Saturday, December 29, 2007

PatientOS 1.0 Roadmap

PatientOS 1.0 Roadmap: "PatientOS has two years of design and implementation of a solid flexible framework on top of which a clinical information system for physician offices, clinics, hospitals, or any other healthcare facility can be built. Our target for our 1.0 release is to be the most stable and fastest growing open source healthcare information system on any platform."

The open source healthcare space is getting hot :)

DocSite Registry™

DocSite Registry™: "A simple effective solution at an affordable price

For physicians by physicians. DocSite Registry™ demonstrably improves care with minimal disruption to office workflow for a modest price. DocSite Registry is a patient-centric, all conditions registry bringing evidence-based medicine to the point of care without stifling each physician's individualized excellence.
Success one patient at a time

Physicians use the registry to manage chronic, complex and preventive health needs for individual patients or entire patient populations. DocSite Registry graphically organizes relevant clinical information from the patient record to save time during office visits, and supports proactive management of clinical conditions across all patients in the practice showing care elements that are due or out of range.
Measure and report

DocSite Registry allows you to measure and track the care of one patient, as well as populations of patients in your practice. Participate in any clinical integration, health collaborative or quality-based initiative with confidence knowing you have been managing patients using nationally recognized evidenced-based medical guidelines aligned with outcomes measures."

Practice Fusion - Practice Fusion Officially Launches

Practice Fusion - Practice Fusion Officially Launches: "Practice Fusion addresses the complexities and critical needs of today's healthcare environments by proving a revolutionary application and delivery model for physicians and patients at no cost. Practice Fusion offers an integrated, on-demand healthcare platform delivered in a software-as-a-service model that eliminates the complexities associated with licensing, implementation, integration and support usually experienced with leading enterprise software solutions. Practice Fusion dramatically reduces the cost to the practice while enabling providers to deliver the highest level of care possible to their patients."

Finally - a commercially available free or low cost EMR !

Welcome to MedApps and Telemedicine 2.0

Welcome to MedApps and Telemedicine 2.0: "MedApps™ offers a complete system designed specifically to connect people with their healthcare providers by integrating:

• FDA Cleared Devices (internal and external)
• Cell Phone (acting as a “Hub”)
• Bluetooth® (“wireless”)
• Enterprise Level Interactive Voice Response
• Intelligent Call Routing
• Nurse/Agent Awareness

The result is a truly ubiquitous healthcare solution (“Healthcare Anywhere”).

MedApps “listens” around the “Body Area Network” monitoring a patients body, providing a more robust picture of the patient’s health, and bridging the gap between patient and healthcare provider.

MedApps encourages a more active lifestyle by integrating invisibly into a patient's daily activities. Accurate, timely readings help stabilize patient conditions, providing the ability for earlier intervention and enabling a patient to control their disease, instead of the disease controlling the patient."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Avvo.com - grading lawyers

Avvo.com - grading lawyers: " Avvo is a website that rates and profiles every lawyer, so you can choose the right lawyer. Avvo delivers the information and guidance you need to help you make this important decision, even if you’ve never worked with a lawyer before.

1. We profile hundreds of thousands of attorneys, using information from state courts and bar associations, websites, and lawyers themselves.

2. We calculate each lawyer’s Avvo Rating, to help you sort through the profiles.

3. You contribute your firsthand experiences by rating attorneys that you’ve worked with."

It's just a matter of time avvo will start doing this for doctors too !

Develop SOA solutions for healthcare organizations using business-driven development

Develop SOA solutions for healthcare organizations using business-driven development: "Business-driven development is the key methodology in delivering healthcare solutions based on a Service-Oriented Architecture. To ensure the information system to be developed meets the business requirements of the organization, BDD starts by capturing requirements and analyzing business process before investing in code development. In the ambulatory care case study, we conducted interviews with all the stakeholders and documented the expectations and challenges, identified issues and opportunities."

Check out the screenshots ! Delivering healthcare is a complex process - which is why automating it is a tough task. Otherwise, you'll end up as another horror story. " A hospital I talked to two years ago indicated that as the result of its major initiative of Health Information Systems (HIS), it already had a complete HIS in place that provided an integrated information system accessible by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and administrators. One year later, when talking to an IT manager of this hospital, to my surprise, I was told that they were going to re-do the entire system because the system they put in place earlier did not support their business needs. Unfortunately, according a report by the Standish Group, if you have four IT projects going on, three of them will ultimately end up to a similar fate. Only 28 percent of software projects succeed where American companies spend annually upwards of $275 billion on about 200 thousand application software projects. Please see the Resources section for more information."

medIND: Indian Fulltext Bio-Medical Journals Indexed in IndMED

medIND: Indian Fulltext Bio-Medical Journals Indexed in IndMED: "One point resource of peer reviewed Indian biomedical literature covering full text of IndMED journals. It has been designed to provide quick and easy access through searching or browsing."

Great list of Indian medical journals available online, for people looking for peer-reviewed medical articles relating to Indian conditions !

Legal Process Outsourcing: Indian doctors reach US courts, virtually

Legal Process Outsourcing: Indian doctors reach US courts, virtually: " This is a new one for Indian talent helping US lawyers. And this time it is Indian doctors. Forget the $300/hour services being offshored, the outsourcing market is on a roll. How about seeking support from India for services that are typically between $500-$800 an hour?! St. Petersburg Times has this piece on the new use of India. Some snippets:

Sims, the Ocala lawyer, incorporates India into her law practice with a twist on the typical outsourcing model.
After a positive experience with doctors on a trip there, she started MD in a Box. For $90 an hour, the company links lawyers with Indian doctors who screen potential cases, analyze records and perform medical research. The same service with American experts costs between $500 and $800 an hour, Sims said.

The company's most powerful tool is also its most technologically advanced. Lawyers can hire an MD in a Box doctor to be present during depositions using Skype, a software program that allows the doctor to listen to the proceedings in real time. If the Indian doctors catch a defense expert making a medically suspicious claim, they quickly send literature or rebuttal questions to aid the cross-examination."

New roles for Indian doctors !

OpenSource Software - a Primer for Healthcare Leaders

OpenSource Software - a Primer for Healthcare Leaders This is an excellent guide on why open source software can help change the healthcare industry by making PHRs and EMRs affordable for everyone !

E-health: A matter of life and death

E-health: A matter of life and death: "I was standing in the security line at Dallas International airport some months ago when I was approached by a worried-looking gentleman who was carrying a large envelope with papers. He asked if I was travelling to Chennai (I was stopping over at London).

It seems that a family member on holiday in India was undergoing emergency medical surgery and the medical records were needed faster than a courier could get them there. I was struck by the irony of the situation.

Consider this: you can travel anywhere on the planet or pay for your hotel or other purchases by the swipe of a credit card, where the payee authenticates your credit limit.

In essence, your financial information can and is transmitted to wherever it is required in the bat of an eyelid. And yet, the thing that matters most to us, our health and our health records, is pretty much stuck in the Stone Age.

Your medical information, history of medical treatment, surgeries, allergies and so on are recorded on paper and all this stays where it is recorded. If this information is not made available to doctors when and where it is needed, it is pretty useless and could mean the difference between life and death."

McHealthcare - Delivering Consumer-Driven Healthcare


McHealthcare - Delivering Consumer-Driven Healthcare: "McDonald’s consumer focus offers some important lessons for the healthcare providers to ponder as they are forced to transform into more consumer-driven organisations."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

SMS - A new way to tap into health info

SMS - A new way to tap into health info: "Intelecare Compliance Solutions Inc., based in New Haven, Conn., sells a service -- which companies can then provide to their employees or customers -- that sends text, e-mail or voice-mail messages reminding users to take their pills, refill prescriptions, get to appointments or check vital signs. Drug companies, insurers and large employers hoping to improve efficiency and decrease absenteeism are Intelecare's main customers, says 35-year-old Kevin Aniskovich, chief executive.

Next year, Aniskovich says, the company will start a direct-to-consumer service that for $60 a year will offer e-mail, text or voice-mail reminders about prescriptions and appointments. He says that since 'txtspk' can be confusing, the service asks users to type in their own message reminders so they will be familiar with the message when it arrives.

A company called Smile Reminder in Lehi, Utah, lets businesses such as dentists and spas automatically send text and e-mail messages to remind customers of appointments. For dieters, a company called Sensei Inc. in Boca Raton, Fla., part-owned by insurer Humana Inc., will send weight-loss advice and information to Sprint and AT&T mobile-phone users for a weekly fee starting at $5.75. The information shows up in a multimedia format, rather than as a text message."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Expert Patient - How I lost 40 kg in 6 months - without a doctor or a gym !

Here's a first person account of how Mr Rajat changed his life !

" Today, when I look back at 2007 especially January to July, I realize that “ simple determination and basic fundamentals can enable one to achieve almost anything “. Well that’s how I lost 44kgs in 6 months. No doctors, no dieticians, no gym. This is how my story goes …….

It was Nov.,06. I was in full bloom of my glory --- 110kgs and bulging from all sides. I used to hate my mammoth size and appearance but had learnt to live with it. Never thought it was possible to come back to normal size. But the incident in the flight from Mumbai to Surat brought about a resolve in me which I never thought would happen. I took a window seat and managed to squeeze myself in. And minutes later, guess who walked in ---- none other than Mr. Shashi Ruia, Chairman of the Essar Group, where I am employed. After a few minutes of discussion on business, he spent the next half an hour to Surat explaining to me how important it was for me, my family and general quality of life that I lose weight. It was like a father talking to a son, a guru teaching his disciple rather than an employer to an employee. Man, I thought to myself, how much he cares, how concerned he is. Not many people could have spoken with the intensity and feelings and the manner in which he urged me. Believe me, it was a beginning of a new “ME”.

From that day onwards my resolve started growing and finally from 15th Jan.,07 I started my journey on weight reduction. I scanned through the net for an ideal diet and exercise regime but the message I largely got was

The calorie intake has to be lesser than calorie output.

Fruits, boiled vegetables are good enough to provide all the nutrients.

Walking/jogging are the best form of exercises.

Yoga is also very good coupled with aerobics.

Better to break exercise in two parts – morning and evening.

So I started with vigorous walks both morning and evening. Initially I would do about 8 kms and gradually stepped it up to 20 kms ( 10 in the morning and 10 evening). Twice a week to break the monotony I would swim about 2.5 to 3 kms. Simultaneously I started reducing my diet.

My normal diet was 2 eggs in the morning with 2 slices of bread and a glass of juice. Lunch comprised rice/noodles and soup. Dinner was always heavy post 3 to 4 drinks with mouthwatering snacks. Gradually, over a month, I came down to fruits in the morning – no lunch – fruits/ boiled vegetable at night with lots of hot water through the day.

Within 15 days I could see the results. On 1st Feb. 100kgs. And I was extremely motivated. By Valentines day 96 Kgs…… mid March 88Kgs …… end April 75Kgs and 66Kgs by end July.

There was a lot of advice coming around from various sources. Do this….. don’t do this, are you feeling weak and so on. At one point of time I got very scared even though I was feeling at the top of the world. The family physician gave me one simple advice. Listen to your body. If there is something wrong your body will tell you. Do not ignore those signals such as spin in the head, giddiness, cramps etc. I felt none.

Today I am maintaining myself between 65 and 68Kgs and feel great. If you are keen on shedding Kgs build up a resolve and go for it. If a guy like me can do it anybody can, so go ahead and do it. At any point of time you feel like talking to me please feel free to write to me on my mail address ---- rajprenik@yahoo.co.in

Best of luck,

RAJAT GUPTA

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a before and after !




Compare medicine prices in India

Compare medicine prices in India : "It is impossible for a doctor to remember the prices of all competitive brands of a given medicine. He can recall only a few at the time of writing the prescription. Here you can find the price of the same medicine from different companies. If you find a cheaper brand please go back and ask your doctor whether you could take that. This will save you money on purchase of medicines and will not require your doctor to rely upon his memory to remember prices."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Making a Killing - HMOs and the Threat to Your Health

Making a Killing - HMOs and the Threat to Your Health: " One of the most powerful indictments of the managed care industry, this scathing exposé presents case histories of those who have lost their health or their lives because an HMO denied or delayed vital treatments, tests or surgery. ... This lively probe is must reading for anyone concerned with the health of the U.S. medical system."

You can read the full book here online. Excellent examples of what you can do to protect yourself and fight for your rights !

Patient Advocate Primer: Persuade, Plan, Passion, Pin.

Patient Advocate Primer: Persuade, Plan, Passion, Pin: " To be an effective advocate for yourself or someone else, there are a host of principles you can follow and many excellent books on the methods of advocacy. "

Here is a basic primer."

The California Patient's Guide: Introduction

The California Patient's Guide: Introduction: "How do I get copies of my medical records? What should I do if my health plan denies coverage for a particular treatment? How do I file a grievance against my health care plan? And, when can I sue my HMO? Can my health care plan exclude coverage for my pre-existing condition? If I don't have insurance, what are my rights to receive emergency medical treatment? What health care programs are available to me if I cannot afford private insurance?"

Excellent advise if you find yourself getting frustrated and upset. Full of useful tips and practical tools !

HealthCareCoach.com

HealthCareCoach.com: "Getting the health care you and your family needs isn't always easy in a system that's constantly changing. HealthCareCoach.com is packed with facts and do-it-yourself tips on everything from health insurance to patient care - to help you help yourself. For over three decades, our independent, non-profit group of health law specialists has given consumers the information they need to get the best out of the system."

VA National Center for Patient Safety - Cuture Change

VA National Center for Patient Safety - Cuture Change: "The goal of a Root Cause Analysis is to find out

* What happened
* Why did it happen
* What to do to prevent it from happening again.

Root Cause Analysis is a tool for identifying prevention strategies. It is a process that is part of the effort to build a culture of safety and move beyond the culture of blame.

In Root Cause Analysis, basic and contributing causes are discovered in a process similar to diagnosis of disease - with the goal always in mind of preventing recurrence."

Italian court rules against law restricting artificial reproduction

Italian court rules against law restricting artificial reproduction: " An Italian court has barred enforcement of a legal ban on genetic testing of the human embryos to be used in in vitro fertilization. The December 23 judgment by a court in Florence came in a case brought by a couple from Milan, challenging the law's effective ban on using the in vitro process to ensure a baby of the desired sex. The court's ruling was a strike against the law regulating artificial means of reproduction, which has been challenged as overly restrictive, but was upheld by a popular vote in 2005."

Does this mean that the law finally recognises that decisions involving their own bodies and reproductive rights are best made by patients - and not by bureaucrats ?

VA National Center for Patient Safety - Triage

VA National Center for Patient Safety - Triage: "This is a set of computer screens that will help you use the questions in a systematic way and lead your team to root causes for this case."

This is a great resource for analysing medical errors - and preventing them !

PATIENT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT HANDBOOK

PATIENT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT HANDBOOK This Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Handbook provides guidance for minimizing the chance of the occurrence of untoward outcomes consequent to medical care.
This is a new handbook that incorporates Root Cause Analysis, a widely understood methodology for dealing with patient safety-related issues allowing for clear and more rapid communication of information up and down the organization, thus speeding the process of safety improvement.

Monday, December 24, 2007

HealthBlog and Mobile solutions

HealthBlog and Mobile Solutions : "All of this has huge implications for the healthcare industry. I've written before about the power of Unified Communications and how commodity software will enable personalized tele-medicine and tele-health applications that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. Here at the conference there are a number of old and new companies focusing on wireless applications and services for the healthcare industry. Examples include Intelliview, TELUS, Rogers Communications, InnoTraction, Capital Health, St. Jude Medical, and Dynastream Innovations. Not attending this conference, but a growing presence in this space is HealthPhone; a company offering highly mobile data capture solutions for healthcare providers who call on assisted living centers and nursing homes. HealthPhone also has a number of health and wellness services aimed at the consumer market.

Where is all this going? In the same way that young people increasingly experience the world through social networking channels (check out the new Zune by the way), service industries are reaching for technologies that will seamlessly connect them to new virtual markets. Healthcare is no exception. In fact, the opportunities here may be even greater than those of other industries considering the vast sums of money being spent by consumers, employers, and governments on healthcare delivery and wellness. "

HealthBlog- Medical Tourism. The World is Flat

HealthBlog. Medical Tourism. The World is Flat: "These hospitals in India and Thailand are no ordinary facilities even by US standards. Most American hospital administrators would be green with envy. The all-private-room facilities look more like 5-star hotels than hospitals and sport the very latest top-of-the-line imaging devices, therapeutic modalities, and information technologies. And unlike American Hospitals, when you check in for service here you know exactly how much you'll pay upon discharge.

In many ways this would be the story of American automobile manufacturing all over again were it not for the fact that not all patients can or will go overseas for treatment. But as the world grows flatter, in much the same way that the Japanese and Koreans have transformed the auto industry, global competition is making American healthcare a target for some revolutionary changes. And contemporary IT will play a significant role in all of this by making health information, healthcare quality, and pricing totally transparent and by facilitating communication and collaboration between care teams and patients across the seven seas."

FreeMD™ Your Virtual Doctor

FreeMD™ Your Virtual Doctor This is one of the cleverest consumer health websites I have ever seen ! It allows patients to find out what the possible reasons for their symptoms could be - and when they need to go and see their doctor. Just type in any symptom ( such as wheezing) to give it a spin. It's got a very attractive and simple user interface - and combines both video and text with an artificial intelligence engine to provide a very valuable service ! It's been developed by Dr Schueler, which means it's got a trusted and reliable pedigree. Full marks !

The Society for Innovative Practice Design

The Society for Innovative Practice Design: "The Society for Innovative Practice Design brings together physicians who understand and accept the challenge of bridging the gap between the theory and the practice of consumer driven medicine. The redesign of medical practice by our member physicians has as its core a clear understanding that the physician works on behalf of the patient, not the managed care plan, the employer or the government providing the insurance coverage. Many innovative practices even create a financial firewall between themselves and third-party payers because they have found the culture of third-party payment a distraction from their primary focus on patients.

The interest of physicians in redesigning medical practice focuses on dealing with opportunities and problems that embrace both patient care and practice economics:

Growing patient demand for prevention-focused primary care services

A need to improve practice efficiency by controlling the expenses of contracting with third-party payers

A need to develop innovative financing arrangements that are patient friendly rather than dictatorial.

The reengineering of practice operations to improve patient service and convenience"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Symbols for Use in Health Care

Symbols for Use in Health Care Hablamos Juntos, an initiative of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,
was launched to eliminate language barriers and improve the quality of health care for people with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Symbols and universal and can be part of a viable and dynamic system that can assist all people, regardless of their reading skill level, to feel more comfortable and confident within a
health care facility.

Pharmacist-Provided Disease Management Programs: Evidence of Success

Pharmacist-Provided Disease Management Programs: Evidence of Success Implementing a team approach to care improves diabetes management. Increasingly, pharmacists are members of these teams,
providing such services as education, screening, and medication monitoring as they work collaboratively with physician colleagues to help patients meet their goals.

The Role for Pharmacists

Pharmacists can get involved in the care of patients who have or are at risk for developing diabetes; some activities include:
Identifying patients at risk for Type II diabetes due to known risk factors
Conducting blood glucose screening of patients with risk factors
Offering point-of-dispensing services including reminders for proper preventive care and glucose testing
Disease state management
Providing patient education

Strategies to Improve Communication Between Pharmacy Staff and Patients: Training Program for Pharmacy Staff

Strategies to Improve Communication Between Pharmacy Staff and Patients: Training Program for Pharmacy Staff: " This training program is designed to introduce pharmacists to the problem of low health literacy in patient populations and to identify the implications of this problem for the delivery of health care services. The program also explains techniques that pharmacy staff members can use to improve communication with patients who may have limited health literacy skills."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

IVF Ethics Questionnaire

IVF Ethics Questionnaire: " The objective of this questionnaire is to examine views regarding assisted reproductive technology and ongoing advances in the field of in vitro fertilization (IVF). We are interested in the opinions of scientists and physicians, previous and current patients, and anyone else who is interested in IVF. We intend to present the collected data at major fertility conferences around the world and online at IVF.net."

Very thought-provoking questions !

Friday, December 21, 2007

6 Tips for Making Your Patient Education Pieces Easier to Understand

6 Tips for Making Your Patient Education Pieces Easier to Understand : "

1. What do you want the patient to do as a result of your document? Make sure that everything in the document supports that goal.
2. Use short simple statements that are jargon-free. If you must use jargon, include a dictionary of those terms at the end of the document.
3. If you are using a question and answer format, phrase the questions exactly as your patients do.
4. Prune your text. Take out unnecessary words, even paragraphs. Does everything in the text support the goal of the document?
5. Browse through Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care for a wonderful illustration of writing that stood the test of time for clarity.
6. Ask some patients to proofread a draft for you and indicate where they got stuck in the document. Where did they have to stop and re-read? What questions did they have as they went along, and were those questions answered? What do the patients think they were supposed to do as a result of reading the document?"

Susan Keane Baker: Presenter and Speaker on Service Quality for Health Care Organizations

ReminderMed - Home

ReminderMed - Home: "Surveys show 75% of people don't take their prescriptions as directed. When asked, half said they forgot to take their medication. Non-compliance results in 125,000 deaths each year in the US. Don't be one of them. Life being what it is, there are lots of reasons why people forget to take their medications. So having someone around that'll remind you when it's time to take that pill is a good thing. And if you have a mobile phone, then ReminderMed™ is that good thing. In fact it could save your life."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stress, sex and infertility

We are now seeing many "infertile" couples who are having difficulty conceiving because they are too stressed or too busy to have sex ! This is the price couples often pay for living in a huge metropolis like Bombay !

Having a sexual problem is bad enough - and the added stress of the involunatary " infertility " makes it even worse. This often becomes a negative vicious cycle, which is hard to break.

The traditional response was to go to a sexologist or psychiatrist for counselling - with expectedly poor results, because talking does not make the problem go away !
The next step was to forget about the sex altogether and just focus on having a baby by going to a gynecologist for an artificial insemination. Often, this can be very hard on the ego - and it's not easy to make time to go to a doctor's clinic for these super-busy couples. The result is often that the baby-making gets postponed year after year - often until it's too late !

We are very pleased to sell a Comprehensive DIY Fertility Treatment Kit online . The kit costs only Rs 4400 ( about US $ 100 only) and includes the following:

1. An Ovulation Prediction Test Kit, to help you determine your "fertile time"

2. Self-Insemination Kit, to help you insert the sperm in the vagina

3. A Penile Vibratory Stimulator, to help you ejaculate

4. Non-Toxic Condoms, to collect the semen



We feel this simple kit will help many more Urban Stressed Infertile Couples to have their own babies ! It's much easier than going to a doctor - and much less expensive and more fun !

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Treating India's ailing healthcare system by championing patient education

Most of us would agree that though Indian doctors are amongst the best in the world, the Indian healthcare system is sick. Private healthcare can be world-class; but this is expensive and unaffordable for the vast majority. While the government does provide free healthcare, a lot of it is of very poor quality. Both doctors and patients are unhappy, as evidenced by the increasing violence against doctors and patients.

One reason for this sad state of affairs is that the entire medical system is built around the doctor. This is crazy! Healthcare is a service industry, and should be designed around the patient. The best way of doing this would be empowering patients with information, so they know how to get the best medical care, in partnership with their doctor.

Unfortunately, patient education seems to be no one's baby, as a result of which it is a relatively neglected area. This is a shame, because the potential cost-benefit ratio is huge! For the investment of a small amount of money, it's possible to improve the healthcare millions of patients receive. Patients represent healthcare's largest resource - and they have been untapped so far. If we can make intelligent use of patients, and help them to make use of their intelligence, everyone will benefit!

An investment in patient education is one of the most cost-effective ways of improving healthcare in India. Well-informed patients will take much better care of themselves, and information therapy will help to make medical care much more patient-centric.

This can be a major opportunity for pharmacists. So far, chemists in India have been treated as "baniyas", who only sell medicines. This is partly because most of them have only focused on making money, by selling products. They do not provide any value addition. However, the traditional small chemist shop is now under threat, as the large retail healthcare chains enter India. Just like the small "mom and pop" grocery stores are closing down because Indians prefer to shop in large malls, the large pharmacy chains will wipe out the small chemist, because of their financial muscle and ability to provide better service. The only way the small chemist can counter this threat is by providing better service to his patients. Patients are thirsty for information, but their doctors are often too busy to talk to them. If pharmacists (who are also professionals and expert in their field) can take the time and trouble to educate their patients, their customers will remain faithful to them!

The good news is that there is a lot of patient educational material which is now freely available. It's easy to adapt this – and to translate this into local languages. This investment in patient education will actually help pharmacists to increase their business!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Healthwise Handbook - now in India !

What can you do to manage your back ache at home ?
Is there a safe and simple home remedy for your nagging cough ?
Is your child's fever serious ? When should you take him to your doctor ?

Your husband has chest pain. Should you panic ? Is this heartburn ? Or a heart-attack ?
Solutions to the daily health problems we all encounter every day can start with this comprehensive self-care guide from Healthwise.

While health care crises of cost, quality, and staffing continue to make headlines, Healthwise has been helping people transform their role from passive recipients of health care to active, engaged partners.

Since 1975, people continue to use and trust the family of Healthwise Handbook to help them:
Do more for themselves.
Ask for the care they need.
Say “no” to the care they don’t need.
Used by employers, hospitals, and health plans, the family of Healthwise self-care handbooks are proven to help improve self-care, reduce unnecessary doctor and emergency department visits, and increase consumer loyalty. They are the "aspirin" in the information formulary, because they offer solutions to many common health problems for very little cost. They help a family make basic decisions about:
Prevention, home treatment, and when to call a health professional.
How to make wise decisions about tests, medications, and surgeries.
How to make lifestyle choices to improve health.

People turn to the Handbook about seven times a year. One client reported saving an estimated $34.5 million in unnecessary doctor and ER visits in just 30 months with the Healthwise Handbook . Over 30 million copes of the Healthwise Handbook have been sold worldwide !

The unique feature of this new edition is Go-to-Web icons which direct you to the online Healthwise Knowledgebase for more in-depth information, combining the convenience of print with the depth and currency of the Internet.

Covers more than 200 common health problems.
Provides help with topics ranging from ear infections to diabetes with clear, easy-to-understand information and full-color illustrations.
Go-to-Web icons connect to the online Healthwise Knowledgebase.

You can order this invaluable book online now ! This is the authorised low-cost high-quality Indian reprint of the latest US edition. We will ship to Indian addresses only . It's only Rs 395 ( including the cost of couriering to your address in India). It's a great gift to give to your family members and employees too !



We ship to Indian addresses only !

Photonovels for patient education

Photonovels for patient education : "Photonovels (or fotonovelas) are like comic books, but they are compiled using photographs and captions and they are a highly visual and creative form of getting a message across to wide ranging audiences. Based on the revolutionary Brazilian educator Paulo Friere’s concepts of participatory education, the process of creating the photonovel allows learners to define the content and outcome of their own learning by creating a story line about an important topic or theme and then acting it out; using photography as a means to express a story and message.
Essentially, the genre of the photonovel challenges a more traditional educational approach because it has the learner as the main subject in the pedagogical process."

These are a great way of teaching patients , since they combine story telling with pictures - and they are so easy to produce with today's technology !

Monday, December 17, 2007

Health insurance companies - healthcare goes retail

" The average American now spends more than $6,600 a year on healthcare and, for the most part, has only vague ideas as to where that money goes, how to manage it or how to navigate the healthcare system. As a rule, the information provided by health plans is sparse, confusing and usually out of date.
Although health plans are increasingly embracing consumer-oriented product designs and strategies, many have left the consumer in the dark.
“It is hard to believe that an industry that plays such an important role in the lives of consumers
doesn’t provide regular statements that answer basic questions about benefits, funds and care,” says Dan Spirek, senior vice president and chief solutions officer of The TriZetto Group, Inc.
As healthcare costs continue rising to record levels,1 consumers are taking on greater responsibility for both costs and decision-making, and they need information with which to manage these responsibilities effectively, Spirek says.
“Here’s an opportunity for our industry to step up and deliver a solution to a fundamental consumer problem.”
Healthcare payers are ideally positioned to deliver the information and guidance that consumers
need, but few have taken steps to meet these needs. If payers hope to play a central role in the
changing healthcare market, they can’t afford to ignore their constituents’ needs for transparent
information. Payers that don’t take steps to deliver critical information to key constituents—members, providers, employers and brokers—will lose market share to those that do."
Making health and benefit information transparent through personalized consumer statements—the topic of this paper—is one innovative way that payers can advance their transparency strategies and further engage members.

The consumer statement also can direct members to appropriate health and wellness programs, provide discount coupons for fitness-center membership, explain incentive programs, deliver information about upcoming educational seminars, and more. The consumer health and benefit statement is more than just a snapshot in time; it is also a way for payers to drive greater usage of their web sites and further engage members to help them make sound financial and health decisions.

TriZetto® is releasing a series of papers that explore transparency and its implications for payers. This paper, the second in the series, focuses on transparent health and benefit information and how personalized consumer statements help meet member needs for information and guidance regarding benefits, funds and care.
To request a copy of the first paper, Healthcare Goes Retail: Consumer and Provider Cost
Transparency for the Emerging Consumer Retail Healthcare Market, please visit www.trizetto.com. Upcoming papers will cover key areas such as how integrated technology solutions can help payers make the evaluation and selection of healthcare benefits and services more enjoyable for consumers; and why payers should focus on care coordination and integrating health incentives across members and providers, instead of settling for narrowly defined pay-for-performance programs for providers.

Transparency: The Key to Unlocking Consumer-Directed Care

Transparency: The Key to Unlocking Consumer-Directed Care: "Forward-thinking health plans ( insurance companies) are using technology to harness these existing links and combine data to create personal health records (PHR) for their members. With the member’s permission, this comprehensive and secure look at a patient’s health status can be made available to the provider at the point of care, via the Internet, resulting in more efficient and higher-quality care. The creation of a PHR hosted by payors has a multitude of possibilities. Before providing care, a physician or hospital can first check the patient’s eligibility and review her allergies, current medications, recent diagnoses, etc. The benefits of this type of transparency – in which information is shared among the payor, provider and member – can include decreased misdiagnosis and drug interaction, reduced duplicate testing, improved patient care and satisfaction, higher enrollment in appropriate disease prevention programs, and more efficient use of the provider’s time.

SAS | On-Demand Webcast - Intuitive Health Plan Reporting

SAS | On-Demand Webcast - Intuitive Health Plan Reporting: "The call for more and more information is permeating our everyday life. Certainly, health insurers and their customers are no exception.

Today’s insurance benefit plans are evolving from more traditional products to those reliant upon medical case management, incentives for improved outcomes, member lifestyle change and increased member health accountability. Thus, the demand for information is great – as is the need for insightful data and analysis."

Good Personal Health Records: Documentation Can Mean Life Or Death

Good Personal Health Records: Documentation Can Mean Life Or Death: "Keeping comprehensive health records consolidates important information in one place and makes it quick and easy to access. 'You are the only person who has your whole health picture,' Hayman said. 'It's out there in pieces all over the place.'"

Personal Health Records

Personal Health Records President Bush and Secretary Leavitt have put forward a vision that, in the Secretary’s words, “would create a personal health record that patients, doctors and other health care providers could securely access through the Internet no matter where a patient is seeking medical care.” The National Health Information Infrastructure Workgroup of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) held six hearings on personal health records (PHRs) and PHR systems in 2002-2005. On the basis of those hearings, the Workgroup developed a letter report with twenty recommendations that it sent to the Secretary in September 2005. Citing the role PHR systems could play in improving health and healthcare and furthering the broad health information technology agenda, the letter report urges the Secretary to exercise leadership and give priority to developing PHRs and PHR systems, consistent with the Committee’s recommendations.

Medicine as a service business

Medicine as a service business : "The best way to answer that question is to recognize that hematology/oncology and medicine in general is a business. Once you understand the basic principles of business, you realize that whether you are in the retail clothing business, the hardware store business, the retail pharmacy business, or sales in general, the central focus is service. All successful businesses provide a needed service to their customers. And in this case, the customer is the patient. Those who provide the best service in the best environment with the best personnel will be successful.

Consolidating all care services into one center makes receiving those services much easier for the patient. And referring doctors like it too, because they know their patients are getting the best care. A centralized cancer center also offers several benefits in a business sense. For instance, it offers easy accessibility for referrals for outpatient radiology and laboratory services.

Because of these and other benefits, the concept of a consolidated center is becoming more prevalent. Several oncologists are trying to copy our concept by offering patient-centered care in an all-in-one facility."

How to get your insurance company to pay for new treatments

How to get your insurance company to pay for new treatments: "Total disc replacement is a new treatment that insurance companies (third party payors) are just beginning to recognize. Many insurance companies do not have a standard policy for covering total disc replacement procedures, so physicians and patients may be required to petition these companies to cover the procedure. Instructions for requesting coverage for total disc replacement surgery and sample letter templates that can be modified and sent to insurance companies to request coverage are provided below."

You can adapt these excellent instructions and model letters anytime you need to ask your insurance company to cover a new ( and possibly experimental) medical treatment.

Reimbursement guide - how to fight your HMO !

Reimbursement guide - how to fight your HMO ! This is an excellent guide which will help you to get reimbursement from your insurance company in case they deny your claim! It tells you what you and your doctor need to do to get pre-authorisation; and how to document the appeal process in case the claim is denied !

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Patients More Satisfied With Automated Test Results, Survey Finds - iHealthBeat

Patients More Satisfied With Automated Test Results, Survey Finds - iHealthBeat: "Patients who received test results from physicians who use automated management systems were more satisfied than patients with physicians who did not use the systems, according to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Healthcare IT News reports.

The study, published in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that the systems significantly increased patient satisfaction with test results communication. Patients also were more satisfied with the information they received for treatments and conditions associated with their results, Healthcare IT News reports.

Researchers surveyed 570 patients who visited 26 ambulatory clinics that adopted Results Manager, an automated test results system embedded in an electronic health record system. Patients were surveyed before and after the system was adopted, as well as at clinics that did not adopt the system."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Improving Medicine: The Checklist:The New Yorker

Improving Medicine: The Checklist - The New Yorker: "But, with the checklist, what we have is Peter Pronovost trying to see if maybe, in the next year or two, hospitals in Rhode Island and New Jersey will give his idea a try. Pronovost remains, in a way, an odd bird in medical research. He does not have the multimillion-dollar grants that his colleagues in bench science have. He has no swarm of doctoral students and lab animals. He’s focussed on work that is not normally considered a significant contribution in academic medicine. As a result, few other researchers are venturing to extend his achievements. Yet his work has already saved more lives than that of any laboratory scientist in the past decade. I called Pronovost recently at Johns Hopkins, where he was on duty in an I.C.U. I asked him how long it would be before the average doctor or nurse is as apt to have a checklist in hand as a stethoscope (which, unlike checklists, has never been proved to make a difference to patient care). “At the current rate, it will never happen,” he said, as monitors beeped in the background. “The fundamental problem with the quality of American medicine is that we’ve failed to view delivery of health care as a science. The tasks of medical science fall into three buckets. One is understanding disease biology. One is finding effective therapies. And one is insuring those therapies are delivered effectively. That third bucket has been almost totally ignored by research funders, government, and academia. It’s viewed as the art of medicine. That’s a mistake, a huge mistake. And from a taxpayer’s perspective it’s outrageous.”

What a simple idea ! Make you wonder why everyone doesn't do it. And if checklists are so important for doctors, they are even more important for patients !

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Sugar Level - Online diabetes tracking & charting software for all diabetics

My Sugar Level - Online diabetes tracking & charting software for all diabetics: "The Visual Management Tool for Diabetics Do you have diabetes? Do you take your blood sugar levels frequently? Do you find it difficult to visualize how well you are doing? My Sugar Level will help you organize all your important diabetes related readings and levels. You can try My Sugar Level free for one month - Sign up now! My Sugar Level enables you to see how well you are doing on easy to read graphs. You will be able to build a record of your progress through a series of graphs which you can share with your healthcare professionals or personal mentors. My Sugar Level lets you see your results on real-time animated graphs allowing you to interact with each entry to see more information and to easily edit your records."

Reassessing Health Care Consumers Online - iHealthBeat

Reassessing Health Care Consumers Online - iHealthBeat: "He believes that smart agents will help improve the personalization and relevance of online health information. He notes, 'There are some useful trends relating to information agents that could apply wonderfully to health care.' For instance, the travel industry is now going beyond booking and best-price finding, and some sites allow consumers to enter their preferences and then build an itinerary based on what other customers have done. Morrow said, 'These are the kinds of trends that I look outside of health care for -- to see what might or should happen that could be slick for health care.'"

Health Care Unplugged: The Evolving Role of Wireless Technology - CHCF.org

Health Care Unplugged: The Evolving Role of Wireless Technology - CHCF.org: "Wireless technology enables clinicians to monitor patients remotely and give them timely health information, reminders, and support—potentially extending the reach of health care by making it available anywhere, anytime. This report is based on interviews with more than two dozen researchers, clinicians, and application developers, along with a review of a broad range of published papers and articles, Web resources, and other materials. It includes an overview of who is using wireless technology and how it is evolving, as well as the wide variety of wireless health care applications that are already available or under development. The impact these advances could have on providers, patients, and payers is also explored, as are the difficult issues that must still be resolved. The author concludes that the health care industry's appetite for wireless applications will likely depend more on systemic changes in the way medical services are delivered and reimbursed than the capabilities of the technology itself."

Research Data Show Variations in E-Health Behaviors - iHealthBeat

Research Data Show Variations in E-Health Behaviors - iHealthBeat: "'Research' and 'Locate': The Two Top Verbs in E-Health The top four online health activities conducted by U.S. residents all involve the activity of researching: prescriptions (38% of people), treatment options (37%), medical procedures (37%) and disease/wellness information (31%). After that, people are mostly using online health sources for locating: finding directions to a hospital or facility (28% of people) and looking for doctors by searching online directories (26%)."

Hewitt Launches New Tool to Help Companies Quantify Cost Impact of Value-Based Health Care Designs

Hewitt Launches New Tool to Help Companies Quantify Cost Impact of Value-Based Health Care Designs : "'Value-based design is a viable and compelling approach that — when integrated with other employer initiatives such as focused employee communication, disease management, coaching and wellness programs — can better support and influence the interactions between patients and providers and enable positive patient behaviors while improving health outcomes,' said Jennifer Boehm, a principal at Hewitt Associates who is leading Hewitt's efforts in this area. 'But while these designs are appealing in concept, most companies have struggled with an effective way to quantify the cost implications associated with them. 'We've worked closely with Dr. Fendrick and Professor Chernew to create a comprehensive and interactive tool that enables companies to model, in a fiscally responsible yet clinically sensitive way, 'what if' scenarios that help them understand the cost impact of prescription drug plan changes necessary to implement the most effective value-based design for their employee population.'"

Hewitt Associates : A Holistic Approach to Improving Health and Health Care

Hewitt Associates: A Holistic Approach to Improving Health and Health Care : "In a quest to make a difference in the health and health care of their employees, employers are starting to think about how they are influencing the behavior and accountability of both their employee population and their health care plan providers. Employers can support positive behavior of employees — acting as a 'consumer' or 'patient' — by providing information and education, targeted incentives, and clinically sensitive plan designs. Successful employers will deliver measurable results that yield improved health outcomes, more present and productive workers, and lower costs."

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Cancer Survival Toolbox

The Cancer Survival Toolbox: "The Cancer Survival Toolbox is a free, self-learning audio program that has been developed by leading cancer organizations to help people develop important skills to better meet and understand the challenges of their illness. On this site, you can read or listen to the Toolbox in English and Spanish, or download the files to read or listen later. Chinese transcripts are also available. The goal of the Toolbox is to help you develop practical tools in your daily life as you deal with your cancer diagnosis and treatment. Family members and caregivers can also use the Toolbox on behalf of a child or anyone else with cancer."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Overview of Misdiagnosis - WrongDiagnosis.com

Overview of Misdiagnosis - WrongDiagnosis.com: "One of the first issues for a newly diagnosed patient is to consider whether the diagnosis is correct. It is important to validate a diagnosis and be certain of its accuracy. On the other hand, hoping for a misdiagnosis should not be used as a way to vaccilate and avoid treatment for a serious medical problem. Nevertheless, it is prudent to attempt to confirm a diagnosis via methods such as seeking second opinions, consulting specialists, getting further medical tests, and researching information about the medical condition."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Differential Diagnosis: Confirming Your Diagnosis

Differential Diagnosis: Confirming Your Diagnosis: "How does your doctor figure out your diagnosis? His thought process should work like that of a detective. Using clues drawn from your descriptions of symptoms, your medical tests, his knowledge of medicine, and additional input, your doctor will make a list of all the possible diagnoses that could explain what is medically wrong with you. Then, one by one, using those same clues, he will begin to narrow down the list by finding clues that don't fit. That process of elimination is called 'differential diagnosis.' Ultimately he will be left with one diagnosis, and that's the one he gives you. What Happens Next? Most patients think the next step is to ask about options for treatment. After all, they want to know how to fix or cure whatever their health problem is. But you, the empowered patient, know better. Or at least you will, once you've learned what to do next. Ask your doctor, 'What else can it be?' These five words can make a major difference in your care."

Effective Patient - Doctor Communications

Effective Patient - Doctor Communications: "There are more challenges than ever in today's healthcare environment. Limited appointment time, the ability of patients to do their own research which then needs to be discussed with practitioners, and the numbers of patients who are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed; these challenges and others make effective communications between patients and their practitioners more important than ever. Good communications really boils down to two things: respect for each other, and the ability to manage expectations. The following will help you understand how to be a good communicator yourself, and what to expect from a practitioner who is a good communicator."

Your Role as a Partner on Your Healthcare Team

Your Role as a Partner on Your Healthcare Team: "Perhaps the most important trait that separates an empowered patient from one who is not empowered is the role of 'active participant.' Active participants are those patients who realize that when they begin to experience symptoms, or at the point where they recognize that something in their body isn't functioning correctly, it's time for them to actively seek answers and solutions in collaboration with other members of their healthcare team. To be an empowered patient, you must recognize yourself as the hub of the healthcare wheel. Each other participant is positioned at the end of a spoke, allowing them to work directly with you, and in concert with the other team members found at the other spokes."

When the Patient Is a Googler - TIME

When the Patient Is a Googler - TIME: "Susan got me thinking about patients. Nurses are my favorites — they know our language and they're used to putting their trust in doctors. And they laugh at my jokes. But engineers, as a class, are possibly the best patients. They're logical and they're accustomed to the concept of consultation — they're interested in how the doctor thinks about their problem. They know how to use experts. If your orthopedist thinks about arthritis, for instance, in terms of friction between roughened joint surfaces, you should try to think about it, generally, in the same way. There is little use coming to him or her for help if you insist your arthritis is due to an imbalance between yin and yang, an interruption of some imaginary force field or a dietary deficiency of molybdenum. There's so much information (as well as misinformation) in medicine — and, yes, a lot of it can be Googled — that one major responsibility of an expert is to know what to ignore."

My favourite patients are entrepreneurs. They are good at making decisions - and for taking responsibility for themselves !

OutofPocket Weblog

OutofPocket Weblog: "I have become a cost-conscious consumer of health care services, and I shop around for the best value, just like I would shop around for a car or electronics. The only problem is there are no Consumer Reports for health care where I can easily find the best value for health care services. I have no meaningful tools to help me make informed choices about where to find the best value for routine health care services like MRIs, X-rays, vaccinations, mammograms, and office visits. How do I avoid the overpriced providers with poor performance ratings? Now that I pay out of pocket for these services (up to $5000), how do shop for value? How do I find out what other patients think of a physician that is listed in my plans network?"

Monday, December 03, 2007

NPR : India's Middle Class Gets Brand-Name Health Care

NPR : India's Middle Class Gets Brand-Name Health Care: "Down the street looms the new, granite-clad facade of the Wockhardt Hospital — part of a fast-growing chain of for-profit hospitals. Underneath the Wockhardt name, in letters just as big, it says 'Harvard Medical International.' Vishal Bali, CEO of the Wockhardt Hospitals Group, says his company — far from the largest Indian hospital chain, but with big ambitions — formed an alliance with Harvard because 'we felt what we needed was a partner who would hand-hold us into getting the best practices from the American heath care system.'"

The Benefits, and Potential Side Effects, of Sharing Medical Records Online - Knowledge@Wharton

The Benefits, and Potential Side Effects, of Sharing Medical Records Online - Knowledge@Wharton: "Hsu expects concerns about the electronic transfer of personal medical information to fade over time. While medical information is guarded more closely than financial data, there are similarities. Initially, financial data was largely paper-based and consumers were reluctant to share information electronically. Today, web-based banking and financial transactions are commonplace. Personal health records may follow the same path, says Hsu. 'Electronic banking faced initial resistance too,' he notes. 'Remember, it is still quite early in the Internet age. So there will have to be education about electronic medical records, a clear value proposition and a lot of selling before people are prepared to make the transition.'"

Who will pay for a PHR?

Who will pay for a PHR?
" Lots of possibilities

- Logical: Payer, Provider, Risk-holder
- Mind boggling: Citibank, NRA
- Established players: Harvard Medical School, Microsoft
- New players: Hdox, American Well

Do we know how this will play out?
No, NO-ONE YET KNOWS!
Don’t let anyone kid you otherwise."

Richard Dale lists 26 possible business models !

PHRs: Barriers and Enablers

PHRs: Barriers and Enablers

Barriers
- Immature standards (for portability of data)
- Difficulty reaping economic benefits where funding for PHR originates
- Perverse incentives of the healthcare system

Enablers
- Desire to improve healthcare
- Increasing cost of poor health in direct and indirect costs to business
- Business opportunities driven by PHR infrastructure

Benefits of Electronic Health Records Seen as Outweighing Privacy Risks - WSJ.com

Benefits of Electronic Health Records Seen as Outweighing Privacy Risks - WSJ.com: "A sizable majority of Americans believe electronic medical records have the potential to improve U.S. health care and that the benefits outweigh privacy risks, according to a new Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive poll. The survey of 2,153 U.S. adults, conducted Nov. 12-14, shows three-quarters of respondents agree that patients could receive better care if doctors and researchers were able to share information more easily via electronic systems and 63% agree sharing of such records could decrease medical errors. Fifty-five percent agree this could reduce health-care costs, compared with 15% who disagree. However, about one-quarter of adults remain unsure whether electronic medical records can provide these benefits. About one-fourth of respondents say they currently use some form of electronic medical record; most say the record is kept by their physician, while only 2% say they have created and maintain their own record and another 17% said they aren't sure whether they have such a record. Still, 91% of those polled say patients should have access to their own electronic records maintained by their physician."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Welcome to myexpertdoctor

Welcome to myexpertdoctor: "People usually get what they ask for from their doctors. Myexpertdoctor helps patients ask the right questions, personalized to their particular condition and situation. Developed with grants from the National Institutes of Health, myexpertdoctor is backed by a team of medical experts. Our experts incorporate the latest research and medical guidelines, created by professional medical organizations, into our Medical Condition Tools. Myexpertdoctor covers preventive health care and a wide variety of health conditions, including asthma, headaches, arthritis, high blood pressure and heart disease, with more conditions being added each month. More about myexpertdoctor How it works: 1. Patients answer 10 - 20 questions online before they visit their doctor. 2. They receive immediate personalized feedback and information, including a list of questions to ask their doctor. 3. Patients ask the suggested questions and get better health care."

A Website to Improve Asthma Care by Suggesting Patient Questions for Physicians: Qualitative Analysis of User Experiences | Hartmann | Journal of Medi

A Website to Improve Asthma Care by Suggesting Patient Questions for Physicians: Qualitative Analysis of User Experiences | Hartmann | Journal of Medical Internet Research: "To test the impact of patients asking their health care providers about tests and treatments they could receive, we developed an interactive website (myexpertdoctor.com) to inform patients about asthma and to provide tailored feedback. The website is designed to be used before a physician visit to help patients know what questions to ask during the visit, which in turn may increase the chance that they receive tests and treatments suggested by evidence-based guidelines"

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Women's Health Matters - Web Toolkit

Women's Health Matters - Web Toolkit: "More and more Canadian women rely on the Internet as a source of health information for themselves and their families. Are you one of these women? Whether you are a beginner or an experienced Internet user, the sheer volume of information can be daunting for all of us at times. The womenshealthmatters.ca team created this toolkit to assist the many women who have asked us for help in navigating the often confusing maze of health information on the Web."

Natural Way to Healthy Living !

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