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The Problem I See with Home Health Monitoring

When I was writing my post about this mHealth infographic, the thought came to me about why I’ve never felt truly comfortable with the idea of Home Health Monitoring (some might call it the Patient Centered Medical Home). I think the problem I see lies in our ambitious goals of what we monitor at home.

As I said a bit in the linked posts, many doctors love the idea of a patient tracking their health information, but their also extremely scared about how they’re going to deal with all of the data coming at them. There are exceptions to this rule, but most doctors don’t usually get a whole bunch of data a patients collected that they have to incorporate into the visit. Sure, a physician treating diabetes will often get a stack of food journals and blood sugar levels. However, most doctors are trained to get the data they need on their own.

I believe this is the real challenge with home health monitoring. In far too many cases I’ve seen mHealth apps that are trying to monitor too much data. Sure, I think it’s great to be ambitious and I think it’s even better to collect as much data as we can. Long term I think that patient collected healthcare data is going to be essential to providing great healthcare. Although, in the short term if we want to break most physicians into Home Health Monitoring, then I think we need to be a little less ambitious and more targeted.

The post mentioned above highlights some things that I don’t think any doctors would be overwhelmed with if they received this information: weight, blood sugar, and vital signs. I’m sure we could add to this list, but a lot can be learned from just these elements. Sure, bringing in full on food journals, sleep data, walking data, exercise data, EKG data, etc etc etc could be useful to a doctor. However, in our current state if you bring all of that data to the doctor you’re likely going to overwhelm them and they won’t know what to do.

I can’t wait for the day we have Smart EMR software that can take the volume of patient collected data and make it actionable for the doctor. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. Until then, maybe we need to focus our Home Health Monitoring into bit size chunks that doctors can easily digest and actually use.

April 27, 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.

mHealth App Infographic

Ozmosis recently posted a pretty interesting mHealth infographic. I’ve never met an infographic that I didn’t enjoy at least glancing over.

The stat that stood out to me the most was probably the one that says, “40% of doctors believe that mobile health technologies can reduce the number of office visits.” Although, this stat is a bit frustrating because it means that there’s potential to save office visits and we’re not doing much to change it so we don’t need an office visit.

The other one that hit me was that “88% of doctors would like their patients to monitor their health at home, particularly their weight, blood sugar, and vital signs.” I wonder a bit if this question was a bit biased since it offered things that doctors would like for patients to monitor at home. Although, that seems like a whole lot of doctors that want the patient home monitoring. A lot of the doctors I’ve spoken to can see benefits to doing so, but they’re also really concerned about how they’d deal with the influx of data.

Much more could be said, but that gets us started. Now for the full mHealth App Infographic.

April 25, 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.

Mobile Health Reduces Costs

It’s a catchy headline that everyone must read. The problem is that the evidence is still not there to prove this type of headline. Sure, we’ve seen a ton of encouraging signs with mobile health. In fact, I’m also quite confident that we’re going to to the day that mobile health will indeed reduce costs. Although, I think we’re still waiting for the hard core data and evidence that such is the case and which mobile health apps actually produce results.

Let me give you an example of the way mobile health is being reported (in many cases). Check out this article by iHealth Beat. Here are just the headlines which tell an interesting story:
Title: Health Care Providers Tapping Mobile Health Tools To Reduce Costs
* Cost-Savings Potential
* Prototype Devices in Testing
* More Incentives Needed?

Does this line of thinking make any sense at all?

If it’s true that mobile health is providing cost savings, then why is there a need for incentives? Trust me, if the cost savings were really apparent, then there wouldn’t need to be any incentives. Plus, incentives can often lead to perverse issues like we’ve seen with the EHR incentive money.

I’m hopeful that we’ll see a sea of mobile health applications that really do appreciable and transparently lower the cost of healthcare for providers and patients. I just think we’re still early in the curve of knowing the benefits of deploying technology. Those companies that nail it are going to be extremely successful though. It’s entrepreneurship at its best.

April 24, 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.

Too Many mHealth Apps, Not Enough mHealth App Usage

Eric Dishman made a really insightful comment in a Healthcare IT news article in response to a question about how patient-centered care evolved over the past few years:

“In a way, it’s started to evolve with the whole mHealth movement. And the focus on consumer apps. That’s certainly brought a lot of attention to the possibilities of patient-centered health. I’m a little concerned about the way it’s going in that regard, though, because there’s a lot of hype and very little reality. I go to the mHealth conferences, and I’m the first person who will stand up and believe – and we have prototyped at Intel a range of mHealth solutions – I am absolutely convinced that the role of the smartphone in our life, it’s going to be a coaching tool, it’s going to be a diagnostic tool, it’s going to be a reminding tool, and you’re certainly seeing applications built out from that. But people will say to me, ‘There’s 65,000 apps for health in the iTunes store.’ But I say, 12,000 of them are diabetes apps, maybe six of them have ever been downloaded more than once, and two of them have been used continuously.”

Certainly the usage numbers at the end are a very large exaggeration by Eric Dishman, but the point is a very interesting one. It’s one thing to have an mHealth app. It’s a very different thing to have an mHealth app that actually gets used on a regular basis by a patient or other user.

I think one of the biggest challenges facing mHealth apps is the perception by many that we don’t need an mHealth app. As a relatively young, healthy person, I’ll admit that I don’t use an mHealth app to monitor myself. We need to get to the point where we’re doing what I’ve called “Treating Healthy Patients.”

Many might argue with just the issues of obesity and diabetes alone, that should make most American’s candidates to participate in some mHealth app. The bigger problem is that most don’t see those as issues. It’s a perception problem as much as anything and that’s hard to overcome.

I do believe that mobile will revolutionize many of the things we do in healthcare. Plus, I think a number of really well designed mobile health apps are going to do really well. I just don’t think we’ve yet seen one that’s cracked through the mobile health noise. I won’t be surprised if the one that does will come from a surprising place.

April 23, 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.

iPhone Plugin Device for Measuring Body Temp

As I browse through websites looking for stuff to write about I can’t help but see some little gadgets and apps that appear to be purely for the sake of creating a gadget.  Don’t get me wrong, any little gadget is fun for the nerdy side of me, but some devices are a little more practical than others.

MedGadget.com, which is full of all kinds of gadgets and devices big and small, has a short article about a device that attaches to your iPhone and can be used to measure temperatures of all kinds.  The ThermoDock is a small device that plugs into the bottom of your iPhone.  You then point the device at what you want measured, push a button, an infrared sensor detects the temperature, and it is logged for future reference.

Obviously there is some value in such a device, like when your kid suddenly comes down with a fever.  What I don’t see though is how you would have this little attachment, but not a regular thermometer?  A lot would depend on the accuracy of the device too.

Like I said before, I love little gadgets that do just about anything.  At my old job at the airport, we measured the temperature of the ground just for fun, and to justify our whining (the sensor read 125 degrees).  So I do see some fun in this product.

However, I don’t really see this as a ground breaking technology, but maybe I am wrong.  Please leave me a comment and let me know how wrong I am, and how wonderful and useful this device could be.

April 4, 2012 I Written By

LivHome Joins With Independa to Enhance Home Healthcare for Seniors

Baby boomers are quickly reaching the age of retirement, and the expected healthcare needs of this aging generation are already having an impact on the healthcare system.  One of the biggest needs is going to be in the realm of home healthcare, as there is simply no way that the current system will be able to support them.

LivHome is one of the leaders in at-home healthcare, and they recently joined with Independa to make their offerings even more valuable.  This new offering will utilize Independa’s cloud based services to enhance the care that health providers will be able to offer.

While some of the most important offerings in the healthcare realm will be the doctor’s ability to more easily communicate with their patients, help patients more accurately take their medications, and alert users of emergency situations, there is something else about the offering that caught my eye.

This new service will also provide a social engagement feature.  In essence, this new device will be a computer that will allow patients to play games, email, chat with family, and record their life stories.

That last one is what really caught my attention.

Some of my fondest memories are from spending hour after hour with my grandparents working and playing, but most importantly, listening to their stories.  I would give anything to have those stories documented somewhere.  In hindsight I should have written them down myself.

Now users will have the ability to put those stories, their personal history, into a format that can be saved forever.  I realize that many people will not use this feature, but the value that it will have for the ones that do will be incredible.

All of our lives will come to an end at some point, and all that will be left behind is our personal history and those who will be able to enjoy it.  I am so excited to see a healthcare offering that provides a means for those histories to be easily recorded.

April 2, 2012 I Written By