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Receiving bad health news can spark great upheaval. It is a time when nothing seems certain and the future may look dark. Since its release this summer, the free AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis app has provided users with a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks after a serious diagnosis, providing concise information and trusted resources to help regain a bit of control during this turbulent time. As one reviewer wrote, the AfterShock
app is "a standard for empowered patients"...
In general, today's patients are taking more medications for a multitude of ailments. Even for the most astute patients, keeping track of doses and regimens can be a challenge. Add in changes in color and appearance of chronic medications and the task can often be overwhelming, especially for elderly patients with cognitive decline. We must look for alternative ways to assist our patients with managing their disease while at home. I believe technology is the answer...
If clinicians are to fully embrace and succeed with value-based payment and population health, it is crucial that they incorporate patient-generated data into EHRs to build a more complete picture of a patient’s life outside of the doctor’s office, at home, where she “lives, works, plays, and learns”. But new research from PwC’s Health Research Institute has found there is a big difference between what doctors and patients think about the self-care concept...
We'd all like to believe that the average physician would have some clue about a medical crisis happening within a family she's been caring for during the past three decades. But it ain't necessarily so. If you've ever been discharged from a hospital by one doctor only to later be readmitted to the hospital under a different doctor's care, you may be surprised to learn that those doctors are not likely talking to each other...
Ninety-one percent of doctors are concerned about giving patients access to their detailed electronic health records, anticipating patients will feel anxious about the results. Only 34 percent of consumers are concerned about anxiety-due-to-EHR-exposure. Welcome to the digital health chasm, the gap between what consumers want out of digital health and what doctors believe patients can handle...
It's truly a dilemma for the doctor. The patient's test results are back and the news isn't good. But it's Friday afternoon and there's a decision to make: Call the patient now or wait until Monday?
The use of social networking sites like Facebook may have implications for accessing online health information, finds a new longitudinal study from the Journal of Health Communication
What's the best way to choose a new doctor? We can ask friends, family, or our current doctor for a referral. We can pick the provider who's closest to our home or office. We can look them up online and read their reviews. But research finds that online physician ratings are far from perfect...
Not long ago, the only options my patients had for communicating with me were to come in to the office or relay a message through the office staff. But since recently introducing the patient portal in our electronic medical record, my practice has changed substantially for the better...
The privacy issues around data flowing out of credit card swipes, social network check-ins, digital health trackers' apps and smartphone GPS geo-location functions are thorny, especially for health – where HIPAA protections don't extend. Here are two real and documented stories from people whose "digital dust" was collected without their knowledge...
I just got off the phone with a very upset patient who discovered that her pharmacy has been giving her the wrong medication for the past five months. Despite all our fancy technology and advances in health care, medication errors can and will occur. So what can you do, as a patient, to be sure that your prescriptions are correct?...
Receiving bad health news can spark great upheaval. It is a time when nothing is certain and the future looks dark. The new, free app 'AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis' offers a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks, providing concise information and trusted resources to help you regain a bit of control during this turbulent time...
"All patients are alike. This one complains about the same things that the last one did." "Every patient is unique. We can never find a way to make each one of them happy." This public health paradox is alive and well today, particularly when trying to improve outcomes attributable to patient engagement. The question is, what aspects of care need to be customized to individual needs and what can be delivered in a standardized fashion to all of us?
How do we know which search results are true and which ones aren't? While you can find high-quality health information online, search results related to nutrition, fitness and preventive health vary widely in quality. And the actions we take (or don't take) as a result of the information we find can be hazardous...
Yes, there are some data-fan, quantified-patient types out there. But most of us are not enamored of monitoring bits and bytes of our biophysical functioning. So perhaps we can turn our attention toward patients' more immediate concerns of having the right information at the right time in order to care for ourselves and those we love...
As the health care system changes in the coming years, one particular trend that will negatively impact consumers' out-of-pocket costs is the use of co-insurance (instead of a co-pay) for expensive specialty medications. Approximately 57 million Americans rely on these drugs to maintain their health, and it is disheartening to learn that many people are suffering because their medications have become too expensive...
The hockey-stick growth of "wearable technology" seen at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show begs the question: Will people pay out-of-pocket for gadgets that help them measure their steps, track their sleep, quantify their calories, record their heart rate and feedback their mood? A caveat emptor to investors seeing short-term dollar signs in the digital health sector...
We have all heard the term patient-centered medicine by now. It's in the PR materials for hospitals, in the Affordable Care Act, in health care model innovations like the "medical home" and the "accountable care organization." But what is it? What would you like to see in a health system that is truly patient-centered?
National conferences aimed at solving the problem of our wide-scale non-adherence to prescription medications feature expert reports about our misbehavior and bewail the huge number of us who fail to adhere to the ideal schedule. Then each conference gives plenty of airtime to more experts describing smart pill bottles, apps that nag at us, and how patient communities can provide important information about our drugs since our clinicians rarely do. Enough with blaming patients for our approach to taking our (many) medications...
Survey after survey finds that we are concerned about the privacy of our health and health care information. But most of us are confused about what this actually means. We struggle to imagine the range of scenarios in which we lack or lose privacy. And responses from health care stakeholders don't bode well for any real institutional or commercial investment in ensuring that our information is secure...
I've always assumed that the best way to find a new doctor or specialist – preferably within my health plan – was to rely on the advice of a doctor whom I know and trust, who knows my health history and understands what kind of expertise my condition requires. Recently, I have come to question that assumption...
I am all for transparency when it comes to health care. So when Medicare announced a few weeks ago that it would begin to tell the public how much doctors are paid to treat Medicare patients, my first thought was "hooray." Still, I keep returning to the question: What will the data do for the average person?...
Twitter has figured prominently in the heated discussion about Emma and Bill Keller's respective editorials about Lisa Bonchek Adams. I have followed Lisa for a long time and greatly admire her thoughtful, highly personal tweets about the ups and downs of what it takes for her to face the challenges of metastatic breast cancer. In comparison, I am a different type of tweeter, posting a weekday stream of tweets aimed at addressing generally the subject that Lisa talks about so personally: finding and making the best possible use of health care...
Getting and being sick changes everything in your life, and that includes how you manage your health. For people focused on so-called patient engagement, health empowerment, and social networking in health, the elephant in the room is that most people simply don't self-track health via digital means...
It's unfair to advise people to find out the price of a treatment when the price-transparency deck is stacked against them. So who will help patients find reliable price information and (hopefully) bring down the cost of care?
A majority of surveyed physicians said they were alerted to a potential medication error or critical lab value by an electronic health record, finds a new study in Health Services Research
You've recently moved and need to find a new doctor. What's available online to help you learn about the quality of the doctors in your area?...
Perhaps like many of my age, I am not captivated by a number of much-touted technological innovations, increasing choices I don’t desire and fulfilling needs I didn’t realize I had. My nervous reaction to Personal Health System Technology is that of the distancing of patients from doctors, adding still another barrier between doctors and patients, and in the seductive name of their medical welfare.
Electronic health records collect non-clinical information that can be used to measure a medical practice’s patient-centeredness, finds a new study in Health Services Research
Most popular smartphone apps do not include evidence-based practices known to help smokers quit, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Outsourcing work to cheaper workers is a common strategy of corporations. It has largely escaped the public’s notice, however, that much of this new labor force isn't located in Southeast Asia, but is rather found here in the U.S. and is virtually free. It is us...
Last week, I was interviewed by Dr. Pat Salber and Gregg Mastors on their BlogTalkRadio show, This Week in Health Innovation, about patient-centered care, patient engagement, shared decision making and the cost/quality trade-offs involved, and what all of this means for health care delivery.
Sharing a funny article is as simple as copying everyone on an email or clicking the "share" button on a website. But sharing the results of your medical tests with multiple physicians is rarely so easy. Our resource "Sharing Medical Information with Multiple Doctors" can help.
Websites targeting veterans fail to provide information about the risks of tobacco products despite high rates of smoking in the military, finds a new report in the American Journal of Health Promotion
Weight loss mobile applications may work well as basic tracking devices, but need to do more to help dieters, according to a new report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
What's your assessment of the health news and information produced by the media these days? Is it accurate? Useful? Interesting? Improving, or worse than five years ago?
Have you noticed that the images of most sick people on TV, in drug ads and on health insurance websites look pretty good? There is a big, diverse herd of us out here who are ill and who don't see our experience realistically portrayed by the media. So what?
A survey conducted in September 2012 by the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans had used the Internet in the past year to look for health information. Most of those people begin their search within a search engine like Google and end up with thousands of results. The hard part is figuring out which websites provide up-to-date and credible information.
Not too long ago, I had the misfortune to fall from my bicycle, and within minutes my bicycle and I were on our way to the local hospital via ambulance with serious but non-life threatening injuries. As a result of this incident, I got to experience the health care system first hand, up close and personal. Thus began my unexpected journey as an undercover patient...
Many people rely on the internet to look up health information or find a new doctor. However, navigating through the vast amount of resources and information online can be exhausting. Doctors Kevin Pho and Kenny Lin share some tips.
Have you noticed all the articles in the health care press lately touting health information technologies’ ability to increase patient medication adherence? Smart phone-based apps, Smart pill bottles and Patient Portals are all about trying to get patients to do something (take a medication) which some physician somewhere has deemed to be the right thing for the patient to do. Some would call this process of generating adherence patient engagement.
This week in health news: Using shame to promote weight loss doesn’t work | Black nursing homes face challenges | Hispanic and Black children not getting the right asthma meds | Electronic health records not widespread
A new study in Health Services Research
finds wide geographic variation in the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) by ambulatory health care sites.
Recently, Inspire passed a milestone: five million posts written by the patients and caregivers in their online health community. Brian Loew, founder and CEO of Inspire, reflects on what Inspire’s learned from patients and caregivers.
In order to realize the full promise of patient-facing tools like EMRs, PHRs, patient portals and the like, we need to be more mindful of the following “first principles.”
What I’ve learned since my heart attack is that, until you or somebody you care about are personally affected by a life-altering diagnosis, it’s almost impossible to really get what being sick every day actually means…
When the report called "Tracking for Health"
was released last month, media headlines announced: “Over Two-Thirds Track Health Indicators!”
Surprisingly, very few headlines ran the real news from the report: “Only 21% Use Technology to Self-Track!”
Yet as of last autumn, more than 500 tech companies are busy developing The Next Big Thing in self-tracking tools.
Who would have thought that Twitter, this tiny aperture – a mere 140 characters – could connect me with so many smart, feisty, tough people who share, amplify, and improve on my efforts to spread carefully chosen health and health care content through their responses, retweets, modified tweets and acknowledgements?
Here’s why I tweet what I tweet...
Self-management interventions delivered by computer and mobile phone currently provide limited benefits for people with diabetes, according to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.
Low-income patients served by “safety-net” community health centers want to communicate with their doctors via email or text or are already doing so, according to a new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Two recent experiences left me ornery and impatient about the current state of mobile health apps. Why haven’t they just taken off?
We do better when we have meaningful conversations with our clinicians about our health care. Proposals to require and document that such conversations take place at strategic points are growing. Here’s a cautionary tale.
Want to find out more about the treatments your doctors suggest? Here are some resources for doing your research and comparing your options.
Sometimes it can be easier to live well with help from others. Here are some helpful sites to connect with organizations and people who understand what you’re going through.
Here are a few suggestions for reliable, accurate online health information.
Want to learn how to separate quality health information from inaccurate or even dangerous websites? Here’s some advice.
How to get a copy of your medical records for your personal files and for your doctors.
Many people assume that their test results will be automatically sent to the right doctors and don’t bother to request that it be done.
Find accurate information that helps you with choices about your health.
One of my blog readers recently told us about why most of those self-tracking health apps may not in fact be particularly useful: "Fundamentally, sick people are the LEAST likely to be self-quantifiers. We, in fact, relish the thought of NOT obsessing about our health, to take it for granted like we do, say, gravity."
Support for quitting smoking via text and video messages can help smokers kick the habit, according to a new Cochrane systematic review.
Kristen Gerencher of The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, recently interviewed me about internet users and online health information.
Hospital and physician ratings and patient satisfaction scores are all inter-related. Do they provide useful, meaningful information-and will we use them?
The online migration of health information services and technologies (IT) has been a popular focus for IT investors and developers recently. But we have not been as captivated by their efforts as we have been by those of, oh, Facebook, say. Or Lady Gaga's fan site. Or eBay. In fact, most of us are reluctant to make use of the thousands of helpful health IT tools launched to help us get healthier, take care of ourselves and make good use of our health care.
Turns out that while most of us (90%) would like be able to make a doctor's appointment and check lab results online'.85% of us also still want the option to talk to our physician face-to-face. These are the findings from a recent 2012 study conducted by Accenture.
In some surveys, U.S. consumers seem primed for health engagement, liking the ability to schedule appointments with doctors online, emailing providers, and having technology at home that monitors their health status.
In the past two days I have filled out two post-dining surveys from Open Table, and it occurred to me that it would be great if there were something similar that could provide the immediate guidance we need to participate in our care.
A few weeks ago, I spoke at the Connecting Healthcare + Social Media conference in New York about what we patients want from health social media. Michelle McNickle, New Media Producer for Healthcare IT News
wrote the following piece summarizing my talk and the '6 things patients want from social media.'
Along with the invention of smart phones, an entire medical mobile application (app) industry has cropped up, promising patients enhanced connectivity, health data collection, and overall care quality at lower costs...For all the hype about robo-grannies, aging in place technologies, and how high tech solutions will reduce healthcare costs, the reality is that these hopes are unlikely to be achieved with the baby boomer generation.
There’s some good news for those trying to lose weight with the help of new apps on their mobile devices. They may actually work, says a new research study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
A new Cochrane Library evidence review reveals that little is known about the best ways to avoid inappropriate prescribing of medications for seniors or how to maximize health benefits while minimizing prescriptions.
From day one, Patient Power has been about giving a voice to patients and addressing the real concerns and issues of patients and caregivers. That's one reason we do regular visitor surveys, such as our current Spring 2012 survey. We constantly strive to better understand the people we serve; their needs and concerns; and the impact of what we provide. The initial results are fascinating and I wanted to share some here...
"Nagging is still nagging, whether it comes from your phone or your mom," says Jessie Gruman, a social psychologist who heads the Center for Advancing Health, a patient-advocacy group out of Washington, DC. in the recent Boston magazine article, Are Smartphones Changing What It Means to be Human
In 'Participatory Medicine: Must You Be Rich to Participate?' in the Journal of Participatory Medicine
, Graedon and Graedon pose a question: Is the participatory movement leaving [the non-affluent] behind? Their article suggests that only the affluent members of our society can afford care that is participatory. Their premise appears to be built on two assumptions that should be regarded as faulty.
I think that if people are ever going to be able to use technology to engage in their care, the technologies have to be built for them and have to be usable by them.
New research released online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that body mass index (BMI) data, commonly available in electronic medical records, can accurately identify adults between 30 and 74 years-old at risk for cardiovascular (heart) disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.
With mobile health consumer market projections ranging from $7 billion to $43 billion,a casual reader might think that a plethora of health citizens are tracking their health, weight, food intake, exercise and other observations of daily living by smartphones and tablets.
Use of electronic health records shows promise for improving care and outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes, but still has considerable room for improvement, according to a new study in the journal Health Services Research.
If you could see what your doctor wrote about you in your medical record, would this hurt or enhance your relationship? A new survey found that the majority of patients more than 90 percent are supportive and even enthusiastic about being able to read the doctor's notes. But among physicians, the reaction was mixed.
User reviews and ratings on websites can help you locate a reputable handyman, the perfect restaurant for your anniversary dinner or the right TV for your den. So why wouldn't you turn to the Internet to find your next doctor? New health review sites promise to help you make this important decision for yourself or your loved ones. However, patients and physicians alike are finding that these doctor reviews aren't as transparent or useful as they might seem.
Did you know that every nursing home resident in the US must be asked every quarter whether she wants to go home, regardless of her health or mental status? And if she says yes, there is a local agency that must spring into action to make that happen.
Two recent speaking engagements provided me the opportunity to think deeply about the discharge process, an area of healthcare delivery rampant with errors and missed opportunities to support sustained healing and health for patients.
With more people turning to the Internet and smart phones to help them with everything from exercising to quitting smoking, it appears applications, or “apps” as they are popularly known, intended to change eating habits may not make much of a difference, according to a new review.
There is excitement in the air about how mobile phones are the breakthrough technology for changing health behavior. Last Saturday, I was convinced this must be true. In two short hours, I...
Over-the-counter and prescription drugs are sold with instructions either on the package itself or in accompanying materials. Alas, research has shown that many people find this medication information confusing and thus do not take their medications correctly ' or at all. Can interventions like drug fact panels, reminder packaging and "integrated" health systems help solve the problem?
Those involved in health care and HIT may have noticed the increased federal and private sector discourse around "consumers" and meaningful use. This week's Inside Health Care collects some recent posts that discuss various new tools, programs, and enhancements aimed at providers, patients, caregivers, and members of the public.
If you’re looking for an app to help you cut back on alcohol consumption, few exist and what is available has not yet been demonstrated to work, according to a new study.
With almost a decade's worth of the National Healthcare Disparities Reports behind us, it is clear that addressing disparities defies simplistic solutions. As we all believe that the complexity of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and HIV/AIDS will not stop us from one day finding a cure, I firmly believe that this same tenacity of spirit is needed to successfully surmount the challenges of disparities.
The recent case of Phillip Seaton, a Kentucky man who sued his surgeon after having a partial penile amputation, raises concerns about the effectiveness of the informed consent process, general health literacy and problems with doctor-patient communications.
Advances in health technology have meant that many illnesses now come with electronic devices used to detect, measure, or alleviate them. But, even the newest instrument can be problematic. Here, four patients share their tech-related stories.
New research on use of Kaiser Permanente's patient portal points to a widening digital divide for populations with limited education, health literacy or for certain ethnic/minority groups.
The answer is a definite "maybe", but making it happen will require a whole new way of thinking about Electronic Health Records.
I have been musing about why, despite our fascination with gadgets and timesaving devices, so few of us use the apps and tools that have been developed to help us take care of ourselves.
Site Jabber, a website funded by the National Science Foundation to help internet users separate the scams and frauds from real content, called and asked me for advice on how to find good medical content on the web. The interview reads like a huge promotion for my blog, something I was not expecting and for which I thank them profusely.
All the talk about information technology in health care was just an abstraction to me until it actually came to my town. I read about all the money the federal government was spending to spur the development of electronic medical records, but most of my records were still stored in those vast walls of color coded folders. Then my medical group introduced a new IT system that allows patients to do a lot of fantastic things online ' for FREE!
It was only a small hole in the pavement in front of my building last fall. But the seasonal snow, ice and salt, a dramatic increase in traffic and the neglect of a cash-strapped local bureaucracy has produced a honking big pothole that slows a lot of people down. We face a similar figurative pothole as vital health-related activities such as appointment scheduling, interaction with providers and comparative cost and quality information migrate to the Web.
There appears to be no area that social media cannot soak through to: farming, politics, dating, death and even taxes. It comes as no surprise then that social media has diffused into the world of health care. Clinicians, researchers, patients and hospital CEOs are blogging, tweeting and sending Facebook messages. This post reveals some of the recent dialogue on the web surrounding social media and its use by health care professionals.
The outsourcing of work by businesses to the cheapest available workers has received a lot of attention in recent years. It has largely escaped notice, however, that the new labor force isn't necessarily located in Southeast Asia, but is often found here at home and is virtually free. It is us, using our laptops and smart phones to perform more and more functions once carried out by knowledgeable salespeople and service reps.
iHealthbeat is reporting that, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute report, health care providers might not meet Stage 2 meaningful use rules unless they more actively engage patients about their role in the use of health IT. Although the National Coordinator for Health IT, David Blumenthal, has dubbed 2011 the beginning of the "era of Meaningful Use", it is clear that it is not clear what Meaningful Uses actually means.
A new study finds that iPhone software applications designed to help people quit smoking fall short of the mark.
What's in a word? Or, even one letter of an acronym? Some people use the terms electronic medical record and electronic health record interchangeably. But here at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), you'll notice we use electronic health record or EHR almost exclusively.
A recent report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology calls upon the Federal government to facilitate the widespread adoption of a universal exchange language that allows for the transfer of relevant pieces of health data while maximizing patient privacy. Despite providing some very useful and important perspectives, the report also drops the ball in a few key areas.
File folders, marching across the shelves in an orderly line behind the receptionist's desk, may be the first thing you see when you sign in for a doctor's appointment. While it's tempting to believe that your personal health history is neatly contained within one of those folders, the truth is far more troubling.
Some patients don't tell their doctors the full story about their health. Sometimes physicians aren't aware of the omission; others know the patient is withholding information. Either way, physicians are responsible for the decisions they make regarding what they know and do for these patients. Electronic health records will not change this reality.
KevinMD hosts a range of clinicians who comment on the electronic medical record. Guests include: Dr. Christopher Johnson, pediatric intensive care doc, who blogs on ChristopherJohnsonMD; Jared Sinclair R.N., an ICU nurse and pre-medical student, who blogs at jaredsinclair + com; and Angienadia M.D., a Yale intern, who blogs at Primary DX. Read what they have to say about EMRs.
Chris Gibbons, MD, CFAH Board Member, interviewed by CNN on using social media and web coupons for health care.
The October 19 edition of iHealthBeat is reporting that National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal and HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health Garth Graham have asked health IT vendors for their help in preventing a "digital divide" involving health care providers who serve minority communities. Blumenthal and Graham called on these vendors to make sure they target such health care providers in their marketing and sales campaigns.
On October 11, 2010, Baltimore Sun reporter Meredith Cohn reported that some U.S. health care providers are experimenting with trying to reach patients through social media and reaping big rewards. Providers are not just using Twitter and Facebook but trying new social media tools like Groupon, Foursquare, Scoutmob and LivingSocial that all blend social media with market forces to bring customers value and create new revenue for entrepreneurs, business owners and now health care providers.
Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor at Reuters, is reporting that a recent study suggests that Americans die sooner than citizens of a dozen other developed nations and the usual suspects ' obesity, traffic accidents and a high murder rate ' are not to blame. Instead, poor health care may be the cause.
The Robert Wood Johnson-funded Project HealthDesign primer on Personal Health Records (PHRs) describes the new PHR both as a repository for information related to one's health care and a way to record observations about daily living (ODLs). We're meant to track these observations the amount and quality of our sleep; what we ate; our blood pressure; our symptoms in the belief that such information will shape daily decisions and allow for a more productive discussion with (our) clinician.
Picture a pumpkin and a pumpkin pie. A pumpkin is a vegetable; a pumpkin pie is a meaningful use of that vegetable.
I was home relaxing when I received a call from Uncle Johnny. When I saw on the Caller-ID that it was him, I braced myself. Calls with my Uncle Johnny were never brief, by nature he was loud so I had to yell too, and his conversations always involved more than a few swear words. My uncle has been described as a gun not a pistol, but a gun!
The National Health Service in the UK has rolled out its campaign to inform the public that an individual's online summary care record will soon be readily available to any health care worker. At that point, people will be able to view their summary, schedule hospital appointments and make use of health information and links to help them manage their health and lifestyle by keeping track of information like your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and medications.
Yesterday, our Health Headlines included a study mentioned in the Washington Post that revealed that we are more comfortable and satisfied with our communications with our clinicians when they sit down to talk with us. This study surveyed patients while in a hospital but surely this is true in office visit settings too.
We can be excused for thinking that our doctors have a computer program that allows them to track our health history and forward relevant record to a specialist to whom they are referring us. After all, when I walk in to my provider's office, the receptionist is sitting in front of a computer; plus my doctor makes use of other computerized devices for measuring my temperature, blood pressure, weight and heart rhythms.