Consumer Health Informatics News

Consumer Health Informatics News

MIE Data Compromised

The General’s Public Protection Department in Arkansas has been receiving several emails and phone calls regarding a recent security breach, which has apparently compromised MIE (Medical Informatics Engineering) data, which includes both personal and health care information for many patients across the US.

MIE started to send out letters to the affected individuals, and this has troubled some people, who were not aware of the fact that third party companies may have access to their data, be it personal or health care related.

Since a few people have wondered if these letters are real, Attorney General Rutledge has confirmed that they are authentic, coming from the Public Protection Department indeed. The first step is to verify with the Health Department if your data has been compromised; if the answer is affirmative, you should contact your financial institution and change the account info ASAP.

For more information, you can call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office: (800) 482-8982 or you can visit the website.


Mobile Health Apps Boost Patient Engagement

The production of Mobile Health Apps has been experiencing a solid boost within the last few years. And there’s a simple reason why this has happened: patients use them regularly, because they care about health and overall wellness.

Some of the apps help people manage their prescriptions and take their medications on time, while others can help by tracking the meals’ calories, exercise routines, and so on.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society has recently released its 2015 Technology Survey, and the results are more than promising. The survey has showed that mobile health apps and other similar technologies help engage patients, while also assisting the health care providers and helping them do a better job.

The survey has used data offered by over 200 health care providers; close to 90% of them have stated that they are using mobile technologies to boost their patients’ satisfaction levels. On a side note, some hospitals have reported occasional problems with Wi-Fi Internet access, which can prevent people from making use of their health apps, but this issue can be easily solved by using inexpensive antenna cable adapters, and then finding a better Wi-Fi antenna position.

Half of the surveyed hospitals and clinics have reported that they also use health care apps internally, to better coordinate care.


Apple’s New App Framework Allows iPhones to Recruit and Track Patients

Several Silicon Valley giants want to get a slice of the big data pie, and Apple has just joined the team. The company has recently announced ResearchKit, an open source software framework that helps developers create health apps.

It is known that clinical laboratory scientists have a big stake when it comes to big data and healthcare, because medical laboratory test data needs a lot of digital storage. Due to ResearchKit, researchers can recruit people and collect data by using the iPhone and its sensors, just like Samsung does it with its S Health apps for Android, for example.

Apple has helped a few developers create ResearchKit apps that show some of its potential. Two promising titles are GlucoSuccess and mPower.

Pacemaker for Pain

Pacemaker for Pain

Chronical pain is not treated, and there are close to 100 million people suffering from chronic pain in America today. Many people are force to take pain medication, in an effort to lead a normal life. There is a pain level scale that ranges from 1 to 10, but some patients have pain levels that exceed the maximum scale value.

The pain can be so excruciating that it immobilizes the patients in their home, making them unable to go and get themselves food from the refrigerator or even go to the bathroom, for example.

Neurostimulation devices are recent inventions that have been having a very positive impact lately. Patients with severe chronic pain are the ones that benefit the most from these inventions; those that have upper back pain, for example, will find the new neurostimulators to be extremely beneficial.

Ingesting lots of medications, which can have dangerous side effects, tiring physical therapy and similar treatment or pain management options could be a thing of the past in the very near future. Some people have actually had several surgeries and their pain levels didn’t decrease significantly.

A neurostimulator device, also known as pacemaker for pain, is used as an implant. Basically, the spinal cord area is stimulated using electrical impulses, and this prevents the pain pulses from getting to the brain.

The patient feels the action of the neurostimulator as a slight massage of the area; basically, the entire area that was once affected by pan is now tingly.

Technically speaking, a small electrode is advanced into the epidural space, and that electrode will be connected to a small device – called a “programmer”. The stimulation can be applied to one or both legs, arms, etc, depending on the area that causes pain. The patient is awake at all times during the surgery and he is able to tell the doctors when they have found the perfect spot, annihilating the pain.

The first patients are already benefitting from pacemakers for pain. You can find out more about these devices at Bingham Memorial Hospital’s Website. For more news from Bingham Memorial Hospital, follow Louis Kraml on Twitter and subscribe to the Official Louis Kraml Youtube Channel.

Computers and Medicine

Computers and Medicine

Computers have become more and more present in our lives. We have them at home, sometime each member of the family has one, we have them at the office and, normally, the top computers are managing transportation, heating and water systems in our houses and the list may continue.

medical-softwareMore and more, computers are to be found in hospitals and medical facilities, as well as in almost any doctor’s office. Computers have proved to be of great help, gathering data, organizing it and doing great work in the research field. X-rays and CT are usually used to see any abnormalities inside the body of a patient. The x rays will help with one perspective, while the CT offers multidimensional images.

Doctors use both types of images in order to formulate a diagnosis for the patients they see. These images are seen using top quality computers that can even combine the images and recreate the internal structure of the body.

Another use of the computer in medicine has to do with magnetic resonance imaging. During the process, powerful magnetic fields are used to understand and map the internal structure of one patient. It is the perfect way of getting images of the soft tissues in the body, without using any kind of radiation.

Top computers aided by top software programs receive the data and interpret it, so that the doctors see exactly what is going on inside. This way the doctors are able to properly diagnose the patients without having to perform complicated surgery.

Spectroscopy is the medical procedure during which an irradiating substance is used in order to examine the reflected or transmitted radiation pattern. This radiation is collected and analyzed, so that the doctors can see what wavelengths are present or missing. This method is used when doctors want to determine the presence of poison, for example, in order to prescribe the correct treatment.

Numerous computers are used all over the world to monitor patients in hospitals. Patients are connected to computers that have all sorts of software programs installed, and with this help the doctors are able to measure the blood pressure, the level of oxygen, the pulse and many other vitally important information. In the same time, these computers will alert the doctors when something wrong is happening.

Robots that are controlled by top speed computers and software programs are used nowadays when a surgery is performed. Robots can do great work, teaming up with the doctors in the wonderful effort of saving lives. These days robots help doctors do things that they were only dreaming about a few years ago.

Not long ago, doctors used to store huge files containing all the important data of their patients. Today the storage is done in a totally different way, with the use of computers. Computer database technology is now making the storage process a lot easier. All the patients’ important files are now safely kept on huge hard disks and they can be rapidly accessed.

Internet access is used in the medical world as well, so the doctors can receive almost instantly a second opinion or may search the internet for the information they need. The diagnosis procedure is thus done a lot easier and more correctly than before.

As many of the discoveries in the medical world are uploaded on the internet, all the doctors, worldwide, may have access to the most recent discoveries. They find out about the new available treatments, the new medicines that have been launched, about the medical errors that some do and all these are of great help for preserving the life of the people.

Computers are used in the medical field not only for spectacular procedures, but also for simple things that can thus be done a lot easier and quicker. For example, a computer is used to manage the scheduling in a medical facility, so that the patients will not have to wait for long before they are seen by a doctor. The person that answers the phone call uses a computer that allows radio scheduling with the simple help of a mouse click.

A major field in medicine where computers have proved to be helping a lot is the imaging sector. Due to the development of technology, doctors may now see in detail inside of all body structures, and thus provide a correct and rapid diagnosis that in many times will save the life of the patient.

Not only are the computers extremely useful in the medical field, but also in the medical software industry. A lot of companies nowadays create programs dedicated to the use in medical facilities, where they help with monitoring, scheduling and diagnosing the patients.

The Mediasoft medical billing software is just an example from the many programs that are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The program manages to connect the patient invoices with the individual payments.

The Abraxas electronic medical record software is another example of an application that helps with billing, scheduling and, at the same time, does a great work collecting data from patients. This is a program that has been certified by the Commission for Health Information Technology.

Usually a less nicer handwriting will not mean too much, but when the doctor that prescribes you medicines writes in an illegible way, this can lead to some huge and life threatening errors. Software creators have thought about this aspect and with the help of the RxCure Electronic prescribing software, this risk is no longer a real one.

The electronic prescriptions are used by all the doctors that want to give their patients correct and easy to read prescriptions. The software is also saving energy, time and money, as RxCure connects directly with the pharmacies using the internet.

Binary Spectrum Physician’s appointment scheduler is rapidly bringing order in the scheduling process, so that there will never be people waiting in line to get to the doctor. In case that some of the patients need authorization from the insurance provider, this software automatically sends requests, thus saving the doctor a lot of time and energy.

The University of Pittsburg has created a picture taking monitor that has been offered a facelift. This wearable device can give information related to the eating habits of one person, and helps people count the calories they get. The device can be connected to a shirt as easy as a usual pin.

EButton includes a library of foods and can take pictures while the person is eating. The device is not yet ready to go on the market, but its creators hope to do that as soon as the device will be able to correctly detect the size of the portions of food that has irregular shapes.

More and more companies are interested in creating wearable technology. Some of the created devices have proved to be very useful in patient rehabilitation. This is the conclusion of BioMed Central and was published in a recent number of their journal.

The Italian developers have created a wearable system which uses a voltage battery that can send data to a computer via Bluetooth. The device will be useful, for example, in monitoring the exercises that the patients do at home, their posture and flexibility.

Understanding the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and health can be a real challenge for doctors; for this reason a wearable camera was created. This camera can offer new insights; it can collect information concerning the sedentary behavior, active travelling and eating behaviors of the patient.

Helpful Medical Inventions

Helpful Medical Inventions

Nowadays much of the effort in the medical sector is dedicated to developing new medical equipment that will help people and save a lot of lives. There have been created a lot of devices and machines, which have demonstrated their utility in the healthcare practice and hospitals all over the world, as well as private practice offices that have decided to buy them and use them to the immediate benefit of their patients.

As an example, an easy to use and extremely beneficial tool is the clamp used in case of traumatic bleeding. This small device was inspired by the common hair clip and it is capable of stopping the traumatic bleeding. In the same time it was created as an easy to use medical tool, having very small dimensions.

The entire world was shaking with fear in 2009 due to the H1N1 flu endemic. Back then an interesting micro fluidic chip was invented, and it has proved to be extremely useful in the screening procedures. Doctors started to use the chip as it was a cheaper, easier to use and provided a much faster method of detecting the virus.

helpful medical inventions

Measuring the temperature can be nowadays done a lot easier using a smaller device that can be plugged into the iPhone. When directed to the forehead, the device records the temperature of the person. The same invention can be also used to measure the air temperature in a room or even outside.

Malaria is still present in many parts of the globe and HIV takes the lives of many people worldwide. And the methods of testing the presence of the viruses were until recently very costly. But today, with the help of an origami paper device which is printed using specific substances, the presence of the viruses can be a lot more easily detected with the help of urine, saliva or blood.

The print on the paper turns to different colors depending on the presence of the viruses in the organism of the patients that are tested using the origami paper element. The procedure is rapid and a lot less costly.

People with a locomotor handicap have not been neglected, as medical inventors have created a new type of wheel chair vehicle that can get to narrow spaces and can be operated in all possible directions. The new chair is operated with the help of a hand held controller.

The classical method of helping people with burns meant the removal of the damaged tissue and replacing it with grafts. For decades this was a method that helped people, but also a method that in several cases led to complications of many sorts, like speech problems, deformities and the need of many surgeries.

Today doctors are using a new technique of smart biomass, which implies wearing a face shape shell that contains electrical and mechanical components. This shell is worn over a longer period of time, during which the wounds heal and stem cells are pumped into the damaged areas in order to help regeneration. There is hope that this method will be more rapid and will decrease the number of surgeries that a burned patient needs in order to have an almost normal life.

Persons that have suffered paralysis of the body and that can no longer use their arms and legs have used until now the sip and puff method in order to communicate using a straw. A recent discovery is going to help these patients a lot, as they can now use their tongue in order to communicate with the world outside of them. Magnets are put inside the tongue, and with the use of some sensors, different messages can be detected and sent to a wheelchair or even a computer.

The idea of introducing tiny devices that can travel in the blood of one person was once only a movie element, but nowadays this can be done. Very small mechanisms can be launched into the blood of one person and they can be powered without any wires, by electromagnetic waves. Once these small elements reach the desired area in the body, they can perform different activities, like diagnosing the medical problem, removing a blood clot, radiate the tumor. The devices prove to be useful in case of patients with cancer, for example, whose lives can be prolonged and the usual side effects of classic radiotherapy can thus be eliminated.

Persons that suffer from dementia, Alzheimer and other cognitive deteriorating diseases can now be helped a lot due to an interesting invention, the GPS shoes. Once the shoes are on, you will always know where the person is, so the risk of getting lost is reduced to zero.

Inventors in this domain have also thought of prematurely born babies, who are usually struggling to maintain their body temperature to the needed value. These babies do not have the necessary fat under the skin to help them feel warm, so they can die if they aren’t assisted.

While an incubator costs about 20,000 USD, a new invention that does pretty much the same thing is a lot cheaper, costing about thirty dollars. The device looks like a sleeping bag, can be easily sterilized and is made out of a special phase change wax material that radiates heat throughout the insulation.

After placing it for a quarter of an hour in hot water, it can be placed into the blanket, keeping a constant temperature for about four hours, and thus helping the premature baby survive with a minimum cost.

Scientists at Harvard have invented contact lenses that can also medicate the sick eye. A regular dose of medicine is released into the eye based on the doctor’s prescription. This process can last up to one month. Doctors agree that eye drops are in many cases inefficient, as only up to 7 percent of the medication thus given to the patient is absorbed by the sick and needy eye.

There are also contact lenses that were made so that they can measure glucose levels in the organism. The lenses change their color when the glucose level in the blood changes. This method will replace the blood checking of the sugar values, which is more difficult, painful and generally more complicated than wearing eye lenses.