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Posts from the ‘Medicine 2.0’ Category

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

A Comparison of TeleConsultation Websites and Services

The company, HealthQuo, came up with quite a detailed analysis of websites and services offering teleconsultation. Connectivity is truly the key here.

By the way, here is a short description about Healthquo:

HealthQuo is a online health platform in which patients meet verified health care professionals for face-to-face health orientations anyday and anytime. Through telehealth more than 70% of day to day consults can be solved decreasing the cost of the service but at the same time increasing the efficiency and quality of it.

Vision paciente

My Article About The Future of Medicine in The Futurist Magazine!

It’s a huge pleasure to share my article, Rx Disruption: Technology Trends in Medicine and Health Care, that was just published in the Futurist magazine. It is also an important step in my journey as a medical futurist.

As online platforms and digital technologies rapidly emerge and change, we need partnerships between patients and health-care professionals, as well as a guide to prepare for the future technologies that will have to be implemented quickly in everyday practices and in the health management of patients. Based on what we see in other industries, this is going to be an exploding series of changes. While redesigning health care takes a lot of time and effort, the best we can do is to prepare all stakeholders for what is coming next.

The following overview of the major trends in health care offers guidance for preparing individuals, organizations, and medical practitioners for the health-care landscape ahead. This guide will be continuously updated, so reader feedback is welcome.

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The First Bionic Olympics To Be Held in 2016

After Pistorius competing at the last 2012 Olympic Games with prosthetics, we all knew that the world of sport was about to change dramatically. More and more athletes now utilize innovative technologies or actually wear them to augment human capabilities, therefore the announcement of the first Bionic Olympic Games called the Cybathlon to be held in Switzerland in 2016 did not come as a surprise.

The Cybathlon will award two categories of medals for each event: one for the athlete and one for the scientist or company that manufactured the robotic assistive device. That includes things like the latest prosthetics, exoskeletons, and powered wheelchairs, and more futuristic technologies like electrically stimulated muscles and brain-computer interfaces.

For instance, during the BCI event (image above), participants—or “pilots” to use the Cybathlon lingo—that are paralyzed below the neck will be equipped with brain-machine interfaces that will enable them to control an avatar with their mind. The virtual avatar will compete in a horse or car racing video game.

 

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The First Prescribed Mobile Application Launches

Here is a mobile application that has health implications and is reimbursed by health insurance. With evidence behind the apps, this is how it should work:

“Docs write Rx for App to treat visually impaired children. Treatment and app get reimbursed by statutory health insurance.” This digital health vision is becoming true in Germany these days. Originally developed by University of Dresden, the purely Internet-based Caterna Vision Therapy (www.caterna.de) will be reimbursed by BARMER GEK, a nationwide statutory health insurance with 8.65m Germans insured, in partnership with Ocunet, a nationwide association of eye care centers and practices (www.ocunet.de). Starting 1. April  2014, eye specialists can prescribe a Caterna Vision Therapy.

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Larry Page Talks About Medical Records And Where Google Is Heading

Here is Larry Page, CEO of Google, describing the directions Google is heading at the moment including the issues of electronic medical records or artificial intelligence.

In an era when IBM Watson, the supercomputer, tries to tackle brain cancer, everything is possible:

This morning, IBM and the New York Genome Center announced a partnership to test whether Watson, the computer that won on Jeopardy, can sift through the genomes of cancer patients and help doctors pick drugs. This effort could hold the key to making DNA sequencing for cancer affordable, but there is a vast amount of work to do that will take years at a minimum.

9 Steps About How to Disappear From The Internet

There is a very interesting and instructive step-by-step guide about how to delete yourself from the internet and disappear completely online. I’m not encouraging you to delete your profiles online, but there are a few details in the guide which might come handy in some cases such as how to ask Google to remove a search engine result posting information about you.

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How I Completely Re-Wired My Digital Life: 16 Tips

I’ve been massively active online for at least 10 years therefore I have built networks focusing on my favorite topics leading to a point where I invest my time into human intelligence instead of checking hundreds of article titles every day. Although, as others, I often face the problem of being efficient time-wise online as receiving thousands of social media messages a day makes it a real challenge.

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Now I share with you the experience I’ve had in the last 6 months as during that time I have completely re-wired how I use the internet for professional purposes and how I manage my digital life.

Dealing with e-mails: I have to deal with about 200 e-mails a day, the majority of them requiring action from me. I tag e-mails massively in Google Mail and have been teaching Gmail how to categorize my e-mails automatically (important ones, promotions, social media related e-mails, etc.). While some of my colleagues quit using e-mail, I think this is still my information HQ and the official communication channel to me. But I don’t start the morning any more by checking e-mails. Instead, I start the day with reading a chapter in a book. It gives me a great start, plus as my brain is the most active in the early hours, I can learn a lot. After that, I deal with e-mails at specific time periods, otherwise I couldn’t focus properly.

Facebook: I use Facebook for professional purposes and before this time, Facebook was proven to be absolutely useless. But I changed my strategy and unfollowed (hiding their posts from my stream) cc. 1400 out of my 1600 followers. At the same time, I started following about 100 pages focusing on social media and the future of medicine. It means now my Facebook stream is almost free of noise but full of useful information.

Google+: The main streams of my Google+ network are very much hectic, but the communities of Google+ focusing on my areas such as the future, medicine and social media are priceless. Those are the most curated information streams I check every day.

Twitter: This is my key and fastest communication channel. In my experience, people using Twitter can be approached much easier through their Twitter account than via e-mail. As Twitter messages should only contain real information (no garnish), I can respond in seconds. I use Tweetdeck for organizing my streams and get the most important filtered news out of my focused groups easily. Symplur helped me organize topics with new hashtags such as #medicalfuture or #HCSMcourse.

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

Linkedin: This is my most professional channel. I’ve been working on improving my profile there for years which resulted in an “All-Star” profile as ranked by LinkedIn. I paid for the premium service showing me those who check my profile and might be potential clients. It also puts my profile high up in search results. It is connected to my blog automatically.

Blogging: This is one of the activities I enjoy the most even after 7 years (have written over 5000 blog entries). To be honest, I still use bookmarks for storing the topics I would like to write about and dedicate at least 5 hours a week to blogging. Whatever project I come up with, I can reach thousands of very relevant people with only one blog entry. My blog is a golden mine for me.

The Ultimate Online Resource: I thought I had so many online channels I needed a professional website serving as an umbrella above all those channels. Medicalfuturist.com now shows all my active channels featuring Scienceroll.com and Twitter.com/Berci; and the Medical Futurist Newsletter let me build a network of people interested in the future of medicine. This is now my digital public HQ.

Organizing short- and long-term tasks: One of the toughest challenges I face is organizing the many tasks, projects and jobs I have. The reason why is that although I have thousands of meetings a year and travel a lot, I don’t work in an office and don’t have access to an intellectually rich community in my everyday life. Therefore I have to create this ambiance around me. I use a Google Document with color codes and different sections showing me the tasks of today, of tomorrow, of this week and of this month. Every 4 weeks, I sit down and analyze the long-term goals (months-years) and assign new tasks to my everyday life. This is crucial in order to put effort into things that really matter. This system now makes sure I keep being motivated without artificial or external inputs.

Just before deadline

Bookmarks: When you save tens of thousands of links, a traditional bookmark is not enough any more. The links I might need later are saved and categorized by bit.ly (as I shorten almost all the links I share). By creating bundles, it lets me organize these links in a convenient way.

Web browser: About 2 years ago, I switched from Firefox to Google Chrome and I have no idea why I didn’t start using it earlier. All the devices I use (PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone) have Chrome and it automatically synchronizes my settings, bookmarks and browser history. It makes my life easier.

Automatic updates: There are pieces of information I need to collect through non-structured channels such as search engines. As I don’t have to go back and search for the same things again and again, I use Google Alerts for getting updates about certain topics; and use Pubmed.com‘s Save Search function to get peer-reviewed papers automatically focusing on my areas.

Feedly: While some people think RSS is so web 2.0-ish, I couldn’t live without it as my information resources would be hectic while I need a very much structured way of following resources. Feedly lets me organize websites into categories and now I follow 430 resources easily.

Improving cognitive skills: I’m a huge fan of life-long learning as I believe improving my cognitive skills should be a priority at any point in my life. When I came across Lumosity, I knew I found what I’d been looking for. I’ve been using it for 5 months and I can feel how better I’m at different tasks that require good memory, speed, flexibility or other skills. It only takes 5 minutes a day. When I have to wait somewhere, I grab my phone and use Dr. Newton, a game for improving cognitive skills therefore I always try to do something useful for my brain.

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Focus: Dealing with hundreds of messages and thousands of pieces of information is one thing, but the projects I work on require real focus. In order to make it easier for myself, I use time frames for different tasks (such as checking e-mails or using Twitter) every day and keep other timeframes free for tasks that require real focus. Focus@Will has been proven to facilitate this for me.

Learning new things: No matter, how limited my free time is, I must constantly try to learn new things. As I have wanted to learn to speak Spanish for years, I decided to download Duolingo and follow its instructions as it teaches languages in a gamified and interesting way. I love it.

Physical activities: I cannot work efficiently without living a healthly life and being physically active. I use the wearable Shine to make sure I exercise enough every single day and do include the exercises I have to do every day in my Google Document. I realized I really accomplish things and tasks that are in my time-management Google Document and adding the details of doing physical activities as such tasks to that as well turned out to be a great solution for motivating myself.

I hope this experience of over 6 months will help you be more efficient and successful in your personal and digital lives as well!

Computers are better at diagnosing?

A new study analyzing the role of IBM’s supercomputer named Watson in medical decision making was just published in Artificial Intelligence in Medicine. While the most acclaimed medical professionals might keep some studies in mind, Watson can check millions of them quickly. Instead of fighting them, doctors should realize we need to include such solutions in the everyday medical decision-making processes.

Using 500 randomly selected patients from that group for simulations, the two compared actual doctor performance and patient outcomes against sequential decision-making models, all using real patient data. They found great disparity in the cost per unit of outcome change when the artificial intelligence model’s cost of $189 was compared to the treatment-as-usual cost of $497.

“This was at the same time that the AI approach obtained a 30 to 35 percent increase in patient outcomes,” Bennett said. “And we determined that tweaking certain model parameters could enhance the outcome advantage to about 50 percent more improvement at about half the cost.”

I’m very glad they added this message at the end:

“Let humans do what they do well, and let machines do what they do well. In the end, we may maximize the potential of both.”

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Being in The Top 10 Internet-Smart Doctors in the World

It’s a great honor to be included again in the list of the top ten Internet-smart doctors in the world. Here is the full list and here are the details!

Doctors are increasingly using the internet, to communicate, to educate, and to use sometimes as medical devices. And now docs are tackling social media, which a few of the Top Ten do, in spades.   The Top Ten come from all over, from Australia to the Bay area.  There is one from the Netherlands, one from Hungary,, and one from Australia.  The other seven are Yanks.  And they are all MDs.

1) Eric Topol MD
2) Daniel Kraft M.D.
3) Berci Mesko MD
4) Mike Cadogan MD
5) Pieter Kubben MD
6) Peter Diamantis MD
7) Iltifat Husain, MD
8) Wen Dombrowski MD
9) Joe Kvedar MD
10) Larry Chu MD

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