Tag Archives: health

An Apple a day…


…will keep the doctors informed.

So maybe you haven’t been in the hospital ever or in years or even this year (we’re only a quarter-ish into the new year)… but now you just might see how an Apple might be just what the doctor ordered.

If you are already wearing that Apple Watch and happen to make it into the patient bed at Cedars-Sinai then you can synch all your info with the hospital issued iPad and your Apple Watch. That makes for a more complete record of your health and keeps the info where it can be accessed for other care providers or, in the worst of situations, where emergency responders can see it.

Back in early 2015, we heard of the hospitals piloting Apple’s HealthKit – and the big name electronic health record providers jumped in with them. John Hopkins (specifically for epilepsy)  and Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans have worked with Epic, an electronic health record company, to integrate with the Apple Watch. Ochsner is making the use of the Apple product line to make their innovationOschner (iO) program a stellar role model for the rest of the electronic world of healthcare. I’m, personally, impressed with their program and how they seem to be making it a part of their strategic vision not just for the company but for their patients. Check out this post from last year on Oschner’s program

Yet, in the field we are all aware of the regulations around electronic health records and those devices that work with them are one of the grey areas – one that we, in the healthcare technology field hopes will stay grey!

What have your experiences been with your Apple products and your healthcare providers?

Here is a great interview article with a patient at Cedars Sinai –  and it speaks to the market that Apple is now wading into…


The new “drugs” – smartphone apps or patient engagement? or both?


In a recent post I mentioned a quote from Sherry Reynolds:

 “If  # OpenNotes was a new drug that increased patient engagement by 85%,  every doctor in the country would be prescribing it.”

Now I see an article from American Medical News talking about smartphone apps being the new drug. That really caught my attention – mostly because I am trying to use that concept in my graduate class theory paper. But back to the point…We all have kids that can’t put down the phone – the smartphone because they are texting, Facetiming, gaming, or who knows what else. I’m one of those adults that is almost as bad as my child. I am always checking Facebook, checking my WordPress for comments or likes, looking up the closest cupcake bakery, or texting one of my children or Hubby because I’ve forgotten what I was supposed to have been doing while I was doing all of that. Am I addicted to my smartphone? Nahhhh Could I go a day without it completely? Hmmmm, not so sure…..I’ve gotten close while on two cruises. But when you get to shore you can usually see who’s doing what on Facebook that you might have missed. Or even those wonderful work emails that you are truly afraid that someone messed that project up while you were gone. OOYY!!

So you can see where I am going with the familiarity of those people in the US younger than the age of say 55 – no, don’t go all ballistic on me if you are over 55! My dad only knows how to answer and call on his flip phone and my mom is becoming an iPhone guru so people are different! We rely on those smartphones. Sometimes we rely on them to the point of psychically wrong proportions -but that’s another article.

This is the key point I like about this article:

Discussions are taking place in exam rooms across the country about how a $1 app could be a viable alternative to prescribing a medication and help patients monitor their health. Some even have referred to the act of physicians recommending mobile health as “prescribing an app.”

In the traditional sense of prescribing, the phrase is not accurate, said David Collins, senior director of mHIMSS, a subsidiary of the Health Information and Management Systems Society focused on mobile health initiatives. “But in the digital wave of medicine, when it comes to mobile health, I’d say it does make sense. Patients are used to going to their doctor’s office, getting their problem solved and leaving with a prescription in their hands.”

A few things to think about with this theory, from my point of view.

1) are the patients in that group of users that will know how to get the app, download/install it and then use it? If yes, this can be quick – a business card with the name of the app and whether it is available on the Apple platform or the Android.

2)If they can get to the point of using it then do they know how to get the good stuff out of the app? With calorie counter apps it seems to be easier – you program the number of calories per day, track what you eat, see how you do. With apps that are more complicated and linked – usually via bluetooth – then there is a bit more complexity to the use of the app and the information that you get from it. Then how do you share that information at your next visit? Or even before your next visit?

3) The physician – or designated office person – would need to become a person who helped patients go thru this cycle of us. They are going to have questions when they get home. They are going to have questions when they have a weeks’ worth of data in the app and can’t see what they think they should. They will need help. Can a physician office or clinic charge for that service? (my devil’s advocate at work there.)

Overall, this is a great idea. It is moving on the right path to a nation that has been embracing a healthier lifestyle over the last 15 years. Truly, we have. There are still issues with obesity and such but there is a major trend in our population to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles.

These are some great statistics:

PATIENT MOBILE HEALTH BELIEFS

59% say mobile health has given them solutions that have replaced some doctor visits.

52% say mobile health will lower health care costs within three years.

49% think it will change the way they manage their overall health.

48% say it will improve health care quality within three years.

48% think it will change the way they manage chronic conditions.

48% say it will change the way they manage medication.

46% believe it will make their health care more convenient within three years.

PHYSICIAN MOBILE HEALTH BELIEFS

42% say mobile health will make patients too independent.

27% will encourage patients to use mobile health apps.

13% will discourage patients from using mobile health apps.

Source: “Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth,” PwC, June (pwc.com/en_GX/gx/healthcare/mhealth/assets/pwc-emerging-mhealth-full.pdf)

 

Do you think you would use an app that your physician recommended ? How much “help” would you expect to need to use it? How much interaction would you expect with the physician/office if you were to use it – more or less?

 


MappyHealth – is Twitter telling us the picture of our health today?


I happened upon MappyHealth doing research for my public health class and found that it was extremely interesting. It takes tweets and analyzes them to give us a picture of our health.

For instance, this morning I am still suffering from allergies so I thought I would see what is going on in the world of acute respiratory illness (it was one of the listed tags under conditions.) Here is the graph that I saw telling me the volume of tweets. It looks like we’ve had something brewing in mid-October.

from MappyHealth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I even found out what has been going on in Texas over the last week.

MappyHealth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even more interesting is that if you click on a graph from your search you can even get to the tweet level – showing who – by Twitter name – posted and what they posted to put them in that condition group. So here is the one for Texas for STDs! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now what do you think of this being out there? Is it helpful or privacy invasive? Were you aware that your Tweets could get you onto MappyHealth?

My first reaction was shock when I saw that it got down to the Twitter name level. But my other voice – who often plays devil’s advocate – said that if I’m going to put something on Twitter that might put me in the category …. well, maybe I should think of that first.

Overall, do I see this as a helpful tool for public health and awareness? Maybe. I’m not too convinced of its validity in the world of true research and statistics. But it is interesting…

What do you think of it? Go try it out and tell me… you have to try it!


Is there an app for that?


My guess is that if you were to ask this question of your peers – which I kinda have over on my Facebook page of the same name – that the answer would be yes. There are apps out there that I never dreamed about. And there are a LOT that are targeted to health – your health, your clinician getting information for your health, your exercise, your disease monitoring…. I could go on.

Recently, I broke the mold of myself and got an Apple laptop product. I was excited to get the iPad back in March and loved it for my trips – music, movies, games – then found out all the other significant stuff it could do. So I decided to give Apple a try against my trusty monster – my Dell. So now I have access to an even greater and different set of apps than I do with my Android based smart phone, my iPad, my Apple laptop and my Dell laptop. A gal could get confused here…

Alas, to my point -when I put mhealth into the PlayStore on my Android phone I got apps that I would never have expected. One that really took me by surprise was EPI mHealth Lite – an application used with EPI Mini to connect the smartphone to the device to read the ECG. WOW!

My Mobile Med Box came up for a fee in which it describes itself as “your secure personal health record”. Hmmm, wonder how that works. One of the comments on the reviews stated that the fire department recommended it to the person for people who call them a lot because it can give them info when you can’t. Again, hmmmm…I have a lot of questions on that security setup….

AT&T mHealth is on my list of interest. When you go to the play store on the Android it has the “warning” that “you must have an invitation to participate from your employer or health management company.” Well, that counts me out. I don’t have health insurance. Ping! That is a consideration with all these apps – what are the prerequisites?

I was excited to get WebMD on my iPad so that I could figure out what was wrong with me. Or my neighbors and friends. Seriously – how many times have you had a person tell you that this was aching, they had a rash somewhere, their chest pains were low in their ribs, or that the doctor gave them a medicine for that newly diagnosed condition but they forgot what else they were supposed to do other than take the medicine? Now, I’m likin’ some WebMD on my iPad!

For those clinicians out there listening in you can get Epocrates on your Android or Apple products, too. I kinda like that. Except for the part where I have to pay the pricing ($$) you need to pay for more than just RX (prescription) information.

A pretty neat one that I would never have thought of is Recalls.gov. It is available on Android and other versions are on the Apple products.

And what about those fitness and exercise apps? I found My Fitness Pal – really a lot like Weight Watchers that I did online about a year and a half ago but I thought it was less user-friendly. I had to guess at my calories and I’m always going to go for the help myself think that I’m losing weight side of things.

 

So what apps on your smartphones, tablets, or laptops do you use that relate to health/wellness?? I’m truly curious! I know there are a lot out there and one or two might just be of interest to me, also. Come on! Share!


OpenNotes link


Take 5 minutes of your day today to read about and familiarize yourself with this initiative. It is well worth it. Then come back and tell me what you think. I’ve been blogging on this topic for a few days now and found this site and initiative very informative and inspiring, actually.

OpenNotes 

Shared/copyright OpenNotes


More patient engagement – if it were a drug….


I’m just stumbling onto all kinds of articles on the OpenNotes topic. Remember those articles with the AHRQ topic of patient access to their medical/clinician notes? Here is another post that I like from Forbes by Dave Chase! It compares patient engagement to a new drug with this great quote from Sherry Reynolds:

“If  # OpenNotes was a new drug that increased patient engagement by 85%,  every doctor in the country would be prescribing it.”

And here is the great graphic from Robert Woods Johnson Foundation


Start up technology companies engagement with providers and patients


Found this article on Zite today about new technology startups partnering with providers and patients. With the start of the article it states that healthcare may become more personal. It also mentions that the new technology could contribute to this in that the technology may provoke more patient engagement. The author (Jennifer Greenway) uses the word that Donna Cryer of CryerHealth brought into being – operationalization – with the quote

“patient engagement in action looks like shared responsibility between patients (and their families if applicable), health care practitioners (the entire team: surgeons, physicians, nurses) and healthcare administrators (providers of the infrastructure and payment models) to co-develop pathways to optimal individual, community and population health.”

I just keep saying YEAH and WOOHOO to this approach or belief in patient engagement increasing. But when Hubby and I had this conversation about where healthcare is going for the future he disagreed with me on the topic of it being a consumer based system in the future – that providers would be dependent (really a stronger word than I want to use) on the choice of a patient to utilize their services. His view is that with the reform going on now and continuing that we as consumers will have fewer choices and will be told who we can utilize for services and which services we can have. As I said, I disagree and really hope that is not the path we are on. What do you think?

One of my favorite foundations, Robert Wood Johnson, has Project Health Design and Ms. Greenway notes

Witnessing the extraordinary outcomes achieved by interdisciplinary teams of researchers, technology experts, clinicians and patients participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Project Health Design engagement for development of tools to be used by real people to improve their health, better engage in their care, and enhance communication with their providers, why can’t we accelerate this innovation two or three-fold?

I have to agree – why can’t we?

 


AHRQ and the health of Americans: part 2


Yesterday I shared with you the first of a series based on an article in Public Health Newswire where Carolyn Clancy, MD and director of AHRQ answered questions for the community centered around the consumer in health care. What I may not have mentioned yesterday is that some of the answers to the questions inherently involve technology such as internet education, medical device electronic reporting & monitoring and basic access to technologies in everyday use.

The second question asked of Dr. Clancy was:

Q: You spoke at a health literacy conference in September where you said that 75 percent of medical diagnoses are based “on the story, never mind the tests.” What did you mean by that, and why is it so?

Clancy’s response of  “There are a number of studies that confirm that history – the patient’s story – is the most important factor in accurate diagnosis 75 to 80 percent of the time” is one that I agree with whole heartedly. Tests tell facts. Facts make up a scientific picture. And anyone who watches Bones on TV knows that these do not make up the whole of the problem that a patient may present with! Family and social histories play a major role in our health. Genetically we may have probable conditions that will “pop up” as we age – such as my predisposition for familial tremors. I have friends that have been tested for the probability of breast cancer and thus chose to have mastectomy as a preventative measure. These are not easy decisions to make or deal with.

What I am leading to is the reason, the compelling need, for patients to communicate with their clinicians (again it is not only physicians that we as patients talk to) their stories outside of “my stomach has been hurting me” or such symptoms. In turn, the clinicians have a responsibility to pay attention to the stories, listen, and ask questions that may lead to more pertinent information. When we get back to the compassion and humanity in health care we will be much more able to treat the patient as a whole – not as a reactive symptom presenter. And just FYI to the clinicians – making me feel guilty about tests that I haven’t had done and need to is not going to make me run out and do them. Maybe you should ask me why I am resistant? Then you can help me deal with that part of the issue.

What has/have your experience(s) been in communicating with your clinician(s)?


AHRQ and the health of Americans: part 1


This article that came out this morning in the Public Health Newswire is just packed full of stuff to talk about with you!! I’m doing a happy dance right now!! I’m going to take it a question at a time because I have so much to comment and I want to give you time to think and respond.

The first question that they ask Carolyn Clancy, MD and director of AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – I’ve mentioned them before) is :

Q: AHRQ aims to improve health care services for all Americans. What role does communication play in helping the agency achieve its goal? in which she responds “The main “currency” of health care is communication – and information.” Yes, finally!!! We are admitting that the patients exist as living speaking being that can tell you what is going on if you just TALK to them! They aren’t just lab test 010101. Clancy even points to the AHRQ campaign Questions Are the Answer campaign. It give you good points to remember when dealing with your care with a clinician. The campaign provides 10 questions that you should know to ask your clinician. (I am purposely using the word clinician here because often you don’t just see a doctor but perhaps a nurse practitioner or a physicians assistant.) It also breaks down what you should expect or be prepared for in the different phases of this care cycle – before, during and after your appointment. There is an interactive build your own questions that I just adore! It helps select questions, then helps you prioritize them and then (!!!!) it puts it into a printable format with space to write the answers and notes that you can take with you to the clinicians!

Overall, don’t let the visit intimidate you. Prepare for it. YOU are the customer. YOUR life is the one being given the focus and attention. This especially applies if you are taking a child to see a clinician. And now, due to my own circumstances I am aware, it is often an elderly parent that needs to have this same preparation for an appointment by the caregiver or family member.

 

Stay tuned for the next segment!

 


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