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5 Amazing Healthcare Technology Innovation

5 Amazing Healthcare Technology Innovation | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

1.   Interoperability between Health Systems

Interoperability solutions for exchanging patient information across care settings is one particular technological development that will shape the future of healthcare organisations.

 

Value-based care and health information exchanges are an increasingly important part of the overall healthcare landscape, and the ability for all providers – from general practitioners and specialists to post-acute care organisations, etc. – will only grow as a critical component of care delivery in the future.

These types of solutions have only started being developed in the past few years by companies such as referral-MD, that are changing how healthcare companies communicate by including post-acute care providers in critical interoperability workflows, as these providers are expected to be a big part of health care cost containment.

 

By including post-acute care in interoperability strategies, healthcare organisations can ensure that critical patient information across all care settings will be connected, providing a more detailed patient picture for more specific treatment plans and improved patient care.

The statistics are damning, hospitals lose $75+ million per year per 100 affiliated physicians due to referral leakage, a burden that can be reduced by proper referral network management that companies such as referral-MD can help monitor.  Hospitals are just starting to get make changes in their budgets to include programs that can truly help patients receive better care, and save their staff’s time in the process.

Not only are hospitals affected but so are small-to-mid sized practices, with many having to juggle 100's of speciality offices with different workflow requirements, without an electronic way to exchange information, the process breaks down, information is not accurate, and time is wasted.

2. Robotic Nurse Assistant

I have many of friends that are nurses that are injured every year from having to move or lift patients in bed or after an emergency from a fall.  The problem is very common and many of times there is not someone around that is strong enough to lift a patient immediately after one of these occurrences.

There are many variations from a full robot such as RIBA (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance) developed by RIKEN and Tokai Rubber Industries and assisted hardware such as HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) robot suits delivered by Cyberdyne.

 

 

RIBA is the first robot that can lift up or set down a real human from or to a bed or wheelchair. RIBA does this using its very strong human-like arms and by novel tactile guidance methods using high-accuracy tactile sensors. RIBA was developed by integrating RIKEN's control, sensor, and information processing and TRI's material and structural design technologies.

A company by the name of HAL is a robotics device that allows a care worker to life a patient with more stability and strength and helps prevent injuries to our nurses.

 

 

3. Artificial Retinas

The United States typically defines someone as legally blind when the person’s central vision has degraded to 20/200, or the person has lost peripheral vision so that he sees less than 20 degrees outside of central vision. Normal vision is 20/20, and people can usually see up to 90 degrees with their peripheral vision. An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are considered legally blind.

This has led to companies like Nano-Retina to develop a sophisticated and elegant solution intended to restore the sight of people who lost their vision due to retinal degenerative diseases. The miniature Nano Retina device, the NR600 Implant, replaces the functionality of the damaged photo-receptor cells and creates the electrical stimulation required to activate the remaining healthy retinal cells. NR600 consists of two components; a miniature implantable chip and a set of eyeglasses worn by the patient.

 

 

Very interesting technology for those that are always sitting in front of the computer like myself, hopefully it will not be needed by me, but it's great that companies are advancing for those that suffer this debilitating illness.

4. Tooth Regeneration

Hey Kids, here is some candy!  All kidding aside, this could be an amazing advancement if the technology holds true in the coming years.

Colourful fish found in Africa may hold the secret to growing lost teeth. In a collaborative study between the Georgia Institute of Technology and King’s College London, researchers looked at the cichlid fishes of Lake Malawi in Africa, who lose teeth just to have a new one slide into place. Their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, identifies the genes responsible for growing new teeth and may lead to the secret to "tooth regeneration" in humans.

"The exciting aspect of this research for understanding human tooth development and regeneration is being able to identify genes and genetic pathways that naturally direct continuous tooth and taste bud development in fish, and study these in mammals," said the study’s co-author Paul Sharpe, a research professor from King's College, in apress release. "The more we understand the basic biology of natural processes, the more we can utilise this for developing the next generation of clinical therapeutics: in this case how to generate biological replacement teeth."

Another study from a Harvard team successfully used low-powered lasers to activate stem cells and stimulate the growth of teeth in rats and human dental tissue in a lab. The results were published today in the journal Science Transnational Medicine.  Stem cells are no ordinary cells. They have the extraordinary ability to multiply and transform into many different types of cells in the body. They repair tissues by dividing continually either as a new stem cell or as a cell with a more specialised job, such as a red blood cell, a skin cell, or a muscle cell.

alt="tooth regrowth">Dentures and dental implants may soon become a thing of the past. Stem cell research is making it possible to regrow your missing teeth! This is a much-needed medical advancement, especially considering that by age 74—26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth.

 

5. Light-bulbs that Disinfect and Kill Bacteria

Hospitals are known to be potentially dangerous place with lot's of people with different elements and diseases.  One company, Indigo-Clean has developed a technology using visible light that continuously disinfect the environment and bolsters your current infection prevention efforts.

How it works

  1. The 405 nm emitted from Indigo-Clean reflects off of walls and surfaces, penetrating harmful micro-organisms
  2. The light targets naturally occurring molecules called porphyrins that exist inside bacteria. The light is absorbed and the excited molecules produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) inside the cell
  3. 405 nm creates a chemical reaction inside the cell, similar to the effects of bleach
  4. The Reactive Oxygen Species inactivates the bacteria, preventing it from re-populating the space

 

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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www.technicaldr.com/tdr

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VC Funding in Health IT Dips

VC Funding in Health IT Dips | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

For the first time in a long time, venture capital funding in healthcare IT suffered a drop off, Mercom Capital Group, an Austin Texas-based research firm, reported.


The research firm reported that the total venture capital funding in the first quarter of 2015 was $784 million in 142 deals compared to $1.2 billion in 134 deals in Q4 2014 and $858 million in 163 deals in Q1 2014. While the end of the year to beginning of a new year drop off isn’t totally unexpected or unprecedented, the year-over-year decrease is the first time since the decade began venture capital funding in health IT has seemed to taper off. Since 2010, Mercom reports that the health IT sector has raised more than $10 billion.


Healthcare practice-centric companies raised $347 million in 44 deals in Q1 2015 compared to $568 million in 43 deals in Q4 2014. Consumer-centric companies raised $437 million in 98 deals this quarter compared to $643 million in 91 deals in Q4 2014. There was one exception to the drop off.


“Funding fell across the board with the exception of mobile health (mHealth), which was the bright spot this quarter. There was also significant M&A activity in the first quarter for mHealth companies. We have already seen 10 M&A transactions in Q1 compared to 21 in all of last year, which bodes well for exits in mobile health,” Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group, said in a statement.

Health Catalyst, a Salt Lake City-based analytics firm and former Healthcare Informatics up and comer, garnered the largest VC deal of 2015 thus far with a $50 million investment. A data analytics company, Invalon, went public and raised $600 million.


While VC funding was down, mergers and acquisitions were up. There were 56 deals in Q1, compared to 52 of Q4 of last year and 53 last year at this time. The largest was MyFitnessPal, a mobile health app, being bought by UnderArmour.


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Venture capital funding for health IT doubles in 2014

Venture capital funding for health IT doubles in 2014 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

A report from Mercom Capital Group LLC found that venture capital funding for health care information technology sector more than doubled in 2014.

VC funding came in at $4.7 billion in 670 deals, compared with $2.2 billion and 571 deals in 2013.

"In the five years since we started tracking funding data, the sector has raised $8.8 billion in VC funding and anther $3.6 billion in public market and debt financings, bringing the total to $12.4 billion — largely driven by the HITECH and Affordable Care Act," Mercom CEO and co-founder Raj Prabhu said in a statement. "However, the enthusiasm in the sector shown by the VC community was not quite matched by the public markets when you look at market performance of companies that went the IPO route in 2014."

There were six initial public offerings that raised a total of $1.8 billion.

Mobile health companies received the largest share of VC funding, bringing in $2.3 billion in 436 deals. Of that, $526 million went to wearables and another $507 million went to mobile health apps.

But mobile health apps saw the most growth with a 341 percent year-over-year increase.

Mercom is a global communications and consulting firm based in Austin, Tex.


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How EHealth Empowers Patients And Healthcare Providers 

How EHealth Empowers Patients And Healthcare Providers  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Over the last couple of years we have seen a great rise in the number of websites, mobile ehealth apps and in house devices. All offering patients new ways to take control of their health. This has resulted in more self-tracking and testing patients using ehealth products and services.Healthcare providers on the other hand are finding ways to use this technology to their advantage. Reducing costs, enhancing care management and improving outcomes.

Patients however need guidance. So they are not left to track and interpret the collected information on their own. This is why healthcare providers need to focus on engagement and education. Empowering patients will help them fully benefit from the patient generated ehealth data.
 
The Self-managing Patient

Today’s digital patient has unlimited access to tools to self-test, self-diagnose and self-treat. The number ofwearable health and fitness devices are growing by the day. Apple Health, Fitbit and Samsung’s S Health are just three examples of healthcare tracking platforms.

Users can measure anything from blood pressure to nutrition and activity levels. Putting valuable healthcare data in the hands of the patient. Allowing them to self manage their own health. And even check hydration levels, brain activity and sunlight exposure.

This data does not just affect patient empowerment – it’s also of great value to healthcare providers.

 

Patient Empowerment through eHealth

Technology offers patients great benefits. It gives them more valuable health insights and more control over the outcomes. Resulting in patients rapidly adopting technology as an important health asset.

High quality health data empowers patients to choose how, when and where they receive care. It allows them to choose the manner in which they receive care, diagnosis and treatment. And offers more options and increased convenience.

They can choose traditional service at a hospital if they prefer the in person approach. Or can decide on a more convenient virtual visit with a tele- physician or even request a house call.

 
As this trend seems to be here to stay, healthcare providers worry patients might be getting a little too independent. Patient empowerment through patient education and patient engagement has been a focus of hospitals for a while. Important now is to focus on patient empowerment outside the hospital. And ensuring patients can still reach professional help when needed.
 
Healthcare Provider Empowerment through eHealth

Patient empowerment through data, information and technology is a great thing. But patients should stay aware of the importance of physicians. There is still a strong need for professional guidance and intervention. Only professional healthcare staff can accurately translate and act upon the collected data.

Ehealth data doesn’t just empower patients, it empowers healthcare providers as well. Tracking this continuous stream of data can provide completely new insights into a patient’s health. Healthcare providers have to find the benefits of this valuable information. Incorporating the eHealth data into the care process and workflow.

This can massively increase efficiency – allowing for cost reduction. But it can also help move into a more preventative based model of care. Detecting possible health risks and issues before they’re visible.

 

There is no way we can keep patients from self tracking, diagnosing and treating. They will use the information they receive from their wearable or in-home device. But it provides healthcare providers with a great opportunity to lead the way – using patient generated data to improve patient outcomes and patient experience.

 
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Personalized Medicine Informatics: The Sky’s the Limit

Personalized Medicine Informatics: The Sky’s the Limit | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

President Obama’s 2016 budget includes a $215 million investment in research on personalized medicine to provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients. That figure includes $5 million for the Office of the National Coordinator to support the development of interoperability standards and requirements that address privacy and enable secure exchange of data across systems.

Last week I had the opportunity to interview A John Iafrate, M.D., Ph.D., founder and director of the Center for Integrated Diagnostics (CID) at Massachusetts General Hospital, about some of the informatics challenges his organization faces as personalized medicine takes off.

The CID was one of the first centers to look at large panels of genes in cancer to support clinical decision-making, Iafrate said. It looks for mutations and other genetic alterations in patient tumors with the idea of getting those patients on new targeted agents. Its SNaPshot assay screens for well over 100 cancer-associated mutations that have important clinical implications. Iafrate’s organization has begun using the HealthShare health informatics platform from InterSystems to target issues involving large data set management and cross-organizational collaboration in support of genomic research and clinical innovations.

At Mass General, once a tumor is genotyped, the patient’s oncologist receives that information in a plain-text report in the EHR. The oncologist can act on that information if they have a clinical trial open or a drug available, Iafrate said.

 I asked him how the oncologists keep track of all the available trials.

“In fact, one of our first projects with InterSystems is a clinical trials locator,” he said. “That is app No. 1.” An oncologist who sees 100 patients, all with different genetics, cannot keep track of it. “If I am in an academic practice group, maybe there are 50 trials. Someone could make an Excel spreadsheet of genome types and trials available,” Iafrate explained. “But how would I know next Wednesday, when I see Mrs. Smith, whether or not she has other clinical parameters that make her ineligible? But a piece of software can have all the entry criteria, know the lab values for all the patients, and in real time know the genotype and entry criteria for trials and whether there is a spot available in those trials.”

Iafrate says that there seems to be some consensus that this “apps” model is the approach of the future. “To get novel analytics, you need a stable database structure and then let people build reliable apps you can put on top,” he said. “That is what we are excited about. I think most people would view that as the most efficient way forward.”

He said InterSystems has helped solve a lot of the problems around data security and data formats. “One of the reasons we liked InterSystems is their focus on building HIEs,” he said. “This is not a research project. We are dealing with identified data that needs the highest level of security. The capabilty to share between sites is critical.”

There are still many informatics issues to address, he said. “How do we get data out of the current data repository and how do we share data between institutions in a safe way that limits the risk?”

There are big macro-issues with genetics, he added. “In this day and age, when we can sequence a genome, is any data de-identifiable? You can de-identify some clinical data, but if you have DNA sequence linked, that is no longer de-identified,” he said. “There is no consensus on how to deal with this issue,” he said, and no national consensus within the healthcare informatics world on how risky someone’s DNA sequence is.

Iafrate said another challenge is all the unstructured data in healthcare settings. “That is the major issue we are dealing with,” he said.  “As good as any natural language processing software is, there will always be data quality problems.”

He said the CID hopes to create a physician portal — not just a viewer, but a way for clinicians to generate their notes in a way that is as fully structured as possible. “To do cutting edge research and cutting edge clinical analytics, you really need the highest quality data possible,” he explained, because every data point will have noise associated with it. You can have a physician’s note that says ‘Mrs. Johnson has been receiving chemotherapy and is doing fantastic. She feels great.’ If you want to do research on quality of life, natural language processing will hone in on it, but there is noise associated with it. “What you really want is a scale of 1-10,” he said. “We want to build into a physician portal a way they could enter data that is as high quality quantitative data as possible.”

I asked Iafrate if it was likely that EHR vendors would soon start to build in tools that support genetic data sharing. “Definitely, everyone is moving in that direction,” he said. “Epic has a working group around that. Everyone understands that personalized medicine is important.”

Iafrate is working with the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, which was formed in 2013 to create a common framework of harmonized approaches to enable the responsible, voluntary, and secure sharing of genomic and clinical data. He said most of the work in genomics has been done by a few large research facilities. “They have an interest in sharing data among large genome centers but not in sharing it widely with community hospitals and primary care physician practices,” he said. “They can agree on one or two large databases they share with each other, but that does not solve the problem of how we democratize it,” he said. “Without standards, you are limited in transporting data and comparing studies. We won’t get companies like Epic to invest a whole lot unless there is a standard format.”

Iafrate said that once data is structured sufficiently and a single database can store large amounts of genetic data and can bring it together with clinical data, then “the sky is the limit.” 

“We could create real-time clinical analytics apps that you could put into Epic or another EHR, he said. One future app could be called “Patients Like Mine.”

Here is how Iafrate explained it to me: Twenty years ago oncologists would rely on their medical knowledge and experience to make decisions because they didn’t have so much data. Now when the genetics results come back, they are complicated. “Can we help those clinicians by showing them real-time survival rates?” he asked. “How can you generate a Kaplan-Meier curve, a survival curve, for the patient sitting right in front of you? This is not a research tool, but a clinical real-time tool.” What if you had structured data on every time the patient came in, what drugs and dosage they had, and a CT scan measurement of the size of the tumor at each point in time. You could do a quantitative measure of drug response in that patient — and that is the equivalent of a clinical trial, he said. “Today that is not done in routine clinical care, where you quantitate the response rate or tumor shrinkage, because there is not a need for doing that in the clinic.” But now there would be a reason. If you measure the tumor size of every patient that comes through, the oncologist sitting with that patient could pull up a Kaplan-Meier curve of all the patients in their practice and say ‘query the data by defining 50-year-old females with this mutation and this tumor type. Tell me how my patients have done.’

And providers could toggle between looking at only their own patients or patients in the HealthShare HIE network. “Once you structure that data, if you can de-identify it to some degree,” Iafrate said, “then it could be shared and turned into something really special.”


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