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Posts from the ‘Health’ Category

Social Media in Clinical Practice: The Handbook

Springer published my book, Social Media in Clinical Practice, almost a year ago and since then, I have received an amazing number of photos about people holding the book, social media posts and e-mails from readers who found my handbook to be very helpful in their professional lives. While the content is fortunately still up-to-date, it seems the turn-around time for a new book is about one year as lately, the number of messages has dramatically increased.

Medical professionals worldwide shared their insights, experience and suggestions about using social media resources in medicine using my book’s examples. Therefore, I’d like to ask anyone who likes to discuss such topics to use the #hcsm hashtag on Twitter or contact me directly, I’m always happy to initiate new discussions.

Here you can check out the detailed descriptions of all the chapters.

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My Wearable Health Trackers: Pebble Smartwatch

In this edition of my series about wearable health trackers that I use, I have already described TinkéAliveCor and Withings. Now let me share my experience with the Pebble smartwatch. This smartwatch got famous by being successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter. Mine was shipped this April and since then, I still haven’t been able to discover all its functionalities and the possibilities it provides. The reason behind that is the app store of Pebble full of great applications. Due to its own system, developers can create applications specifically designed for the Pebble.

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This way, I have these apps right now:

  • I can control music on my smartphone from the Pebble.
  • I get notifications about e-mails, phone calls or text messages (I don’t have to keep my phone in front of me during meetings any more).
  • Alarms.
  • Timers.
  • Pedometer measuring the number of steps I take.
  • Morpheuz is waking me up at the best time.
  • 7-min workout guides me to a healthy morning exercise.
  • Compass (never know when it comes handy).

Its success truly depends on how rich the community of apps can become soon.

Among negative examples, I could mention that its screen is black and white; only a few apps can be added to the watch, although the battery life is amazingly long.

Google set to launch Google Fit!

After weeks of rumors about Apple launching a health initiative then getting much less than expected, now Google is said to launch a new health tracking platform called Google Fit.

Not to be left behind by Apple, Google could soon launch its own health-tracking platform for mobile devices. Forbes reports that the search giant is working on a new service, tentatively called Google Fit, which will pull in data from third-party fitness wearables and health apps and combine them into one central app. It’s not known if Fit will be delivered as a standalone app or come embedded inside future versions of Android, but it would likely operate as Google-made version of Apple’s HealthKit, a service that lets companies like Nike feed in fitness data, and Samsung’s own fitness framework, SAMI.

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Race Among Medical Devices and Doctors: Analysis

For some time now, I’ve been forming a think tank that would focus on issues related to the future of medicine. As a first step, we decided to address the issue of the changing world of medical devices and how such changes might affect the lives of medical professionals and patients. Please feel free to comment on this analysis.

If we take a look at the possible scripts of the market competition in the health sector, we can make few predictions on the patients’ experience. The competition among the medical device manufacturers and the globalized competition among the high skilled health workers have significant social effects.

There are heterogeneous, jammed and loud worlds like in the motion picture Fifth Element, where many types of doctors and devices form the healthcare system. There could be a low-end/high end distinct health market, where the wealthy ones could afford a real-life practice, but the other patients are left alone. If some huge brands will cover the whole market, and provide the whole range of integrated services, they could become omnipotent monopolies, thus a standardized service could be provide wherever we are. And as a script we could have an expensive and closed world, where the insurances and the prevention are the tools against high cost.

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Patients left alone

• Cheap devices without standardization

• Expensive doctors

• Need for self-healing increases

• Big difference between the online and real-life practice of medicine

• Popularity of alternative medicine grows

 

The internet based world

• Many doctors & devices

• Big problems with interoperability

• Android world

• Cheap doctors & devices

 

Expensive & closed world

• premium systems

• Healthcare costs take a big part of GDPs

• Active insurance market

• Large efforts in prevention

 

Omnipotent brands

• Device manufacturers attract patients

• Doctor is only the user of devices

• Doctors are global, but patients belong to manufacturers

Genentech and PatientsLikeMe Enter Research Collaboration

Having witnessed the development of the globally known patient portal, Patientslikeme, over the last few years, I was not surprised to see the news:

PatientsLikeMe announced today a five-year agreement with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to explore use of PatientsLikeMe’s global online patient network to develop innovative ways of researching patients’ real-world experience with disease and treatment. The agreement is the first broad research collaboration between PatientsLikeMe and a pharmaceutical company and provides PatientsLikeMe the opportunity to expand its patient network in oncology.

“We envision a world where patient experience drives the way diseases are measured and medical advances are made. Genentech’s leadership and commitment to this mission brings us closer to having patients at the true center of healthcare,” said PatientsLikeMe Co-founder and Chairman Jamie Heywood. “With Genentech we can now embark on a journey to bring together many stakeholders across healthcare and collaborate with patients in a new way.”

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Is Apple’s Healthbook Coming?

For days, large media channels have been talking about the rumors related to Apple’s Healthbook, the ultimate health application. We will see.

Here is the excerpt:

As detailed in the images throughout this article, which are complete recreations of screenshots, Healthbook’s user interface is largely inspired by the iPhone’s existing Passbook application. Versions of Healthbook in testing are capable of tracking several different health and fitness data points. 

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My CNN Article: 10 ways technology will save your life in the future

I was invited to write an article about 10 ways technology will save our lives in the future for CNN.com and I was happy to do so. It was featured today on the main page of CNN. I hope you will find it useful. Here is the introduction:

The medical and healthcare sectors are in the midst of rapid change, and it can be difficult to see which new technologies will have a long-lasting impact.

Ideally, the future of healthcare will balance innovative medical technologies with the human touch. Here, I’ve outlined the trends most likely to change our lives, now or in the near future.

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The Imperative Of Connectivity: Forbes Article

John Nosta, the digital health guru wrote an important piece in his Forbes column about the issue of connectivity in healthcare and he asked me to contribute to that with my thoughts on the topic:

Due to the increasing connectivity among patients, medical professionals and even devices, two transitions will determine the year of 2014: from patient to person and from hospital to home. The whole healthcare experience must be redesigned in order to meet the expectations of today’s e-patients because they have to be in the center of delivering healthcare. The data, the devices and information required to give good care are mostly available but these elements are not always optimally connected. If policy makers realize the potential in connectivity, and innovation in digital health keeps on leading to key changes in healthcare, we are going to face an amazing year. Bertalan Mesko, MD, PhD, Clinician and Health Futurist

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How Fast Would You Run If Zombies Followed You?

Virtual reality will bring amazing opportunities into our everyday lives. Imagine being in the nature while performing exercises at home. Or running away from zombies which can be quite a motivation if it looks real enough. A team just proposed this idea.

Race Yourself is a promising piece of Glassware that, using augmented reality, gives you an avatar to compete against in the real world. Over 30 game modes will have you racing against yourself, a giant Indiana Jones-style boulder and even hordes of zombies.

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The whole fitness industry and even tourism will change to the excessive use of virtual reality apps such as Google Glass or the recently introduced smart contact lenses. People will pay people to wear the Google Glass where they live and walk around Machu Picchu while they rest in  chair at home watching the same scenes. These industries will be revolutionized in the next couple of years.

And if you ask me whether I would use a device through which zombies followed me while I’m out running, of course I would! But breathing in fresh air while running will be never be replaced by any devices.

 

20 Predictions in Medicine And Healthcare for 2014: From DIY Biotech to Mind-Controlled Exoskeletons

Every January, I publish my predictions for the upcoming year regarding medicine and healthcare. Usually, the majority of these predictions turn out to be valid later on, although I prefer calling them apparent trends rather than actual predictions. Here are my 20 points for 2014.

1) Google Glass to be used in everyday healthcare: Google Glass has shown its potentials as demonstrated by forward-thinking medical professionals such as Lucien Engelen, Christian Assad and Rafael Grossmann, even the first clinical study came out focusing on the use of Glass in the clinic in 2013. Prepare to see the first real practical examples in 2014.

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2) IBM Watson’s first commercial use by hospitals: IBM’s supercomputer has been tested by US clinics for months and it has proven its validity and value in medical decision-making processes. The first hospitals that make their doctors understand that Watson does not replace them, instead, it assists them, will buy the service in 2014.

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3) Direct-to-consumer genomics to get new rules: The recent story about the FDA and 23andMe demonstrated how insufficient the regulation around DTC genomic testing is, therefore it is time to come up with standards that only the best services can achieve. By standard I mean the FDA should make sure only companies with deep scientific knowledge and expertise get the permission to perform genomic analysis online. Now it’s certainly not the case.

Close View of a DNA Strand

4) 3D printing artificial limbs and biomaterials goes mainstream: We have already seen some great examples when artificial limbs and different types of biomaterials such as kidney or heart tissues were printed out in 3D but in 2014 this industry becomes mainstream with the first home 3D printers in the market.

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5) The healthcare experience will be brought to the home: See the recently published “doctor chair” that can measure a user’s blood pressure, pulse, temperature, body motion, and other vital signs just by having the user sit in the chair as an example and expect more similar solutions which will, by time, make hospitals almost useless as we will measure everything about ourselves at home.

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6) LEGO Mindstorms to be applied for DIY biotech: The amazing concept behind LEGO Mindstorms that teach you how to build an actual robot at home could be applied to the biotech industry with people growing cells and performing even simpler biotech tasks at home resulting in a new generation of scientists.

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7) Home diagnostics to be the key trend: Not only Scanadu will ship the first prototypes early 2014, but other similar devices with which patients can measure simple health parameters at home will become available.

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8) Wearable MRI technology: What if we could use radiology imaging without those huge machines? A Swiss group has been working on a wearable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detector and sensor arrays. It would vanish long waiting lists and allow medical professionals to literally see through the patient in emergency situations.

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9) Optogenetics to be featured at major scientific journals: I’ve been following the latest developments related to optogenetics and I was amazed when scientists were able to create false memories in the hippocampus of mice which was the first time fear memory was generated via artificial means. We might see even more studies that will put its potential implications on display.

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10) Bigger role of MOOCs as medical schools change approach about digital literacy: By the time the majority of medical schools worldwide realize the potential and importance of teaching digital literacy for future medical professionals, we will need more and more massive open online courses such as The Social MEDia Course to serve their needs and train a new generation of doctors.

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11) More connected digital healthcare devices and services: This should be one of the key trends this year as for the last years, we have been seeing plenty of great solutions either as medical devices or unique online services, but the connectivity has been a major issue. John Nosta featured the imperative of connectivity in his recent Forbes column.

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12) The first steps of Google Calico to be public: When Larry Page announced the launch of Calico, their new venture focusing on reversing and stopping the process of aging and related diseases, nobody knew what to expect. They will announce the first steps in 2014 led by the former CEO of life sciences giant Genentech and a chairman at Apple.

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13) EEG controlled devices to appear: There have been little games available on Amazon which let you control a ball with your “mind”, but what about those devices that really use your thoughts to control things? I’ve used myself a wheelchair which was controlled by thoughts and will meet soon the team behind SynetIQ, a platform for neuromarketing.

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14) Exoskeletons will be featured worldwide: We have been talking about the potential use of exoskeletons for disabled people but this year the technology will become available for the masses. Also related to the EEG controlled devices, a mind-controlled exoskeleton will kick off the 2014 football World Cup watched by billions of people.

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15) First really useful food scanners to be released: While there are thousands of wearable devices and smartphone apps focusing on fitness, what about a healthy diet? Using a simple meal diary makes no significant change in a lifestyle. The device of a Toronto-based company, Tellspec, detects allergens, chemicals and nutrients in your food. We could also link such data to our own genomic background to make the truly best diet choices.tellspec-17

16) Gamifying the healthy lifestyle: HapiFork measures whether you eat properly, a smart bra spots cancer in time; FitBit, Shine and hundreds of wearable devices were meant to help us live a healthy life by measuring our health parameters/lifestyle and gamifying the steps required for making positive changes.

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17) Finally remote touch and simpler data input become possible: The technology behind designing touchscreens that can work on any surfaces has made crucial steps in the past 2 years therefore it’s time to make simple data input possible. Omnitouch seems to be a valid player in this area.

Turn Any Surface Into A Touchscreen

18) Nanotechnology to be included in the medical curriculum: For years, nanotechnology has presented the potentials of using nanotech devices in treating diseases, but as bombing cancer cells and using less invasive diagnostics became possible in 2013, we can expect to see nanotech-based clinical trials soon which also means we must teach students about such solutions..

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19) Decision on newborn genome sequencing to be made: Although the recent FDA vs 23andme debate prolonged this, certain countries (mainly in Asia) might start providing newborn babies with their own genome sequences at birth. The decline of the cost of sequencing and the rise of genome centers in Chine could be the key factors in this.

BabySeq

20) First results of Ray Kurzweil’s work at Google to be revealed: One of the most exciting collaborations of recent years is Google hiring Kurzweil to create the first artificial intelligence brain. While no details about his actual work have been released so far, 2014 could be the year when they present at least a roadmap, if not real results.

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