• March 14, 2017
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is considered among the toughest medical challenges in the field of medical science. Nearly 4 million people in United States are suffering from CFS and add to it several million individuals worldwide who are facing the same dilemma.
Interestingly, until today the cause or causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are still a mystery for the medical research wizards. Although, there are quite a few theories that rely on possibilities and probabilities that attempt to diagnose and understand the cause of CFS. For example, a few experts believe that glandular fever may instigate the situation or inflammation around the nervous system can trigger chronic fatigue syndrome. Lists of other factors that are considered include age, stress, environment, poor illness and even genetics can activate CFS.
Different studies and research have found a common ground or complain among patients suffering from CFS which is devastating and relentless fatigue that may continue for more than six months. The studies also reveal that apart from the common symptom, there are several other symptoms that differ from patient to patient and are also compounded with other medical conditions. Other symptoms can be joint and muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, irregular blood-pressure and heart beat.
The abnormalities of CFS patients have encouraged the medical scientists to probe and find answers to clear the ambiguities. CFS patients have reduced white-matter of brain because inflammation plays a role in affecting white-matter. State-of-the-art diffusion-tensor imaging shows an abnormality in a certain area of nerve tract. The third abnormality of CFS patient is thickening of gray matter.  
Each study is one step closer to diagnose and treat CFS. 

  • March 14, 2017
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Chelation Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Episodes in Diabetics

In mainstream medicine, certain intravenous agents are used to bind to toxins and metals, thereby helping the body excrete them. These agents are known as chelating agents and the process is known as chelation. It is primarily used to remove heavy metals such as lead and iron from the body. However, the use of chelation therapy extends beyond that and it has been employed informally for many reasons, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular events. 
Recently, a research called TACT (Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy) looked at the advantages of using chelation therapy in patients who had previously had a heart attack. One group was given chelation therapy while one was provided with only placebos. Initially, the study (which was published in JAMA in 2013) showed a moderate decrease in all patients treated with EDTA (the chelating agent). However, further analysis of the data showed that diabetic patients (who consisted of one third of the total) showed a significant reduction in risk of cardiovascular events. Compared to this, non-diabetic patients showed no similar reduction in risk. 
Events that were looked at included overall heart disease events, heart disease, nonfatal stroke, nonfatal heart attacks, recurrent heart attacks, and death from any cause. The risk reduction was between 40-50% for all these events. 
Scientists consider this an interesting development that definitely calls for further research. If the results are confirmed by other studies that look specifically at the effects of chelation therapy in diabetics, then dramatic changes may take place in the treatment of diabetic heart patients. 

  • January 02, 2016
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Trending Aspects of Telemedicine May Lead to an Upgraded Healthcare in 2016

Telemedicine has become one of the fastest growing areas of the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers are taking telemedicine to new heights which has caused tremendous changes in the healthcare industry in the last decade. This rapid growth of telemedicine has provided us with means to generate revenue, cut costs and improve and enhance patient satisfaction.

“Telemedicine has evolved dramatically over the past few years, and providers have come to realize the profound ways in which it can improve patient care,” said Steve McGraw, CEO of REACH Health. “With this evolution has also come the increasing sophistication of telemedicine practitioners. Doctors, nurses and administrators now desire easier integration, clinical adaptability and configurability, support for multiple specialties on a single comprehensive platform, and robust data collection and analytics.” . REACH Health is a leading provider of enterprise telemedicine solutions.

Officials say the telemedicine patient monitoring market grew from $4.2 billion in 2007 to $14.3 billion in 2014. Driving force for this accelerated growth of telemedicine technology is the growing consumer demand for more affordable and accessible care. Misconception that telemedicine creates a financial strain or relies on grant funding is also rapidly changing. Healthcare providers are taking steps to provide a better home monitoring system for the patients so that the frequency and duration of hospital visits can be reduced. 

Five key technology trends has been identified that will also contribute in telemedicine’s continued growth and advancement of healthcare industry:

Better reimbursement and easy payment options:

"The home healthcare and remote location health monitoring market is different from the hospital market, in large part because reimbursements are lower or are just beginning to take hold, and for some products are still nonexistent," said Melissa Elder, Kalorama analyst and the author of the report, in a press statement. "Unit costs will go up as older units are replaced with wireless, handheld and ambulatory devices."
Private and government health system providers are taking measures to upgrade telemedicine coverage as patients get adapted to the telemedicine services. New laws requiring coverage of telemedicine-based services have been implemented at the state level. Providers seem willing to alter their payment models based on consumer requirements which in turn will boost the telemedicine advancement.

Global ties to be revised and reformed:

North America is the largest market globally in the telemedicine industry. They are expanding their healthcare expertise abroad by formulating connections between US healthcare providers and foreign providers. This overseas cooperation will make telemedicine based services more accessible to patients internationally. According to the American Telemedicine Association, more than 200 academic medical centers in the U.S. already offer video-based consulting in other parts of the world. Even though many of these programs are still on a small scale or experimental basis, providers are planning and hoping for an advancement in 2016.

Promoting State level telemedicine expansion:

Currently in US, state government is holding an upper hand in the expansion of telemedicine technology. The District of Columbia and 29 states have enacted laws demanding that health plans cover telemedicine services.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is considering involving telemedicine in Medicare coverage and also a bill will soon be passed that would pay physicians for delivering telemedicine services to Medicare beneficiaries in any location. These two recent developments are sprouting interest at the federal level also.

Increase in number of retail and worksite clinics:

As a result of healthcare reform, the percentage of employers providing onsite medical clinics is increasing readily, also many are planning on incorporating this service in their employee benefits in the coming years.Studies suggest that nearly 70 percent of employers will offer telemedicine services as an employee benefit by 2017.

Moreover people are willing to go to retail medical clinics and pay out-of-pocket for the convenience and advantages of telemedicine services when it is not covered by their insurance.Hence many more enterprises are offering these facilities due to the increasing need of telemedicine based services.


ACOs in accord with telemedicine for better healthcare facilities:

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are a group of doctors and healthcare providers aiming in delivering high quality care to medicare patients. These organisations are ideal for the progress of telemedicine technology. In a recent study it was found that only 20% of ACOs are using telemedicine services. But a next generation ACO model that was unveiled recently will provide ACOs with more freedom to use telemedicine ensuring better monitoring and care for patients. Hence this will lead to greater use of telemedicine among ACOs.

  • November 26, 2015
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Telemedicine May Bring About a Healthcare Renovation in 2016

Telemedicine is the future of healthcare. Healthcare providers will be able to evaluate , diagnose and treat patients remotely using the latest telecommunications technology. Telemedicine offers numerous benefits as compared to the traditional in-person medical care. 

CloudVisit offers a simple process to get started using telemedicine. CloudVisit Telemedicine is a software platform designed for physician use. Healthcare providers will now be able to schedule and conduct online appointments with patients using a webcam and microphone for live video chat sessions. Secure video consultations are revolutionizing the provider-to-patient relationship. This platform is available in two formats : CloudVisit Connect and CloudVisit Private Practice.Both are in HIPAA-compliant formats making them viable for physician-patient connectivity under guidelines as set for by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

"Telemedicine has broken out of the hospital sector and become the every man's healthcare tool," said Daniel Gilbert, president and CEO of CloudVisit Telemedicine. "Clients are amazed that in a matter of days we give them their own telemedicine or telepsychiatry website, complete with patient appointment scheduling, HIPAA compliant video sessions, and credit card billing."
 

  • October 26, 2015
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Verizon Enables IoT to Revolutionize Healthcare

Verizon Enterprise Solutions  ambitions in revolutionizing the healthcare industry by trying to enable the latest technological trend, Internet of Things (IoT), for the healthcare professional. It anticipates that predictive analytics, cloud services and connected devices could prove to be very beneficial for the healthcare industry as it relates to the patient-centric care models.

In the current healthcare scenario, patients go to the hospitals to meet with the doctors in case of any health issue. And the doctors diagnose the illnesses and prescribe remedies using dated or aging collection tools. But now remote data collection and analytics are becoming a reality. Also connected devices can be used to monitor a patient’s health and are capable of transmitting vital sign data from the patient’s residence to the hospital staff. By analyzing the massive data sets produced and collected from patients using wearables or connected devices, care providers can improve the foundational research models used to identify illnesses. A cloud based platform that allows interoperability with a variety of medical devices which also enables wireless transfer ,storage and display of the vast amount of clinical data generated would also help the healthcare in many ways.

IoT is getting more established with the wide adoption of connected devices in the healthcare industry. These three independently evolving technologies is sure to modernize the healthcare industry.

  • September 26, 2015
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Around 40% Consumers Still Unaware of Telemedicine

Telemedicine (also referred to as "telehealth" or "e-health") allows healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in remote locations using telecommunications technology. It helps eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services especially in distant rural communities. 

For over 50 years, telemedicine has proven to save time, save money and, most importantly, save lives. Its impact on various applications worldwide is incredible. However, based on several surveys conducted its found that telemedicine awareness is low. It was found in a survey conducted by a consumer health engagement company named Healthmine that 41% of consumers have never even heard of telemedicine. This survey was conducted on a total of 1200 consumers of different age groups. In the survey the consumers were asked two main questions: one being whether they would opt for telemedicine if made available in alternative to traditional doctor visits and the other being whether they understood when it was best to use telemedicine. Overall, 45 percent of respondents said they would use telemedicine if it was offered, 16 percent said they wouldn’t, and 39 percent weren’t sure. Forty-three percent of total respondents said they knew when it was best to use telemedicine, 16 percent said they didn’t, and 41 percent said they hadn’t heard of telemedicine. Another 500 person survey conducted by TechnologyAdvice found that 35 % of consumers would choose a virtual visit over an in person one. But it also found that 75 percent would not trust the diagnosis a doctor made over a video visit.

A global survey was conducted on ehealth examining four fields of telemedicine : teleradiology, telepathology, teledermatology and tele psychiatry. The key findings were that teleradiology has the highest rate of established service provision across the four fields of telemedicine surveyed. And also that the provision of telemedicine is far less progressed in middle and low income countries compared to high income countries. Another survey was done on around 143 doctors from different hospitals in India to collect awareness and attitude to telemedicine. Most doctors felt that telemedicine was important and their opinions were similar in all age groups. A total of 86 doctors had used telemedicine. In order to assist in future utilisation of telemedicine proper hospital training programmes should be organized for all doctors. Further awareness programmes are also required for patients.

  • March 24, 2015
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Uttarakhand government to clinch technology to beat dearth of doctors

In the year 2015, the state government of Uttarakhand will progressively rely more on progressive technology to overpass the geographical seclusion and shortage of radiologists and physicians, making medical facilities available to the patients in the state.

The technology motivated explanations in the shape of teleradiology and telemedicine are estimated to become the chief tools for the Uttarakhand government for which approximately 19 million dollars have been approved by World Bank. Uttarakhand (Land of Gods) is a federation in the northern division of India and is known for its natural beauty of the Himalayas.

In Uttarakhand the clinicians and radiologists are awful yet abundant in quantity and one has to immediately observe the feeling of absolute worry that the patients necessitating an instantaneous MRI and scan reports have to encounter, in case they reach a hospital in the midpoint of the night. More often than not, there is nobody to undertake the scan and interpret the reports at 12 midnight so that the diagnosis could ensue.

As stated by the Principal Secretary of the Health department, the deficiency is currently misappropriating them as never earlier. They therefore intend to make use of teleradiology to surmount the deficiency of radiologists. They are also determined to focus on furnishing their diagnostic centers with paramedics (including laboratory technicians) who would be nearby to acquire the scans and send them out  online. Excluding Sonography, all other scans can be passed on digitally. So either they will improve their systems to digital ways or get hold of digital equipment for diagnostic purposes.

  • February 26, 2015
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Scanadu Scout - the innovative technology to verify your health

The company called Scanadu is currently creating two very fascinating healthcare products that hook up with your iPhone. One of these has been named the Scanadu Scout, while the other has been referred to as Scanaflo. Let’s discuss these one by one.

The Scanadu:

It is a small electronic tool premeditated by Yves Behar. Soon as you touch this tool to your brow for a few seconds, more or less instantly, a choice of physiological criteria are sent to an app on your iPhone, which records these dimensions to make the user aware of the inconsistency and variations which may be the reason for health disturbances.

These criteria include the following:

  1. Fluctuations in temperature of your body
  2. Heart rate(A roadway of your heart rate is maintained; given that the beats of your heart are not spaced evenly, hence a trail of the variability of your heart rate is quite useful)
  3. Oxygenation of blood(The pulse oximetry monitors the saturation of your Hemoglobin)
  4. Rate of respiration
  5. ECG(It reveals priceless information regarding the performance of heart with each beat)
  6. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures(these keep changing during the day)

The Scanaflo:

Scanaflo is a home urine analysis apparatus meant for urine testing; the latter gives a snap of the vital processes going on all the way through the body. Scanaflo calculates twelve unlike signals in your urine to help generate your health record. Scanaflo uses your phone’s camera to picture a series of color strips.

  • October 28, 2014
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Are there more hearts for transplantation?

At Sydney’s St Vincent Hospital, the doctors fruitfully transplanted a heart that had bunged beating for twenty minutes. The heart was saved with the help of new electronic equipment and injected with a conservation solution that was developed by researchers at the hospital and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research after 12 years of toil. According to Prof Graham, the persons who endure 90 to 95 per cent loss of brain performance normally experience kidney, liver and heart breakdown over a number of hours to days. However, by making use of the safeguarding solution (along with the electronic equipment) the doctors are now able to relocate a heart that has stopped thumping.

The very first such heart relocation was done on a fifty-seven year old lady called Michelle Gribilas (who belongs to Sydney Australia.) At the time of transplantation her heart was not thumping properly; however by the time, the donor heart was positioned into the patient, it had started looking better. A biopsy followed by an echocardiogram was done to look at the function of the heart which was found to be perfect with no proof of tissue damage whatsoever.

Ever since then, another thriving transplant has been carried out on a forty-four old male called Jan Damen. In conformity with Prof Graham, this innovative technique would open up new vistas for Cardiac transplantations in various countries across the globe such as Japan, Vietnam etc, where the meaning of death is that of heart, not of brain!

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  • October 24, 2014
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Google Glass can provide real time professional support in operating room

Google Glass is one of the recently developed wearable technologies with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) which works in a smartphone-like hands-free format and gives possibility to communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands. Google Glass can be very useful in health care providing real-time professional support.  Thanks to Google’s wearable technology it became possible to have an expert anywhere in the world as an extra pair of eyes who may provide medical advice.

One of the first doctors who use Google Glass in June 2013 in the operating room was the U.S.-based surgeons. Currently the St. Michael’s Hospital has one pair of Google Glass. In the near future they will receive another pair. According to a spokesperson from St. Michaels the device will first be used to test the hospital’s systems to see how easy it is to use with the secure network.

“On the screen we can call previous CT scans, x-rays, different types of information that relates to the patients that we are operating on,” said Dr. Teodor Grantcharov, surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital.

A surgeon and telemedicine innovator Dr. Rafael Grossman used a Google Hangout to record with a remote connection a feeding tube being inserted into a patient via Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG).

Tom Emrich, the expert in wearable technology and Google Glass wearer believes that this device is very useful in medical fields, though there are still apprehensions regarding privacy, which makes the use of digital technologies in healthcare slow.

References:

  1. Toronto doctors hope to revolutionize the operating room with Google Glass

 

  • October 20, 2014
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Innovative ways in healthcare to connect people in need

With an ageing population and the ever-increasing prevalence of both chronic and long-term illnesses, the commissioning and delivery of integrated health and social care has become a significant challenge. The need for new care models and technologies such as telehealth and telecare to support long-term care has never been greater.

Telehealth and telecare innovations have the potential to improve quality of life for users and to reduce unnecessary hospital and care home admissions, though robust information on costs and outcomes is lacking.

Most people are familiar with telemedicine being used to provide basic medical consultations to patients in rural or medical underserved areas. Patients sit in an exam room and connect with an off-site physician or nurse practitioner via secure video conferencing. However, medical providers, companies, and even the military are using telemedicine for to provide care well beyond the exam room. For example, schools that have a telemedicine program can speed up the process of ill students’ diagnostics and even prescribe medications, allowing students to get healthy and back in the classroom quicker.

Telemedicine technology allow keep the nursing home residents out of the ED, treating soldiers on the battlefield, reaching patients worldwide, connecting providers in the operating room and many other innovative uses amount of which are increasing rapidly.

As the technology advances and more people become aware of the advantages of using telemedicine, there will likely be many more innovative ways medical professionals can connect with people in need.

References:

  1. 5 innovative uses of telemedicine technology

  2. Mike Clark, Nick Goodwin. Sustaining innovation in telehealth and telecare
  • October 16, 2014
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Telemedicine saves money, time and life of people out of the hospitals

According to American Telemedicine Association research, the telemedicine industry has expanded by 24 percent nationally since 2012. Going to the doctor's office for diagnosis of a minor ailment may soon become a thing of the past.

CentraCare Health recently unveiled its eClinic telemedicine service provided by the St. Cloud VA Health Care System and HealthPartners, that helps diagnose and treat patients via the Internet. Doctors are legally allowed to prescribe medications through the Internet. However, providers stress that telehealth services aren't supposed to be used in emergency cases.

On its website, CentraCare lists the conditions it will treat via the Internet. Among the things CentraCare will treat with its eClinic include the flu, colds, allergies and pink eye. If the eClinic service isn't able to treat a patient, CentraCare refunds the patient's money and recommends the patient see a provider in person. "There are carefully created protocols in the system that help decipher a patient's symptoms to safely treat online", said Dr. Darin Willardsen, a CentraCare eClinic provider. 

Similar to the newly launched eClinic, VA hospitals and clinics use a program called My HealtheVet. It links patients with providers virtually and distributes a diagnosis through email. They also use a Skype-like program for patients to see specialists in other cities.

"Telehealth made significant strides in last few years although it's still not available to the entire health care system, while it can save time and money and help keep people healthy and out of the hospital " said Mark Schoenbaum of the Minnesota Department of Health.

References:

  1. Central Minnesota clinics adopt telemedicine services