By Benjamin Robbins
Hundreds of people gathered in an event space in Google’s Cambridge, MA, office last month to demo the latest in health wearables and watch the final round of a health tech competition co-sponsored by Google, Anthem, MedTech Boston, and Medstro.com. The event suggests that we may be seeing a striking evolution of fitness-oriented health wearables to devices with the potential to improve patient care.
I’ll admit that I had relatively low expectations – imagining walking into a room full of devices designed to keep already-healthy people marginally more healthy. However, when I arrived I was struck by the number of knowledgeable medical experts who had built devices that seemed like they could truly help alleviate or prevent suffering caused by disease.
Continue reading Health Wearables and the Yeshwant Table
By Joanne Conroy, MD
There are hundreds of books published every year that make contributions to our collective knowledge, but very few of them create real impact. Many stop at the first step on the continuum that ranges from acquiring knowledge, understanding what to do with that knowledge to solve problems, and successfully implementing solutions. A new book can move engaged providers, patients, and policy makers through that important evolution.
Continue reading Changing Health Care from the Front Lines
By Alexander Bolt
Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin are collaborating on an innovative new project called the Design Institute for Health.
“This Institute will systematically use design and creativity to create better health outcomes at lower costs, increase value in the health care system, and improve the lives of patients and providers,” said Beto Lopez, who will serve as managing director. Continue reading Bringing Design Thinking to Health Care Innovation
By Jennifer J. Salopek
Utah’s Intermountain Health has been using sophisticated information technology systems to track patient outcomes and prompt best practices for 15 years, and has had electronic health records for 40 years, says Stanley M. Huff, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer. Huff shared many of Intermountain’s challenges and successes in a session at the AAMC annual meeting in Chicago in November. Huff is also a clinical professor at the University of Utah, where he teaches a course in medical information standards, which he describes as “a big help to analytics.” A key challenge in data-driven medicine, according to Huff, is “getting good, standard, structured, coded data to the people who do the analytics.”
Continue reading Sophisticated Information Technology Informs Patient Care at Intermountain
By Jennifer J. Salopek
The cover of a recent issue of Parade magazine featured a photo of a girl with a bright blue prosthetic hand. The accompanying article was titled, “How 3-D Printing is Transforming Everything from Medicine to Manufacturing.” The writer noted that the girl’s Robohand cost “just $2,000.”
For many people around the globe, $2,000 might as well be $2 million. Fortunately, there’s e-NABLE, a nonprofit organization that exists at the intersection of ingenuity, innovation, and patient care. On a gorgeous fall Sunday in September, more than 400 people gathered at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to talk about how they could help get prosthetics to underserved populations, especially children. I was lucky enough to be there.
Continue reading Crowdsourcing Humanitarian Innovation
By Tricia Olaes
Originally published November 4, 2014
The 2014 Hotspotting Mini-Grant Project gives health professional students an unprecedented hands-on opportunity to practice an innovative model of care delivery called hotspotting. Hotspotters identify health care super-utilizers — people who are admitted to the hospital multiple times a year, frequently for avoidable complications of chronic conditions, and who often have social barriers to adhering to their care plan. The hotspotters proactively bring additional attention, follow-up, resources and care to these patients in their homes and communities to help keep them out of the hospital. Student hotspotters will share their experiences here twice a month for the rest of this year in “Notes from the Hotspotters.”
I excitedly opened my new email account inbox and saw the first list of potential patients to recruit. All were just names on an automated Excel spreadsheet, and I wondered which one of these individuals, strangers to me now, would be our hotspotting team’s first recruited patient. Our teamwork had already served us well, and here we were, finally beginning.
Continue reading Notes from the #Hotspotters: Identifying Our Personal Resources
Medical, nursing, pharmacy, and social work students were brought together in an innovative interprofessional training program at Louisiana State University School of Medicine to deliver diabetes care in a patient-centered medical home model. The research project benefited both patients and students. “Students rarely get longitudinal experiences, which limits their ability to develop skills, to learn about one another, and to develop relationships with patients,” says primary author Mary T. Coleman. Guided by PCMH principles including physician-directed teams, enhanced provider access outside of office visits, and coordinated, integrated care, students provided care to a high-risk population of uncontrolled diabetic patients receiving primary care at the internal medicine residency training site. This innovative initiative earned LSU honors in the AAMC’s Clinical Care Innovation Challenge. Coleman sat down with Wing of Zock editor Jennifer Salopek to explain more. A full abstract of the project can be found here.
As with so many technology-facilitated relationships these days, researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine discovered that distance need not be a barrier when providing clinical pharmacy services to its outpatient family medicine clinics. While onsite clinical pharmacy services had been offered at the university’s A.F. Williams Family Medicine clinic for more than 15 years, those services were not cost-effective for the three other, more distant clinics. By developing relationships built on mutual trust and respect, clinical pharmacists reviewing the medication regimens of patients with upcoming appointments via their EPIC electronic medical record have saved more than $52,000 in unnecessary high-cost drugs, among other impressive results. Study co-author Joseph J. Saseen, MD, explains further in this video interview with Wing of Zock editor Jennifer Salopek. The CU team was recognized for its work in the AAMC’s Clinical Care Innovation Challenge. A full abstract of the study can be found here.