Medical Data Overload 2.0

Medical Data Overload 2.0

A previously embedded post on the subject discusses the wearables market with the potential to make better medical decisions and outcomes. A drawback of not being endowed with financial resources is that first-hand trial/error is not always possible. Now Verily, one of the Alphabet companies, is finally releasing a device that allows advanced data to be acquired for specific research purposes.

Verily Study Watch is designed with these key features:

  • Multiple physiological and environmental sensors are designed to measure relevant signals for studies spanning cardiovascular, movement disorders, and other areas. Examples include electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, electrodermal activity, and inertial movements.
  • A long battery life of up to one week in order to drive better user compliance during longitudinal studies.
  • Large internal storage and data compression allow the device to store weeks’ worth of raw data, thus relaxing the need to frequently sync the device.
  • A powerful processor supports real time algorithms on the device.
  • The firmware is designed to be robust for future extensions, such as over-the-air updates, new algorithms, and user interface upgrades.
  • The display is always on so that time is always shown. The display is low power and high resolution for an appealing look and a robust user interface. Note: currently, only time and certain instructions are displayed. No other information is provided back to the user.

(Harry Xiao, Tushar Parlikar, & David He, 2017)

This product is not currently available for sale, which means the greatest benefit to the targeted community will not be able to participate fully. Granted, it is early in the wearables game regarding the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and thus their mechanisms that revolve around payment and access are not in place. Verily is associated with Google so their cloud will be used. Nothing against their cloud, but for this to become mainstream, the data must be agnostic when it comes to cloud storage, HIPAA requirements, and other aspects of this service.

via VERILY RELEASE STUDY WATCH FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH


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California Single Payer Is a No-Brainer – Jacobin

California Single Payer Is a No-Brainer – Jacobin

I have written and tweeted to stories about this very subject. A non-governmental observation with distinct clarity has proven to me that the most logical solutions are not the one’s that are implemented. Oligarchic influences and “special” interests outside the moneyed class have much to lose if this proposal follows through. Never mind that some of these same entities will benefit with a guaranteed income stream of new business. There are two existing successful models for what California is trying to do. Medicare and the VA. Virtually every other industrialized country has a version of universal healthcare as a right for its citizens. Medicare has issues regarding what they will and won’t pay for, and this is not always communicated properly to medical professionals and especially patients. As a personal example, my physician writes a prescription for Ondansetron, nausea and vomiting inhibitor that actually works, and is recommended for cancer patients all the way down the sickness chain. When it was first prescribed for me, Aetna, the Medicare Rx provider in my area, would pay for it. For what has been cited as cost reasons, they decided not to pay for it without notice to me (not that they are required to tell me…). It is their system, they write and can change the rules of the game without my consent; I get that. Despite this, it’s still better than not having the option at all or having to pay full retail for this, last time I checked, around $5 a pill. Any system has flaws, but they can be fixed if the parties are so inclined. Our job is to force their inclination.

via California Single Payer Is a No-Brainer

FCC seeks comments on Broadband mHealth

FCC seeks comments on Broadband mHealth

The linked article below spends time talking about POTUS45’s FCC that is led by Ajit Pai. After his stance on Net Neutrality that is the subject of much controversy, some would question his commitment to an expansion of mHealth to serve everyone, regardless of location in America. Matters are not helped when a distinct beneficiary of the changes he proposes is one of his former employers. This used to be called a conflict of interest; now it is business as usual.

The paper and linked article both cover seven points that the publication aims for:

  1. Promote Effective Policy and Regulatory Solutions That Encourage Broadband Adoption and Promote Health IT
  2. Identify Regulatory Barriers (and Incentives) to the Deployment of RF-Enabled Advanced Health Care Technologies and Devices
  3. Strengthen the Nation’s Telehealth Infrastructure Through the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program and Other Initiatives
  4. Raise Consumer Awareness About the Value Proposition of Broadband in the Health Care Sector and its Potential for Addressing Health Care Disparities
  5. Enable the Development of Broadband-Enabled Health Technologies That are Designed to be Fully Accessible to People With Disabilities
  6. Highlight Effective Telehealth Projects, Broadband-Enabled Health Technologies, and mHealth Applications Across the Country and Abroad—To Identify Lessons Learned, Best Practices, and Regulatory Challenges
  7. Engage a Diverse Array of Traditional and Non-Traditional Stakeholders To Identify Emerging Issues and Opportunities in the Broadband Health Space

(mHealthIntelligence, 2017) & (“2017-09309.pdf,” n.d., pp. 3–9)

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All of these initiatives are all meaningful and comprehensive. However, one very important aspect was missing from all of this: No mention on how to pay for this. I searched through the entire document, and nothing came up for either Medicare or Medicaid; Therein lies the problem. The very constituency that is most at risk for mHealth and can derive the most benefit from it have few means of actually paying for it. This is not to say that the underserved and rural populations do not resources, but a glaring omission of this magnitude makes for inept policy. A comment period is posted, so the odds of this being addressed are pretty good.

The dominant medical provider in my market has a Virtual Visit service that is $49, requires a Credit Card, and not covered by Medicare/Medicaid. (“Virtual Visit | 24/7 Online Urgent Care | Carolinas HealthCare System,” n.d.) There is one other important requirement, you must physically be in North Carolina at the time of visit. A reasonable assumption is the system has geofencing capabilities to enforce this.  DMCA and other issues arise if using a VPN to spoof locations; have not and will not tempt fate here. The other medical provider has a similar setup and pricing, however, you must already be in their network/system. Either way, the costs remain a barrier, not the technology.

via FCC Seeks Input on Broadband Expansion for mHealth, Telehealth


2017-09309.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-05-10/pdf/2017-09309.pdf

mHealthIntelligence. (2017, May 11). FCC Seeks Input on Broadband Expansion for mHealth, Telehealth. Retrieved May 13, 2017, from http://mhealthintelligence.com/news/fcc-seeks-input-on-broadband-expansion-for-mhealth-telehealth

Virtual Visit | 24/7 Online Urgent Care | Carolinas HealthCare System. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2017, from http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/virtualvisit

There is hope for Newspapers after all

There is hope for Newspapers after all

Once upon a time, in the pre-digital world, I was an ardent subscriber of whatever newspaper in the city I lived in. Opelika-Auburn News during my school days, or The Charlotte Observer. Both papers have paywalls now, and in the case of the “O”, have made many changes to staff, content, and even paper size that doesn’t add up to the $1 daily {Observer is $1.50} and $2 Sunday prices charged. The O-A News is a small town paper and is only semi-politically oriented {lean right}, but does tend to have hands off coverage of the largest entity in its area, Auburn University (Disclosure: 1989 graduate of said U). Here is a story in the Huffington Post, one of the news websites generated in the digital, web age, which is attempting to provide broad destination content with a bit of an edge. The story that is linked below is an example of such content. As for the Observer, editorial and sales are now in the NASCAR building and production is elsewhere in the county. A major city news cycle brings political coverage and slants into play; they become evident. Unfortunately, for them, if you want real information on what is happening in this city, they are not the go-to place to find it. Similarly, this can be said for the six TV news operations locally and two radio news operations. There is a way to get back there, and the linked content is a primer for this.

George Will: Trump Has a Dangerous Disability

Ms. Ravitch has forgotten more about education and current events than I will ever know. I make a point to listen to these scholars.

Diane Ravitch's blog

George Will is a conservative columnist with a deep reverence for history and tradition. He is probably the most serious and respected conservative intellectual in the nation. On Thursday, he wrote a column called “Trump Has a Serious Disability” that was widely read. It was trending on Twitter. “Trump does not know what it is to know something.”

He writes:

“It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about President Trump’s inability to do either. This seems to be not a mere disinclination but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence.

“In February, acknowledging Black History Month, Trump said that “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” Because Trump is syntactically challenged, it was possible and tempting…

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ABLEGAMERS: MAKING GAMING MORE ACCESSIBLE TO 33 MILLION DISABLED GAMERS | Geek & Sundry

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H/Ts Geek and Sundry & @angieoverkill

I am not much of a gamer beyond casual games such as Criminal Case. However, being Disabled makes me aware of issues in this community. Everyone has a right to freedom, prosperity, and liberty; i.e. what makes them happy. Despite the current politics, near nirvana happens when this ideal is nearing execution.

via AbleGamers: Making Gaming More Accessible To 33 Million Disabled Gamers | Geek and Sundry

ER ‘superusers’, a thing

SU_fimgThis story is about a hospital system that decided to make an investment to save costs and improve lives of those who uses their facilities the most; termed “superusers” in this piece. When I first read the story, a thought came to mind that since there is not Universal Healthcare, ACA notwithstanding; uniquely American phenomena would exist because people will get healthcare by most means necessary. That involves the level of care that is mandated by law at Emergency Rooms. Our neighbors to the North, Canada, have some of the same issues, and most everyone is covered by birthright. In both cases, a holistic multidisciplinary approach is taken to address the root causes while finding solutions that are humane and cost effective.

Any part of the universal basic income movement must include proactive and preventive healthcare in order to let Emergency Rooms be for emergencies, not primary care. With Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants who can be placed in these societies or accessible in telehealth, the costs of addressing a problem before it comes serious enough for acute care are worth the investment. Politically, however, any vote to spend money at a Governmental level is a non-starter for enough of the population to ensure DOA legislation and initiatives. Housing, income, nutrition, and education addressed together to have a greater chance of success and can no longer be looked at in a vacuum,

emergency_0Illinois hospital offers housing to curb ER superusers | FierceHealthcare

‘Super users’ of health care system the target of reforms