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The doctor will e-mail you now. And then see you later.

The doctor will e-mail you now. And then see you later. | healthcare technology |

When Ted Palen, a Kaiser Permanente researcher, started investigating what happens when doctors begin e-mailing with patients, he thought he would see the practice lighten workloads. Patients would get their questions answered remotely, with no need to turn up in person.

Palen just finished a five-year retrospective study of what happened when Kaiser Permanente in Colorado began allowing e-mail access to doctors in 2006. The outcome, as Palen notes in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, was “contrary to our expectations”: Online access to doctors was associated with more doctor visits, not fewer.


There was a big spike in visits and phone calls to doctors’ offices right when the new e-mail access, called MyHealthManager, came online. The graph displayed divides the Kaiser Permanente population into those who were using the online access program, and those who were not:

That initial spike did taper off with in a few months. Even a year later, however, those who utilized the online access to doctors still had higher rates of doctor visits per month


There are a few possible explanations of what is happening here. One that the researchers discuss is an issue of self-selection: Those who would sign up for the online health manager might be more inclined to take a greater role in managing their own health. “Members who are already more likely to use services may selectively sign up for online access and then use this technology to gain even more frequent access rather than view it as a substitute for contact with the health care system,” the researchers write.

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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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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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EHR safety goes to court - 

EHR safety goes to court -  | healthcare technology |

A recently filed lawsuit alleging a faulty electronic health record system caused patient harm may be among the first in a wave of such cases, even though most experts say the latest EHR systems are better designed than older models.


One patient's blood pressure plummeted dangerously after he was allegedly discharged with the wrong medications. In another instance, a physician couldn't place a pharmacy order for a newborn to receive vitamin K, which is given to babies to prevent serious bleeding.

On several other occasions, patients weren't accurately tracked, creating potential problems getting drugs to them.

Each of these alleged mishaps occurred at PinnacleHealth, a three-hospital system based in Harrisburg, Pa. PinnacleHealth blames each of the mishaps on its electronic health records vendor, Siemens; Cerner Corp. purchased Siemens' health IT business in February 2015.

The incidents came to light as part of a breach-of-contract lawsuit Cerner filed against PinnacleHealth last year after the system, which had used Siemens as a vendor for 20 years, sharply curtailed its relationship and entered into a contract with a competing EHR vendor, Epic Systems Corp. PinnacleHealth related the incidents in its counterclaim; the counterclaim was filed in March of this year in state court in Pennsylvania, where it is seeking damages for Cerner's alleged fraud and breach of contract.

Cerner spokesman Dan Smith declined to comment on pending litigation, but did say “patient safety is of the utmost importance to us.”

Some experts say the PinnacleHealth-Cerner battle is among the first of what could become an avalanche of legal battles over EHRs and patient safety. For years, many patient safety advocates have warned that EHR systems carry numerous potential risks due to their poor design and the ease with which data entry errors can lead to medical mistakes.



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How Virtual Reality is Gaining Traction in Healthcare

How Virtual Reality is Gaining Traction in Healthcare | healthcare technology |

Virtual reality has been making headlines for its potential to transform the ways we interact with our environments.

Breakthrough technologies like the Oculus Rift headset have made for incredibly lifelike experiences, notably in gaming and other forms of digital entertainment.


Aside from its boom in the media sector, virtual reality has also emerged as an innovative tool in healthcare.


Both virtual and augmented reality technologies are popping up in healthcare settings such as operating rooms, or being streamed to consumers via telehealth communications. In many cases, virtual reality has enabled medical professionals to execute care more safely and effectively.


As virtual and augmented realities enter the mainstream, the technologies have become more accessible to the general consumer population.


With a $15 price tag,  Google Cardboard allows users to stretch physical limits with a smartphone — no extensive scientific knowledge required. That same philosophy is being applied to virtual reality in the healthcare industry, empowering patients to take charge of their health.


Dr. Leslie Saxon, founder and executive director of the USC Center for Body Computing, is leading several initiatives to make virtual and mixed reality more patient friendly.


The center’s Virtual Care Clinic system features an app that connects patients to medical expertise similar to what they would receive at the doctor’s office. The app displays Saxon’s image, guiding users through different courses of medical care.

But patients using the app aren’t interacting with Saxon herself. Instead, they are following instructions issued by a virtual rendering of the doctor.


Using a virtual human agent may seem like a detached method of doctor-patient communication, but Saxon believes it to be the exact opposite. With this kind of technology, she told Healthline, patients could get their questions answered in an environment free from judgment. They can access information on their own time and at their own pace.

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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.


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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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IoT for healthcare - 3 use cases

IoT for healthcare - 3 use cases | healthcare technology |

Although the Internet of Things in healthcare is not yet in widespread use throughout the industry, Indranil "Neal" Ganguly predicts that, in the next five years, there will be a massive increase in IoT for healthcare, "both on the clinical side as well as on the back end.


Ganguly explained how hospitals are using, or could use, IoT for healthcare in three areas:

IoT for inventory management

Hospitals are not using IoT to track inventory in as widespread a manner as would be desirable, Ganguly said. He added that healthcare could learn a few lessons from retail.

IoT for healthcare workflow optimization

Although the concept of RFID has been out there for 5 to 10 years, Ganguly said adoption of this technology hasn't taken hold as rapidly as he would like


IoT for medical device integration

Ganguly said that when it comes to IoT for medical device integration, the focus is more on the consumer end.

"People are looking at how to integrate things like the Fitbits and other fitness devices to bring patient provided data into the cycle of care delivery," Ganguly said.


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IBM Watson Health teams with ADA to Tackle Diabetes

IBM Watson Health teams with ADA to Tackle Diabetes | healthcare technology |

IBM Watson Health is teaming with the American Diabetes Association to apply cognitive computing to the ADA's 66 years worth of research and data. The results will be used to help entrepreneurs, developers, healthcare providers, and patients learn more about diabetes, prevention, complications, and care


In 2012, according to the ADA, 29 million people were living with the disease, and another 86 million were diagnosed with a condition known as prediabetes.


To address the challenge, IBM Watson Health and the ADA are collaborating to apply Watson cognitive computing to the organization's massive library of information and data. Through this effort, IBM and ADA hope to empower entrepreneurs, developers, healthcare providers, and patients to gain knowledge that can improve outcomes and even prevent the condition's onset.


First, IBM's AI platform will ingest all the medical journals, medical text books, Pub Med, and other diabetes literature and resources available, including all the content from the ADA's Diabetes Information Center. Second,  Watson will ingest the ADA's diabetes data sets. 


Watson will be trained to understand the diabetes data to identify potential risk factors and create evidence-based insights that can be applied to health decisions.


IBM also is collaborating with the Health Maintenance Organization Maccabi Healthcare services to build a predictive machine learning model to help identify early risks for diabetic retinopathy, the top cause of blindness for those with diabetes.


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