Dartmouth-Hitchcock targets ‘sustainable’ health care
LEBANON, N.H. – Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital is combining wearable technology, an app, and personalized support to provide a holistic platform to help patients manage chronic health issues.
“ImagineCare is designed to be sustainable, by keeping people out of the hospital—the most expensive part of the health care system, and the place they least want to be,” said Dr. Jim Weinstein, Dartmouth-Hitchcock president and CEO, in a statement.
The system uses remote sensing technologies to gather real-time health data, based on the needs and goals of each patient. It provides a mobile app, wearable sensors and medical devices like blood pressure cuffs. When patients enroll, they receive a set of sensors appropriate to their needs and the app.
“We’re harnessing powerful health and medical data using everyday consumer technologies to enable a new age of targeted, personalized care for each individual,” said Weinstein.
ImagineCare is being offered initially to Dartmouth-Hitchcock employees, then patients. The goal is to ultimately offer the platform to health organizations across the country.
Study finds portal use by Latinos, African Americans lags behind
SAN FRANCISCO – Many African Americans and Latinos are reluctant to use patient portals because they fear losing personal time with their health providers, a study has found.
“A main theme of the discussions was the need to protect or establish interpersonal relationships with health care providers,” researchers said.
Researchers from Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, San Francisco, conducted the study to explore the specific barriers to portal use among Latino and African American patients. Their work was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
Researchers conducted 10 focus groups with 87 participants over two years among African American and Latino Kaiser Permanente members who were not registered for portal access. Participants were older, had a chronic disease, or were parents.
“Despite the widespread implementation of electronic health records, there is growing evidence that racial/ethnic minority patients do not use portals as frequently as non-Hispanic whites to access their EHR information online,” the researchers said. “This differential portal use could be problematic for health care disparities since early evidence links portal use to better outcomes.”
The study identified several barriers to portal use, including a preference for in-person communication, and a concern that the use of online tools would diminish the patients’ personal relationship with their providers. Participants also believe portals are difficult to navigate and their content was often too complex to understand.
Because portals are a platform that more health care systems plan to use as a way to integrate additional mobile health technologies like uploading patient-generated sensor or mobile app data, “it is critical that this process addresses broad barriers to use and reduces the possibilities of exacerbating existing health care disparities,” the researchers said.
Scientists develop tech to recharge wearable batteries
RALEIGH, N.C. – Scientists at North Carolina State University have developed a technology that can recharge wearable device batteries while on the body. The technology, called thermoelectric generators (TEGs), harvests body heat and generates electricity by using the temperature difference between the body and ambient air. The scientists determined that heat harvesting works best on the upper arm.
Heart-monitoring smartwatch has backing of Dr. Oz
SAN FRANCISCO – iBeat has launched a heart-monitoring smartwatch, the iBeat Life Monitor, which continuously monitors heart function and can detect warning signs for cardiac arrest. “This device is not only a technological breakthrough, it fits into a person’s wardrobe with style and ease, making it simple to integrate its lifesaving properties into one’s everyday routine,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the nationally syndicated “The Dr. Oz Show,” and who has invested in and will serve as a special advisor to the company. In the case of abnormality, the watch asks the wearer to indicate whether he or she is OK. If there is no response, or if the answer is “no”, the watch can call for an ambulance or notify family members over a built-in cellular connection. “Continual monitoring and quick intervention can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations,” said iBeat founder and CEO Ryan Howard.
Johnson & Johnson warns of possible hacker risk
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Johnson & Johnson has warned users of the Animas One Touch Ping Insulin Infusion Pump of a possible hacking risk. Animas, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, told users that a person could potentially gain unauthorized access to the pump through its unencrypted radio frequency communication system. But the company also said the probability of unauthorized access is extremely low because “it would require technical expertise, sophisticated equipment and proximity to the pump, as the OneTouch Ping system is not connected to the Internet or to any external network.” If users are concerned, Animas suggests they limit the amount of bolus insulin that can be delivered through the pump, or turn on the Vibrating Alert feature.