Archive for June, 2014



Q&A Part Two: Technology & Healthcare Efficiency—Not Always the Perfect Match

June 20th, 2014
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David Lee Scher, M.D., is a cardiac electrophysiologist and a pioneer in remote patient monitoring, adopting such devices to his medical practice more than 13 years ago. He also is the author of the well-respected blog, The Digital Health Corner, which addresses emerging issues regarding the adoption of digital health technologies. In Part One of my talk with David, who is the newest Popper and Co. team member, we discussed how technology can impact today’s healthcare environment, especially healthcare efficiency. In Part Two, we discuss challenges in development and adoption of these technologies.

Why have physicians resisted a lot of healthcare technologies?

Physicians are scientists. The first thing they want is evidence that something works. Few digital technologies have demonstrated benefit with regards to improving patient outcomes. But physicians still have a huge bad taste in their mouths from the original introduction of electronic health records, which represents the face of digital technology to them. Technology has to appeal to them in the way they practice medicine, addressing problems they face daily. It needs to solve whether they deal with communications, scheduling, medical adherence, or other issues in clinical management. Finally, many physicians are ideologically distant from participatory medicine. They don’t yet give the patient extreme importance when it comes to participating in their care. Part of this lies in the fact that they are not taking advantage of some digital tools available now which can improve patient self-management and involve caregivers to a larger extent.

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Enhancing the “Coolness Factor” in our Later Years

June 17th, 2014
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Biomedical advances over the last century have advanced our life spans to degrees that would seem miraculous to a late 19th century observer. But as a 100-year lifespan begins to approach “normal,” do we have a plan on how these extra 30 to 50 years should be lived?

 

Recently, I spoke at the spring meeting of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, where topics ranged from better ways to prevent diabetes, to drug development for an aging population, to the importance of social networks among the aging, and other clinical and scientific approaches.

 
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Conversation about Veterans Administration’s Woes Has Not Yet Hit the Right Note

June 11th, 2014
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The Veterans Administration’s (VA) recent efforts to handle a huge influx of medical cases of former soldiers has quickly reached “scandal” proportions in Washington, D.C. and received widespread national media attention. But as revelations surface about the ways many of the agency’s offices tried to hide long wait times for veterans seeking care, the conversation about how to resolve the VA’s problems has not yet hit the right notes.

 

Current proposals to correct the VA’s course include firing Secretary Eric Shinseki (who resigned on May 30), ordering a criminal investigation by the FBI, and providing more funding to the VA. Meanwhile, the VA has seen an influx of 1.5 million veterans in the past three years, and 200,000 of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury, according to Senator Bernie Sanders, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

 

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