Tag: digital health technology

How Digital Technology Is Helping With Cancer Health Issues

Jamie Costello is computer science student.

Jamie Costello
Jamie Costello

Considering how far we come through technology, it’s taking massive strides in regards to managing health and creating new solutions to major health issues. Cancer is still one major topic that is always up in the air in regards to benefits it can gain from technology. There have been many ideas and solutions which have continued to grow. With such a big impact that it’s there are many ways in which digital technology can be used to contribute to the issue of cancer.

Social Media

The growth of social media appears to have benefited many sectors in more ways than one and the same goes for the healthcare sector. With accessibility that everyone has to social media it allows for millions to connect and interact with each other, meaning online support groups gather communities to discuss and access information that everyone involved can relate to. Patients can be directed for support and it’s all extremely convenient. Twitter’s TweetChat facility makes creating groups easy and accessible.

Mobile Apps

The rise of wearables and mobile health apps have increased in popularity enormously with connected care benefiting most from such technologies. With connected care patients and providers can interact with one another, monitoring patient health remotely in real-time. There are also secure email communications available for patients and their careers. It creates great convenience for both parties and keeps everyone well informed with up to date information. Some impressive connected care mobile apps are already available and the progress made in mobile app development is sure to continue with endless possibilities.

Targeted Therapies

The role of genomics has played a major role how scientists and medical professionals have been able to make treatment for cancer more specialized and specific. Because of the complexity of cancer cells, it’s required further in-depth research to understand how these can be targeted better and the development of genomics has made this possible. It enables newer drugs to be created that can help with tackling the different cancer mutations and genetic changes. Further research continues in this space the progress that’s been made, gaining further knowledge and success through technologies like genomics.

Clinical Trials

Digital technology continues to be a valuable asset in the clinic trials space. They’re becoming increasingly costly but the availability of digital technologies means patient reported outcomes can be easily monitored and reported. Being able to gather up to date information to do with side effects, unexpected reactions and outcomes of the trials will make them more reliable. Through digital technologies the mass amounts of people that are able to be recruited will also make it less costly and safer in the long run.

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Rethinking EHRs: Why Aren’t They Useful Yet? (Part 1)

Guest post by Matthew Douglass, co-founder and SVP of Customer Experience, Practice Fusion.

Matthew Douglass
Matthew Douglass

Despite enjoying broad technological advances in their medical practices over the past decade, many physicians still find little pleasure in having to use electronic health records (EHRs). Reasons for low satisfaction run the gamut, from a litany of potentially distracting alerts to overwhelming features that are difficult to learn. This flagging usability, combined with the growing burden of data entry and documentation, impedes physician satisfaction.

Physicians do not begin their careers in medicine so they can spend a majority of their time wrestling with technology. A recent study found that physicians spend three times as many hours working on computers as they do providing direct patient care. It is no wonder that physicians are reporting record levels of burnout and deep job dissatisfaction.

There are practical workarounds to the challenges of using EHRs, such as programs pairing physicians with scribes that are pre-med students who assist those physicians or plugging in additional technologies that reduce direct documentation overhead. However, these practical workarounds mask the root problem rather than address it; EHRs have yet to provide consistently actionable insights that will help to dramatically improve clinical outcomes.

When a physician opens a patient record in her EHR today, she is probably no better equipped than if she were to open that patient’s paper record 10 years ago. All the data points she might ever need are available for her to sift through, but where is the insight? How is she supposed to interpret clinical meaning in individual pieces of data scattered throughout her patient’s history? How is the EHR assisting her in making better, more informed care and treatment decisions for her patients’ lives that she has been entrusted with improving?

EHRs were originally created as a digital recreation of the physical paper chart that accompanied a physician into the exam room during every patient visit. Vital sign collection sheets were recreated as vital sign fields on the screen. SOAP notes that physicians judiciously completed with pen and paper after every patient visit became digital SOAP note fields in the EHR that still have to be typed by the physician or a physician’s representative at the end of every patient visit. Billing one-pagers with pre-printed ICD and procedure codes have been replaced with nearly identical digital superbills containing point-and-click picklists of diagnoses and procedures.

Although we have created a digital system, the healthcare industry lingers in an analog world: Everything still operates like paper.

In the early 20th century, Henry Ford envisioned a future where transportation was dramatically better than what the main transportation technology of the time (i.e., horses) could provide. Confronted with this problem, he didn’t try to re-engineer horses to run 10 times faster. Thankfully, he set his sights on an entirely different and improved solution, experimented with a few ideas, and succeeded in completely altering the future of human transportation by introducing the first mass-produced automobile.

EHR vendors have a similar opportunity today, as they imagine the future of digital health technology that will be highly usable and incredibly helpful for physicians. Fortunately, EHRs are now broadly distributed enough that there is a solid foundation in place on which to build . Now that the vast majority of patient clinical information lives in a digitized form, we can look to the future and ask a novel, crucial question: How can this rich repository of clinical data evolve into upgraded tools that can be used to broadly improve patient health and physician satisfaction?

To best answer these questions, EHR vendors need to reevaluate the specific assistance that physicians can garner from digital health tools. First, clinicians and their staff must be intimately involved in the functionality discovery process in partnership with EHR vendors. This research can then be converted into success metrics and key questions that clinicians and vendors’ product teams utilize as benchmarks for measuring overall successful implementation.

Further, as physicians are evaluating which digital health technology vendors to partner with in their practice, there are a few advantageous traits they should consider. EHR vendors that operate in a secure cloud offer distinct advantages because they can roll out frequent updates that do not interfere with a practice’s day-to-day operations. If a bug or usability issue does arise, the problem most often can be addressed quickly and without interruption.

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