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Tracking Health Goals Video

Posted on June 25, 2015 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.

Today I came across this really great video of Dr. Molly Maloof talking about her experience tracking her health. It’s interesting to have a doctor tracking herself. She takes a different approach than the general self tracking user might do. It also gives some insights into some of the challenges associated with the quality of health sensors. Check out the video to learn more:

Measuring Steps to Patient Empowerment – Breakaway Thinking

Posted on November 19, 2014 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Jennifer Bergeron, Learning and Development Manager at The Breakaway Group (A Xerox Company). Check out all of the blog posts in the Breakaway Thinking series.
Jennifer Bergeron

Trends and fads come and go. When they stick, it’s clear they address a consumer need, whether it’s a service, promise, or hope. Here at The Breakaway Group, A Xerox Company (TBG), we operate within a proven methodology that includes metrics, and it’s exciting to those of us who can’t get enough of good data. Most people find metrics interesting, especially when they understand how it relates to them, and the results are something they can control. Metrics are powerful.

To understand the power of data in shaping behaviors, consider the popularity of the self-monitoring fitness tracker or wearable technology. Even as their accuracy is scrutinized, sales in 2014 are predicted to land somewhere in the $14 billion range.1 Do mobile fitness trackers actually help people change their activity habits? Could doctors actually use the data to help their patients? Can companies be built on the concept of improving health with a wearable device? Not conclusively.2 Does a dedicated athlete need this kind of information? Some think not.3

So what is driving the growth of the fitness tracker market and what are these devices offering that creates millions of dedicated users? The answer is real-time data, personalized goals and feedback, and a sense of control; in other words, empowerment.

In the 70s and 80s, my grandparents spoke about their doctor as though he were infallible. They didn’t doubt, question, or even note what he prescribed, but took his advice and dealt with the outcomes. If healing didn’t progress as planned, my grandmother blamed herself, as though she’d failed him.

Jump ahead a few decades when more emphasis is being placed on collaboration. We expect our physicians to work with us, rather than dictate our treatment decisions.4 Section 3506 of the Affordable Care Act, the Program to Facilitate Shared Decision Making, states that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is “required to establish a program that develops, tests and disseminates certificated patient decision aids.”5 The intent is to provide patients and caregivers educational materials that will help improve communication about treatment options and decisions.6

Patient portals are important tools in helping to build this foundation of shared information. The portals house and track patient health data on web-based platforms, enabling patients and physicians to easily collaborate on the patient’s health management.7  Use of patient portals is a Meaningful Use Stage 2 objective.

The first measure of meeting this objective states that more than half the patients seen during a specified Electronic Health Record reporting period must have online access to their records. The second measure puts the spotlight on the patient and their use of that web-based information. MU Stage 2 requires that more than 5% of a provider’s patients must have viewed, downloaded, or transmitted their information to another provider in order for the provider to qualify for financial incentives from the Federal government.8

Empowered consumers want information immediately, whether it’s a restaurant review, number of steps taken in the last hour, how many calories they’ve burned, or their most recent checkup results. We like to weigh the input, make a decision, and then take action. Learning and information intake, no matter the topic, is expected to happen fast.

Metrics show us where we stand and how far we’ve come, which empowers us to keep going or make a change, and then measure again. We’re in an age of wanting to know but also wanting to know what to do next. The wearable device market has met a very real need of consumers. Whether or not fitness trackers make us healthier, whether or not our doctors know what to do with the information, or if this is information an athlete would really use, these devices can serve the purpose of putting many people in control of their own health, one measurable step at a time.

Sources:
1 Harrop, D., Das, R., & Chansin G. (2014) . Wearable technology 2014-2024: Technologies, markets, forecasts. Retrieved from http://www.idtechex.com/research/reports/wearable-technology-2014-2024-technologies-markets-forecasts-000379.asp

2 Hixon, T. (2014) . Are health and fitness wearables running out of gas? Retrieved from  http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddhixon/2014/04/24/are-health-and-fitness-wearables-running-out-of-gas/

3 Real athletes don’t need wearable tech. (2014) . Retrieved from http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-gear/gear-shed/tech-talk/Real-Athletes-Dont-Need-Wearable-Tech.html

4 Chen, P. (2012) . Afraid to speak up at the doctor’s office. Retrieved from  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/afraid-to-speak-up-at-the-doctors-office/?_r=0

5 Informed Medical Decisions Foundation. (2011-2014) .  Affordable care act. Retrieved from http://www.informedmedicaldecisions.org/shared-decision-making-policy/federal-legislation/affordable-care-act/

6 HealthcareITNews. (2014) . Patient pjortals. Retrieved from http://www.healthcareitnews.com/directory/patient-portals

7 Bajarin, T. (2014) . Where wearable health gadgets are headed. Retrieved from http://time.com/2938202/health-fitness-gadgets/

8 HealthIT.gov. (2014) . Patient ability to electronically view, download & transmit (VDT) health information. Retrieved from http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/achieve-meaningful-use/core-measures-2/patient-ability-electronically-view-download-transmit-vdt-health-information

Xerox is a sponsor of the Breakaway Thinking series of blog posts. The Breakaway Group is a leader in EHR and Health IT training.

Creating mHealth Apps That Do Something for You

Posted on October 16, 2014 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.

There was a great LinkedIn discussion happening around the Fitness Tracker Fallout post that I did previously. One of the comments by Dean Tucker, Founder & CEO at MyNightCare, LLC, provided some really interesting insights into the mHealth app market:

The focus of the current crop of devices and apps requires one to “do” something, engage in a social competition, analyze our own data, and follow advice from someone or something we don’t know or trust.

The secret to successful apps and their utilization will be revealed when the apps and tracking devices the apps rely upon provide the answer to the question, “what does this do for me”, rather than telling me, “here is what you need to do.” What I want is the ability is to have a life monitoring ecosystem, with the sensors and devices we already have in our lives, complemented by new passive sensors, and the active tracking devices we choose to use, when we want or need them. That is where Apple, Google, Samsung, and all of other aggregators, will play the lead role. The supporting specialty apps will be there for when I want to drill down, or focus on a particular activity or health related issue.

What a powerful concept to consider. Most apps could really benefit from thinking about what the mHealth app can do for the user as opposed to what the user needs to do for the app. That’s not to say that the user shouldn’t have any involvement in doing something with the app. However, it takes a very specific situation and motivation for a user to be willing to do the work before receiving the reward.

Dean is right that we’ll see an amazing shift in fitness tracking once the devices collect the data automatically with no intervention from the user. We’re heading that direction and those that master that kind of health tracking are going to be the big winners.

Brainwaves and Google Glass – mHealth Summit

Posted on January 24, 2014 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.

While at the mHealth Summit I had a chance to meet with Cerora. At first I wasn’t all that excited to see another piece of EEG hardware. I’d seen one before, and it seemed the science of it was so early that we still hadn’t seen many real world results that were worth talking about. However, when I started talking to the people at Cerora, I was impressed by their linear focus on using the hardware for just one purpose as opposed to a company with a technology that’s trying to find a solution. Plus, I love that they had plenty of clinical study background as well.

However, the device itself still wasn’t as interesting to me as how they would pair the EEG with Google Glass. Sure, Google Glass seems like just another toy, but they had a vision for how to use Google Glass that I hadn’t heard before. They were interested in using the accelerometer in Google Glass and I believe they said the eye tracking potential to be able to monitor someone’s gait. For example, when they walked were they swaying from side to side in an abnormal way.

To be honest, I may not even be doing justice to what they have in mind. However, the concept is what I found most interesting. Could Google Glass be used as an amazing health tracking device or as a health research device? I think Cerora might be on to something combining Google Glass with their EEG.

Fujitsu Smartphone to Measure Vitals

Posted on April 10, 2013 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.

There’s a revolution in health sensors that are coming to the smartphone world. This was first seen when the Samsung phones decided to include sensors to measure the temperature and humidity of your location.

It looks like Fujitsu is ready to launch a new smartphone that measures your vital health information using you smartphone camera. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

[Fujitsu] have just announced plan to begin including health tracking technology into their future smartphones. This tech would be able to figure out your heart rate just by looking at your face. Basically, you stick your mug in front of the camera and the phone does the rest. How in the world does it do this? Subtle changes in facial blood flow are not detectable by the human eye but are able to be seen by computers. Lo and behold, smartphones are actually computers.

I first saw this technology in action at the Connected Health Summit in Boston a couple years ago. It’s really amazing monitoring technology using just your smartphone camera. It’s a beautiful thing since you don’t need a wristband, armband, clip on, etc. You just need the smartphone that you’re carrying around already.

I wonder if this monitoring technology is just an app that can work with almost any hardware or if it will need a specific camera to work right. It would be great if it’s just an app, because then this could work for any smartphone.

Tracking Health Infographic

Posted on April 5, 2013 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.

The people at Pathfinder Software have put together an infographic on Health Tracking. The data for their infographic comes from a Pew Research Study. It highlights something I’ve discussed much before as far as those with chronic conditions tracking their health versus healthy patients. There’s a big difference in those two groups. I was also intrigued by the data sharing numbers. I’d like to know the exact question asked, but those patients with no conditions shared a lot more than I thought they would with their doctor.

Here’s the infographic:
Infographic_Tracking_Final