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How Tech Is Changing The Space In Modern Medical Facilities

How Tech Is Changing The Space In Modern Medical Facilities | Healthcare and Technology news |

Two organisations are revolutionising environments of medical facilities.

Healthcare is morphing every day as it adopts and adapts through new innovations in technology that can help improve care, protect privacy, and boost outcomes and bottom lines. Two organisations that are contributing to the revolutionist of medical facility environments are DIRTT and Cambridge Sound Management.

One constant in the healthcare game is the need for upgrades, remodels, and additions to physical space. But that requires construction work, which is often dirty, messy, and can introduce contaminants and irritants into the sterile hospital environment. They can also result is costly shutdowns or stoppages of care.

Enter DIRTT, a technology-driven interior construction company that offers clean installations relying on materials manufactured offsite so there’s no construction dust or debris, meaning no facility shut downs. This efficient means of construction can be upwards of 40 percent faster than traditional builds.

Another way technology is helping improve the overall healthcare experience is by protecting patient privacy. HIPAA requirements are strict regarding the dissemination of patient information, and many healthcare practices and institutions have had to engage in costly remodels to help protect that privacy with new alcoves and other structures that prevent sound from carrying during patient exchanges. And yet, acoustics and sound privacy are often overlooked by architects in planning open waiting areas or patients rooms, where sound travels easily through glass and over walls or partitions.


Now, Cambridge Sound Management is working inside the walls of medical facilities to improve speech privacy for patients. Their Qt Patient Privacy System is a speech protection system designed specifically for medical office reception areas, exam rooms, and pharmacies. It is a sound masking solution that protects conversations between patients and staff in all types of medical facilities. Using emitters installed in the ceiling, the system adds a low level of background sound into the space, making human talk unintelligible from a distance.

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The Healthcare industry is undergoing massive technological changes

The Healthcare industry is undergoing massive technological changes | Healthcare and Technology news |

The health care industry will see a 21% increase in IT jobs by 2020, according to research by the University of Chicago. Across all health care sectors, there is a demand for creative, thoughtful uses of health informatics, mobile technology and digital diagnostics.

Many of these new inventions have yet to be approved by the FDA, a process that can take up to 10 years. But that's not stopping the research and development of new technologies. Here are 10 types of tech that are changing the course of health care.


Digital diagnostics

Making health care more accessible includes providing digital diagnostics options for people who need it, especially those who can't get to a doctor's office. This is one of the main themes of digital health. One example of digital diagnostics is Neurotrack, a software-based Alzheimer's diagnostic test that can detect impairments on the hippo campus (the first area of the brain to be affected by the disease) by evaluating eye movement.


Ultra-fast scans

GE showcased its breakthrough ultra-fast CT scanner earlier this year, which can capture a still image of a heart in one beat. The company said that according to research, about 60% of patients have heart rates of higher than 60 beats per minute and are turned away from scans because their heart beats too fast to scan. With this Revolution CT, doctors can see specific areas of the heart that they could not before.



Wearable technology is going to play a huge role in health care in years to come. The Consumer Electronics Association reports that sales of fitness trackers and smart watches will reach $1 billion this year. But monitoring fitness is only the beginning. For instance, Intel teamed up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to use wearables to find certain characteristics of Parkinson's disease.


Health informatics

More than half of US hospitals use some type of electronic records system, but only 6% meet all the federal mandates, according to a recent study out of the University of Michigan. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, 50% of health care dollars are wasted on inefficient record keeping processes. Electronic records have been shown to save large hospitals anywhere between $37 and $59 million. It streamlines the medical care process and lowers malpractice claims, and increases coordination between providers. The federal government set a mandate to have some electronic system in place by this year.


Digital therapy

Digital therapy is important for patients who need at-home care, can't afford to travel to a clinic, or have no way to get to a clinic for therapy. Well frame is a platform that combines mobile technology with artificial intelligence to provide patients with care after they've returned home from the hospital or doctor's office. It's been described as a "GPS navigation system for patients." There is a daily to-do list for the patient and a tracker for diet and exercise, but an advanced algorithm adapts the content based on the information from patient and healthcare provider. The company has performed trials with cardiovascular, pulmonary, and mental health patients.


Concierge medical services

Startups are making it easier to pay out-of-pocket for on-demand health care services. For example, GoodRX allows you to compare prices for drugs at different pharmacies and save up to 80%. One Medical Group was created by doctors to build a better system for doctor's visits. In certain cities, you can search for an office based on your needs, find same-day appointments, email access, online scheduling, and trained primary doctors.


Networks and coaching

With mobile technology, it's easier than ever to have a customised diet or health plan. Thrive On is personalised coaching for mental health, offering plans by assessing your sleep, mood, stress, anxiety, and body image. Retrofit offers coaching and expert advice for weight loss and weight management.



With the onset of Affordable Care Act, more consumers have had to manage their own data and health future. Several startups are using this as an opportunity to offer insurance, benefits, and solutions services. Health solutions platforms such as Jiff, which connects employee behaviours to company benefits and incentives, are becoming more common.



Hacking is becoming an increasingly popular tool to solving real world problems, especially in the health care industry. Health care, which usually evolves slowly, is being revitalised with software developments, hardware inventions, apps, and wearables, and many of these ideas are born out of hackathons. MIT held a hackathon earlier this year that drew 450 people from various backgrounds such as engineering, journalism, medicine, and IT to tackle global health, diabetes, and hospital IT.

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Technology And The Changing Business Of Health Care

Technology And The Changing Business Of Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news |

Three years after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare,” scholars and political pundits have paid much attention to the macroeconomic effects of the law. Will Obamacare bend the health care cost curve?  What will be its impact on the federal budget deficit? How will it affect the bottom lines of small businesses and the economic security of the middle class?

When it comes to these questions, one can find a wide disparity of opinions among analysts, physicians, and even the authors of this commentary. But when it comes to the micro-economic ramifications of Obamacare — the effects the law will have on the business of delivering health care, especially in the non-hospital setting — there is little uncertainty: change is coming. As tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans obtain coverage, thereby allowing many to shop for doctors for the first time, the health care market will grow dramatically. Physicians thus will need to find ways to extend their capacity so that they can take advantage of this unique opportunity to expand their practices.

As the fee-for-service model continues its decline — and physician reimbursements come to be based on the quality, not quantity, of care — providing preventive care and promoting wellness will become a business, and not just clinical, priority.  Meanwhile, Americans will take more ownership over their health care as they obtain insurance, face higher deductibles, and gain more knowledge through newly available price and quality information.  Physicians will need to foster closer individual relationships with patients and prioritise not only cost efficiency, but also customer service, much in the way other businesses have in increasingly competitive retail sectors.


Changing Physician Reimbursement

A key concern of health care policymakers remains the skyrocketing cost of care.  The leading target of reformers is the outdated fee-for-service model, which creates incentives for doctors to provide more costly — and sometimes unnecessary — care. Indeed, studies show that hundreds of billions of our health dollars are spent each year unnecessarily. The lack of adequate transparency, a volume-driven payment system, defensive practices, prohibitive administrative costs, and the lack of adequate chronic care coordination are some of the reasons why.

In March 2012, the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform (of which Sen. First was a co-chair) recommended the abandonment of the fee-for-service model. First argued that the model is “the major driver of higher health care costs in the United States [because it] contains incentives for increasing the volume and cost of services (whether appropriate or not), encourages duplication, discourages care coordination, and promotes inefficiency in the delivery of medical services.”

Policymakers encapsulated this perspective in Obamacare, and Medicare has joined the private sector in pursuing initiatives designed to improve efficiency. The Centre for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, for example, is poised to serve at the cutting edge of delivery models that will gradually erode the fee-for-service structure under Medicare. Already, according to the New York Times, “an estimated 428 accountable-care organisations now cover four million Medicare enrol lees and millions more people with private insurance.” Indeed, evidence is mounting that payment arrangements that reward outcomes are already helping to slow the cost of care.

In time, we expect the fee-for-service model under which many physicians have worked their entire careers to no longer dominate, and for accountable care organisations and patient-centred medical homes to proliferate. The economic incentives that have guided physicians as they have built their practices will change dramatically. Instead of being rewarded for the quantity of care they provide, doctors will operate under a payment structure that emphasises preventive care and patient wellness.

This era of “person-focused medicine” will require doctors to form closer, stronger relationships with patients — not only to tailor wellness plans to each individual, but also to ensure that patients are taking the steps necessary to enhance their own health, such as taking medications or following dietary recommendations. No longer will it be enough to simply see a patient once a year for a checkup.

Indeed, physicians will need to form these stronger relationships not only for the health of their patients, but also for the health of their own practices. As the prominence of employer-provided insurance continues to decline, and high-deductible and defined-contribution plans continue to grow in popularity, patients will inevitably become more price-sensitive. Americans are becoming more motivated to seek greater value in health care. With the implementation of Obamacare, they will become more informed about their options. This represents a potential challenge for physicians working under the ACO model, for whom doctor shopping represents a direct threat to the bottom line.


The Growing Demand For Care

At the same time, most models estimate that, with the help of government subsidies, some 7 million previously uninsured Americans will acquire coverage in the first year after health care exchanges launch in October, with tens of millions more to follow over the next five years.  Groups like Enrol America, which Sen. Daschle is involved with, will help to usher the uninsured into the exchanges, providing them with information to help them pick the appropriate plan for their needs. With greater ability to afford regular health care, these new health care consumers represent an enormous opportunity for physicians to grow their practices.

Physicians would do well to respond to these changes by building deeper relationships with each individual patient and striving to deliver excellent customer service. But, at the same time, the entry of tens of millions of new consumers into the health care marketplace threatens to put a severe time strain on physicians.

Evidence suggests that the demand for physicians already outstrips supply. State-level studies compiled by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) found alarming doctor shortages across the country, a problem that is already worsening due to a growing and ageing American population. Add in the expansion of the health care market brought about by Obamacare, and the AAMC estimates that the United States will likely face a shortfall of 63,000 doctors by the year 2015, and 130,000 doctors by the year 2025.

The challenge, then, is clear. Physicians will have to find a way to expand their practices to handle more patients, while at the same time forging closer relationships with them in order to improve the health outcomes upon which reimbursements increasingly will be based. Many health care experts argue that physicians can increase their patient load capacity through team-based organisational models; others have looked to the enhanced scope of practice approaches that have increased the roles of nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists.


Technology as a physician extender 

These changes can help, but we believe that advances in smartphone technology, data analytics, and other innovations have put us in a place where technology can play a necessary and critical role in meeting these challenges. Unlike expensive new scanners and tests, the information technology required to meet patient demand is inexpensive and easy to incorporate into a physician’s practice. Over time, it should save money, not cost money.

For instance, technology can eliminate inefficiencies that plague physicians’ business operations (especially small practices). Online scheduling can help avoid revenue losses by filling appointments more efficiently. Physicians who regularly see 10 to 20 percent of their appointments turn into no-shows could make use of previously wasted time by putting appointment books online. Other advances in information technology can free up time currently spent on paperwork, patient follow-up, and other administrative tasks so that physicians can focus on the actual work of providing health care. And, as we have written, health information technology will be particularly important as physicians evolve their practices to account for new delivery and payment models.

From information technology that makes the operation of the physician’s business more efficient; to telemedicine that can allow physicians to assess a rash or read an MRI without scheduling a visit; to consumer electronics that allow patients to collect their own data and physicians to tailor care to each individual — these advances can serve as extremely effective “physician extenders” that assist physicians in expanding their capacity to match growing demand. They can help physicians build the kind of strong patient relationships that many thought would be impossible when the era of house calls came to an end.

Patients too are increasingly expecting these conveniences. Recent studies found that the majority of Americans plan to use social media and the Internet to find and review care providers, to check their symptoms, or to track their own health data. Mobile health and medical applications for smartphones are predicted to reach 142 million downloads by the year 2016. Large majorities of Americans report that they would like far more transparency, online scheduling, and email communication with care providers, as well as access to an electronic medical record to review information and email reminders when they are due for a visit. They also want the opportunity to receive diagnostic test results via email.

In addition, patients report that they will act on these preferences. A Price WaterhouseCooper’s Health Research Institute study asked patients what would guide their choice between two physicians with equivalent reputations. The top answer was, unsurprisingly, cost, at 20 percent. But 19 percent answered that they would choose physicians whose offices were more technologically advanced. In particular, 59 percent of “Generation Y” patients say they would switch doctors for one with better online access.

Finally, as mentioned above, the movement away from fee-for-service will create a further need for physicians to use technology to efficiently forge a close relationship with patients. In many of these coming models of care, if a patient under a physician’s care decides to leave his or her medical home or accountable care organisation to seek other care, the physician will be responsible for those expenses. Similarly, if a patient with a chronic condition does not follow practice guidelines to stay healthy, this could have financial (as well as clinical) consequences that the physician would have to face. In such a world, new advances in patient communications and health monitoring are critical for providers.


Change And The Need To Adapt

In sum, physicians need to expand their capacity in order to take advantage of the coming market transformation. They need to encourage patients to take ownership of their health care to secure outcomes under new reimbursement models. And in this era of doctor shopping, they need to provide the service patients are looking for.

Change is coming to the business of health care. In order to survive – and thrive – under Obamacare, physicians must adapt. And as they seek to do so, technology can be a critical asset.

Technology cannot eliminate all the uncertainty that comes with a major change in federal health care policy. Physicians must demonstrate resilience, innovation, collaboration, and leadership in the face of new developments.  And they must remain engaged in the public policy sphere as the implementation of Obamacare proceeds.

But technology can play a critical role as physicians seek to adapt their practices to the new landscape. This entails delivering customer service that inspires patient loyalty, offering new options for partnering with patients to achieve better outcomes, and expanding physicians’ capacity so they can take advantage of the coming influx of new patients.

While physicians may be hesitant to embrace the emerging economic reality of health care in America, we urge them to embrace the technologies that will help them succeed in the new reality.

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Major breakthroughs that will dominate Healthcare

Major breakthroughs that will dominate Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news |

Virtual Reality

Once The New York Times gave out Google Cardboard's with its newspapers, it was clear virtual reality was going mainstream. But now that Facebook’s Oculus Rift just became available for pre-order, virtual reality is going to become a booming industry. With really sophisticated devices on the market, it might have its biggest year ever in 2016. It will be used to let medical students gain realistic experience in examining patients or to let patients see what would happen to them the next day at the hospital for stress release.


Augmented Reality

A Novartis chief announced that the digital contact lens patented by Google would become available in 2016. As it will measure blood glucose from tears, it is supposed to change diabetes treatment and management. Moreover, Hololens from Microsoft also comes out in 2016 which will have a huge impact on fields from medical education to architecture and engineering. It could help medical students do dissections for many hours a day from any angles without the formaldehyde smell.



2015 was not the year of smart-clothes no matter how much we anticipated it. Even the ones with the biggest market potentials like HexoSkin were only traditional shirts with built-in devices in their pockets. But fibretronics are clothing materials with microchips implanted into them. They can react to body temperature or the mood of the wearer, among others. Google has started collaborating with Levi’s to create true fibretronic materials, which could be used to interact with technology through our clothes in novel ways. Imagine this in the OR. As the first promising collaborations in this area came out in 2015, expect to see the first tangible results in 2016!


Smart Algorithms Analysing Wearable Data

2015 was the year of wearable health trackers. A swarm of devices became available, Amazon launched its Wearable Marketplace and millions of activity trackers were sold. But gaining actionable insights from the constant stream of wearable data is not easy. We need clever algorithms and apps that merge data from several devices and apps, and help us draw meaningful conclusions. It would help lay people put more emphasis on prevention and have a healthier lifestyle. I had experience with, one of the earliest attempts, but it still needs to go a long way.


Near-Artificial Intelligence in Radiology

IBM’s Watson supercomputer has been used in oncology to assist medical decision-making. It proved the clear benefits of such a system by making diagnoses and treatment cheaper and more efficient. IBM’s Medical Sieve project aims to diagnose most lesions with a smart software, leaving room for radiologists to focus on the most important cases instead of checking hundreds of images every day.


Food Scanners

Food scanners like Scio and Tell-spec have been in the spotlight since 2014, but as early developer prototypes have already been mailed to their first users in 2015, 2016 could be the year they become generally available. This would enable anyone to find out what’s really on their plates, providing clear benefits not just to people looking to gain weight or eat healthier food, but people with dangerous allergies as well.  


Humanoid Robots

One of the most promising companies developing robots is Boston Dynamics, acquired by Google in 2013. Since then, they only released teaser videos about animal-like robots and Pet man, the humanoid robot. Many technologies they are working on seem to be at a stage where they are ready to become actual products, the first signs of which we’ll see in 2016.


3D Bioprinting

Organovo has been in the focus because of 3D printing bio materials for years. They announced successfully bio printed liver tissues in 2014 and they seemed to be 4-6 years away from printing liver parts for transplantation. But first, these bio printed livers could be finally used in the pharmaceutical industry to replace animal models when analysing the toxicity of new drugs. If it goes through in 2016, I feel printing actual liver tissue for transplantation could become a commercial service within the next decade.


Internet of Health Things At Home

Last year, I released a concept art of a bathroom of the future. All the elements in that image from the smart toothbrush to the digital mirror were partially available in 2015. But an array of sensors will reach the general public in 2016 making IoT a reality in our homes. The long-term goal is to make these devices communicate and learn from each other. This way we would not have to analyse the data of the devices ourselves, but the device manufacturers could merge their findings and share a digestible report with us when there is something to take care of.


Theranos – Thumbs Up Or Down

The end of 2015 saw Theranos embroiled in a scandal. The company claims to perform blood tests from one drop of blood in a transparently priced way. Concerns were raised by the Wall Street Journal about the validity of their claims, and we are waiting for Theranos to reveal the details of their medical technologies.

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How technology will change ICU care in your hospital

How technology will change ICU care in your hospital | Healthcare and Technology news |

The intensive care unit (ICU) is due for a makeover. Even though healthcare technology itself has improved, there haven’t been many advances in care administered in the ICU since the 1960s. Some doctors are working to change that by better integrating new tech advances into daily ICU processes. 


Endless alarms

One of the biggest problems providers are trying to solve is alarm fatigue in the ICU. Various types of equipment and devices, such as pumps and pulse-rate monitors, all end up making noise at once.

Eventually doctors and nurses end up tuning the sounds out, which can be dangerous for patients if an alarm is actually serious.

Often, these sounds are due to the inability of devices to communicate with each other. The article mentions what’s being done to change this – particularly, updating devices so they’re able to seamlessly transmit and share patient information.

This would not only reduce the likelihood of duplicate alarms sounding, it would also make the lives of clinical staff much easier. They’d have to deal with fewer machines setting off false alarms, so they can spend more time with patients.

Many medical device vendors have committed to making their products more capable of interoperability and sharing data between other devices from different manufacturers. So better device communication is coming in the not-too-distant future.


Time-saving sensors

Another development to save time and improve care in the ICU: the installation of sensors that would alert clinicians about critical tasks they must perform for patients.

For example, patients must have their beds at specific angles to keep them from developing pneumonia. Most nurses currently check angles manually – even using protractors in some cases. But new sensors, costing as little as $2 each, can monitor the angle of a patient’s bed and alert nursing staff when it needs to be adjusted.


Apps to sort data

Better data filtering would also be beneficial in the ICU. Hospital equipment collects thousands of data points about each patient per day. Much of it is saved in the patient’s records via an electronic health records (EHR) system. But it’s not always saved in the most organised way, so it’s hard for providers to find the information they need about each patient’s condition.

Several apps have been designed to change that and their creators hope they’ll become more common in the ICU as time goes on.

One app, called AWARE, is billed as an “electronic intern” that identifies crucial health details doctors need and organises them based on the organs they affect.

EMERGE, another app, analyses EHR data to let providers know if a proposed course of treatment or medication may be harmful to patients, which can be useful in preventing never events.


More tech benefits

Technology has a host of other benefits for the ICU. Many hospitals don’t have full-time critical care physicians on staff. However, facilities can take advantage of telemedicine and have intensivists remotely monitor patients’ conditions.

Plus, recent research shows that using telehealth in the ICU reduces mortality rates, since remote experts can quickly alert doctors and nurses to significant changes in a patient’s condition.

Some hospitals are even using technology so staff can make better personal connections with patients in the ICU. They’ve placed a tablet next to each bed so patients and their families can enter in personal details about themselves, including photos.

The tablets also allow them to note their recovery goals and any fears they have about their hospital stay. This helps staff give each patient more personalised care.


Next steps

Hospitals need to be aware these options exist for their ICUs. With these new technological advances in mind, it’s critical to look over your hospital’s current care protocols and decide which practices need to be updated.

Because patients in the ICU are critically ill, and hospitals are being judged on patient outcomes, it’s key to stay on top of developments regarding any technology that can help you boost the quality of the care your facility provides to its sickest patients.

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Top healthcare technology advances for 2016

Top healthcare technology advances for 2016 | Healthcare and Technology news |

The Affordable Care Act's new payment models have hospital leaders searching for effective ways to reduce costs, while increasing care quality. As the 2016 technology market will be inundated with innovations, ECRI Institute has released its annual list of the top technologies, many pointing the way toward value-based care.

"Hospital leaders have to deal with a lot of new technology issues – and demands from different departments in their facilities," said Robert P. Maliff, director of ECRI’s applied solutions group, in a press statement. The list is meant to assist leaders attempting to update and implement new technology.

ECRI takes an "evidence-based" approach in their assessments of healthcare innovations over the course of the year, officials say.

"We present hospital leaders with unbiased guidance to support informed decision making and help them understand how new innovations will affect care delivery," said Diane C. Robertson, ECRI's director of health technology assessment, in a statement. The topics and trends  it expects will most affect healthcare over the next year:


Mobile stroke units

MSUs use specially-outfitted ambulances and staff members, in conjunction with telemedicine to perform blood tests, CT scans and TPA tests before the patient arrives at the hospital.


Medical device cyber-security

Most healthcare IT leaders integrate stringent security features for network infrastructures and EHRs - but not for their mobile devices. As many devices are attached to patients' EHRs, C-suite members must perform threat assessments and know the devices and software connected to crucial patient data.


Wireless wearable sensors

As an increasing number of consumers turn to wellness apps, devices and wearable sensors, healthcare officials must learn how to utilise this data to reduce hospital stays and readmission for those with serious and chronic conditions.


Miniature lead less pacemakers

Next-generation pacemakers are 10 percent of the size of conventional pacemakers and are designed for only one heart chamber. It's more effective than traditional models, but only ideal for 15 percent pacemaker patients.


Blue-violet LED light fixtures

These lights provide continuous environmental disinfection technology to kill harmful healthcare-related bacteria – a major cause of morbidity, mortality and increased healthcare costs in the U.S.


New high-cost cardiovascular drugs

Three newly-approved home care cardiovascular drugs are expensive compared to standard-of-care medications, but short-term data has lauded efficacy.


Changing landscape of robotic surgery

The robotic surgery landscape is rapidly changing; vendor competition is set to explode in early 2016 with a switch from mainframe to tablet-type programs.


Spectral computed tomography

Spectral computed tomography will reenter the health tech conversation due to new tools and increased marketing. The tool builds on traditional CT scans by adding depth to the physiologic function of soft tissue with a dual-layer detector.


Injected bioabsorbable hydrogel (SpaceOAR)

Approved for prostate cancer patients, SpaceOAR is designed to protect tissue and healthy organs from radiation treatment. Currently there is limited reimbursement for this product's use, but studies have shown the barrier to be highly effective.


Warm donor organ perfusion systems

New technology provides warm perfusion of lungs and hearts to eliminate the issue that two-thirds of organs are never used by hospitals, as viability deteriorates harvesting, preserving and transporting.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details : or 877-910-0004


Popular Consumer Apps Changing Healthcare

Popular Consumer Apps Changing Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news |

Pokemon Go

It’s the most downloaded mobile game in U.S. history, but is

Pokemon Go a healthcare app? Jonathan Halvorson, writing for The Health Care Blog, makes the case that it might very well be.

“The game comes first,” he says. “That turns out to be the smarter path to actually engage large numbers of people to be active. Self-reports and early data from tracking devices reveal a massive jump in walking, almost certainly tens of billions of additional steps in just one week.”

In contrast to Pokemon Go, many fitness apps designed specifically to get people moving have proven ineffectual. Halverson predicts the lessons learned from the success of Pokemon Go will inevitably “change the face of both gaming and health and wellness tools generally.”

While Pokemon Go is the latest popular consumer application showing promise for tracking and improving health, it’s certainly not the first. Here are 6 other ingenious healthcare use cases for well-known apps.


Tinder for Organ Donation

As reported in MedCity News, users of Tinder, the popular online dating app, may soon be able to  swipe right on their mobile screens to register as an organ donor. The campaign to engage potential donors on Tinder in the U.S. follows a similar campaign last year in the UK.


Google Maps the Zika Outbreak

Google Maps have long been utilized by public health researchers for visualization of health threats. For real-time monitoring of the Zika Virus, Boston-based offers a global view of the outbreak complete with a timeline of confirmed and suspected cases pinpointed by location using Google Maps.


Twitter IDs Food Poisoning

As reported in 2014 on the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Chicago Department of Public Health actively monitors Twitter to help identify reports of food-borne illnesses. Health inspectors in other cities, like New York and Las Vegas, report using similar techniques as well as pulling in data from restaurant review sites like Yelp.


Facebook for Suicide Prevention

Facebook recently announced the global rollout of new features for suicide prevention, including a drop-down menu that allows users to flag posts as suicidal. Flagged posts are expedited for internal review, and if deemed suicidal, both the reporter and the person who posted the content are met with a variety of help options, developed in conjunction with mental health groups.


Uber as Ambulance

For emergency transportation to a hospital would you rely on Uber? The company doesn’t recommend it, but there’s ample anecdotal evidence that more patients are using the ride service as a more reliable and less expensive alternative to ambulance service. Uber is forging relationships with hospitals for non-emergency transportation, as highlighted in this announcement from Hackensack University Medical Centre.


Google Cardboard Enables Life-Saving Surgery

Google Cardboard turns a smartphone into a virtual reality headset using just a piece of cardboard folded to enclose the device. The inexpensive technology, when paired with a 3D viewing app, helped Miami doctors create a virtual map of a child’s heart that aided a life-saving surgery.

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Health technology and innovation

Health technology and innovation | Healthcare and Technology news |

Understanding digital health technologies

Key findings:

Caregivers share similar views with consumers on the promise of digital technology to help caregivers work more as a team, increase patient-clinician interaction, put diagnostic testing of basic conditions into the hands of patients, promote self-management of chronic disease using health apps.


  • Speak the same language by using consistent terminology that minimises confusion.
  • Make patients aware of alternatives.
  • Promote “good” apps by asking six key questions about integration, interoperability, feedback, behaviour reinforcement, outcomes measurement, and sustainability.
  • Determine when digital interventions make the most sense by avoiding broad-based clinical protocols.

One company’s experience:

Ochsner Health System in New Orleans has started to integrate health apps into its clinical operation by having physicians write app prescriptions. Earlier this year, the health system opened its own Apple-inspired “O Bar” to help patients choose from a curated selection of wearables and apps, said Richard Milani, MD, chief clinical transformation officer. Ochsner physicians can “prescribe” apps and wearables using mock prescription pads. So far, patients have downloaded 2,000 apps, mostly focused on fitness, diet and women’s health. Several hundred devices have been purchased, mainly blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors and fitness trackers. In the United Kingdom, Cambridge Healthcare has created its own apps formulary to guide caregivers.


Adoption and continued use of digital technology is critical

Key findings:

  • Providers participating in new, risk-based payment models are heavier users of digital health technology than providers with more of their revenue based on traditional fee-for-service payments.
  • As healthcare companies must figure out which financial and non-financial motivators attract patients and caregivers to digital health technologies and lead to their continued use.


  • Forge innovative payment contracts for digital health and show evidence that digital technologies save insurers and employers money.
  • Reinforce desired behaviours through a behaviour change program that enables, educates, supports, guides and motivates patients and clinicians.
  • Create patient incentives that align with clinician goals and incentives.
  • Balance financial and non-financial incentives–such as access to information to sustain the use of digital health tools.

One company’s experience:

A large health system in the Southwest has taken to market a new bundled care initiative (e.g., high risk pregnancy) in which it guarantees quality and price. The bundled offering relies heavily on combining analytics and EHR decision support, patient engagement tools, and mobile health. The health system has adjusted its business model upon the expectation that 25% of revenue will come through its mobile health approach in which many physicians have been put on salary instead of perverse fee-for-service incentives that reward volume rather than value.


Generating meaningful, actionable insights through analytics

Key findings:

  • Healthcare executives view data mining and analysis as most important during the next five years, but analytics do not appear to be top of mind among physicians.
  • Seventy percent of clinicians are not sharing information with caregivers outside of their practice, with the exception of pharmacists, to coordinate care today.
  • Merging information about a patient’s financial status, home life and other social and environmental factors is essential for establishing a personalised care approach and determining which digital interventions will work best.
  • Healthcare companies can protect at-risk revenue by anticipating medical problems using predictive analytics.


  • Listen to data signals, relying on fragmented data to start to build a picture of the patient as the technology improves.
  • Combine administrative and clinical data into one view to give clinicians more flexibility to determine care strategy.
  • Expand the data web with traditional non-traditional health companies that share complementary goals and mutually useful data.
  • Own the insights from data-sharing relationships to gain more control over privacy and security and use analytics know-how to serve community caregivers.

One company’s experience:

Based on sophisticated mapping the health system did to identify geographic areas with high numbers of members with certain conditions, Kaiser Permanente has proposed to partner directly with the City of San Leandro, Calif., in a public health effort around air quality, according to Mike Holland, director of Kaiser Permanente’s Innovation Lab. As part of a proposed project, Kaiser Permanente would rely upon information from the city’s environmental sensors and use its patient database to send text notifications to patients with pulmonary issues recommending that they stay indoors when air quality is expected to be poor.


Rethinking the workforce and informing workflows

Key findings:

  • With growing demands to synthesise information and coordinate care for patients, providers must tap technology and the entire workforce to truly reduce costs and improve quality.
  • Physicians that staff more nurse practitioners or physician assistants appear to be ahead on digital adoption, but they might be missing opportunities to use extenders to learn more about patients and how to manage their care. Only half believe extenders have enabled them to better coordinate care across settings and just one-third are using them to analyse more information about their patients.
  • Clinicians still follow an art rather than a science because too much data and too few algorithms prevent them from quickly deciphering reams of raw data.


  • Healthcare companies must design new processes for the care team alongside technology implementation and new protocols for digital health.
  • Use information to extend the care delivery team to nurses, pharmacists, social workers, nutritionists, community health workers, and families.
  • Teach through simulation so that staff can envision how they will treat patients and how their jobs may change in new care models.

One company’s experience:

One company in New Jersey developed a patient access centre that transcends general appointment and surgery scheduling by predicting who is likely to need follow up after discharge. For patients assigned to the health system’s accountable care organisation, the centre's community-based care managers rely on data from the health system’s information exchange–administrative and clinical–to ensure the right information is flowing to the right people at various transitions of a patient’s care and when to intervene.

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How Digital Technology is changing the Landscape of Health Care?

How Digital Technology is changing the Landscape of Health Care? | Healthcare and Technology news |

How will tech today, and in the future, make healthcare better?

Technology is having an impact on our lives everywhere we go. From the way we shop to the food that we eat, technology is changing everything we do.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in healthcare, where technology is helping us beyond convenience, it is helping save lives.

The impacts have been substantial already, but in future these developments are likely to be even more pronounced.

So which technologies are having a real impact on healthcare?


Non-Invasive Techniques

Surgery is always a dangerous procedure, regardless of what is being done. The reason that good surgeons are some of the best paid people in the world is because their job is incredibly difficult and requires considerable skill.

New technology is making some surgical procedures less likely, which is therefore decreasing the risk of death that every surgery brings.

We have seen through the use of pulses, lasers, ultrasounds and magnetic stimulation that these techniques can be considerably safer than traditional surgical procedures.

Some of these are not new, such as X-Ray imaging, but we are seeing through new technology that the pace of change and the levels of success are constantly increasing. The future is bright for this kind of medical care and is a key element in reducing the chances of death whilst being treated.


3D Printing

Although currently limited mainly to prosthetics as a common use for 3D printing, the truth is that it has almost endless possibilities when the technology develops further.

We have seen that 3D printing can provide prosthetics at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. They can even be made into completely custom designs, as the famous video with Robert Downey Jr giving an Iron Man prosthetic to a fan shows.

In future 3D printing could potentially create organic matter to order, which means that it could be anything from new skin to match exactly in skin grafts, to fully formed hearts or lungs that could be transplanted.



M-Health allows data to be collected about a patient through everyday life. This is then collected by a mobile device and can be transmitted to a doctor directly or stored in a database to track how a patient is reacting to a treatment over time.

The benefits of this are hard to overstate. It gives doctors the kind of insight that they would never be able to achieve through traditional time slots and clinical evaluations. These sessions will have significant time constraints and also are experienced outside of a patient’s regular routine.

Having access to this data gives doctors the unique opportunity to view the patient’s reaction when outside of a clinical environment, which aids in recovery, treatment and condition monitoring.

It can even be configured to alert the patient and doctor if levels drop or rise sharply and may require medical attention.


Genetics Database

The genetics database may not be something that many people will be aware of on an individual level, but across the healthcare community will have a huge impact.

It will give clinicians a huge database that can be used to establish best treatments, the way that diseases affect different demographics or even how viruses spread in particular areas. It will essentially be the best possible opportunity for doctors to make the best decisions about the treatment of patients through crowd sourced medical information.

It will allow the best possible treatments to be administered that will not only suit the individual, but also make considerable differences to the effectiveness of them, based on in depth information. It will mean that somebody with a certain blood pressure, of a particular age, from a specific place and with a certain activity rate, can get the treatment that is likely to be the most successful for them.

It also means that when outbreaks like the Ebola crisis of 2014 occur, the genetics of the disease from the earliest patients can help prevent the disease spreading as rapidly in other areas of the population.

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Elements which should consider in Digital Healthcare

Elements which should consider in Digital Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news |

Going digital is not as easy as it may seem. Industry players have to take a deep breath and dive into careful analysis and strategy development. It is exceptionally important for industries, such as healthcare, where the cost of failure is incredibly high.

For years I’ve been working with healthcare providers and have gained a good understanding of how much value digital solutions may bring to them.  At the same time, it isn’t an easy task to implement a solution which will move services they provide to the next level. The ultimate key to success is the development and implementation of the appropriate digital strategy.  My hope is that this article will help digital change executives and others involved in a digital transformation of healthcare businesses to consider five major elements of getting a successful digital strategy off the ground. Using my years of experience, I’ve developed a road-map for the development of the digital strategy.


Informational support

Patients are your primary audience, therefore when developing the strategy think of them first with the following point in mind: today’s patients want more information.

They have acquired quite profound medical knowledge these days and want more information about the treatment. Continuously, they ask how they are being treated, what medications are used and why, how patients with similar diagnoses were treated and what the result was. Searching for this information, they create communities to discuss the issues, treatment methods, physicians and medications. Sometimes patients’ communities save lives, like what happened with e-Patient Dave, who managed to find the medical treatment by turning to a group of fellow patients.

In a world where patients demand more information, delivery of relevant content becomes one of the essential points in the development of digital strategy.


Access to medical services

Access to medical services goes hand in hand with the delivery of relevant information. Awareness triggers asking more questions and raising more patient cases, hence the lines at clinics get longer. However, physicians have about 15 – 20 minutes to examine a patient and write prescriptions, which is quite a limited time slot. Implementing medicine technologies would notably improve the situation. Medicine is not the panacea, but it provides physicians with multiple opportunities like remote monitoring of chronic patients, support systems, accelerated feedback and provides better experiences for patients in rural areas. All kinds of digital tools to speed up and automate scheduling a doctor appointment can be a great help for patients.


Medical adherence management

Digital technologies are also valuable in monitoring chronic patients. Quite often, these people require more doctors’ attention, but the limited time for an appointment is a real problem. Digital technologies can facilitate the process. With applications serving for control medical adherence, doctors can be sure their patients won’t forget to take a pill or miss an appointment. The same applications may help to exchange information between patients and doctors in real time. This exchange may include symptoms collected via a patient’s device, medical test data sent to the patient’s device and information about pills taken (or not) by a patient. This exchange can help doctors to take corrective steps when required, like giving a call to a patient or a caregiver when a problem with medical adherence has been detected. 


Treatment process management

The adoption of digital technologies can help not only manage medical adherence but also the whole treatment process itself. Digital technologies provide physicians with opportunities to adjust the treatment on the basis of the received tests, and make the changes if there are improvements or if something goes wrong. Patients can see a treatment schedule in their devices as well as an associated medication schedule, and receive notifications in order to not miss an appointment or a pill. And again, the option to share symptoms history works well in this process as it allows quick changes based on a real patients’ feedback.


User experience optimisation

The quality of services at hospitals can be considerably improved by digital technologies. Simple things like registering appointments online, appointment reminders, to-do lists, mobile payments, QR codes, quick patient access to EHR (electronic health records) or sending the result analysis to smartphones can advance the level of healthcare services and optimise user experience.


Connecting patients and HCPs

For years, quick connection between patients and doctors was one of the most important and sometimes difficult things in healthcare. By implementing digital technologies, doctors and patients can have a close connection. Be it a smartphone or a web app, it would allow a patient to consult or call a doctor when it is really necessary. Digital technologies cut the distance; that is what hospitals really need. Connecting doctors, medical staff and patients better organises the whole process. Tools mentioned above, such as apps for real-time communication, sharing symptoms, sending medical test results to patients’ devices and medicine are excellent examples of how digital technologies can help doctors to provide a better outcome to patients.


Digital skills of your employees

As Accenture states in its report, the major barrier to digital transformation is the lack of digital skills; 44 percent of business leaders agree with that opinion. Therefore, staff training should not be omitted.

It is interesting that many doctors are already using smartphones and tablets to facilitate the process of communication and interaction with patients. Physicians are really interested in digital tools and services. According to the JournalMTM research, 94 percent of surveyed respondents had smartphones (95.2 percent students vs. 92.5 percent physicians). Of those with the technology, 82.9 percent stated they have used it at least once in a clinical setting. Respondents perceived fast access to information to be the greatest benefit to mobile medical technology (96.6 percent), as well as simplified access (75.5 percent) and easier medical calculations (70.8 percent).

As you can see, doctors are already trying to go digital. What you need is to perform thorough research, check the skills of the staff and teach them to use the digital technologies. They are ready to accept the digital challenge.  


Workload optimisation

In hospitals all over, doctors need new processes and workflows that allow them to increase work efficiency, improve diagnostics and treatment, and what is more, advance their relationships with patients.

Therefore, optimisation of workload is an important benefit digital technologies provide. Thinking about your future digital strategy, you may want to consider a paperless data exchange – a mobile doctor’s dashboard where they can check their patients’ data and manage treatment plans, apps for nurses to help with task management and urgent requests processing, and many other tools to digitise and therefore optimise business processes efficiency.  All of that quickens the pace, reduces workflow disruptions and increases productivity. Hence, hospitals and clinics can work with more patients without the negative impact on the quality of treatment.  


How can your medical staff and doctors benefit from going digital

Implementation of digital tools brings tangible advantages, like reducing paperwork time and increasing patients’ face time. Moreover, with digital tools, physicians can receive symptoms and medical conditions data prior to meeting with a patient in-person, thus decreasing the time for recollecting a case history.

“Doctors today face two important issues,” says Todd Skrinar, a partner in the Life Sciences Advisory Practice at Ernst & Young. “They’re working in a more constrained cost environment, doing more with less. And they’re being forced to change the way they deliver services because of that. Digital technology will enable more mobility of the healthcare practitioner, and health records will be more readily available.”

Having “digital assistants” in their hands, doctors get more opportunities to deliver better treatment. Digital tools broaden the limits that have prevented the improvement of service delivery.

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How Information Technology Improving the Quality of Health Care in United States

How Information Technology Improving the Quality of Health Care in United States | Healthcare and Technology news |


In 1969, when the Internet was known as the DARPAnet and the World Wide Web was nothing more than a glint in a creative student's mind, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded its first project in medical information. Since then, the Agency has continued to support research and development projects in the use of information technology to improve health care, awarding $250 million dollars to fund more than 150 projects in medical informatics. Today, the Agency is still blazing this technology trail with projects that seek to develop the knowledge and tools needed to improve the quality of care in the U.S. health care system.


Clinical Informatics to Promote Patient Safety (CLIPS)

AHRQ's fiscal year 2001 appropriation included $50 million for initiatives to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety. Accordingly, the Agency developed a series of research solicitations (RFAs) to:

  • Design and test best practices for reducing errors in multiple health care settings;
  • Develop the science base to inform these efforts;
  • Improve provider education to reduce errors;
  • Capitalise on IT advances to translate effective strategies into widespread practice; and
  • Build capacity to further reduce errors.

This represents the single largest investment the federal government has ever made to address the problem of medical errors.

One of these solicitations was the Clinical Informatics to Promote Patient Safety (CLIPS) RFA, which focused on the use of IT to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety. The CLIPS RFA generated enthusiasm among patient safety and informatics researchers and resulted in a large number of competitive proposals from a wide range of public and private sector organisations. Many proposals involved research using handheld wireless devices, electronic medical record systems, computerised decision support tools, or electronic prescribing applications. Other areas of proposed research included simulation models for education and training, automated error alerting mechanisms, structured electronic data sets, digital eye technology, database applications, computerised patient self-monitoring and communication tools, wearable mini computers, bio-metric technology, Internet and intranet applications, cognitive science and human factors engineering, data mining, and barriers to electronic prescribing.


Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program

Like many other federal agencies, AHRQ devotes 2.5 percent of its extramural research budget to support the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, which helps small businesses develop innovative technology that will lead to improvements in health care quality in the United States. Over the past two years, AHRQ has funded 20 SBIR projects that have focused on developing innovative IT tools for improving patient safety and overall quality of care. For example, one group of investigators developed a web-based communication and disease management system that provides clinical information and facilitates communication between patients with asthma and their providers. They are currently assessing the impact of their program on compliance with asthma management guidelines and overall quality of care. Another group of researchers is developing a prototype information exchange system that provides immediate access to patient information and facilitates communication during emergency response situations by integrating Internet resources, fingerprint technology, and smart cards. Finally, a third group of investigators is developing a computerised medical monitoring device that is enabled with a Bluetooth wireless network. The device automatically collects, analyses and transmits patient data, and also alerts patients and providers to potential problems. The group is currently developing working prototypes of a weight scale, glucose monitor, and thermometer.


Integrated Delivery System Research Networks (IDSRNs)

The Integrated Delivery System Research Network (IDSRN) was developed to capitalise on the research capacity of large integrated delivery systems in the United States. The network includes nine partners that encompass a wide variety of organisational care settings and provide health care services to more than 55 million people. These IDSRN partners are well suited for conducting relevant research due to (1) their ability to collect and maintain administrative, claims, clinical, and other data on large populations that are clinically, demographically, and geographically diverse; (2) their access to many of the country's leading clinicians, health services researchers, and health care facilities; (3) their expertise in quantitative and qualitative methodologies, including emerging areas with important policy or managerial implications; and their leadership and management authority to implement and evaluate various interventions, including financial and organisational changes. The AHRQ is taking advantage of the research capacity of the IDSRNs to generate results within a relatively quick turnaround time (e.g., 12–18 months) to study various ways that IT can improve the quality of health care in diverse settings. In FY 2001, sixteen IDSRN projects were funded, and seven of these projects specifically targeted to the use of IT in health care.

For example, two network partners are studying how automated electronic reminders affect compliance with recommended guidelines for the management of patients with diabetes. Another network partner is studying how different integrated delivery systems in California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, North Carolina, Utah, and Idaho transfer medication information within each system. Another partner is studying the use of automated computerised reminders that utilise the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to improve screening and detection of patients at increased risk for tuberculosis. Finally, two partners are studying how electronic communication can be used by patients and providers to improve quality of care.


Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs)

One of the innovative ways AHRQ is supporting important outcomes research is through the development of the Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs). The PBRNs are made up of community-based, primary care clinicians working together with experienced health services researchers to address clinically relevant health care issues and translate research findings into practice to improve quality of care. The PBRNs were established in September 2000, when 19 networks from across the country were funded with planning grants. The PBRNs represent a wide variety of practice settings located in 50 states and the District of Columbia, providing access to more than 5,000 primary care providers and almost seven million patients. The PBRNs foster a “user-driven” agenda, where clinical and research ideas emanate directly from the “front-line” clinicians who are seeing patients in their daily practice, and they provide the Agency with a unique opportunity to conduct “real-world” effectiveness research in “living laboratories.” Despite its brief tenure, the PBRN program has met with great success, as evidenced by the program's recent expansion to 36 networks and an increase in the FY 2003 budget to $3 million dollars.

Many of these recent awards will support the development of the PBRNs' IT infrastructure and evaluate ways of using IT to improve quality of care. For example, one PBRN is testing the feasibility of clinicians using handheld devices with computerised algorithms for assessing and counselling patients who smoke. Another network is testing an Internet-based communication, surveillance, and data management system to enhance linkages between community practices, state health departments, and the State Epidemiological and Bio-terrorism Surveillance System. A third network is testing the use of a computerised automated reminder system for lipid management within an electronic medical record. The system integrates a patient's clinical information with current research findings, calculates the risk of cardiovascular disease for an individual patient, and generates reminders to the clinician. Finally, three PBRNs are developing interactive surveillance systems to recognise bio-terrorism events.


Translating Research into Practice (TRIP)

In health care, many clinical practices are not based on good scientific evidence regarding an intervention's impact on important outcomes or quality of care. Sometimes this occurs because evidence from well conducted, randomised controlled trials is not available. However, even when good evidence is available and there is strong consensus regarding the effects of an intervention, there is often inappropriate utilisation of the intervention, resulting in sub-optimal care. Studies suggest that it takes an average of 17 years for research evidence to be incorporated into standard clinical practice. The use of IT can help overcome this gap in knowledge management and application through tools to enhance the translation, implementation, and dissemination of important research findings in clinical practice. With this in mind, AHRQ launched its Translating Research into Practice (TRIP-I) program in 1999, funding 14 projects to generate new knowledge about facilitating the use of rigorously derived evidence to improve patient care.

Building on the success of TRIP-I, AHRQ launched TRIP-II in September 2000, funding 13 projects that focused on implementation issues, such as organisational and clinical characteristics, that are associated with successfully translating research findings into clinical practice in diverse settings. With TRIP II, the Agency emphasised the use of IT as a key strategy for translating research into practice and improving quality of care. One group of investigators is using an interactive, multi-media computer program to improve diabetes-related knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and compliance with self-care recommendations in clinics serving predominantly African American and Hispanic patients. Another group of investigators is assessing a computerised decision support system that provides automated reminders, alerts, and guidelines in the outpatient setting. A third group of investigators is evaluating Internet-based learning modules designed to increase screening of female patients who are at risk for chlamydia infection and to decrease the incidence of pelvic inflammatory disease in primary care practices. Finally, investigators are evaluating the impact of a quality improvement model using electronic medical records and academic detailing on adherence to clinical practice guidelines for prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke in 22 primary care settings across the United States.


Bio-terrorism Preparedness

Even before the events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent anthrax attacks, AHRQ was supporting research initiatives to improve the nation's ability to respond to bio-terrorism. In fiscal year 2000, the Agency received $5 million to support and conduct research to improve the capacity of the nation's health care system to respond to incidents of bio-terrorism. By 2002, funding for bio-terrorism initiatives had increased to $10 million dollars.

The Agency's bio-terrorism efforts have focused on assisting clinicians, hospitals, and health care systems in the following areas:

  • Emergency preparedness of hospitals and health care systems for bio-terrorism and rare public health events;
  • Technologies and methods to improve the linkages between clinical health care systems, emergency response networks, and public health agencies; and
  • Training and information needed to prepare community clinicians to recognise the manifestations of bio-terrorism and manage patients appropriately.

The Agency's bio-terrorism research is a natural outgrowth of its ongoing efforts to develop evidence-based information to improve health care quality. (Some of these projects were previously described in the discussions on the IDSRNs and PBRNs.) Other examples include: the use of computer simulations to develop models for planning citywide responses to bio-terrorism attacks, including optimal distribution of antibiotics to ambulatory patients and improvement of hospital treatment capacity; development of an electronic “Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance” system to provide early warnings of infectious disease outbreaks so treatment and control measures can be initiated; and generation of an evidence report on the ability of currently available IT and decision support systems to serve the needs of clinicians and public health officials in the event of a bio-terrorist attack.



Health care has lagged far behind many other industries in harnessing the capabilities of IT to improve services, knowledge, communication, outcomes, quality, and efficiency. Given the complexity of modern medicine, it is inevitable that IT will play an ever increasing role in improving health care quality. As noted by the IOM's Committee on Quality Health Care in America, “Information technology must play a central role in the redesign of the health care system if a substantial improvement in quality is to be achieved over the coming decade.” To make significant progress, a major re-engineering of the health care delivery system is needed, which requires changes in technical, sociological, cultural, educational, financial, and other important factors.

Research is needed to:

  • Evaluate the role of IT in improving clinical decision making, information management, communication, costs, and access to care;
  • Assess barriers to successful implementation of proven IT, as well as strategies to overcome these barriers so that all patients and providers have access to technologies that can improve safety and quality of care;
  • Generate solutions to eliminate the digital divide;
  • Document the costs and resources associated with adopting and maintaining proven IT applications; and
  • Evaluate transfer-ability of IT solutions to other health care settings.

The AHRQ is working diligently to develop a portfolio of IT initiatives. The Agency's research and demonstration projects will provide the evidence needed to guide future IT implementation to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health care delivery in the United States.

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Technology Is Helping Shape the Future of Health Care

Technology Is Helping Shape the Future of Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news |

It is no surprise that in a new ranking created by Dell with IHS Economics, seven of the top overlap with the American Fitness Index’s list of healthiest U.S. cities. These cities are arguably some of the most connected and most educated, and their infrastructure supports recreational activity.

But health is not just an outcome of development – it is a prerequisite. And never before has such an incredible tool been available for communities to engage people in making healthy lifestyle changes: technology.

Just as technology is giving providers more ways to care for and engage their patients in a variety of places, it is also providing the means for governments to reach people with health care information, businesses to tailor wellness programs for their workforce, and people to take charge of their own health.

Chronic illnesses – such as heart disease, stroke, asthma, diabetes, and obesity – are responsible for seven of 10 deaths every year in the U.S., and treatment of these chronic illnesses accounts for 86 percent of U.S. health care costs, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control. However, while they are among the most common and costly of health problems, chronic illnesses are also the most preventable and manageable, because they often respond to choices we make in our daily lives. To conquer chronic illness we have to create new habits, and that is not always easy.

Patient engagement is one way to change habits. When health care providers effectively engage patients to participate in their care, patients begin to take more responsibility for their own health and adopt healthier habits. Effective engagement of patients with chronic illnesses can lead to reductions in hospital visits, decreased morbidity and mortality, and improvements in treatment adherence and quality of life.

To truly influence positive behavior changes, health goals must fit meaningfully into patients’ everyday lives. People must be surrounded by opportunities to embrace healthy lifestyles, and that requires involvement of the entire community – care providers, governments, businesses, and, of course, the people living there.


Care Providers
Technology gives caregivers unprecedented opportunities to engage patients and provide excellent care, anywhere; technology also provides patients and health care providers with a valuable feedback loop.

Telehealth, remote bio-metric monitoring, and technology-assisted health coaching are powerful tools in the fight to improve chronic care outcomes because they provide in-the-moment support to patients learning to manage diet, exercise habits, and medication routines. For example, an FDA-cleared mobile app that delivers real-time motivational messages, behavioural coaching, and educational content right to the mobile devices of patients with Type II diabetes has demonstrated significant drops in their A1C levels.

Even simple text message programs can make a difference. Text2Breathe, a program of the Children’s National Medical Center, sends care information and reminders to parents of children with asthma, helping reduce emergency room visits.


State and Local Governments
State and local government agencies have immense power to use technology to spearhead healthy lifestyle and disease prevention programs. For example, in response to Philadelphia’s high rates of chronic illness, city officials recently launched Philly Powered, a multimedia campaign designed to encourage Philadelphians to become more physically active. The campaign features a mobile-friendly website that lists the city’s free or low-cost places to get fit, provides educational information, and includes a social media component enabling Philadelphians to share tips on how they include exercise in their busy lives.

Portland State University, in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Transportation, is piloting a smartphone app called ORcycle to collect data and feedback about bicycle routes, infrastructure problems, and accidents in order to improve infrastructure suitability for bicycling in Oregon.


Chronic illnesses affect businesses through absenteeism and retention problems, and businesses are uniquely positioned to promote healthy lifestyles for workers and their families. Employers, in cooperation with their health plans, can identify the need for wellness programs and services, such as preventive screenings, tailored to lowering both health risks and costs.
Companies are increasingly integrating technology into their wellness programs. For example, includes a virtual wellness portal that imports numbers from on-site health screenings and provides employees with an action plan, educational information, and email and text reminders to help them stay on track. Some companies are adopting wearable technology as part of their wellness programs to incent employees to get fit. To protect employee health information, these kinds of initiatives must be designed with data security and privacy in mind, to maintain the trust essential for an effective health care program.

Technology gives communities in all geographies unprecedented means to invest in the health of human capital and very real opportunities to shape the future of health care – today.

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Biggest Technological Advancements for Healthcare in the Last Decade

Biggest Technological Advancements for Healthcare in the Last Decade | Healthcare and Technology news |

Devices like smartphones and tablets are starting to replace conventional monitoring and recording systems, and people are now given the option of undergoing a full consultation in the privacy of their own homes. Technological advancements in healthcare have contributed to services being taken out of the confines of hospital walls and integrating them with user-friendly, accessible devices.

The following are technological advancements in healthcare that have emerged over the last ten years.


 The electronic health record : In 2009, only 16 percent of U.S. hospitals were using an EHR. By 2013, about 80 percent of hospitals eligible for CMS' meaningful use incentives program had incorporated an EHR into their organizations. "For such a long time we had such disparate systems, meaning you had one system that did pharmacy, one did orders, one that did documentation," says Jeff Sturman, partner at Franklin, Tenn.-based Cumberland Consulting Group. "Integrating these systems into a single platform, or at least a more structured platform, has allowed more integrated and efficient care for patients," he says.

While the EHR has already created big strides in the centralization and efficiency of patient information, it can also be used as a data and population health tool for the future. "There's going to be a big cultural shift over the next several years of data-driven medicine," says Waco Hoover, CEO of the Institute for Health Technology Transformation in New York. "Historically, that hasn't been a big part of how medicine is practiced. Physicians go to medical school and residencies, but each organization has its own unique ways they do things. That's one of the reasons we see varied care all over the country. When data is what we're making decisions off of, that's going to change and improve outcomes of the consistency of medicine delivered."


 mHealth : Mobile health is freeing healthcare devices of wires and cords and enabling physicians and patients alike to check on healthcare processes on-the-go. An R&R Market Research report estimates the global mHealth market will reach $20.7 billion by 2019, indicating it is only becoming bigger and more prevalent. Smartphones and tablets allow healthcare providers to more freely access and send information. Physicians and service providers can use mHealth tools for orders, documentation and simply to reach more information when with patients, Mr. Sturman says.However, mHealth is not only about wireless connectivity. It has also become a tool that allows patients to become active players in their treatment by connecting communication with biometrics, says Gopal Chopra, MD, CEO of PINGMD, and associate professor at Duke University Fuqua School of Business in Durham, N.C. "Now I can make my bathroom scale wireless. I can make my blood pressure mount wireless. I can take an EKG and put it to my smartphone and transfer that wirelessly," he says. "mHealth has the opportunity to take healthcare monitoring out of the office, out of the lab and basically as a part of your life."


 Telemedicine/telehealth : Studies consistently show the benefit of telehealth, especially in rural settings that do not have access to the same resources metropolitan areas may have. A large-scale study published in CHEST Journal shows patients in an intensive care unit equipped with telehealth services were discharged from the ICU 20 percent more quickly and saw a 26 percent lower mortality rate than patients in a regular ICU. Adam Higman, vice president of Soyring Consulting in St. Petersburg, Fla., says while telemedicine is not necessarily a new development, it is a growing field, and its scope of possibility is expanding.  

The cost benefits of telehealth can't be ignored either, Mr. Hoover says. For example, Indianapolis-based health insurer WellPoint rolled out a video consultation program in February 2013 where patients can receive a full assessment through a video chat with a physician. Claims are automatically generated, but the fees are reduced to factor out traditional office costs. Setting the actual healthcare cost aside, Mr. Hoover says these telemedicine clinics will also reduce time out of office costs for employees and employers by eliminating the need to leave work to go to a primary care office.


 Portal technology : Patients are increasingly becoming active players in their own healthcare, and portal technology is one tool helping them to do so. Portal technology allows physicians and patients to access medical records and interact online. Mr. Sturman says this type of technology allows patients to become more closely involved and better educated about their care. In addition to increasing access and availability of medical information, Mr. Hoover adds that portal technology can be a source of empowerment and responsibility for patients. "It's powerful because a patient can be an extraordinary ally in their care. They catch errors," he says. "It empowers the patient and adds a degree of power in care where they can become an active participant."

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Study: Six in 10 Patients Have Shared Medical Information via Mobile Device

Study: Six in 10 Patients Have Shared Medical Information via Mobile Device | Healthcare and Technology news |

One in four patients in the U.S. have emailed or texted a photo of a medical issue to a physician, according to survey findings from San Francisco-based Ketchum Global Research & Analytics.

Ketchum conducted an online survey of 2,000 respondents who own a smartphone in April 2016 for its Ketchum mHealth Monitor, which maps adoption of wearable technology, app and artificial intelligence for personal health and wellness.

Of those respondents, more than half (58 percent) with smartphones have shared medical information with a medical professional via the Internet on their smartphone, mobile app or wearable device.

The study findings also indicate that Americans are managing their health on their own from their smartphones or fitness trackers. Almost half (47 percent) of respondents have an app that tracks fitness, working out, health or medicine. In addition, 83 percent of people who use fitness or workout apps use them at least once a week.


“This study points to a shift in people’s attitudes and readiness to use technology to manage their health,” Lisa Sullivan, executive vice president and North American technology practice leader for Ketchum, said in a prepared statement. “With U.S. smartphone adoption at 68 percent, now is the time for businesses that have a stake in the healthcare industry to push to develop approachable, intuitive mobile tech offerings that help the ever-increasing mobile user population improve something as personal and important as their health.”

The study also evaluated the emerging use of artificial intelligence, A.I., for health and wellness. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they were comfortable using A.I. Although 32 percent said they are likely to use an A.I. search tool, like Siri, only 9 percent would use an artificially intelligent therapist, the study findings indicated.

“In addition to improving patient experiences, mHealth technology also has the potential to help offset some of the rising costs of healthcare,” Sullivan said. “Studies have shown correlations between leveraging mobile apps for patients with chronic diseases and cost savings, so the power of mHealth can truly be quantified in a way that makes sense for a company’s bottom line.”


Ketchum’s survey results also uncovered other findings that reveal a few speed bumps and opportunities for businesses engaging on health. Nearly a quarter (21 percent) of respondents have stopped using certain health and fitness tracking apps.

Although the majority of Americans said they have used technology to interact with a medical professional, most (63 percent) said they still prefer face-to-face interaction with their healthcare providers.

“Nearly one-third (32 percent) said they are likely to use an A.I. search tool and 31 percent an A.I. health tracker, but they aren’t too convinced about using an A.I. medical adviser (18 percent) or an artificially intelligent therapist (9 percent),” the study authors wrote.

As part of the study, Ketchum researchers also identified five types of mHealth users, segmented by current attitudes toward mHealth, health behaviours and overall mobile/technology adoption.


Ketchum researchers identified some mHealth users as “discerning digital,” who are super users who want to be constantly connected, but may also struggle with feeling too available. They are advocates of mHealth but still like face-to-face contact with medical professionals. Some mHealth users could fall into the category of “swayable seekers,” a group that wants to expand their smartphone repertoire beyond just making calls. “They feel confident about managing their health and get a lot of their medical info online. The majority feel like they have a lot to learn about using mobile tech for their health,” the study authors wrote.


According to Ketchum, a third group was identified ashealth tech hesitators,” a group that admits they don’t manage their health very well and aren’t happy with their physical well-being, and they’re not exactly comfortable sharing information online either.

In addition, there is a group called “app-athetic agnostics,” who like mobile technology but many just don’t use any type of mHealth, nor do they care to in the next year.

Finally, Ketchum identified a fifth group as “low-tech lifers,” or traditionalists who don’t think mHealth has had a positive impact on their lives, nor do they foresee it having a positive impact in the future. 


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5 technology Trends about where healthcare industry is headed

5 technology Trends about where healthcare industry is headed | Healthcare and Technology news |

1) Value-based train picks up steam, especially for those slow to embrace alternate payment models.

We all know the official timeline the Centres for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) laid out in early 2015 – 90% of payments would shift from fee-for-service to value-based payments by 2018. Despite the clear, unambiguous move to value, some in the industry have been slow to transition their organisation. However in 2016, expect to see these organisations finally make clear moves to alternative payment models. The significance of this shouldn’t be understated, especially as it pertains to technology adoption.


2) Care Management/Coordination Record rises in importance, as team-based care models expand.

Some call it a Care Management Medical Record and others call it a Care Coordination Record. Regardless of the term, the concept is essentially the same. Electronic medical records (EMRs) excel at capturing in-person encounters, but as care expands beyond those encounters, capturing and tracking what happens between patient visits will be of utmost importance. In addition, enabling care teams to stay on the same page about a patient’s care plan, track action steps and reduce the friction of working together will be crucial to succeeding in a value-based world. Expect to see the Care Management Record concept start catching fire in 2016.


3) Terms ‘care coordination’ and ‘patient engagement’ continue to be abused, misused and watered down.

These terms by themselves have become almost meaningless. There are countless healthcare vendors claiming to deliver on one or both of these capabilities. Seemingly, most companies use these terms “in name only” in an attempt to capture market interest. The onus is on every product company to be very clear just how it enables patient engagement or care coordination. In 2016, the market will start weeding out those products that are patient engagement and care coordination in name only, while rewarding those companies that are actually able to deliver clear value.


4) Integrating devices and device data into care delivery processes will remain a niche activity.

The enthusiasm around wearable, trackers and remote monitoring is exciting, and there’s enormous potential for device data to impact the delivery of care in ways that benefit both patient and provider. But the technology hasn’t caught up with the promise of what it can be, and that won’t change in 2016. Not only is the technology not yet able to deliver, but the incentives and processes to support wide-scale deployment aren’t in place yet. Although all signs point to wearable becoming an integral part of delivery of care, this won’t happen next year.


5) Demand increases for consumer-grade user experiences in healthcare enterprise software.

For so long, clinicians on the front lines of care delivery have struggled with software that’s hard to use, difficult and downright frustrating. The biggest culprit for poor user experiences in healthcare software has to do with the enterprise purchasing process. Often, vendors build for buyers who aren’t the end users. If the end user and the buyer were the same, you’d see healthcare software vendors value user experience like what we see in other B2B industries, not to mention B2C industries. Regardless, in 2016 we will see more buyer-value products with consumer-grade user experiences. Much of this has to do with end users’ reluctance, and sometimes outright resistance, to adopting technology in their work life. Clinicians often get a bad wrap for being technology averse. But in reality, it’s not that they’re averse to technology; it’s that they’re averse to bad technology.

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Emerging Technologies In Healthcare 2016

Emerging Technologies In Healthcare 2016 | Healthcare and Technology news |

Here we are again, jumping into a new year. 2015 brought us consternation over Meaningful Use, continued EHR adoption, a much-improved economy, and the somewhat surprising decision from the Department of Defence to implement Cerner. It was also the first full year of At the end of 2014, I made some predictions for 2015 that I think turned out to be fairly accurate. I believe Healthcare IT in 2016 will continue to present lots of opportunities, so let’s have a look at what I think things will look like.


Continued EHR Adoption

Even though most of the largest Healthcare systems in the country have already set their long-term EHR strategy, there are still some deals that are either in the works, recently signed, or heading into optimisation phases. A high profile example is the December 20th announcement by Vanderbilt University Medical Centre to replace McKesson and other systems with Epic. The 17,000 employee health system is scheduled to go live in 2018.

Additionally, the overall EHR market will remain strong due to the Department of Defence selecting Cerner this summer for their system-wide implementation. As the DOD project unfolds, competition for Healthcare IT skills will only grow, possibly drawing off talent from private hospitals and those who may be tired of working with Epic and other technologies. Those who have, or are able to obtain military security clearance should have an advantage.Many large EHR implementations that were done two or three years ago are now emerging from “The Valley Of The Black Ink” of payments to vendors.

These organisations are now looking to make the most of their EHR purchases, and may now be ready to fill analyst positions to optimise their systems.


Population Health/ Health Data Analytics

Population Health was a big deal in 2015, as Hospitals and other Healthcare organisations entered into many Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) agreements. The results for some early ACOs have started to come in, with some doing better than others at improving care and lowering costs. Since we’re only a couple of years into the whole ACO concept, we can expect to see more activity, as all entities involved really want the concept to work.


Healthcare Cyber security

2015 was the year of the Healthcare hack. Some of the high-profile hacking incidents in 2015 occurred at Anthem, Premera Blue Cross, Community Health Systems, and UCLA Health System. Federally levied fines against organisations increased in 2015, and will likely continue the trend in 2016. Expect to see greater vigilance and more opportunities for Healthcare IT security positions.


Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring involves the use of various technologies to collect medical data outside the traditional clinical setting. The main thing that comes to mind is telemedicine video visits, where patients conduct online visits with physicians remotely. Telemedicine has been feasible for several years now, but the main barrier has been the political and insurance barriers to getting organisations paid for video visits. Expect to see increased legislative activity to support Telemedicine in 2016.


Remote ICU Monitoring – e-ICU

Another aspect of remote patient monitoring is the advent of technology to remotely monitor ICU patients. It sounds pretty creepy and scary to have someone monitoring multiple critical patients from 100 miles away. However, consider that five million patients are admitted to ICUs each year, and among those, about 10% will die in the ICU. The level of care is very resource intensive at a time when the supply of skilled critical care clinicians is low. And of course, it’s no secret that critical care is very expensive. According to the Society of Critical Medicine, ICU care makes up at least 13.4% of hospital costs and 4.1% of National Healthcare costs.

The e-ICU solution doesn’t leave a facility without onsite critical care res-ponders, but adds sophisticated technology to monitor ventilator, cardiac, and vital signs data. A remote ICU physician can actually respond faster to a critical event than they could physically arrive at the bedside of a patient.


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How to Identify and Take Action Against Medical Theft

How to Identify and Take Action Against Medical Theft | Healthcare and Technology news |

Identity theft comes in many forms, and one of the most overlooked is medical theft. While most people associate identity theft with credit card fraud, medical theft has been quietly increasing every year, including a 22 percent spike from 2014 to 2015.

Medical theft involves the falsifying of individually identifiable health information to gain access to property or services. In other words, a perpetrator uses a victim’s personally identifiable information (PII) to create fictitious medical records and then leverages those records for personal gain.

Preventing the theft of medical records will go a long way toward reducing instances of identity theft. And stopping medical theft will begin with a deeper understanding of how.


The Fight Against Medical Theft

Healthcare information is passed through a number of hands. From the patient to the provider to the insurance company and back again, everything needed to commit identity theft is frequently airborne. Once it reaches a resting place — be it with public health records, law enforcement agencies or research facilities — medical information is left vulnerable to prying eyes thanks to often shaky safekeeping.

There are many ways medical theft can be carried out, but each can be placed into one of three categories.

  1. Insider Mistakes. With so many employees handling data, it’s inevitable that carelessness will surface. Sensitive data will be emailed unencrypted or personal information will be saved to a portable device, which is then lost. The mismanagement of medical information opens up many doors for medical theft to happen. 
  2. Insider Maliciousness. Medical theft is sometimes the result of a true inside job. It could be a disgruntled employee or one who has been bribed by an outside agency. Purposefully leaking sensitive data can be carried out for revenge or personal financial gain.
  3. Outside Attack. Even with careful employees who carry no malicious intent, outside adversaries can still get their hands on what they want by hacking into systems and servers.


Stopping Medical Theft

Warding off medical theft is a fight-fire-with-fire approach. The crime is carried out with the help of technology, and it’s technology that will also hopefully one day wipe it out. Until then, the arms race continues.

As we march forward, there are five basic things that every healthcare provider, insurer or other handler of sensitive information can do to ward off medical theft.



It’s so painfully obvious and yet so painfully true: abiding by HIPAA standards will significantly reduce the threat of medical theft. And with so many management software platforms available that make it easy to remain HIPAA compliant, there really is no excuse anymore.


Secure data centres

Out of sight, out of mind is an easy mindset to adopt when your files are tucked away in the data. But many handlers of healthcare information don’t realise how tangible the data actually is.

Servers still rely on physical data centres. Those servers are subject to the same weather storms, viruses, short-circuits and burglars that any other hard drive or physical storage system are, although generally they are protected with far better security protocols than most independent servers. Handlers of PII and other healthcare information should be clued in on the parameters of the physical security and backup protocol of their data. And if those data centres don’t measure up to SSAE Type II accreditation or ISO 27001 certification, it’s time for an upgrade.


Email use

Email is a fantastic way of sending messages to patients and colleagues. But it is a terrible way of sending PII. Despite being against HIPAA protocol, many in the healthcare industry still do it.

In terms of sensitive material, email should only be used to send a link to encrypted data that can only be opened by the email recipient. Which brings us to the next point of discussion - encryption.



It’s not enough for data to be encrypted only during transfer. Files are just as vulnerable during a state of rest and should be treated with the same defence. And encryption protocols for data at rest should reach the level of AES 256-bit encryption.


Password protection

A study conducted by TeleSign revealed that 40 percent of people reported having a password stolen within one year’s time. The same study disclosed that 73 percent of online accounts are protected by a duplicated password.

The combination of those two things sets up companies for the domino effect: one password is hacked and then that same password is used to unlock all sorts of doors.

To adapt, companies must expand password configuration to include expiration, complexity controls and more.

Companies have a number of self-defence weapons at their disposal but the most effective angle of attack is simply being proactive. Businesses must not just invest in these measures but also buy into them from a strategic sense.

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5 technology trends that will affect hospital care

5 technology trends that will affect hospital care | Healthcare and Technology news |

Healthcare technology is always changing and evolving. Hospitals that want to keep up need to stay on top of the latest tech trends and incorporate them into patient treatment, especially as quality of care becomes more crucial to profitability and survival. 

Pragati Verma, a representative from telecommunications company CenturyLink, wrote an article for Forbes about the latest up-and-coming tech advances that every hospital will be using in the next decade to improve patient care and boost outcomes.


Changes to watch

Facilities may want to start looking into these five emerging technologies now so they can start preparing:


  1. Connected medical devices. Start-up companies are investing millions of dollars into creating insulin pumps and pacemakers that can pick up signals and automatically transmit data to networked computers. These devices will also allow patients to see how they’re working in real-time, giving them the chance to monitor their own health. Other wearable devices track patients’ general fitness level and vital signs, and they’re already popular among health-conscious people. Technology for medical devices will only expand in the next decade, and hospitals can use them to improve patient outcomes.
  2. Quantified health data. Right now, patient data’s being collected and stored in different ways, including in electronic health records. And connected medical devices are in their infancy, storing their own information on patients. The next step is processing all this data from multiple platforms in a way that’s meaningful for providers and patients, and several companies are stepping up to accomplish this goal. Companies will translate and analyse this health data, making it an integral part of patients’ care plans instead of having it sit on computers, unused.
  3. Medical records on-the-go. Right now, most electronic health record (EHR) systems are hosted on physical servers.  As security technology improves, more EHRs will be hosted on web-based platforms. This means providers and patients can access them more easily on laptops, tablets and smartphones via a secure log-in to a website or online portal. Even better – this lays the framework for a more comprehensive health record, since access won’t be limited to a physical computer.
  4. On-call doctors via telehealth. The days of the traditional house call may be long gone, but technology offers new ways for providers to check-in on patients outside of an office visit. Telehealth is on the rise, and more payors are reimbursing providers and hospitals for treating patients remotely. The technology used to provide telehealth has gotten more sophisticated, and it’ll only get better over the next decade when combined with other emerging healthcare tech used to monitor vital signs from afar. In some cases, telehealth may even replace visits to the ED for certain urgent, but not life-threatening, illnesses.
  5. 3-D printing. Advances made in the field of 3-D printing have the potential to drastically transform the care provided at hospitals. Increasingly, this technology’s being used to improve prosthetic for patients – and it’s being talked about as a possible enhancement for joint replacement surgery (one of the biggest procedures being scrutinised by the feds). Down the line, 3-D printing may even revolutionise organ transplants – researchers are already looking at the feasibility of duplicating body parts like the outer ear.
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The Impact of Technology on Healthcare

The Impact of Technology on Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news |

Technology today affects every single aspect of modern society. In fact, there isn’t an industry out there that hasn’t been affected by the hi-tech revolution.

Whether we are talking about transportation, communication, security, banking or healthcare, they all rely on technology in one way or another.

But nowhere is this immense impact more apparent than in the field of medicine and healthcare.

Technological breakthroughs are revolutionising the way healthcare is being delivered.Modern technology has changed the structure and organisation of the entire medical field.

From widespread adoption of electronic medical records, to advances in bio-medical engineering and technology, modern healthcare and its delivery methods are changing at an ever increasing rate. But what impact will these changes have on medicine and overall care delivery?


The Advantages of Technological Innovation

Without doubt, medical technology is indispensable to people’s health and improved quality of life. It also contributes billions of dollars to the economy. There are many benefits that innovative technology brings to the table when it comes to healthcare.

For example, the widespread adoption of electronic health records has resulted in significant savings in health care costs as well as improved patient health and safety. In more and more healthcare facilities, patient files are being kept in databases that can be accessed from anywhere in the facility.

This is not only a time saver but it also results in better data coordination and management.It is also technological innovation that has opened the door to more non-invasive procedures.

Diagnostics have never been easier and more accurate, especially due to advancements in areas like nuclear medicine. Nowadays, numerous methods of imaging allow for technicians and physicians to examine a patient’s anatomy without needing invasive procedures to form a diagnosis. The demand for MRI technologists and radiologists has also increased as a result of rapid advances in imaging technology.

Minimally invasive surgeries, especially within the disciplines of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, have also become more common in recent years. The development of better instruments and more advanced technology have allowed surgeons to perform procedures in minimally invasive ways that just wasn’t possible a few years ago.


The Dark Side of Technology

Technology can also bring hidden dangers if you aren’t careful. The internet in particular is known for this. Though some would disagree, the infinite stream of medical knowledge available online is not necessarily a good thing.


 Websites like Web MD can be a great resource for living a healthy lifestyle, but they should never be used to replace your physician. Far too often a simple ache can be misconstrued as something far more serious.

Self diagnosis is a dangerous road to go down. At best you’ll scare yourself into thinking something is seriously wrong when it isn’t.

At worst you’ll misdiagnose yourself and cause serious damage to your health and well being. There’s a reason it takes nearly a decade to become a doctor.

Unfortunately the internet provides a cheap and “easy” way to avoid going to the doctor. In the long term, however, it may wind up costing you much more than you ever expected.

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9 Things Hospitals Can Do Now to Tighten Data Security

9 Things Hospitals Can Do Now to Tighten Data Security | Healthcare and Technology news |

In fact, nearly 90 percent of all healthcare organisations experienced at least one data breach within the past two years, according a May Poneman Institute study, and data breach costs are expected to hit $2.1 trillion globally by 2019.

Hospitals are hiring experienced security information pros to combat cyber criminals, but more can be done. Consider the 9 strategies below to intensify digital security efforts in your health system.


Hire professional hackers

The Mayo Clinic did just that a few years ago, hiring a team of security experts to hack everything from respirators to ultrasound machines. These so-called “white hat” hackers were thorough and ruthless, according to one of the participants. But the exercise worked, uncovering a host of security holes along with recommendations for fixes.


Make mobile devices harder to hack

The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement is gaining momentum. But employee-owned devices open hospitals up to data security threats, such as device loss, use of unauthorised applications and password vulnerabilities.

Could your IT team lock or wipe data from employee phones, if needed?  Review your mobile governance policies and find out what you can legally do to secure sensitive data on employee-owned devices.


Scrutinise Medical Device Security

Beyond mobile devices, any networked medical device (an MRI, for example) that receives and transmits data represents risk.

“The more devices you hook up, the greater chance you will connect to devices with malware in them,” says Susan Boisvert, R.N., Senior Risk Management Consultant, in Hospitals & Health Networks.

Ensure you have a thorough audit trail for the devices used in your system, and review and tighten your security requirements for medical device suppliers.


Increase employee awareness

Human error is a leading cause of healthcare data breaches.

Sixty-nine percent of surveyed healthcare organisations confirmed their greatest security concern is “negligent or careless” employees, says the Pone man Institute. And sixty-two percent of respondents claimed they were either unaware or unsure of how medical identity theft affects patients.

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Train and educate employees about security basics. Change generic or default passwords. And monitor employee email and social media activities to ensure what happens in the hospital stays off of Facebook.

“Given the sensitive nature of data at hand and all the regulatory and compliance requirements within their industry, health leaders must incorporate better practices when it comes to protecting patient data,” writes Darren Leroux in HealthcareITNews.


Make identifying breaches a team effort

"See something, say something" is a popular mantra in airport security. Encouraging that same culture of responsibility in a hospital through education and incentives may help prevent a costly breach through early identification.

According to the Pone man Institute, almost half of healthcare organisations within the past two years discovered a breach through an employee, and nearly one-third of data breaches were revealed because of patient complaints.


Implement training on how to avoid phishing attacks

It is becoming increasingly difficult to spot an elaborately designed phishing email scam.

“Companies need to do a better job of training employees how to spot phishing attempts. This is the easiest point for thieves,” writes Thomas Lewis, CISSP, CISA, QSA in LBMC.

“It is well worth the time to implement training programs. The most effective method utilises programs that are set up internally to mimic phishing attacks,” he explains.“This has been shown to be very effective at raising awareness of how to spot phishing attacks and train employees on how to avoid them.


Assess Your Visitor Management systems

A hospital’s greatest security threat may be its very own people – including employees, contractors, and visitors – who come and go regularly and frequently within a public facility.

“Daily visitors pose the biggest threat to organisations,” writes Kim Rahfaldt in Security Today. 

Visitors “could have a police record, be on a terror watch list or be an angry spouse of a woman working on the 8th floor,” she says. 

Visitor Management systems let you track when preapproved guests arrive, perform check-ins, and issue secure guest passes. A VM system can also flag potentially problematic visitors and deny them entry – such as a recently terminated, disgruntled employer or an individual who lacks authorised access to a particular part of the hospital.


Disable laptop cameras and microphones

This tip is perhaps the easiest (and cheapest) to implement.

First, use a piece of coloured tape to conceal your computer’s webcam. Then, disable your microphone to prevent an audio hack. (Or, just connect an extra pair of earbuds with an attached microphone to your audio jack before snipping off the earbud/microphone portion, as Kellen Beck of Mashable suggests.)

Why? Smooth attackers can potentially gain access to your device via your webcam, writes David Geer iniboss. And cyber thieves may be listening to your private conversations from your device’s microphone.

Keeping your activity private will give you much needed peace of mind.


Talk the talk

Lastly, communicate beyond the four walls of your own hospital.

“Talking to counterparts at other health care organisations and information security industry groups about what they are seeing as far as attacks, and also protocols they have tried which worked and didn’t work is vital to planning for the future and knowing what types of attacks may be coming,” writes Matthew Chambers, CIO in Scrubbing In. 

“There is no perfect system or program to prevent every attack by the guys in black hats. But a comprehensive approach to information security can go a long way in keeping the most crucial data – patient information – out of their hands,” he adds.

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Technologies Impacting the Future of the Healthcare Sector

Technologies Impacting the Future of the Healthcare Sector | Healthcare and Technology news |

Technologies Impacting the Future of the Healthcare Sector : Evaluating the Role of Disruptive Technologies in Transforming the Delivery of Healthcare


NEW YORK, May 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Technological advancements are disrupting the healthcare industry. There is an increasing trend toward personalised and precise medical treatments, such as personalised genomics, which provide outputs at a much lower cost and at a faster speed than has ever been possible. Precision medicine has also driven the development of targeted drug delivery, which improves the efficacy of drugs, while reducing side effects. The increasing occurrence of auto-immune disorders has spurred research interest in microbiome therapies, which focus on using the body's own microbiota as a defence against pathogens.

Another hot technology area revolutionising neuroscience is optogenetics, which attempts to rewire the brain through the use of optics and genetics. The success of optogenetics in vision recovery has provided an impetus for funding in this space. The rising incidence of chronic and lifestyle disorders, along with the difficulty of finding donors, has led to research in printing live tissue, currently used in pharma for toxicology testing. Long-term R&D in this space is geared toward the development of 3D printed organs, which truly represent the next frontier in healthcare advancement. However, just as technologies are disrupting healthcare, the reverse can be said to hold true. Healthcare is moving toward increased patient empowerment, leading to the development of wearables, mHealth and telemedicine.

Advances in Big Data have enabled more real-time healthcare solutions such as biosensors, leading to greater patient engagement. Digital transformation has also been key to enabling path-breaking development in genomics platforms, such as rapid genome sequencing. Organisations are moving toward new care delivery models that increasingly focus on delivering patient value, leading to redefined revenue pathways. This research service provides a deep-dive analysis into some of the most disruptive technologies, trends and business models impacting healthcare today, providing decision-makers with key insights for strategic planning.

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RFID for live Medical Monitoring

RFID for live Medical Monitoring | Healthcare and Technology news |

Telemonitoring, RFID chips and miniature sensors are just some of the new technologies designed to ensure better response times for medical staff and a better doctor-patient relationship.


French charity Calydial received the innovation prize at last year’s HIT (Health Information Technologies) fair for its tele-medicine projects, which include monitoring patients with kidney failure. Calydial’s doctors can remotely monitor patients undergoing dialysis, live, thanks to a system of surveillance cameras set up by the patients’ bedside.



In the United States, RFID technology has been tested since the mid 2000s , for a variety of medical uses including supply chain tracking in radiology centres, tracking equipment and hospital staff’s movements,and monitoring radiotherapy patients, resulting in optimised hospital productivity and more personalised patient care.

RFID tagging is also in  pharmaceutical packaging, enabling for example pharmacists to track expiry dates, or doctors and patients to monitor doses taken. Canadian company Information Mediary Corp. specialise in this market, selling smart packaging that can record and transmit the date and time on which a pill is removed from  pack , remind the user when to take the medication again and detect any side effects. This data can then be converted into a PDF or Excel spreadsheet. See the video demonstration



Embedded in the lining of clothes or bed linen, micros-sensors will soon be able to monitor a person’s temperature, blood pressure, cardiac activity, and, if embedded in the fibres of a bra, even assess the risk of developing breast cancer. According to a report by a French pharmaceutical industry specialist, these sensors will also be able to release medication from capsules embedded in plasters.

These sensors are also used to monitor patients with pacemakers, by transmitting data from the patients’ home to the doctor. This system is currently marketed by Sorin, a pharmaceutical company that specialises in technologies for cardiovascular diseases.



Miniature sensors embedded in the skin of patients have been tested since 2011 to monitor and locate disabled people and Alzheimer sufferers.

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How Technology is Improving Medical Care?

How Technology is Improving Medical Care? | Healthcare and Technology news |

A wide variety of digital innovations are revolutionising healthcare — and technology in medicine is here to stay. How are these changes impacting the delivery of care, and what skills are needed to succeed in this bold new world?


It’s no secret that, as a society, technology has become a part of our everyday lives. In fact, almost 60 percent of American adults own a smartphone, and 42 percent of  that same population (American adults) owns a tablet computer.

Though technology has been permeating almost every aspect of our lives, until recent years the medical field has been largely unaffected by the rapid pace of technological innovation that is characteristic of the Digital Age. However, this is changing. As geneticist Eric To-pol puts it in his book, The Creative Destruction of Medicine, “Medicine is about to go through its biggest shakeup in history.”

This ubiquity of technology is beginning to extend into the medical field. Advances in medical technology are changing medicine by giving physicians more information — as well as better, more specific data. To-pol has this to say about the changing landscape of medical technology:

This is a new era of medicine, in which each person can be near fully defined at the individual level, instead of how we (have previously) practice medicine at a population level. We are each unique human beings, but until now there was no way to determine a relevant metric like blood pressure around the clock while a person is sleeping, or at work, or in the midst of an emotional upheaval. This represents the next frontier of the digital revolution, finally getting to the most important but heretofore insulated domain: preserving our health.


New Medical Technology: Innovations

So just what are these new advances in technology? According to Topol, they apply to almost every aspect of health.

We can remotely and continuously monitor each heartbeat, moment-to-moment blood pressure readings, the rate and depth of breathing, body temperature, oxygen concentration in the blood, glucose, brain waves, activity, mood — all the things that make us tick,” he says. “For the first time, we can digitise humans.”

The main purpose of all of this innovation is the gathering of information, leading to more specific, personalised care. Tech professionals in the medical field can assemble data about individuals from genome sequencing, imaging and biosensors, then integrate it with traditional medical methods to find the best approach to patient care.

The following are just a few of the many innovations that have occurred in medical technology over the past year alone. Some of these leading technologies are still being developed, while others are slowly being introduced into mainstream medical practice.

  • The modern hospital experience: Several medical technology companies are looking to update hospital stays to keep pace with the needs of modern patients. For example, NXT Health is improving room design to “eliminate wasteful redundancy and technological clutter that plague many modern healthcare facilities.” To more easily integrate changing technology, these new rooms would feature interchangeable parts that are easily adapted to the specific situation of a patient. The seamless design would have a minimal impact on facility operations while increasing patient comfort and connectivity.
  • Surgery simulation: The Roswell Park Cancer Institute has partnered with the University of Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to create the Robotic Surgery Simulator (RoSS). This innovation allows real-world views of surgeries while eliminating the need for a live environment to train aspiring surgeons. It gives these medical professionals the space to experiment in a simulated environment, rather than risking making mistakes on real patients.
  • Streamlined lab testing: The lab testing process could be changing very soon, due to companies like Theranos, who have “designed a way to run tests with micro-samples of blood, one-thousandth the size of a typical blood draw.” This practice will provide a better patient experience while reducing the cost of many widely used lab tests.
  • Mitochondrial DNA transfer: Though the first successful transplants of mitochondrial DNA occurred in the late 90's, these procedures are currently becoming a more potentially viable option for the reduction of gene related diseases. The process, in which “two parents contribute normally to in vitro fertilisation and a third party contributes the mitochondrial DNA,” is being perfected so that its usefulness will soon be difficult to deny.


The Future of Healthcare Technology

With widespread innovations like these affecting patient care practices, it is not surprising that the way medical records and information are stored and shared is changing as well. These technological advancements are cost-effective and improve the ability of medical professionals to diagnose and treat health issues of all kinds. Three of the main changes that are revolutionising the future of healthcare are electronic medical records, health information exchange and ICD-10.


Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

Over the past few decades, both medical billing and coding have switched from being paper-based to a computerised format. Electronic medical records offer a wide variety of benefits to the medical field. As Milt Freudenheim, a New York Times contributor, points out, “They can make healthcare more efficient and less expensive, and improve the quality of care by making patients’ medical history easily accessible to all who treat them.”

EHRs have also gained federal funding: The government has given $6.5 billion in incentives. With support from both the public and private sector, doctors benefit from the introduction of EHRs as well. They can access “all the care a patient has ever received and can figure out possible illnesses,” while streamlining the treatment process and preventing unnecessary costs.


Health Information Exchange (HIE)

HIE gives health care professionals and patients the information access they need. It allows for the secure sharing of patient medical history between physicians of all specialities, while also allowing patients to access data about their own health. Because health information exchange creates improved communication and care quality, it provides “safer, more effective care” based on the needs of each specific patient. According to, “new payment approaches that stress care coordination and federal financial incentives are all driving the interest and demand for health information exchange.”


ICD-10 and Medical Billing

The International Statistical Classification of Diseases, or ICD-10, is the latest innovation when it comes to diagnostic tools. It is essentially an enhanced medical coding system that includes over 14,000 different codes globally, as well as additional subcategories. This means that patients and insurance companies can be billed for services and procedures in a highly specific way. And in the United States, ICD-10 classification is even more extensive — it includes additional codes that push the total to 76,000 ways that medical procedure claims can be processed and paid. This beneficial tool allows countries to retrieve and store all diagnostic information in a streamlined, efficient way. However, healthcare facilities must install new software and train staff to follow ICD-10 guidelines. This is another area where trained health informatics professionals are invaluable.


The Vital Role of Health Informatics

None of this tech innovation would be possible without the field of health informatics. With the rapid development of new technologies, “formidable health information systems” are required in order for medical practices and facilities to keep up. And as technology becomes more and more necessary for the effective functioning of our healthcare system, people proficient in the field of health informatics are more in-demand than ever. The interdisciplinary field combines information technology, health and communications and aims to improve patient care quality and interaction between medical professionals. To put it simply, health informatics is the science that makes the transition to digital healthcare practices possible. Trained professionals in this discipline work to “collect, store, analyse and present health data in a digital format.”

The new approaches to medical coding, health information exchange and billing outlined above require specialised databases that are customised to meet the needs of each physician and medical practice. Professionals in the health informatics field also ensure that patient data is secure. This involves server configuration and assigning strict access credentials. All of these new and emerging requirements fall under the domain of health informatics.


Health Informatics Education and Outlook

Job growth and demand in the health informatics field reflects this newfound importance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics-projects a 22 percent increase in employment through the year 2022, a rate that is much faster than the national average for all occupations. Individuals who are considering a career in this in-demand field often choose to pursue undergraduate study in health informatics, enabling them to be a valuable part of today’s rapidly changing healthcare system.

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Healthcare Technology In The Workplace

Healthcare Technology In The Workplace | Healthcare and Technology news |

Whilst the fact that healthcare apps are becoming more prominent in the consumer space is not new, some may be surprised to learn that they are actually becoming more popular in the workplace, too. A recent article on the Workplace Savings and Benefits website looks into how healthcare technology is due to shake up employee behaviour and workplace etiquette.

It seems that healthcare apps and wearable technology are due to have a huge impact on employee welfare; in fact, by implementing the technology into workplace programs, the article notes, a company will be able to use incentives to reward behavioural changes in its employees. Competitions could also be introduced, as well as aids to help manage mental illness within the workplace, such as depression or even emotional states such as feeling stressed.

With the UK looking to implement various digital healthcare initiatives, it was only a matter of time before the world of work also looked to the same. Various pieces of technology such as Google Glass and the Health-Kit from Apple, as well as Fit-bit and Pulse bands are the most likely culprits to be adopted by corporations in a bid to get their staff up and about.

By tracking their heart rate, food consumption, activity and exercise, employees will become more aware of their overall health and hopefully take action against inactivity - thus improving their well-being and overall performance at work.

This will be made more likely if an employee is aware that the company is actively tracking their performance on the health scale as well; however this may not be enough to get the laziest worker out of their seats. One thing that needs to be taken into account in order for employees to understand the benefits of healthcare technology in the workplace, is that communication is key; companies need to discuss the healthcare data that is gathered and ensure employees are aware of its relevance and what it means in order to promote a healthy lifestyle.

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Top Medical Technology Innovations

Top Medical Technology Innovations | Healthcare and Technology news |

Against the backdrop of health care reform and a controversial medical device tax, medical technology companies are focusing more than ever on products that deliver cheaper, faster, more efficient patient care. They are also making inroads with U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulators to re-engineer the complex review and approval process for new medical devices.

As the regulators, politicians, and corporate executives hash out these details, industry engineers and scientists continue to push through new ideas for improving and managing human health. Every year, industry observers like the Cleveland Clinic and the medical device trade press single out their favorite technology trends. These thought leaders agree that today's best technologies strike a balance between reducing the overall cost of medical care and increasing safety and survival rates—and isn't that what health care reform is all about?


Cutting Back on Melanoma Biopsies

With the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, a huge number of dangerous-looking moles are actually harmless, but has always been impossible to know for sure without an invasive surgical biopsy. Today dermatologists have new help in making the right call — a handheld tool approved by the FDA for multispectral analysis of tissue morphology. The MelaFind optical scanner is not for definitive diagnosis but rather to provide additional information a doctor can use in determining whether or not to order a biopsy. The goal is to reduce the number of patients left with unnecessary biopsy scars, with the added benefit of eliminating the cost of unnecessary procedures. The MelaFind technology (MELA Sciences, Irvington, NY) uses missile navigation technologies originally paid for the Department of Defense to optically scan the surface of a suspicious lesion at 10 electromagnetic wavelengths. The collected signals are processed using heavy-duty algorithms and matched against a registry of 10,000 digital images of melanoma and skin disease.


Electronic Aspirin

For people who suffer from migraines, cluster headaches, and other causes of chronic, excruciating head or facial pain, the "take two aspirins and call me in the morning" method is useless. Doctors have long associated the most severe, chronic forms of headache with the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG), a facial nerve bundle, but haven't yet found a treatment that works on the SPG long-term. A technology under clinical investigation at Autonomic Technologies, Inc., (Redwood City, CA) is a patient-powered tool for blocking SPG signals at the first sign of a headache. The system involves the permanent implant of a small nerve stimulating device in the upper gum on the side of the head normally affected by headache. The lead tip of the implant connects with the SPG bundle, and when a patient senses the onset of a headache, he or she places a handheld remote controller on the cheek nearest the implant. The resulting signals stimulate the SPG nerves and block the pain-causing neurotransmitters.


Needle-Free Diabetes Care

Diabetes self-care is a pain—literally. It brings the constant need to draw blood for glucose testing, the need for daily insulin shots and the heightened risk of infection from all that poking. Continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps are today's best options for automating most of the complicated daily process of blood sugar management – but they don't completely remove the need for skin pricks and shots. But there's new skin in this game. Echo Therapeutics (Philadelphia, PA) is developing technologies that would replace the poke with a patch. The company is working on a transdermal biosensor that reads blood analytes through the skin without drawing blood. The technology involves a handheld electric-toothbrush-like device that removes just enough top-layer skin cells to put the patient's blood chemistry within signal range of a patch-borne biosensor. The sensor collects one reading per minute and sends the data wirelessly to a remote monitor, triggering audible alarms when levels go out of the patient's optimal range and tracking glucose levels over time.


Robotic Check-Ups

A pillar of health reform is improving access to the best health care for more people. Technology is a cost-effective and increasingly potent means to connect clinics in the vast and medically underserved rural regions of the United States with big city medical centers and their specialists. Telemedicine is well established as a tool for triage and assessment in emergencies, but new medical robots go one step further—they can now patrol hospital hallways on more routine rounds, checking on patients in different rooms and managing their individual charts and vital signs without direct human intervention. The RP-VITA Remote Presence Robot produced jointly by iRobot Corp. and InTouch Health is the first such autonomous navigation remote-presence robot to receive FDA clearance for hospital use. The device is a mobile cart with a two-way video screen and medical monitoring equipment, programmed to maneuver through the busy halls of a hospital.


 A Valve Job with Heart

The Sapien transcatheter aortic valve is a life-saving alternative to open-heart surgery for patients who need new a new valve but can't endure the rigors of the operation. Manufactured by Edwards Life Sciences (Irvine, CA), the Sapien has been available in Europe for some time but is only now finding its first use in U.S. heart centers—where it is limited only to the frailest patients thus far. The Sapien valve is guided through the femoral artery by catheter from a small incision near the grown or rib cage. The valve material is made of bovine tissue attached to a stainless-steel stent, which is expanded by inflating a small balloon when correctly placed in the valve space. A simpler procedure that promises dramatically shorter hospitalizations is bound to have a positive effect on the cost of care.

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