Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More about everyware health care and emerging technologies:

Below is a compilation of posts I've written on another blog pertaining to health technology:


I'm visiting my dad who recently was transferred to a LTACH. LTACH stands for Long Term Acute Care Hospital. One of the goals of an LTACH is to work with people who have medically complex issues, often after a longer-than planned stay in an intensive care unit at a "regular" hospital, and then get them to the point where they can return home, with the maximum degree of independence as possible.

Given the fact that my dad has been deeply immersed in the medical/health care system lately, and the given the fact that I'm a techie, it has been difficult to ignore the wellspring of health care-related technology news peculating around, especially since
the new stimulus plan has a provision for the funding of health care IT. This is explained in detail the following presentation from the McKessen EMRresource blog:

I'll comment a bit on the following articles and links in my next post:

iPlan Net
"iPlan Net Session Sharing enables two or more clinicians at different locations to work on the same plan simultaneously. With Session Sharing, physicians no longer need to be in the same room to collaborate—it's all possible over the iPlan Net browser...iPlan Net connects entire surgery, radiotherapy and radiology departments—increasing cooperation, productivity and efficiency."

G.E. and Intel Working on Remote Monitors to Provide Home Health Care
Steve Lohr 4/2/09 New York Times

Intel Health Guide
"The Intel® Health Guide offers interactive tools for personalized care management and includes vital sign collection, patient reminders, surveys, multimedia educational content, and video conferencing and alerts."

GE HealthCare

GE Healthcare Community Technology Update: Aging in Place

New Touch Screen Monitors to Reduce Hospital Patient Waiting Times

Kindred Hospitals Customer Story (pdf)

Effective Healthcare Identity Management: A Necessary First Step for Improving U.S. Healthcare Information Systems Brief (pdf) (Smart Card Alliance)

FDA Probes Potential Overlap Between Electronic Health Records and Devices

DOD, VA set new target for lifetime health record
Government Health IT, Peter Buxbaum 3/27/09

The Stimulus Plan's Impact on the Healthcare Business Model

Scott Anthony, Harvard Business


Today I received an e-mail from Charles De Vilmorin, from Linked Seniors, about their entertainment products and services for people who live in senior communities, including skilled nursing facilities.

Invention Helps Seniors Get Plugged In: Device Caters to Interests, Needs and Tastes
Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post, 3/19/09

Here is a quote from the article:

"Two young inventors have created a device, with the help of hands-on testing at a Fairfax County retirement community, that they say might change the way older Americans get news and entertainment.

Using modified MP3 players, computers and large touch-screen monitors in high-contrast colors for people with impaired vision, Charles De Vilmorin and Herve Roussel have created a digital kiosk that serves as a sort of iPod for older people."

who moved my dentures? musings on aging

Internet Surfing Better than Reading for Brain Stimulation

"“The study results are encouraging, that emerging computerized technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults,” says principal investigator Gary Small, a professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and director of the campus’ Memory and Aging Research Center."

EVERYWARE HEALTH CARE: Mobile Patient Communicator: an interactive touch screen for patient education

Via the Cloud Computing Journal:

New Mobile Patient Communicator Gives Patients and Interactive Education Tool and Boosts Nurse Productivity

"“Nurses spend a lot of time simply escorting patients from the waiting room to the exam room. We have found that the MPC can effectively room patients, while creating more value-added time for nurses to assume additional clinical tasks,” said Kelvin Buncum, president of International Medical Solutions. "

"“A compelling attribute of the MPC is that it increases nurse and support staff productivity, since it frees up caregivers to devote more of their valuable time to patient evaluations,” noted Buncum, who with his partner Jaime Mitchell, developed the MPC in conjunction with a family practice physician who saw the need to improve his medical support staff‟s productivity to meet growing demand and patients‟ knowledge of their chronic disease."

"During their wait time patients can view educational videos in private to learn about critical matters involving their acute illness, chronic condition and procedures. The user-friendly MPC delivers subject matter specific to the patient‟s stage of care, treatment regimen, rehabilitation, care plan and disease management."

"Serving as a personal health tutor and trainer, the MPC can perform pre- and post-instruction tests, scoring patients on their disease knowledge and retention. Healthcare providers can also grant users access to their clinical Web portal and patient applications via the MPC, providing significant utility over stationary kiosks."

The International Medical Solutions company offers a selection of touch-screen mobile patient communicator devices that would have come in handy during my father's longer-than-expected stay in an intensive care unit:

7 Inch MPC
IMS Seven Inch MPC

10-Inch MPC

12 Inch MPC

IMS Twelve Inch MPC

11-inch Rugged MPC

IMS Rugged MPC

History of International Medical Solutions and the MPC
Whitepaper (pdf)


I'm devoting some of the posts I write for this blog on the topic of "Everyware Health Care", an over-arching concept that emphasizes how existing and emerging technologies can help to improve delivery of health care and also enhance health-care user experience.

About 182,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic use MyChart, an in-house electronic medical record. More recently, the hospital is testing out Google Health Records with 1,500 patents and Microsoft's Health Vault with 500 patients. According to an article in the Plain Dealer, the hospital supports the use of electronic medical records because it can reduce costly mistakes and redundancies.
Checking blood pressure

The video above shows how blood pressure can be charted and tracked daily, providing the physician with information that can better monitor and adjust medications. With Microsoft's Health Vault system, patients can upload medical information via a glucometer, pedometer, weight scale, or blood pressure monitor, depending on the nature of their health concerns. The system provides a means for uploading information to the system wirelessly, which is important for people who travel a lot for their jobs.

My Family Health Portrait is an on-line tool provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that allows people to enter their family health history, create drawings of family health history to share with health care providers or other family members, and to integrate the health history of other family members into your own. The source code for developers is available for free.

Some of the basic work related to integrated electronic medical information systems is hospital-focused Microsoft's Amalga software, which has been rolled out in several hospitals around the world. The following video shows how the system works at Bumrungrad International Hospital, and how it improves the hospital user experience, not only for the patient, but for the medical staff as well:

Cleveland Clinic makes electronic medical records personal, more accessible
Sarah Jane Tribble, Plain Dealer 3/31/09

News about wireless technology in healthcare
from Healthcare Informatics

Telehealth Services

POST: ElderGadget: Tech Devices for Health

POST: "Everyware Health Care": A Personal Focus

POST: Everyware Healthcare: Microsoft Health's Common User Interface website, usable health care applications, pervasive health games....

POST: SoftKinetic 3D Gesture Recognition for Games and Rehabilitative Play

Microsoft plans big move into European healthcare market
Tola Sargeant, Ovum
"Amalga does not complete with electronic health or patient records, it compliments them. As well as providing a single view of the patient, it enables analysis of all data from across the organization, which in turn can be used to drive change and performance improvement."

Microsoft releases hospital IT system as Amalga
Dana Blankenhorn, ZDNet Healthcare 2/13/08

Will Behavioral Health Be Left Behind?

David Raths, Healthcare Informatics 3/30/09

"While the stimulus bill was being written, Scalia said, his company worked with the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare to try to have the Medicaid incentive language changed. They were not successful, he added, because there was a concern that it would increase the cost of the incentive section above the $20 billion mark.


From the
Microsoft Research SenseCam Website:

"SenseCam is a wearable digital camera that is designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention, while it is being worn. Unlike a regular digital camera or a cameraphone, SenseCam does not have a viewfinder or a display that can be used to frame photos. Instead, it is fitted with a wide-angle (fish-eye) lens that maximizes its field-of-view. This ensures that nearly everything in the wearer’s view is captured by the camera, which is important because a regular wearable camera would likely produce many uninteresting images."

New study proves that Microsoft's sensory innovation aids memory recall

Technology Review Article

Images from Microsoft Research:
The SenseCam application has the potential to be a resource for people who have developmental delays, traumatic brain injury, severe attention deficits, and autism spectrum disorders. It would be a great tool for special educators, occupational and speech/language therapists, and rehabilitation specialists.

SenseCam Videos

Research and Publications


For the next few weeks, I'll be focusing some on my experiences with technology and health care.

This time, my posts will be on a more personal level. As I write this post, I am sitting in the family waiting area of the cardiac ICU at the Cleveland Clinic. My dad's surgery was Tuesday, and it is now Sunday, so I have had plenty of time on my hands to observe how technology is used to deliver his care, monitor his progress, and support his recovery.

Since I view things from a broader human-computer interaction perspective, I've decided to share some of my thoughts the"Hospital UX" picture, putting myself in the shoes of patients, family members, and medical professionals.

A Clean and Sterile Wait

This is the new lounge where families wait while their loved ones undergo cardiac surgery. The old family waiting area at the Cleveland Clinic had a cozy, home-like feel, with comfortable chairs and cheery art. The new waiting area has a very sterile, minimalist feel. The chairs are NOT comfortable, especially if you are middle-age or older and have the usual aches and pains!

Corridor to Nowhere?

Some of the corridors at the hospital have a surreal, institutional feel.

Hospital Corridor Eye Candy

Other corridors are a bit more...uplifting?

You are.... where?!

It is still quite difficult to figure out where you are and how to get to where you are going.

Note: I'll revisit this post to discuss this further - below are a few interesting links:

Microsoft Health Common User Interface: Patient Journey Demonstrator
via Martin Grason: Adventures of a 'Devigner'

Future Hospitals form Designit 12/30/08
"How can hospitals offer a better service – for patients and visitors? And improve working conditions for staff? Designit has been asked to find the answer by applying explorative, user-driven innovation at the heart of public sector delivery: Odense University Hospital, Denmark's largest hospital."

"The project, which starts in January, aims to deliver groundbreaking service innovation that could serve as a blueprint for future public healthcare improvements – in Denmark and abroad."

Obama's Plan to Digitize Medical Records Draws Criticism from Doctors
Dan Nosowitz, Gizmodo, 3/7/09

Computer Will See You Now Anne Armstrong-Coben, New York Times, 3/5/09

"Now that I’ve been using a computer to keep patient records — a practice that I once looked forward to — my participation with patients too often consists of keeping them away from the keyboard while I’m working, for fear they’ll push a button that implodes all that I have just documented...Room is provided for text, but in the computer’s font, important points often get lost. I have half-joked with residents that they could type “child has no head” in the middle of a computer record — and it might be missed....The personal relationships we build in primary care must remain a priority, because they are integral to improved health outcomes. Let us not forget this as we put keyboards and screens within the intimate walls of our medical homes.."

Note: Anne Armstrong-Corben is a clinical professor of pediatrics at Columbia.

Obama's Big Idea: Digital health records
David Goldman, CNN Money 1/12/09


Today I came across the ElderGadget Blog when I was searching for technology that might be helpful to my father, who recently spent the last few weeks in an intensive care unit.

Here are a few things I found on the blog, including what I found when I followed a link to the bindependent website:

Smart Table: A Broadband Communication System for the Elderly

ID Studiolab, Delft University of Technology, NL

"The smart system is aimed to prevent possible social isolation between elderly people and their social contacts. It consists of the Smart Table and the Smart Messenger, which provide easy and intuitive way for elderly people to benefit from the advantage of communication technology and improve the satisfaction of their social activities."

"During the design research, a working prototype is made and evaluated by a user test. The Smart Table offers people a way to use broadband communication without the need for a computer. The television will be used for video communication (web-cam) and the table as user-interface. On the table contact persons can be selected and images and video can be shared. The elderly person can capture images that will be shared instantly. The contact person can select images from his or her computer, which will be projected on the table of the elderly person". (TU Delft - Faculty Industrial Design Engineering - Master Design for Interaction - Project Interactive Technology Design - Vincent Steurs & Juin-Yi Huang)
Demy Kitchen Safe Touchscreen Reader
Photo Watch
Clarity-C900: Amplified Big Button Cell Phone
911 Guardian Phone
911 Guardian: "Tiny wearable speakerphone"

Big Digit TV remote
Extra Large TV Remote Control

SmartShopper electonic grocery-list maker

SmartShopper: Electronic grocery-list maker
Bierley's ColorMouse Video Magnifier

Voice Pod: Digital recording and playback system


Live from CES - Dakim's Brain Fitness Keeps Seniors Sharp

Dakim Brain Games

Previous post: Ubiquitous Computing - Grandpa and grandkids use a webcam and Skype across the miles

YouTube Vlogger: Geriatric1927

Geriatric Gripes and Grumbles


Malignant Spaghetti: A Symposium on Wireless Technologies in Hospital Health Care
(A must-read)
Wireless Sensor Networks for In-Home Healthcare: Potential and Challenges (pdf)

ALARM-Net: Wireless Sensor Networks for Assisted Living and Residential Monitoring

(Crossbow Blog, 9/28/08)

"Wireless Nodes Dynamically Link to Build Intelligent Sensing Networks"
John Suh, RTC 6/2005

Wireless sensor and data transmission needs and technologies for patient monitoring in the operating room and intensive care unit
Paksuniemi, M., Sorvaja, H,; Alasaarela, E.' Mylyla, R. Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2005, IEEE-EMBS 2005

Healthcare Service with Ubiquitous Sensor Networks for the Disabled and Elderly People

Yung Bok Kim & Daeyoung Kim, Computers Helping People with Special Needs 7/2006

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