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Censoring or Regulation by the FDA & how much is hype?

Censoring or Regulation by the FDA & how much is hype? | healthcare technology |

Medical apps are not necessarily medical devices. The FDA only want to regulate those that are, but guidelines are various shades of gray.


There has certainly been a lot of hype lately (as in “Extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion”) about the role the FDA will have in regulation of medical apps for mobile devices. The draft guidance put out by the FDA on mobile medical apps (document 1741) at first seems very straight forward, but gets a bit more ambiguous the more you look into it.

Now I realize this is just “guidance”, but there are some potential implications to consider. Last year, a study came through our IRB that looked to implement the use of an iPhone app. While I won’t disclose the details of the study, I will say there was a bit of an urgency to read and better understand the guidance from the FDA for medical apps. As many researchers know, if they are using a tool or piece of equipment in their research that meets the definition of a “medical device” then it must be regulated by the FDA (Title 21 CFR). Their definition of a device is below and can include anything from a simple tongue depressor to a sophisticated robot that conducts surgery:

“an instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including a component part, or accessory which is:

- Recognized in the official National Formulary, or the United States Pharmacopoeia, or any supplement to them

- Intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, in man or other animals, or,

- Intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals, and which does not achieve any of it’s primary intended purposes through chemical action within or on the body of man or other animals and which is not dependent upon being metabolized for the achievement of any of its primary intended purposes.”

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Social Media and Patient Advocacy

These are the slides from my talk at the 4th Annual Putting Patients First Conference in Mumbai.

If god were to manifest the world using technology, he would first create something like social media. Conceptually provide technology with the ability to understand the thoughts of a population

SocMed leaves behind the old model of 1-to-1 communication – “talking to someone over the phone”  Enables one-to-many communication (via blogs or microblogging) or many-to-many communication (discussion forums, social walls). Now anyone can setup an online community site/portal to represent a small or big offline community.

Further, anyone can setup an online site related to a treatment, a disease, a doctor, a drug , a concept or anything and see it grow into a popular site which in effect is simply the manifestation of a community which exists/ed but which no one ever knew of.

Marie Ennis-O'Connor's curator insight, November 17, 2013 7:09 PM

Thanks so much for sharing your slides - i am looking forward to reading them. 

PatientView's curator insight, November 28, 2013 8:19 AM

We have figures on the scale of soical media intreaction by patient advocates. In countries where the impact of the finanical crisis is at its worst, patient advocates have turned to social media to interact with one another and raise awareness  of the predicaments of their country's healthcare system to place pressure on government when undertaking reforms. 

Plaza Dental Group's curator insight, January 29, 2014 8:53 AM

Great info! I think SocMed  will boost the thought of population and will effect change in local communities. 

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How video games could take market share from big pharma

How video games could take market share from big pharma | healthcare technology |

Technologists have reached incredible heights in getting people to voluntarily spend large amounts of their time playing video games and now entrepreneurs are combining those practices with neuroscience to create many exciting new startups.

How gaming works as a prescription

Imagine you’re at the doctor’s office and she hands you a prescription as you walk out of the clinic. Instead of heading to your local pharmacy for a bottle of pills, though, this Rx entitles you to a set of 30 sessions on a video game console.

WellDoc, founded in 2005 as a software prescribed by physicians to better manage diabetes as part of its BlueStar program, is seeing tremendous results in their clinical studies and with patients.

“We are not only seeing reductions in A1c, but also reductions in acute utilization and control, reduced blood-glucose scatter. We have to look at control of extreme out of bound events and we are seeing significant reduction in those. We saw in one study a 15 percent reduction in acute utilization,” said WellDoc’s chief strategy officer Anand Iyer.

Video games as medical devices are succeeding, and more are arriving on the market each year.

What is driving this trend?

A few elements are coalescing to create the environment for games to succeed as medicine.

1) There is a real, unmet need in many areas like mental health.

2) People are already gaming, so healthcare is “going with the flow.” Smart technologists who are leading “software as a medical device (SAMD)” are working with easy, everyday life practices to help transform patient adherence. What do people already enjoy doing, and do effortlessly?

Technologists are hoping that by leveraging the addictive quality of video games, they can help people stay the course on their therapy regimens.

3) The drive to lower healthcare costs encourages digital solutions. 

Video games, being both more addictive and more affordable, could have an intrinsic advantage over big pharma in the cost arena.

The future of gaming as therapy


This new digital frontier is exciting, but there are some challenges to commercializing these products. We tend to think that giving kids with ADHD a video game would be fun, but it’s important to remember that these games target the very thing that kids have difficulty with.

“It’s a tough game for them, and they’re exhausted at the end,” said one of the panelists. “It’s important that the game be designed so that the kids don’t get overwhelmed and give up, saying ‘This is hard, I’m going back to Minecraft.’”

In order to be viable, digital products must understand the underlying science of the condition they’re treating

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FDA Unveils Plan for ‘Software as a Medical Device’ Review

FDA Unveils Plan for ‘Software as a Medical Device’ Review | healthcare technology |

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to pre-certify vendors of certain medical device software, including various mobile apps, allowing the companies to skip the agency's much more rigorous pre-market approval process for hardware-based medical devices.


The proposed voluntary program is for review of "software-as-a-medical-device" products, or SaMD - software that is "intended to treat, diagnose, cure, mitigate or prevent disease or other conditions." Today, such software faces the same regulatory review as medical device hardware.


Examples of SaMD range from software that allows a smartphone to view images obtained from a MRI for diagnostic purposes to computer-aided detection software used to help detect breast cancer.


The FDA says its current regulation of medical device hardware "is not well-suited for the faster, iterative design, development, and type of validation used for SaMD," according to the agency's draft "working model" document spelling out its proposals.


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Smartphone recordings by patients is happening

Smartphone recordings by patients is happening | healthcare technology |

In the 10 years since the launch of the first Apple iPhone in 2007, mobile devices have become integral to many people’s daily life.1 It is not surprising then that some patients want to bring their smartphones into their physicians’ offices to record some or all of their clinical healthcare encounter.


These recordings (audio or video) may benefit patients, giving them improved clarity about their health and a greater sense of engagement, possibly leading to better adherence to their care plan. However, any recording in a physician’s office also has the potential to raise issues, such as the privacy of other patients and staff, the impact on the doctor-patient relationship, and the incorporation into the medical record.


To leverage the possible benefits of recordings and counter any possible problems, physicians need to be prepared. They should become aware of their privacy obligations and consider whether to adopt a policy on recordings in their premises. Any policy should address potential problems that are specific to a recording’s location—that is, the policy must address recordings made in public areas, such as waiting rooms, and recordings made in private areas, such as an examination room.


What can physicians do about recordings in their offices?

Physicians should prepare for patient recordings and consider adopting a policy on the use of smartphones and other recording devices in their offices.


Any policy should distinguish between what is allowed in public spaces and in private areas. At a minimum, physicians should consider whether it is necessary to prohibit patients from taking photos and making video and audio recordings in the waiting room or other public areas to protect the privacy of patients and staff members.


Impact on the doctor-patient relationship

A patient may have valid reasons for wanting to record a clinical encounter in a private area such as an examination room. They may want to have an accurate record of the physician’s advice, or to share the information with a family member. However, the recording of a clinical encounter by a patient without the physician’s knowledge can be perceived as reflecting a lack of confidence in the relationship on the part of the patient.

As well, misunderstandings related to recordings can lead to regulatory authority (College) complaints.


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Smartphones for digital mental health 

Smartphones for digital mental health  | healthcare technology |

Emerging technologies can offer real benefits to people with mental health difficulties 


Current smartphones are several times more powerful than the Cray-2 supercomputer, the 1980s fastest computer. Smartphones, have changed the game for digital interventions. These beloved tiny supercomputers present an opportunity for mental health to deliver ‘ecological; momentary’ interactions (EMIs) in harmony with the fabric of people’s lives.


Ecological momentary interventions (EMIs) are treatments that are provided to people during their everyday lives (i.e. in real time) and in natural settings (i.e. real world) (Heron & Smyth, 2010).


Often in mental health when thinking about the development of health apps we find ourselves struggling to fully conceptualise what it is we are attempting to do and why.


Ecological momentary interventions for depression and anxiety” by Schueller et al (2017) brings together some useful ways of thinking about apps for mental health and how we might understand them.


The authors are keen that we review where we have been with digital mental health apps so that we might begin to develop a far more exciting digital mental health future. The paper includes a number of ideas useful to those of us looking to understand and develop ways of making people’s lives better using digital technologies. The paper also makes a number of useful distinctions between different types of interactions between patients and technology and explores how we might better understand them.  


Smartphones make new kinds of health intervention possible. Rather than sitting down to do a health related task, interventions can be quick and take place in the context of other everyday activities.


We make momentary ecological interventions with our smartphones hundreds of times a day; from firing off a quick email to checking our bank balance. Once the threshold for digital health was Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMAs).


Such assessments might encourage people to answer a question about their current feelings or asking people to measure something such as heart rate or blood sugar, extending the ‘window of observation’ into people’s lives and allowing the collection of data by asking people to feedback via an app.


In the paper, Schueller et al discuss methods of understanding what digital interventions for depression and anxiety actually are, ways of evaluating these interventions and report recent evidence for the efficacy of such interventions. Their paper also suggests a future path for digital mental health application development.
A brave new world?

Schueller et al make it clear that smartphone technology has extended the horizon of possibility for treatment and also for the monitoring or tailoring of treatment because modern apps can both measure our responses to interventions and also modify those interventions in light of direct feedback. 

The authors set out a compelling vision of the future of digital mental health interventions where “advances in EMIs are likely to take us one step closer to personal digital mental health assistants.


These assistants will listen to people through sensed data, learn from people in the context of their daily lives, and guide people in directions that will support their mental health.


Such personal digital mental health assistants will still be made up of combinations of interventions, decision points, tailoring rules, and decision rules but powered by advances in technologies and analytics that make each of these more personalized and more data-driven.”


more at


Geoffrey Cooling's curator insight, August 5, 2017 11:12 AM
Interesting article on the use of smartphones for mental health
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Kenya: new e-Health regulation to enhance data management

Kenya: new e-Health regulation to enhance data management | healthcare technology |

e-Health practitioners in Kenya have welcomed proposed legislation, including the Health Act 2017 and the Kenya Standard and Guidelines for mHealth Systems, and believe these will safeguard the role of mobility in the sector and encourage interoperability between private and public healthcare.


The Health Act 2017 states that within three years of its operation, the ministry of health will implement management information banks which will include an interoperability framework for data interchange and security to effectively manage personal health information.


more at :


nrip's insight:

Its about time kenyan health officials made an announcement, and there is finally one which sounds interesting. Now comes the fun part, how will they execute. Obviously we at Plus91 are excited as we look at taking #Medixcel to Kenya. 

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ONC leaders see Silicon Valley-like future for EHR interoperability

ONC leaders see Silicon Valley-like future for EHR interoperability | healthcare technology |
National coordinator Donald Rucker said the agency is researching open APIs, such as those used by Facebook and Twitter, to advance health information sharing.


ONC is looking to modern computing tactics — notably open application programming interfaces that Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook and Twitter commonly deploy — to advance EHR interoperability.


The questions ONC is grappling with now, in fact, are a clear definition of interoperability, improving EMR usability and a better understanding of information blocking.


To that end, ONC is researching the best approach and that includes looking at existing and developing specifications such as FHIR or RESTful APIs such as JSON.


“There’s a lot of interest in the FHIR standard, it’s a modern API, and we’re hoping there’s coalescence around that because the large vendors have already done some work with the SMART project,” he said. 


But Rucker also noted that ONC must consider the API needs of hospitals and innovators as well.


more at ;

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Health IT Communication Tools Key for Quality Patient Experience

Health IT Communication Tools Key for Quality Patient Experience | healthcare technology |

For Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS), a well-connected health IT infrastructure with a focus on communication and patient engagement tools has helped clinicians deliver a high quality patient experience.


YNHHS’s focus on patient engagement tools, ranging from real-time surveys and telemedicine to patient portals and educational materials, has helped to reduce barriers to care access, improve satisfaction, and facilitate communication.


Real-time surveys reward quality interactions

One tool the health system uses is called Humm, a real-time patient satisfaction feedback survey deployed through a bedside tablet. Humm helps the care team gather data on room cleanliness, noise levels, and patient interactions with nurses and provider care teams.


Using population health to improve care access

Beyond understanding the patient and his or her needs at the point of care, Yale New Haven Health System is also dedicated to driving patient engagement to achieve population health management goals.



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Tissue-engineered model of human colon should improve cancer research

Tissue-engineered model of human colon should improve cancer research | healthcare technology |
Faulty genes are major triggers and drivers of cancer, and the more knowledge we have about them individually, the better we can predict, track, and treat the disease in a way that is specific to individual patients' particular genetic promoters. To do this, researchers need models that are as realistic as possible.Cell and animal models help, but they do not meet the need at the tissue level. Now, using tissue engineering techniques, researchers have created a human colon model that allows them to identify and track the genes that drive colorectal cancer from initial abnormal mass to invasive tumor.





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Do Doctors, Patients Take mHealth Seriously?

Do Doctors, Patients Take mHealth Seriously? | healthcare technology |

A survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) finds that, at most, 52 percent of primary care physicians have recommended that their patients use an mHealth app or device to track their health. Yet only 4 percent to 5 percent of consumers surveyed say their PCP has made such a recommendation


This means that either physicians are making the effort but their patients are ignoring the advice, or patients are looking for that guidance but it isn’t coming from their doctors.



the survey reached a familiar conclusion in how each generation perceives mHealth and telehealth.


It found that consumers rarely use video visits (only 5 percent total), but those age 34 and younger are twice as likely to use and want them than those age 65 and older.


The same discrepancy was seen in the use of text reminders for medication and health measurements and online scheduling tools.


more at :


Pharma Guy's curator insight, November 3, 2016 10:21 AM

Someone's not being truthful :)


Related articles: “AMA Survey Finds That Many Physicians Are Enthusiastic About Digital Health Tools, But Few Currently Use Them”; and “Do Patients Rely on Mobile Healthcare Apps More Than Their Doctors?”;

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Mobile Technology Increases Patient Engagement

Mobile Technology Increases Patient Engagement | healthcare technology |

More than 60% of smartphone users used their mobile device to search for information about a health condition, according to Pew Research Center. The analysts at eMarketer have forecast that pharma digital ad spending will rise to $2.55 billion by 2019.

This growing evolution in digital applications to monitor and improve health sets the foundation for new strategies in pharma marketing. Both physicians and patients are heavy users of mobile, and a new challenge arises when the industry shifts its focus to messaging targeting patients. Marketers now need to learn how to create a meaningful digital experience for patient-consumers.


The growth in mobile investment within the industry is real. For example, half of Takeda’s Web traffic last year came from smartphones and tablets, which is why the drug maker is optimizing mobile for both patients and physicians in its marketing campaigns.


The real opportunities don’t lie in simply providing informational material — the app version of brochureware — but in finding simple ways to improve adherence and outcomes, When mHealth apps are paired with traditional treatments, this becomes possible.


The industry needs to act on the opportunity to be in the pockets of its consumers




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What Consumers Most Want from Health Insurers’ Technology

What Consumers Most Want from Health Insurers’ Technology | healthcare technology |

People don’t crave the latest fitness wearable. Their overwhelming preference is for simple applications that provide and organize information


Startups in the insurance industry are investing feverishly to roll out products and services that will appeal to consumers. Taking a cue from the technology and communications industries, many are pursuing disruptive technologies that promise to revolutionize the healthcare experience — whether digestive sensors or systems that allow doctors to examine and treat patients via video.


But here’s the thing: Consumers aren’t ready for a revolution. They have far simpler demands and desires, such as an easier way to schedule doctor visits or the ability to get follow-up notifications on a mobile phone.


As a result, insurers that want to make the most of their investments in new technologies should focus their resources on developing simple digital products and services that align with their identities, strategic goals, and existing capabilities.


The idea that customers prefer simplicity may not come as a shock to those outside the healthcare industry. But it’s likely a revelation to those in the business, especially the insurers who have been investing heavily in telemedicine and other advanced features.


The survey revealed further insights into consumers’ preference for simplicity and a streamlined experience.


Some 97 percent of respondents said they would be willing to share personal health data and nonsensitive information if it would enhance their care, and only 3 percent ranked data privacy as the most important feature of a health plan.


About half of consumers want to involve both providers and insurers in their healthcare, and consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with receiving wellness advice from health plans. That makes sense given the growth of so-called consumer-directed health plans, which put more responsibility for healthcare decisions and costs on consumers.


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Demographic-Based Content Analysis of Web-Based Health-Related Social Media

Demographic-Based Content Analysis of Web-Based Health-Related Social Media | healthcare technology |

As Web-based social media are growing in popularity, the number of people who share their experiences or ask for support in health-related social media has also increased. A study found that 41% of e-patients have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health on a Web-based news group, website, or blog.

Another study reported that more than 60 million Americans read or contribute to Health 2.0 apps, in which they consider these apps as their first source when gathering data and opinions. About 40% of Americans doubt a professional opinion when it conflicted with what they form from Web-based health social media.


One of the key benefits of health-related Web-based social media reported by researchers is the increased access to information to various demographic groups, regardless of age, education, income, or location. However, previous work has mainly relied on user surveys to study the effect of the use of social media to health-related factors such as psychological distress. In addition, previous work does not reveal granular information on what disorders or other health topics are mostly discussed in the Internet by each demographic group, which would allow health care providers to create targeted and effective educational campaigns.


In this work, we conducted the first, to our best knowledge, large-scale data-driven comparative analysis of the content of health-related social media across various demographic dimensions—gender, age, ethnicity, location, and writing level. For each demographic group, we study the content of the posts across the following dimensions: sentiment, popular terms (keywords), and medical concepts (particularly disorders and drugs). Concepts refer to entries in the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) vocabulary, whereas terms are just words from the posts’ text that may or may not belong to any UMLS concept.


We report results for 3 types of social media:


(1) general Web-Based Social Networks, namely Google+ and Twitter,

(2) drug review websites, and

(3) health Web forums.


The selection of social media types was based on their popularity and on our study of the literature on health-related social content.


The objective of this study was to identify which health topics are discussed in which social media by which demographic groups, to better guide educational outreach and research activities.


read the whole study at


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Enhancing Patient Care with Clinical Documentation Improvement

Enhancing Patient Care with Clinical Documentation Improvement | healthcare technology |

Clinical documentation improvement (CDI) ensures that health services are accurately documented and helps healthcare coders and physicians work toward improved patient care while also streamlining productivity.


When meaningful clinical data is captured, organizations can ensure improved quality reporting, clinician productivity, and even better clinical information delivered at the point of care.


Phoenix Children’s Hospital recently opted for CDI at its outpatient clinics with Medicomp Systems.


It’s important to help physicians make patient care faster, safer, and more efficient.


Every single symptom, sign, medication, surgery, drug, operation procedure, almost a repository of more than 360,000 terms, they have structured and coded with every possible common coding schema, such as ICD-10,” he continued.


Having 360,000 terms can be overwhelming, but they were built along disease patterns. If a physician entered that a patient had asthma, or tried to research asthma in the database, it went out to all related items that were related to asthma and it brought them together in a manner of an automatic template that was a quick, rapid initial draft.


There is no magic formula with clinical documentation and finding an applicable system for an organization.

“You cannot take shortcuts. You cannot not capture things that are critical and essential,”


ScientificAnimations's comment, May 22, 8:46 AM
Blockchain is a system that makes health information accessible to doctors from anywhere, anytime, and on any electronic medical system.
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AI Software Writing AI Software For Healthcare?

AI Software Writing AI Software For Healthcare? | healthcare technology |

At the World Medical Innovation Forum this week, participants were polled with a loaded question:

“Do you think healthcare will become better or worse from the use of AI?”

Across the respondents, 98 percent said it would be either “Better” or “Much Better” and not a single one thought it would become “Much Worse.” This is an interesting statistic, and the results were not entirely surprising, especially given that artificial intelligence was the theme for the meeting.

This continual stream of adoption of new technologies in both clinical and post clinical settings is remarkable. Today, healthcare is a technology operation. As a case in point, outside of the array of MDs and medical professionals presenting at the forum, there was clearly a strong, advanced technology thread weaved throughout the conversations of the traditional topics of pathology, radiology, bioinformatics, electronic medical records (EMR), and standard healthcare provider issues.

As an example, a panel of senior technology experts from Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Dell EMC, Qualcomm, and Google joined research and information officers from Partners Healthcare and Massachusetts General Hospital to discuss the challenges in what they called “Data Engineering in Healthcare: Liberating Value.” That is a serious title for a panel.

Data portability was clearly a key topic, as was security and the public cloud.

The underlying issue with the cloud is that the EMR was never really designed to be portable.

Health records existed with institutional walls, and were not originally intended for real time care, but more as a means of tracking costs and transactions as the patient traveled through the various systems. As the EMR has not only become more feature rich, the ability to mine that data inside of them with ML and AI methods is clearly at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now.

There was discussion of episodic systems wrapped in policy and technology – this really isn’t quite how we can gain the maximum knowledge from the healthcare version of a Digital Me. A digital object containing all of our many and varied health related attributes. The challenges of discussing how to best build a “marketplace” and healthcare data exchanges and how to integrate “data marts” with existing EMR systems was obvious.

nrip's insight:

AI can help clinicians and nurses do their job better. AI will never replace doctors, but doctors which use AI will replace doctors who dont.

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An algorithm is spotting heart problems better than an expert doctor

An algorithm is spotting heart problems better than an expert doctor | healthcare technology |

It might not be long before algorithms routinely save lives—as long as doctors are willing to put ever more trust in machines.


An algorithm that spots heart arrhythmia shows how AI will revolutionize medicine—but patients must trust machines with their lives.


A team of researchers at Stanford University, led by Andrew Ng, a prominent AI researcher and an adjunct professor there, has shown that a machine-learning model can identify heart arrhythmias from an electrocardiogram (ECG) better than an expert.


The automated approach could prove important to everyday medical treatment by making the diagnosis of potentially deadly heartbeat irregularities more reliable. It could also make quality care more readily available in areas where resources are scarce.


The work is also just the latest sign of how machine learning seems likely to revolutionize medicine. In recent years, researchers have shown that machine-learning techniques can be used to spot all sorts of ailments, including, for example, breast cancer, skin cancer, and eye disease from medical images.


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Genomics: A futuristic approach in Estonia

Genomics: A futuristic approach in Estonia | healthcare technology |

Genomics is the study of the genome, which is the complete set of DNA in an organism. In 2000, the Estonian government declared internet accessto be a human right. The Estonian government has integrated technology into the fabrics of society and advancing genomics over the last 17 years. 


Andres Metspalu, MD, PhD professor at the University of Tartu explains the “big picture” approach to healthcare, data, genomics, and rights of the local population to access health technology. In Estonia, medical genomics covers biobank, ehealth, micoarry analysis (used to study the extent to which certain genes are turned on or off in cells and tissues) and genomic sequencing.


Estonia even shares data with its neighbor Finland where both countries’ citizens can receive their prescriptions refills in either country. Every Estonian citizen carries a smart ID and mobile card to access healthcare, banking, and any governmental institutions.


more at the original at

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The EHR Interoperability Challenge - an interview, an overview

The EHR interoperability challenge is what stands between a physician's ability to look up, extract, and track a patient's medical activities and records at medical sites other than their own. This could be at a laboratory where a patient's specialty blood work is being analyzed or they're having surgery on an inpatient or outpatient basis.


When it comes to tracking these patients, it's literally as they move about in the sphere of the healthcare world. The interoperability challenge occurs because you need your EHR to talk to systems outside your practice.


Solving this challenge means maintaining continuity of care for patients, minimizing or eliminating the duplicity of services, and helping physicians share patient information so they can gain insight from specialists that would complement their diagnoses.


Many EHR companies aren't willing to share access to their systems unless a physician is part of their overall user base. If you work in a particular hospital or practice that has their product, these particular companies will share information with physicians. The problem is they won't work with peripheral players, or physicians who are unaffiliated with the hospital or practice where their EHR is installed.


Why is it in the hospital's interest to provide access to patients via their EHR?


Sharing access to patients via the hospital's EHR creates a win-win situation where the hospital can keep the patient in their system.


these are excerpts from an interview David Wasserman, an advisor with the practice solutions and medical economics group at the Massachusetts Medical Society.


read more at the original


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Comparing medical images better

Comparing medical images better | healthcare technology |

Combining multiple medical images from one patient can provide important information. This is not always easy to do with the naked eye. This is why we need software that can compare different medical images. To do so, so-called image registration methods are used, which basically compute which point in one image corresponds to which point in another image.


Current solutions are often not always suitable for use in a medical setting, which is why AMC and CWI together with companies Elekta and Xomnia will develop a new image registration method.


Suppose you have multiple CT and/or MRI images of a patient, made at different points in time. Medical staff wants to compare these images, for example to see how certain irregularities have developed over time. But these images are often fundamentally different (e.g., patients never lie in a scanner in the exact same manner) and when different imaging methods are used this is even more complicated.


So how can one determine precisely what has changed?


With the software that is currently available this can be very hard, or even impossible, to accomplish in practice.


This project has 2 major challenges. The models and algorithms for large deviations have to be improved. Next to that, the software has to be designed so that it is intuitive to use and helps medical practitioners get the results they want. By combining new deformable image registration models and algorithms with machine learning, the software can be trained on example cases to work even better. The focus of the project will be on supporting better radiotherapy treatment, with validations in the real world (i.e., the clinic), but the method will also be applicable to other (medical) areas.


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Nationwide ‘Paperless’ eHealth project Commenced in Ghana

The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service has engaged the services of Lightwave ehealthcare Services (LWEHS) to roll out an integrated health care solution that includes a Centralized data center with a 24 hour recovery unit to serve as an infrastructure platform for a patient-centered health care solution.


The solution will network all health facilities including agencies of the Ministry of Health, provide electronic Medical records for care seekers, enable and facilitate tele medicine, and develop a a real time bio-surveillance system – which will support the fight against disease outbreaks and the spread of communicable disease.


The system which integrates with the current National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) enables the development of a patient management system – this will streamline the Admission, discharge and transfer process of healthcare.


Chief Technology Officer of Lightwave Mr Thomas Mac Scofield, said the project was a culmination of years of planning and working with the MOH to bring ehealth solutions to the public health care industry.


Mr Thomas Mac Scofield revealed to that, the cost of the project is covered by the government through the MoH and GHS thus will not require patients or subscribers to pay for it.


Nrip Nihalani consulting director with LightWave revealed to that the project follows Ghana’s Data privacy and HIPAA laws to ensure its safety.


He added that, the time was right for Ghana as most countries have gone ahead and made significant mistakes. “Ghana is at the absolute time with the technologies, the budgets, the preparedness all meeting together to launch its e-health”, Nrip intoned.


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Why Sharing Cancer Big Data is Key to Personalized Medicine

Why Sharing Cancer Big Data is Key to Personalized Medicine | healthcare technology |

Personalized medicine is hoping to reach new heights thanks to the Cancer Moonshot, but won't get off the ground without a community-wide commitment to sharing big data.


The precision medicine community has long since recognized that sharing big data, including clinical records, genomic sequencing data, community-level health indicators, and research results, will be critical to making progress against cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, inherited conditions, and expensive chronic diseases like diabetes.



“Why is data sharing important? Because cancer is complex,” said Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, President-elect of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).  Anderson specializes in multiple myeloma, a blood cancer with treatment options that hinge on the genetic variances of each and every patient.

“We’re learning so much about cancer, and applying these insights to drug development has been incredibly fruitful,” he continued. “Now we have treatments that are specifically targeted to patients’ genetic mutations. Not only are these treatments more effective — because they correct a specific mutation — they also minimize harmful side effects that we see with traditional total-body anticancer medicines.”

However, the continued development of these treatments cannot be sustained without a commitment to data sharing, he added.


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Managing Big Data in Healthcare 

Managing Big Data in Healthcare  | healthcare technology |
Life sciences companies have too much information—manually collected, logged and stored to adhere to the highest quality standards. Information is forever coming from all different directions, including R&D, manufacturing, clinical trials and even patient care.
Digital analytics can funnel just the right information for risk management.
Actify Inc's curator insight, August 26, 2016 9:06 AM

Visualization is very important.


The big problem with Big Data is that there is just too much of it, especially in the life sciences industry, where information is coming from all different directions, including R&D, manufacturing, clinical trials and even patient care.


To complicate matters more, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are imposing new kinds of pressure in the form of good manufacturing best practices that turn into regulations. For example, the latest guidance for the pharmaceutical industry, called continued process verification (CPV), requires the collection and analysis of end-to-end production and process data to ensure product outputs are within predetermined quality limits.

Astra Hospital's curator insight, May 4, 2017 3:04 AM
Digital analytics can funnel just the right information for risk management.
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'Virtual doctors' helping patients in Zambia 

'Virtual doctors' helping patients in Zambia  | healthcare technology |

The idea of a "virtual doctor" project might sound rather futuristic.


Zambia has about 1,600 doctors for a population of 14 million, and two-thirds of these are working in towns and cities, while most of the country's population is in the countryside.


It means access to good quality health care is often difficult if not impossible.



For many communities, it is not practical to expect sick and frail people to walk or cycle for hours to hospital.


So families depend on rural health centres, which have health workers but no qualified doctors.


The virtual doctors project means that these isolated health centres can be supported by doctors thousands of miles away.



Health workers and clinical officers on the ground use an app on a smartphone or tablet computer to take notes on a patient's symptoms and photographs.


This information is sent to a volunteer doctor in the UK who helps with a diagnosis and recommends treatment.  Cases are directed towards doctors with a relevant specialism, whether it is skin diseases or HIV and Aids-related problems.


The doctor in the UK will have a list of the drugs and equipment kept in the health centre in Zambia and can suggest treatment or further tests based on what is practical and available.


Virtual Doctors is now supporting 19 rural health centres, which typically deal with problems such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and pregnancy-related conditions.






nrip's insight:

The concept of a virtual doctor is not new, but it is one which will never get old.


At Plus91 we have been involved with multiple projects and pilots where simple tablet and smartphone based solutions are used by on-ground trained and sometimes untrained staff and advice, opinions, second opinions and in some cases virtual consultations are provided by remotely situated doctors and clinical staff. With time, the solutions eventually become more technologically advanced as the on ground staff get comfortable with such distributed protocols and the use of technology. This is an exciting solution as it helps provide much needed healthcare in small areas without qualified doctors. Who is to say this is not hi-tech ..for the millions who benefit from this, this is cutting edge.


Virtual doctor based solutions eventually evolve into distributed EMRs and local health centers become more involved.The Medixcel platform has a remote consultation as well as multi opinion module which was built out of this need and it has grown to be a platform of choice in many parts of Africa for being hi-tech yet simple. 



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The Internet of Medical Things

The Internet of Medical Things | healthcare technology |

Manufacturers are eager to lay the bricks and help pave the road to better, more personalized healthcare through integration of connected devices in the new Internet of Medical Things. Compared to other industries, healthcare has been "inherently conservative and slow" to embrace innovations such as the cloud and the Internet of Things -- but that's changing.


Innovative tech products and services are making it harder for healthcare providers to ignore the potential benefits of connected medical devices and the IoMT




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Four Nordic eHealth pilots achieve lasting results

Four Nordic eHealth pilots achieve lasting results | healthcare technology |
By using fiber for broadband connections, eHealth services such as telehealth consultations are being delivered successfully with lasting results. This was shown by the Connected for Health project and its pilots in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

"The Connected for Health project reached several remarkable results from its piloting and research activities", states Mrs. Marjatta Eväsoja, director of International Affairs and Culture in the Regional Council of Southern Ostrobothnia (Finland), which has been coordinating the project as Lead Partner.


In the project, four pilots were implemented in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. They engaged real end users, patients, clients and professionals, mainly from sparsely populated areas that had built Fibre to the Home (FTTH) network infrastructure.

Wound treatment and cost savings

The pilots achieved lasting results. "In Alavus, Finland, the best results were achieved in distance consultations for wound treatment, whereas in Hudiksvall, Sweden, the pilot's core task was to develop and test a social care alarm system (SCAIP) platform sending event messages between patient and carer. The tests showed that this platform brought the municipality considerate cost savings", tells Mr. Sami Perälä, the executive director of EPTEK.

Patient empowerment

The fourth pilot was implemented in the Region of Southern Denmark, and the main conclusion was the fact that a well-functioning infrastructure ensures reliable eHealth solutions, which can contribute to increased patient empowerment.


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Google, Mayo Clinic, Harvard Team Up for Easy Symptom Search

Google, Mayo Clinic, Harvard Team Up for Easy Symptom Search | healthcare technology |

Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google are symptom related. Starting  this week, when consumers access Google’s mobile search for information about certain symptoms, they will quick, accurate facts on relevant related medical conditions up front on their smartphone or other mobile device.


Announced in a blog post by  a product manager on Google’s search team, the goal of the new symptom search feature allows consumers to quickly explore and navigate health conditions related to symptoms.


Consumers can easily get basic answers on common a conditions, risk factors associated with the condition, self-treatment options and guidance on when to seek medical care.


For example, a symptom search — even one using common language free of medical terminology like “my tummy hurts” or “nose blocked” — will show a list of related conditions. For individual symptoms like “headache,” searchers will see overview information as well as have the ability to view self-treatment options and suggestions of when to seek help from a healthcare professional.

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