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Posts tagged with "e-patient"

Smartphone Health Care Apps, An e-Patient’s Most Valued Tool

The Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults in May 2011 and found that 83% own some kind of cell phone. One-third of these cell phone users (35%) own a smartphone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Palm). These smartphone users utilize their mobile devices in new ways, incorporating them into their lives, accessing the Internet, sending photos and videos to others, going to twitter and engaging in video calls and chats.

Many of these smartphone owners have also downloaded one or more of the 17,000 health care apps currently available. Twenty-five percent of these apps are free. Research2Guidance, a consulting firm predicts that as many as 500 million people will be using healthcare mobile apps by 2015. Assuming that this prediction is correct, it means that people resonate to owning smartphones and empowering themselves as healthcare consumers with these interactive apps. Among the individuals polled for this research, 33% indicated that they want to manage their health records online and 32 percent said they want to have telehealth visits with their doctors.

Another study, by the consumer electronics Association, polled patients on their willingness to communicate with their providers using a smartphone or smartpad. In The New Role of Technology in Consumer Health and Wellness study, 36% of consumers say they want to be able to send information to their doctor wirelessly; 33% want to manage their health records online; and 32% want to have telehealth visits with their doctors for remotely based procedures and surgeries such as angiograms, head scans, CT scans, and skin cancer examinations.

Right now, consumers indicate that their favorite smartphone applications include:  body weight scales, vital sign meters and gauges, devices that record and track fitness programs and nutrition. Some of the newest popular apps are mobile for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch which patients can use to manage their cancer treatments. (This app covers 120 cancer types);  Asthma which is used to record asthma attacks, track medications and note triggers;  pocket first aid which provides education and instructions on CPR, chocking, burns, diabetic emergencies. It can also track family medical information, and emergency contacts. There are apps for testing visibility; apps that provide clinical data and check medication interactions, and apps that provide explanations of medical terms. 

More than any other single device or tool, the smartphone with its audio, video, built in cameras and access to the Internet right at your fingertips, has the capability to help patients take charge of health issues, engage more effectively with providers, and become  educated, empowered, and interactive in healthcare. So Power Up. Doing so could save your life.

Personalized Medicine, the Next Frontier

When an individual patient visits his or her doctor with a problem, traditional clinical diagnosis is made and treatment is administered based on the patient’s symptoms, medical and family history and results of lab tests.

In the e-health world of the 21st century, personalized medicine, a new approach to treatment and analysis of patients’ health issues, promises to revolutionize that process. Personalized medicine looks not only at an individual’s symptoms, labs and medical history but at the individual’s unique clinical genetic and genomic markers to determine a treatment program. Because these factors differ for each human being, the disease they carry and how they will respond to treatment will differ as well. Taking this to another level, personalized medicine enables doctors to make accurate predictions and assumptions not only about an existing condition but to make predictions about a person’s potential to develop a disease. This will enable clinicians to treat patients proactively rather than reactively resulting in a better outcome.

Personalized medicine is gathering momentum as evidenced by the significant attendance and enthusiastic involvement of the participants at the recent conference sponsored by Harvard Medical School and the Center for Genetics and Genomics at Partners Healthcare. Although there was general agreement that personalized medicine is now an accepted way to look at the patient, there are also enormous barriers to its widespread use, including:

1. Economic factors such as who will receive and who will pay for genetic testing.

2. Issues regarding who will be responsible for building the infrastructure needed to support widespread deployment,

3. Concerns about how we amass, use, and protect the vast knowledge base that results from genetic tests.

4. Legal questions regarding who owns the genetic test data – the patient, the physician, the institution – and whether or not that information can be used for additional research.

5. Unresolved issues regarding standards upon which to build a platform for using personalized medicine

6. Discussions about how to structure collaborations amongst all the stakeholders (patients, physicians and scientists) so that personalized medicine advances are translated ultimately into better patient care.

E-patients must be part of the conversation that determines where we are going with personalized medicine because personalized medicine uses genomics to focus not only on disease identification tied to a specific combination of genes in an individual, but also on disease prevention and wellness in which everyone has a high stake.