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Posts tagged ‘Health’

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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Saving 170 Billion USD with Health IT: Infographic About Adherence

I recently worked as a consultant for a pharmaceutical company as they asked me to help them create a long-term digital strategy. In this work, I learnt about some new health IT developments and one of them seemed to be very interesting. It aimed at improving adherence through an online system.

They say the world could save 170 billion USD by using their patform based on survey-evidenced results and the estimated nonadherence-related health expenditures. Here is their brief description:

PraxisPlatform developed a proprietary, versatile, fully secure health care ICT platform on which it designs and manages patient adherence management programmes, pharmacy care programmes and non-interventional clinical studies for innovative and generic pharmaceuticals and medical devices. PraxisPlatform currently reaches 120.000 patients, 4.800 physicians and 100 pharmacies in Hungary.

PraxisPlatform has a proven track record of increasing patients’ adherence to medicinal treatment by 70-130 per cent (at 6/12 months) in chronic therapy areas such as hyperlypidaemia (high cholesterol levels), prostatic hyperplasia and breast cancer.

Here is the infographic they came up with (click on the image for larger size)

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I think there are some key conclusions of this:

  • It’s important to develop something that is scalable on many levels.
  • As adherence is a global problem, a locally proven method could work anywhere else.
  • The ICT behind a digital health development must be universal but flexible to local needs.
  • They are also ready to sell the know-how with legal wireframes, not only the service itself.

What do you think about it?

A Doctor Singing About Asthma

Social media provides us with many opportunities for reaching patients and focusing on disease awareness, but doing this by singing about asthma for patients, well that is a very unique way.

20 Potential Technological Advances in the Future of Medicine: Part II.

As I mentioned in the first part of this series, the job of a medical futurist is to give a good summary of the ongoing projects and detect the ones with the biggest potential to be used in everyday medical practices and to determine the future of medicine. Here is the second part of the list of 20 technological advances:

11) Switching from long and extremely expensive clinical trials to tiny microchips which can be used as models of human organs or whole physiological systems provides clear advantages. Drugs or components could be tested on these without limitations which would make clinical trials faster and even more accurate (in each case the conditions and circumstances would be the same). The picture below shows a microchip with living cells that models how a lung works. Obviously, we need more complicated microchips that can mimic the whole human body, but this ultimate solution will arrive soon.

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12) Medical students will study anatomy on virtual dissection tables and not on human cadavers. What we studied in small textbooks will be transformed into virtual 3D solutions and models using augmented reality. We can observe, change and create anatomical models as fast as we want, as well as analyze structures in every detail. Examples include Anatomage, ImageVis3D and 4DAnatomy.

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13) Optogenetics will provide new solutions in therapies. A recent study published in Science reported that scientists were able to create false memories in the hippocampus of mice. This is the first time fear memory was generated via artificial means. By time, we will understand the placebo effect clearly; and just imagine the outcomes we can reach when false memories of taking drugs can be generated in humans as well. The idea is a bit futuristic, but the basics of the method are almost available now.

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14) With the growing number of elderly patients, introducing robot assistants to care homes and hospitals is inevitable. It could be a fair solution from moving patients to performing basic procedures. The robot in the picture below is the prototype made by a company based in California that aims at combining robotics and image-analysis technology so then it can find a good vein in your arm and also draw your blood. In the next step, it will also perform analysis on the blood from detecting biomarkers to obtaining genetic data.

veebot-early-prototype

15) Now we wear a FitBit and other devices that measure easily quantifiable data, but the future belongs to digestible and wearable sensors that can work like a thin e-skin. These sensors will measure all important health parameters and vital signs from temperature, and blood biomarkers to neurological symptoms 24 hours a day transmitting data to the cloud and sending alerts to medical systems when a stroke is happening real time. It will call the ambulance itself and sends all the related data immediately.

e-skin

16) It is not just about checking and monitoring vital signs but intervention is also the key to a better health. Imagine tooth-embedded sensors that can recognize jaw movements, coughing, speaking and even smoking so it records when you eat too much or smoke no matter what the doctor told you. Again, it’s going to be extremely hard not to keep the doctor’s pieces of advice. Imagine the same wireless technology used in organs providing real-time data.

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17) If wearing thin e-skins or having embedded sensors is not a viable option for us, then let’s make an old dream come true. The concept of the tricorder from Star Trek has been there for decades and we still don’t have it. The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize challenge will hopefully lead to the development of a device that can diagnose any diseases and give individuals more choices in their own health. The competition is hard as devices such as Scanadu are also being developed. What matters is patients will control their own health.

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18) I’ve always been a fan of IBM Watson and seen its potentials as huge opportunities in medicine. Watson will assist physicians in everyday medical decision-making, although it will not substitute humans at all.  While a physician can follow a few papers, maybe a few dozens of papers with digital solutions, Watson can process over 200 million pages in 3 seconds, therefore with the increasing amount of scientific data, it would be a wise decision using this in the practice of medicine.

IBMWatson

19) Since the completion of the Human Genome Project, we have been envisioning the era of personalized medicine in which everyone gets customized therapy with customized dosages. The truth is that there are only about 30 cases when personal genomics can be applied with evidence in the background according to the Personalized Medicine Coalition. As we move along this path, we will have more and more opportunities for using DNA analysis at the patient’s bedside which should be a must have before actually prescribing drugs.

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20) I thought I would put the simplest and most predictable medical advance to the bottom of this list. In the near future, whether it is the right and reliable medical information, dynamic resources or medical records; everything will simply be available to everyone which might not sound that interesting, but this would purely be the most important development in the history of medicine.

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It would be great if you could share your insights about other technological advances in the comment section after the post. I hope you enjoyed these two journeys into the future of medicine.

My Book, Social Media in Clinical Practice, To Be Released on the 8th of August!

It’s a huge pleasure to announce that my book, Social Media in Clinical Practice, will be published by Springer on the 8th of August. Here is the Amazon link where you can pre-order it.

In the last 10 months, I’ve been working day and night to finish a book that could fill a huge gap regarding the practical use of social media in medicine and healthcare. Social Media in Clinical Practice was meant to introduce medical professionals to the digital world through real-life examples, suggestions and step-by-step instructions from blogs and Twitter to mobile apps and e-patients.

I’ve been teaching medical students and physicians about digital literacy for years, but in many cases, they wanted to learn more using a real book instead of e-learning materials.

I hope medical professionals will find this book useful and e-patients will share it with their doctors. An excerpt from the abstract:

Social media has been clearly changing the way medicine is practiced and healthcare is delivered. Medical professionals must be able to meet the special needs of technology-aware patients and use digital technologies in their work and communications properly. Each physician should find the tools that will assist them in their workflow, and patients need to be educated how to use the internet. It is the responsibility of medical professionals to contribute to this process.

The constantly evolving digital world must be used in the practice of medicine to improve the care of patients. However, the only way to do so effectively is via evidence-based, meaningful and strategic use. Social Media in Clinical Practice provides practical guidance in this mission and is thus essential reading for all medical personal looking into approaching this for the first time.

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Here is the table of contents:

  1. Social media is transforming medicine and healthcare
  2. Using medical search engines with a special focus on Google
  3. Being up-to-date in medicine
  4. Community sites Facebook, Google+ and medical social networks
  5. The world of e-patients
  6. Establishing a medical blog
  7. The role of Twitter and microblogging in medicine
  8. Collaboration online
  9. Wikipedia and Medical Wikis
  10.  Organizing medical events in virtual environments
  11. Medical smartphone and tablet applications
  12. Use of social media by hospitals and medical practices
  13. Medical video and podcast
  14. Creating presentations and slideshows
  15. E-mails and privacy concerns
  16. Social bookmarking
  17. Conclusions

Introducing Personal Medical Apps

I recently blogged about pApp that lets doctors create mobile apps for their patients without knowing anything about mobile app development. They just choose the functions (bundles) the app should have such as logging blood pressure or medications and the patient can download the app right away. I received a significant amount of questions and requests about that on Twitter and other channels so I thought I would ask for a bit more pieces of details from the developers.

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pApp consists of:

  • a web platform to create your own medical apps, even share them with the community.
  • a mobile phone app to use the app and gather data.
  • a profound back-end solution called ‘The Cortex’, on par with the latest standards and protocols used in healthcare (HL7, DICOM) to store, show and share data.
  • a complete set of APIs to connect to external platforms, wearables and sensors.
  • a portal for patients and HCPs to view results in an understandable way.
  • a scientifically backed-up validation process for the content of the apps.
  • a quality mark and/or CE-certification where appropriate.
  • an Implementation Team to make it actually work in a hospital.

It could serve e-patients, medical professionals, pharma companies, insurance companies and hospitals as well. Let me know if you would like to get connected to the developers.

GuidedMed: Find health information by selecting symptoms

A few days ago, I linked to a really comprehensive review of the online medical symptom checkers. Now here is GuidedMed that helps you find health information by selecting symptoms and answering questions.

Scienceroll.com: Weekly Introduction

I would like to share my favourite and ongoing projects with you so I can give you a proper introduction to Scienceroll.com.

Medicine 2.0 University Course: This is the second semester of the first university course that focuses on web 2.0 and medicine for medical students. Last semester, almost 50 students attended the 20 slideshows through 10 weeks and they filled a survey out before and after the course. I launched the second semester for English-speaking students (February – May, 2009). I’m open to launch the same course in Second Life.

Medicine20 Course 4 by you.

Medicine 2.0 Collection: I maintain the biggest collection of links and posts focusing on web 2.0 and medicine.

Webicina.com is my service that aims to help medical professionals and patients enter the web 2.0 era by providing them with e-courses, consulting and personalized packages.

PeRSSonalized Medicine is a free tool that lets you select your favourite resources and read the latest news and articles in one personalized place. You can create your own “medical journal” and as we are totally open to suggestions, let us add the journals, blogs and websites that you would like to follow.

Webicina.Com

Diabetes 2.0 Package: If you would like to know which web 2.0 tools can provide support or reliable health information, which communities to join and which quality blogs to read, this personalized package is made for you.

Webicina.Com

Scienceroll Search is a personalized medical search engine powered by PolyMeta search and clustering engine. You can choose which databases to search in and which one to exclude from your list. It works with well-known medical search engines and databases and we’re totally open to add new ones or remove those you don’t really like.

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Medicine 2.0 Blog Carnival and Microvarnival: The blog carnival focusing on web 2.0 and medicine. Let me know if you have a submission or if you want to host an edition.

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Gene Genie is the blog carnival of genes, personalized genomics and gene-related diseases. Our plan is to cover the whole genome before 2082 (it means 14-15 genes every two weeks). Let me know if you have a submission or if you want to host an edition.

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List of biomedical and scientific community sites: More than 30 communities with links, descriptions and screenshots.

List of Biomedical video sites: Almost 40 sites featuring scientific or medical videos and videocasts.

Health Blogs Observatory

Ivor Kovic, MD is a unique blogger with a deep interest in web 2.0 and medicine. Now he launched the Health Blogs Observatory based on a great idea, to collect all the medical blogs in order to analyze the health blogosphere.

Health Blogs Observatory is an online research lab devoted to examination of the health blogosphere. It was created by the health bloggers and for the health bloggers.

Main goals of the project are:

Two major characteristics of the Health Blogs Observatory are collaboration and openness. This is why I would like to invite all health/medical bloggers to join the community and start contributing to it by adding their blogs to the web directory and participating in the design of the health bloggers survey.

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You can follow the project on Twitter, by RSS or just track the changes of the wiki.

Quality of Medical Information Online: A Twitter Discussion

I had a nice discussion today with a few Twitterers including Jay Parkinson about the quality of online medical information. It started when I mentioned many great medical blogs are not accredited by HONcode, the Health On The Net Foundation, which is a non-profit organization with a mission to improve online health information quality. I try to summerize the keypoints of the discussion.

Pros:

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abelphramboy

Trisha

Cons:

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dmitriy

jayparkinson

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Then I found a publication, Indicators of Accuracy of Consumer Health Information on the Internet that states:

One hundred Web pages were identified and characterized as “more accurate” or “less accurate.” Three indicators correlated with accuracy: displaying the HONcode logo, having an organization domain, and displaying a copyright. Many proposed indicators taken from published guidelines did not correlate with accuracy (e.g., the author being identified and the author having medical credentials) or inaccuracy (e.g., lack of currency and advertising).

I believe patients seeking medical information online need guidance. Regarding tech blogs or art blogs, it doesn’t really matter who determines quality. But in the medical blogosphere, I think it’s crucial to have a neutral third party that works to assure quality and try to help patients how to find reliable content. So the conclusion is I’ll keep on promoting HONcode and will try to get all of my medical sites accredited (Scienceroll and Webicina are both accredited).

Further reading:

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