Local Support Service for COPD Patients

iplato logoiPLATO Healthcare, the leader in mHealth, reported that patient response to a new local support service for COPD patients in Greenwich has been overwhelmingly positive. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of people with COPD have signed up to receive alerts, advice and signposting about how to remain in control of their health and stay well in the comfort of their own home. NHS Greenwich provides this service to patients across the Borough using the iPLATO’s technology platform.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to describe a group of progressive airways diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. There is no cure for COPD but a lot can be done to relieve its symptoms. Preventative interventions include stop smoking and various forms of medication and the flu jab. Contributing factors to symptoms worsening include changing weather conditions. According to the NHS Information Department, an average hospitalisation costs the tax payer £1,946. NHS Greenwich estimates that COPD is the cause of 1 in 20 hospital admissions in their part of London.

NHS Greenwich aims to provide a localised, personalised and holistic service to help patients stay in control of their condition and to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions. To achieve this aim the patient messaging service will – in addition to communicating known triggers such as local weather changes and invitation to preventative services – also help with practical details such as getting necessary medication from the GP before bank holidays and other times when less support may be available.

Initial feedback has been very positive and encouraging: “The COPD support service is a brilliant idea, even though I am normally on top of my condition an extra reminder would help,” says one patient who enrolled to the service after receiving a text invitation from her GP surgery.

“It is important for patients with COPD to be supported to manage their condition and feel more in control of their illness. This new service enables patients with COPD to get the right information at the right time to do this. It will provide the essential support, information and advice that is required for people with COPD to stay well,” says Dr Eugenia Lee, GP.

Jackie Davidson, Associate Director of Public Health says: “In Greenwich, there are over 3,000 people that have been diagnosed with COPD and about another 4,000 people that are undiagnosed and untreated because they don’t recognise the symptoms. This patient messaging service is a great example of how we can use our local knowledge to help people manage their condition to remain well. We hope to bring real benefit and extend the service to even more people.”

AT&T Selects MedApps for Remote Care Monitoring Solution

Targeted Mobile Wireless Technology to Achieve Maximum Healthcare Outcomes
in Remote Care Monitoring

MedAppsDALLAS, Jan. 5, 2011 Patients suffering from diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other chronic conditions may soon be able to enjoy the benefits of improved health information transfer. Using wireless technologies, AT&T and MedApps, a recognized leader in the development of wireless mobile remote patient monitoring solutions, announced today the inclusion of MedApps in AT&T’s ForHealth portfolio of mHealth, cloud-based, and telehealth products and solutions.

The ForHealth product ecosystem is intended to streamline healthcare data flow and care delivery and contribute to improved disease management, particularly for those with chronic conditions. Along with other key providers and their products, the inclusion of MedApps’ CloudCare(TM) product line will broaden the mHealth solution suite offered by AT&T, enhancing AT&T’s abilities to offer turnkey solutions for the healthcare industry.

“MedApps’ focus on cloud computing and open platform architecture, allowing connection of multiple clinical devices to a single plug-and-play hub, is highly aligned with AT&T’s vision,” said Randall Porter, assistant vice president, AT&T ForHealth Solutions. “It will help AT&T offer mHealth solutions that are user agnostic and universally accessible, despite carrier, device type and operating-system. AT&T is excited to work with MedApps to provide a comprehensive remote care monitoring solution suite to our healthcare customers.”

AT&T will provide 3G connectivity to the MedApps solution suite, and will also be co-selling MedApps’ remote care monitoring hub and enterprise back-end solutions, bundling MedApps with existing AT&T remote care applications, clinical peripherals and devices.

The MedApps solution suite begins with HealthPAL, a dedicated portable device that uses a combination of embedded cellular and Bluetooth technologies to automatically transmit readings from retail monitors like glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, scales, and pulse oximeters directly to a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR), providing caregivers with ready access to the latest patient data for monitoring and review. For patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, fast access to the most current biometric data can improve patient compliance, help stabilize patients and drive down the cost of crisis care. HealthPAL provides a hands-off telehealth solution that is easy to operate for users of all ages and technological skill levels.

On the caregiver side, MedApps offers the HealthCOM portal, a web-based application that allows healthcare professionals to remotely review and manage the data collected by HealthPAL, and provides integration with other enterprise EMRs. HealthCOM is accessible from any place with Internet connectivity. The entire MedApps infrastructure is tied together by its patent-pending CloudCare(TM) platform.

“In looking at healthcare, and disease management, it is important to remember that different subsets of the population have much different rates of utilization of healthcare resources,” said Kent Dicks, CEO of MedApps. “Each of these groups also has different demographical characteristics that affect its use of technology – and one solution does not fit all. Therefore, multiple solutions are needed to engage different populations in order to achieve the best compliance and adherence rate possible. This is an essential and highly attainable way to reduce healthcare costs immediately.”

Orkney Health and Care Launches Telehealth Initiative to Improve Care for Patients with Long-Term Conditions

The health and social care partnership, Orkney Health and Care has launched a telehealth service using advanced solutions from Tunstall Healthcare to enhance healthcare delivery for patients with long-term conditions, such as chronic heart disease and chronic lung disease.

Telehealth enables patients with long-term conditions to measure their vital signs in their own homes, helping to reduce the need for them to travel to health centres for routine check-ups. This is also aimed to benefit healthcare providers in NHS Orkney, where the rural geography means that GPs and nurses often need to visit patients by ferry.

By remotely monitoring patients’ vital signs on a daily basis, it is hoped that telehealth will reduce avoidable travel and help ensure the best use of health resources.

Telehealth deployments across the UK have shown that daily health monitoring helps patients to understand their condition, reduce anxiety, and ultimately prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. In addition, increased communication with patients via the phone helps to promote a more preventative approach to the management of long-term conditions.

Keith Farrer, NHS Orkney consultant nurse and clinical lead for long-term conditions, said: “We are already using video consultations for patients that have a number of different long term conditions, and telehealth is the next step for helping other patients with long-term conditions. Due to our rural locality I expect to see telehealth reduce the need for patients to travel to their health centres for regular checkups therefore reducing the burden of travel. It will also help some patients to better understand how to manage their illness.”

Orkney Health and Care is using Tunstall’s icp integrated care platform, including mymedic and icp triagemanager, which are designed to support integrated, fully managed and patient-centred care. The patient simply uses the solution to measure their pulse, blood oxygen rate, weight, temperature and are asked a series of health related questions.

This information is automatically transferred either by traditional landline connections or over GPRS mobile networks. Voice and visual prompts help guide the patient through their health session making it easy for any user.

The data is then automatically collected by NHS Orkney’s clinical staff in real time. This makes the process easier for patients to manage, and also ensures that healthcare staff get instant access to the results, enabling them to monitor the patient’s condition daily to provide timely, preventative care when needed.

Shining a light — literally — on diabetes

Device from MIT’s Spectroscopy Lab could help diabetic patients monitor their blood glucose levels without finger pricks.

Anne Trafton, MIT News Office

noninvasive way to measure blood glucose levels
MIT researchers have devised a way to measure blood glucose levels by shining near-infrared light on the skin. Photo: Patrick Gillooly

People with type 1 diabetes must keep a careful eye on their blood glucose levels: Too much sugar can damage organs, while too little deprives the body of necessary fuel. Most patients must prick their fingers several times a day to draw blood for testing.

To minimize that pain and inconvenience, researchers at MIT’s Spectroscopy Laboratory are working on a noninvasive way to measure blood glucose levels using light.

First envisioned by Michael Feld, the late MIT professor of physics and former director of the Spectroscopy Laboratory, the technique uses Raman spectroscopy, a method that identifies chemical compounds based on the frequency of vibrations of the bonds holding the molecule together. The technique can reveal glucose levels by simply scanning a patient’s arm or finger with near-infrared light, eliminating the need to draw blood.

Spectroscopy Lab graduate students Ishan Barman and Chae-Ryon Kong are developing a small Raman spectroscopy machine, about the size of a laptop computer, that could be used in a doctor’s office or a patient’s home. Such a device could one day help some of the nearly 1 million people in the United States, and millions more around the world, who suffer from type 1 diabetes.

Researchers in the Spectroscopy Lab have been developing this technology for about 15 years. One of the major obstacles they have faced is that near-infrared light penetrates only about half a millimeter below the skin, so it measures the amount of glucose in the fluid that bathes skin cells (known as interstitial fluid), not the amount in the blood. To overcome this, the team came up with an algorithm that relates the two concentrations, allowing them to predict blood glucose levels from the glucose concentration in interstitial fluid.

Click the link to read more about noninvasive way to measure blood glucose levels

GE, Intel to Form New Healthcare Joint Venture


SANTA CLARA, Calif. and FAIRFIELD, Conn., Aug. 2, 2010 – GE (NYSE: GE) and Intel Corporation have announced the entry into a definitive agreement to form a 50/50 joint venture to create a new healthcare company focused on telehealth and independent living. The new company will be formed by combining assets of GE Healthcare’s Home Health division and Intel’s Digital Health Group, and will be owned equally by GE and Intel. Pending regulatory and other customary closing conditions, the joint venture is expected to become operational by the end of the year. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The venture builds on the GE-Intel healthcare alliance announced in April 2009 around independent living and chronic disease management. GE and Intel share a common vision to use technology to bring more effective healthcare into millions of homes and to improve the lives of seniors and people with chronic conditions. With the dramatic increase of people living with chronic conditions, and a global aging population, there is a need to find new models of healthcare delivery and extend care to the home and other residential settings.

Once formed, the new company will develop and market products, services and technologies that promote healthy, independent living at home and in assisted living communities around the world. It will focus on three major segments: chronic disease management, independent living and assistive technologies.  GE Healthcare and Intel will contribute assets in remote patient monitoring, independent living concepts and assistive technologies, such as the Intel® Health Guide, Intel® Reader and GE Healthcare’s QuietCare®.

“New models of care delivery are required to address some of the largest issues facing society today, including our aging population, increasing healthcare costs and a large number of people living with chronic conditions,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. “We must rethink models of care that go beyond hospital and clinic visits, to home and community-based care models that allow for prevention, early detection, behavior change and social support.  The creation of this new company is aimed at accelerating just that.”

GE Chairman of the Board and CEO Jeff Immelt said “Controlling healthcare costs while bringing quality care to an increasingly aging population is one of the largest global challenges we face today.  We think this joint venture will offer great potential to address these challenges by improving the quality of life for millions while lowering healthcare costs through new technology.  This new company is the next step forward in a healthcare partnership that combines the complementary expertise and capabilities of GE and Intel to accelerate the development of innovative home health technology.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the new company will combine an experienced team, home health assets, technology development, products, sales and marketing. With the combined talent, capabilities and capital sharing, the new company will also provide the focus required to speed innovation and delivery of products to market.

The new company will have headquarters in the greater Sacramento, Calif. area. Louis Burns, currently vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Health Group, will be CEO of the new company, and Omar Ishrak, senior vice president of GE and president and CEO, GE Healthcare Systems, will be chairman of the board.

Call for speedier treatment for patients who suffer from mini-stroke

Mini-stroke victims ‘miss out on vital care’

By Nick Triggle Health reporter, BBC News

Mini-strokes often lead to a full-blown attack

Mini stroke tia
Mini-strokes often lead to a full-blown attack

Many patients at high risk of stroke are not getting the specialist treatment they need, an audit found.

People who suffer a mini-stroke are meant to undergo neck surgery to help prevent a full-blown attack.

The Royal College of Physicians and Vascular Society found just a third of 3,000 patients had the op by the two-week deadline, and many did not get it.

About 500 lives a year could be saved, they said. The government said progress had been made on stroke services.

Mini-strokes – or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) as they are known – will often lead to a full-blown attack.

This audit shows that there is still a long way to go to make sure people get urgent preventative treatment that could prevent a catastrophic stroke”

Nikki Hill Stroke Association

However, one in five full strokes can be prevented through an operation known as a carotid endarterectomy to unblock the arteries.

This has to be done within 14 days of symptoms showing to be really effective.

But the review of more than 3,000 cases showed only 1,005 were done within that timeframe. The average wait was 28 days.

Lack of GP referral, hospital staff and equipment were all highlighted as key problems.

The audit concluded that stroke services would be best concentrated in fewer, larger centres to ensure adequate staffing and resources were available.

However, not all the delays were down to the NHS – nearly a fifth of patients waited too long before seeking help.

Read the full article about mini stroke and TIA

London doctors use Wii-style technology to relieve chronic back pain

Hope over pain relief implant which uses Wii technology

By Fergus Walsh
Medical correspondent, BBC News

Robert Mason
Robert Mason said he was delighted with the results

A new type of pain relief implant for chronic back and leg disorders which uses Wii-style technology has been used for the first time in Britain.

Doctors at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London installed the neurostimulator in a patient left in pain from an accident.

The device uses motion-sensing technology to adjust the level of pain relief being administered.

The patient, Robert Mason, 35, from Berkshire, said he was delighted.

Neurostimulators have already been approved for use in the NHS by the health watchdog NICE.

Wires implanted in the spinal cord deliver mild electrical signals which helps to mask the body’s pain signals with a tingling sensation.

But when a patient moves position they frequently require adjustment to vary the level of stimulation, otherwise patients can end up with a surge of pain.

Constant pain

The new device has a motion sensor, similar to those found in a Nintendo Wii or iPhone. It uses the force and direction of gravity to sense the patient’s position.

Up until the treatment, Mr Mason had endured severe and constant pain in his back and left leg ever since an accident eight years ago. Nothing, even the most powerful pain-killers, had worked.

“My pain has been a constant eight out of 10, like the worst toothache you can imagine. I get about two hours sleep a night at best, and then only in short bursts.”

Click the link to read more about Wii-style technology

BCS Health Scotland Conference 2010

BCS Health Scotland Conference 2010 NHS Scotland logo

Open for Registrations 22nd and 23rd September 2010

Register now for the most exciting eHealth conference in Scotland this year! Held at the prestigious Glasgow Science Centre you not only have a great programme, wide range of exhibitors, great views over the Clyde and City but complementary entrance to the fun science exhibits as well!

The futuristic building mirrors BCS Health Scotland’s Innovative and Modern outlook See Here

We have an extensive International speaker Programme over both days with three themes held in twin parallel tracks.

Keynote speakers include:

Matthew Swindells, former CIO Connecting for Health, and chair BCS Health

Rikard Lovstrom from Sweden to talk about their National Patient Overview project and eHealth strategy

Dorothy Whittick from Canada talking about the Canadian Health Infoway national developments and a Wellness project in Alberta

Brian Robson from Scotland on the Quality theme and his experiences with IHI in America.

Kathy Dallest from Australia speaking on Clinical Safety Management in eHealth.

New! NHS Scotland eHealth Awards!

An exciting new event will be presentation of the ‘NHS Scotland eHealth Awards!’. These awards are given to winning NHS teams for three categories sponsored by BCS and Scottish Government.

Twin Exhibitions: We are very grateful to our sponsors with 18 commercial exhibitions in a superb bright atrium area and ANOTHER FIRST: 15 public information stands in a separate gallery open to the public. There is plenty to see!

The three main themes to be addressed at the BCS Health Scotland Conference 2010 are Quality, Innovation, and Efficiency. International speakers from Australia, Canada, Sweden, America, Ireland, Wales and numerous UK speakers will position themselves on current relevant issues such as patient safety, the quality strategy, efficiency gains from IT and more.

For the first time, the NHS Scotland eHealth Awards will be presented to eHealth teams in Scotland. These awards will be presented by Scottish Government and by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, to help boost the status of the IT profession in NHS Scotland at a time of significant change.

Moreover the new Vidiowiki delegate social networking tool will be used for linking up delegates before and after the event. Users can navigate a mind-map of delegates, speakers and exhibitors to create linkups and watch short clips about presentations and demos. This will help planning and networking before coming to the event.

A selection of posters will be available to view during the conference:

  • A novel security risk assessment model – Napier University
  • Clinical content modeling – NHS National Services Scotland
  • Trans-national exchange of eHealth innovations in northern Europe- Aberdeen University
  • A Study to evaluate the effectiveness of an electronic dashboard – Ulster hospital
  • A Study to evaluate the response times for alerts – Ulster hospital

Around 250 participants are expected to take part in this open event. Online registration is possible here. Details about fees and early bird registration can be found online.

A draft programme for the event can be found online at the event website.

Exhibitors are also leading a fun social evening at 5pm on the first day.

Yet again BCS Health Scotland has been able to produce all this for the incredibly low delegate registration prices starting as low as £30.

So register soon for the early bird rates, find us here BCS Health Scotland Conference