Using iPads in Patient Education: Realities and Lessons from the Front Lines of Healthcare

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I wanted to use the iPad to deliver the education however the patient wanted. I thought the iPad with small screen would be private and allow learning in multiple ways – patients could read a blog, watch a video, or listen to a podcast. Or, if people wanted more personal interaction, our nurse educators could use the iPads with them. At our Cancer Education Center, we always start with a conversation to assess the person’s educational needs. Then we may suggest they use our iPads to learn some of the information they are interested in.


 We were loaning the iPads to patients to use during their treatments. And, we discovered patients primarily used the iPads for diversional activities – surfing the web, posting status on Facebook, or playing games — to help take their minds off of treatment. By the time they sit in the infusion chair for Day 1 of treatment, patients are overloaded with information and feeling anxious. For them, this wasn’t the time for learning about their cancer or treatment. I wish we could give an iPad to patients to use at home when they are dealing with their diagnoses or having to make decisions about treatment. It’s exactly at these points when patients most need guidance on what to learn and where to go online for accurate, practical information.

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Mobile: The biggest trend in health care communications

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Your smartphone is going to help patients make better health care decisions.


The time for mobile health has come. Both patients and health care providers (HCPs) are becoming increasingly dependent on mobile technologies.


Currently, more than two-thirds of physicians have incorporated mobile devices into their day-to-day practice. The smartphone is becoming essential for professional use and, according to a recent study by Telenor Group, it is the most popular technology among doctors since the stethoscope.


The reason for such quick uptake of mobile devices among HCPs is that good mobile apps solve real problems in clinical settings. Physicians use smartphones and tablets for medical references, dosage calculations, treatment guidelines and patient education. Mobile devices also help HCPs to manage administrative tasks through email and online schedules.

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Your Future Robotic Hand Will Be Able To Detect Everything From Abnormal Breast Lumps To Enlarged Lymph Nodes

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The Med Sensation’s first goal is to bring the glove into medical education settings, teaching doctors to improve their examination skills. If that goes well, the team hopes to get the glove into physicians’ hands. And after that, the team wants to make a consumer-friendly version that “will allow people to do a physical exam themselves,” according Ezra. In Med Sensation’s future filled with robotic hands, patients will need to go to the doctor a whole lot less.


The Med Sensation glove, now in its second iteration, is outfitted with sensors that can detect vibrations, sound, and temperature–and it features an accelerometer and a buzzer system for items that require immediate attention. “If you apply too much pressure on the examined tissue, then the buzzer goes on,” explains team member Elishai Ezra.


The third version will come with micro-ultrasounds on the glove fingertips. All the information derived from a glove-guided examination can be wirelessly transmitted to an outside device. “The idea is to quantify touch,” says Ezra.

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Payers push for patient engagement through games, mobile apps

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Innovative health insurers are turning to consumer technology to encourage members to lead healthier lifestyles and thus improve margins.


A new report outlines 40 programs that use consumer technology such as social media, games and mobile apps to draw consumers to use health, wellness and disease-management programs.


The report finds that innovative health insurers increasingly are either building their own consumer-engagement applications or collaborating with technology developers to create such tools. A few payers, it says, have gone so far as to acquire software companies.


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Hospitals Seek Analytics Tools In Rush To Meet Mandates

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Hospitals will soon see a significant increase in the use of analytics tools, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan. In fact, new figures show that only 10% of U.S. hospitals implemented health data analytics tools in 2011. That number will grow to approximately 50% adoption in 2016, representing a 37.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).


Health data analytics, which the report describes as “advanced analytics techniques applied to clinical, financial, and administrative data that is used to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care,” will become more ubiquitous over the next three to five years.


As the nation modernizes its health information infrastructure, the report notes that historically, healthcare delivery organizations have implemented business analytics that focused on financial and administrative systems. During the last five years, however, implementing clinical IT systems such as EHRs has raced to the top of the priority charts.


Still, the report asserted that the majority of providers have not yet applied advanced data analytics tools that can access information from EHRs to gain actionable insights from this information. The report also noted that providers have yet to integrate clinical information with financial and administrative data–a process that must occur if hospitals want to implement a comprehensive data analytics strategy.


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Health IT’s Next Big Challenge: Comparative Effectiveness Research

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EHR systems are now collecting invaluable information that physicians can use to detect disease patterns, clusters of patients exposed to specific toxins, and groups of patients who respond well to various drug regimens. We can’t waste this gold mine.


Healthcare providers are being pushed to deliver more cost effective medical care and to improve the health of not just individual patients but large populations. One key to carrying out both mandates is finding more clinically effective treatment options.

Many academic medical thought leaders insist that the best way to find those treatment protocols is to test them in randomized controlled trials. Such RCTs require a large group of control subjects to receive either a placebo or conventional therapy and a large group to receive the experimental treatment in question. The problem is RCTs are outrageously expensive. In today’s cost conscious healthcare system, that’s a problem.

Enter comparative effectiveness research. CER compares two or more accepted treatments to determine which are most effective. Medical informatics comes into the picture because it’s now possible to get these projects off the ground by analyzing huge patient databases. And much of that patient data can now be gleaned from electronic health record systems.

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Social media grows as force in healthcare

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The healthcare industry is following in the footsteps of nonprofits, when it comes to putting social media to work for building community engagement and fostering better relationships.


Nonprofits understand the importance of building quality, lasting relationships for maintaining a base of supporters to embrace their many causes and fundraising campaigns.


“By utilizing social media to promote brand awareness, nonprofits have been able to build quality relationships by keeping followers engaged with frequent updates, and “late-breaking news”, distributed via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, and more.”


Recent articles suggest that the healthcare industry is also beginning to realize the upside potential for social media sites that can strengthen the connection within the community for existing healthcare centers, patients, and physicians, while attracting new followers / patients.


“At a recent forum in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 94 percent said they thought social media was necessary to increase consumer engagement.”


“What’s more, nearly 80 percent of those professionals said that their companies have Facebook pages and close to 60 percent said they had Twitter accounts.”


“For other industries, those latter two numbers would seem low. But healthcare, it appears, may finally be starting to catch up.”


“Social media is changing the nature of healthcare interaction, and health organizations that ignore this virtual environment may be missing opportunities to engage consumers.”

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