Dec 13, 2010

The Top 5 Health and Fitness Websites of 2010

top 5 ways The Time magazine has recently published a list of Top 50 websites in 2010.

The point to note in all the medical ( and also non-medical) websites is that almost all websites are directly benefitting the consumer. These are websites which add Value. Most of these websites allow you to use various tools, like Google Maps or online videos, to derive maximum benefits.

Also, all these websites allow creation of Communities. Thus these websites are good community portals, allowing visitors to connect with each other and thus learn more.

Below are the 5 websites from the Health and Fitness category:

Health & Fitness

  • Keas : Founded by the former head of Google Health, Keas aims to provide tailored health programs for individual users by combining personal medical data with general health advice. Companies like Quest Diagnostics have teamed up with Keas to input personal data, like blood-test results, to the site.
  • Mayo Clinic : The renowned Mayo Clinic's website keeps its tips legitimate, combining ease of use with sound medical advice. The site offers an encyclopedic index of diseases and a symptom checker to see what that forehead pain could mean.
  • Exercise TV: On-demand cable channel Exercise TV allows you to get fit with only a laptop and some extra floor space. Every month, the channel's site uploads more than 100 free workout videos. You can pay to download the clips or you can stream them online cost-free.
  • Fit by Fun : Fit by Fun animates your exercise with illustrated trainers, upbeat music and a community feel, giving you a list of "classmates" currently using the site. The fickle can adjust their workout scenery and sound track. Though many of its classes and services, like progress tracking, require a paid membership, some are free.
  • Walk Jog Run: Walk Jog Run utilizes Google Maps and community involvement to map out the best routes in your area. Just input your address and user-generated routes will appear, handily mapped out and measured by distance, speed and calories burned.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,2012721,00.html #ixzz180sfCaQa

Health IT Initiatives at USF Health

University of South Floria Health Center has made good use of the health IT stimulus money to push the campaign to go completely Paperless. And then some more.

So now work is done with touchscreen pads and electronic prescribing systems. You can play, view, and download lectures, news, seminars, music and other USF Health-related media on your iPod, Mac, PC or MP3 player. New talent is recruited online via the Center for Transformation and Innovation

A video report on Tampa Bays leadership in Health IT with the Paperfree initiative

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  • USF- Health on Social Media

                    

Dec 10, 2010

Social Media and a Medical Practitioner: Guide from 'Down Under'


Facebook logo


Research Projects like those carried out by pathoftheblueeye.com as well as by Accenture have pointed out Medscape.com and WebMD.com as the most often visited sites by Medical Professionals ( 50 % of the time spent within health category) as well as non-medicos. Social Media sites showed  a rapidly rising 6% of time spent by a large number of people.

Social Media is now being widely used by doctors as well as patients. All doctors even remotely on social media face many ethical and moral questions regarding online physician-patient relationships. So when is it Okay to use social media and when is it Not ?!

Recently, The American Medical association posted some guidelines for Doctors use of social media tools in a professional capacity.

But now we have the Australia Medical Association and New Zealand Medical Association come out with their version on this dilemma. Here is the google document ( a 14 page pdf you can download/ view online). It is one of the most practical and useful guide of its kind online.

Dec 9, 2010

Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2010 : Time.com


Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,2035319,00.html#ixzz17dbUFNgZ

Health IT far from Useful Yet.

Health Data remains stuck in silos and needs to be better integrated so as to allow meaningful analysis.



Health IT won't realize its full potential until analytics software can mine EMR databases to identify trends and help clinical leaders refine best practices, but interoperability and patient trust stand in the way. "[S]till unresolved are questions about how patients' records will be handled--and how they want their records handled," Computerworld reports. "Should they be able to opt into a system of shared electronic records, or should they have to opt out? And who will be the owners and custodians of the information--the patients themselves, or the caregivers or facilities that created the data?"Read more at www.fiercehealthit.com

Which Healthcare Workers get Assaulted the Most on-duty?

Healthcare workers get assaulted 4 times more often than any other sector!
Amplify’d from blogs.wsj.com
They looked at government stats and found that while shootings in health-care workplaces are pretty rare, the rate of assaults is relatively high — 8 per 10,000 workers vs. 2 per 10,000 for all private-sector industries. Nursing staff in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, ICUs, psych units and emergency departments are at higher risk, the paper says.

The authors — Gabor Kelen and Christina Catlett, both from Hopkins’s emergency medicine department and its office of critical event preparedness and response — cite a couple of factors that may be behind the higher-than-average assault rate. Among them: physicians are no longer “viewed with reverence,” health-care is increasingly viewed as a business and patients are often frustrated in their dealings with the system. At the same time “societal incivility may have reached new lows,” with some people turning to violence.Read more at blogs.wsj.com

Dec 5, 2010

Hospitals and Doctors to Create the really Useful Apps


A recent report by Research2Guidance predicts that in the near future, creating and distributing medical apps will no longer be the purview of pure tech/creative companies, but trickle down to doctors, hospitals and other health care service providers. And seeing the enormous amount of action in this field, this prediction seems just right!


See this cool Symptom Checker iPad app by Mayo Clinic.



This is a great free app which provides useful patient information as well as helps propogate additional Mayo clinic services, free as well as paid.

  • Guidance on self-care strategies as well as information on when to seek care for more than 40 symptoms. 
  • Relevant links to MayoClinic.com, Mayo Clinic's award-winning consumer health information Web site, for more in-depth information on each symptom 
  • Easy access to information on thousands of additional health topics from MayoClinic.com. 
  • Information on receiving care at Mayo Clinic, including the ability to inquire about an appointment at Mayo Clinic locations in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota.

Also, going on similar lines is the Florida Hospital.
The Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children is piloting a new iPad application using interactive video to explain common medical procedures such as CT scans and MRIs to patients.

“This application will support our patient resource specialists in ensuring that children and their parents understand and feel comfortable with important medical procedures and mitigate any potential fears or concerns they may have,” said Marla Silliman, administrator of Florida Hospital for Children.


Creating and distributing apple iPad/iPhone apps is a low entry barrier strategy. The availability of a large number of trained, medically and technically proficient experts in countries like India can give it a great fillip. Do check www.emedsim.com for a taste of a few medical apps from a India based creative center.

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Sep 15, 2010

Case Based Learning With Free iPhone/iPad app

Dr Nayana Somaratna,Co-Founder at TTN Testing Technology (Private) Ltd has been working on the beta version of an interesting medical app for iPhones and iPads. The upcoming app is officially named : "Prognosis : Your call"
Prognosis - a fun and totally free iPhone game that lets you investigate, deduce and diagnose real life in minutes. You can also brainstorm and discuss with other players if you are stuck on a tough or rare case.

Contribute your creative ideas and get exclusive access to try the Beta version of Prognosis before it goes live! 

Features of the app:
• Medical and Surgical case scenarios based on real patients.
• Quick and fun to play : just a few minutes per case scenario.
• Group discussions about each case.
• Submit your own interesting cases and be credited for them


The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later.

Sep 12, 2010

Mayo Clinic and Social Media : Success Stories

Mayo Clinic has a long history of Innovation. The clinic started as a single, small outpatient facility, and later became America's first integrated group practice, and currently integrates the practice of over 1,700 medical doctors.

In 2010, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, was ranked as the #2 overall hospital in the United States by U.S. News & World Report . The hospital maintains an exhaustive informational website and a very helpful patient portal.

The institution uses Social Media extensively. The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, a first-of-its-kind social media center focused on health care, builds on Mayo Clinic’s leadership among health care providers in adopting social media tools. See below a presentation by Lee Aase, Director for Social Media at Mayo Clinic to view a few case studies in the use of Social Media by Mayo Clinic.

View more presentations from Lee Aase.

Also see :
How Mayo Clinic Uses Social Media
 



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Sep 7, 2010

What are Patient Portals?


What Are Patient Portals?
Patient Portals are healthcare-related online applications that allow patients to interact and communicate with their healthcare providers, such as physicians and hospitals. Typically, portal services are available on the Internet at all hours of the day. ...en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Portals
According to the 2009 Industry Survey from HealthLeaders Media, less than 5 percent of hospitals have interactive patient portals. By 2014 however, more than three quarters of hospitals expect to have patient portals. With increasing popularity of available patient portals, a shift to online patient portals as a service for small and medium sized hospitals seems inevitable.


A study published in JMIR concludes: 
"Portal group patients demonstrated increased satisfaction with communication and overall care. Patients in the portal group particularly valued the portal’s convenience, reduced communication barriers, and direct physician responses. More online messages from patients contained informational and psychosocial content compared to telephone calls, which may enhance the patient-physician relationship."
Common Features offered by portals:

  • Scheduling requests - allows patients to request an appointment date. The appointment is then made by office and confirmation sent to patient via secure messaging.
  • Medication refills - allows patient to request refill on medications
  • E-Visits - is a non-urgent electronic visit and in some instance can be a reimbursable.
  • Electronic History taking - patient fills out electronic information regarding visit. This can save time and helps with documentation of HPI and presenting complaints. Thereby improving documentation and reimbursement.
  • Pre-registration/Registration - Gets the patients medical history and demographics a very efficient way of registering new patients.
  • PHR (Personal Health Record) - a homepage maintained by patient via the Internet allows patient to take charge of their Health.
  • Lab results - secure method of transmitting lab results to patients without having to call or send letters.
  • Secure messaging - allows for electronic consultations quick questions and/or method to blast vital information to patients especially announcements.
  • Patient education materials - same as above but some offer medical information as well
  • Bill payments - some portals offer payments via the Internet some offer account information without the ability to pay on line via credit card.


      Who offers Portals:


      • Medfusion - offers a full array of services (patient registration, secure messaging, personal health records, e-prescribing, virtual visits)
      • Instant Medical History from PrimeTime Medical Software is not a patient portal but can be integrated into one. $50/month.
      • PrimePatient from Greenway Medical is a Medfusion product that integrates with Greenway's PrimeSuite Electronic Health Record
      • Meditab - health care portal and auto check in.
      • Medisolve - seems limited to patient registration and medical interview.
      • Medseek - pre-registration, scheduling, secure messaging, eConsults. Seems to be targeted for larger group practices.
      • RelayHealth - part of McKesson. WebVisits, secure messaging, PHR, eScripts. $125/month per physician



      References:
      .

      Aug 4, 2010

      Designing Healthy Communities


      How do we address public health epidemics like obesity, heart disease, depression, and diabetes? The answer may lie in the environments we inhabit. In Designing Healthy Communities, community leaders and citizens alike construct roads, parks, schools, and offices to transform our lives. (via www.mediapolicycenter.org)
      Designing Healthy Communities from MPC on Vimeo.

      Listen to a multitude of people responsible for designing infrastructure and awareness programs to make our lives healthier.

      NHS Inform- Personalized Health Information Site for Decision Makers




      The NHS Information Center is England's central, authoritative source of health and social care information for front line decision makers.
      Our aim is to revolutionize the use of information to improve decision making, deliver better care and realize  increased productivity.
      Find out more about us, our work and our objectives.
      Check it out for all sorts of data and information, like:
      • Ambulances - How many ambulances in any particular district...
      • Cancer Screening - Prevalence rates..
      • Immunization - Statistics and more..
      • Health care workforce - How many are there?
      • Contraception, and lots more...

      Jul 9, 2010

      Electronic Medical Records - Hosted Vs SaaS

      A very simple explanation of what an EMR is and what are the main 2 options of EMRs available.

      1) Internally Hosted EMRs - like most famous EMRs, including VistA and OpenEMR

      Here, the software is on a client server and is generally cut-off from the outside world. Some of these EMR packages also allow remote computers to log in into the software, thus adding 'web- enabled' feature.

      2) Internet based/ Cloud Based EMRs - like Medscribbler

      These EMRs reside in the cyberspace and access is via a website login. These services are typically priced based on number of doctors using it / number of patient entries / Periodic subscription fees.
                     
      Though the first type is considered more secure, it can be a pain to use. You would need a whole army of technicians to maintain a system like that in-house.The other option, of using a web based EMR provided as a service, would be my choice. It allows for easier to use interfaces (in my opinion), geographically free application (as it can be logged on to from clinic/hospital/home) and less expensive for small and mid sized practices.



      Also Read-

      Multi-platform Medical Simulation App Built on Flash Platform

      Innovation Mecom developed a simulation for training and marketing of Carina, a medical device. The application is built on top of the Flash Platform using ActionScript3.0 and simulates all the functions of the actual device.

      The same application can run in the browser, as a standalone application and on multiple devices. Check out this video for a demonstration of the app running on a variety of devices.


      Jul 8, 2010

      Open Source + iPad in Surgery



      Discovering new innovative uses of iPad in Health care everyday!

      This one comes via @Berci

      A wonderful match of Open source DICOM viewer coupled with use of touch screen functions of an iPad.

      DICOM viewer OsiriX ( an open source imaging software ) helps surgeons to understand the patient's anatomy and cancerous lesion by pinching to zoom, rotating, and changing window level of the DICOM volume data on an iPad through latex gloves.



      To Know more, Read

      Jul 6, 2010

      Medical Error Rates Reduce Seven Fold with Electronic Prescribing !



      There is a growing consensus that the implementation of health information technology should lead to more efficient, safer, and higher quality of care. The ever increasing burden of record keeping, to comply with the numerous regulations, makes shifting to Electronic prescribing a very attractive option. 

      The benefits of shifting to EMRs and CPOEs are enormous.
      • Less Paperwork
      • Better Evidence based care
      • Better Data collection
      • and of course LESS ERRORS.
      An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a study of 37 million patient records by HealthGrades
      "For e-prescribing adopters, error rates decreased nearly sevenfold, from 42.5 per 100 prescriptions at baseline to 6.6 per 100 prescriptions one year after adoption. For non-adopters, error rates remained high at 37 per 100 prescriptions at baseline and 38 per 100 prescriptions at one year.


      Illegibility errors were very high at baseline, and not surprisingly, were completely eliminated by e-prescribing (87.6 per 100 prescriptions at baseline for e-prescribing adopters, 0 at one year). Prescribing errors may occur much more frequently in community-based practices than previously reported. This study findings suggest that stand-alone e-prescribing with clinical decision support may significantly improve ambulatory medication safety.
       References:

      Also read-

      Jul 5, 2010

      Will HealthCare.gov change HealthCare Practice in the United States ?

      The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled an innovative new on-line tool to help consumers take control of their healthcare. It very neatly co-incidents with the changing political/public view on healthcare. A very handy tool, it paves an easy way to access maximum information about health care regulations as applicable to most people.
      Called for by the Affordable Care Act, HealthCare.gov is the first website to provide consumers with both public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs in a single, easy-to-use tool.


      HealthCare.gov  is the first central database of health coverage options, combining information about public programs, from Medicare to the new Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan, with information from more than 1,000 private insurance plans.  Consumers can receive information about options specific to their life situation and local community.

      Another point of interest - This is the FIRST health care related twitter account i ever found with about 1200 followers within 3 tweets!

      Thumbs up !!!

      Jun 27, 2010

      Open Source in Medical Imaging and Collaboration.


      iPath is providing an free and open platform for "case based collaboration", especially designed for medical applications (telemedicine, etc). The iPath-Server package provides a sort of medical BBS to discuss/consult cases online. Additional modules may be added.

      I have been using their free web-based service for the past few years and found it very flexible and usable. It is also quite popular amongst many pathologists i know, who use the iPath server to collaborate on difficult Cytology/Histopathology cases. 

      http://sourceforge.net/projects/ipath/

      Jun 17, 2010

      Mapping Asthma - GPS in Clinical and Preventive Medicine

      Came across this wonderful use of Global Positioning System in medicine. 

      The Spiroscout inhaler tracker on Asthmapolis.


      By tracking the use of inhalers, Asthmapolis aims to help patients and physicians improve management of asthma and provide a valuable new source of aggregated, anonymous and voluntarily shared data for scientists and public health.

      The tracker can simply be attached to the top of the inhaler . It records the times and locations when the inhaler is used and this data can be viewed in real time over handheld devices like phones to create a complete clinical diary of events.This lets you map and track your asthma.

      Besides, Physicians who remotely monitor asthma symptoms and the use of medications by their patients can identify those in need of additional attention, and help them achieve better asthma control.  This would also provide very valuable real time data on trends in Asthma attacks amongst various populations and in specific geographical areas.



      You can find them on Facebook  and also follow their efforts on Twitter.

      Jun 11, 2010

      Online Collaboration in Proteomic Research



      Antigen-Antibody reactions are the basis of many physiochemical experiments. The primary step in producing antibodies is identifying a potential epitope. Epitopes are distinctive markers that protrude from the surface of an antigen, and that alert the immune system to the antigen's presence. Finding suitable epitopes is a tough task and many months may be wasted searching for the elusive target .Researchers at Germany’s Heidelberg University have now set up an open access web portal to aid proteomic research through the exploration of epitopes. This portal lets you conduct a 'virtual experiment' to find out how many antibodies you need and against which targets.



      EpiC (The Epitope Choice Resource) aims to provide physio chemical predictions of antigenicity together with functional annotation in order to provide the user with adequate information in order to make a decision about the best location of an epitope for an antibody based experiment. The project connects to a wide range of servers throughout Europe and was funded by the EU Framework 6 networking action ProteomeBinders.

      May 28, 2010

      The Boon of Wireless Health

      Like all other devices, medical and health devices are all going WireLess.A new cloud based wireless device for Health/Medical monitoring seems to be launched every week!

      Eric Topol highlights several of the most important wireless devices in medicine's future - all helping to keep more of us out of hospital beds.



      Eric J. Topol, M.D. is a noted American cardiologist, geneticist and innovator. In this talk, he shares his views on Top 10 targets for Wireless medicine.

      Topol was selected as one of the 12 “Rock Stars of Science” by GQ and the Geoffrey Bean Foundation in 2009

      Also see-

      May 27, 2010

      Parceling the Operating Room




      Very often, in developing countries, access to quality healthcare can be a big problem. 

      No doctors, old instruments, unhygienic environments. The problems are aplenty. 

      But there can be innovative solutions to them.

      Dr. Seyi Oyesola points out that common, survivable ailments and injuries -- burns, trauma, heart attacks -- kill thousands of Africans each year because basic medical care can be so hard to get. 




      To help bring surgical care to every region of the continent, Oyesola co-developed CompactOR, or the "Hospital in a Box": a portable medical system that contains anesthetic and surgical equipment. It consists of a pop-up, portable, solar-powered OR for off-grid medicine in Africa and elsewhere.It contains anaesthetic equipment, a defibrillator, a burns unit, plaster-making facilities, surgical equipment and a built-in operating table. It even comes with its own tent to create an ad hoc field hospital..The operating suite is light enough to be dropped into inaccessible zones by helicopter, and can be powered by solar panels.The system is powered by a truck battery, and is made to be readily recharged via solar panel. The basic kit, minus battery, costs about £14,000, or roughly US$25,000; additional modules provide support for an extensive selection of drugs and more specialized medical treatments (including orthopedic surgery).


      Related article





      Games for Health information in Cancer


      Games can be a serious source of health information.Especially for the younger age group. Re-Mission is a game designed to engage young cancer patients through entertaining game play while impacting specific psychological and behavioral outcomes associated with successful cancer treatment.

      The Re-Mission video game for teens and young adults with cancer was released by the nonprofit HopeLab on April 3, 2006. The game is a Microsoft Windows based third-person shooter based in the serious games genre. The game was conceived by Pam Omidyar and designed based on HopeLab research, direct input from young cancer patients and oncology doctors and nurses, and game developer Realtime Associates, among others.

      The game addresses the importance of:
      • Compliance with oral chemotherapy regimens and prescribed medications
      • Prompt symptom reporting, even if the symptoms appear unrelated to cancer
      • Proper nutrition to increase the body’s ability to fight cancer
      • Anxiety, nausea and pain management through breathing and muscle relaxation exercise

      Re-Mission takes the player on a journey through the body of young patients with different kinds of cancer. . Re-Mission is designed to be fun and challenging, while helping players stick to their prescribed treatments and giving them a sense of power and control over their disease.In Re-Mission, the player controls an RX5-E ("Roxxi") nanobot who is designed to be injected into the human body and fight particular types of cancer and related infections such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia, at a cellular level. The player must also monitor patient health and report any symptoms back to Dr. West (the in-game doctor and project leader). Each of the 20 levels is designed to inform the patient on a variety of treatments, how they function, and the importance of maintaining strict adherence to those treatments. Various "weapons" are used, such as the Chemoblaster, Radiation Gun, and antibiotic rocket.

      HopeLab makes Re-Mission available at no charge to young people with cancer and their families, as well as oncology healthcare workers and institutions around the world. Copies are also distributed at no charge to others, though donations are accepted

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