There is a very interesting story of a Chinese man who has been keeping himself alive for 13 years with a homemade dialysis machine because the hospital is too far away and too crowded. Well, should we complain about the care we receive?
He was a college student when he was diagnosed in 1993 with kidney disease, which means waste products cannot be removed from his blood.
He underwent dialysis treatment in hospital but ran out of savings after six years. His solution was to create his own machine to slash his costs.
Just like last year, now it’s time to publish my predictions for the new year regarding healthcare, medical technology and innovation. It seems year by year many of these predictions prove to be right which makes me glad. I hope the same thing will happen to these predictions.
- Flexible mobile phones will be released: Flexible glass makes such developments possible. Medical professionals will love these as they are literally unbreakable. The PC era is clearly over.
- Fewer health-related mobile app downloads: Last year a decline in the number of downloaded smartphone apps was reported, but don’t worry, that’s a positive step. Now instead of downloading every medical app just to show them to our peers, we will use them with strategy and will make the right choices.
- Google Glasses will hit the world market and healthcare: By bringing digital information and data in front of your eyes, it can have a bright future in everyday medicine either in the OR or during a regular examination.
- Google+ communities will prove to be better than Facebook groups: Google+ Communities are relatively new, but I discovered more news items and posts which are relevant to my topics in the last few weeks than on Facebook during the last few years.
- Robotic Exoskeletons will become widely used: It’s time to use all those military and robotic developments to help the everyday lives of paralyzed people in many ways.
- First humanoid robots to be “born”: I’m not saying such humanoid robots would play any kind of a role in our lives now, but this certainly is going to be a very important step. Be prepared to see them in hospitals in the coming years.
- FDA does not publish a clear guide about using social media by pharma: A year ago we published our crowdsourced and open-access guide for pharma but we do need the FDA to come out with a clear set of guidelines. Well, they won’t do that in 2013.
- Windows tablets on the rise: I have an Android tablet, my friends use iPad and iPad Mini so I pretty much know all the pros and cons for these two systems, but when I tried Microsoft Surface, I was amazed. It definitely has a future in healthcare. Elder members in our family can learn how to use a tablet in days, even if they couldn’t learn how to use a computer for years.
- Cost of whole genome sequencing goes under $1000: It is possible in many laboratories from Oxford to China to sequence a total human genome for less than $1000 in less than a few hours, but it should be widely available in 2013 as an affordable service.
- Some smartphone apps get evidence based background: There are more and more studies focusing on whether certain smartphone apps and concepts can be used in medicine and healthcare, therefore as the amount of evidence grows, doctors should be able to prescribe mobile apps for their patients besides drugs and therapies.
- Robotic telepresence in rural hospitals: When geographical distances cause a serious limitation, we need to turn to digital technologies, but using Skype cannot always be a solution. Robotic telemedical systems should appear in such areas in 2013.
- LinkedIn gets close to Facebook and Google+: Regarding the professional use of social networks, LinkedIn is far more useful and efficient than Facebook and maybe better than Google+. Following the right moves and steps, I expect LinkedIn to become the most respected social network.
- No hospital can live without social media accounts: This has been a clear trend for years, and now it’s time for every hospital manager to accept the challenge and the importance of using social networks to keep in touch with (future) patients.
- IBM’s Watson in the medical practice. IBM’s supercomputer is being tested now at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and it should become an integrated part of medical decision making this year.
- Health/medical businesses focus more on Twitter than on Facebook: This comes from my own experience. While Facebook ads can help you get your message to a lot of people, Twitter is more precise in communication. While it requires a different strategy, it can be more successful in conversion.
As usual, please feel free to add your tips in the comment section!
Have you seen the latest innovation of Microsoft? To be honest, I’ve been using Microsoft OS since the first time I used a computer so I watch their developments closely. Now they came up with a solution for improving clinical workflow. I haven’t given Windows 8 a try yet, but it seems it’s going to happen soon.
To help you understand the tools being used by the most progressive healthcare organizations today, we’ve prepared a short video. I think it effectively demonstrates why there’s more to contemporary clinical workflow and patient care than having an electronic medical record at your fingertips. Take a look at the video and then continue reading.
Home health nurses are using it to check on clients remotely and lessen the frequency of travel.
I just came across an interesting article about how Japan considers using social networks in disaster situations.
Emergency services are embracing technology as new ways to investigate, send alerts and receivereports of crises. And now, the Japanese are looking at social networks to support communication in disaster scenarios, especially when traditional services fail. The local Fire and Disaster Management Agency put together a panel discussion on just that topic, with representatives attending from the likes of Twitter, Yahoo, Mixi and NHN Japan, as well as various government and emergency bodies.
How could it happen? I believe it happened because Japanese authorities accepted the fact that the majority of Japanese people are using social networking sites and other social media tools. I’m wondering when this acceptance would happen in the minds of health authorities dealing with the fact that a lot of patients use online services in their health management and many doctors are getting on the social media train as well as they understand how it can save them time and efforts.
By the time authorities realize the importance of adding social media to the arsenal of communication tools in medicine, we will have our own solutions and this is not going to facilitate the transition.
Solution? The sooner it happens, the better for the stakeholders of healthcare.
A German senior centre implemented the idea of using fake bus stops to prevent Alzheimer’s disease patients from wandering off (their short term memory is not intact, while the long term memory works fine, therefore they know what the signs mean). As it is a huge success, now they bring the idea to several clinics in Germany.
The idea was first tried at Benrath Senior Centre in Düsseldorf, which pitched an exact replica of a standard stop outside, with one small difference: buses do not use it.
The centre had been forced to rely on police to retrieve patients who wanted to return to their often non-existent homes and families.
Then Benrath teamed up with a local care association called the “Old Lions”. They went to the Rheinbahn transport network which supplied the bus stop.
“It sounds funny but it helps,” said Franz-Josef Goebel, the chairman of the “Old Lions” association.
Fellow medical blogger, John Sharp, had a presentation about social media and healthcare in Bilbao, Spain and posted the audio online. Enjoy!
President and CEO of Mayo Clinic, John Noseworthy, a few days ago spoke at Karolinska Institute on how Mayo Clinic is transforming medicine.
A great initiative coming from Mayo Clinic again:
Being in the hospital after major surgery is no fun. On top of dealing with pain, patients have uncertainty. They also have to worry about getting all the information they need to support their recovery. That’s not always easy in the hospital; things happen quickly and doctors and hospital staff are often really busy. Doctors at Mayo Clinic may have a solution to this issue. They’re giving iPads to heart surgery patients to see if a new iPad app can make hospital stays easier and more satisfying.
In my new series I ask medical professionals and e-patients about how they use social media presented through practical examples and suggestions (so far: a rheumatologist, a diabetes blogger, and a pediatrician answered my questions, each of them is proficient in using social media). Now please welcome Dr. Mike Sevilla, the social media guru of primary care. He launched the Dr. Anonymous Show years ago, an online radio show in which he invited me to be the guest and I woke up at 3 AM and talked with him about social media for an hour. He is the real voice of the primary care community and he kindly told me how he uses social media day by day.
- What social media channels do you use in your work and for what purposes? How do you keep yourself up-to-date and connected?
For me, I use twitter and facebook the most (meaning daily) in my work. I use twitter to find the hot topics of the day. I also use it to share links. I use facebook to keep connected with friends and family (not for clinical work). I don’t blog or podcast much as I’d like, but I utilize blogs and podcasts to state opinions and to connect with my social media audience.
- What do your patients think about social media? Do they use it?
My patients use social media a lot. I get asked every day about information that they learn on the internet. My patients share with me facebook pages to like and sometimes I get links from twitter. As I have said in blog posts and presentations in the past, I really believe that our patients will drive physicians to utilize social media.
- What social media sites do you think point towards the future of healthcare?
Even though Google Health is now offline, I really think that it was a service before its time. People will have a more of a interest in the near future of having their personal health record available to them and the next generation of Google Health type sites are coming soon.
Another site that is very interesting to me is Wolfram Alpha. This site will grow in presence and popularity because of the iPhone Siri service. Since Wolfram Alpha searches are more driven by data (as opposed to questionably bias algorthms of Google & Bing), I predict that people will use this search engine more in healthcare related searches.
Webicina has done a great job of gathering the major Family Medicine social media resources out there including blogs, podcasts, news, and others. If someone wanted to quickly learn about what is out there for Family Medicine, I direct people to check out webicina’s curated selections first.
I admit that I should really use this resource more to review the feeds that are most important to me. It’s great that it is multi-lingual and it has the most popular RSS Family Medicine journals here. Great job with this!
Dr. Eric Topol visits Google to talk about his book: The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care:
Until very recently, if you were to ask most doctors, they would tell you there were only two kinds of medicine: the quack kind, and the evidence-based kind. The former is baseless, and the latter based on the best information human effort could buy, with carefully controlled double-blind trials, hundreds of patients, and clear indicators of success.