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Digital Technology: The Key to Accelerating Clinical Research

March 16th, 2016
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Historically in healthcare, technology developments have outpaced clinical researchers’ ability to leverage these advancements. However, that trend seems to be changing – particularly as it pertains to digital technology and devices. The penetration of mobile devices worldwide is over 50% with close to 4 billion users – and they are quickly becoming our primary tool to monitor health behaviors and collect relevant data. Mobile adoption could help to accelerate clinical research like never before.
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What Good Is Digital Health If Patients Won’t Use It?

January 5th, 2015
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Our team often talks about the promise of digital health and how it can help empower patients over their own health. From Fitbits to ECG-equipped smartphones to remote telehealth clinics, this new technology is touted as a revolutionary change in medicine.

But what if a patient doesn’t use the technology? What if, like the legendary January gym membership, the wearable’s shine wears off after about three months? A recent Juniper Research study in the United Kingdom predicted that fitness monitoring wearables would dominate the wearable market until 2018—but only for fitness applications. An article in Forbes was itself dominated by quotes from various experts who claimed that digital health would not hold a patient’s (or doctor’s) interest until the technology could demonstrate the value of counting steps, breaths or pushups. And yet another study showed that patients thought digital fitness monitors could help improve their health, but they didn’t want to pay for the technology.

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Streaming ECG Technology Could Keep Athletes’ Heartbeats Going

November 21st, 2014
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According to Running USA’s annual marathon report, in 2013 more than 541,000 runners finished over 1,100 marathons, which is a 140% increase in participation since 1990. Increasingly women are joining this running class and now represent almost half the participants. Also adding to this group is a growing number of older runners— those ages 40 and above.

The benefits from running are endless, including reduction of heart disease, increased lung capacity, weight loss, improved bone density, stress reduction and improved mental health. With all of the good news associated with running, there is also a bit of bad news – a small risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). We are often shocked to hear of an athlete’s death during a race or game. During the 2009 Detroit Marathon, for example, three men died of SCD. The youngest SCD victim was 26 and the oldest 65. SCD events are rare in athletes – about 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 200,000 annually. These deaths generally occur during or after short intense bursts of energy. SCD events effect more men and more non-Caucasian individuals. Sports that require short bursts of activity — basketball, football, soccer, etc. – seem to pose a higher risk of SCD.

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What the Ebola Outbreak Shows Us About Modern Health Technology

September 15th, 2014
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Unfortunately, emerging disease outbreaks are nothing new. However, the current Ebola virus outbreak in Africa is showing us more than just the cracks in international public health response effectiveness. The unfolding situation is also showing how modern healthcare technology can help defeat the virus and could be applied to other emerging diseases.

 

Since its first identified outbreak in Zaire in 1976, Ebola had been known for its deadliness (with mortality rates reaching 90 percent), as well as for its clearly identified transmittal. This year’s outbreak, while maintaining a very high death rate, was not as easily traced back to its original reservoir and is resisting efforts, for containment. So far, about 5,000 people in six countries have been infected, with no sign of letting up.
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How Health Innovators Can Foster Patient Empowerment

May 6th, 2014
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Now that questions about implementation of the Affordable Care Act shift from “how many people have enrolled” to “will patient outcomes be improved,” healthcare innovators similarly would be wise to turn to finding ways to help shape, define and encourage the right outcomes.

 

Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued a draft set of recommendations for setting up a healthcare IT structure that helps ensure the physical safety of the patient (as well as his or her information), while preventing medical errors, reducing unnecessary tests, increasing patient engagement, and quickly identifying and responding to public health threats and emergencies.

 

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WEF’s Top 10 Innovations for 2014: How May These Impact the Future of Healthcare?

March 24th, 2014
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The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently issued its predictions for the top 10 emerging technological innovations. At least three of these apply directly to healthcare and have been in the sights of the Popper and Company team and our clients. And even the innovations highlighted by WEF that aren’t immediately relevant to a healthcare issue might end up contributing to medical advances.

 

The three Forum predictions tied to healthcare include:

 

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CVS Kicks the Habit, with Implications for Consumer-Centered Healthcare

February 10th, 2014
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CVS/Pharmacy’s recent announcement that it will cease selling tobacco products in all its stores by October 1 made headlines nationwide. The decision underscores the growing power of the consumer in healthcare, while raising questions about the sale of other products that have an impact on public health.
 
In its announcement and in an article in JAMA, CVS emphasized the need to make smoking less socially acceptable. The number of smokers in the U.S. has declined drastically in 50 years, from 42% to 18% of the population, which still leaves 42 million active smokers, costing $132 billion in direct medical costs and another $157 billion in lost productivity. In addition, the irony of pharmacies selling products to promote health while also selling tobacco products was not lost on the authors (or the company, according to its announcement).
 
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MyHealthTeams CEO Eric Peacock on Social Media in Healthcare, Part II

November 5th, 2013
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Part Two—Interview with Eric Peacock, CEO, Co-founder, MyHealthTeams
 
Eric Peacock co-founded the social networking company MyHealthTeams to help people suffering from chronic conditions find better ways to communicate with each other and share valuable information. In 2011, the company began with the launch of MyAutismTeam, an interactive social media site serving parents of people with autism. It has since expanded, launching MyBCTeam to help women diagnosed with breast cancer and MyMSTeam for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, and Peacock plans to create many more sites for people living with certain chronic conditions. In Part One, we discussed the creation of MyHealthTeams, what role social media can play in patient-centric healthcare spaces, and how this concept became popular. In Part Two of our interview, we talk about how the sites work, and the untapped potential of the Internet to provide meaningful social interactions for patients, and their families and friends.
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MyHealthTeams CEO Eric Peacock Offers New Function for Social Media in Healthcare

October 24th, 2013
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Part One—Interview with Eric Peacock, CEO, Co-founder, MyHealthTeams
 
Eric Peacock co-founded the social site company MyHealthTeams to help people suffering from chronic diseases and their friends and families find better ways to communicate with each other and share valuable information. In 2011, the company began with the launch of MyAutismTeam, an interactive social media site serving parents of people with autism. It has since expanded to help women diagnosed with breast cancer and with multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, and Peacock plans to create many more disease-specific sites. We talked with Eric about his plans and the role of social media in healthcare.
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Technology Access Could Lower Barriers to Clinical Trial Acceptance

August 13th, 2013
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“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi no doubt would be impressed with the modern pace of medical research, but possibly concerned that we need to think about clinical trials in ways nobody else has.
 
Only 3% of people with cancer enroll in a Phase I trial, but 72% of all Americans say they would gladly volunteer on the advice of their doctor. Social media and internet tools have tremendous potential for increasing volunteer enrollment in clinical trials, but many barriers still exist. The factors keeping potential trial volunteers away have been consistent over the years: unease with trial settings, randomization and placebos; lack of understanding or discomfort with the research process; fear of drug side effects and trial protocol rules/requirements; as well as lack of awareness, a perception that trials aren’t appropriate for serious disease, and hesitation among physicians to make recommendations. Read the rest of this entry »

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