As the country’s baby boomer population continues to age, the healthcare industry is gearing up for a whole new level of demand that it has never before gone through. With greater numbers of people requiring doctor visits and hospital care, the industry is looking for ways to be even more productive and efficient to ensure that the quality of healthcare that people are receiving doesn’t suffer.
One of the most exciting advances to hit the health sector is artificial intelligence or AI. This technology is looking to have a huge impact, not just on healthcare in the immediate future but moving forward. Here’s a closer a look at just how it’s changing the course of the industry.
Medical records and data are benefiting from the technology
When it comes to the areas that AI is having the largest impact, medical records and data keeping is a big area to focus on. When you think about the vast amount of information that needs to be collected, stored, and analyzed for each and every patient it can seem rather overwhelming. This is exactly why data management has become such a priority for AI.
Robot technology is now being used to actually collect the information, store it, find specific data when required, and allow for quick and seamless access across the board.
Wearable medical devices
Wearable medical devices are another area where AI is having an impact and bringing about some really exciting and promising products. It’s not just about devices that provide potentially life-saving alerts and information, it’s also devices that can help the wearer better their own personal health by tracking various details. Devices such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit are great examples of this kind of technology that can be useful to everyday people.
Now as for the devices that can actually offer life-saving capabilities and tools, look to options such as the Bay Alarm Medical which is a great medical alert system. While this device isn’t going to track any information or take readings, it can be worn 24/7 and with the push of the button, it connects you to a live operator that can get you the help you need.
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When you are reaching senior age, there are various challenges that you may need to face. As you get older, you will be at more risk of developing an illness. With that in mind, there are plenty of tech health devices that can keep you active, fit and out of danger. Here are a few devices that you should consider and learn how they may benefit you.
One of the most popular tech health devices on the market is the Apple Watch. While not specifically created for seniors, the apple watch can still provide you with a range of health benefits. With the device being able to monitor and track heart rate, blood pressure, activity and sleep, it can nudge you in the right direction, encourage you to develop healthier habits, while tracking basic health information that helps you understand sooner if you are facing health issues.
Medical alert system
Your safety in the home should be your number one priority when reaching senior age. There are various medical alert systems that you can have installed in your property, immediately alerting your neighbors and family members should you have a fall, heart attack or stroke. You can compare medical alert systems to find one that is right for you and your needs. However, be sure to do your research as you cannot put a price on your safety.
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With AI increasingly playing a role in healthcare, and the cost of insurance continuing to rise, it’s no surprise that people might be feeling a little bit disillusioned and confused as to what to expect this year. However, as the pace of technology continues to accelerate, as does the political situation, it’s all the more reason to keep a sharp focus on where the technology and healthcare in general is heading.
Last year, the new Apple Watch proved that it could potentially save lives by offering an ECG function, and Google has, of course, acquired its own technology with DeepMind. While Facebook had previously dipped its toe in the market with plans of sharing data with health organizations, it has pulled its ambitions after concerns over its use of user data.
Amazon to be involved with healthcare
We all use Amazon for last-minute Christmas presents, book wish-lists and the odd bits and bobs, and Amazon Prime has proven to be a hit among its regular customers. Citi analyst Mark Mary predicted that their subscribers will reach 275 million, up from 101 million at the end of 2017. With that in mind, it might not necessarily come as a surprise that Amazon Prime will not only continue to exist and grow in its current form, but also for healthcare. According to Anurag Gupta, a VP at tech analyst Gartner: “Amazon likes to target two kinds of industry: the first is where they see an opportunity to reform, where it’s not the most user friendly of industries, where there’s a lack of trust. In the case of healthcare, intermediaries like pharmacy benefit managers, drug wholesalers and distributors are ‘sucking a lot of money out of the system.'”
According to Gupta, the reason a lot of big tech industries have such a big focus on healthcare is because, like any commercial business, they have their eyes on any holes in the current market. Unfortunately, the current gap appears to be customer service. Giants like Amazon have experience in customer service where some healthcare brands don’t, which means they are quickly honing in on that market.
According to ZD.net, Amazon Web Services is planning on extending its Comprehend language processing service to medical records. It reported that in a blog post, Amazon Web Services claimed that it was also planning on building a new version that could account for “medical terms, anatomy, conditions, medications and various healthcare terms.” The news site also reported that Amazon had also acquired PillPack, a company that delivers medicines to people’s doors and refills their prescriptions.
Although Amazon isn’t the first to join this market, they certainly seem to be getting everything in order to correspond with their other services.
Petitions to end work-based health insurance
Although half of all Americans get their health insurance through their employers, this still leaves half of US citizens having to cover the costs themselves. Some US citizens even have to take on two or more jobs or get help from wealthier relatives to cover the cost. More than ever, people are campaigning for this to end, as it currently stands as a block (with the exclusion of the current government) to people from potentially receiving healthcare from the government. For those enjoying the benefits of full-time employment and an employer that covers them, 83 percent said their insurance was excellent or good. For those who are not sponsored by an employer for their healthcare, unexpected emergencies can be costly. Investigating alternative finance options and research may be the best option for some.
IBM continues to push Watson
IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty announced in an interview in January that IBM Watson Health is still “a very important part” of their business. Rometty re-iterated how well their oncology software after it was seemingly being publically criticized for not being up to scratch. She insisted on Watson’s success during a Keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, despite turning down interviews with other magazines.
STAT news reported some alarming quotes from IBM’s health division, as well as a number of employee layoffs. A big criticism of this software that recommends cancer treatments is that it prioritizes American treatment methods. That said, IBM has reportedly said that it plans to add regional treatment guidelines as well as some expanded real-world data on patient outcomes.
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Cerner has announced it will bring its patient app, HealtheLife, to Apple Watch.
Cerner’s newly-released iOS 8 HealtheLife app is designed to make it easier for patients to manage their health from Apple Watch, with push notification reminders to track health data and a display dashboard for tracked metrics.
“Apple Watch is the next evolution connecting consumers and their health team to the clinical community, regardless of physical location,” said Brian Carter, senior director and general manager, personal health, Cerner. “This is just the first step in the evolution of sharing personal health data – to provide physicians with access to actionable data anytime, anywhere, not just what’s collected at the doctor’s office.”
This month, Cerner will conduct initial deployments with clients to collect biometric values from the Apple Watch-compatible HealtheLife app, including weight, blood pressure and blood sugar values. With the patient’s consent, the data will be sent directly to Cerner Millennium® electronic health record.
“The status of a person’s health is greatly related to what they’re doing personally on a day-to-day basis. This information is vital to providers so they can focus on personalized patient care and population health management,” said Carter.
Emory Healthcare and Agnesian HealthCare will be the first health systems to deploy this technology. Emory, the largest health system in Georgia, will receive data from patients through HealthKit.
“Cerner’s technology aligns with our strategy to further engage patients in their own health,” said Dr. Julie Hollberg, chief medical information officer, Emory Healthcare. “Patients can monitor their vitals on a daily basis and share that data with their care teams, enabling providers to keep a closer eye on their patients.”
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Guest post by Tom Giannulli, MS, MD, chief medical information officer, Kareo.
It seems like everywhere you look there is a new piece of wearable technology to help people monitor their health and lifestyle. The latest and greatest, of course, is the Apple Watch, which hit the newswire with a bang last month.
There is no doubt that mobile health apps and wearable technology and devices are big business. Both patients and clinicians are using mHealth apps on their smartphones and other devices. There are tens of thousands of these apps, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says this number will grow by 25 percent a year. Their research also shows that by 2018 1.7 billion people worldwide will download a health app.
Despite what the media may say, the fact is most people aren’t using these apps and devices yet according to a new study from Technology Advice. Their research found that nearly 75 percent of adults do not track their weight, diet, or exercise using a fitness tracking device or app and most cited reason was general lack of interest.
However, one interesting thing to note is that more than half said they would be more likely to use a health tracking app or device if there was a possibility of lowering their insurance premiums. Just over 40 percent said better advice from their healthcare provider would be a possible incentive to use a fitness tracker.
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