The medical possibilities for intelligent, internet-enabled medical devices is huge, with one recent estimate expecting the global market to be worth US$163bn by 2020.
Proteus Discover, of US healthcare firm Proteus Digital Health. Developed in collaboration with Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Discover is a microscopic sensor contained within an ingestible pill. The sensor activates on contact with stomach acids and then starts relaying clinical health data to a replaceable patch worn on the patient’s torso. The technique is initially being used primarily for patients with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, such as hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.The patch also registers the time that the medication was taken and a patient’s subsequent behavioural patterns (sleep, exercise, etc). The information is then loaded up wirelessly to an app on the patient’s smartphone and then to the Proteus Cloud.
Barriers To consider
Cybersecurity breaches— If hackers can infiltrate the medical records of sports stars such as British cyclist Bradley Wiggins and the US gymnast Simone Biles, what’s to say biometric information from your implantable might somehow find its way to your health insurance provider or to a tech company like Google (which is currently experimenting with a “smart” contact lens)?
Mobile technology is increasingly finding a role in the medical field, keeping people in touch with the medical community at the push of a button.
An iPad application called OPERA, which stands for the Organizational Performance Electronic Reporting App. Opera allows medical professionals to access operational and performance data while they are in the field so that they can quickly react to risks, receive alerts and aggregate data in order to improve the practice of the entire organization as a whole.
Maryland, voice recognition technology is helping to ease overloaded call centers at the nonprofit Doctors Community Hospital (DCH), located in Lanham. According to DCH telecommunications manager Dale Savoy, “Our operators were frequently overburdened, leading to long hold times and poor service levels for doctors, family members and other callers.”
Hop-On Inc. going by the name of Re-Medical has announced that they are in the process of researching and developing a surprising new medical product: a transdermal cannabis patch. While the actual health benefits of medicinal marijuana are heavily debated, the company has applied for a medical marijuana license in the state of Washington, and is planning to sell their product in Colorado, where recreational use of marijuana is legalized. The patch will come in two variants THC or CBD both of which are active chemicals in marijuana that many believe have substantial health benefits. The patches will come in doses of either 10mg or 20mg, and deliver the chemicals to the patient without them having to cause damage to their lungs by inhaling smoke.
Jonathan P. Weiner, Dr.P.H., from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues examined previously published systematic reviews and relevant individual studies to estimate the effect if health IT were fully implemented in 30 percent of community-based physician offices.
The researchers findings revealed , if health IT were fully implemented in 30 percent of community-based physician offices, the demand for physicians would be reduced by 4 to 9 percent. Health-IT-supported delegation of care to nurse practitioners and physician assistants could reduce the future demand for physicians by 4 to 7 percent. Additionally, delegation from specialist physicians to generalists with IT support could reduce the demand for specialists by 2 to 5 percent. Using health IT, about 12 percent of care could be delivered remotely or unsynchronized, whereby addressing regional shortages of physicians. If comprehensive health IT systems were adopted by 70 percent of U.S. ambulatory care delivery settings, the estimated impacts could more than double.
A recent study focusing on health information technology (HIT) trends for health care professionals reveals how HIT systems are influencing provider strategies to engage patients and promote better clinical outcomes. This is one of several findings in a new Trend Report published by sponsors of the 2012 Health IT Survey: TCS Healthcare Technologies (TCS), the Case Management Society of America (CMSA), and the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians (ABQAURP).
The newest release in a nine-part series, Trend Report #5: Patient Engagement Strategies, reveals how HIT is strengthening provider-patient communications to enhance patient engagement levels. For the first time in the Health IT Survey series, the most recent study asked respondents about their use of new technology to aid with patient monitoring, including patient medication and treatment adherence.
Knowing what types of technology patients currently use, coupled with a firm grasp of the direction IT trends are the key invaluable information for care managers and other health care professionals as they fine tune their outreach strategies to keep patients engaged.
In addition,the Report also identifies communication and technology trends since the 2010 and 2012 surveys asked participants many of the same patient engagement questions. The study also looks at key sub-verticals in the care management space, which further showcases different trends in how the U.S. health care delivery system works with patients.
The majority of 2012 survey respondents report that most of their clients/patients rely on advice from: primary care physicians (86%), specialist physicians (70%), care managers (69%) and family or friends (59%). These findings are similar to the 2010 survey results, but with a slight difference in all categories. although traditional communication methods such as phone and face-to-face advice from physicians and care managers still dominate the field, the use of new HIT applications and solutions including smartphones, social networking and text messaging is increasingly on the rise.
The acceptance of email communication is a perfect example of how care managers can adopt new technologies that patients are comfortable with, and focus their efforts directly on patient guidance and engagement.
Respondents were asked about the use of new technology to aid with patient monitoring, including patient medication and treatment adherence. While a majority of respondents report still using the telephone to monitor patients, remote monitoring solutions appear to be gaining notice. For example, one in four respondents report using heart rate/blood pressure monitoring devices, and one in five respondents report using lifestyle monitoring devices such as pedometers or meal trackers along with medication reminder IT solutions.