Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

The Internet of Things Changes Everything in Healthcare

Posted in Healthcare Technology by drnic on July 16, 2017
Remote Consultation for Pre-operative Assessment

The Internet of Things is Changing Everything in Healthcare

While there remains some resistance to the idea of tracking everything there is increasing use and now results from the IoT. It ranges from the simple – weighing scales that record and report weight loss and gain, not just for health and fitness but as an early indicator of problems in Congestive Heart Failure to the complex ideas of tracking pills and compliance with RFI tagged medication

Expect this sector to explode

The Internet of Things Changes Everything in Healthcare was originally published on Dr Nick – The Incrementalist

World Malaria Day 2017

Posted in Africa, DigitalHealth, Healthcare Technology, Innovation by drnic on April 25, 2017

Malaria

 

World Malaria day is today – Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Recognizing global efforts to control and perhaps one day eradicate this major killer that disproportionately affects my home country of Africa.

The WHO African Region continues to shoulder the heaviest malaria burden, accounting for an estimated 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths in 2015. The WHO South-East Asia Region accounted for 7% of global malaria cases and 6% of malaria deaths. Three quarters of these cases and deaths are estimated to have occurred in fewer than 15 countries, with Nigeria and Democratic Republic of the Congo accounting for more than a third

 

Status of Malaria Today

Based on the WHO 2016 Malaria report there were 212 Million cases globally of Malaria. While we have seen some great progress with a decrease in Malaria infection rate between 2010 and 2015 of 21% and a decrease in the mortality rate of 29% we have a long way to go. Almost Half the population of the world is at risk from Malaria, and in 2015 an estimated 429,000 people died from Malaria. That’s the whole population of Miami dining every year.

Source: Marc Averette

More than 2/3 of the deaths that occur in children under the age of 5 and pregnant women are really susceptible – that’s a double hit on vulnerable populations.

The lifecycle encompasses the mosquito as carriers and transmission to humans. This is a great graphic summarizing the

 

 

Prevention and Treatment

The basis of prevention and treatment is tied to 3 basic methods

  • Insecticides and Mosquito Nets
  • Indoor spraying of insecticides
  • Preventative Therapies for pregnant women, children and infants in Africa

 

The good news is that advances in Digital Health and mobile technologies that are bringing testing capabilities to many remote and underserved areas. Testing rates of suspected malaria cases have increased from 40% in 2010 to 76% in 2015 much of it due to rapid testing capabilities that economical and are increasingly available.

Sadly despite the progress, some of the mainstays of prevention and treatment are being impacted by the emergence of insecticide and drug resistance that has seen 60 countries reporting resistance to at least one of the 4 classes of insecticides and even more troubling 5 countries have reported drug resistance to the core compound used in antimalarials artemisinin

 

 

The report card by country is a mixed bag with some progress and success but increases in incidence in other areas

Many organizations have been working hard in this area and that includes the work by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has been focusing for many years on a World free of Malaria. They have invested over $2 Billion in grants spread across multiple areas prevention, mitigation and treatment.

Current Problems

Its a tricky virus that uses all sorts of clever subterfuge to fooling our bodies and the other carriers into ignoring the infection. There is even a clever “bending” of the red cell wall to allow the virus to enter more easily as demonstrated at Imperial College – Malaria parasites soften our cells’ defenses in order to invade:

However, now researchers led by a team at Imperial College London have found that the parasites also change the properties of red cells in a way that helps them achieve cell entry. The results are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There are many fronts open and Papua New Guinea are one of the countries that dare to hope with encouraging progress that may bring about the end to the disease

In PNG, control measures – in particular the rollout of long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets – have resulted in the prevalence of malaria declining by more than 80% across the country since 2009. Cases reported at four sentinel sites have dropped from 205 to 48 per 1,000, surpassing all expectations.

 

New Strategies in Treatment of Malaria

There has been a lot of work on Vaccines for Malaria and it would appear some successful studies including this one from Germany

University of Tübingen researchers in collaboration with the biotech company Sanaria Inc. have demonstrated in a clinical trial that a new vaccine for malaria called Sanaria® PfSPZ-CVac has been up to 100 percent effective when assessed at 10 weeks after the last dose of vaccine.

So perhaps like Dengue – it may be “The Beginning of the End”. Let’s not let up – this is a major killer. Even with prevention and mitigation therapy as expatriates living overseas in Malaria ridden areas my mother still contracted the disease. We have had a global eradication program in action since the 1950’s – with advancement in science and understanding perhaps we are finally on the cusp of eradication?

You can find out more here and download the Infographic: Malaria Can Be Defeated

 

World Malaria Day 2017 was originally published on Dr Nick – The Incrementalist

Patient Centered Systems

What will it take to move our healthcare system to a truly patient-centered system? We know based on multiple data points that engaged patients have a big impact on the successful outcome of treatment. Leonard Kish cited the phrase back in 2012

Patient Engagement is the Blockbuster Drug of the Century

Referencing a 2009 Kaiser study of coordinated cardiac care and comparing to those not enrolled in the study

“patients have an 88 percent reduced risk of dying of a cardiac-related cause when enrolled within 90 days of a heart attack, compared to those not in the program.”

“clinical care teams reduced overall mortality by 76 percent and cardiac mortality by 73 percent.”

And this study in Telemedicine and e-Health. Dec 2008; Vol.14 (10): 1118-1126 that showed impressive results for chronic disease management:

  • 19.74% reduction in hospital admissions
  • 25.31% reduction in bed days of care
  • 86% patient satisfaction
  • $1,600 average cost per patient per year, compared to $13,121 for primary care and $77,745 for nursing home care
  • 20% to 57% reduction in the need to be treated for the chronic diseases studied, including diabetes, COPD, heart failure, PTSD, and depression

 

Patient Data Ownership

I believe as do many others that the patient is at the center of everything we do and deliver in healthcare. By placing the patient and their information at the center of care and allowing them access and control we empower them and enable a model that moves away from the historical paternalistic delivery of healthcare to patient-centered and enabled care. It does come with challenges since many people contribute to that care and the current administrative and financial configuration focus the management and ownership of data with providers, healthcare systems and payors. While many patients want access to their data and some even want to own and manage it, many do not and are ill equipped to be responsible for this data. Perhaps what we need are some independent services and providers who aggregate, manage, secure and maintain patient data on behalf of patients – much as banks do with our money. There was some hope when Google and Microsoft jumped into healthcare offering Google Health and Microsoft Health Vault respectively. Microsoft’s version continues to this day – google withdrew theirs and Sergey Brin was widely quoted when he said

“Generally, health is just so heavily regulated. It’s just a painful business to be in, I think the regulatory burden in the US is so high that think it would dissuade a lot of entrepreneurs.”

But while complex, not insurmountable and as he rightly points out

“I am really excited about the possibility of data also, to improve health”

I am too and while there remain many challenges associated with securing and sharing that data the “entrance” of these alternative participants into the healthcare space – some perhaps looking at this from a simple employee perspective, is an opportunity for new ideas, insights, and people applying the collective brain power to one of our most pressing problems. I continue to hear from colleagues and friends of companies that are exploring and looking at healthcare. UPS highlighted their healthcare focus and the potential for 3-D printing in a recent tweet:

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And I heard from a friend that Dyson even has a healthcare “focus”.

Protecting Patients

There are some major concerns as these data-focused companies offer access but do so with agreements that contain so much legalese as to be unintelligible and opaque to the consumer who may well be giving up much more than his own personal data but potentially giving up his future health. The GINA act offers some protection to individuals who in sharing personal genomic data that tag them with a “pre-existing’ condition could have found themselves unable to access care. But the act did not go far enough failing to address the issue of other insurance and employers who can use this data to deny access or coverage and perhaps even employment?

We need the combined power of this patient data to create the insights into diseases but not at that personal expense. There are many technologies on the horizon that offer a potential path to help achieve this and blockchain represents an interesting innovation of decentralized secured data that offers individualized control and dynamic revocation options for access. If you are interested in learning more about Blockchain this article in HealthcareIt News is a good primer for its potential in Healthcare: How does blockchain actually work for healthcare?. It is not a panacea and the fundamental rights and ownership still need to be addressed without giving away the farm to corporations and businesses.

Interoperability

The existing healthcare system incentivizes behavior that is in opposition to a scalable nationwide vendor neutral interoperable patient-centered data. Our model has multiple groups who have a vested interest in the control and ownership of data (for example Payers, Providers, Patients and even employers). Each has their own economic and commercial drivers and in many instances, these do not coincide with open sharing of data. In a system that is driven by activity and delivering care (Fee for Service) sharing data could mean a reduction in work and income. Until our reimbursement system moves to a more holistic care model that focuses on wellness and outcomes and incentivizes behavior that delivers better health and outcomes for patients through cooperative and coordinated care and ultimately equitably rewards all the contributors to these outcomes we will remain stuck in the quagmire of limited interoperability.

The key to a patient-centered interconnected care model is the free flow of data between all the areas responsible for delivering care. We moved away from the single index card medical record held by your personal physician who was the focal point of care and care coordination to a distributed team-based model of care that encompasses multiple areas and people. In some instances, thatcher coordination may be carried out, at least in part by the patient or their family members, and they need to be included and ultimately in control of the data and its flow. The only way this team can deliver excellent care is through the frictionless flow of enhanced data and knowledge. This information flow must include the patient and all their family members that are authorized, interested and engaged in their care. Data should be shared with the patient’s consent with everyone concerned and available for as long as it is needed to deliver care but this access should be flexible enough to allow it to be revoked or removed when it is no longer needed or necessary

Welcome to the Fray

I am a big fan of learning from other industries and perspectives and spoke about this at HIMSS Conference in Orlando

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and I am excited to see the rush of companies and people into the healthcare space but for those stepping in and thinking about data and the ownership and control of this data, I would suggest this requires a new way of thinking. Much like security – patient access and control needs to be baked in from the start. Taking ownership and rights away from patients will stall progress and anger your constituents and community. As ePatient Dave would say or better yet sing:

Give me My Damn Data

Here’s hoping that these new players see the value of the engaged patient and include some of these principles in their march towards our common goal of better more cost effective healthcare. For the large organizations thinking about the data, remember you and your family members are patients too. The following thoughts are offered as some basic guiding principles on data stewardship:

  • Patients want control of their own data,
  • Patients want to be able to share safely and securely share their data with all their care providers and participants (this will include family members and friends)
  • Patients want granular control of some elements of the data limiting individual access to certain elements and areas
  • Patients requires a full audit capability tracking who has access and has accessed their data
  • Patients want to be able to easily and dynamically revoke access
  • Patients will share their data for research and benefit of others but their contributions need to be recognized and accounted for
  • Data cannot be used against Patients to deny coverage or increase their costs

 

What have I missed – what controls or limits would you place on your data that would make you more willing to share your data. What would stop you from sharing your data and why?

 

 

Patient Centered Systems was originally published on Dr Nick – The Incrementalist

Digital Health Summit

This is Australia’s premier health innovation convention on the technologies that are revolutionizing healthcare and the implementation of ehealth initiatives and I was honored to be asked to give a keynote presentation at the Digital Health Summit taking place in Melbourne 29-30 March 2017. The bonus was listening to so many great presentations throughout the day from some great speakers.

The Perfect Storm for Healthcare

The opening session that set the tone for the future came from Alfred Poor, Editor for Health Tech Insider who eloquently described the perfect storm of The Internet, wireless communications and the pervasive smartphones that last year shipped 1.5 Billion – enough to provide one for every 5 people on the planet. Innovation that can take off the shelf technology and create accessible telehealth programs that reduce readmissions from 20% to 6%.

Everything from wearables devices to non-invasive sensors and monitoring to allow the capture of data on patients, improve care and treatment options and allow the elderly to safely stay in their home. Innovations that address the major challenges around the world in the society that needs to adapt and focus on wellness:

2009 Continua Health Alliance Brigitte Piniewski, MD

 

Stuart Smith took us through the potential for Gamification: exploring the magic of video games in health and rehabilitation providing repeated examples where implementing Gamification to engage with patients was seen as some kind of Voodoo by his colleagues who were amazed at the incredible success and high utilization by patients

He showed examples of rehabilitation patients using Sony Play Station with Microsoft Kinect that made the rehab program a positive experience and even had the audience dancing along with Dance Dance Revolution explaining how they had adapted this to elderly patients and using Glenn Miller and Big band music

With the explosion of data comes increasing risks to the security and privacy of data and Nathan Steiner Veeam Software detailed the expanding risk and the staggering incidence of data breaches that extend well beyond healthcare which remains the top target for hackers. No surprise and notably the FBI highlighted the hacking community that is targeting vulnerable FTP servers.

Julian Bright and Adrian Medhurst from Amelie AI took the audience on an interactive journey with an Artificial Agent focused on mental health issues and braved the Live Demo gremlins as captured on this Periscope:

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Personalized Medicine

 

Dr Robert McLeay, Founder, DoseMe highlighted the changing nature of medicine that improves on the old style model of guess work on drug choice and dosage and builds individual models to reduce the side effects and maximize the selection of the right drug for patients first time round – practical personalized medicine available for your patients today

Professor Phil Robinson, Head, Cell Signalling Unit, Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI), co-lead of The Australian Cancer Research Foundation International Centre for the Proteome of Cancer (ProCan) shared the exciting international progress being made in fighting cancer with industrial scale proteomic system that they have set up in the Children’s Medical Research Unit that was Announced by Vice-President Joe Biden on 17 July 2016 in Melbourne as part of the Cancer Moon shot that has rapidly grown to include 10 Nations, 18 Institutions. They are now producing huge amounts of proteomic data and creating Digital Proteme Maps that has been committed to the public domain indefinitely to facilitate ou sharing and learning and will be providing new options for targeting cancer. You can see more about their project here.

Digital Health Innovations from the Front Line

 

We heard from 2 clinicians from the US Aenor J Sawyer, MD, MS Director, UCSF Skeletal Health Health Innovation &Tech in Ortho University California, San Francisco and Dr Megan Ranney, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine; Director, Emergency Digital Health Innovation program, Brown University. They shared the experiences from UCSF and Brown University of applying digital technology in the clinical setting offering insights into the use of sensors, Virtual reality and how to evaluate the technology in the context of a busy hospital and Emergency room.

 

After lunch, the panel session on the future of aging was hosted by The Hon Bronwyn Pike, former Victorian Minister for Housing, Aged Care, Community Services, Health, Education, Skills and Workforce Participation focusing on the innovations in place and how the sector can benefit from the data and analytics increasingly available from the digital transformation taking place. and then a detailed review of the great Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Program that has been rolled out with great success by Prof. Christopher Bladin, Program Lead – Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Project, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health with a proven protocol that is statewide and heading nationwide

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Social Media in Healthcare

 

Professor Enrico Coiera, Director, Centre for Health Informatics, Australian Institute of Health Innovation offered some tantalizing insights into the way that social media is changing the way we think about health. Not only does Social Media offer a means of reaching and engaging with patients it is also a potential avenue for treatment. The social propagation of obesity as detailed in this New England Journal of Medicine article: Network Medicine — From Obesity to the “Diseasome” and these complex networks are of direct relevance

He left us wondering of social media can treat social disease (his BMJ article Social networks, social media, and social diseases talked about this concept)

Modeling of Data

 

James McCaw, Associate Professor in Mathematical Biology, The University of Melbourne shared insights into the modeling for influenza forecasting and pointed out that despite how much progress we have made in medicine the influenza pandemic of 1918/9 (Spanish Flu) would have a similar effect on the population today

The models for prediction have improved but he likened them to weather forecasting capabilities from the 1970’s

 

It was a great day filled with insights from a wide selection of experts covering a huge range of areas. All the talks were engaging with practical tips and wisdom that the attendees could take back and use.

Digital Health Summit was originally published on Dr Nick – The Incrementalist

Secure Your Accounts Today

Secure Your Accounts Today

No better example of simple security preventing what would have been at best a major disruption of my account or at worse a loss of control and embarrassment than last night

I was joining the #HCLDR tweetup when I received notification on my phone

Someone was trying to login to my account from a new and unrecognized device. I joined the chat and made the comment

Original tweet from #HCLDR chat

But secure in the knowledge whoever was trying to get in was unable to because they did not have the code that twitter was asking for that had just been sent to my phone

Fast forward to this morning and a widespread hack is revealed

In a large-scale Twitter hack, thousands of Twitter accounts from media outlets to celebrities, including the European Parliament, Forbes, BlockChain, Amnesty International, UNICEF, Nike Spain and numerous other individuals and organizations, were compromised early Wednesday.

http://thehackernews.com/2017/03/twitter-account-hack.html

(I am wondering what the criteria was by the hackers for selecting accounts given my account targeted but no one else on the chat noted any irregularities)

Enable Two Factor Authentication

A simple change in your account settings can have prevented this — at a minimum making it much harder to steal your account and credentials.

There are many choices but 2 simple options — Use Your Mobile phone and Text Messaging — or use Google Authenticator

For Twitter

Link a mobile phone to your Twitter Account and then:

Settings/Privacy — Enable Login Verification

and while you are there — Enable requirements for personal information to reset your password

For Google Accounts

Enable Two Factor Authentication using your mobile phone and text messaging — this is available for you google accounts including GMail

You can find the details for this here

Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator for Android and for Apple iOS

The impact is minimal and there will be occasions when you might be logged out and have to re-log back in but these are minor challenges compared regaining access to your accounts and the potential embarrassment of content posted under your name that is offensive

Your Digital World is being Watched and Needs Securing

Which Accounts

All of them! But if you can’t or don’t want to do that the obvious ones are anything dealing with your financials and then important to add your email accounts — if these are left unsecured then it can be trivial to reset your passwords and gain access to all the other accounts linked to your email address

This post originally appeared on Medium and LinkedIn

Secure Your Accounts Today was originally published on Dr Nick – The Incrementalist

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What Healthcare Design Can Learn from the Oscars

Posted in DigitalHealth, EHR, Healthcare Technology, HealthIT, HIT, Patient Safety, Technology by drnic on March 1, 2017

The snafu at the Oscars with another movie being announced as a winner before being corrected has created quite a stir!

Picture from Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Awards

You can watch the fateful sequence here and the audience reaction captured by the LA Time photographer Al Seib

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User Design Thinking

The design of the User Interface is so important – as this article rightly points out: This Simple Design Change Would Have Saved The Oscars

Credit Reddit
https://www.reddit.com/r/Design/comments/5wfs74/another_award_show_cringe_brought_upon_by_bad/

As they point out – the largest thing on the card is the Academy’s logo – not useful information in this context. Simple changes would have made all the difference for the hosts reading the card including large print for the key pieces of data

Electronic Medical Records Design

The same is true for Electronic Medical Records (EMR’s). This has been an ongoing topic of discussion and challenge with the interaction – for example:

2009 Usability of Electronic Medical Records (pdf) – as they describe is a difficult task as crafting a system for the highly tangled tasks in medicine that includes that involves skilled users, complex functionality, and critical tasks is difficult in any form – and even more so from a digital user interface

Obvious problems with EMRs, such as loss of productivity and long training times, have deeper causes. These stem from the complex interaction of highly skilled physicians trying to complete complex tasks in a challenging work environment with a complex and not always usable medical information system. Yet, by applying user-centered design in this complex environment, usability professionals can contribute significantly to improving EMR usability. Greater productivity and lower costs with better health care may yet be our destiny.

Bearing in mind this was written 8 years ago we are still struggling to navigate to the greater productivity and lower costs that were the pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow.

More recently

2013: Impact of Electronic Health Record Systems on Information Integrity: Quality and Safety Implications

We see the same challenges associated with the EMR design that contribute to suboptimal care and continue to frustrate the clinical team who’s task lists have increased in both volume and elements reducing the available time

Usability errors occur as a result of system complexity, lack of user-friendly functionality (e.g., confusing user interfaces), workflow incompatibility, or limitations of the user. Faulty functionality could mislead clinicians where there is a confusing screen display or when incorrect values result from a programming error that incorrectly converts from one measurement system to another (e.g., pounds to kilograms or Celsius to Fahrenheit). A new kind of error occurring in EHRs that is not an issue with paper-based records is an “adjacency error,” in which a provider selects an item next to the intended one in a drop-down menu, such as the wrong patient or medication.

 

And as recently as 2016 in Journal of Biomedical Informatics: Navigation in the electronic health record: A review of the safety and usability literature (behind a paywall)

A methodical review of the literature focused on the inefficient navigation of EMR’s that increases user’s cognitive load

Courtesy Pixabay

which may increase potential for errors, reduce efficiency, and increase fatigue.

As they noted, “usability researchers are frequently capturing navigation-related issues even in articles that did not explicitly state navigation as a focus. Capturing and synthesizing the literature on navigation is challenging because of the lack of uniform vocabulary. Navigation is a potential target for normative recommendations for improved interaction design for safer systems.

For anyone involved in user interface design or dealing with Electronic Medical Records and complex densely populated screens this challenge is clear. The path for healthcare is not as clear as it is for the Oscars

Using a simple San Serif Font – large print for the award category and the name of the winner followed by the people involved with the Oscars logo at the bottom.

User Design Thinking in Healthcare

Healthcare is not that simple – but that should not and does not stop us from learning from other industries to apply user design thinking to everything we do:

  • Designing with simplicity and ease of use in mind
  • Reducing not increasing cognitive load for clinicians
  • Removing or at least suppressing non-essential information from the immediate clinical dashboard
  • Capitalizing on existing intuitive multi-input interfaces that are prevalent everywhere else

The user interface remains challenging and requires a new level of focus and attention as we continue to increase the data load and resulting cognitive load on our busy time challenged clinical staff. Let’s not have an Oscar moment in healthcare

If you have ideas on how we can improve and accelerate the user centric design thinking in healthcare – share your thoughts below or reach out to me on any of my channels

 

 

What Healthcare Design Can Learn from the Oscars was originally published on DrNic1

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Posted in DigitalHealth, Healthcare Technology, Innovation, Inspiration, Technology by drnic on February 9, 2017

HIMSS is rapidly approaching and I am excited to be presenting:

The Best Exotic Marigold Hospital: Learning digital lessons from the hospitality industry to personalize the healthcare experience on Monday February 20, 2017 — 01:30 PM EST – 02:30 PM EST in the Chapin Theatre (W320) – Session ID:
43

The Friction of Travel

As part of my role I travel a lot and I have watched the travel experience change over the last several years. Remember the time when you actually visited the check-in desk before proceeding to the gate to get your boarding pass?

 

I remember that in the early days I still wanted to go to the check in desk but quickly discovered that the ability to check in at home the night before made my life easier and reduced the friction of travel. The same is happening in the hospitality industry and I am excited to be presenting with Nathalie Corredor, SVP Startegy for Hilton Worldwide

 

The Hilton group have invested a huge amount of effort in refining their Digital Experience you can do everything from make a reservation, choose her room, get your digital key access once again decreasing the friction of travel. This increases the customer satisfaction and improves the hotel staff productivity so instead of spending time checking in guests and creating key cards, the staff can spend their time making sure guests feel welcome and taking care of their individual requests and needs. By removing people from the administrative process, the hotel was able to make the guest experience more welcoming and friendly.

Healthcare environments can learn some important lessons from the hospitality industry, as well as retail and travel websites. By taking service staff out of tasks that are more efficiently done by computers, these industries are able to personalize the customer experience, improve accuracy of data entry and cut their costs.

For companies in the hospitality, retail and travel industries, efficiency, accuracy and cost control is directly related to their ability to compete successfully for customers. But just as important is the customer experience. These industries have learned that a customer irritated by the friction in the buying/checking in process is a customer who will seek out other options in the future. While some customers will put up with a poor experience to cut costs if they must, as soon as those customers find an affordable option that is less irritating, they are gone. And, importantly, companies are no longer being compared just to the competition in their own market — now their competition is any optimal experience from any industry. If our online interaction with Amazon is friction-free, then we want and expect the same experience from everyone else.

You can read more here on the Beckers Health IT and CIO Site (Beckers – The Best Exotic Marigold Hospital – Nick van Terheyden)

 

 

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was originally published on DrNic1

Healthcare in the Year 2030

The Year 2030

by Dr Nick van Terheyden (@DrNic1)

How will the world of medicine change in the next 15 years? Well 15 years ago AOL had just bought Time Warner, the human genome had just been deciphered and published and the first inhabitants of the International Space Station had arrived.

The Year 2030 – my bed has been tracking my vital signs throughout the night and notices I was restless and managed fewer REM cycles during sleep than usual. Prometheus (my personalized artificial automated agent) checks my calendar and traffic and elects to wake me an hour later. Appointments for the morning are rescheduled and my drone pick up is postponed. Prometheus sends an update to “Hestia” (my kitchen AI) with instructions to increase the energy component of my meals for the day to adapt for the lack of sleep and deliver a boost of energy with almond snacks through the day. Prometheus sends my updated sleep and vitals data to my personal health record. While I rest peacefully the rest of the household is awakened and sets about their day.

 

Time to Get Up

When it’s time to awaken, the bed starts warming to ease the process, the lights slowly turn on and the GPR (Galactic Public Radio) custom news cycle is playing gently in the background. My calendar has been reorganized, and there’s an additional appointment with Asclepius (My health AI) before I leave in the morning. My food is ready and waiting and contains a boost in energy, helping me wake up and acclimate after the poor night’s sleep. I hear the inbound calling for Asclepius and take the call. We review the reasons for my poor night’s sleep and agree I should track this more closely for the next few days to ward off any potential problems. In this instance Asclepius suggests no further investigation is warranted, but if I am worried a drone will be dispatched with some auto investigator tools to apply and track additional parameters if necessary.

Personal Drone
Personal Drone

As we finish my personal drone arrives and I step outside, catching my foot on a fallen replicator brick discarded by one of the children. As I fall my head strikes the corner of a table and carves into my cheek. Prometheus is immediately on top of the situation checking on my vitals, and while no major damage to my body, the cut will need review and probably some stitches. Checking with local urgent care facilities, the optimal treatment for me today is a quick trip to the urgent care clinic and my drone is reprogrammed to take me there immediately.

Urgent Care in the Future

As I arrive my MedicAlert Digital Bracelet transmits my allergy to lignocaine and identifies me based on the bracelet

and my retinal scan taken as I walk through the door, which authenticates my presence and consent initiates transfer of my medical data and records to the clinic.

Robot Nurse
Robot Nurse

 

 

I’m guided to a room where a robot nurse cleans my wound and positions me on the bed and brings in the Panacea (the medical repair robot). My medical record shows I have had a recent Tetanus shot, and a comparison of my previous vitals shows there are no serious changes that would warrant additional investigation. Repair completed, my records are updated with the new details and a drone appears to take me to work.

 

 

 

Medical Offices and Care in the Future

As I step into my office my team are all walking in (virtually) and the central console and screens around the room light up with data on our first patient. We process through the details provided by the various Artificial Intelligence agents and data gathering tools. “Jane” (name changed to preserve her privacy) has been having some frequent dizzy spells and falls – her mother had Meniere’s disease and a degenerative disease linked to the A2ML1-AS1 / ADAM20P1 / MTor Complex 2 / WDFY3-AS2 – we think there may be a link. Even though Jane does not have these gene expressions there may be a new epigenetic influencer she received that is affecting her stable sequence. We need to get to the bottom of this. Jane is here too (virtually) – with her mother and father – and they are looking at the same data, shown with basic annotations to help them understand the details.

South Korean Researchers unveil first CRISPR nanobot editor
South Korean Researchers unveil first CRISPR nanobot editor

We think we have an answer, but want to share the details and show Jane and her family the model of the CRISPR editor nanobot and its effects before we decide on the next course of action. Do we create a more realistic model of her body functions with the cell printer and test on that? Or is the confidence in our simulation high enough to warrant immediate therapy? Whatever we decide we will get real time approval from the GMAA (Galactic Medical Agent Agency that replaced the FDA in 2021). Jane and her family have seen a new therapy advertised and they want to understand how that might work for them. We pull up the details and all the data on patients and do an immediate comparison. The data’s questionable but, more importantly, it’s contraindicated in anyone with GRAMS domain, Heat Shock 70kDa protein expression and several others that disqualify Jane.

We elect a wait and see approach – so much easier these days with the real time monitoring and detailed data we have on patients that allows us the scope to wait and watch while reassuring patients. Directives are sent to their family “agents” and a drone dispatched to their location with some additional monitors for Jane to wear to give more detailed data on her for the next few days.

Amazon Prime Air Drone Delivery
Amazon Prime Air Drone Delivery

 

As we complete the consultation a drone arrives with my almond snacks and some water – perfect timing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post appeared in abbreviated form on SHIFT communication site – and is included in their downloadable ebook

 

Healthcare in the Year 2030 was originally published on DrNic1

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Population Health is a Team Sport

Designing an Effective Population Health Program

Population health is the topic du jour for the health care industry, and I’m glad to see us all focusing on this important issue. But there is a lot of confusion as to what, exactly, constitutes population health. Or more correctly, an effective population health system.

A good population health program consists of four major components:

  1. Identification and stratification of risk within a discrete population
  2. Dissemination of information to physicians, care coordinators or others designated to contact patients and arrange follow up.
  3. Appropriate follow up to further understand the risks for individual patients, identify gaps in care and design a care plan to help the patient improve his/her health status.
  4. Ongoing care individualized to each patient’s need. That might be coaching, medication reminders, telehealth visits, remote monitoring or other strategies customized to each person’s condition and socio-economic environment.

The key to making a population health program effective is ensuring that all four components are in place and working well. If there is a break anywhere in the chain, you lose the opportunity to improve patients’ health. The best analytics in the world are useless if the results do not quickly and easily pass into the hands of the people who can take action. And very good follow up and care planning can be ineffective if the ongoing support is lacking.

Friction

One of the biggest barriers to effective population health improvement is friction in the flow of information between health plans, hospitals/health systems and physicians. This has been a constant source of difficulty for the entire healthcare ecosystem for years, but with the new focus on population health and improving outcomes, it has reached a new level of urgency.

African heart disease is much lower
African heart disease is much lower

In traditional African societies coronary artery disease is virtually nonexistent, but in the migrant population to Western societies the rates are similar to those of the local population indicating that the primary determinants of these diseases are lifestyle and diet and not genetic. These indicators are a key asset in changing our healthcare system and addressing the current 75% of our healthcare spending that is focused on patients with chronic conditions which have their roots in lifestyle choices and behaviors. To address these challenges we need a way to better target our limited healthcare resources more cost effectively for maximum effect and identification and targeting with a robust population health system is no longer a nice to have – it’s a must.

To help patients improve their health, not just react to a situation that has already developed, requires information and insights. But in a survey of primary care physicians by The Commonwealth Fund, only 31% of U.S. physicians said they are notified when a patient is discharged from the hospital or seen in an emergency department. This is important information for primary care physicians, and is not that difficult to fix. All you need is standard protocol in place and a mechanism for notification. It could be a standard action that happens at every discharge. It could even be automated. If the retail industry can automatically send an email to confirm an order, hospitals and health systems should be able to send an automatic email to a physician with discharge information. But hospitals and health system executives haven’t made it a priority, so it doesn’t get fixed.

Get to know your team mates

This is just one example of the inward-looking approach that still permeates much of healthcare. Hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and other care providers pay attention to what happens within their organizations, but they neglect to look beyond. Organizations act as though the care they give is the only care patients receive. They forget that there are a multitude of other professionals who are also responsible for care and need to know what’s going on. We don’t just have data silos in healthcare, we have attitudinal silos that make data transfer and exchange an afterthought at best.

It’s like each care provider is a golfer alone on the course and the patient is the ball. As long as that lone golfer moves the ball forward, it’s all good.

The reality is that healthcare is a team sport, more like football (or soccer as it is called in the US) than golf. If you can’t make an accurate, effective pass to your team mates, you lose the ball.

Population Health a Team Sport
Team Sport

But patients aren’t balls, they’re human beings. When one member of the healthcare team fails to inform the rest of the team, a human being gets lost in the confusion with poor outcomes and frustrated patients.

In population health improvement, you have to play on a team, because it takes a wide variety of skills to make this all happen. And you have to be aware of all the other players on the team. The successful population programs include everyone who is part of the community – not just the healthcare system and resources but all aspects of the community. Dell Medical School held an inaugural event to crowd-source their population health strategy, coming up with areas of focus and metrics for success that included input from a wide range of stake holders. This is the kind of team based approach to population health that will help the whole community win – getting people healthy and staying healthy.

 

It starts with leadership

Most healthcare organizations are at least partly aware of the problem and are making efforts to solve it. But it is a complex problem, involving, as I noted above, attitudes as well as technology. To make data flow freely to those who need it, you have to have effective technology to integrate, manage and analyze the multitude of data streams in healthcare, and you also need leadership who prioritize data sharing over the competitive interests of conflicting health delivery systems. With free flowing information routed to all the interested parties including the oft forgotten but all important patient, in understandable and actionable form that includes the insights and management options we can successfully identify those at risk and develop appropriate interventions. By including the patient and personal care team that typically includes multiple family members we capitalize on underutilized resources that are both essential and highly effective at improving the trajectory for the patient’s outcome.

 

Custom Communication and Targeting

Traditional systems and methods have targeted the existing clinical systems and communications which, while suited to some, fail to adapt to the changing world of technology and the fact that people no longer go online – they live online. This doesn’t just apply to patients and their families; it’s increasingly true for clinicians. It can be as simple as a text based reminder for medication, timed to coincide with the patients personal schedule and preferences or as complex as an automated avatar with augmented intelligence that engages with the patient to assess their status and determine the need for additional intervention or personal follow up by the care team.

 

Each year HealthIT week raises awareness of technology in healthcare, bringing together innovators and key healthcare leaders who are diligently working together to make the best use of information technology to improve the healthcare systems and ultimately our each and everyone’s individual health. This past year we lost one of the titans whose personal journey of uncoordinated care she shared in her attempt to correct the system – Jess Jacobs (#UnicornJess). It might be too late for Jess but let this be the year we move past the individual approach in healthcare driven by underlying economics and focus on the team sport of population health and democratize access to the best possible care and outcomes to the widest swathe of people…worldwide.

 

This post originally appeared here

Population Health is a Team Sport was originally published on DrNic1

Joining the MedicAlert Board

MedicAlert

I am excited to be elected to the MedicAlert Board joining Jessica Federer, head of digital development at Bayer. As Barton Tretheway, CAE, chair of the MedicAlert Foundation Board pointed out

Their collective experience aligns with our priorities and will be immeasurable to us as we look to leverage the power of new technology to expand the mission of MedicAlert Foundation, which is designed to help save lives

Which succinctly captures my feelings around this additional role. I personally experienced the value of the MedicAlert solution, brand and promise when I practiced as an Emergency Room physician in the United Kingdom. It was part of the standard procedure for any patient who arrived unconscious or confused to look for the signature bracelet

Traditional Medical Alert Bracelet

 

With its iconic Caduceus (similar but different to the Rod of Asclepius) which was the traditional sign of the God Hermes and became established as the symbol of medicine in the United States in the late  19th Century.

History of MedicAlert

The Original MedicalAlert User – Linda Collins

The history of MedicAlert dates back to the Early 1950’s developed by parents of Linda Collins who had an who had an anaphylactic reaction to tetanus anti toxin (which in her instance she only received a small scratch test as was the practice in 1953) and had a severe reaction. She survive but her parents Dr Marion Collins and his wife Chrissie realized that she was at risk and made a paper bracelet and note that was attached to her coat detailing her severe allergy.

 

 

 

 

 

In fact the original MedicAlert Bracelet is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Today

The Original Bracelet stored in the Smithsonian in Washington DC
The Original Bracelet stored in the Smithsonian in Washington DC

From these modest beginnings things have developed with early recognition by “Peace Officers”. The California Peace Officers magazine even ran an article back in January 1957 highlighting the MedicAlert bracelet to their members. In the era before mobile phones and always on communication it was a reliable way of identifying individuals and providing immediate access to a 24- hour phone line linked to critical and life saving information for that individual. This function continues today with a live 24/7 Emergency Response Service

I worked on one of these switchboards as a Medical Student many years ago

 

 

with full health and personal information including your personal health record and emergency contacts information and available in other countries including Australia, the UK, Canada and South Africa to mention a few through affiliates and partnered with many groups including AAFP, Alzheimer’s Association, ACEP, Autism Association, Philips LifeLine, National Alliance of Mental Illness, Food Allergy Initiative – to mention but a few

The age of computing brought new innovations and the ability to more readily store and retrieve more information for members and track and follow membership and presidential recognition dating back as far as April 9-16, 1978 when then President Jimmy Carter commemorated the occasion of MedicAlert and their contribution to Medic Alert week in April. Even Hollywood got in on the act with appearances of the MedicAlert in everything from the Today Show and Good Morning America to CHiPs

and Columbo

Peter Falk in Columbo

 

Moving into the Digital Age

The organization is moving into the digital age with solutions around stored medical records, moving to digital mobile formats and storage solutions and even exploring the potential for RFID enabled solutions and in partnership with the American Medical Association has a joint venture on advanced directives.

Back in 1956 Dr Marion Collins commented that

“I think I can save more lives with MedicAlert that I’ll ever save with my scalpel”

Which is much like my own perception of medicine and the opportunity of Digital Health that I saw 30 years ago and continues to be the case. It’s this combination of a storied brand and concept from MedicAlert as a foundation and the opportunity to update for the new Digital world we live in that presents such an exciting opportunity. We are facing a Silver Tsunami of people who struggle to age in their homes and technology and solutions that help them do so, safely and with the support of their relatives and the health system will be in high demand.

I’m looking forward to working with my fellow board members and the MedicAlert team to continue the tradition and build on the brand with a Digital update and twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining the MedicAlert Board was originally published on Dr Nick van Terheyden, MD

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