are using Direct to communicate with physicians who don't have EHRs. Eventually, Direct messages could replace faxes.
3. Cyberattacks and medical identity theft Over the past few years, there has been a quantum leap in the number of cyberattacks on healthcare organizations. The Ponemon Institute, which tracks computer security in a number of industries, says healthcare is increasingly attractive to cyber-criminals because the information required to steal a medical identity is worth far more on the street than Social Security numbers or credit card numbers alone. As a result, Ponemon reported, the number of medical identity theft victims in the US soared from 1.42 million in 2010 to 1.85 million in 2012.
4. Cloud storage and cloud-based EHRs Security concerns were the biggest reason CIOs and other healthcare leaders said they were reluctant to use cloud storage in an HIMSS Analytics focus group. Some participants said they'd be comfortable using a private cloud hosted by their software vendor. Others said the cloud was fine for business-related information, but that they wouldn't trust it for storing personal health information.
5. Mobile devices BYOD is a major concern for CIOs, as is insecure texting between clinicians, and those issues will continue. But 2014 could be the year when physicians start prescribing mobile health apps to patients. If there's a major increase in the use of these apps by patients with chronic diseases, monitoring data from patients' mobile devices might also start flowing into hospitals and practices.
If 2013 was the year of wearables and health apps, what’s on tap for 2014?
Here are five exciting health tech trends to keep an eye on for the new year.
1. Data in the Doctor’s OfficeAccording to Pew Research, 21% of Americans already use some form of technology to track their health data, and as the market for wearable devices and health apps grows, so too will the mountain of data about our behaviors and vitals. Next year, we may see more of this data incorporated into our day-to-day medical care.
2. Smart Clothes
If a wristband or clip-on tracker isn’t part of your look, there’s hope for you in 2014, because a new wave of wearable smart garments will be hitting the stores next year. In fact, market research company Markets and Markets expects sales of smart clothes and fabrics to reach $2.03 billion by 2018.
3. Augmented NutritionOf course, if you want to fit into the latest smart fashion, you might need to keep better tabs on what you’re eating. We’ve already seen popular apps such as Fooducate make things easy by letting you scan the barcodes on packaged foods to gather nutrition data. In 2014, we’ll see new technologies that take even more of the guesswork out of counting calories. 4. Virtual House Calls
Virtual house calls also just got a big boost with the recent launch of Google Helpouts, a new marketplace for getting personalized help over live video chat. Although it’s still early days for the new service, you can already browse the Google Helpouts Health marketplace for medical advice, mental health issues, nutrition counseling, weight loss and more. You can even get wellness advice for your pets.
5. Health Rewards
If looking and feeling good isn’t enough of a payoff, how about getting paid for getting healthy?
Observers of the digital health ecosystem seem addicted to the idea that it is accretive when in truth it is commutative. News of the demise of sleep tracker Zeo, the closure of Google Reader through which many of us have reviewed health news, and the imminent withdrawalof the best (IMO) version of the best Twitter client through which many health tweet chats have been conducted should hopefully serve to remind us of the transitory nature of digital environments.
Personal health data is certainly going to continue to be collected. It will be at the centre of our genome-informed, personalised medical future.
However, we aren’t going to be collecting it via a panoply of trackers, gadgets, wristbands and glasses.
We no more want external health peripherals than we do a keyboard for a tablet computer. They are extraneous, inconvenient, and will only be used by health hobbyists.
Eminently sensible insight from Eric Topol, M.D., professor of genomics and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine.
The suggestions are based on a theme of getting away from mass testing/treatment to looking at the patient as an individual, and basing treatment on what approach will best suit that person, depending on their condition and biology.
It also makes a case for overuse of expensive tests, suchs as CT scans. Not only do they cause distress through misdiagnose or finding other minor spots that need further testing, but overuse of irradiation is apparently linked to 2% of cancers in the US.
In a healthy eye, the rods and cones of the retina are specialized cells that convert light into tiny electrochemical impulses that are sent via the optic nerve into the brain, where they are decoded into images. However, if these delicate photoreceptors are ever damaged, the initial step in the process is disrupted and the visual system cannot transform light into images, leading to blindness...
#2 Genome-Guided Solid Tumor Diagnostics:
Too often, men and women hear the words "prostate cancer," "breast cancer," and "colorectal cancer" from their doctors and they immediately think the worst. Many times the aggressive therapies are unnecessary that are offered or demanded. However, there are now genomic-based tests that can make these treatment decisions much easier and more reliable.
#3 Responsive Neurostimulator for Intractable Epilepsy:
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that produces seizures—brief disturbances in the normal electrical activity of the brain—that affect various mental and physical functions. Seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells in the brain signal abnormally, which may briefly alter a person’s consciousness or movements. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, he or she is considered to have epilepsy.
#4 New Era in Hepatitis C Treatment:
Hepatitis C infection, a common liver disease that affects an estimated four million people in the United States, is transmitted through exposure to infected blood (blood was not screened effectively for hepatitis C until 1992) or sexual contact with an infected person. The majority of people with the ailment don’t realize that they have the disease because of a lack of symptoms.
#5 Perioperative Decision Support System:
Anesthesia is given to patients to inhibit pain, sedate the body, and also regulate various bodily functions in surgery. Today, there are 51 million hospital surgical procedures performed annually in the United States, most which are not possible without anesthesia. Before the discovery of anesthesia and the first painless surgery in 1842, surgical patients had their pain dulled with opium or copious amounts of alcohol. With the advent of many new medications and surgical monitoring equipment, we are now in the modern era of anesthesia and optimal surgical care.
#6 Fecal Microbiota Transplantation:
Many hospitalized patients develop hospital-acquired infections, oftentimes due, paradoxically, to broad-spectrum and fluoroquinolone antibiotic therapy used for medical treatment. Antibiotics, which are supposed to kill bacteria, can also increase the odds of some people developing a dangerous and potentially lethal infection from rod-shaped bacteria called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff.
#7 Relaxin for Acute Heart Failure:
Heart failure is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body. Symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, and fluid retention are caused by a weakened or stiffened heart, significantly diminishing its ability to fill normally or effectively distribute blood. According to the American Heart Association, approximately five million people experience heart failure in the United States and more than half a million new cases are diagnosed annually in this country.
A colonoscopy is an exam that lets a gastroenterologist look closely at the inside of the entire colon and rectum for polyps, the small growths that over time can become cancerous. Using a colonoscope, a thin, flexible, hollow, lighted tube that has a tiny video camera on the end, the doctor sends pictures to a TV screen. The exam itself takes about 30 minutes. Patients are usually given light sedation to help them relax and sleep while the procedure is performed.
#9 TMAO ASSAY: Novel Biomaker for the Microbiome:
There is a global hunt in progress using a variety of cardiovascular fingerprints—scientists call them biomarkers—that have been discovered or created to help identify the initiation, development, and ongoing cascade of damage caused by heart disease.
#10 B-Cell Receptor Pathway Inhibitors:
Chemotherapy is a blunt instrument designed to indiscriminately kill rapidly dividing cells in the hope that the cancer cells die more and grow back less than healthy cells. That normal cells are routinely damaged in this destructive procedure accounts for the side effects and toxicity of traditional chemotherapy.
Qmed (formerly Medical Device Link) is the world's first completely prequalified supplier directory and news source for medical device OEMs. Find medical device suppliers and IVD suppliers who are FDA-registered, ISO 13485- and ISO 9001-certified.
he Centers for Disease Control can envision a future where it uses social media as a data source for the early tracking of emerging diseases, but it's not without obstacles.
Nontraditional data sources are an increasing necessity caused by the great recent decline of public health staff at local governments, said Joanne Andreadis, senior advisor within the CDC Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. She spoke on a panel Oct. 28 during the annual ACT-IAC Executive Leadership Conference.
There's a lot of "accurate and verifiable information that we can use, whether it's social media or crowd-sourcing," echoed James Tyson, CDC chief of situational awareness. The center would like to get to the point where the agency has not just awareness of current situations, but is able to get in front of brewing epidemics, he added.
But social media in particular isn't without risk. Self-identified location in social media is notoriously unreliable, and incidents can attract tweeting or re-tweeting from a geographically dispersed audience.
In addition, crowdsourced data is subject to distortion--the previously unassailable Google Flu Trends famously overstated the prevalence of flu in 2012.
But, there is research underway on how to use network analysis--looking at the geographic indicators of connected members of a social network--that could potentially filter out social media from people not actually in a location, said Catherine Havasi, an MIT research scientist. Google Flu Trends, she added, is based on search queries, meaning that search trends may be a reflection of worries rather than fact, she added.
If there’s one thing we can always count on in the medical device world, it’s the steady beat of progress. We look for the big idea that will save lives, make doctors’ jobs easier and the medical field more efficient — thus saving costs. As designers, we keep our eyes on innovations in the medical device world. Here are three trends that are making an impact.
Making medical devices smaller and portable
Access to effective care often requires medical devices which are smaller, lighter and more portable. In order to go big, we need to think small. Interestingly, this trend is prevalent in both resource poor and resource rich healthcare systems
The drive towards earlier and more accurate diagnosis
Current cancer detection and monitoring methods can be extremely invasive or poorly targeted, resulting in low treatment efficacy and unpleasant side effects
Using data for prevention
There is a growing desire for medical devices — including those that are wearable — to track and monitor personal health. There are countless smart phone apps that track health-related issues, such as restful sleep, exercise, and diet. The current trend is towards devices that support and tap into our increasingly endless desire for more information.
Multinationals are flocking to take advantage of the opportunities, but long-term success is by no means assured. A McKinsey Quarterly Health Care article analyses the current situation and opportunities for international companies.
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