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Amazing Technologies Changing The Future of Dermatology 

Your body’s best guard in a hostile world: your skin

Everything is written on your skin. Every wrinkle, spot, and color tells a story, and not only a medical one. This miraculous organ can show you as a litmus paper whether you have a disease. For example, people with few red blood cells may look pale, while patients suffering from hepatitis have yellowish skin color. Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The skin protects you against moisture, the howling winter winds, the scorching sun rays, the swarm of germs and toxic substances. It acts as the most reliable thermostat: helps you prevent dehydration and protects you from the consequences of too much heat or cold. It allows you to feel sensations: touching, itching and even pain. As weird as it sounds, the skin also acts as a storage room: its deepest layer can store water, fat or metabolic products. If it is injured, it produces wounds. And while it protects you from an unimaginably huge amount of parasites, bacteria, viruses, and germs, sometimes the price for not letting these disease agents into the organism is its own disease.

Skin cancer is too common

According to statistics from the WHO, currently, between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year. Data from the US Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that each year over 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people only in the US. The annual cost of treating skin cancers there is estimated at $8.1 billion: about $4.8 billion for non-melanoma skin cancers and $3.3 billion for melanoma, which is an insanely huge number. And what is even scarier? For example, the fact that according to the estimations One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.

The situation is not a tiny bit better in other countries. In 2014, 15,419 new melanoma skin cancer cases were diagnosed, Cancer Research UK found. The results of their surveys also indicate that incidence rates have increased by 119 percent in the UK since the early 1990s. And if you look at the last decade, this number still reaches 45 percent. International trends aren’t a cause for more hope, either. A study found that the incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma has steadily increased over the past 50 years in predominately fair-skinned populations. Moreover, incidence rates of melanoma continue to rise in most European countries (primarily Southern and Eastern Europe), whereas, in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Canada, Israel and Norway, rates have become rather stable in recent years.

Luckily, digital technologies are on their way to help dermatologists diagnose and treat skin diseases better and more effective. Innovative solutions have a huge impact on healthcare in general, but in case of certain subfields, such as surgery, even the transformation of the whole specialty can be expected. Looking at dermatology, it will probably not experience such a radical turn as surgery, but the shift will still be determining. Technology has been shaping dermatology praxises for years, and this will accelerate in the coming years. Here, I decided to enlist all the digital solutions which help medical professionals truly bring dermatology into the 21st century.

Telemedicine

As you can easily detect if you have a skin problem, and smartphones coupled with super-fast internet connection make it easy to send pictures or footage anywhere, telehealth solutions appeared naturally in dermatology. The options of teledermatology services are soaring. FirstDerm, Spruce, Direct Dermatology, SkinMDnow, Zwivel or iDoc24. They all work based on the same principle: they promise patients to connect them to a dermatologist online for consultation within a very short period of time. Usually, people can load up their photos to a certain platform, and dermatologists give advice based on it.

The popularity of the platforms shows there was an urgent need for this solution. iDoc24 had already more than 7,000 cases submitted from all over the world. It also turned out that the majority of the issues were rather harmless: iDoc24 found 70 percent of all their reviewed cases could be self-treated and they advised the patient to undertake further tests in all the remaining 30 percent of cases. It is a win-win for everyone: patients do not have to wait in crowded waiting rooms for an exam, while dermatologists can deal with the easier cases in shorter time online.

2) Big Data

The analysis of Electric Health Records (EHRs) and other huge data sets allows for the optimization of even such mammoth-like systems as healthcare. Data analytics help improve the quality and coordination of care, reduce the incurred costs and avoid unnecessary use of resources. Dermatologists also recognized the huge potential of big data to bring lasting change to their specialty.

The American Academy of Dermatology introduced a clinical registry called DataDerm in 2016. The database was created by dermatologists and connects data on millions of patients from thousands of dermatologists throughout the US. It eases the pain of reporting and allows medical professionals to demonstrate the quality of care they provide, to payers, policy makers, and the medical community. At the same time, it gives every member a private analysis of his or her practice’s data against national averages – down to the patient level. It is great for setting standards in dermatology, measuring each participant how they perform and ensuring the average quality of care.

3) Robotics

Amazing high-tech machines appeared on the stage of medicine lately. The New Jersey-based company, Canfield Scientific have recently installed the first commercial Vectra WB360 whole-body skin lesionmapping system. It is able to take a 360-degree scan of the entire body and identifies all the lesions on the skin. But what is even more exciting, the potential in robots helping dermatologists, especially aesthetic dermatologists in the future.

Many skin cancer types and other skin problems are treated with laser therapies, and a study found that robots might be able to help there. Researchers compared the accuracy and consistency of laser irradiation treatments carried out by humans and robotic arms, and investigators found the robot-guided treatments to be superior to the manually guided treatments. In the future, we can expect laser therapies to be carried out by “robotic surgeons” with humans controlling the process.

4) Artificial Intelligence

Deep learning algorithms are especially good at recognizing certain images, thus they will certainly have a place in the future of medical specialties dealing with medical imaging, such as radiology or dermatology. For example, IBM decided to let dermatologists leverage on the results of its deep learning platform, Watson in order to diagnose melanoma and other types of skin cancer faster, more accurate and preferably without the need for many biopsies. At the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, experts found that their deep learning system was able to achieve a 76% accuracy at diagnosing melanoma cases based on dermatology images, while the average accuracy for the eight dermatologists on that data set was 70.5%. It is a very promising result!

Researchers at Stanford University carried out a similar experiment. They created an artificially intelligent diagnosis algorithm for skin cancer with the help of an algorithm developed by Google that was already trained to identify 1.28 million images from 1,000 object categories. Then, they made a database of nearly 130,000 skin disease images representing over 2,000 different diseases; and trained their algorithm to visually diagnose potential cancer. From the very first test, it performed with inspiring accuracy. It performed at least as well as dermatologists participating in the research, which is very impressive! Now, the team is considering to make the algorithm smartphone compatible in the near future, bringing reliable skin cancer diagnoses to our fingertips. Mind-blowing innovation in sight!

5) 3D Printing

The answer for organ shortages of all kinds, including skin, as well as to the increasing reluctance to test new cosmetic, chemical, and pharmaceutical products on animals, is 3D printing. Many innovators recognized it already and plenty of research is going on. Scientists at the Spanish Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in collaboration with the bioengineering firm BioDan Group have presented a prototype for a 3D bioprinter that can create an entirely functional human skin. James Yoo and his team at the Wake Forest School of Medicinein the US has also developed a similar prototype that can create synthetic skin. San Diego-based bioprinting firm Organovo teamed up with cosmetics giant L’Oréal in 2015 to supply 3D-printed skin.

3D printing could ensure that critical tissue shortages, which were reported for example in Australia in 2016or in Japan in March 2017, would never again hamper the tasks of medical professionals.

6) Regeneration

Injuries of the skin take a long time to heal. For a 10 mm cut, it takes 1-2 weeks to turn into a scar and then slowly fade away. Researchers are working on various innovations for shortening the healing process and accelerating the natural responses of the human organism for more effective skin regeneration.

Healthpoint Biotherapeutics developed a skin cell spray to improve conventional treatment for leg ulcers. According to a study, applied prior to wrapping the leg with compression bandages, the spray both improved the extent of healing and did it in less time than healing with bandages alone. Another remarkable innovation is ACell’s MatriStem, an extracellular matrix, which helps regrow tissues – it even induced the regrowth of an amputated fingertip in 2010. A very similar extracellular matrix helped treat a US Marine who lost 70 percent of his thigh muscle in a mortar explosion in Afghanistan. Researchers at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh applied a “cocktail of proteins” and growth factors derived from pig bladders. After a few weeks, his leg muscles started to grow back! Simply amazing!

7) Social media

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the social media platforms which everyone with an internet connection knows and uses. They are wonderful communication tools, sources of information and common knowledge, they function as community building platforms and spaces for promoting great causes. It is no different regarding healthcare – or dermatology, for that matter.

For example, Webicina, the first medical web 2.0 guidance service, offers Dermatology and Web 2.0, a free comprehensive resource containing all the web 2.0 tools from quality blogs and communities to online slideshows and mobile applications. It was designed to help medical professionals interested in dermatology find the best resources online. Moreover, La Roche-Posay, a division of L’Oreal, uses social media to promote its SOS Save our Skin campaign, which it does in conjunction with the US Women’s Dermatologic Society. The American Academy of Dermatology launched its 2017 SPOT Skin Cancer campaign, which is encouraging women to check both their partners and themselves for signs of skin cancer. The AAD started the #SpotSkinCancer hashtag on social media and encourages everyone to share their photos or videos to raise awareness how important it is to detect skin cancer in time.

8) Health sensors

As the market for wearables and health sensors is exploding, you can find all kinds of tiny gadgets measuring your vital signs and health parameters. In the future, some of these devices will not only do measurements but offer diagnosis or participate in the treatment of certain diseases. Skin-related conditions might be the first to diagnose or treat with small, sensor-like materials or gadgets. This year, L’Oréal introduced its wearable sensor for measuring sun exposure and notifying the user when they are about to get sunburn. The patch changes color to warn against skin cancer.

What’s more, a group of Indian researchers presented a unique patch for treating skin cancer at the Society of Nuclear Medicine’s Annual Meeting in 2012. The patch is infused with phosphorus-32, a radioactive isotope used to treat some types of cancer. The researchers carried out a small study on the effectiveness of the patch and the results were very promising. Ten patients with skin cancer on their faces were treated with the patch, and three months after the treatment, biopsies showed no sign of their tumors. When biopsies were performed again at six months, however, the basal cell carcinomas had returned in two of the patients. I believe it is a great achievement, and I hope to hear about more similar research projects in the future.

9) Nanotechnology and nanoparticles

Nanotechnology proves to be a fertile field in dermatology and especially in cosmetics; as nanoparticles make their way into UV-light absorbing sunscreens and anti-aging products. When properly engineered, nanomaterials may be able to topically deliver retinoids, antioxidants, and drugs such as botulinum toxin or growth factors for rejuvenation of the skin in the future.

Yet, nanotechnology also has to offer a lot in the fight against cancer. Researchers also are reviewing the use of nanomaterials for the treatment of melanoma. In particular, gold, when turned into a nanomaterial called nanoshells, has been shown to be a useful treatment for melanoma in animal studies. So, perhaps skin cancer will be treated by gold in the future. Who knew that everyone’s favorite jewelry material has such beneficial traits?

 

Although the above list certainly has its limitations, it shows the vast potential of digital technologies to change the landscape of dermatology very soon. Thus, a student who wants to become a dermatologist might better become friends with disruptive innovations to get the most out of them when they start practicing.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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Barbara Lond's curator insight, December 22, 2017 3:41 PM
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Pharma View's comment, October 27, 1:20 AM
http://pharmaview.info/derma-care-pharma-company/
Top Derma Care Pharma Companies List of India | Pharma View
Find out the best Derma Care Pharma Companies of India at one place. Having a wide range of companies which help you to choose the best Derma Care Pharma.
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4 Important Ways Healthcare Technology Improves Your Patient Care

4 Important Ways Healthcare Technology Improves Your Patient Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare technology continues to be a hot topic of conversation, as the world that we’ve long visualized gets closer to being our reality.

It’s changing how healthcare providers diagnose, treat, manage and monitor. Health tech has the potential to save lives, improve quality of life, and completely redirect the downward trajectory of hard to manage patients.

Let’s explore how 4 important health techs are improving patient care.

Predictive Analytics & Machine Learning

Physicians today utilize predictive analytics & machine learning to better identify high risk patients and put the right interventions in place to:

  • Prevent admissions
  • Prevent readmissions
  • Reduce decline and relapse
  • Improve medication compliance
  • Speed up recovery
  • Help patients respond to triggers
  • Better engage patients in between visits

Patients today want more personalized care Health tech like this helps give patients what they want as it improves patient care and patient outcomes.

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Wearable Technology

For patients suffering from chronic conditions, wearable technology provides a better way for patients to meet their health metrics.

This is because they receive immediate feedback about their health, current state of being, and behaviors that will impact those metrics. In many cases, the data can even be accessed by their physician in real time.

Wearables provide tools patients need to track and adjust behavior on a moment-to-moment basis rather than waiting until they have a doctor’s visit.

Today doctors are using wearables to:

  • Help patients be more active
  • Keep patients informed about day to day heart health
  • Help those with musculoskeletal injuries and physical developmental delays regain or gain mobility, including paralysis of the lower extremities
  • Track sleep patterns
  • Better understand mood disorders
  • Painlessly monitor glucose levels
  • Relieve chronic pain

The potential of remote monitoring to improve care has long been studied, but more recently we are finding it within our reach.

Virtual Reality

Medical students today can use virtual reality (VR) to get hands-on without a real patient in sight. This allows for more in-depth training and real time feedback that doesn’t include your patient screaming when you make a wrong move.

Furthermore, doctors today use VR to help treat patients with:

  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Phobias

Through systematic desensitization, patients can face their fears, anger and sadness in a controlled setting. Before VR, such “facing of fears” would have been much more logistically challenging and less controlled.

Telemedicine

As part of the patient’s desire for more personalized care, they’re looking for healthcare services that align with their personal needs. This goes beyond medical treatments.

Telemedicine does this in several very effective ways.  For example, telemedicine:

  • Provides ultimate convenience to patients who think they don’t have time to see the doctor, so patients don’t delay seeing the doctor.
  • Meets the needs of the elderly and other individuals who may be home-bound or even bed-ridden.
  • Eliminates that boring waiting room experience.
  • Helps keep patients with immune disorders out of medical facilities that, despite best efforts, become breeding grounds for infections and even superbugs.
  • Delivers most of the benefits of face to face, especially when combined with wearable technologies.
  • Provides a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform on which doctors and patients can connect.

Healthcare Technology Makes a Big Difference in Patients’ Lives

Whether you’re a doctor, nurse or other medical services provider, you understand that it’s not about medicine. It’s about people.

Through healthcare technology, you can make sure every patient gets the care that they deserve. You can tear down barriers to care, expand your reach, and improve patient outcomes.

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What are the Top Healthcare Industry Challenges in 2017?

What are the Top Healthcare Industry Challenges in 2017? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare Industry challenges are always going to be evolving alongside the breakthroughs and innovations. In 2017, there are new healthcare industry challenges that go alongside the age-old difficulties.

For doctors, nurses and medical teams, here are 7 of the key healthcare industry challenges they are currently facing in the year ahead for 2017.

1) Retail Care offering increased access

Retail giants like CVS and Walgreens are pushing further into care delivery, continuing to put pressure on traditional providers to increase access to care.

According to Laura Jacobs, writing for Hospitals and Health Networks “The greatest challenge for most organizations will be finding the right pace for adapting to or embracing new [healthcare] payment models.”

Doctors will be required to step up their efforts to optimize the patient experience, beyond measuring patient satisfaction.

2) Behavioral healthcare

The healthcare industry is starting to recognize that Mental Health is important to the well-being of employees and consumers, according to a report from PWC.

The report notes that one out of five American adults experiences a mental illness every year. These conditions cost businesses more than $440 billion each year. Healthcare organizations and employers will look at behavioral care as ‘key to keeping costs down, productivity up and consumers healthy’ the report said.


3) Meaningful Use and Value Based Payments

Eligible providers and eligible hospitals are continuing to work on meaningful use of EHRs.

Value-based purchasing programs are solidly in place, and eligible physicians are starting to experience the penalty phase of CMS’s quality reporting and Meaningful Use initiatives. In fact, CMS revealed that more than 257,000 eligible professional providers who are not meaningful users of certified EHR technology would have their Medicare Fee Schedule cut by one percent.

Eligible physicians also need to comply with CMS’s new Value-Based Payment Modifier program, or face penalties. It’s part of Medicare’s efforts to improve healthcare, but the program adds yet more regulations physicians need to monitor.

All these changes and new reporting requirements can become overwhelming for already busy physicians, which is why the American Medical Association has repeatedly asked for relief.


4) Switching to ICD-10

The much anticipated and maligned change to ICD10 codes in 2015 led to a lot of discomfort for physicians. The increase in codes from 14,000 to 68,000 means a lot of diagnosis criteria must be re-learned.

There is a great deal of planning, re-training and new systems that go along with the upgrade in codes. For doctors, finding the time to do this proved to be a huge challenge, and still is.

5) Data Security

Patient privacy issues, including concerns about data breaches, continue to be a challenge for providers, payers, and consumers.

Providers and payers will need to be aware of the best practices for data security to avoid the type of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations that can negatively impact an organization.


6) Managing Patient volume

While new payment models will are aiming to reduce acute hospital utilization, the continued expansion of Medicaid and the insured population through the public exchanges will seemingly keep demand up.

The rise of obesity and chronic disease and population aging are creating a demand for medical services like never before.

Emergency departments will continue to be overworked until efforts to decant volume through urgent care, better care management or redesigned primary care models begins to take effect..


7) Implementing Telemedicine

The idea of a doctor seeing you via a computer screen may no longer be new, but the adoption of the Telemedicine services by doctors with their own patients is still a struggle.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation shares a vision of how Telemedicine can reduce patient backlogs. “Imagine a world where patients in rural areas far from a nearby doctor can easily find a health care provider to consult with online from the comfort of their own homes; where doctors living in Pennsylvania can help reduce the backlog of patients waiting to see doctors in Mississippi; and where patients can connect to a doctor over the Internet for routine medical purposes with a few clicks of the mouse—like they do when ordering a book on Amazon.”

Finding a balance between in person visits and telemedicine will require doctors to adjust their approach to care. Learning to diagnose remotely also requires new skills and detailed reporting.

Of course, Healthcare Industry Challenges are nothing new. Technology and legislation will continue to change the landscape. Doctors and their medical teams must evolve their approach and focus to meet them.

 

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How Technology is Driving the Next Wave of Telemedicine

How Technology is Driving the Next Wave of Telemedicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The growth in business cases for new models of healthcare delivery and integration of digital health technology is reaching the point of convergence — creating powerful synergies where there was once only data silos and skepticism.


We have not quite achieved this synergy yet, but opportunities emerging in 2015 will move the industry much closer to the long-awaited initiatives in connected, value-based care.

Individuals are constantly hyper-connected to a variety of technology networks and devices. Wearables will continue to enter the market, but their features and focus will go well beyond fitness. Even the devices entering the market now are more sophisticated than ever before. Some are now equipped with tools like muscle activity tracking, EEG, breath monitoring, and UV light measurement.

It will be fascinating to watch how consumer electronics, wearables, and clinical devices continue to merge and take new forms. Some particularly interesting examples will be in the categories of digital tattoos, implantable devices, and smart lenses.

As the adoption of wearables continues to grow, we will continue to see more value placed on accessing digital health data by healthcare and wellness organizations. This will be especially important as healthcare shifts towards value-based models of care. The need to gain access to the actionable data on connected devices will only grow as innovation creates more complex technologies in the market.

This is the year the promise of telehealth will be realized. It is projected that by 2018, 65 percent of interactions with health organizations will take place via mobile devices. Those statistics speak to the need of satisfying the growing demands being placed on providers, along with the growing discernment among patients when it comes to selecting affordable and convenient medical services. The continued adoption of telehealth will extend the point of care for providers and provide ubiquitous access to medical professionals for patients.

A number of entities are already putting this into practice: Walgreens, in partnership with MDLIVE, recently expanded their mobile platform to offer virtual doctors visits for acutely-ill patients; Google is testing a HIPAA-compliant medicine platform for video chats with doctors; and, digital urgent care solutions, like Doctor on Demand, are growing in popularity due to their convenience and low cost.

Telemedicine will not only extend the point of care, but will also be critical in better combatting chronic disease. Managing chronic health conditions will become the focus of many healthcare providers, as models of reimbursement and population health management (PHM) continue to replace fee-for-service models. One issue with chronic disease management is that it is difficult to monitor at-risk patients outside of the hospital. This is where telemedicine comes in.

Prescribed devices and applications to better handle chronic conditions will increase in pervasiveness. This idea of prescribing mobile health to better manage disease states translates to a host of chronic conditions – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer.

For example, our client UCSF uses devices like step trackers, sleep trackers, scales and blood pressure monitors to track patients at-risk for heart disease or cardiac readmissions. Another client, UNC is creating a Gastro-Intestinal tracking application (GI Buddy) that leverages fitness devices and scales to monitor Chron’s disease. There are thousands of studies pioneering innovations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare. And, they are making serious strides.

The automatic transmission of pertinent patient data from these mobile health technologies is propelling forward capabilities for cost-effective, efficient and successful remote patient monitoring, population management and patient engagement programs.

However, as telehealth and telemedicine capabilities continue to develop, the major hurdle for most providers is integrating and the mobile health data collected outside of the hospital back into the clinical story for use in the provision of care. In a value-based healthcare system, the key to better outcomes lies in data, and specifically, obtaining access to data generated outside of the provider setting.

Platform services will continue to be vital partnerships as healthcare systems are expected to quickly execute on all these initiatives simultaneously and successfully. Bottom line:  The industry is transforming, and if you have not started talking about how to connect to those external data sources, then you need to start.

These emerging trends will continue to bind the landscapes of technology, healthcare, and business. The road set upon long ago by medical professionals and legislators is finally coming to fruition. The walls of interoperability are beginning to come down, investments are growing, partnerships are forming, and consumers are starting to take notice. We are moving towards a digital health revolution. We have the opportunity, the responsibility, and the honor, to align healthcare and technology innovation to exponentially improve our care system. It is a tall task, but we are off to a promising start.


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Health checks by smartphone raise privacy fears

Health checks by smartphone raise privacy fears | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Authorities and tech developers must stop sensitive health data entered into applications on mobile phones ending up in the wrong hands, experts warn.

As wireless telecom companies gathered in Barcelona this week at the Mobile World Congress, the sector's biggest trade fair, specialists in "e-health" said healthcare is fast shifting into the connected sphere.

"It's an inexorable tide that is causing worries because people are introducing their data into the system themselves, without necessarily reading all the terms and conditions," said Vincent Genet of consultancy Alcimed.

"In a few years, new technology will be able to monitor numerous essential physiological indicators by telephone and to send alerts to patients and the specialists who look after them."

More and more patients are using smartphone apps to monitor signs such as their blood sugar and pressure.

The European Commission estimates the market for mobile health services could exceed 17.5 billion euros (19 billion euros) from 2017.

The Chinese health ministry's deputy head of "digital health", Yan Jie Gao, said at the congress on Wednesday that the ministry planned to spend tens of billions of euros (dollars) by 2025 to equip 90,000 hospitals with the means for patients to contact them online securely.

Patients are entering health indicators and even using online health services for long-distance consultations with doctors whom they do not know.

"There is a steady increase in remote consultations with medical practitioners," particularly in the United States, said Kevin Curran, a computer scientist and senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

"Your doctor can be someone who's based in Mumbai. We have to be very careful about our data, because they're the ones who probably will end up storing your data and keeping a record of it."

- Cloud-based healthcare -

Other users are entering personal health data into applications on their smartphones.

This kind of "e-health" could save governments money and improve life expectancy, but authorities and companies are looking to strengthen security measures to protect patients' data before such services become even more widespread.

"I think tech companies are becoming more concerned with privacy and encryption now," said Curran.

"The problem quite often is that a lot of this data is stored not on the phone or the app but in the cloud," in virtual storage space provided by web companies, he added.

"We are at the mercy of who the app providers are and how well they secure the information, and they are at the mercy sometimes of the cloud providers."

Others fear that insurance companies will get hold of customers' health information and could make them pay more for coverage according to their illnesses.

Various sources alleged to AFP that health insurance companies have been buying data from supermarkets about what food customers were buying, drawn from the sales records of their loyalty cards, following media reports to that effect.

The kind of "e-health" indicator most sought after by patients is fitness-related rather than information on illnesses, however, said Vincent Bonneau of the research group Idate.

A study by Citrix Mobile, a specialist in wireless security, showed that more than three quarters of people using e-health applications were doing so for fitness reasons rather than for diagnosing illnesses.


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New Legislation Helps Remove Telemedicine Barriers

New Legislation Helps Remove Telemedicine Barriers | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

There is no doubt that the practice of medicine has changed in many ways over the years.  Local physician practices that used to serve those within their community, now own or work for medical entities offering services across state lines and physicians practice in multiple states, both via telemedicine and in person. 

Legislation in this country has largely not kept up with the times, but it is expected that we will soon see many legal changes to catch up with the increasingly national practice of medicine. 

One of the major hurdles that has delayed the growth of telemedicine and the expansion of healthcare providers is the control of every state over licensure of physicians within their own borders.  This means that physicians must be licensed in every state in which they desire to practice medicine. 

Although there are some general exceptions among certain states that allow reciprocity (and many states allow for second opinions and special consultations), most states consider a physician to be practicing medicine without a license if he provides services to an in-state patient without a license (whether via telemedicine or in the state where the patient is located).    

For example, if a patient is in Illinois and obtains a diagnosis and prescribed treatment from a physician licensed only in California, then absent an applicable exception, that physician has practiced medicine in Illinois without a license.  The same would be true if the physician came to Illinois to see the patient in person.

In the fall of 2014, the Federation of State Medical Boards finally came out with the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which is intended to streamline the process of physicians obtaining licenses outside their own state.  With this legislation, more states will join in the effort to allow physicians to engage in medicine freely across borders.   

Under the proposed legislation, a physician would generally follow these steps to gain licensure in multiple states:

1. The physician files an application with the state in which she is are primarily located.  This is known as the “Principle Board.”  This does not have to be, but would generally be the board in the physician’s state of residence. 

2. The Principle Board would then decide whether to recommend that the physician be issued an expedited license with another state.  This recommendation would be made to the “Interstate Commission.”  This is the body that has been charged with administering the Compact. 

3. Once a physician is recommended to the Interstate Commission, that physician would then complete a registration process and pay the applicable fees to practice in each state for which he is applying.  The normal license fees would still apply for every state in which the application is being made. 

4. Each of the “State Member Boards” will share information related to any complaints and actions concerning a physician’s professional performance in another state.  Although states already share in this manner, information will likely be shared more quickly under the compact.  Similarly, future actions taken against a physician in one state will cause similar action to be taken by the other states, most likely in a more expedited manner. 

5. Physicians will still need to comply with the medical practice requirements of every state in which they obtain a license.  In no way does the Compact alter a state’s jurisdiction over medicine in any state. 

The compact makes a lot of sense for licensees who know how cumbersome the process is to apply for multiple licenses.  Through the compact, a single set of verified documents will be shared with multiple states, rather than repeating the same process multiple times.  This saves time and money and opens up new market for physicians (and companies) who were deterred by the licensure process. The compact will hopefully also speed up the growth of telemedicine and mhealth throughout the country.

While there are many details still to be worked out about how the compact will work, it does seem to be a step in the right direction in keeping up with the current state of medicine.


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Mentoring, Telemedicine Offer Paths to Better Rural Health Care Access -- AAFP News

Mentoring, Telemedicine Offer Paths to Better Rural Health Care Access -- AAFP News | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

One doesn't have to look too hard to find long-standing obstacles to providing rural health care: too few primary care physicians in sparsely resourced areas and limited support for specialty care referrals. And even as new technologies are enabling greater access for patients and enhanced training to improve care coordination, old education and payment standards persist..

Long-distance Mentoring

In 2003 in New Mexico, gastroenterologist Sanjeev Arora, M.D., was treating patients with hepatitis C virus infection -- many of whom faced an eight-month waiting period to see him. Moreover, some had to drive as much as 250 miles each way for their appointments. Patients were dying of liver cancer and other ailments because they could not obtain timely care.

"I knew if we had treated them earlier, we could have cured them," he said.

Ultimately, Arora realized that the best way to manage patients with complex chronic conditions was not simply for the subspecialty physician to see patients around the clock. Rather, an entire network of health care professionals could be trained to provide needed care. The idea of spreading that knowledge gave birth to Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), where Arora serves as executive director.

ECHO is a mentoring network that seeks to teach primary care physicians and other health care professionals how to care for specific chronic conditions. To make this "telementoring" system work, subspecialty physicians provide guided instruction to primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

"We know that chronic disease management is a team sport," Arora said. "You become a mentor as opposed to a doer."

Such interactive training sessions are a necessity in a changing medical environment, according to Arora, who said he thinks the traditional graduate medical education (GME) curriculum is no longer effective.

"The system of GME where we educate residents and fellows and just send them out there isn't going to work in a knowledge-based workforce," Arora said. "Academic medicine needs to take responsibility for training the entire health care workforce for their entire career."

Arora said funding for such career training efforts should be considered an infrastructure investment similar to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a publicly funded institution.

Perinatal Care Via Telemedicine

In rural states such as Arkansas, some residents must drive for hours to meet with a physician. Forty-four percent of the state's population resides in rural areas, and the number of obstetricians, in particular, is inadequate to meet population needs. Curtis Lowery Jr., M.D., medical director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences ANGELS (Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System) program, outlined how telemedicine has helped to close the gap in regions without enough physicians to provide care for women with high-risk pregnancies.

"It's very difficult to get physicians to go to the (Mississippi) Delta," said Lowery, who is also chair of the university's department of obstetrics and gynecology. "They feel alone, like they are on an island with no support. So we use technology to support them."

When the ANGELS program started in 2003, there were only three maternal/fetal specialists in a state that saw 45,000 deliveries each year. Initially, a few telemedicine hubs were set up around the state with local government support. Thanks to an infusion of $102 million in federal funding, however, the program soon expanded to cover the entire state.

Instead of expecting rural patients to meet physicians in urban areas, telemedicine enables physicians to connect with those patients by teleconference. A 24-hour call center is available for patients and physicians to coordinate care. And telemedicine efforts that originally focused on management of high-risk pregnancies have expanded to include care protocols for patients with stroke or sickle cell anemia, as well as those in need of surgical consultations.

Much as the influx of patients newly insured under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has initially added to overall health care system expenditures, wider adoption of telemedicine will also likely lead to increased costs in the short term as more patients are seen via this method. But, Lowery predicted, the system will ultimately save costs on travel and the long-term care that becomes necessary when appropriate preventive and management services are unavailable.

Still, for telemedicine to achieve its full potential, Lowery said changes that permit payment for telemedicine consultations are needed.

"The biggest problem with the adoption of telemedicine is the payment," he said. "We need to change the way we pay and need to be able to pay for new systems. In my career, I've done thousands of telephone consultations, but I've never been paid for one."

Effecting this change is particularly difficult, Arora chimed in, when one considers the fact that elderly patients -- those in their 80s and 90s -- consume 10 times more health care than an individual in his 60s. And it's certainly conceivable that these older people would be using telemedicine services frequently.

"The payers are terrified," Lowery said. "When a lot more care is given, a lot more money is spent in fee-for-service. That's where we are in telemedicine."



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Top Five Digital Transformation Trends In Health Care

Top Five Digital Transformation Trends In Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Technology is changing every industry in significant ways. To help frame how, I’m starting a new series discussing top trends in various markets. First up: health care.

No one can dispute technology’s ability to enable us all to live longer, healthier lives. From surgical robots to “smart hospitals,” the digital transformation is revolutionizing patient care in new and exciting ways. That’s not all. National health expenditures in the United States accounted for $3.2 trillion in 2015—nearly 18% of the country’s total GDP. It’s predicted that the digital revolution can save $300 billion in spending in the sector, especially in the area of chronic diseases. Clearly there is value—human and financial—in bringing new technology to the health care market. The following are just a few ways how.

 

Telemedicine

Even back in 2015, 80% of doctors surveyed said telemedicine is a better way to manage chronic diseases than the traditional office visit. Why? Telemedicine offers patients and health care providers both a new wave of freedom and accessibility. For the first time, a patient’s care options are not limited by geographic location. Even patients in remote areas can receive the highest quality of care, providing they have an internet connection and smart phone. Telemedicine can also save both time and money. Patients no longer have to schedule their days around routine follow-up visits (and long office waits). Instead, they can hop on a conference call to get the prescription update or check-up they need.

Nowhere has telepresence been more useful than in the mental health field. Now, those seeking emotional support can find access to a therapist or counselor at the click of a button, often for far less than they would pay for a full office visit. Internet therapies, for instance, “offer scalable approaches whereby large numbers of people can receive treatment and/or prevention, potentially bypassing barriers related to cost, location, lack of trained professionals, and stigma.” Telemedicine makes it possible.

 

Mobility And Cloud Access

Have you ever played phone tag with your doctor while waiting for important test results? It’s so nerve-racking! That’s why mobility and cloud access have been such a tremendous help in increasing accessibility for patients and doctors alike. By 2018, it’s estimated that 65% of interactions with health care facilities will occur by mobile devices. Some 80% of doctors already use smartphones and medical apps, with 72% accessing drug info on smart phones on a regular basis. Gone are the days of paper charts and file rooms. Hospitals, insurance companies, and doctor’s offices are now storing patient medical records in the cloud, with patients able to access test results online 24/7.

Given HIPAA laws relating to patient privacy, it’s probably no surprise this has also led to an increased focus on data protection and security. According to one report, “the black-market value of medical data is greater than even that of financial information.” Believe me when I say: No industry is more focused on virtualization security right now than health care.

 

Wearables And IoT

I remember the days when going into the local grocery store and getting my blood pressure read at one of those prehistoric machines seemed exciting. Imagine: A machine that helped me manage my own well-being without setting foot in a doctor’s office. Now, mobile devices as small as my cell phone can perform ECGs, DIY blood tests, or serve as a thermometer, all without even leaving my house. With help from automation, patients can even be prompted to check their weight, pulse, or oxygen levels, and enter results into mobile patient portals. Even better: They can transmit the results to my doctor in real time. Those details, when entered regularly, can help predict one’s risk for heart disease and other illnesses, ultimately saving lives. This is far more than cool. It’s life-saving.

 

Artificial Intelligence And Big Data

Big data is king in the digital world, and health care is no exception. Yes, it can be gathered to measure customer satisfaction. But perhaps more importantly, it can be used to automatically identify risk factors and recommend preventative treatment. Even more exciting: with the rise of the Internet of (Medical) Things (IoMT), mobile and wearable devices are increasingly connected, working together to create a cohesive medical report accessible anywhere by your health care provider. This data is not just useful for the patient. It can be pooled and studied en masse to predict health care trends for entire cultures and countries.

 

Empowered Consumers

All of the above have led to an entirely new trend in healthcare: patient empowerment. While many of us have come to associate health care with high costs and long waits, patients are now in the driver’s seat, with better access to higher-quality doctors, and higher satisfaction rates overall. It’s a healthy new way to look at health care, and one that holds promise for all of us with easy access to the digital landscape. My blood pressure is already lowering just imagining the possibilities.

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Presenters's curator insight, October 24, 2017 4:16 AM
Al pensar en tecnología recurrimos a  muchos avances relacionados con la comunicación, educación... pero pocas veces nos planteamos que hay otros campos en los que también tiene una gran influencia. La industria tecnológica también está ayudando a cambiar el panorama de la salud. ¿Quieres conocer algunos de los avances tecnológicos más significativos en este campo?
Barbara Lond's curator insight, December 22, 2017 3:42 PM
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12 medical technology innovations likely to transform healthcare in 2017

12 medical technology innovations likely to transform healthcare in 2017 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

1. 3D Printing is poised to make a big impact in 2017 - and is expected to be worth $1.2 billion by 2020. The first 3D-printed prescription drug received FDA approval in 2015 and medical devices made from 3D printing now include instruments used for surgery or devices implanted into patients. End-use parts, like surgical tools and device implants will become more common in 2017 as sophisticated metal materials for 3D printing are refined and gain approval for human contact. By 2019, 3D printing is expected to be a central tool in roughly one-third of surgical procedures involving prosthetic and implanted devices.i

2. Increased use of 3D visualisation and augmented reality for surgery - In 2016, two of the most intricate surgical practices, ophthalmology and neurology, began experimenting with 3D visual representations of their patients enabling them to operate more effectively and efficiently while also giving medical trainees a clear picture of what they're doing. Augmented reality glasses that display holographic images of human anatomy could also bring the end of cadaver labs at medical schools. Meanwhile virtual reality is also being used to accelerate behaviour change in patients in a way that is safer, more convenient, and more accessible.ii

3. Artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analysis and machine learning are developing in new areas - AI is starting to demonstrate the kind of impact it can have in medicine from accurately interpreting patient records including pathology slides, x-rays, skin lesions and scientific literature. These highly advanced AI systems are capable of employing deep learning algorithms to sort through massive amounts of structured and unstructured data to automatically detect, diagnose and suggest treatments regimes for medical conditions. There are numerous start-up companies working on AI applications in healthcare, with the engagement of the major technology companies who have all made major investments in this the space. A recent 60 Minutes US news segment suggested that AI could find an evidence-based therapy for 30 per cent of patients with cancer that was not identified by their oncologists.iii

4. Blockchain is starting to transform healthcare - blockchain can help organisations bridge traditional data silos, dramatically increase IT and organisational efficiencies, keep business and medical data secure, and streamline patients’ access to medical data. Blockchain offers "long data" as opposed to big data, capturing a full history of a patient's health. A 2016 IBM survey of 200 healthcare executives in 16 countries found that 16 per cent expect to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale in 2017. These companies expect the greatest blockchain benefits in three areas: clinical trial records, regulatory compliance, and medical/health records. They also anticipate widespread business model innovation but believe that regulatory constraints will keep new competitors and models in check.

5. Diabetes drugs and advanced monitoring technology will reduce complications and improve the management of diabetes - Experts predict 2017 could bring a shift in the medicines prescribed and ways of managing type 2 diabetes. Glucose sensing technology is advancing, moving away from low-tech finger pricks of the past to continuous glucose monitoring where a sensor is placed beneath the diabetic’s skin in the abdomen region and could dramatically reduce spikes in glucose levels. These monitoring technologies then link to medication administration devices, and often utilise mobile apps for sharing readings with physician as well as caregivers.iv

6. Drones, will play an increasingly important role in bringing medical care to people in emergencies - helping to link remote communities with distant clinics, and delivering blood, vaccines and other medical products and patient samples to and from regional hospitals.v For example a drone could transport an emergency medical kit along with say smart ‘glasses’ to people stranded in hard to reach places. A person attending the injured individual can then connect to a remote physician who can see the scene and guide treatment until paramedics get there. Another example is a drone that can transport patient samples or medical supplies over distances, using a drone that is fully automated, taking off, flying to its destination, and landing all on its own. This is already happening in Madagascarvi, but regulatory restrictions in many parts of the world don’t yet permit autonomous flying devices.

7. Gamification will come into its own as a healthcare tool - The 2016 worldwide phenomenon, Pokemon Go, showed how a game could be used to encourage people to get outside and become more active. This success is likely to lead to new ‘video games’ being used in 2017 to impact on people’s behaviors and actions. For example, creating healthcare-facing games that feel like, actual video games, can make rehabilitation exercises fun or simulate surgery functions.

8. Liquid biopsies will improve cancer detection and measurement of treatment responses - Analysing tumor genetics is enabling the development of targeted cancer drugs and ushering in the era of less toxic “precision” medicine. More specifically "liquid biopsies” are blood tests that uncover signs of highly abundant cell-free circulating tumor DNA which is shed from a tumor into the bloodstream.vii Several companies are developing testing kits expected to hit the market in 2017. Liquid biopsies are also hailed as a flagship technology of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, a national effort across the US aimed at ending cancer.viii It remains to be seen whether a liquid biopsy will provide accurate detection, but the benefits over solid tissue biopsy include being less expensive and risky.

9. The microbiome will be used to prevent, diagnose and treat disease - the human microbiome is a community of trillions of bacteria, archaea, viruses and other microbes that are an integral for human physiology, including supporting vitamin production and helping provide an efficient immune response. However, unlike their fixed genome, people’s microbiome changes constantly, in response to changes in their environment. Scientific advances during the past fifteen years, among them the Human Microbiome Project, increased our understanding of the interaction between people and their microbiome. Biotech companies are increasingly looking at the microbiome's potential to develop new diagnostics or therapies and probiotic products to prevent microbe imbalances. Over the next 12 months the microbiome is likely to establish itself as one of the health care industry's most promising markets.ix

10. Use of Point-of-care (POC) diagnostics will accelerate - The growth of boundary-less hospitals and community care is increasing the need for rapid results outside of the clinical setting. Key factors include the increasing prevalence of lifestyle and infectious diseases and a move towards home healthcare. 70 per cent of POC testing takes place in provider locations and experts predict this will grow at an average of 15.5 per cent each year.x POC testing delivers precision medicine that will both improve quality and affordability of care at a time when outcomes-based medicine is the new model for healthcare. Providing faster access to test results expedites speed of diagnosis and treatment and can reduce unnecessary hospital associated costs. The ability of POC to rapidly and inexpensively diagnose a significant number of infectious diseases is increasing, with the list now including HIV, human papillomavirus and influenza , to name but a few.

11. Demand for surgical, rehabilitation, and hospital robots will continue to rise - Driven by declining costs, labour shortages, and successful pilot projects; healthcare robots deployed in the years ahead will be involved in surgery, hospital logistics, disinfection, nursing, exoskeletal rehabilitation and prosthetic limbs. Forecasts suggest that healthcare robot shipments will increase from approximately 3,400 units sold annually in 2016, to more than 10,500 units per year by 2021, representing an increase in revenues from $1.7 billion to £2.1 billion over the same time period.xi

12. The adoption of telemedicine will be mainstreamed - with an explosion in easy-to-use, clinical grade, consumer-facing devices that allow patients to administer readings on themselves and which can then be used (and trusted) by care providers. These advances in consumer-facing medical devices will increase the quality of care that is able to be delivered via these remote systems. Telemedicine also allows those who are homebound and/or geographically isolated, to obtain access to the medical attention they need.

While predicting the future is by its nature challenging, one thing all the above predictions have in common is that the developments are made possible by the advances in technology and the emergence of new collaborations and partnerships.

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Are State Laws Holding Back Telehealth?

Are State Laws Holding Back Telehealth? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

When it comes to telemedicine—a market that stood at $17.8 billion globally in 2014, and is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.4 percent through 2020, according to recent research—one of the segment’s most critical issues is that there is so much variance in its regulatory policy. While there has been evidence showing the benefits of telemedicine in the healthcare industry, the realization of those benefits may come to an abrupt stop at the state border.


In fact, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) recently analyzed how all 50 U.S. states grade out on telemedicine policy, finding a supportive landscape for physician practice standards and licensure in slightly less than half of them. The widespread differences in state law that prevent the seamless use of telemedicine across state borders include diverse state medical practice rules, restrictions on the interstate practice of medicine, the complex state insurance landscape, state privacy laws, and conflicting rules and guidance across state agencies.


“Telehealth has the ability to breakdown geographic barriers to care, but the lack of uniformity in state law makes it very challenging to operate in a multi-state environment,” says Dale Van Demark, partner in the health law group at the Chicago-based McDermott Will & Emery, a full service law firm with an active healthcare practice representing provider organizations that are interacting with telemedicine companies, and the companies themselves. Van Demark recently spoke with HCI Associate Editor Rajiv Leventhal about these telehealth variances, possible ways to break regulatory barriers, and what the future holds. Below are excerpts from that interview.


How big of a barrier is it to the telehealth industry that states have varying laws?


Healthcare is a highly regulated industry; any business has to think about the regulatory environment, as they have to act in within the confines of the legal and regulatory structure. Insurance companies are regulated by each state and they have to comply with the state law. Telemedicine companies are no different. In addition to that, states are not consistent from a policy perspective in how they view telemedicine. While there has been a general and rapid acceptance of this form of care in many states over the years, it’s not a universal truth. Some states have taken a much more restrictive approach, be it via a legislative body or board of medicine. There is more acceptance generally, but plenty of states are not marching down that path in the same way. As a national business in some instances, there are vastly different requirements via telemedicine, and in some instances, these variances are impractical.


What are some examples of the variances you’re seeing?


When you talk about the delivery of care in any situation, you’re thinking about in a basic sense, someone needing a license to practice medicine. One issue is the practice of medicine itself—What does it mean and require? In Texas, you’re seeing a rulemaking body taking a conservative approach to telemedicine. They have accepted that certain kinds of care can be delivered by telemedicine, but they believe it’s important for a patient to first see a doctor physically prior to any services being delivered via telemedicine. That falls into the category of “What is a telemedicine encounter and what’s required?” In Texas, an initial first visit is required.


Separately, each state has its own licensing rules. A New York license doesn’t permit me to practice in Colorado.  If I wanted to start a telemedicine company in South Carolina and treat patients across the country somewhere, you have to ask that if I am a doctor in South Carolina and I’M seeking video conferencing with a patient in Arizona, am I appropriately licensed to do that? As a general matter, states take the view that if you’re going to do that, you need a license in that state to engage in the state where the patient is. The multi-state licensure issue is another big one. Some states are more open to accepting “foreign” doctors and will be more liberal in the recognition of an out-of-state license. You can get a telemedicine license specifically in some cases too. There are different ways, but it’s another variation.


Other variances are with reimbursement and privacy. On the reimbursement side, some telemedicine services are reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. That is fairly restrictive, especially on the Medicare side where a number of circumstances have to be met. The structure of Medicare telemedicine reimbursement has been geared towards communities with a lack of healthcare resources. That element is often necessary, though it has been expanding slowly. Individual states have mandated that insurance companies to reimburse for telemedicine services, but again, it’s not uniform.

There is also a whole array of state privacy laws that come into play when dealing with healthcare that need to be addressed for any sort of healthcare company. This is another layer of complexity, as laws could be stricter than the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).


With so many variances, are there ways to eventually get around these barriers and make things more uniform?


It’s a great question. We tend to think of the government as a single entity when it isn’t. What we’re talking about here are 50 jurisdictions—each state has different privacy laws, ways to govern medicine, and approaches to reimbursement. The feds have their own approach, and within governments you have different perspectives. A state legislature may pass a law saying you have to reimburse for telemedicine, but that state medical board could do what they did in Texas. If you have that dynamic, you have essentially two different parts of the government heading in two different directions. And that’s overlaid with privacy, which may be more restrictive than HIPAA.


You take a look and wonder if the state is supportive of telemedicine or not. The answer could be a little bit of everything. You need to keep in mind that we’re talking about multiple governments and multiple branches that have an impact on the delivery of healthcare via telemedicine. So a governmental fix to all of this is a little unrealistic and optimistic. Having said that, there has been a clear movement across governments to accept and embrace the delivery of healthcare via telemedicine. But it is a lack of coordination that creates the problem.


The only multi-jurisdictional effort that I have seen that could impact the nation broadly is the proposed Federation of State Medical Boards Compact Act, which provides a way for states to more readily accept a physician practicing within its boarders who does not have a license in that state, but does in another state. It’s a form of reciprocity, like your driver’s license. If states adopt the Compact, and a number have or are considering, then the licensure issue could be addressed. But that’s just one issue, and it doesn’t address the others such as privacy and reimbursement. But it’s the one effort I can point to where you would see a barrier to multi-state telemedicine licensures being lifted.


How does the physician community feel about all this?


The physician community is very diverse, so you can’t really make a broad statement. The advent of telemedicine, like the advent of urgent care centers that are out there, present a potential economic threat to other types of practices of medicine that we think of more traditional. There is an economic impact there, so you can see there being a reaction to this, and you are seeing that in places.  


There is also a reaction to telemedicine in terms of what a physician should be able to do in a telemedicine encounter as opposed to a face-to-face clinical encounter. If you’re there with a patient and able to perform a full clinical examination, a physician has more information than if he or she is speaking with the patient over the phone. No one would argue with that. Technology can overcome some of those limitations, but there are so many different versions. It’s a legitimate issue that the physician community is still wrestling with. What is it that a telemedicine encounter should be able to do? What are the best practices?


Moving forward, how will this play out— in the favor of telemedicine or against it?


I think it will be generally embraced, and the reason I say that is assuming efficacy of telemedicine programs, that they do no harm and benefit the patient, there is the the promise of telemedicine being cheaper and expanding access to care—both things we want to have in our healthcare system. Will we see it die away or be embraced? I would say embraced, not in every version, but definitely in general. In the history of humanity, we haven’t had many instances in which we made technological advances and not used them.

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Medicine and Health Care Will be Personalized Thanks to Technology

Medicine and Health Care Will be Personalized Thanks to Technology | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

From wearable fitness trackers to virtual doctor visits to smartphone apps and attachments that can collect sophisticated medical information, new technology is giving users unprecedented direct access to their own health data. In his new book, “The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands,” Eric Topol, a cardiologist, professor of genomics and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, explores how this “great inversion of medicine” will transform the future of health care. He recently spoke with U.S. News about how new capabilities might impact the quality and cost of care, as well as what some of the barriers will be. Excerpts:

What have been some of the drivers of technology changing the world of health care?

I equated the impact of the smartphone in medicine to parallel the Gutenberg printing press in terms of how it affected civilization. That sounds like a reach, but in fact, when you think about it, you will have sensors measuring almost any medical metric known to man; you would be able to check the cost of any procedure, scan, visit, hospitalization; and you could contact a doctor at any moment, 24-7, through your phone. It’s almost kind of limitless how this little device, which changed the rest of our lives so dramatically, is now going to have a similar analogous effect on our health.


How will this impact the cost and quality of care?


That’s a really important unproven concept. Work needs to be done to certainly shore that up. There’s a lot of promise. There’s a big change from having physical office visits to see doctors to these virtual visits, and that has already been shown to reduce in a striking way the costs per visit. Hospital rooms will not be necessary in the future. You could have all monitoring done for very inexpensively in the comfort and safety of one’s home. There’s so much waste in our system. The patient is driving things much more and is alerted to the unnecessary aspects and trivial costs.


Who will resist this change the most?


The medical community, especially in the U.S. This challenges all aspects of reimbursement. There’s also the other issue of the loss of control. This is a very paternalistic profession. This is the greatest challenge it will ever face. Also there are knowledge gaps. This will be the case with sequencing data – for example, matching up drugs and a person’s DNA interactions – and even a lot of the ways that wireless devices can be used to do things like the physical exam. These things are not in the comfort zone of many physicians and health care professionals.

What role will the Affordable Care Act play?


It’s kind of in a different orbit. The only thing where there’s some overlap is it is trying to promote the concept that the patient has access to their medical information. But it needs to go much further. Patients have a hard time getting their data, and it isn’t right. The Affordable Care Act doesn’t get to the core issues here of the democratization of medicine. I’m hoping, of course, that in the future we’ll get governmental support. That’s essential. No one’s suggesting that we don’t need doctors and the infrastructure that exists today, but in a very different way, in a more equitable partnership model going forward.


What should policymakers do?


The hope is that we recognize the fact that this is an inevitable progression of medicine, and while it represents quite a radical change, it’s time to grant [patients] rights ownership and acknowledge that the flow of information is going to be completely different than in the past. These data are going directly to one’s own devices, that they own, about their own body, for services that they pay for; it’s about time that we adopt this new philosophy. This is something that is not in our culture, not in the medical culture. But I do think that it can be fostered, it can be embraced, and eventually consumers will demand it.

What risks should patients be worried about with new technology?

I think privacy and security is one of the greatest factors that will potentially prevent this from moving forward in a catalytic way. We’ve seen all these various hacks and breaches. People’s health data is quite precious. It isn’t even just the privacy. This whole concept that one’s medical data is being sold – for example, one’s prescription use is being sold to pharma companies. This can’t go on. We’ve got a lot of work to do.


What can consumers expect ahead?


You can have your child’s ears examined through your own smartphone attachment and get a diagnosis of whether they have an ear infection, or get a skin lesion diagnosed immediately through a picture and an algorithm. Can you imagine getting data while you’re sleeping or while you’re in traffic? We have the exciting potential to get involved with pre-empting disease for the first time. By having all that data on populations of people, then that affords new ways to foster better treatments and preventions. That takes the information era to new heights.


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Cameron's curator insight, March 26, 2015 10:25 PM

The author carefully explains how healthcare apps can change our lives. Even with a paragraph dedicated to the risks of healthcare apps, the 'beneficial paragraph' is directly after it, giving the readers a choice to weigh out the bad with the good. 

Ben Simpson's curator insight, March 27, 2015 5:19 AM

This source provides great in depth detail and explanation on how technology will impact the future of medicine.

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Survey: 76% of Patients Would Choose Telehealth Over Human Contact

Survey: 76% of Patients Would Choose Telehealth Over Human Contact | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

76% of patients would choose telehealth over human contact according to recent survey that highlights the increased trust in telehealth by consumers. 

Consumer trust in telehealth is growing with 76% of patients choosing access to care over human interaction with their care provider according to recent survey by technology vendor Cisco.

The survey studied the views of consumers and HCDMs on sharing personal health data, participating in in-person medical consultation versus remote care and using technology to make recommendations on personal health.  Views on these topics differed widely between the two groups (consumers and HCDMs) and the ten geographies surveyed.

“The patient and care provider experiences are top of mind in health care around the world.  Due to the increasing convergence of the digital and physical, there is an opportunity to provide increased collaboration and information sharing among providers to improve the care experience and operate more efficiently,”  said Kathy English, Public Sector and Healthcare Marketing, Cisco.

The global report conducted in early 2013, includes responses from 1,547 consumers and HCDMs across ten countries.  Additionally, consumers and HCDMs were polled from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages within each country.


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Harmony Balance's curator insight, March 8, 2015 10:15 AM

interesting....

Shamma khan's comment, April 14, 8:43 AM
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Telemedicine market could grow by $5 billion in next five years

Telemedicine market could grow by $5 billion in next five years | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

By the year 2020, the patient monitoring market in the U.S. is expected to grow by about $5 billion--mostly because of the expansion of telemedicine use, according to a reportby iData Research.

The report also looks at the impact vital sign monitors, fetal and neonatal monitors, cardiac output monitoring devices and blood pressure monitors will have on the market, among others. In addition, the telehealth market in the U.S. is projected to grow in double digits in the next five years, according to an announcement on the report, with telehealth for disease conditions management set to make up more than half of that market. 

Public and private organizations will also help telemedicine grow as they budget more funds for the technology in the ensuing years, according to the announcement.  

Another industry report also says major growth in telemedicine is on its way, predicting the market will double in the next four years, FierceHealthIT previously reported. The market will see growth at 18.88 percent CAGR, from 2014 to 2019, according to ReportsnReports.com.

Other factors moving telemedicine forward are changes in reimbursement and healthcare policies, which will increase physician confidence in spending money on the technology. according to the iData report.


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