The Next Generation for Helathcare Technology - Trends & Impact

Tag: healthcare technology

Wearable Tech Gadgets that Prove Wearable Technology is Changing Healthcare

The rise in usage of wearable tech gadgets is proof of what healthcare should be prioritizing all along: complete, dedicated focus on an individual’s needs in terms of keeping his health in tip-top shape. You’re probably one of the many who have grown curious as to what benefits these devices bring to the table. Well, what’s certain is that they won’t currently be taking the healthcare industry by storm if they hadn’t.

From the hearing aids released in the 80s to the surge in innovation in wearable technology that started in the late 2000s (and which we are still experiencing now), it’s safe to say that this type of technology is ushering in an age of renaissance in healthcare that is unprecedented and would be nothing short of revolutionary. Want to gain a quick overview of how wearable technology is taking the healthcare systems of countries worldwide to the next level? Then you should really take the time to read the infographic we’ve prepared below.

It provides an apt summary of how wearables are impacting the said field, complemented by an outline of their various proven benefits, a list of the most popular devices that a lot of people patronize, and a sketch of its growth since its conception and eventual rise in popularity. What’s certain is that there’s a lot to look forward to in wearable tech as a primary agent of development in healthcare as a whole.

Wearable Tech Gadgets

happy new year 2019 – This is the first celebration or festival of the year. So, I hope all are preparing yourself for the big day. Have a great day and year ahead.

Why Cardiac Rehabilitation Really Matters in Mending Hearts?

Cardiovascular disease is still one of the major diseases that plague countries around the world. Nonetheless, many patients could take comfort in the fact that healthcare organizations around are very proactive in finding out and developing new ways to treat it. One of the most recommended long-term remedies by worldwide is cardiac rehabilitation.

Part of the reason why it’s so effective is that it focuses on being an extended treatment plan for patients. There is no magic pill when it comes to rejuvenating the heart, after all, and most of time, successful treatments requires not only the full commitment of the healthcare provider but the patient as well. This is especially true if you have already suffered from a major cardiovascular crisis (such as a heart attack) or are already showing symptoms of heart failure. Such cases require extensive, uninterrupted care that would guarantee the complete recovery of the patient.

Cardiac rehabilitation is driven by information as well, it realizes the indispensable role of knowledge of the nature of one’s heart condition. This way, the patient would always be able to stick to ways that would allow you to recover seamlessly and quickly from a high-risk heart ailment or procedure. The benefits of cardiac rehab are numerous, to say the least, making it a truly important treatment plan that a lot of heart disease patients should consider going into.

In the infographic we have provided below, you would get pretty much all the information you need regarding cardiac rehabilitation as a whole. It outlines with sure brevity all the pertinent answers to the questions you may have about the said treatment. By investing a few minutes of your time, you would surely be able to know more about cardiac rehab and know whether you are compatible with this kind of treatment.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

 


Delayed Anticoagulation Treatment Raises Dementia Risk in AF Patients

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common heart irregularity affecting over 3 million American adults. The condition is characterised by irregular heartbeat and is known to lead to several other conditions such as blood clots, stroke and even cardiac arrest in patients. The treatment for AF involves the use of blood thinners, such as antiplatelets or Warfarin, but there is often a delay in starting patients on anticoagulants after the initial diagnosis due to several factors such as old age, low risk of stroke and the option to choose other treatments such as aspirin, which is not a proven treatment to reduce the risk of stroke in AF patients. Fortunately, a new research gives doctors a strong reason to prevent this delay, as starting AF patients (even those at low risk) on anti-coagulants immediately after diagnosis can help keep dementia at bay.

Recently, researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, UT, discovered a link between administration of blood thinners used to treat AF and dementia, another common condition affecting a significant part of the senior population in America.

The study, which was based on more than 76,230 AF patients with no prior history of dementia, indicated that dementia rates increased with the delay in starting anticoagulation treatment for AF with an antiplatelet or Warfarin. The results of the study were presented at Heart Rhythm 2017, the Heart Rhythm Society’s 38th Annual Scientific Sessions, in Chicago on May 12, 2017.

“Our results reinforce the importance of starting anticoagulation treatment as early as possible after a patient is diagnosed with atrial fibrillation,” said Jared Bunch, MD, director of heart rhythm research at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and medical director for heart rhythm services for the Intermountain Healthcare system in Salt Lake City. “We saw for the first time that waiting even just 30 days to initiate anticoagulation treatment can increase a patient’s long-term risk of developing dementia.”

The research revealed that a delay of just 30 days in administering the treatment in patients with a low risk of stroke increased their chances of developing dementia by 30%. For patients at a high risk of stroke, a delay of 30 days increased their chances of developing dementia by 136%. The study, thus, reinforces the importance of treating patients diagnosed with AF without any delay to prevent the associated risk of mental decline.

AF affects a large population across the world. By leading a healthy lifestyle, patients can greatly reduce their risk of heart disease. However, once diagnosed, simply altering your lifestyle is not the solution. Apart from adopting a healthy lifestyle, it is crucial to treat AF in a timely manner with proper medication to not only reduce the risk of a stroke but also eliminate the increased risk of developing dementia with delay in treatment as indicated by the aforementioned research.

Tracking Key Hospital Revenue Cycle Metrics to Up Profitability

According to the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), revenue cycle refers to “all administrative and clinical functions that contribute to the capture, management, and collection of patient service revenue.” Thus, a revenue cycle refers to the entire engagement of a patient with a hospital, starting from registration to the final payment of dues.

Revenue cycle management or RCM in healthcare utilizes billing software to manage different aspects of the revenue cycle such as patient records, claim management, payment and revenue generation. In short, RCM helps to keep track of the financial health of a healthcare institute. Apart from that, RCM also improves operational efficiency by integrating the healthcare data of patients with administrative details such as personal details of patients and information about their insurance providers.

In a nutshell, RCM allows hospitals to follow up on patient bills, and keep track of insurance claims to make sure payments are collected in a timely manner and denied claims are followed upon, saving a substantial amount of money for the hospital.

Reviewing Operational Data – It is possible to increase profits by measuring your RCM and determining the key performance indicators (KPI) for your business. Most hospitals have systems in place to capture several kinds of financial data. However, to boost profitability, hospitals must filter this data to zero down key performance indicators that can be tracked and measured against historical data to form the basis for operational improvement.

Three main KPIs that hospitals must develop to improve profitability are Accounts Receivable, Bad Debt and Claims.

Tracking Claims – Claim management KPIs to improve claim management can save hospitals a lot of time and money. Hospitals should aim for a high clean claim rate that indicates that a hospital is being paid faster without many errors. This can be achieved by capturing correct information at the outset to prevent silly mistakes. Thus, hospitals must ensure high efficiency in patient registration and appointment scheduling for improved claim management. The hospitals must also monitor their claim denial rate, using number of claims denied in a set period as a KPI. By investigating the reasons behind these denials, overall efficiency in claim management process can be affected.

Tracking Patient Access to Accounting Metrics – In order to improve denial rates, hospitals need to go back to the starting point to improve the process of capturing patient data and insurance data. To improve profitability, hospitals must develop patient access KPIs that would include pre-registration and insurance verification rates. By spending a few minutes extra during pre-registration, hospitals can save hours in verifying information and resubmitting claims later.

To develop patient access KPIs, hospitals may want to consider measuring rates for pre-registration and insurance verification. Insurance verification, a few days before the appointment, can help boost revenues in a big way as it allows the patients sufficient time to make self-payment arrangements in case the insurance cover is not valid. Thus, hospitals must try to maintain a high pre-registration rate and aim to verify insurance for most of the registered patients.

Point of service payments must also be looked into, as more patients than ever before are self-paying for their treatment. It is important to develop KPIs to measure point-of-service collection rates to ensure that the staff is collecting patient payments before they turn into bad debt.

Apart from ensuring that data is captured accurately at the pre-registration state, in order to improve RCM, management must set realistic revenue cycle goals on an annual basis, against which the performance of importance metrics can be measured. In addition to setting goals, the management must also have a bigger picture in mind it would like to achieve by meeting the set KPIs.

Cardiac Rhythm Monitoring Services that Greatly Mitigate Heart Disease Risk

Cardiac arrhythmia is a common heart disorder characterized by irregular rhythm or heartbeat. The two common conditions, Tachycardia and Bradycardia, refer to decreased and increased heart rhythm, respectively. Both the conditions can lead to severe complications and common symptoms include dizziness, unexplained spells of fainting, breathlessness, chest pain and palpitations. Cardiac rhythm monitoring services are used to observe, diagnose and manage cardiac arrhythmias in patients.

What is cardiac monitoring?

Cardiac event monitoring or cardiac arrhythmia service employs a heart monitor to observe your heart in order to discover any arrhythmia or any other heart condition that may be present. Thus, cardiac event monitoring services helps to constantly monitor the activity of your heart and determine your heart’s health at any point in time, greatly mitigating the risk of heart disease.

In order to reduce the expenses and cater to the increasing number of cardiovascular patients, remote cardiac monitoring provides a convenient way for patients to be observed for longer periods of time without staying in the hospital. Thus, many cardiac specialists choose to collaborate with a remote cardiac event monitoring service centre that constantly monitors the patients and reports the data, analyzed by trained staff, to the doctors. Your doctor can monitor this information to detect any abnormality or risk of heart disease. Two main benefits include cost effectiveness and event monitoring by trained staff that can recognize cases of arrhythmia even if the patient is unaware. Several different types of portable devices can be used for cardiac monitoring and cardiac arrhythmia service, including the following:

Holter Monitor – A Holter monitor is one of the most convenient and effective methods to continually monitor your heart’s activity. A small portable device, it can be easily worn underneath your clothes for as long as required without interfering with your routine activities. The monitor stores the data that can be evaluated when the patient returns the monitor at the doctor’s clinic after the prescribed time. The data can now be analyzed and interpreted to diagnose any abnormal heart condition or rhythm during the period.

Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT) – MCT is ideal for patients suffering from frequent symptoms and can be employed for short-term cardiac monitoring for up to 30 days. Essentially, MCT employs a small portable device that continually records data. On detecting an anomaly, the device sends the data for the event to the monitoring centre where the data is interpreted by trained staff. This technique provides constant monitoring and immediately notifies the concerned doctor in case any abnormality is detected.

Event Recorder – Cardiac Event Recorders are recommended for patients with infrequent symptoms. The main purpose of the device is to record and store the heart rate and rhythm during an event. A cardiac event recorder works only when turned on by the patient.

Insertable Cardiac Monitor – An insertable cardiac monitor is very useful in cases of unexplained fainting. It is a tiny insertable device that continuously monitors and records heart rhythms automatically. Doctors, by observing your heart rhythm before, during or after a fainting spell, can identify whether the fainting is due to arrhythmia or some other cardiac problem.

Indeed, lifestyle changes and proper medication are important to mitigate heart disease. However, with great technology at hand, several cardiac event monitoring services can be employed to mitigate the risk of heart disease by identifying irregular cardiac activity in time. Your doctor can guide you to the right cardiac monitoring service for your condition.

The Crucial Role that Digital Technology Plays in Improving Sleep Study Scoring Services

Getting a good night’s sleep, from centuries, has been considered an essential part of wholesome well-being of an individual. Yet, an increasing number of people are facing difficulties in enjoying a long restful sleep owing to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Thankfully, sleep researchers and physicians have been making advancements in treating sleeping disorders, helping their patients live a long, healthy life. And the key to alleviating sleep disorders is sleep study scoring, a test that collects vital information such as nasal and oral airflow, heartbeat, eye movement, muscle movement and snoring, among other things, while the patient sleeps.

The Evolution of Sleep Study Scoring

Before the advent of digital technology, sleep study scoring was a ‘paper and pen’ game. Then, researchers or sleep physicians would manually track all essential information and write it on paper for later examination. The heap of papers with patients’ sleeping recording would then be mailed to a sleep technologist who would study, draw inferences and send his finding back to the patient / his doctor, via snail mail. Needless to say, it was a long process with a higher margin for error.

Today, thanks to the digital technology, all the necessary sleep data is automatically tracked and stored, and can easily be shared with the sleep technologist in a matter of seconds. Presently, patients with suspected sleep disorder can undergo Polysomnograph. Under Polysomnograph, patients visit a sleep centre where their sleeping patterns are studied in a lab environment. Although, digital technology has made it possible for sleep centres to record and share sleep data in a more accurate and faster manner, Polysomnograph tests are yet to fully optimize the boon of digital technology.

As sleep study centres face problems of scheduling, lack of health professionals and rising operational costs, outsourcing sleep study scoring is becoming immensely popular and successful. Outsourced agencies are now helping sleep centres perform off-site sleep studies, often from the home of the patient under HST (Home Sleep Test), a less detailed version of sleep study to test presence or exclusion of sleep apnea.

Outsourcing, together with digital technology, is shaping a brighter future for sleep study scoring. In coming years, wearable technology, AI and IoT will make it possible for patients to easily track their sleep patterns and automatically send the findings to their doctor / sleep technologist through intelligent mobile apps.

How Outsourcing Sleep Study Scoring Works?

Sleep study scoring services employ qualified techs who work with patients from remote locations to score their sleep data in facility approved conditions and protocols. The trained techs focus fully on collecting even the minutest of details and share the sleep data to the sleep technologist through a centralized system that allows all parties involved in the sleep study including the patient. Since the data is transferred via HIPPA compliant software and hardware, patients’ privacy is fully protected.

The Way Forward

With as many as 40 million people undiagnosed of sleep disorders in US alone, there is a huge requirement for qualified sleep study scoring professionals who could help sleep centres with a convenient and cost-effective alternative to sleep study scoring.

As more and more people around the globe are getting affected by the ill-effects of sleep disorders in their daily lives, there is a dire need for leveraging digital technology and offering a convenient and affordable sleep study scoring solution to patients from far corners of the world. Outsourcing sleep study scoring is just the right step in that direction.

Mobile Technology and it’s Significance During Emergencies

Six minutes or less without oxygen and the brain will start to die. Therefore, there is no other deadline as tight as those that professionals in emergency medicine have to deal with on a daily basis. With the limited scope of emergency facilities across the globe, many communities have become increasingly dependent on medicine’s dynamic shift towards mobility.

Quick Diagnostics:

The use of mobile devices can allow for instant, real-time communication with a doctor, helping patients and their families distinguish between emergency and non-emergency cases in an instant.

Patients need not travel long distances to receive crucial tests. They can simply go to a nearby telediagnostic clinic, which can give them instant access to a much-needed MRI, CT Scan or Ultrasound.

This is crucial as, in emergency situations, one’s survival often relies upon how fast the medical team zeroes in on the problem distinguishing between an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke, for instance, can be the single factor that saves a person’s life.

Internet-linked diagnostic tools can be linked to analytic software, which can distinguish deviations from normal in the blink of an eye. What’s more, in cases where automated analysis is not possible, a specialist can immediately begin work on the diagnosis. The patient need not wait for the specialist to wake up in the middle of the night and drive to the hospital for this. The doctor doesn’t even need to have a picture archiving or communication system at home. All she needs is internet and access to a mobile device.

Monitoring At-Risk Patients:

Emergency admissions are far more common in patients who have known health conditions. One advantage of this is that, often, there will be hidden signs of the problem long before the patient actually experiences symptoms.

Mobile diagnostic tools can now be used to detect heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and temperature at regular intervals, ensuring that any changes will not go unnoticed. As well, modern pacemakers and even glucose monitoring tests can now stream data live to the doctor’s own mobile device. Any arrhythmias or glycemic problems will therefore send her device into alert. The doctor can, therefore, estimate which patients are likely to have an adverse event, and recommend intervention or a diagnostic check well before an emergency.

Accidents Happen:

But even in those who do not have a history of chronic illness, accidents can be a problem. Mobile services tailored for such emergencies can help trained bystanders give first aid, as well as keep the incoming paramedics updated on the patients’ status before they arrive at the scene. Because they already have a detailed initial assessment, they can prepare for an immediate medical intervention shortly upon arrival.

This could significantly reduce the number of fatalities in workplaces that contain hazards or in places where road accidents are common.

Developing Tech:

The contributions of mobility to the health care system, at present, is just barely scratching the surface of all the possibilities. As physicians and programmers alike continue to refine and develop Internet of Things technology, fast and quality will become increasingly

Optical Heart Rate Monitoring: Everything You Need to Know

Are you into keeping fit and want to ensure you know your heart rate when you are in the thick of your workout exercising away at the gym? You may even be jogging on your normal every-day route or climbing up a mountain just for the sheer thrill of it. While you’re doing these things you want to keep track of how your heart is functioning? Solution: get yourself a heart rate monitor.

There are many types of heart rate monitors on the market, so which type of heart rate monitor should you buy? Let’s briefly check out Optical Heart Rate Monitoring (OHRM) and see what you should know about these.

A heart rate monitor is much more advanced as compared to a basic step counter that just counts the number of steps you take, accuracy may not be that crucial in this case. A OHRM device on the other hand, tells you how hard your heart works, when you are at rest or physically exerting yourself. You want to get very accurate results here.

How Does Optical Heart Rate Monitoring Work?
Have you heard of a method called photo plethysmography (PPG) to measure heart rate? Well! Most wearable ORHM devices use this method that shines light into our skin and measures the amount of light that our blood flow scatters when our heart rate and blood flow volume changes.

History of PPG:
Though PPG is more than 150 years old, it has been revolutionized in these modern times. In a dark room, people would hold their hand up to a candle to check blood flow and blood vessel structure. Two alternating LEDs were used in the first pulse oximeters in hospitals during the early 1980’s to measure blood oxygen and pulse rate. You still see these used in the finger or ear clip devices used in healthcare facilities, today.

Relevant developments within the last decade have concentrated on motion-tolerant PPG as motion and activity creates a lot of internal noise that needs to be eliminated from the equation to find the blood flow signal.

Relevant Technology:
The four technical components used by PPG to measure heart rate are:

  • Optical Emitter – this is a component that emits light into our skin using a couple of LED’s.
  • Digital Signal Processor (DSP) – this component captures the refracted light from the device user and translates those signals into data reflecting heart rates.
  • Accelerometer – this measures motion and combined with the DSP signal is input into motion-tolerant PPG algorithms.
  • Algorithms – the algorithms process the DSP and accelerometer signals into data that quantifies heart rate, calories burned, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels.

Metrics:

Once you get the motion tolerant PPG reading right, then some of the biometrics you can derive are:

  • Breathing rate
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Heart rate variability
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiac efficiency
  • VO2 Max (maximum volume of oxygen)

Various Forms of OHRM Devices:
Today in the market you can easily find a variety of wearable OHRM devices of all shapes and sizes, including, but not limited to:

  • Wrist bands
  • Smart watches
  • Leg bands
  • Audio earbuds

Conclusion:
OHRM devices today are almost ubiquitous and every fitness minded individual has some form of OHRM device with them. Whether it is in your lifestyle for personal health or in active workout sessions in the gym, jogging up a mountain slope or running down a track, every person concerned with fitness tends to do optical heart rate monitoring in some form or the other.

Five Paradigm-Shift Cardiovascular Technologies to Watch in 2017

If you are suffering from an abnormal heart rhythm issue or AF (atrial fibrillation) and general heart failure (HF), take heart (pun intended!), as the latest innovations in implants for cardiovascular diseases are being created on the medical frontier, and they may shake up the world of patient care in cardiology. New materials and new technologies are contributing to a paradigm shift in cardiovascular technologies to watch for in 2017.

HeartMate 3:

One of the cardiovascular technologies to watch for is the Heartmate 3 Left Ventricular Assist Device or LVAD implant. It has already exceeded the 50,000 mark. More than a million HF patients are possible candidates for this device implant in the US alone.

This LVAD has the capacity to pump up to 10 liters of blood per minute. During a 2- year long trial, the HeartMate 3 showed a 92% rate of 6-month survival for HF patients.

HVAD Pump:

The HVAD leads the world in Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) that is implantable into patients. The HVAD Pump has been approved by the appropriate food and drug authorities in the European Union (2009), Australia (2011), and the USA (2012). To date, more than 11,000 final-stage HF patients have received a second chance at life because of this pump.

The pump facilitates complete assistance in ventricular blood circulation once it is implanted. Surgery is minimal invasion due to its smaller pump circuitry as compared to the competing implant rivals available. The pump design provides ample path for circulation, reducing the chance of an event of hemolysis anemia due to the premature breakdown of red blood cells in the patient.

Watchman:

AF is when a heart beats either too fast, too slow, or very irregularly and research has discovered that 20% of patients with AF suffer strokes. Warfarin, an anticoagulant is widely used to reduce the risk of blood clot formation that typically happens in the left atrial appendage (LAA).

Now patients have a choice to go off continuous warfarin intake, by undergoing a one-time medical implant procedure to implant the Watchman LAA device. This device has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients worldwide and has been approved for commercial use in more than 70 countries, today.

Parachute Implant:

Another of the cardiovascular technologies to watch out for that is still under investigation today.

For HF patients, the left ventricle keeps remodeling due to continued heart failure. This implant separates the damaged part of the left ventricle from the functioning part by compensating for the remodeling and as a result, the efficiency of the heart’s ability to pump blood improves.

Cardialen:

In AF patients, the Cardialen system restores the heart’s natural rhythm by constantly monitoring the heartbeat. If the pacemaker device detects an AF it emits electrical impulses of low-energy that the patient hardly feels, to correct the rhythm of the heartbeat.

The patient can switch the device on and off at will, without fear of it malfunctioning and the positive factor of this device is that it is implanted through a low-cost and minimally invasive process. One of the economic and revolutionary cardiovascular technologies to watch out for.

Conclusion:

The success of these cardiovascular technologies to watch out for and the 5 implant devices will be apparent when data from clinical outcomes are published. At this stage the data is still being collected but these advancements give cardiac doctors and patients something to look forward to for better care and control of heart problems.

Top Healthcare Industry Trends and Challenges

Healthcare, much like other industries that are currently undergoing revolutionary changes, is fast-becoming an oasis of innovation. There is now a greater reliance on technology in tracking patients’ health. These range from wearable tracking devices to more improved patient databases. These improvements hope to enhance healthcare as a whole, and hope to shift everyone’s efforts to patient-centered care.

Nevertheless, there are still the usual hurdles of uncertain and rising medical costs. Focusing on technology has undoubtedly created challenges that innately come with it. These impacts are bound to be huge, to say the least, and equally revolutionary measures have to be done to overcome these hurdles. What is good is that measures are continuously being undertaken to address them.

With that said, the infographic we have designed below will give you a better view of the developments that healthcare in India has undergone in 2016. It’s sure to answer all your questions regarding the future of healthcare in this country.

top-healthcare-industry-trends-and-challenges

 

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