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Vital Signs Collected by a Camera

Posted on August 30, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Last year at the Connected Health Symposium I saw a glimpse into the future of continuous medical monitoring. A lady got on stage and showed the results of research into how with a simple cell phone camera, you could collect various vital signs. A recent article from MITnews talks more about this type of continuous medical monitoring. Here’s a portion of that article:

So far, graduate student Ming-Zher Poh has demonstrated that the system can indeed extract accurate pulse measurements from ordinary low-resolution webcam imagery. Now he’s working on extending the capabilities so it can measure respiration and blood-oxygen levels. He hopes eventually to be able to monitor blood pressure as well. Initial results of his work, carried out with the help of Media Lab student

In the article, they talk about this technology being used to monitor people in situations where attaching sensors to the body would be difficult or uncomfortable like burn victims and newborns. While this would be a good use of the technology, I’m much more interested in this technology for the average person.

The problem with so many of the medical devices use for monitoring is that they are so obtrusive. The Fitbit like technologies that you wear on your belt aren’t terrible, but they are one more thing you have to put on and not knock off in the arch of your day. Other monitoring goes as far as requiring a pin prick every time it takes a reading. I’m not sure we’ll ever get away from the need for blood for certain monitoring, but the above technology gives me hope that we might.

Katie on Smart Phone HC recently posted about a non-invasive Cholesterol test using a digital camera. This is amazing technology, and I believe we’re just at the beginning of what will be possible.

One challenge doctors will face as these technologies develop is what to do with all the data. Imagine the web cam that’s sitting on top of my computer right now was continuously monitoring me and my vital signs. It could collect a lot of data. Will the EHR software be able to receive all that data? Will EHR or other software process all that data? IT will have to be involved in the processing of the data. I’m just not sure yet which software will do the work. My best guess is that EHR will provide the platform for other companies to create innovative solutions with the data.

Are we ready for all of this health data? The answer is no, but it’s coming just the same.

Quantified Self Is the Future

Posted on October 20, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I know I’ve mentioned the quantified self a few times in the past. Basically quantified self is that we’re all going to start finding methods, apps, sensors, etc that will collect data about our bodies. I have never been more certain of this movement than I have been talking to the people at the Connected Health Symposium in Boston. It’s going to take a few years for all of the technologies to develop, but it’s going to happen.

A simple example of this is a startup company I met called Ubiqi Health. They have a migraine tracker that helps people to track their migraines and identify their cause. Plus, this is just their first integration. I think it’s really smart for them to work on migraines first. Lots of people have migraines and very few people have a problem admitting that they have a headache (or migraine). For some reason it’s socially acceptable to say you have a headache, but not so much to say you’re depressed for example.

One thing that’s also become clear is that it’s not just going to be devices that work to “quantify” someone. It’s going to be a great mix of devices, but also is going to have to include the narrative that a person provides. The interesting thing is that from the narrative you can often capture events that might have influenced the “disease” and also can explain the quantitative data.

This is going to be really interesting to watch. I’m still thinking about how all of this data is going to affect the doctors and how they treat patients. Either way, it’s going to transform the way we deal with “health care.”

Trusting Relationships with Technology and Its Importance in Healthcare

Posted on December 17, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Bobby Gladd recently pointed out this interesting YouTube video of Dr. Joseph Kvedar speaking at the 2010 Connected Health Symposium. In the video Dr. Kvedar makes some interesting observations about humans and their relationships with devices and how that applies in healthcare. He calls it emotional automation. Check out the video if you have a few minutes.

I find this concept really intriguing. At a very practical level (since my heart is very practical), I couldn’t help but draw the parallel from what Joseph Kvedar said and the idea of the online doctor’s visit. There’s so many reasons that this should be successful and so many situations where an in person visit doesn’t matter.

I’ll share a quick personal experience. Being around doctors and working with doctors as much as I do, I’ve had occasion where I was feeling sick and didn’t have the time to go and see my regular doctor. In one instance, I was leaving for Hawaii the next morning and it was 4 PM the day before. Basically, no time to get to my doctor.

As it so happened, I was in the office of a doctor that I worked with. I mentioned the issue and told him my symptoms. He then asked if I wanted him to write me a script. I was a bit taken a back by the request. I certainly wanted his help, but shouldn’t we have gone in and done the routine. You know the routine. The one where the doctor listens to your breathing and heart (or whatever they’re really listening to). Feels around your neck. Looks in your mouth and ears.

Instead, this doctor went straight to the script. Turns out I’ve since learned that in many cases that doctor routine just isn’t really needed. In fact, many times it’s just done for the sake of the patient and not part of the diagnosis at all. Oh the dirty little secrets of healthcare. If you’re a doctor you already know all about this I’m sure. And certainly I’m not advocating removing the patient visit all together. Just in many cases it’s just not needed.

Of course, my point isn’t necessarily advocating a certain treatment method of not. I’m not a doctor and I don’t claim to be. I’m just sharing what I’ve heard other doctors say. What I am suggesting is that for this change to happen, there’s going to have to be a change of mentality by the patient as much as the doctor.

Dr. Kvedar describes well in the video above that we’re capable of relationships with technology. We can change our behavior and adapt to these types of changes. It will just need the right amount of education and technology to make it happen. I know some EMR vendors have patient portals, but I haven’t seen many that have dove in head first to the online visit model. Probably because the reimbursement model for online visits is still lagging behind.

Lots of really interesting things to chew on in this discussion. I’ve really just begun the conversation. I have a feeling the comments on this post are going to be intense.

Upcoming Healthcare IT Conferences

Posted on August 18, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Neil Versel posted a list of upcoming Healthcare IT conferences (a few aren’t just IT, but IT will be a large part of it) in the sidebar of his blog. Check out his list:

Medical Device Connectivity (Sept., Boston)
Medicine 2.0 (Sept. 17-18, Toronto)
AHIMA (Oct. 3-8, D-FW)
Health 2.0 (Oct. 6-7, SF)
MGMA (Oct. 11-14, Denver)
Connected Health Symposium (Oct., Boston)
CHIME09 (Oct., Indian Wells, Calif.)
E-Patient Connections (Oct., Phila.)
NIH mHealth Summit (Oct. 29-30, DC)
Inst. for Health Tech Transformation (Nov., LA)
AMIA (Nov. 14-18, SF)

That’s a lot of conferences. Were there any that we missed? That just goes through the end of the year. How do people stay up with all these conferences? I still haven’t made it to HIMSS, but am planning to go to Atlanta in March.

I’ve always wanted to put together my own EMR conference. Basically, just bring in a lot of really smart people to have insightful discussion about topics related to EMR. You could even bring in some EMR vendors and run them through the ringer. Maybe none of them would want to come and be held accountable for their software. However, if they did that would really say something. We could always do it on some test installs or something. Maybe the conference could put 10 EMR vendors through their paces and publish a report evaluating those 10 EMR companies. Then, that report could pay for the expenses of the conference. Who knows, I’m just thinking out loud on my blog. That’s what I love about blogs.

I’m not even sure it has to be a conference. Now that I think about it, it might be even more interesting to just bring a nice group of really smart people together to meet and discuss EMR and HIT for a day. Could produce some pretty interesting content. Plus, with a small group, you could pretty easily find a place to host the event I would think. Not to mention, I live in Las Vegas and everyone loves to come visit Las Vegas.

Back to the list above, which of the above conferences will you be attending? Are there any types of conferences that you wish were available related to EMR and HIT?