Thursday, November 25, 2010
Justmeans health writer and RAND researcher Sam Werthheimer recently reported on interesting trends from the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco. Just because the conference was dominated by private ventures, however, doesn't meant that governments aren't also trying to apply web 2.0 to improve health delivery.
US health reform efforts are banking on effective health information technology (IT) as a means for improving the efficiency, quality, and value proposition of health care delivery.
Post continues:- http://www.justmeans.com/-Health-2-0-public-option/38379.html
Facebook triggers asthma - Ano Lobb
Can Facebook trigger asthma attacks? Apparently so. Italian doctors report in The Lancet on a new and previously unreported health risk associated with the ubiquitous social networking site: Asthma.
Sound crazy? Granted, the headlines are catchy and trying to ride the wave of social-media. But the details actually make sense. The case-report discusses an 18-year old man with asthma who was distraught after his girlfriend un-friended then broke up with him. After gaining access to her facebook page, he saw that she had friended several new young men, then had an asthma attack.
Post continues:- http://www.justmeans.com/Facebook-triggers-asthma/38149.html
Health 2.0 Company Launch Review Part 1 - Sam Wertheimer
The term "Health 2.0" describes the interface between web 2.0-inspired technology and health care. The sector is growing rapidly as patients search for ways to navigate the health care system and companies - both large and small - race to serve consumer needs. The annual Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco (Health 2.0 SF) brings many of the key players under one roof. This year I joined the gathering to learn more about the entrepreneurs, innovators, and consumers doing good work in the Health 2.0 sector.
Among the highlights of the conference were launches of new Health 2.0
Post continues:- http://www.justmeans.com/Health-2-0-Company-Launch-Review-Part-1/38299.html
Health 2.0 Company Launch Review Part 2 - Sam Wertheimer
Sharecare is WebMD plus facebook. The site aims to help patients make healthy decisions by interacting through social media applications with registered health care "experts." These experts are vetted by Sharecare and include health care providers, advocacy groups, and corporations. Consumers can search the site by topic, enter particular health care questions, or browse their favorite expert's pet subjects. They can also use the facebook "like" button to endorse helpful health care advice and become friends with the experts who provide the tips.
Post continues:- http://www.justmeans.com/Health-2-0-Company-Launch-Review-Part-2/38304.html
Smart health care=Innovation - Ano Lobb
Basic sciences are increasingly being applied in innovative ways to address some fundamental health care problems. Applied chemistry has combined paraffin and dye to potentially double the effectiveness of blood tests used outside the clinic. Improving the accuracy of home-based health tests has benefits beyond the obvious improvements in accuracy: When appropriately used they also reduce demand on health care resources by potentially keeping people away from unnecessary clinical encounters, and by bringing the test to the person they are the embodiment of patient-centered care.
Post continues:- http://www.justmeans.com/Smart-health-care-Innovation/38338.html
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Friday, October 8, 2010
Along with the expected fanfare accompanying the opening of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India this weekend there was a generous serving of controversy. While there are many good reasons for skeptics to raise concerns, this post will briefly consider three: Public health, dengue fever, and malaria.
Bluntly stated, health equals wealth. More specifically, greater inequalities in national distribution of wealth are correlated with worse measures of population health. Rapid economic gains in India have not been shared by all; one telling statistics is that the personal wealth of the richest 49 Indians accounts for a whopping 31% of India's entire gross domestic product, according to the newspaper Financial Express.
Post continues: http://www.justmeans.com/Commonwealth-Games-vs-Common-Health-goals-in-India/33533.html
Race (still) Matters: Innovation needed to tackle health disparities - Ano Lobb
Assistant Professor Heather Hoffman and colleagues from George Washington University's School of Public Health performed a retrospective analysis of 983 women who underwent breast cancer examinations at six hospitals in Washington D.C. They measured diagnostic delay, the span of time between the detection of a breast abnormality and a definitive diagnosis, for women who were white, African American, or Hispanic, stratified by whether they were insured or not.
Post continues: http://www.justmeans.com/Race-still-Matters-Innovation-needed-tackle-health-disparities/33735.html
Is questionable medical information technology putting patients at risk? - Ano Lobb
Technology, however, is not a panacea. A striking example is the increasing usage of computer-aided detection (CAD) for both screening and detection mammography. Rather than depending on the seasoned eyes of radiologists, CAD uses a computer program to analyze radiographic images.
Post continues: http://www.justmeans.com/Is-questionable-medical-information-technology-putting-patients-at-risk/33641.html
The Evolution of Primary Care: Part 4 - Sam Wertheimer
One of the targets of change in the evolution of primary care is the 15-minute visit. This is because many find visits this short do not allow enough time to provide comprehensive health care.
Post continues: http://www.justmeans.com/-Evolution-of-Primary-Care-Part-4/33128.html
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010
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Friday, April 30, 2010
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Exclusive patents in the biotech, pharmaceutical and chemical realms of health care can foster collaboration, increasing the speed at which new products come to market. This according to an analysis of 200 exclusive patents by publicly traded firms just published in Strategic Management Journal. But there does appear to be at least one exception to this rule, according to other new research: Genetics.
Evidence supporting patents finds that rather than locking away potential innovations in a black box of exclusivity, such contracts encourage partners to throw their full weight behind projects, since they know that their efforts won’t be undercut by a faster moving competitor. The authors acknowledge that some discoveries can have multiple future applications, and recommend very narrowly crafted agreements that leave open the possibility of taking other product variations to market at a future date, perhaps with other collaborators.
Another new report published in Genetics in Medicine, suggests that the opposite is true for health care applications of genetic discoveries. After reviewing genetic tests for 10 conditions, the authors report that patent holders, who are generally academic entities supported by governmental research grants, were never the first to market with innovative applications of their genetic patents.
Of course, when it comes to genetic testing it might not matter when you consider that not a single genetic test has yet been shown to increase length or quality of life. They have been shown to land health care researchers in shaky political and cultural grounds, however. Academic researchers recently found them on the wrong side of a judge’s order after using genetic material gathered from a Native American tribe to link tribal ancestry to Asian populations. The tribe claims that they were not provided with adequate informed consent, and were outraged that genetics were used to disprove the creation myths that are central to their self-identity and that clearly identify their current tribal land as their place of origin. While the researchers fall back on the argument that they are merely increasing knowledge for the good of all humankind, accidently “disproving” a creation myth in the name of health care is at very least an exercise in poor public relations.
Genetic research unveils at least two fallacies of science: 1. That there is no opportunity cost. In other words, that we couldn’t use the resources being poured into “knowledge for knowledge’s sake” into practices proven to improve health; and 2. That not moving forward means moving backwards. While its argued that halting genetic research could miss chances to cure disease, leaving all of use worse off than we currently are, the fact is genetic research has to date not improved our lives. Then there’s the creepy sensation that you might get from the idea that a corporation can patent something that is naturally created in your body, and is fundamental to your identity as an individual.
Photo credit: The author
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Monday, April 26, 2010
The volcano that has critically injured the airline industry poses no real threat to human health.
We like to celebrate good health news here at Justmeans, so I’m pleased to say that despite the billion or so dollars that pesky Icelandic volcano has caused the airline industry, it apparently isn’t causing a whole lot of health problems for humans. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) says that because the bulk of the ash is so high in the atmosphere, it isn’t expected to cause a lot of trouble on the ground - unless winds shift and cause localized, regional problems.
According to the WHO, it’s the size of the particulate matter of the ash cloud that counts. The most dangerous particulates are those that are smaller than 10 microns in size, because they can reach deep into the lungs and embed there. That can potentially cause far-reaching health problems. About one-fourth of all the particulate matter of the Icelandic ash cloud is that small, according to Dr Maria Neira, Director of Public Health and Environment Department at WHO.
Still, the WHO is encouraging people, especially those with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma, emphysema or bronchitis, to keep a close eye on the ash cloud and an ear tuned to their local health authorities. "Since the ash concentration may vary from country to country depending on the wind and air temperatures, our advice is to listen to local public health officials for the best guidance for individual situations," says Neira. "If people are outside and notice irritation in their throat and lungs, a runny nose or itchy eyes, they should return indoors and limit their outdoor activities."
The ash cloud was born last week, when a volcano belched a mass of smoke and ash into the air. That cloud drifted over much of Europe and grounded thousands of flights. Analysis has shown that the ash cloud particles consist mostly of quartz and glass. Health authorities have also found aluminium, silica and oxygen, as well as some fluoride.
Officials with the World Health Organization say the concentration of particles that may reach ground level is likely to be low and should not cause serious harm. Most of the ash that might reach the ground is likely to be too big to inhale into the lungs, but could irritate eyes, nose and throat. Remaining indoors will diminish the risk of these symptoms, since closed doors and windows will partly prevent penetration of the larger, irritating particles inside buildings. How has the ash cloud affected you?
Photo Credit: NASA Goddard
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