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A Boston hospital turns patients into digital customers

A Boston hospital turns patients into digital customers | healthcare | Scoop.it
Brigham and Women's Hospitals learns how to treat consumers as customers and develop the web expertise that turns them into loyal shoppers.
 

Healthcare companies, especially insurers and hospitals, can learn some key lessons from online retailers.

Namely, healthcare organizations must learn how to treat consumers as customers and develop the web technology and e-commerce expertise that turns them into loyal shoppers, says Brigham Health medical director for telemedicine Dr. Adam Licurse.

In a new article for the Harvard Business Review, Licurse writes that healthcare organizations can learn from retailers and others how to treat consumers as their best online customers.

“Like banks, airlines and retailers, healthcare providers will need to offer an easy, digital front-end experience to their customers,” Licurse says. “This isn’t just about building fancy new websites, but undertaking true care redesign: becoming adept at delivering high-quality, cost-effective virtual care through telehealth and digital tools.”

The learning curve for turning insurers and hospitals into more digitally driven organizations engaged with customers is steep, Licurse writes. For example, retailers know how to build and operate e-commerce systems that give customers options to research and buy products online in a way that’s easy and convenient, he writes. “Retailers know they have to find the right blend of digital convenience and in-person service,” Licurse says.

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Like banks, airlines and retailers, healthcare providers will need to offer an easy, digital front-end experience to their customers.
 
 
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Health insurers build and operate websites with self-service tools that plan members use to buy insurance and manage their benefits once they have coverage. Likewise, hospitals and health systems have web sites and digital programs built around patient care for within the walls of the hospital or physician offices, Licurse says.

But just as retailers learned consumers want to use the web and e-commerce to shop when they want and how they want, healthcare organizations need to learn the same lesson or risk losing customers or market share.

“Healthcare providers, like retailers and other traditionally in-person businesses, need to prepare for a future where technology companies, focused solely on delivering care virtually, increasingly meet the needs of patients more conveniently and efficiently,” Licurse writes. “Providers can either cede market share and volume to these companies, or beat them at their own game by scaling their own virtual care services.”

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which is adjacent to Harvard Medical School and with Massachusetts General Hospital operates Partners HealthCare, the largest healthcare provider in Massachusetts, the health system is borrowing web marketing tactics from retailers to grow its digital healthcare program, he says.

In 2015 the hospital began outfitting provider offices and training doctors and other clinicians on how to do video office visits via telehealth and do remote patient monitoring. Brigham and Women’s first focused on finding patients who would not need to come into an office for care but could instead be treated through telehealth. Next the hospital chose proactive providers willing to open up their schedule to see patients online and surveyed patients after their telehealth visit to measure customer satisfaction, Licurse says.

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Of 600 initial video doctor visits, 97% of patients were satisfied with the experience and would recommend the program, Licurse writes. 74% of patients also noted the telehealth visit improved their relationship with a Brigham and Women’s provider and 87% of patients said they would have needed to come into an office to see their doctor in person if it weren’t for the virtual visit, Licurse says.

In his article, Licurse writes he used Brigham and Women’s telehealth program as an example of how healthcare insurers and providers can use web technologies and digital marketing from retailers and other customer-facing industries to focus on consumers as customers and not just as patients and plan members.

“Strategic decisions providers make today will determine how ready they will be for a future where patients expect their healthcare to be as seamless as online shopping, if they are to remain loyal,” he writes.

Keep up with latest coverage on digital healthcare by signing up for Internet Health Management News today.


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Healthcare: Europe must get ready for the digital revolution now, says EESC

Healthcare: Europe must get ready for the digital revolution now, says EESC | healthcare | Scoop.it

Digital healthcare is around the corner. It will bring a sea change to our health care systems, in principle positive change, provided that a few basic political choices are made at European level before it is too late. This was the main conclusion of an own-initiative opinion entitled Impact of the digital healthcare revolution on health insurance, adopted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 21 September.                                         

The digital revolution will radically change the way healthcare is provided in the next few years from a system based on cure to one focused on participatory, preventive, personalised and even predictive medicine, the so-called "4P medicine". Technology will sweep across the sector and change the way all players work – health professionals, pharmaceutical industries, hospitals, medical research centres, health insurance (such as mutual organisations) and of course citizens. In 5 to 10 years' time diagnoses will be made by machines, allowing doctors to focus on the relationship with their patients. People will be more and more in control of their health, thanks to a wealth of applications and devices providing information about health status. Genome mapping and other major scientific breakthroughs will make people aware of their genetic risks and able to adapt their lifestyles accordingly.

All this is - in principle - good news. Yet there are some potential threats lurking behind this revolution – first and foremost the risk that it may exacerbate social differences and widen the digital divide between those who have access to digital health and those who do not. This is why it is vital to act today to shape the healthcare systems of tomorrow. "Solidarity is the cornerstone of European healthcare systems, whether in old or new Member States. Health must continue to be seen as a common good– a good belonging to the public as a whole", said opinion rapporteur Alain Coheur, director of European and International Affairs at Belgium's National Union of Socialist Mutual Health Funds. "It is important that we retain our national health services and this will only happen if digital technology is used to activate our fundamental rights – the right to information, the right to healthcare: these are the keys to our social welfare systems."

Currently European healthcare systems are based on the pooling of risks and the fact that so far it has been impossible to predict when a risk would become a reality. People pay based on their means and receive according to their needs. This is particularly true of public healthcare. Tomorrow, however, all this could change, especially in private insurance, which is based on risk selection. With predictive medicine, profit-making insurance companies might want to personalise someone's risk profile, for instance on the basis of the likelihood that they will contract cancer in 5 or 10 years' time: "That is why we need to ask ourselves the question: what kind of health system do we want to have in Europe tomorrow?", argued the rapporteur. "Do we want equal access for all European citizens or are we going to go down the road that the USA has taken, where insurance dominates the market and, once you have had two illnesses, you will no longer be covered? If that is not the model we want, we need to state it clearly, because this is what could happen with digitalisation."

Mr Coheur also warned against the danger of transferring too much responsibility to patients as a result of the digital revolution: with all the information made available, they will end up being totally responsible for their own health. "That may be a valid objective, but we can't possibly be in charge of all the things that contribute to our health. There are personal life choices we can make, but there are also many external factors over which we have no control – for instance the use of pesticides in farming or exposure to air pollution", stressed the rapporteur.

Finally, another key issue that the EU needs to address, in the EESC's view, is the protection of health-related personal data. Sharing a patient's data with and between health professionals can help improve treatment. But, to be able to share their health data, people must themselves have a proper understanding and be able to give their informed consent to healthcare professionals for use of the data. This informed consent is vital, but there is still a lot of vagueness as to how healthcare data can be used. There are also digital disruptors like the so-called "Big 5", which are now collecting data on individual behaviour and processing it (data mining): "These big digital players are all outside Europe, so we must ensure that we are able to protect the sovereignty of Member States, but also the healthcare systems themselves. Unfortunately in Europe today we are unable to stand up against these digital challenges. Europe has an essential role to play in putting in place a regulatory framework for that."

Europe also has a role to play in providing the means to meet the challenge: "At European level – as have seen with Airbus and Galileo – we need to provide the resources for health and digitalisation. Even big countries like France and Germany are not able to address the issue of digitalisation on their own. Look at the USA or China. We don't have such resources at Member State level anymore. The response must come from Europe, so that a real overall health and digital plan can be drawn up," concluded Mr Coheur.

The EESC opinion can be found here. There is a list of websites providing supporting background material at the end of the opinion.


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10 Biggest Technological Advancements for Healthcare in the Last Decade

10 Biggest Technological Advancements for Healthcare in the Last Decade | healthcare | Scoop.it

The reach of technological innovation continues to grow, changing all industries as it evolves. In healthcare, technology is increasingly playing a role in almost all processes, from patient registration to data monitoring, from lab tests to self-care tools.

Devices like smartphones and tablets are starting to replace conventional monitoring and recording systems, and people are now given the option of undergoing a full consultation in the privacy of their own homes. Technological advancements in healthcare have contributed to services being taken out of the confines of hospital walls and integrating them with user-friendly, accessible devices.

The following are ten technological advancements in healthcare that have emerged over the last ten years.

 

1. The electronic health record. In 2009, only 16 percent of U.S. hospitals were using an EHR. By 2013, about 80 percent of hospitals eligible for CMS' meaningful use incentives program had incorporated an EHR into their organizations. "For such a long time we had such disparate systems, meaning you had one system that did pharmacy, one did orders, one that did documentation," says Jeff Sturman, partner at Franklin, Tenn.-based Cumberland Consulting Group. "Integrating these systems into a single platform, or at least a more structured platform, has allowed more integrated and efficient care for patients," he says.

While the EHR has already created big strides in the centralization and efficiency of patient information, it can also be used as a data and population health tool for the future. "There's going to be a big cultural shift over the next several years of data-driven medicine," says Waco Hoover, CEO of the Institute for Health Technology Transformation in New York. "Historically, that hasn't been a big part of how medicine is practiced. Physicians go to medical school and residencies, but each organization has its own unique ways they do things. That's one of the reasons we see varied care all over the country. When data is what we're making decisions off of, that's going to change and improve outcomes of the consistency of medicine delivered."

 

2. mHealth. Mobile health is freeing healthcare devices of wires and cords and enabling physicians and patients alike to check on healthcare processes on-the-go. An R&R Market Research report estimates the global mHealth market will reach $20.7 billion by 2019, indicating it is only becoming bigger and more prevalent. Smartphones and tablets allow healthcare providers to more freely access and send information. Physicians and service providers can use mHealth tools for orders, documentation and simply to reach more information when with patients, Mr. Sturman says.

However, mHealth is not only about wireless connectivity. It has also become a tool that allows patients to become active players in their treatment by connecting communication with biometrics, says Gopal Chopra, MD, CEO of PINGMD, and associate professor at Duke University Fuqua School of Business in Durham, N.C. "Now I can make my bathroom scale wireless. I can make my blood pressure mount wireless. I can take an EKG and put it to my smartphone and transfer that wirelessly," he says. "mHealth has the opportunity to take healthcare monitoring out of the office, out of the lab and basically as a part of your life."

 

3. Telemedicine/telehealth. Studies consistently show the benefit of telehealth, especially in rural settings that do not have access to the same resources metropolitan areas may have. A large-scale study published in CHEST Journal shows patients in an intensive care unit equipped with telehealth services were discharged from the ICU 20 percent more quickly and saw a 26 percent lower mortality rate than patients in a regular ICU. Adam Higman, vice president of Soyring Consulting in St. Petersburg, Fla., says while telemedicine is not necessarily a new development, it is a growing field, and its scope of possibility is expanding.

The cost benefits of telehealth can't be ignored either, Mr. Hoover says. For example, Indianapolis-based health insurer WellPoint rolled out a video consultation program in February 2013 where patients can receive a full assessment through a video chat with a physician. Claims are automatically generated, but the fees are reduced to factor out traditional office costs. Setting the actual healthcare cost aside, Mr. Hoover says these telemedicine clinics will also reduce time out of office costs for employees and employers by eliminating the need to leave work to go to a primary care office.

 

4. Portal technology. Patients are increasingly becoming active players in their own healthcare, and portal technology is one tool helping them to do so. Portal technology allows physicians and patients to access medical records and interact online. Mr. Sturman says this type of technology allows patients to become more closely involved and better educated about their care. In addition to increasing access and availability of medical information, Mr. Hoover adds that portal technology can be a source of empowerment and responsibility for patients. "It's powerful because a patient can be an extraordinary ally in their care. They catch errors," he says. "It empowers the patient and adds a degree of power in care where they can become an active participant."

 

5. Self-service kiosks. Similar to portal technology, self-service kiosks can help expedite processes like hospital registration. "Patients can increasingly do everything related to registration without having to talk to anyone," Mr. Higman says. "This can help with staffing savings, and some patients are more comfortable with it." Automated kiosks can assist patients with paying co-pays, checking identification, signing paperwork and other registration requirements. Mr. Higman says there are also tablet variations that allow the same technology to be used in outpatient and bedside settings. However, hospitals need to be cautious when integrating it to ensure human to human communication is not entirely eliminated. "If a person wants to speak to a person, they should be able to speak with a person," he says.

 

6. Remote monitoring tools. At the end of 2012, 2.8 million patients worldwide were using a home monitoring system, according to a Research and Markets report. Monitoring patients' health at home can reduce costs and unnecessary visits to a physician's office. Mr. Higman offers the example of a cardiac cast with a pacemaker automatically transmitting data to a remote center. "If there's something wrong for a patient, they can be contacted," he says. "It's basically allowing other people to monitor your health for you. It may sound invasive but is great for patients with serious and chronic illnesses."

An article by Kaiser Health News, National Public Radio and Minnesota Public Radio discussed the effects a home monitoring system had on readmission rates for heart disease patients at Duluth, Minn.-based Essentia Health. The national average rate of readmissions for patients with heart disease is 25 percent, but after Essentia Health implemented a home monitoring system, the rates of readmission for their heart disease patients fell to a mere two percent. And now that hospitals are being financially penalized for readmissions, home monitoring systems may offer a solution to avoid those penalties.

 

7. Sensors and wearable technology. The wearable medical device market is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 16.4 percent a year, according to a Transparency Market Research report. Wearable medical devices and sensors are simply another way to collect data, which Dr. Chopra says is one of the aims and purposes of healthcare. He says sensors and wearable technology could be as simple as an alert sent to a care provider when a patient falls down or a bandage that can detect skin pH levels to tell if a cut is getting infected. "Anything we are currently using where a smart sensor could be is part of that solution," Dr. Chopra says. "We're able to take a lot of these data points to see if something abnormal is happening."

 

8. Wireless communication. While instant messaging and walkie-talkies aren't new technologies themselves, they have only recently been introduced into the hospital setting, replacing devices like beepers and overhead pagers. "Hospitals are catching up to the 21st century with staff communicating to one another," Mr. Higman says, adding that internal communication advancements in hospitals followed a slower development timeline since they had to account for security and HIPAA concerns.

Systems like Vocera Messaging offer platforms for users to send secure messages like lab tests and alerts to one another using smartphones, web-based consoles or third-party clinical systems. These messaging systems can expedite the communication process while still tracking and logging sent and received information in a secure manner.

 

9. Real-time locating services. Another growing data monitoring tool, real-time locating services, are helping hospitals focus on efficiency and instantly identify problem areas. Hospitals can implement tracking systems for instruments, devices and even clinical staff. Mr. Higman says these services gather data on areas and departments that previously were difficult to track. "Retrospective analysis can only go so far, particularly in places constantly changing like emergency departments," he says, but tracking movement with a real-time locating service can highlight potential issues in efficiency and utilization.

These tools also allow flexibility for last minute changes. "If [a physician has] an add-on case today, do they have instruments on hand, and where are [the instruments]?" he asks. At the most basic level, these services can ensure equipment and supplies aren't leaving the building, and for high-cost equipment and supplies of which hospitals may only have one or a few, being able to track their location can help verify its utilization, he says.

 

10. Pharmacogenomics/genome sequencing. Personalized medicine continues to edge closer to the forefront of the healthcare industry. Tailoring treatment plans to individuals and anticipating the onset of certain diseases offers promising benefits for healthcare efficiency and diagnostic accuracy. Pharmacogenomics in particular could help reduce the billions of dollars in excess healthcare spending due to adverse drug events, misdiagnoses, readmissions and other unnecessary costs.

Before a full-fledged system of pharmacogenomics comes to fruition, the healthcare industry needs a tool that can aggregate and analyze all the big data and digital health information, Mr. Hoover says. "When we really start to have the ability to study a lot of that data, it's going to transfer how we match up that information at the population, individual and macro levels," he says. "The ability to actually compare that information is going to be valuable as we move forward, making sure medications we are taking are going to work for us."

 

Tools for big data analysis for pharmacogenomics are still being developed, but data analytics and data aggregation for the purpose of population health may be the next big advancement on the horizon. "Understanding and connecting all these variables is going to be profound as it relates to moving forward in healthcare and designing interventions and analyzing patient populations and ultimately improving the lives and health of the American population," Mr. Hoover says.


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Hospital Impact—To improve patient engagement, leverage the power of digital content

Hospital Impact—To improve patient engagement, leverage the power of digital content | healthcare | Scoop.it

Most medical offices have adopted the use of technology, online marketing and social media. They’ve also embraced content in the form of blog posts, videos, social shares and more.

But while it’s not a new concept in the medical field, the challenge has become how to use this material to increase patient engagement. When patients are engaged in their medical care, they may be more proactive and able to receive a greater benefit from available health services. This can also lead to improved health and, ultimately, a better experience with a physician or facility.

To use content as a method for boosting patient engagement, it’s important to create and test different types of online media, creating a mix of materials that your patients can interact with, use and share. This content could include infographics, photos, quizzes, online calculators, educational blog posts and videos.

Use the following tips, ideas and expert advice to improve your patient engagement with content.

Create content that will be found

Before a new patient walks in the door, he or she has likely learned a great deal about your facility and your staff. As with any other business, individuals Google your practice, check online reviews and look for recommendations. This is especially true for millennials, according to a recent survey, which found that 54% of people ages 18 to 24 say they search online for health information and rely on online physician ratings before seeing a doctor.

If patients are searching, you need to be creating. The more content you have to be indexed by Google, the more likely it is to come up in a search. If your article is the one that current patients click on, all the better; they’ll be impressed that their physician’s office has such great information online.

Here are a few ways to take advantage of this and create engaging content that patients, both current and new, will want to come back to:

Design and write content based on keywords with a high search volume. Check search volume with Google’s Keyword Tool to ensure you’re writing about something people are looking for online.Encourage readers to comment with questions or concerns. This is the best form of engagement because you can be impactful with your responses, building trust with current patients and driving new ones.Of course, when patients comment, this feature should always be monitored for responsive feedback.Make “share” buttons visible so readers are more likely to share content on social media. If your patients’ friends see the blog post, they may be more likely to seek out your practice for care as well.

Pro tip: Create content based on patient questions. When the blog post or content is live, send it via email to the patient who asked, saying, “Thanks for your great question. We decided to answer it in a blog post!” They’ll feel special and your office will look even more valuable.

Create content that will educate

A 2013 study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 72% of U.S. internet users had gone online in the past year specifically for health-related information. This is a potentially dangerous rabbit hole for patients, with so much information available, much of which is incorrect. But what if patients and prospective clients knew they could come to your site for factual content that they can trust?

Become the No. 1 source for legitimate and trustworthy health information, related to your specific area of health, to impress and build further trust with your current patients. Then, let word-of-mouth marketing do its job: An endorsement from someone the potential patient knows is more impactful in terms of trusting the recommendation than online ads, according to a 2015 Nielsen report.

Pro tip: Make sure your content is both educational and interactive to boost engagement. At least once a month, go beyond blog posts to create interactive content like quizzes and symptom checkers. Infographics are also a good way to communicate important and confusing information, and in our fast-paced world, you’re more likely to get readers to scan an infographic than read an entire blog post.

Connect with email

While phone calls are still necessary for one-on-one patient communication, such as follow-ups and appointment reminders, email gives you a chance to reach more patients at once. A study from Catalyst Healthcare Research found that 93% of adults want to use email communication with their doctor.

The key is to consistently send high-value content to your patients. For example, you may create a “Flu Guide” for the winter season, with tips and tricks for staying healthy during that time of year. Perhaps during allergy season, you could publish an infographic on your blog about reducing symptoms and then send it in an email blast to your patients about getting through the “Spring Sneezing Season.”

Pro tip: End each email with a call to action. In the flu example, your CTA may be, “Call us to schedule your flu shot today!” with a link to your online scheduling software. This makes the content emails valuable to you and your patients and encourages engagement.

Create an app for your patients

Your patients already do everything on their smartphones, so why not make it easier for them to monitor their health and interact with your practice on their mobile device? You can create an app for patients to make and check appointments or get creative and add fun, interactive features like calculators, calorie counters and activity trackers. Your patients are much more likely to follow doctors’ orders when you incentivize or gamify treatment plans or give them a way to track their behavior.

Nine in 10 patients said they would use an app “prescribed” by a physician, and 30% of patients already use apps to monitor their health conditions, according to an infographic from eVisit.

Pro tip: Building an app can be costly and will take time. Start with the most valuable features and ideas first, perhaps based on what your patients have requested, and add more as you learn what’s most engaging.

Patient engagement is one strategy to achieve the Triple Aim of improved health outcomes, better patient care and lower costs—and content can help you get there. You may not be able to implement all of these strategies right away, so pick a few that make sense for your practice, and track the results. Check in with patients about what they like and don’t like, using their feedback to improve content and ultimately, engagement.


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and curate contents
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How can Artificial Intelligence in healthcare help patient engagement?

How can Artificial Intelligence in healthcare help patient engagement? | healthcare | Scoop.it

This guest post is part of the Festschrift of the Blogosphere celebrating HealthBlawg’s Tenth Blogiversary. Festschrift posts are appearing throughout the month of June 2016.

A recent article in The Commonwealth Fund blog, “Envisioning a Digital Health Adviser,” raises the question of being able to use smartphone apps to get real-time, accurate and personalised guidance for health concerns. While one can envision the convenience, affordability and peace of mind that would result from their use, such services face a number of hurdles before they become reality. As a result, the “digital revolution” has not yet greatly affected most people’s interactions with the health care system.

These challenges fall into two main categories: fiscal/policy and technology.

 

Fiscal and policy issues

In a fee-for-service environment, the only way that healthcare practitioners get paid is to have face-to-face encounters with patients. This creates heavy bias against promoting technologies that streamline non-face-to-face interactions. However, as we move away from that model and more towards value-based care, where global risk-based payments are made to delivery organisations (hospitals, patient centred medical homes, accountable care organisations, etc.), then there is more incentive to use new technologies that reduce unnecessary in-office encounters. In such an environment, face-to-face encounters are actually a cost centre, not a profit centre, and positive health outcomes of populations are rewarded.

We are not yet in a fully value-based environment. Fee-for-service remains dominant, though this will be changing over the next few years, hurried along by the seismic shifts in physician reimbursement policy announced by the Federal government in its draft MACRA rule. Aligning the way that healthcare is paid for with technologies that facilitate self-care and improved care – that is what is needed from a fiscal and policy perspective in order for Digital Health Adviser-style technologies to flourish.

 

Technology issues

The biggest technical barrier to achieving this vision is the state of health data. Created by legacy Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems, health data is largely fragmented into institution-centred silos. Sometimes those silos are large, but they are still silos. Exchanging individual records between silos, using increasingly standardised vocabularies (code sets) and message formats (ADT messages, C-CDAs, even FHIR objects), is where much current effort is being spent. But that does not solve the problem of data fragmentation.

More and more people in the health information exchange arena are seeing that the next generation of health technology is around aggregating data, not simply exchanging copies of individual records (the traditional query-response approach). Only by collecting the data from all different sources, normalising that data into a consistent structure, resolving the data around unique patient identifiers as well as unique provider identifiers – only then can the data become truly useful.

Aggregated data has two additional advantages. (1) It solves the interoperability problem. Systems and institutions no longer need to build data bridges, and translate how the data is structured between two proprietary systems; everyone instead simply connects to a central standard API “plug.” (2) If built right, the aggregated data can be the basis for very effective Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Large-scale data in many other domains (that is, other than healthcare) has moved away from traditional relational databases, made up of a collection of tables, with records and fields (rows and columns) in each table, and structured relations that connect a field in one table to some other field in another table in order to carry out queries. What is replacing this way of working with data is a more flexible graphical data structure commonly used in “big data.” Such technology is very fast (consider Google suggestions as-you-type in a search bar, retrieving suggestions from billions of record options). It is also sufficiently flexible to allow machine learning and AI to function in a real-time fashion.

 

A new generation of apps

When one has built a data store from all different sources – EHR data, payer data, device and IoT data, patient survey responses, consumer health data – and integrate it into a unified data structure, then AI can yield meaningful insights. AI, after all, is about pattern recognition, and comparing a particular pattern of data around a given individual with similar (not necessarily identical) patterns found elsewhere, and making predictive recommendations based on what happened in those other situations. This is very much what clinicians do when exercising “clinical judgement” – identifying a pattern, taking into account medical problems, medications, labs values, personal and family history, and comparing it to similar patterns from the clinician’s experience.

A new generation of apps can be built to make these AI-derived recommendations useful. They need to be easy-to-use, consumer-grade apps that can connect to the aggregated data store and the AI analytics engines that sit on top of that. They can empower consumers / patients, and reduce the demand burden on clinicians. Will they replace clinicians? No, of course not. But they will help filter the demand to those who truly need to be seen, while empowering patients with real-time, believable and personalised guidance for the more common things in day-to-day life.

 

So what stands in the way of Digital Health Advisers? Policy (how we pay for healthcare) needs to encourage self-care and facilitate healthy behaviours, rather than encourage in-office doctor visits. And, simultaneously, health data needs to become reorganised in order to empower AI and drive the emergence of new apps and related technologies. It will be a while before we get there, but we can see the path to that new generation of healthcare technology.


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Technical Dr. Inc.'s curator insight, October 3, 2016 12:52 AM
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Jose Andrade's curator insight, November 2, 2016 10:42 AM
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Austin Dodd's curator insight, November 12, 2016 2:42 PM
This article is about including the use of AI as a way of health care. This AI would use aggregated data from all relevant sources on what a person is experiencing and give out correct help. I believe that getting used to dealing with AI when going to the doctor would take some time, but if the help it gives is correct, I would have no problem using it.
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A Facebook for Patients: IBM’s Medical Social Network Gets an Upgrade

A Facebook for Patients: IBM’s Medical Social Network Gets an Upgrade | healthcare | Scoop.it

IBM has a long-standing commitment to health care and global health. This week the company revamped its “patient portal.” Dubbed the IBM Patient Empowerment System, it now acts like a social network for participating patients.

Especially intriguing here is the interactive nature of the Patient Empowerment System–if a person has an urgent question about the interaction of two drugs, the system will cross check his or her medical records and background and warn yes or no to taking a particular medicine. It also allows patients to log in, update their profiles with prescription information, symptom complaints, blood pressure readings, and to find other patients struggling with similar illnesses or diseases. A patient can send a message to other patients and ask questions about certain medications or offer advice from personal experience.

“Most patients do not have the same access to information available to physicians, such as treatment updates or new warnings from the FDA,” said Joseph Jasinski, IBM Research. “And physicians are not always privy to ongoing patient updates, such as eating habits or long-term monitoring of vital signs. These partial pictures limit the level of care that physicians can provide, as well as the care patients can provide for themselves. The IBM Patient Empowerment System merges these realms, bringing important data to both parties.”


Other medical-focused social networks already exist; PatientsLikeMe is an independent online social network that connects patients based on disease affliction and the focus is on sharing the experience of what it’s like to go through the particular illness–like a social support network.

The IBM system is different for its focus on institutional affiliations–hospitals sign up and integrate the portal into their office procedures.

“Today, patients want to be more involved in managing their clinical data, and are eager to discover relevant and useful medical information for their benefit,” noted Dr. DongKyun Park from Gacheon University Gil Hospital in Korea, the pilot center of the new Patient Empowerment System.

If cities can do it, why not hospitals?

 


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Emails for Improved Doctor Patient Communication

Emails for Improved Doctor Patient Communication contains information for clinics, hospitals and doctors to help them use Emails effectively with patients to i…

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Embracing Healthcare Information Technology in the Information Age

Embracing Healthcare Information Technology in the Information Age | healthcare | Scoop.it

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of the Information Age. If you’re paying for your morning coffee with your cellphone or Sky ping with a friend on another continent, you are contributing to a digital revolution that shows no sign of slowing down. Emerging technologies fundamentally shape our everyday lives, and this has proven no less true in healthcare. From patient care to file management, healthcare information technology (HIT) has revolutionised the medical industry over the past two decades by helping doctors provide better, more accessible healthcare.

 

Despite these advancements, doctors have expressed some frustrations about the technological revolution occurring in their workplace. As recently as 2014, a study reported that doctors wasted on average four hours per week on solely managing HIT. The struggle to adapt to HIT, known as technological iatrogenesis, has en-flamed aggravation for doctors and patients alike. Thus, it remains essential that hospitals adopt the best technology available, so that technology can facilitate, not impede, patient care. HIT should work for doctors—not the other way around.

 

Indeed, many facets of HIT can actually progress the healthcare industry when properly embraced, thereby avoiding technological iatrogenesis. Electronic health records (EHRs) exemplify HIT’s successes; they demonstrate how HIT can help streamline patient care by expediting the transfer of patient information. Whereas handwritten paper medical records caused misplaced filings and sloppy handwriting that resulted in medical errors, the evolution of EHRs has cut down on such mistakes. The VA, for example, reports that EHRs have helped doctors increase their productivity by six percent per year. So confident is the government in HIT that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 invested $22 billion in modernising the healthcare industry, including increasing hospitals’ use of EHRs.

 


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Top 11 Innovations in Health Care Technology in 2016

Top 11 Innovations in Health Care Technology in 2016 | healthcare | Scoop.it
Here are some of the top healthcare technologies of 2016 and beyond…The Star Trek Style Tricorder

To start off, Yes I am a Star Trek Nerd, loved almost every series, specially TNG (The Next Generation) and no not because I shave my head like Patrick Stewart.

 

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek has always inspired millions of people, including myself to reach beyond what we thought was possible and achieve the impossible.  And futuristic medical devices are no different.

Qualcomm has a contest, called XPrize, that was just extended till 2017 for 7 final teams developing the almighty Tricorder featured in the picture below from the popular Star Trek series. The winner receives $10 million to bring the device to reality. 

 

 

In the fictional Star Trek universe, a tricorder is a multifunction hand-held device used for sensor scanning, data analysis and recording data.

Three primary variants of the tricorder appear in Star Trek, issued by the fictional organization Starfleet.  The standard tricorder is a general-purpose device used primarily to scout unfamiliar areas, make detailed examination of living things, and record and review technical data. The medical tricorder is used by doctors to help diagnose diseases and collect bodily information about a patient. 

 

2.   Interoperability between Health Systems

Interoperability solutions for exchanging patient information across care settings is one particular technological development that will shape the future of healthcare organizations.


Value-based care and health information exchanges are an increasingly important part of the overall healthcare landscape, and the ability for all providers – from general practitioners and specialists to post-acute care organizations, etc. – will only grow as a critical component of care delivery in the future.

These types of solutions have only started being developed in the past few years by companies such as referralMD, that are changing how healthcare companies communicate by including post-acute care providers in critical interoperability workflows, as these providers are expected to be a big part of health care cost containment.

 

By including post-acute care in interoperability strategies, healthcare organizations can ensure that critical patient information across all care settings will be connected, providing a more detailed patient picture for more specific treatment plans and improved patient care.

The statistics are damning, hospitals lose $75+ million per year per 100 affiliated physicians due to referral leakage, a burden that can be reduced by proper referral network management that companies such as referralMD can help monitor.  Hospitals are just starting to get make changes in their budgets to include programs that can truly help patients receive better care, and save their staff’s time in the process.

Not only are hospitals affected but so are small-to-mid sized practices, with many having to juggle 100’s of specialty offices with different workflow requirements, without an electronic way to exchange information, the process breaks down, information is not accurate, and time is wasted.

3. Robotic Nurse Assistant

I have many of friends that are nurses that are injured every year from having to move or lift patients in bed or after an emergency from a fall.  The problem is very common and many of times there is not someone around that is strong enough to lift a patient immediately after one of these occurrences.

There are many variations from a full robot such as RIBA (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance) developed by RIKEN and Tokai Rubber Industries and assisted hardware such as HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) robot suits delivered by Cyberdyne.


 

RIBA is the first robot that can lift up or set down a real human from or to a bed or wheelchair. RIBA does this using its very strong human-like arms and by novel tactile guidance methods using high-accuracy tactile sensors. RIBA was developed by integrating RIKEN’s control, sensor, and information processing and TRI’s material and structural design technologies.

 

 

 

 

 

A company by the name of HAL is a robotics device that allows a care worker to life a patient with more stability and strength and helps prevent injuries to our nurses.

 

4. Artificial Retinas

The United States typically defines someone as legally blind when the person’s central vision has degraded to 20/200, or the person has lost peripheral vision so that he sees less than 20 degrees outside of central vision. Normal vision is 20/20, and people can usually see up to 90 degrees with their peripheral vision. An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are considered legally blind.

This has led to companies like Nano-Retina to develop a sophisticated and elegant solution intended to restore the sight of people who lost their vision due to retinal degenerative diseases. The miniature Nano Retina device, the NR600 Implant, replaces the functionality of the damaged photoreceptor cells and creates the electrical stimulation required to activate the remaining healthy retinal cells. NR600 consists of two components; a miniature implantable chip and a set of eyeglasses worn by the patient.


 

Very interesting technology for those that are always sitting in front of the computer like myself, hopefully it will not be needed by me, but it’s great that companies are advancing for those that suffer this debilitating illness.

 

5. Advances in Prosthetics

War is in our DNA, and with conflict, there is injuries to our Military including loss of limbs and traumatic brain injury. DARPA is looking to change that by enabling wounded service members with amputations to neurally control state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs. The goal is to assist them in returning to active duty and to improve their quality of life. Program developments may impact the broad community of patients with medical amputations, spinal cord injuries and neurological diseases.

The challenges lie with creating an interface that is directly compatible with our own nervous system and making the connection fast enough to interpret our movement intent without latency.

I have been following Les’s story (an amputee) for a while and featured it in last years 2015 version of this article, see video below and wanted to showcase it again as organizations such as Johns Hopkins are making great strides in the movement to help the world live an easier life.


5. Remote Patient Monitoring

Monitoring programs can collect a wide range of health data from the point of care, such as vital signs, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and electrocardiograms.

This data is then transmitted to health professionals in facilities such as monitoring centers in primary care settings, hospitals and intensive care units, skilled nursing facilities, and centralized off-site case management programs.  Health professionals monitor these patients remotely and act on the information received as part of the treatment plan.

Monitoring programs are tools to help achieve the “triple aim” of health care, by improving patient outcomes and access to care, and to make health care systems more cost effective.

For example:

In this 2014 study, a six-month feasibility study was conducted on eight patients with a history of Acute Exacerbation of CODP (AECOPD).  Each patient was given a mobile phone to record major symptoms, such as dyspnoea, sputum color and sputum volume; minor symptoms such as cough and wheezing; and vital signs. During the trial, the rate of hospital admissions were significantly lower and there were fewer ED presentations and GP visits compared to a six-month matched period in the preceding year. Such results showed “the potential of home monitoring for [analyzing] respiratory symptoms for early intervention AECOPD.”Similar to our previous Star Trek device, a company in Israel, Tyto Care, has developed a portal device that helps monitor all sorts of health parameters to let doctors diagnose patients remotely.   Allowing your doctor to perform their job with accurate metrics about you or your child’s illness without having to resort to a in person visit.  The Tyto device is currently going through the FDA clearance process, hopefully one day offering people the option of staying at home rather than visiting the clinic in most simple health situation.

“We are coming together at a pivotal time in the mobile healthcare industry. As health reform demands more focus on delivering quality outcomes and reducing costs, providers are turning to technology like remote monitoring to diagnose and treat more patients in ways that use time, money and human resources efficiently and effectively. Our shared vision is to become a worldwide leading remote monitoring company,” said Jon Otterstatter, President and Chief Global Strategy Officer of Preventice Inc.

6. Anti-Aging Drugs

The dream, or the nightmare, depending on  how you take it, is living forever, or at least in the foreseeable future to 120+ years old.   2016 will be the year of a new anti-aging drug test that will enter trials which could see diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s consigned to distant memory.

Scientists now believe that it is possible to actually stop people growing old as quickly and help them live in good health well into their 110s and 120s.

Although it might seem like science fiction, researchers have already proven that the diabetes drug metformin extends the life of animals, and the Food and Drug Administration in the US has now given the go ahead for a trial to see if the same effects can be replicated in humans.

“This would be the most important medical intervention in the modern era, an ability to slow ageing”
Dr Jay Olshansky, University of Illinois Chicago

If successful it will mean that a person in their 70s would be as biologically healthy as a 50-year-old. It could usher in a new era of ‘geroscience’ where doctors would no longer fight individual conditions like cancer, diabetes and dementia, but instead treat the underlying mechanism – ageing.

The new clinical trial called Targeting Aging with Metformin, or TAME, is scheduled to begin in the US next winter. Scientists from a range of institutions are currently raising funds and recruiting 3,000 70 to 80 year olds who have, or are risk of, cancer, heart disease and dementia. They are hoping to show that drug slows the ageing process and stops disease.

 

Outlining the new study on the National Geographic documentary Breakthrough: The Age of Ageing, Dr Jay Olshansky, of the University of Illinois Chicago, said: “If we can slow ageing in humans, even by just a little bit it would be monumental. People could be older, and feel young.

“Enough advancements in ageing science have been made to lead us to believe it’s plausible, it’s possible, it’s been done for other species and there is every reason to believe it could be done in us.

“This would be the most important medical intervention in the modern era, an ability to slow ageing.”

 

7. Tooth Regeneration

Hey Kids, here is some candy!  All kidding aside, this could be an amazing advancement if the technology holds true in the coming years.

Colorful fish found in Africa may hold the secret to growing lost teeth. In a collaborative study between the Georgia Institute of Technology and King’s College London, researchers looked at the cichlid fishes of Lake Malawi in Africa, who lose teeth just to have a new one slide into place. Their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, identifies the genes responsible for growing new teeth and may lead to the secret to “tooth regeneration” in humans.

“The exciting aspect of this research for understanding human tooth development and regeneration is being able to identify genes and genetic pathways that naturally direct continuous tooth and taste bud development in fish, and study these in mammals,” said the study’s co-author Paul Sharpe, a research professor from King’s College, in a press release. “The more we understand the basic biology of natural processes, the more we can utilize this for developing the next generation of clinical therapeutics: in this case how to generate biological replacement teeth.”

Another study from a Harvard team successfully used low-powered lasers to activate stem cells and stimulate the growth of teeth in rats and human dental tissue in a lab. The results were published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.  Stem cells are no ordinary cells. They have the extraordinary ability to multiply and transform into many different types of cells in the body. They repair tissues by dividing continually either as a new stem cell or as a cell with a more specialized job, such as a red blood cell, a skin cell, or a muscle cell.

Dentures and dental implants may soon become a thing of the past. Stem cell research is making it possible to regrow your missing teeth!
This is a much-needed medical advancement, especially considering that by age 74—26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth.

 

8. Lightbulbs that Disinfect and Kill Bacteria

Hospitals are known to be potentially dangerous place with lot’s of people with different elements and diseases.  One company, Indigo-Clean has developed a technology using visible light that continuously disinfect the environment and bolsters your current infection prevention efforts.

How it worksThe 405nm emitted from Indigo-Clean reflects off of walls and surfaces, penetrating harmful micro-organismsThe light targets naturally occurring molecules called porphyrins that exist inside bacteria. The light is absorbed and the excited molecules produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) inside the cell405nm creates a chemical reaction inside the cell, similar to the effects of bleachThe Reactive Oxygen Species inactivates the bacteria, preventing it from re-populating the space

 

9. Electronic Underwear Preventing Bed Sores

Having elderly grandparents that have died from complications due to bedsores is extremely unfortunate, as much of these issues could be prevented.  When patients stay motionless for days, weeks, or months they develop painful open wounds due to lack of circulation and compressed skin.


And believe it or not, bedsores can be deadly. Roughly 60,000 people die from bed sores and resulting infections every year, draining $12 billion from the U.S. medical industry.

Developed by Canadian researcher Sean Dukelow of Project SMART, the electric underpants—deliver a small electrical charge every ten minutes. The effect is the same as if the patient was moving on their own—it activates muscles and increases circulation in that area, and effectively eliminates bed sores, thereby saving lives.

 

10. Long Lasting Batteries for Medical Devices and Wearables

The need for power is evident in today’s world, for our houses, cars, and medical devices such as pacemaker batteries that typically need to be replaced with an expensive surgery.   With the need for power-hungry devices comes innovation in the form of new technologies that will help provide the world with longer lasting, faster charging batteries.

Aluminum-Ion Batteries: Chemistry Professor Hongjie Dai from Stanford University and his team say their aluminum-ion battery prototype can fully charge a phone in one minute and maintain its strength through thousands of recharge cycles — over seven times as many cycles as current phone batteries. But fast charging times aren’t the only advantage this new prototype has over the standard lithium-ion battery found in most of our devices.  Perhaps the battery’s most impressive quality is its flexibility, meaning it could work with any future devices that are curved or use bendable screens.


Micro Supercapacitors:  Rice University researchers who pioneered the development of laser-induced graphene have configured their discovery into flexible, solid-state micro super capacitors that rival the best available for energy storage and delivery.   Rice’s micro super capacitors charge 50 times faster than batteries, discharge more slowly than traditional capacitors and match commercial super capacitors for both the amount of energy stored and power delivered.Foam Batteries: The future of batteries is 3D. Prieto is the first company to crack this with its battery that uses a copper foam substrate.  This means these batteries will not only be safer, thanks to no flammable electrolyte, but they will also offer longer life, faster charging, five times higher density, be cheaper to make and be smaller than current offerings.Skin Power: Researches from the National University of Singapore have created a replacement for batteries all together would be an electrode used to harvest the current caused by friction on the skin and clothes.  The result is enough power, from a finger tap on skin, to power 12 LED bulbs. The future could mean there are no need for batteries in wearables or smart clothes.  So how does it work? An electrode is used to harvest the current, so a 50nm-thick gold film is used. The gold film sits below a silicone rubber layer composed of thousands of tiny pillars that help create more surface area for skin contact, which creates more friction. Since the skin is a one of the triboelectric layers it means the device can be small.  Scientists have already shown off a wearable powered by the device. Next gadgets to use it? Hopefully everything.11.  Health Informatics

More than half of US hospitals use some type of electronic records system, but only 6% meet all the federal mandates, according to a recent study out of the University of Michigan. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, 50% of health care dollars are wasted on inefficient record keeping processes. Electronic records have been shown to save large hospitals anywhere between $37 and $59 million. It streamlines the medical care process and lowers malpractice claims, and increases coordination between providers.  Improvements still need to be made communicating patients between facilities as noted from referralMD, (Provider-to-provider communication software) where roughly 50% of all patients do not attend appointments, driving costs upwards, and lowering patient outcomes dramatically.


Practitioners and medical researchers can look forward to technologies that enable them to apply data analysis to develop new insights into finding cures for difficult diseases. Healthcare CIOs and other IT leaders can expect to be called upon to manage all the new data and devices that will be transforming healthcare as we know it.


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Crash course in leveraging social media for health care improvement

Crash Course in Leveraging Social Media for Health Care Improvement Christina Krause, British Columbia Patient Safety & Quality Council @ck4q Kevin Smith, …

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How the Apple Watch Will Help You Take Charge of Your Health

How the Apple Watch Will Help You Take Charge of Your Health | healthcare | Scoop.it

Looking at its hardware, the Apple Watch might not seem all that different from other wearables: a touchscreen display, a heart rate sensor, haptic feedback for taps and notifications, a mic for voice controls. Even so, it is poised to have a major impact on connected health management. As with the iPhone, it’s the software that will move the needle.

“What excites me the most about the Apple Watch is its ability to build positive habits,” says Jeremy Olson, founder of Tapity. Tapity is an award-winning app maker with plans for Watch apps. “The killer apps will be the ones that make positive interactions so convenient and front-of-mind that users can’t help but live healthier, more productive lives.”

After revealing its watch to the world in late September, Apple gave developers access to the Apple Watch API (WatchKit) in November. Developers currently have only limited access, but it’s becoming clear that won’t keep it from becoming a powerful, popular consumer tool, particularly with regards to health management. Services focused on tracking health will be able to use the Watch interface to display relevant, up-to-the-minute statistics in a way that’s more convenient than on a smartphone, or on a monitoring device’s screen. It will do this using the processing power of your iPhone, rather than a mobile chip onboard the watch itself, and updates will be sent to the watch wirelessly.

The patient who only wants to track weight and steps can use the same platform to capture lung function and blood glucose.

DexCom Monitor will work this way. It will use the Apple Watch to show blood glucose levels for Type 1 diabetics by presenting an easy-to-read graph on the smartwatch’s display. The glucose information itself is tracked from DexCom’s monitor, a tiny Class III medical device positioned under the skin. It measures glucose levels every five minutes, transmits the data to a phone app, and then the app sends the graph images to the smartwatch.

Respiratory health tracking will also get a boost from the Watch’s platform. Cohero Health is working on an Apple Watch app so asthmatics can better track their medical adherence and lung function. The company currently makes an inhaler strap and mobile spirometer, a Class II medical device that captures important respiratory performance metrics like functional expiratory volume (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) levels. These sync with its AsthmaHero mobile app, which tracks this data for the user and relays it to their healthcare provider through HealthKit.

For Cohero Health CEO Melissa Manice, the beauty of the Apple Watch is that it doesn’t make health tracking burdensome anymore. It de-stigmatizes chronic illness.

“The patient who only wants to track weight and steps can use the same platform that can also capture lung function and blood glucose,” Manice says. “It levels the playing field.”

But managing a chronic disease often requires long-term changes to a person’s lifestyle. Malay Gandhi, managing director at Rock Health, says that giving people continuous feedback, prompting and reminding them at the right times, is key to inducing those sorts of lifestyle changes. Wrist-based notifications are perfect for this.

Take Propeller Health, another tool for those with respiratory conditions. In addition to monitoring inhaler usage with the company’s Bluetooth sensor, its location-sensing mobile app tracks weather, pollen count, and air quality (along with other personal trigger factors) to notify a patient when conditions arise that might initiate an asthma attack. The notifications are personalized and contextually relevant, and since they’re on the wrist, they could be even less obtrusive than they are on a smartphone. Current users of the app see a significant reduction in rescue inhaler use—and more asthma free days. Propeller Health plans to begin work on an Apple Watch app after it begins shipping.

The Apple Watch could lure in new users who never previously thought about tracking their fitness activities because now they’ll get the functionality and convenience for “free.”

Gandhi, whose company Rock Health wants “to fund the first iconic company” to take advantage of the wrist interface for health monitoring, also sees the Apple Watch being useful in supporting good mental health.

“I use an anxiety coaching app, and it would be helpful to get prompts throughout the day rather than whenever I have an opportunity to open the app,” Gandhi says.

And of course, the Apple Watch has the potential to make fitness and activity tracking more accessible, especially to new users. Runtastic CEO and co-founder Florian Gschwandtner thinks the Watch will intrigue people new to fitness-tracking by letting them play with types of data they’ve never seen before. He first saw this when his company’s app debuted on the iPhone.

“People weren’t previously aware of the ability to track their runs and soon, they were nearly addicted to doing so,” Gschwandtner says. The Apple Watch could lure in new users who never previously thought about tracking their activities because now they’ll get the functionality and convenience for “free.”

The watch could even potentially help you make better decisions when you’re having a night on the town. Breathalyzer maker BACtrack is working on an Apple Watch app that will work with its Mobile and Vio smartphone breathalyzers. It adds a bit of convenience: users will be able to test their blood alcohol content by tapping the Apple Watch and then blowing into the BACtrack, leaving their phone in their pocket. Sure, it’s mostly a novelty. But sometimes, that little bit of convenience is all it takes for people to increase their engagement with a product.

Apple is reportedly assisting developers at its Cupertino headquarters so their WatchKit apps are primed for launch day. Take this as evidence that the Apple Watch apps we are learning about now are only a fraction of what we’ll see in the days and months following its April launch. But if what we see on launch day is anywhere near as impressive as the tidbits we’re learning about during this lead up, we can expect big steps toward better health management.

 


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Melanie Ferreira's curator insight, February 24, 2015 2:29 AM

Think this will be a change in the fitness history!

David Greene's curator insight, February 24, 2015 8:20 PM

Good for Apple - innovation leading the way to better health...

Little Moose's curator insight, February 25, 2015 11:57 AM

I can't wait to try one of these!

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Rate of Adoption of Healthcare and mHealth

Rate of Adoption of Healthcare and mHealth | healthcare | Scoop.it

My immediate response to it was that it needed to be shifted 2 years. If you make 2013=2015 and so forth, then I think the chart is pretty accurate and interesting. As I look at it again now, I also think that the appointment scheduling might be a little larger than reality as well.

Nitpicking aside, I think it illustrates an interesting movement that we see happening in healthcare IT. EHR is basically implemented. A few patient services like appointment scheduling are making good progress. Many organizations have started opening up electronic messaging to patients and patient access to records.

Of course, that all leaves the next frontier of healthcare IT: quality monitoring and preventive engagement. You could probably expand that into a few more areas, but at its core it’s all about improving the care that’s provided. This is the most exciting part of what we’re doing in healthcare IT and will be the next 5-10 year challenge. I’m excited to see the results.

 


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Diggin' The Data: Physician Engagement: The Next Health Care Social Media Frontier?

Diggin' The Data: Physician Engagement: The Next Health Care Social Media Frontier? | healthcare | Scoop.it

Chicago (and a host of other cities around the world) recently hosted “Social Media Week.”  For those unfamiliar with this event (and who haven’t been debriefed by their social media marketing guru), it’s a gathering of social media professionals to discuss the latest trends and technologies.

Also, it’s an opportunity for us social media pros to drink even more coffee than usual and drive our former high school English teachers nuts by using the word “selfie” in normal conversation.

Two of the panels during Chicago’s Social Media Week focused on health care. One, “Activating Your Audience through Social Media for the Healthcare Industry,” focused on how hospitals and health care systems can engage their audience. The next day, there was another panel on using social media in health care, this time discussing how hospitals can use social media as an educational tool.

During the second panel, one of the speakers made this point – the biggest social media risk a hospital can take is to not be on social media. It seems as though hospitals are taking this to heart, as demonstrated in the 2014 Most Wired survey:

97 percent of Most Wired Hospitals use Facebook, 83 percent use YouTube, 81 percent use Twitter, while 74 percent use LinkedIn.98 percent of Most Wired Hospitals use social media to disseminate information on their hospital, 94 percent use social media to give updates on hospital events (91 percent use social media to update the public on service lines). In addition, 96 percent use social media for community engagement and 77 percent use social media for patient education.

If you or your hospital is on social media, these numbers will come as no surprise, as a majority of hospitals have at least a Facebook page these days. While Most Wired Hospitals (and the majority of all hospitals) seem to be doing a good job of using social media for “outward-facing” purposes (i.e., patient engagement), I look at the data and see an opportunity for hospitals to use social media for physician engagement purposes. For example, only 22 percent of Most Wired Hospitals use social media to livestream procedures or surgeries. According to the Most Wired Survey, only 33 percent of Most Wired Hospitals use social media to connect primary care physicians with specialty services within the health system.

Obviously, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) regulations come into play when you discuss the possibility of clinical communication via social media – as do legitimate concerns about data hacking. Still, social media can be a powerful tool to educate physicians not just within the confines of the hospital, but around the world. Telemedicine is already helping physicians connect with each other as well as patients. It will be interesting to see if there is a non-Intranet based social media network built specifically for physicians, nurses and other hospital staff.  Who might be the Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) or Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn co-founder) of physician engagement on social media?

 


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Consumer Health and Patient Engagement – Are We There Yet?

Consumer Health and Patient Engagement – Are We There Yet? | healthcare | Scoop.it

Along with artificial intelligence, patient engagement feels like the new black in health care right now. Perhaps that’s because we’re just two weeks out from the annual HIMSS Conference which will convene thousands of health IT wonks, users and developers (I am the former), but I’ve received several reports this week speaking to health engagement and technology that are worth some trend-weaving.

As my colleague-friends Gregg Masters of Health Innovation Media (@2healthguru) and John Moore of Chilmark Research (@john_chilmark)  challenged me on Twitter earlier this week: are we scaling sustained, real patient engagement and empowerment yet?

Let’s dive into the reports’ findings to divine an answer for Gregg and John.

Change Healthcare published the company’s 8th Annual Industry Pulse Report, which examines key challenges facing payors and other stakeholders this year. The report analyzes results of a survey of over 2,000 Change Healthcare customers (from academia, government, technology vendors, hospitals, providers, and health plans), conducted in October-November 2017.

Several findings address patient and health engagement in this study, including:

The failure of high-deductibles’ “skin-in-the-game” theory to turn  patients into active health consumersThe growth of health plans and providers integrating social determinants of health into health strategies and tactics for improving peoples’ health outcomes and engagementThe migration of incentives from negative “sticks” to positive “carrots” along with more value-based benefit design in motivating consumer health behavior.

One of my favorite series of papers that inform my advisory work comes from PwC on the New Health Economy, this week publishing its report on Customer experience in the New Health Economy – the data cure. A highlight of their survey found that one-half of provider executives sees customer (patient, clinician) experience as a top strategic priority over the next 5 years, and most payer execs are investing in technology to improve member experience. Remember that health insurers rank very low on consumer experience compared with retailers and grocers.

PwC offers five pillars for healthcare stakeholders to build on to improve experience, including:

ConvenienceQualitySupportPersonalization, andCommunication.

Finally, CarePayment studied the skin-in-the-game motivation for engagement, finding that 61% of patients don’t have money saved for healthcare expenses, and two-thirds of people have avoided or delayed medical care in the last year due to expected costs.

An alarming anti-engagement statistic is that 44% of the 1,000 consumers surveyed said they would not get needed medical care, even if it put their health at-risk, knowing they would have out-of-pocket expenses of $500.

The 20/20 CarePayment survey team also noted in their press release that among people who did not seek healthcare, medical debt is a growing and common problem impacting + nearly 1 in 4 Americans under 65.

The CarePayment poll was conducted in November-December 2017.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  So, Gregg and John, to your question: has patient empowerment and engagement scaled yet in U.S. healthcare?

Well, it depends on how we define the terms, and through what and whose lens. I do see green shoots of engagement among patients in the U.S., both for clinical activation and financial/shopping muscles.

A question in the Change Healthcare survey hints at one of the challenges in assessing and inspiring patient engagement: “What is the best approach for turning passive patients into active healthcare consumers?”

For many years, my discussions with patient activists on social media have informed me about some of the toxic language that prevents trusted conversations between people – patients, consumers, caregivers — and health care providers, plans, and pharma. Words like “adherence,” “compliance,” and in this question the verb, “turning,” are turn-offs for the very people legacy healthcare organizations want to engage.

Contemporary health engagement for patients in the U.S. is also complicated by the fact that patients are responsible for financing at least part of their healthcare — resulting in self-rationing among a large percentage of people who truly need to access care, the CarePayment survey points out. We’ve seen these behaviors based on other data sources, notably over the years via the Kaiser Family Foundation which I perennially cover — even back in 2012 before the advent of the Affordable Care Act.

As providers, payors and pharma allocate capital resources for technology to improve relationships with patients on the hardware side of the ledger, these healthcare organizations should also be mindful of other processes and mindsets facing consumer-patients — both in terms of helping people navigate the healthcare system, and at the same time, avoid the financial toxicity that can prevent them from seeking care in the first place.


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New Theory helps explain how Deep Learning works @QuantaMagazine @Wired

New Theory helps explain how Deep Learning works @QuantaMagazine @Wired | healthcare | Scoop.it

A new idea is helping to explain the puzzling success of today’s artificial-intelligence algorithms — and might also explain how human brains learn.


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Farid Mheir's curator insight, October 9, 2017 10:45 AM

WHY IT MATTERS

This article explains how deep learning neural networks learn to generalize and find patterns in their inputs by initially finding patterns then compressing to forget irrelevant elements and generalize what they've "learned". Well illustrated and relatively simple to understand.

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4 Important Ways Healthcare Technology Improves Your Patient Care

4 Important Ways Healthcare Technology Improves Your Patient Care | healthcare | Scoop.it

Healthcare technology continues to be a hot topic of conversation, as the world that we’ve long visualized gets closer to being our reality.

It’s changing how healthcare providers diagnose, treat, manage and monitor. Health tech has the potential to save lives, improve quality of life, and completely redirect the downward trajectory of hard to manage patients.

Let’s explore how 4 important health techs are improving patient care.

Predictive Analytics & Machine Learning

Physicians today utilize predictive analytics & machine learning to better identify high risk patients and put the right interventions in place to:

Prevent admissionsPrevent readmissionsReduce decline and relapseImprove medication complianceSpeed up recoveryHelp patients respond to triggersBetter engage patients in between visits

Patients today want more personalized care.  Health tech like this helps give patients what they want as it improves patient care and patient outcomes.

Continue on see more.

Wearable Technology

For patients suffering from chronic conditions, wearable technology provides a better way for patients to meet their health metrics.

This is because they receive immediate feedback about their health, current state of being, and behaviors that will impact those metrics. In many cases, the data can even be accessed by their physician in real time.

Wearables provide tools patients need to track and adjust behavior on a moment-to-moment basis rather than waiting until they have a doctor’s visit.

Today doctors are using wearables to:

Help patients be more activeKeep patients informed about day to day heart healthHelp those with musculoskeletal injuries and physical developmental delays regain or gain mobility, including paralysis of the lower extremitiesTrack sleep patternsBetter understand mood disordersPainlessly monitor glucose levelsRelieve chronic pain

The potential of remote monitoring to improve care has long been studied, but more recently we are finding it within our reach.

Virtual Reality

Medical students today can use virtual reality (VR) to get hands-on without a real patient in sight. This allows for more in-depth training and real time feedback that doesn’t include your patient screaming when you make a wrong move.

Furthermore, doctors today use VR to help treat patients with:

AnxietyPTSDDepressionPhobias

Through systematic desensitization, patients can face their fears, anger and sadness in a controlled setting. Before VR, such “facing of fears” would have been much more logistically challenging and less controlled.

Telemedicine

As part of the patient’s desire for more personalized care, they’re looking for healthcare services that align with their personal needs. This goes beyond medical treatments.

Telemedicine does this in several very effective ways.  For example, telemedicine:

Provides ultimate convenience to patients who think they don’t have time to see the doctor, so patients don’t delay seeing the doctor.Meets the needs of the elderly and other individuals who may be home-bound or even bed-ridden.Eliminates that boring waiting room experience.Helps keep patients with immune disorders out of medical facilities that, despite best efforts, become breeding grounds for infections and even superbugs.Delivers most of the benefits of face to face, especially when combined with wearable technologies.Provides a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform on which doctors and patients can connect.Healthcare Technology Makes a Big Difference in Patients’ Lives

Whether you’re a doctor, nurse or other medical services provider, you understand that it’s not about medicine. It’s about people.

Through healthcare technology, you can make sure every patient gets the care that they deserve. You can tear down barriers to care, expand your reach, and improve patient outcomes.


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Elements which should consider in Digital Healthcare

Elements which should consider in Digital Healthcare | healthcare | Scoop.it

Going digital is not as easy as it may seem. Industry players have to take a deep breath and dive into careful analysis and strategy development. It is exceptionally important for industries, such as healthcare, where the cost of failure is incredibly high.

For years I’ve been working with healthcare providers and have gained a good understanding of how much value digital solutions may bring to them.  At the same time, it isn’t an easy task to implement a solution which will move services they provide to the next level. The ultimate key to success is the development and implementation of the appropriate digital strategy.  My hope is that this article will help digital change executives and others involved in a digital transformation of healthcare businesses to consider five major elements of getting a successful digital strategy off the ground. Using my years of experience, I’ve developed a road-map for the development of the digital strategy.

 

Informational support

Patients are your primary audience, therefore when developing the strategy think of them first with the following point in mind: today’s patients want more information.

They have acquired quite profound medical knowledge these days and want more information about the treatment. Continuously, they ask how they are being treated, what medications are used and why, how patients with similar diagnoses were treated and what the result was. Searching for this information, they create communities to discuss the issues, treatment methods, physicians and medications. Sometimes patients’ communities save lives, like what happened with e-Patient Dave, who managed to find the medical treatment by turning to a group of fellow patients.

In a world where patients demand more information, delivery of relevant content becomes one of the essential points in the development of digital strategy.

 

Access to medical services

Access to medical services goes hand in hand with the delivery of relevant information. Awareness triggers asking more questions and raising more patient cases, hence the lines at clinics get longer. However, physicians have about 15 – 20 minutes to examine a patient and write prescriptions, which is quite a limited time slot. Implementing medicine technologies would notably improve the situation. Medicine is not the panacea, but it provides physicians with multiple opportunities like remote monitoring of chronic patients, support systems, accelerated feedback and provides better experiences for patients in rural areas. All kinds of digital tools to speed up and automate scheduling a doctor appointment can be a great help for patients.

 

Medical adherence management

Digital technologies are also valuable in monitoring chronic patients. Quite often, these people require more doctors’ attention, but the limited time for an appointment is a real problem. Digital technologies can facilitate the process. With applications serving for control medical adherence, doctors can be sure their patients won’t forget to take a pill or miss an appointment. The same applications may help to exchange information between patients and doctors in real time. This exchange may include symptoms collected via a patient’s device, medical test data sent to the patient’s device and information about pills taken (or not) by a patient. This exchange can help doctors to take corrective steps when required, like giving a call to a patient or a caregiver when a problem with medical adherence has been detected. 

 

Treatment process management

The adoption of digital technologies can help not only manage medical adherence but also the whole treatment process itself. Digital technologies provide physicians with opportunities to adjust the treatment on the basis of the received tests, and make the changes if there are improvements or if something goes wrong. Patients can see a treatment schedule in their devices as well as an associated medication schedule, and receive notifications in order to not miss an appointment or a pill. And again, the option to share symptoms history works well in this process as it allows quick changes based on a real patients’ feedback.

 

User experience optimisation

The quality of services at hospitals can be considerably improved by digital technologies. Simple things like registering appointments online, appointment reminders, to-do lists, mobile payments, QR codes, quick patient access to EHR (electronic health records) or sending the result analysis to smartphones can advance the level of healthcare services and optimise user experience.

 

Connecting patients and HCPs

For years, quick connection between patients and doctors was one of the most important and sometimes difficult things in healthcare. By implementing digital technologies, doctors and patients can have a close connection. Be it a smartphone or a web app, it would allow a patient to consult or call a doctor when it is really necessary. Digital technologies cut the distance; that is what hospitals really need. Connecting doctors, medical staff and patients better organises the whole process. Tools mentioned above, such as apps for real-time communication, sharing symptoms, sending medical test results to patients’ devices and medicine are excellent examples of how digital technologies can help doctors to provide a better outcome to patients.

 

Digital skills of your employees

As Accenture states in its report, the major barrier to digital transformation is the lack of digital skills; 44 percent of business leaders agree with that opinion. Therefore, staff training should not be omitted.

It is interesting that many doctors are already using smartphones and tablets to facilitate the process of communication and interaction with patients. Physicians are really interested in digital tools and services. According to the JournalMTM research, 94 percent of surveyed respondents had smartphones (95.2 percent students vs. 92.5 percent physicians). Of those with the technology, 82.9 percent stated they have used it at least once in a clinical setting. Respondents perceived fast access to information to be the greatest benefit to mobile medical technology (96.6 percent), as well as simplified access (75.5 percent) and easier medical calculations (70.8 percent).

As you can see, doctors are already trying to go digital. What you need is to perform thorough research, check the skills of the staff and teach them to use the digital technologies. They are ready to accept the digital challenge.  

 

Workload optimisation

In hospitals all over, doctors need new processes and workflows that allow them to increase work efficiency, improve diagnostics and treatment, and what is more, advance their relationships with patients.

Therefore, optimisation of workload is an important benefit digital technologies provide. Thinking about your future digital strategy, you may want to consider a paperless data exchange – a mobile doctor’s dashboard where they can check their patients’ data and manage treatment plans, apps for nurses to help with task management and urgent requests processing, and many other tools to digitise and therefore optimise business processes efficiency.  All of that quickens the pace, reduces workflow disruptions and increases productivity. Hence, hospitals and clinics can work with more patients without the negative impact on the quality of treatment.  

 

How can your medical staff and doctors benefit from going digital

Implementation of digital tools brings tangible advantages, like reducing paperwork time and increasing patients’ face time. Moreover, with digital tools, physicians can receive symptoms and medical conditions data prior to meeting with a patient in-person, thus decreasing the time for recollecting a case history.

“Doctors today face two important issues,” says Todd Skrinar, a partner in the Life Sciences Advisory Practice at Ernst & Young. “They’re working in a more constrained cost environment, doing more with less. And they’re being forced to change the way they deliver services because of that. Digital technology will enable more mobility of the healthcare practitioner, and health records will be more readily available.”

Having “digital assistants” in their hands, doctors get more opportunities to deliver better treatment. Digital tools broaden the limits that have prevented the improvement of service delivery.


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Technical Dr. Inc.'s curator insight, August 24, 2016 4:06 AM
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10 Predictions for Health IT in 2017

10 Predictions for Health IT in 2017 | healthcare | Scoop.it

Technologies supporting digital transformation and the internet of things are one of many leading IT trends about to completely revamp healthcare delivery, predict global industry analysts at IDC, a leading IT advisory firm.

IDC’s research initiative identified the top 10 global health IT predictions most likely to impact healthcare enterprises, companies, and departments in 2017, and beyond. Industry analysts also assessed how long it may take these predictions to secure a tangible mainstream influence on the greater healthcare industry.

Security Concerns

According to Lynne Dunbrak, IDC Health Insight’s Research Vice President, focusing on the prevention of ransomware attacks is one of many top priorities for the year ahead.

“Threat factors are increasing in number and scope of attacks because healthcare organizations are perceived by cybercriminals to be soft-hearted,” Dunbrak explained during an on-demand webcast.

“Medical records have a greater black market value than credit card numbers or social security numbers,” she stated. “Depending upon what numbers and statistics you look at, it could be 50 times the value of medical records.”

Engaging Patients

IDC analysts also predicted that the healthcare IT industry will specifically utilize technologies that advance active – rather than passive – patient engagement.

“We’ve been pretty primitive in how we’ve tried to engage patients,” said Cynthia Burghard, IDC Health Insight’s Research Director, Accountable Care Organizations, during the webcast.   “We’ve put up portals. Consumers don’t go there,” she noted.

“Really providing [consumers] with tools they can actively use to manage their health is important,” stated. “But you have to make it easy. You can’t create these form factors that people of my age can’t read. It needs to be very simple and easy to use,” Burghard advised.

IDC researchers also said data collected from wearable devices will advance patient engagement in coming years. Greater emphasis will soon be placed on the application of predictive analytics through artificial intelligence, they added.

“By 2020, adjustments to care plans will be made in real time and it will be as a result of data coming off wearable devices and being analyzed in a cognitive artificial intelligence environment,” said Burghard.

Here is IDC’s full list of top 10 global 2017 healthcare IT industry predictions:

By 2018, There Will Be a Doubling of Ransomware Attacks on Healthcare OrganizationsBy 2019, There Will Be a 50% Increase in the Use of Robots to Deliver Medications, Supplies, and Food Throughout the HospitalBy 2019, 60% of Healthcare Applications Will Collect Real-Time Location Data and Clinical IoT Device Data and Embed Cognitive Capabilities to Discover Patterns, Thereby Freeing Up 30% of Clinicians' TimeBy 2020, 20% of Payers Will Offer Personalized Benefits with Options for a Consumer to Dynamically Reduce Premium and/or Alter Deductible/Copay by Disclosing PersonalBy the End of 2018, Payers Will Have Saved $1 Billion Globally Through Implementation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Tools, Skill Sets, and Process ReengineeringIn 2017, Patient Engagement Across the Life Science/Healthcare Ecosystem Will Jump from Passive to ActiveBy 2020, 70% of the Developed Nations Will Homogenize Health Insurance with the Rest of the World, Moving to Replace Self/Employer-Based Options with Expanded Government SponsorshipSeeking a Passive Way to Measure Patients' Vital Signs and Other Biometrics, More than 40% of Healthcare Organizations Across the World Will Use IoT-Enabled Biosensors by 2019By 2020, Care Plan Adjustments Will Be Made in Real Time with Cognitive/AI Using Data from Wearable Devices, Resulting in 20% More Patients Being Engaged in Their HealthBy 2018, Drug Makers Will Double Their Investment in Analytics Focused on HCP Data to Reach Millennial and Gen X Doctors the Way They Prefer It — Electronically
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Gary Alexander's curator insight, March 23, 2017 12:37 PM
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Use these 4 Proven Healthcare Social Strategies to Break Through to Patients and Consumers 

Use these 4 Proven Healthcare Social Strategies to Break Through to Patients and Consumers  | healthcare | Scoop.it

There’s one sure-fire way to break through to your patients and customers: having 1-to-1 conversations. And the most practical way to do that is through social media. We’ve found four main healthcare social strategies that every healthcare marketer needs to consider.

By tapping into the transformative power of social media, pharmaceutical marketers can increase engagement and loyalty. However, before you jump into using social media marketing, you need to have a social strategy that meets your marketing objectives in place.

Your social marketing philosophy should start with aligning your strategy with the patient journey. In other words – where in the patient’s disease journey do you want to connect with them, and how can you help them move along in their journey to wellness? Do you want to reach patients as they are still in the early diagnosis phase, or later in their patient journey during the persistency segment?

At LiveWorld, our social media experts examined more than 750,000 pieces of user-generated content across over 150 social media properties. Here are the four main social strategies that every healthcare marketer needs to use, which align with the patient’s journey:

Increase disease awarenessPromote product considerationDevelop loyaltyImprove corporate branding

ONE: Increase Disease Awareness

At the increasing disease awareness stage, people are looking for information to either diagnose or understand their symptoms. They are performing research online and seeking  information about symptoms and diagnoses as part of their patient journey. In the classic patient journey model, this audience would be in the awareness and recognition phase or the presentation and diagnosis phase.

It’s important to remember that it’s not always patients doing this research. There are three distinct audience segments – and you might need different programs to reach each. These audiences may include patients of a particular diseases, caregivers, who might include family, friends or professional health care providers (HCP), and medicines. For the last audience segment, a marketer might be raising awareness of medicines to establish a brand as the gold-standard or best treatment for a disease state, much like Claritin is now considered the go-to medicine for allergy sufferers.

COPD.com is a great example of a site designed to raise awareness about the disease state, which we call stage 1. It’s designed specifically to give patients access to clear information. The tagline: “Learning More Together” sums up the site’s mission.

TWO: Promote Product Consideration
In the next stage, we align to the treatment selection portion of the patient journey. In stage two, consumers take their awareness research to their doctor or HCP. Or, they may have been receiving a treatment protocol which isn’t helping – and want to know more about a specific drug that might help them. This search calls for a product consideration strategy.

A good example of the strategy to promote product consideration is one used by Novartis for its medicine brand Gilenya. Novartis is trying to promote consideration and maintain market share in the highly competitive disease field for multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment. To promote Gilenya, Novartis created a Facebook page, that has resulted in very high activity with nearly 300K users. The page is an effective mixture of product information, general awareness, and inspiration. It has received a high level of engagement and has not yet received a warning letter from the FDA.

For pharmaceutical brands that wish to use a branded Facebook page, the strategy that Novartis is using for Gilenya, we recommend having the following additional processes and plans in place:

A full engagement plan that includes:Are posts going to be social, branded, informational or a mixAre responses pre-approved “canned” responses, or more free-formSocial media crisis response blueprintWho needs to be notified if there is a crisis; Corporate Communications, Legal, PharmacovigilanceCan you put an “all-stop” to scheduled social media posts?Plan for capturing, archiving and reporting on adverse events

Novartis’ Gilenya-branded Facebook page is great example of a branded Facebook page that helps promote product consideration in a crowded market like MS treatment.

THREE: Develop Patient Loyalty

As patients continue along their journey, a pharmaceutical brand needs a loyalty strategy in place to get people talking about how its branded treatment helped them.

This is a tremendously important step in a successful social media strategy. Numerous research studies, and Digital Intelligence for example, have shown that peer-to-peer and word-of-mouth recommendations are the most trusted source of information for people in the awareness and product consideration stages – much more so than any other type of recommendation.

To develop patient loyalty in social media, pharmaceutical brands need to simplify connections and assist patients in social media with experiences that:

Facilitate patient-to-patient connections on managing daily life after treatmentProvide opportunities to connect with and receive advice from HCPsSupply patients and HCPs with the latest disease researchSponsor and promote in-real-life (IRL) events for patients and caregiversProvide points of contact for community engagement

Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute (JJDI) is a free, on-site 3-day training program that attracts all types of diabetes care specialists from all over the country. JJDI does not promote any of their products, and they frame the Institute as continuing education credits for HCPs. Johnson & Johnson provides this as part of its plan to develop patient loyalty.

FOUR: Improve Corporate Branding

While the strategy to improve corporate branding doesn’t necessarily match up with a patient’s journey, it’s crucial to successful social media marketing. On-target corporate branding will tie the rest of your efforts together. This helps drive positive brand perception among consumers and encourage awareness of disease states in general.

The most common use of corporate branding strategy is to improve a brand’s image. Given the challenging and complex political environment that the pharmaceutical industry finds itself in these days, some brands are doing an exceptional job of shifting the narrative from a defensive posture to a positive one.

In some cases, you can use the right corporate branding to shift the conversation in social away from your individual brand or negativity towards the pharma industry to focus on a broader problem. For example, Pfizer and the industry organization PhRMA have both done a great job of spotlighting the positive work that pharmaceutical brands have done. Pfizer has shifted the conversation around its company and corporate brand by taking a more encouraging posture with its video series and Discover The Cure video campaign. The video and Pfizer’s efforts strive to alter the narrative from the politics and negativity around the pharmaceutical industry to the positive impacts that their medicines have for patients.

The industry group PhRMA is known for releasing data in social media in easily digestible formats like infographics. This helps raise awareness around some of the health challenges facing the world today.


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More hospitals using fingerprint scans for patient ID

More hospitals using fingerprint scans for patient ID | healthcare | Scoop.it

To identify patients, some hospitals are exploring the use of bio-metric technology – specifically fingerprint recognition. The approach has both benefits and drawbacks. 

Bio-metric technology is growing in popularity. At first, it was only seen in sci-fi movies. But now, this technology is common in several aspects of modern life.

For example, many companies use bio-metric timekeeping systems for payroll purposes. And some of the newest smartphones come equipped with the ability to identify users based on their fingerprints.

Now hospitals are jumping on the bandwagon, too.

 

Reasons for trend

Healthcare blog Future of You, published by KQED Science, discussed the trend in a recent post.

In the absence of a national healthcare identifier, which is used in many other countries to distinguish patients from each other, hospitals are scrambling to find an easier way to identify their patients.

It’s especially confusing to keep track of patients when they have multiple last names or change residences frequently.

To make identifying patients easier, facilities have started partnering with companies specialising in bio-metric fingerprint identity recognition. Specifically, the blog post mentions hospitals working with SafeChx, a system designed for the healthcare industry.

SafeChx links patients’ fingerprints to the personal information a hospital has on file for them, including their health records. The system is free of charge for hospitals to use. CrossChx, the company that created SafeChx, also sells various healthcare apps facilities can integrate with the system to enhance it.

Right now, 178 hospitals are using the SafeChx system, and most are small and medium-sized facilities. CrossChx plans to start marketing its system to larger, teaching hospitals soon.

 

Both sides of systems

Because bio-metrics are becoming more common, other systems besides SafeChx are sure to spring up soon.

Not only do they make it easier for hospitals to identify patients, supporters say bio-metric fingerprint identification is also an excellent way to guard against patient identity theft, as well as the “doctor shopping” that often happens with prescription pill addicts.

However, critics think bio-metric fingerprint identification systems can create more problems than they solve. Here’s why: Although it’s true that fingerprints are unique to each person, there’s still a possibility the system can be compromised.

If hackers figure out how to simulate a patient’s fingerprint, they’d have access to all the person’s protected health information. In that regard, it’s just like any method where a single factor is used for identification, such as password protection.

But unlike a password, which can be quickly changed if it’s stolen, a person’s fingerprint can’t be altered.

 

Protecting data

With that in mind, hospitals would need to make sure the information stored in their systems is effectively protected with methods such as encryption in case a data breach occurs. And facilities would need to have a different protocol in place to identify patients should their bio-metric identifying data be stolen.

There are alternatives to identifying patients via bio-metrics or through standard demographic information if this need arises. One example from the Future of You post: Kaiser Permanent is starting to keep a photograph of each patient on file in the medical record.

Whatever strategy your hospital uses to identify patients, internal security is still of utmost importance. Bio-metric fingerprint scanning technology means nothing if your network and IT infrastructure aren’t secure from outside threats.


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Report: Patients, Providers Keen on More Engagement | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology

Report: Patients, Providers Keen on More Engagement | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology | healthcare | Scoop.it

Patient engagement is emerging as a priority in the healthcare community, according to new research from CDW Healthcare in which the Vernon Hills, Ill.-based company takes a closer look at what the patient engagement future holds for both patients and providers.

 

As evidence mounts confirming the strong link between more involved patients and improved outcomes, patient engagement is emerging as a priority in the healthcare community. The U.S. healthcare system’s shift to a pay-for-performance model is another driving force behind this important trend, the researchers note. The CDW Healthcare Patient Engagement Perspectives report surveyed 200 patients and 200 healthcare providers to explore patient engagement from both perspectives to better understand how needs, challenges and motivators differ between the two groups.

 

The report’s key finding was that patients and providers are eager for more engagement. Specifically:

57 percent of patients say they have become more engaged with their healthcare during the past two years70 percent of providers report seeing a change in their patients’ level of engagement with their own healthcareWhile 60 percent of providers say improving patient engagement is a top priority at their organization, patients see things somewhat differently—only 35 percent said they have noticed their providers becoming more engaged with themCommunication is a critical element of expanding patient engagement: patients rank greater communication with their healthcare provider (50 percent) as being just as influential as a life event (50 percent) in motivating them to become more engaged with their healthcare

What’s more, patients and providers view technology as a path forward:

74 percent of patients say greater access to healthcare information would help them take a more active role in their healthcare60 percent of providers believe that providing patients with greater online access to their personal healthcare information would improve their quality of careBoth groups also agree on the best tools for increasing engagement levels—Web-based access to healthcare information and online patient portals

Additionally, providers are preparing for action and have more resources for engaging with patients at their disposal than ever before:

67 percent of providers are working on a way to make personal healthcare records easier to access28 percent of providers say that they either provide or plan to provide the ability to merge the information stored on mobile devices or wearable technologies to the online patient portal they offer

“Expanding patient engagement is a top priority for the healthcare community—as it is directly linked to care outcomes—and technology plays a vital role,” Bob Rossi, vice president, CDW Healthcare, said in a statement. “These insights will help us better understand common ground and differences of patient engagement between both patients and providers, enabling us to deliver the solutions and services that help providers transform the patient experience, improve outcomes and reduce the cost of care.”


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Five great TED Talks about Health Technology

Five great TED Talks about Health Technology | healthcare | Scoop.it
As health technology & innovation continue to prosper, some great thought leaders have emerged on TED. Here are five great examples of that.

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In support of measuring patient satisfaction

In support of measuring patient satisfaction | healthcare | Scoop.it

I had two experiences recently that reminded me that many doctors and nurses remain resistant to measuring and improving how patients experience the care we provide. One was a face-to-face discussion with a senior physician. The other was reading an article by a nurse. Both the doctor and the nurse denounced the growing focus on the patient experience by citing the threat to the quality of care, and I believe both of them were totally wrong.

The encounter with the physician came as I addressed a group of newly hired physicians. As I typically do in these circumstances, I outlined our medical group’s commitment to increasing the visibility of the results of our patient experience surveys. We have been providing our physicians with reports on their patients’ feedback for the better part of a year, and we anticipate posting physician-specific results on our public website within a few months. During the Q&A, one of the physicians objected to the plan, saying that “patients can’t judge the quality of care that we provide.”

 

The article was entitled “The Problem with Satisfied Patients” and decried the effort being made to boost hospital-specific patient satisfaction scores by adding hotel-like amenities and scripting staff, both of which she characterized as threats to clinical care and patient safety.

In both cases, the case against focusing on the patient experience was based on flawed logic and, sadly, probably more than a small dose of self-interest.

The doctor’s mistake was that while his observation about patients’ inability to judge quality may be correct, it is irrelevant. We are not asking patients to judge quality. In fact, there is considerable evidence that patients — precisely because they can’t judge technical quality — just assume we are all competent. Instead, we are asking them to judge their own experience (which, of course, only they can judge), and the two are not in conflict. Since when are empathy and good communication, key determinants of patients’ experience, anathema to quality?

OK, here it comes — what about all those crafty doctors who will practice “bad medicine” to boost their satisfaction scores? You know, prescribing antibiotics to kids with viral syndromes so as not to “disappoint” those pushy parents, or handing out narcotics to make patients happy. Well, what about them? Is this “threat” any more pressing than the one posed by some doctors doing more tests than they should to boost their income? Do we stop paying all doctors because some may bill in unethical ways? Why would we stop caring about finding out how patients experience their care because some doctors may respond unethically? No one is saying that patient experience scores are more important than quality, any more than we are saying that “productivity” is more important than quality.

The logical error is to reject the use of any measures of patient experience because using only measures of patient experience would create perverse incentives.

The nurse made a similar goof. Sure, if patient experience scores were the only measure used to judge hospitals, we would be in deep trouble. And sure, some institutions respond foolishly to the pressure to improve their scores (instead of their patients’ experience) by trying to goose up trivial amenities instead of really understanding what matters to patients. Neither of which invalidates the importance of understanding and improving how patients experience the care we provide.

Here’s something else to consider: true empathy, respect, and effective communication, which are cornerstones of providing a good patient experience, can improve clinical outcomes by reducing patients’ stress, fostering sharing of critical information and boosting adherence to care plans. Nothing in conflict with quality there.

 


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4 Ways Technology Will Dominate Healthcare in 2015

4 Ways Technology Will Dominate Healthcare in 2015 | healthcare | Scoop.it

Technology plays a major role in healthcare development around the world and we saw more proof of that in the past year. This year, we can expect to see technology dramatically change people’s entire healthcare experience. Here are 4 ways technology will dominate healthcare in 2015.

1. Investments in Technology

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is changing the healthcare industry by putting the focus on consumers. This will force health insurers to shift strategies from old business models using employer-sponsored products and services to more consumer-focused offerings.

In an article on TechCrunch.com, Joe Riley, a managing member of the healthcare investment firm Psilos, stated that he predicts a “surge in acquisitions in 2015 as the insurers add technologies, products and services that deliver a differentiated consumer experience on price, quality and service.  Significant investment will be required throughout the health insurers’ value chains, from research to product development, to operations and to marketing and sales”.

Among the technological solutions that Riley predicts companies will focus on this year include automated claims adjudication and payment software, population health management tools, mobile and telecommunication strategies such as online appointment scheduling, prescription ordering and direct payments, and a 24/7 customer service software.

2. Healthcare Data and the Cloud

In order for healthcare providers to improve the quality of their services and at the same time manage costs, they will have to create more comprehensive patient profiles. Cynthia Burghard, Research Director from the research firm IDC, in an article on EnterpriseInnovation.net, predicts that “15 percent of hospitals will create a comprehensive patient profile by 2016 that will allow them to deliver personalized treatment plans”. This calls for improvements in data collection and management, which will encourage more healthcare providers to make use of the cloud.

In the same article, Judy Hanover, Research Director at IDC, also stated that “by 2018, 80 percent of healthcare data will pass through the cloud at some point in its lifetime, as providers seek to leverage cloud based ecologies and infrastructure for data collection, aggregation and analytics and decision-making”.

3. Wearable Devices for Fitness and Healthcare

There has been huge growth in the wearable devices market in recent years. According to an article on the IBTimes.com, Juniper Research estimates 19 million devices in the market last year, and this number is expected to reach 70 million by 2018.

Wearables are not only able to help users track their heart rates but also monitor other facets of their health. This year, though, we can expect to see wearable devices to expand from wrist devices to other products such as biometric shirts and headphones that track heart rate.

What is more interesting though is the movement to transition from just fitness to healthcare. One of the major goals now is for physicians to be able to monitor data coming from these wearable devices in order to make healthcare decisions.

4. Healthcare Apps

As more and more data are collected from wearable devices, there is also a corresponding increase in the development of healthcare apps that provide storage for and management of this data. Some of the apps available in the market now are the Apple Heath and Google Fit platforms. Since patients nowadays are also more empowered to take charge of their health, more healthcare apps are predicted to come out in the market soon.

 


Via Technical Dr. Inc.
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Bob Lawson's curator insight, February 5, 2015 5:49 AM

Seeing some really clever stuff around clinical trial adherence where Mobile Apps are being used to keep participants in the medical trials on track and build a very short feedback loop 

Rescooped by Pat O'Donnell from healthcare technology
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Most Patients Willing To Have Online Video Doctor Visits, Survey Finds

Most Patients Willing To Have Online Video Doctor Visits, Survey Finds | healthcare | Scoop.it

A majority of U.S. residents are willing to use an online video for a physician visit, according to a Harris Poll survey, MobiHealthNewsreports.

The survey, which was commissioned by telehealth company American Well, collected responses from 2,019 U.S. adults ages 18 and older in December 2014.

Survey Findings

Overall, the survey found about 64% respondents were willing see a doctor via an online video consult.

Of those, 61% listed convenience as a factor.

The survey found respondents' willingness to switch to an online physician visit varied by age and the number of years they had seen their doctors (Pai, MobiHealthNews, 1/21). The survey showed:

6% of respondents who had seen their physician for at least 10 years said they would switch;8% of respondents who had seen their physician for five to nine years said they would switch;10% of respondents who had seen their physician for two to four years said they would switch;7% of respondents who had seen their physician for less than one year said they would switch (Harris Poll survey, December 2014);11% of patients ages 18 to 34 said they would switch;8% of patients ages 35 to 44 said would switch (MobiHealthNews, 1/21);5% of patient ages 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 said they would switch; and4% of patients age 65 and older said they would switch (Harris Poll survey, December 2014).

However, about 88% of respondents said they would like to select the physician for a video visit rather than be randomly assigned one


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Rebecca Burge Cooper's curator insight, January 23, 2015 6:31 PM
I wonder how this will work for Behavioral Health.