Archive for: 2012

From the Pioneer Advisory Group: Can We Stop Dementia Before It Starts?

Dec 7, 2012, 9:45 AM, Posted by E. Loren Buhle

Few diseases invoke more fear in patients and families than dementia (e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), progressive multiple sclerosis, Pick’s Disease). Surveys have shown the fear of dementia—especially AD—far outweighs concerns of a diagnosis of cancer, stroke, or cardiovascular disease. Perhaps this fear arises from two concerns: (1) dementia robs us of what makes us human—memory, reasoning, emotions, language—and (2) in most cases there are no effective treatments to cure or palliate the disease. While diagnostics for certain forms of dementia are progressing—allowing us to sort out the reversible causes of dementia, such as hydrocephalus, electrolyte or blood sugar imbalances, brain tumors, and brain injuries—once the diagnosis of AD or Pick’s disease is made, there is little we can do aside from manage the comfort and safety of the patient and family.

What if we could prevent or delay dementia?

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The “Mobile” in “Mobile Health” Isn’t the Gadget; It’s the Data

Dec 6, 2012, 9:30 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Al Shar Al Shar

For the fourth year in a row, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is proud to sponsor this week’s mHealth Summit. We see the mHealth Summit—attended by about 4,500 leaders from 50 countries—as an important gathering of thought leaders to source new ideas and learn about innovations in mobile health and the future of wireless medical connectivity. While there is no shortage of private sector investments in these technologies and businesses, we want to help identify investments that ensure that the mHealth space creates the greatest social good. 

In advance of the summit, we caught up with Al Shar, vice president and senior program officer, to talk about his vision for mobile health, as well as the role the Foundation can play moving forward.

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Doctor, I’m not comfortable with that order

Dec 5, 2012, 9:18 AM, Posted by Mike Painter

Michael Painter Michael Painter

A little more than 13 years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its seminal report on patient safety, To Err is Human.  You can say that again. We humans sure do err.  It seems to be in our very nature.  We err individually and in groups—with or without technology.  We also do some incredible things together.  Like flying jets across continents and building vast networks of communication and learning—and like devising and delivering nothing- short-of-miraculous health care that can embrace the ill and fragile among us, cure them, and send them back to their loved ones.  Those same amazing, complex accomplishments, though, are at their core, human endeavors.  As such, they are inherently vulnerable to our errors and mistakes.  As we know, in high-stakes fields, like aviation and health care, those mistakes can compound into catastrophically horrible results.  The IOM report highlighted how the human error known in health care adds up to some mindboggling numbers of injured and dead patients—obviously a monstrous result that nobody intends.

The IOM safety report also didn’t just sound the alarm; it recommended a number of sensible things the nation should do to help manage human error. It included things like urging leaders to foster a national focus on patient safety, develop a public mandatory reporting system for medical errors, encourage complementary voluntary reporting systems, raise performance expectations and standards, and, importantly, promote a culture of safety in the health care workforce. 

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mHealth and Diabetes: A Patient’s Story

Dec 4, 2012, 8:59 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Open mHealth for Diabetes - Alex Freeman

By David Haddad, program manager of Open mHealth

This week, as a member of the Open mHealth team, I will be at the mHealth Summit to showcase our work enabling integrated mHealth solutions that patients and providers can use to track and improve their health. At a special panel session, we will hear from two patients about how they have used integrated mHealth technology to manage their health.

One of those patients is Alex Freeman, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4 and is now a pediatric acute care nurse at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital. Before the event, I spoke with Alex about her experiences using mHealth to manage her diabetes. The data integration allows her to pull in weight, blood glucose, and insulin data from a number of different mHealth self-service resources, such as:

  • Entra and the Qualcomm, for tracking blood glucose and weight, via the 2Net cloud integration
  • RunKeeper, for tracking exercise
  • PAM for tracking mood
  • BodyMedia for sleep data and calorie counting
  • ohmage for integrating data

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Mining a Treasure Trove of Essential Information about People’s Health

Dec 3, 2012, 10:55 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Patricia Flatley Brennan Patricia Flatley Brennan

Over the past seven years, Project HealthDesign supported 14 dedicated research teams in devising fascinating ways to use mobile technology to broaden the patient-provider dialogue and empower patients to manage their health outside of the clinical setting.

In this “tell us your story” feature, National Program Director Patricia Flatley Brennan discusses how through grantees’ work and collaboration, they came to the simple but powerful conclusion that some of the richest and most essential information about people’s health isn’t found at a clinic or hospital: it’s found in their personal attention to the details of their own lives.