our thoughts

Next-Gen Sequencing Could Unlock Ebola’s Secrets, Yield Outbreak-Halting Clues


September 23rd, 2014
Posted by

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has dominated recent newscasts and shocked many people with the speed and ferocity of its spread. Any such outbreak raises questions about its origin, its rate of transmission, and measures that can be taken to control its propagation. Thus far more than 2,600 people have died and the numbers are rising. There currently is no cure or treatment, notwithstanding recent high profile reports of experimental drugs and vaccines that are under development. In the absence of treatment, the main goal of healthcare workers is to care for the sick and to limit the spread of the virus. And fortunately, researchers are now also applying the latest technologies to search for new ways to halt Ebola.

 

In an effort to better understand both the virus and the current outbreak, Pardis Sabeti and colleagues at the Broad Institute/Harvard University, and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation recently reported in Science the genomic sequence of 99 Ebola isolates that were collected from 78 patients in Sierra Leone during the first 24 days of the outbreak. Reviewing this information will ultimately help in the development of both diagnostic tests and drugs to better manage the virus. The Ebola genome is just under 20,000 nucleotides in length, encoding just seven genes. The apparent simplicity of the virus belies the havoc that is wreaked upon infection based upon an assault on the immune system and disruption of the blood clotting process, leading often to fatal internal bleeding.

Read the rest of this entry »

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share


Posted in Our Views | 2 Comments »



What the Ebola Outbreak Shows Us About Modern Health Technology


September 15th, 2014
Posted by

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.
  Read the rest of this entry »


Tags:
Posted in Our Views | 1 Comment »



Apple Watch: Not a Digital Health Breakthrough – Yet


September 10th, 2014
Posted by

As a surprise to no one, Apple announced a smartwatch at the company’s event yesterday in San Francisco. Apple has been under mild pressure to introduce such a device to keep pace with competitors and to demonstrate that new CEO Tim Cook is an able successor to the product development genius, Steve Jobs.

 

Though the announcement of the device was expected, the features of the watch had been the subject of much speculation, greatly centered around health and wellness. Rumors were bolstered by Apple’s recent hiring of a number of senior executives from the medical device industry and the announcement of partnerships with Mayo Clinic and Epic. Many were hoping that the Apple juggernaut would provide the push needed to drive adoption of digital health into the mainstream consumer market.

 

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Our Views | No Comments »



Popper and Company Advisor Michael Little Offers Insights on FDA’s 2014 Regulations for LDTs


August 15th, 2014
Posted by

On July 31, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its plans for regulation aimed at ensuring that certain tests used by healthcare professionals provide accurate, consistent and reliable results. First, the FDA issued a final guidance on the development, review and approval or clearance of companion diagnostics. Second, consistent with the requirements of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 (FDASIA), the agency notified Congress of its intention to publish a proposed risk-based oversight framework for laboratory-developed tests (LDTs).

 

I recently spoke to new Popper and Company senior advisor, Michael Little, Ph.D., who recently retired from industry after a long career as a senior executive in the in vitro diagnostic (IVD) and companion diagnostic (CDx) industries. Following are excerpts from that interview.

 
Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Interviews | No Comments »



FDA Mobile Apps Loophole Hazardous For Healthcare


July 23rd, 2014
Posted by

This post is originally published on InformationWeek Healthcare, July 23, 2014
 
THE FDA’S RELUCTANCE TO OVER-REGULATE MEDICAL APPS OPENS A PITFALL FOR HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS THAT INNOVATE TOO FAR AHEAD OF THE CURVE.

 

The FDA’s recent guidance on mobile medical apps creates a gray area in which the agency will not automatically require approval for all new mobile medical apps, but may exercise “enforcement discretion,” depending on how the app functions, the risks it introduces to patients/consumers, and its intended use.

 
Read full post on InformationWeek Healthcare.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Our News | No Comments »



What Does the Future Hold for Medtech? (Physicians Will Be More Like Engineers)


July 14th, 2014
Posted by

This post is originally published on MD+DI “Medical Device Business,” July 10, 2014
 

When I was asked to think about how physicians will be affected by the changes in the medtech industry over the next 5–10 years, I initially thought “not much.”

 

The field of medicine is a slow-moving beast with substantial inertia. Physicians tend to be quite conservative when treating patients for a number of reasons. Many physicians practice the way they were trained, which may have been a number of years ago, despite the continuing medical education requirements to maintain state licenses. Moreover, physicians may be liable if a bad outcome results from treatment that deviates too far from the current standard of care, so they may be reluctant jump on the latest trends in treatment, no matter how promising they seem. And the very first oath a future physician takes when entering medical school is Hippocrates’s, promising to “do no harm,” which often means “watchful waiting.”

 
Read full post on MD+DI.


Posted in Our News | No Comments »



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


June 20th, 2014
Posted by

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.

 

Read the rest of this entry »


Tags:
Posted in Interviews | No Comments »



Enhancing the “Coolness Factor” in our Later Years


June 17th, 2014
Posted by

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.

 
Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Our Views | No Comments »



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


June 11th, 2014
Posted by

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.

 

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Our Views | No Comments »



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


May 28th, 2014
Posted by

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. I recently had a chance to talk to David, who is the newest Popper and Co. team member, about today’s healthcare environment, and the impacts technology can have on healthcare efficiency.

 

How did you get involved with digital health?

I became involved with remote patient monitoring in 2000 as the first cardiologist in private practice to utilize this for my patients with implantable defibrillators. But even before that, I used electronic medical records in my group practice. The system was even mobile (on the Palm Pilot in the late 1990s). From 2003 to 2005, I was instrumental in managing a project that took remote monitoring data from implantable cardiac rhythm devices to electronic records; this was cutting edge at the time. When mobile health/digital technologies started getting into the realm of smart phones, and sensors really fanned out, I wanted to get more involved in the field of mobile health, applying my clinical and technological experiences as a consultant. In 2011, when I started blogging on the subject, a clinical perspective was lacking. There still exists a gap between developers and clinicians. This gap is no better demonstrated than in the area of electronic health records and mobile health technologies.

 

Read the rest of this entry »


Tags: ,
Posted in Interviews | No Comments »



« Older Entries Newer Entries »