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Notes From The Connected Health Symposium 2010

I [recently] attended the Connected Health Symposium in Boston. I enjoyed many of the sessions (sometimes wished I could have attended two simultaneously, though the livetweeting — #chs10 — helped on that front), and as usual enjoyed the hallway and exhibit floor conversations too. As is often the case at conferences these days, I had the opportunity to meet several online connections in real life for the first time. 

(I will not attempt to give a comprehensive report of the symposium here. Please see the livetweeting archive and other reports to get a sense of the rest of the event.)

This year’s exhibit floor included a diverse mix of distance health tools. Most striking from my perspective was the fact that most of these tools do one of two things: Enable patient-clinician videoconferencing, or upload data from in-home monitoring devices. The best of the second category also trigger alerts resulting in emails or PHR/EHR alerts to clinicians if vital signs are out of whack, or phone calls to consumers or their caregivers if, for example, meds aren’t taken on time (one company had a pill bottle with a transmitter in the cap that signals when it’s opened; another had a Pyxis-like auto-dispenser, that looked like you’d need an engineer — or a teenager — to program it). One tool — Intel’s — seemed to combine most of these functions, and more, into one platform, but it’s barely in beta, with only about 1,000 units out in the real world.

The speakers this year seemed to return again and again to several major themes: (1) Is any particular connected health solution scalable? (2) Who will pay for connected health, or mobile health (mHealth)? and (3) Does it work? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at HealthBlawg :: David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog*

The CDC’s Social Media Toolkit

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published the newest “Health Communicator’s Social Media Toolkit.” From the CDC:

A guide to using social media to improve reach of health messages, increase access to your content, further participation with audiences, and advance transparency to improve health communication efforts.

The guide is truly fantastic, detailed, and comprehensive.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Personal Hygiene, Role-Model Behavior, And The World Series

imageTo: Bud Selig, Commissioner of Baseball

Dear Mr. Selig:

The World Series is an exciting time. It’s important to promote the national pastime. Kids play baseball all over the world. I have been particularly interested in the post-season games this season because my home team, the Texas Rangers, is in the World Series. They have been playing magnificent baseball.

I have been both a Yankees and Rangers fan ever since the Rangers came to Texas. In fact, my brother and I went to the first Rangers game in Arlington Stadium. I have been a student of baseball strategy for many years. Baseball is a fantastic game.

Baseball players are role models to kids all over the world. A baseball player’s behavior on the playing field should be exemplary. Baseball players have been poor role models as far as spitting and scratching their crotch. I have never become immune to these tasteless rituals. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*

Sugar Consumption: A “Deliciously Disgusting” Ad Campaign

New York City’s war on sugary soft drinks had to balance evidence-based medicine with a short, simple message that would go viral in the community. Going viral won, according to e-mails of internal discussions between the city’s health commissioner, his staff, and the ad agency that crafted the campaign. The statement that soda would cause a person to gain 10 pounds a year is contingent upon many factors, argued the staff, but the desire to produce a media message with impact overruled the details. One nutritionist called the campaign “deliciously disgusting.”

Chocolate may moderate HDL cholesterol in type 2 diabetics, according to the November issue of Diabetic Medicine. High polyphenol chocolate increased HDL cholesterol in diabetics without affecting weight, insulin resistance or glycemic control. Researchers enrolled 12 type 2 diabetics in a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind crossover study to 45 g chocolate with or without a high polyphenol content for eight weeks and then crossed over after a four-week washout period. HDL cholesterol increased with high polyphenol chocolate (1.16+/-0.08 vs. 1.26+/-0.08 mmol/l, P=0.05) with a decrease in the total cholesterol: HDL ratio (4.4+/-0.4 vs. 4.1+/-0.4 mmol/l, P=0.04). No changes were seen with the low polyphenol chocolate.

With Halloween, sugar will be on everyone’s mind (and in everyone’s stomachs). To find out how many calories and how much fat that pile of Halloween candy totals, try this interactive module. (New York Times, Diabetic Medicine, ABC Chanel 7 News-Denver)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Free Aneurysm Screening: Just Another Kmart “Blue Light Special?”

Kmart, Medtronic, and a bunch of specialty medical groups are sponsoring a campaign called “Find the AAAnswers” — the “AAA” standing for abdominal aortic aneurysm.

It’s clever marketing for Kmart’s pharmacy business, since the screenings are being offered throughout the Fall at more than 900 Kmart pharmacies. And it’s not bad business for the specialty medical groups, either, as Larry Husten wrote on his Cardiobrief blog:

…the expenses of the program and the coalition are entirely underwritten by Medtronic, which sells abdominal stent grafts used to repair AAAs, and the members of the coalition include organizations like the Peripheral Vascular Surgical Society, the Society for Vascular Surgery, and the Society for Vascular Ultrasound, whose members may derive a significant portion of their income from performing AAA repairs and screening.

AAAnswers coalition partners.jpg

Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

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