Posted in Ehealth, Video

The Future Is eHealth

eHealth is a relatively new term used to define healthcare practices that take place with the help of electronic processes and communications.   Electronic medical services of all kinds have fed into a growing need for efficient information gathering, and many people make use of health apps and websites on a daily basis. On smartphones there are apps that help with fitness and food tracking, apps that provide information about health concerns or conditions, apps that guide the user through difficult subjects and a host of other useful services; and in tech too, there are various gadgets that regularly assist users in maintaining active and healthy lifestyles. Smartwatches now track stats and update with phones to provide up to date information, websites give advice on how to deal with conditions effectively without visiting the hospital or doctor, and every month new technology is created to track and interact with our bodies.

This short video by Health Express demonstrates how the Internet of Things (IOT) is likely to play a major role in revolutionising healthcare.

Posted in Digital Health, Ehealth, mHealth, SlideShare

Co-Design: Moving The Needle On Digital Health

I had the great pleasure of presenting the keynote address this week at the  HealthXL Asia Pacific event in Melbourne, Australia.

HealthXL is a truly global digital health mentor network. The program is backed by leading corporations including IBM, GSK, Novartis, Cleveland Clinic and Silicon Valley Bank.  HealthXL works with the most ambitious healthcare startups from around the world, helping them to create and nurture the innovative ideas and technologies that are going to transform the world’s healthcare systems.


Posted in Doctors 2.0, E-Patient, Ehealth

Hangout With Doctors 2.0

I had the pleasure this week of moderating a discussion on e-patient and physician relations for a Doctors 2.0 & You Google hangout.

The  panel which included Denise Silber (founder of Doctors 2.0), Jamie Tripp Utitus (MS survivor and health blogger) and Renza Sciblia (diabetes consumer and health blogger) discussed the ways in which new technologies are contributing to the patient/physician relationship. 

Relationships in medicine are as important now as they were in the past. The difference is that today’s technology allows physicians and patients to communicate on a different level.  The panel listed some of the new technologies that are changing the dynamic between the patient and the physician, and how the balance of power has shifted. This led to a discussion on how some doctors view the empowered, digitally savvy patient as a challenge to their authority and expertise. Jamie suggests leading physicians gently towards a discussion on health technology, while Renza sees this as an opportunity to broaden the relationship between doctor and patient, fostering more openness and honesty in the relationship.  She suggests that patients interview their doctors in advance to find the level of collaboration they are happy with.

Speaking to the numbers of doctors who embrace new technologies, Denise suggests that this is a multi-factorial problem, encompassing people skills and financial remuneration. Michael Weiss, listening online to the discussion, asked the panel for their thoughts on the future of medicine being the convergence of ehealth, mobile health and social media. The panel were all in agreement that this is the future of medicine, and spent some time on the important role that social media has to play in supporting and educating patients. Blogs and Twitter chats are great vehicles for healthcare professionals to learn about the lived experience of a condition.

The discussion ended with each panelist offering one piece of advice to physicians to help them prepare for a future where patients are empowered by new technologies. Renza’s advice is to just step in there and offers the reassurance that the majority of patient sites online are very well moderated and provide accurate information.  This is not about replacing the doctor/patient relationship, but augmenting it.  Jamie refers to Dr. Charles Safran’s quote that patients are the most underutilized resource in healthcare, followed by Denise quoting that the patient is the first member of the medical team.  The discussion ends with Jamie’s call to patients to join the healthcare conversations online – to find answers and support and Renza emphasizing the peer-to-peer support and power of community that can be accessed online.

Posted in #HCSM, Conference, Digital Health, Doctor, E-Patient, Ehealth

The digital revolution and the era of the e-patient

I was delighted  to have the opportunity to share the stage with Dr Kendall Ho, a practicing emergency medicine specialist and founding director of the eHealth Strategy Office of the University of British Columbia, at the Universitas 21 Health Sciences Group annual meeting  held recently at University College Dublin. In a lively and engaging presentation Dr Ho spoke to delegates about how medical educators can embrace social media.

Also presenting was consultant rheumatologist,  Dr Ronan Kavanagh,  speaking on how doctors can use the tools of social media in their practice.

And my own presentation on the digital revolution and the era of the e-patient.

Posted in #HCSM, E-Patient, Ehealth

Internet Use Frequency and Patient-Centered Care: Measuring Patient Preferences for Participation

The Internet is bringing fundamental changes to medical practice through improved access to health information and participation in decision making. However, patient preferences for participation in health care vary greatly. Promoting patient-centered health care requires an understanding of the relationship between Internet use and a broader range of preferences for participation than previously measured.

The Health Information Wants Questionnaire (HIWQ) was administered to gather data about patients’ preferences for the (1) amount of information desired about different aspects of a health condition, and (2) level of decision-making autonomy desired across those same aspects. The study concluded that Internet use frequency has a positive relationship with the overall preferences for obtaining health information and decision-making autonomy, but its relationship with different types of preferences varies. These findings have important implications for medical practice.

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Posted in Ehealth

Using Online Health Communities to Deliver Patient-Centered Care to People With Chronic Conditions

A study of the use of Online Health Communities (OHCs) as a tool to facilitate high-quality and affordable health care for future generations. The study concluded that OHCs are a powerful tool to address some of the challenges chronic care faces today. OHCs help to facilitate communication among professionals and patients and support coordination of care across traditional echelons, which does not happen spontaneously in busy practice.

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Posted in Ehealth, Public Health, Reports

World Health Organization Calls For Innovative Health Solutions

World Health Organization  publishes an annual compendium chronicling innovative medical devices and eHealth solutions suitable for low resource settings. It presents a snapshot of several health technologies which might have the potential to improve health outcomes or to offer a solution to an unmet medical need in low-resource settings

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Posted in #HIT, Ehealth

What’s the future of healthcare?

The man once hailed by GQ Magazine as one of the 12 “rock stars of science” doesn’t predict a rosy future for hospitals or medical clinics. But he does expect the individual consumer to be much more aware and proactive about healthcare.

In a Tuesday morning 2013 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition keynote replete with pop culture references and visual guides, Eric J. Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care, delivered a ringing endorsement of the smartphone as the healthcare delivery platform of the future.

Digital health has gotten to a point, he said, where the average consumer can measure and track vital signs and other physiological data through his or her smartphone, thereby creating a “Google map of each individual.” That, he said, flies in the face of America’s healthcare industry, which is poised to experience a technological revolution similar to the ‘Arab Spring” revolts that swept through the Mideast.

“We practice medicine today at a population level,” said Topol, who is also a cardiologist and the West Endowed Chair of Innovative Medicine at San Diego-based Scripps Health. “We do everything the same. We don’t recognize each person as an individual.”

And digital health, he said, will change all of that.

Topol argued that population health leads to wasteful and even potentially dangerous practices, such as prostate exams and mammograms. Digital health tools would enable each individual to determine if he or she would need a test, he said.

The smartphone – the “lab on a chip” – can and will replace the annual physical, Topol predicted, and offer opportunities to screen for a wide variety of ailments, from lung disease and eye problems to heart issues, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Topol predicted that healthcare would move away from the hospital – which George Orwell once called “the antechamber to the tomb” – and toward the home, with consumers in charge of their own health and health data and physicians propelled into the role of specialists.

He also touted the development of handheld genome sequencers, and said science and medicine are moving towards a day when an individual’s genomes can be mapped and used to detect, cure and possibly even prevent diseases like cancer.

And all it’s going to take, he said, is a sense of empowerment on the part of the individual, armed with a smartphone.

‘What we need to do is tear down that wall,” he said.

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Posted in #HCSM, E-Patient, Ehealth

The Wisdom of Patients: Health Care Meets Online Social Media

Social media on the Internet are empowering, engaging, and educating health care consumers and providers. While consumers use social media — including social networks, personal blogging, wikis, video sharing, and other formats — for emotional support, they also heavily rely on them to manage health conditions.

The Internet has evolved from the information-retrieval of “Web 1.0” to “Web 2.0,” which allows people who are not necessarily technologically savvy to generate and share content. The collective wisdom harnessed by social media can yield insights well beyond the knowledge of any single patient or physician, writes report author Jane Sarasohn-Kahn. The outcome of this development is “Health 2.0” — a new movement that challenges the notion that health care happens only between a single patient and doctor in an exam room.

Using examples, this report describes how the web is becoming a platform for convening people with shared concerns and creating health information that is more relevant to consumers. Social networks, ranging from Facebook to specific disease-oriented sites, are proliferating so rapidly that new services are already under development to help health consumers navigate through the networks.

The report details how innovative collaborations online are changing the way patients, providers, and researchers learn about therapeutic regimens and disease management. It examines the benefits and concerns regarding Health 2.0 and includes an extensive listing of health media resources. According to the report, the growing demand for transparency will drive the evolution of social media in health. A growing array of tools will become available that are increasingly mobile, as well as personal health data storage in commercial products like Microsoft Health Vault, Google Health, and others. The author concludes that the ongoing demands of a consumer-driven health marketplace will inspire innovation in applications that integrate clinical, financial, and ratings information.

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