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5 Technologies Changing Healthcare

5 Technologies Changing Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare isn’t what it used to be, and that’s a good thing! It’s no coincidence that the healthcare revolution aligns with the Digital Era, and how we approach our well-being, including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, is getting faster, better and more accessible thanks to technology. It might seem like the healthcare industry is behind others when it comes to tasks like digitizing documents for a paperless environment, but that’s not the case. With regulations like HIPPA ensuring security compliance, it just takes healthcare a little longer to get fully on board with special technology that’s much more comprehensive and advanced than what’s readily available to other industries.

We take a lot of technology for granted, but consider these five technologies that are changing healthcare, and it’s easy to see how far we’ve come:

1. Fitness trackers. Whether you couldn’t imagine life without your Fitbit, heart rate monitor in spin class or Apple’s health app, how we track, compete, encourage ourselves and promote our fitness has shifted drastically thanks to these devices. They’re not perfect, and in some cases fitness trackers have been linked to negative practices such as orthorexia, but for most devotees they’re fun and easy ways to help move more and encourage healthy eating. When you know exactly what you’ve consumed, how long you’ve worked out and to what degree, and your tracker is telling you to get up and move because you’ve been sitting too long, it’s like having a 24/7 personal trainer at a very small fraction of the cost.

2. DietSensor. It’s another app, but one with a new approach to a healthier lifestyle. This recent development, and others like it, can scan nutritional labels to instantly gauge how an item fits into your diet (keeping in mind that a diet is something we all have, for better or worse). Learning to read nutritional labels is a skill that’s gone by the wayside. However, whether you teach yourself to be a better label checker or prefer to rely on the quick scan of technology, it’s a critical part of choosing a healthier lifestyle. Reading nutritional labels isn’t a skill that’s taught at school, and it’s rarely taught at home—often because those who should be teaching it are clueless, too. Nutritional labels have become increasingly confusing in recent years with ingredients we can’t pronounce and additions to labels to include items like “sugar alcohols.” A great app can be personalized so you’re getting the information you both need and want. For example, maybe you’re embracing a carb-cycling lifestyle and need to know net carbs instead of just a breakdown of carbohydrate types.

3. Healthcare data storage solutions. Embracing a paperless environment isn’t just kind to the environment, though you may get extra brownie points for that. It’s also a means of minimizing human error and double work. With cloud storage available, patient files (and more) can be instantly uploaded, downloaded, shared and viewed with those granted access anywhere in the world. Even with the threat of security breaches, soft copies of files are generally more secure than hard copies. Data storage designed specifically for healthcare can also help sync a patients’ many healthcare providers including GPs, mental health experts, physical therapists, nutritionists and even personal trainers.

4. New glucose monitoring systems with no prick. There are a few on the market, but a popular option in Europe and Australia is the Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System. Instead of daily finger pricks previously required of those with diabetes, it’s a sensor that you wear for 14 days that tests blood sugar levels 14 times throughout the day completely discomfort-free. Overall, technology is revolutionizing medical tests and routine precautions making approaches easier, more flexible, and more comfortable than ever. Those with diabetes aren’t the only patients who need frequent blood tests, but they make up the majority of such patients.

5. Virtual reality. VR options were big on Santa’s wish lists during the past holiday season, but they’re more than just fun and games. Virtual reality can help medical students “experience” future situations in a much more realistic fashion, and VR can also help the elderly or those with agoraphobia and PTSD slowly re-immerse themselves into a space that’s safe and accessible while mimicking the real world. There are a variety of VR offerings available, and doing your due diligence to find the right match for you is critical to having a successful experience.

Another technological breakthrough that’s been around for a while is being able to connect with healthcare professionals virtually. There’s been a boom in the number of physicians, mental health experts, and other healthcare professionals “meeting” with patients via video conferencing. It’s a faster, easier, and sometimes more affordable way for patients to get the care they need. As an added bonus, patients who are immobile, in rural areas, or for other reasons that have trouble seeing a medical professional in person suddenly has instant access to the help they need.

Technology is far from perfect, and there’s no telling what kind of medical technology breakthroughs we’ll experience in the coming years. However, with every offering there’s a chance to learn, grow and make sure the next breakthrough is even better. Technology can only improve if tested, though. For those in a position to try out new technology solutions, do so, and share your experience. It just might help drive the next generation of medical technology.

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10 Ways Artificial Intelligence Could Make Me a Better Doctor

10 Ways Artificial Intelligence Could Make Me a Better Doctor | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Automation through AI, robotics or 3D-printing will make healthcare more efficient and more sustainable. These new digital technologies will improve healthcare processes resulting in the earlier and more efficient treatment of patients. It will eventually shift the focus in medicine from treatment to prevention. Moreover, medical professionals will get the chance to move from repetitive, monotonous tasks to the challenging, creative assignments.

AI has certainly more revolutionary potential than simply optimizing processes: it can mine medical records or medical images in order to come up with previously unknown implications or signals; design treatment plans for cancer patients or create drugs from existing pills or re-use old drugs for new purposes. But imagine how much time you as a GP would have if the administrative process would be taken care of by an AI-powered system. Your only task would be to concentrate on the patient’s problem! Imagine how much time you as a GP could spare if healthcare chatbots and instant messaging health apps would give answers to simple patient questions, which do not necessarily need the intervention of a medical professional!

She could have been a great doctor!

These were exactly the thoughts in my head when I was watching the movie Her for the second time. I was fascinated again about the scene in which the main character played by Joaquin Phoenix got his new, AI operating system and started working with it. I could not stop thinking about the ways I could use such an AI system in my life and how it actually could make me a better doctor.

Don’t get me wrong, I think empathy and great communication with patients can make a doctor better primarily, but as the amount of medical information out there is exponentially growing; as the time for dealing with patients and information is getting shorter, it is becoming humanly impossible to keep up with everything. If I could devote the time it takes now to deal with technology (inputting information, looking for papers, etc.) to patients, that would be a huge step towards becoming better.

Through the following 10 ways, AI could make me a better doctor.

1) Eradicate waiting time

You would think that waiting time is the exclusive “privilege” of patients and doctors do not have any free moment during their overpacked days. However, suboptimal health care processes not only result in patients sometimes waiting for hours in front of doctors’ offices but also medical professionals losing a lot of time every day waiting for something (a patient, a lab result, etc.). An AI system that makes my schedule as efficient as possible directing me to the next logical task would be a jackpot.

2) Prioritize my emails

The digital tsunami is upon us. Our inboxes are full of unread messages and it is an everyday challenge not to drown into the ocean of new letters. I deal with about 200 e-mails every single day. I try to teach Gmail how to mark an email important or categorize them automatically into social media messages, newsletters, and personal emails, it’s still a challenge. In Her, the AI system prioritized all the 3000 unread emails in a second. Imagine if we could streamline digital communication completely in line with our needs and if we could share and receive information more efficiently and more accurately without too much effort.

According to a recent report in the New Scientist, half a million people have professed their love for Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant and more than 250,000 have proposed marriage to it. I have to say, I would probably do the same if it could organize my emails that way. (Also, if Scarlett Johansson were to be the voice of the assistant.)

3) Find me the information I need

I think I have mastered the skill of searching for information online using dozens of Google search operators and different kinds of search engines for different tasks, but it still takes time. What if an AI OS could answer my questions immediately by looking up the answer online?

More and more intelligent personal assistants, such as Siri on iOS or Alexa for Amazon lead us into the future, and there will be soon highly capable, specialized AI-powered chatbots also in the field of healthcare. Bots like HealthTap or Your.Md already aim to help patients find a solution to the most common symptoms through AI. Safedrugbot embodies a chat messaging service that offers assistant-like support to health professionals, doctors who need appropriate information about the use of drugs during breastfeeding.

4) Keep me up-to-date

There is too much information out there. Without an appropriate compass, we are lost in the jungle of data. It is even more important to find the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date information when it comes to such a sensitive area as healthcare. That’s why I started Webicina, which collects the latest news from the best, most reliable sources into one, easily manageable magazine.

On Pubmed, there are 23 million papers. If I could read 3-4 studies of my field of interest per week, I could not finish it in a lifetime and meanwhile millions of new studies would come out. I need an AI to process the pile of information for me and show me the most relevant papers – and we will get there soon. IBM Watson can already process a million pages in seconds. This remarkable speed has led to trying Watson in oncology centers to see how helpful it is in making treatment decisions in cancer care.

5) Work when I don’t

I can fulfill my online tasks (emails, reading papers, searching for information) when I use my PC or laptop, and I can do most of these on my smartphone. When I don’t use any of these, I obviously cannot work. An AI system could work on these when I don’t have any device in hand.

Imagine that you are playing tennis or doing the dishes at home when an important message comes in. With the help of an AI, you could respond to your boss without the need to touch any devices – a toned down version of Joaquin Phoenix’s AI, that arranged the whole publishing process of his book without the need for him to lift a finger.

6) Help me make hard decisions rational

A doctor must face a series of hard decisions every day. The best we can do is to make those decisions as informed as possible. I can ask people whose opinion I value, but basically, that’s it. Unfortunately, you would search the world wide web in vain for certain answers.

But AI-powered algorithms could help in the future. For example, IBM Watson launched its special program for oncologists – and I interviewed one of the professors working with it – which is able to provide clinicians evidence-based treatment options. Watson for Oncology has an advanced ability to analyze the meaning and context of structured and unstructured data in clinical notes and reports that may be critical to selecting a treatment pathway. So, AI is not making the decision per se but offers you the most rational options.

7) Help patients with urgent matters reach me

A doctor has a lot of calls, in-person questions, emails and even messages from social media channels on a daily basis. In this noise of information, not every urgent matter can reach you. What if an AI OS could select the crucial ones out of the mess and direct your attention to it when it’s actually needed.

Moreover, if you look at the patient side, you will see how long is the route from recognizing symptoms at home until reaching out to a specialist. For example, in the Hungarian county of Kaposvár, the average time from the discovery of a cancerous disease until the actual medical consultation about the treatment plan was 54 days. This alarming number has been drastically reduced to 21 days with the help of a special software and by optimizing patient management practices since November 2015. Imagine, though, what earthquake-like changes AI could bring into patient management if the usage of a simpler process management tool and follow-up system could halve the waiting time!

8) Help me improve over time

People, even those who work on becoming better at their job, make the same mistakes over and over again. What if by discussing every challenging task or decision with an AI, I could improve the quality of my job. Just look at the following:

97% of healthcare invoices in the Netherlands are digital containing data regarding the treatment, the doctor, and the hospital. These invoices could be easily retrieved. A local company, Zorgprisma Publiek analyzes the invoices and uses IBM Watson in the cloud to mine the data. They can tell if a doctor, clinic or hospital makes mistakes repetitively in treating a certain type of condition in order to help them improve and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations of patients.

9) Help me collaborate more

Sometimes I’m wondering how many researchers, doctors, nurses or patients are thinking about the same issues in healthcare as I do. At those times, I imagine that I have an AI by my side, which helps me find the most potential collaborators and invite them to work together with me for a better future.

Clinical and research collaborations are crucial to find the best solutions for arising problems, however, more often than not, it is difficult to find the most relevant partners. There are already efforts to change this. For example, in the field of clinical trials, TrialReachtries to bridge the gap between patients and researchers who are developing new drugs. If more patients have a chance to participate in trials, they might become more engaged with potential treatments or even be able to access new treatments before they become FDA approved and freely available.

10) Do administrative work

Quite an essential percentage of an average day of a doctor is spent with administrative stuff. An AI could learn how to do it properly and do it better than me by time. This is the area where AI could impact healthcare the most. Repetitive, monotonous tasks without the slightest need for creativity could and should be done by artificial intelligence. There are already great examples leaning towards this trend.

IBM launched another algorithm called Medical Sieve. It is an ambitious long-term exploratory project to build a next generation “cognitive assistant” with analytical, reasoning capabilities and a wide range of clinical knowledge. Medical Sieve is qualified to assist in clinical decision making in radiology and cardiology.

 

Many fear that algorithms and artificial intelligence will take the jobs of medical professionals in the future. I highly doubt it. Instead of replacing doctors, AI will augment them and make them better at their jobs. Without the day-to-day treadmill of administrative and repetitive tasks, the medical community could again turn to its most important task with full attention: healing.

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Technology Is Leading a Healthcare Revolution

Technology Is Leading a Healthcare Revolution | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

If you’re thinking fruit, you’re way off. If you’re thinking device or computer, then you’re on the right track!

Healthcare is in a state of metamorphosis, with a full-on medical revolution unfolding before our eyes. According to global entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, this revolution is being driven by exponential technologies: artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, 3D printing, big data, genomics and stem cells. What does this mean? Well, in the next 10 years, some mind-boggling feats of human innovation are going to completely transform the medical field. They include:

  1. Artificial intelligence-enabled autonomous health scans that provide the best diagnostics equally to the poorest people in Kenya and the wealthiest people in East Hampton.
  2. Large-scale genome sequencing that allows us to understand the root causes of cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases—and what to do about it.
  3. Robotic surgeons that carry out a perfect operation (every time) for pennies on the dollar.
  4. Growing major organs like a heart, liver, lung or kidney instead of waiting for a donor to die.

Diamandis is so committed to this revolution that he has expanded his global XPRIZE competition to the healthcare industry. His competition will encourage the brightest minds in the medical field to develop a Tricorder device that will accurately diagnose 13 health conditions and capture five real-time health vital signs, independent of a healthcare worker or facility and in a way that provides a compelling human experience. This will be made possible through talking to the device, coughing on it or doing a skin prick and the results will be more accurate than if done by a board-certified doctor!

How will this impact the way healthcare providers market themselves? Patients—who are now responsible for an expanded share of medical costs—are searching online for valuable and relevant information. Those medical providers who can quickly and effectively market, promote and publicize these innovative technologies will be that much ahead of the game than their competitors.

It’s amazing to think that the same device that will be promoting these new technologies is the same device that might one day save your life.

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4 Things Health IT Leaders “Would Be” Thankful For

4 Things Health IT Leaders “Would Be” Thankful For | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Like many of you, every year at Thanksgiving dinner, my family, friends and I gather around the table and say one thing that we are thankful for before we begin to dig into the delicious food in front of us. Some are thankful for the meal in front of them, some for the company around them, and others for the roofs over their heads.

In the world of health IT, appreciation comes a little differently, and right now, it’s hard to imagine that CIOs are grateful for much in their professional lives. Simply stated, CIOs are overworked and burnt out in an era when the pressure is on them now more than ever. In fact, statistics say that a CIO’s responsibilities have increased, in terms of both scope and complexity, by 25 percent to 50 percent since the passage of HITECH. As such,  I can’t imagine there are too many things that CIOs are thankful for, as the burden seemingly increases by the day. So as we approach Thanksgiving 2014, here is a list of four things that healthcare IT leaders “would be” thankful for if they had them.

Some more meaningful use flexibility. Just recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the deadline for hospitals to attest to meaningful use for the 2014 reporting year back one month, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31. While this can be seen as another little bone the federal agency has thrown provider organizations, I see it as small potatoes in the big picture. Clearly, the industry wants—and needs—more substantial change. As of Nov. 1, only 840 hospitals have attested to meaningful use Stage 2 within the 2014 calendar timeframe, out of the 2,300-plus hospitals that had attested to Stage 1; and 11,478 physicians have attested to Stage 2 within the 2014 calendar timeframe. A shortened, 90-day reporting period rather than  the current 365-day reporting period for 2015 would be something the industry would be very thankful for. Heck, some IT leaders have even suggested that’s time to “declare MU a victory and move on.”

More money and more manpower. Technology adoption is expensive, and some healthcare organizations simply don’t have the resources. What’s more, there are not a ton of qualified IT professionals, as the pool of experts seems shallow. A Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society  (HIMSS) survey from last year found that 31 percent of healthcare organizations had to place IT initiatives on hold due to staffing shortages, while 43 percent cited the lack of a qualified talent pool as a challenge to appropriately meeting their staffing needs. And the year before that, a College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) CIO survey found that 67 percent of healthcare CIOs were reporting IT staff shortages. Consultant development programs such as this one could help solve the problem.

More clarity and guidance from the federal government. This is a general one, but it really applies to the plethora of federal mandates that are hitting the industry all at once. Earlier this month, HCI Editor-in-Chief wrote a great, in-depth blog highlighting the mass departures among top leadership at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). Specifically, the decision to move National Coordinator for Health IT, Karen DeSalvo, M.D., to the Ebola response team when the industry needs leadership and vision now, perhaps more than ever, was a highly questionable one.  Will DeSalvo come back to her post at ONC when she is done helping out with Ebola? Couldn’t you argue that the Ebola crisis in the U.S. is already past us? CHIME and HIMSS were two industry organizations that expressed similar concerns about this move. In a joint letter to Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Sylvia Mathews Burwell , they wrote that, “If Dr. DeSalvo is going to remain as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health with part-time duties in health IT, we emphasize the need to appoint new ONC leadership immediately that can lead the agency on the host of critical issues that must be addressed.”

No more ICD-10 delays. Just recently, the Coalition for ICD-10, a broad-based healthcare industry advocacy group, sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them not to delay the ICD-10 implementation date again. In the letter, they said, “nearly three quarters of the hospitals and health systems surveyed just before the current delay were confident in their ability to successfully implement ICD-10. Retraining personnel and reconfiguring systems multiple times in anticipation of the implementation of ICD-10 is unnecessarily driving up the cost of healthcare.” Many providers that you talk to actually challenge the notion that the switch to the new coding set carries any value. But at the very least, stick to the date!

While this above list might seem unrealistic right now, perhaps health IT leaders can take solace in the fact that we are feeling your pain. So for the time being, sit back and enjoy all the things in life that you really are  thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!



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Niche Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Niche Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Artificial Intelligence has made its way to every field possible, steamrolling the processes along its way. One such field is healthcare. They say healthcare is a field that is not very rules based and a successful doctor is the one who leverages his/her experience to deal with complex and unseen cases. However, there are many low hanging fruits that are already being plucked by AI. This trend is being fueled by increasing digitization in healthcare data and advances in new algorithms. In this piece, we intend to give you a sneak peek into how AI is leading to improved healthcare for humanity. Below are some key examples of research areas and applications.

Virtual Slides Diagnosis

  • The tissue-based diagnosis has seen technological advancement with the introduction of virtual slides. However, virtual slides demand a lot of time and efforts than that for viewing the original glass slides from the pathologists. This is the time taken in the selection of information containing fields of view. Artificial intelligence can automate the tissue diagnosis routine work. Deep Convolutional Neural Networks are already being used in this area. Automated diagnosis would save a lot of time wasted in supervising and the pathologists can focus on the serious cases.

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

  • Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is the fastest growing cause of blindness, with nearly 415 million diabetic patients at risk worldwide. If not caught early, it can lead to irreversible blindness. In “Development and Validation of a Deep Learning Algorithm for Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy in Retinal Fundus Photographs“, published by JAMA, Google presented a deep learning algorithm capable of interpreting signs of DR in retinal photographs, potentially helping doctors screen more patients in settings with limited resources.

Skin Cancer Treatment

  • Sebastian Thrun’s lab at Stanford released an AI algorithm which detects Skin Cancer with very high accuracy. This algorithm was tested against 21 board-certified dermatologists. In its diagnoses of skin lesions, which represented the most common and deadliest skin cancers, the algorithm matched the performance of professional dermatologists.

Medical Diagnosis

AI algorithms can aid doctors in medical diagnosis.They can highlight key instances in a person’s previous health history. Incorporating AI into the medical field has the potential to change and vastly improve healthcare in its core. From improved diagnostic accuracy to better-optimized treatment plans, AI could be the key to better medical care for doctors and patients alike.

In August 2016, doctors at a hospital in Japan misidentified a 60-year-old woman’s leukemia. But IBM’s Watson examined a vast database of 20 million research papers and made a successful diagnosis in just 10 minutes. The AI-based system can be utilized to prune out the irrelevant data and help the doctor think more clearly focusing on the vital data.

Risk Prediction

The team of primary care researchers and computer scientists compared a set of standard guidelines from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) with four ‘machine-learning’ algorithms. These algorithms analyzed large amounts of data and self-learn patterns within the data to make predictions on future events which were a patient’s future risk of having heart disease or a stroke, in this case.

The results, published in the online journal PLOS ONE, showed that the self-teaching ‘artificially intelligent’ tools were remarkably more accurate in predicting cardiovascular disease than the established guidelines. This technology is a godsend for insurance companies by helping them do a more effective appraisal of health risks of a customer.

Radiology

Applying AI for Radiology is harder as compared to Histopathology and hence we are yet to see groundbreaking results here. There is, however, a lot of work going on in situations where X-rays, CTs, and MRIs can be analyzed automatically, thereby giving radiologists a quick second opinion to consult with.

AI has already been used for Chest X-rays for direct diagnosis. Some of the other areas where AI aids diagnosis significantly is segmenting hip bones and lumbar vertebra for QCT/MRI in osteoporosis screening.

A Recent release of Stanford Medical-ImageNet is likely to start a revolution like what ImageNet did for normal images.

Automating Drug Discovery

Discovery of a new drug takes years of research, its launch takes even more time and money. Automating drug discovery through AI can tremendously reduce the cost and time as well.The average biomedical researcher deals with a huge amount of new information every day. It is estimated that the bioscience industry is getting 10,000 new publications uploaded on a daily basis from across the globe and among a huge variety of biomedical databases and journals. So, it becomes impossible for the researcher to process the entire information alone. Artificial Intelligence has a vital role to play in elevating the work of drug development researchers.

  • A study published in Cell Chemical Biology reveals a big data-based approach to detecting toxic side effects of a drug before it goes to the expensive clinical testing. In the approach called PrOCTOR, researchers analyze each drug using 48 different features to ascertain its safety for clinical use. The entire process is automated using machine learning.
  • A company named BenevolentBio has been doing research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The AI they’ve developed incorporated in the company’s Judgement Correlation System (JACS) reviews billions of sentences and paragraphs from scientific research papers and abstracts. JACS then links direct relationships between the data and regulates the data into ‘known facts’. These known facts are used to generate a large number of possible hypotheses using criteria set by the scientists. Based on these hypotheses, possible drugs are discovered. They have already managed to identify two potential drug targets for Alzheimer.
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Can technology break the silos in the healthcare sector?

Can technology break the silos in the healthcare sector? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Digital health or the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to provide health services, has the potential to advance the goal of universal health coverage and improve the quality and efficiency of health services, according to a new report published by the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s Working Group on Digital Health.

 

But can technology also break silos between the technology and healthcare sectors? 

 

The study group, co-chaired by the Novartis Foundation and Nokia, noted that key challenges remain in making digital health a reality, including fragmentation in digital health solutions, risks to funding continuity and capital expenditure, workforce capacity constraints, and collaboration problems across the health and ICT sectors. 

“Despite the promise and potential of global connectivity, we cannot lose sight of the fact that nearly four billion people have no access to the Internet. We need to look at innovative cross-sectoral strategies that can leverage the power of high-speed networks to improve education, healthcare and the delivery of basic social services to everyone, especially the poorest people, who need healthcare most urgently,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

 

The report, “Digital Health: A call for Government Leadership and Cooperation between ICT and Health,” recommends that the industry look into at least three things: the importance of senior government leadership with committed financing, effective governance mechanisms with defined roles, and a national ICT framework to facilitate alignment between the ICT and healthcare sectors.

 

“We need continuous committed leadership from government with sustained financial resources to ensure a strong national digital health strategy,” Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation, and Chair of the Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Health.

 

She said many technology-based health initiatives have been introduced in the past but they never reached scale or achieved long-term sustainability because more government support and intergovernmental collaboration are needed to take these initiatives past the pilot stage.

 

“To help solve these challenges and to uncover how we can truly harness the power of information and communications technology (ICT) for health, we need a better understanding of the key elements involved,” she explained in the report.

Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia and Chair, Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Health, added that many technology companies are pushing the frontiers of healthcare to reach the remotest of locations, harnessing the power of mobile devices to help health professionals bring the most efficient medical techniques.

 

“The next step is to share the technology with every corner of the globe. To do that we need the leadership of national governments. Health and telecommunication should be united, working closely with regulators—to avoid potential roadblocks, change old practices and spread new knowledge on how to leverage technology for healthcare,” he said.

 

Case Study: Malaysia

With a population of 30 million, Malaysia is currently implementing the Health Information System Strategic Plan (11th MP). This plan builds on the first Health Information System Strategic Plan (10th MP) rolled out between 2010-2015. 

According to the report, the government is currently scaling of a hospital information system deployed in 25 percent of hospitals, in the process of integrating primary care and oral health clinical information system, rolling out a pharmacy information system and building the Malaysia Health Data Warehouse.

Because Malaysia began using digital health in the late 1990s when the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH) unveiled the first
telemedicine blueprint and created the first paperless hospital in the world, it has adopted a progressive approach.

“The MoH provides digital health leadership, strategy and program implementation in the form of three divisions: ICT, Planning and Telehealth,” the report noted. “MoH’s ICT strategic plan and ensures alignment with the national ICT strategic plan.”

However, even after years of digital health implementation, some challenges still remain. “Our biggest challenges are still the user, change management and training. And clinical leadership is so important! If you don’t get buy-in from the clinicians, the system won’t work. We learned from experience,” said Dr. Fazilah Shaik Allaudin, Director of Telehealth Division at MoH.  

 

Other challenges include monitoring, evaluation, and private sector engagement. “ “We’re still struggling with M&E and how to do it effectively. We haven’t really come up with a mechanism for this yet. We’ve seen hospitals give up on digital systems and go back to paper or situations where the core team involved in implementation leaves and the project dies or loses momentum. How do you keep this when the leader leaves? How to keep the fire burning?” he explained.

 

Case Study: Philippines

The Philippines launched the National eHealth Strategy in 2010. This was followed in 2014 with the release of the eHealth Strategic Framework and Plan for 2004-2020. The overall goal of the plans is to achieve universal health coverage, which means access to affordable health services for all citizens.

Some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) the 2014 eHealth framework set out to do include the increasing use of the DoH/PhilHealth eClaims, deployment of telehealth devices, the establishment of a government data warehouse and implementation of health data standards.

According to the report, a joint memorandum between the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) created the basis for a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities. Each agency has its own IT teams which make it hard to know which team is responsible for what. 

“In our country, the DoST was keen to start working on eHealth but realized that it needed to be led by the health sector as per the WHO-ITU Toolkit. Fortunately, our DoH also shared the same view. From this common ground, the seeds for the multisectoral approach emerged. The key is to get those two persons engaged, one from the DoH and one from the DoST, and involved in the development of the national eHealth strategy” Dr. Alvin Marcelo, Executive Director of AeHIN and former CIO of PhilHealth.

Meanwhile, the creation of advisory groups allowed universities and private-sector representatives to share their expertise and views. 

 

“Cross-sectoral collaboration is not easy. Players come from different backgrounds, with different approaches and priorities, and may understand different things on the basis of the same words or phrases,” affirmed Zhao in the report’s foreword. “Nowhere is this truer than in digital health, where the needs are great, the investments are significant and lives are at risk.”

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Most Patients Willing To Have Online Video Doctor Visits, Survey Finds

Most Patients Willing To Have Online Video Doctor Visits, Survey Finds | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

A majority of U.S. residents are willing to use an online video for a physician visit, according to a Harris Poll survey, MobiHealthNews reports.

The survey, which was commissioned by telehealth company American Well, collected responses from 2,019 U.S. adults ages 18 and older in December 2014.

Survey Findings

Overall, the survey found about 64% respondents were willing see a doctor via an online video consult.

Of those, 61% listed convenience as a factor.

The survey found respondents' willingness to switch to an online physician visit varied by age and the number of years they had seen their doctors (Pai, MobiHealthNews, 1/21). The survey showed:

  • 6% of respondents who had seen their physician for at least 10 years said they would switch;
  • 8% of respondents who had seen their physician for five to nine years said they would switch;
  • 10% of respondents who had seen their physician for two to four years said they would switch;
  • 7% of respondents who had seen their physician for less than one year said they would switch (Harris Poll survey, December 2014);
  • 11% of patients ages 18 to 34 said they would switch;
  • 8% of patients ages 35 to 44 said would switch (MobiHealthNews, 1/21);
  • 5% of patient ages 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 said they would switch; and
  • 4% of patients age 65 and older said they would switch (Harris Poll survey, December 2014).

However, about 88% of respondents said they would like to select the physician for a video visit rather than be randomly assigned one (Gold, "Morning eHealth," Politico, 1/22).

When asked how they would prefer to respond if a loved one needed medical attention in the middle of the night:

  • 44% of respondents said they would go to the emergency department;
  • 21% said they would use a video visit;
  • 17% said they would call a 24-hour nurse line; and
  • 5% said they would consult an online symptom checker.

The survey also asked consumers about their willingness to receive a prescription through a video visit. The survey showed:

  • 70% of respondents said receiving a prescription via an online video visit was preferable to receiving a prescription via an in-person visit;
  • 60% said they would be comfortable using an online video visit to get a prescription for a refill;
  • 42% of women ages 18 to 32 would be comfortable getting a prescription for birth control through an online video visit; and
  • 41% reported interest in getting antibiotics through an online video visit.

When asked about the costs of an online physician visit:

  • 62% said online video visits should cost less than an in-person visit;
  • 22% said both types of visits should cost the same amount; and
  • 5% said video visits should cost more (MobiHealthNews, 1/21).
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