Some people may tell you that healthcare IT will solve many of the quality and cost problems in healthcare. I don’t believe them.
I know a 70-year old man named Carlos (not his real name) who was hospitalized following a bout of hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the skull, which affects the brain. Among other things, people with hydrocephalus can be confused, irritable, and nauseous. Carlos had all of these symptoms.
Carlos’ problem was fixable by inserting a special kind of drain in his head called a “shunt.” This kind of shunt is, essentially, a series of catheters that runs from the brain into the abdomen, and which drain the excess fluid. You can’t see it from the outside, so it’s meant to stay inside of you for a very long time.
For a week after Carlos’ shunt was installed, his symptoms completely disappeared. But they soon started to re-emerge. Worried, his family took him to the hospital. Doctors found that his hydrocephalus was back — the shunt wasn’t draining properly. They admitted him to the hospital, and the next day they put in a new shunt. The surgery went well.
But again, about a day later, he started to have the same kinds of symptoms. The doctors sent him for a CT scan, which showed, to their surprise, no problems with the shunt. Unsure of what to do, they decided to wait and see if the symptoms resolved. It was possible, they thought, that the symptoms were from the quick drainage of fluid through the shunt. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*
When using dressings to speed up the healing process of an open wound, it is necessary to periodically remove the dressing to check for infection. However, removing this protective covering creates an opportunity for bacteria to enter the wound site.
To remedy this problem, researchers at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies EMFT have developed dressings which change color if the wound becomes infected. Early tests have shown promise, and the scientists now plan to test their invention in the field at the University of Regensburg’s dermatology clinic. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
The explosion of smart phones, originally led by the iPhone 2007, has catalyzed the explosion of mobile medical apps which our readers are surely familiar with. But, along with the proliferation of medical reference apps and interfaces to electronic health records (EHRs), there is a much broader world of mobile medical devices and simpler phone interfaces collectively termed “mHealth,” which is an area of intense interest for governments, industry and care providers.
This year, this interest has been punctuated by nearly half a dozen different mobile health meetings — many that iMedicalApps has attended and participated in. Perhaps, the largest one of all — the mHealth Summit — is now in session in the Washington Convention Center, sponsored in part by the Foundation at National Institutes of Health (FNIH) — an event we are currently attending. This type of sponsorship is an indication of the importance mobile health (or “mHealth”) is now reaching. To further accentuate this, the keynote speaker to launch the event was Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the NIH himself. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*
The first-year medical students I precept were too young to see Tom Cruise’s alter ego Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell grace the big screen in the 1986 blockbuster film “Top Gun.” Yet, the story has a relevant analogy to medicine.
According to the film, during the Vietnam war American pilots were relying too much on technology to bring enemy fighters down. They weren’t as skilled in taking out the opposition. They fired their technologically advanced missiles to try and get the job done. They didn’t think. It didn’t work. They forgot the art of dogfighting.
The military discovered that technology alone wasn’t going to get the job done. The best fighter pilots needed the skills, insight, and wisdom on when to use technology and when not to. As a result, the Navy Fighter Weapons School, known simply as Top Gun, was created to retrain the military pilots on this vital lost skill. The goal of the program was specifically to make the best of the best even better.
Like the military, the country is discovering that the healthcare system enabled with dazzling technology isn’t getting the job done either. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*