Category Archives: Blogging

REPOST: Here’s How Amazon Could Disrupt Health Care

Can an Internet empire successfully transform a completely different industry? In the case of Amazon and the healthcare sector, the idea is not impossible at all. Here’s interesting article from Forbes:

 

“The ballooning cost of health care acts as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.” That’s how Warren Buffett framed the context as he, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon announced the alliance of their firms, Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JPMorgan Chase, to address health care.

 

The problem is serious. Health care costs in the U.S. have been growing faster than inflation for more than three decades. There is little relief in sight. A Willis Towers Watson study found that U.S. employers expect their health care costs to increase by 5.5% in 2018, up from a 4.6% increase in 2017. The study projects an average national cost per employee of $12,850. The three companies have a combined workforce of 1.2 million. Based on the Willis Towers Watson estimate, they could spend more than $15 billion on employee health care this year.

 

But, what can the alliance do about it? On that, Buffett was less clear: “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But, we also do not accept it is inevitable,” he said.

 

The challenge is formidable. As the New York Times noted, employers have banded together before to address health care costs and failed to make much of a dent in health care spending. How will this effort be different?

 

If this alliance as simply another employer purchasing cooperative, it will probably have little effect. Neither 1.2 million employees nor $15 billion in spending is all that significant in a 300M person, $3.2 trillion US health care market. It might nudge the health care industry towards incrementally faster, better and cheaper health care innovations—but not much more.

 

If, however, the alliance thinks big and structures itself as a testbed for potentially transformative ideas, innovations and businesses, it could have a disruptive effect.

 

Amazon is the critical ingredient in this latter approach. While all three companies bring employees and resources (both critical), only Amazon brings particularly relevant technological prowess and disruptive innovation experience.

 

Amazon could think big by simply applying the standard operating principles and capabilities that is has perfected for retail—comprehensive data, personalization, price and quality transparency, operational excellence, consumer focus and high satisfaction—to health care. It also has differentiated technologies like Alexa, mobile devices, cloud (AWS) and AI expertise. It could leverage its recent years of health-care-specific exploration, such as those in cardiovascular health, diabetes management, pharmacies, pharmacy benefit management, digital health and other health care research. It could use Whole Foods as a physical point of presence.

 

Read full article HERE.

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Future big industries that are yet to take off

If you would be given the chance to catch a glimpse of the future, you would realize that the industrial innovations that you see today are just a small percentage of everything that technology can offer.

To give you an idea of what’s about to unfold in the next ten years or so, here are the future big industries that could introduce humanity to a whole new world of technological feats and life-changing innovations:

 

3D Printing Technology

Image source: purch.com

From car engineering, construction, product design, to healthcare, 3D printing is expected to disrupt and reshape everything that it touches. Imagine having a portable machine that will enable professionals or even an average person to print three-dimensional objects in multiple types of materials – including live human tissues?

 

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)

Image source: augment.com

The entertainment industry was the first stop for VR and AR technology but in the future, this innovation is expected to dominate other major industries like education, healthcare, sports, marketing, and many more. Although it’s still at its infancy, researchers from Goldman Sachs predicted that by 2025, virtual and augmented reality will bring over $80 billion to the market.

 

Cryptocurrency

Image source: cryptocurry.com

Perhaps everyone is familiar with Bitcoin, the popular virtual currency that made headlines in 2017. However, did you know that there are other cryptocurrencies that are slowly shaping the future of financial services? Traditional banking systems haven’t caught up yet with technology and this is one of the reasons why security will always be a major issue – and this is where digital currencies come in. Digital currencies offer more secure, transparent, low-cost, and less complex financial transactions. Unfortunately, it has yet to undergo a major trail period before it becomes as reliable as other monetary or investment systems.

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REPOST: Why The Internet Of Medical Things (IoMT) Will Start To Transform Healthcare In 2018

Will increased investment in the Internet of Things (IoT) the most effective way to improve healthcare services? With the ‘data economics’ currently booming, the medical field is set to undergo a majaor tranformation. Read more on Forbes:

Even though the healthcare industry has been slower to adopt Internet of Things technologies than other industries, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is poised to transform how we keep people safe and healthy especially as the demand for solutions to lower healthcare costs increase in the coming years. The IoMT can help monitor, inform and notify not only care-givers, but provide healthcare providers with actual data to identify issues before they become critical or to allow for earlier invention.

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Dramatic Growth in IoMT Devices Predicted

A report by Allied Market Research predicts that the IoT healthcare market will reach $136.8 billion worldwide by 2021. Today, there are 3.7 million medical devices in use that are connected to and monitor various parts of the body to inform healthcare decisions. The Internet of Medical Things refers to the connected system of medical devices and applications that collect data that is then provided to healthcare IT systems through online computer networks.

There are several realities that have enabled this dramatic growth including the accessibility of wearable devices and the decreasing costs of sensor technology. Now that most consumer mobile devices are equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, they can communicate with IT systems. In addition, the rates of chronic diseases are on the rise and the demand for better treatment options and lower healthcare costs makes it more appealing to dabble with new innovations that could provide better healthcare outcomes and efficiencies. High-speed internet expansion and access, as well as favorable government regulatory policies, have also contributed to the growth of IoMT adoption.

 

Aging World Population Will Continue to Burden the Healthcare System

The IoMT might be the silver bullet for our communities to address a burdened healthcare system that will only be under more stress as our population continues to age. By 2025, 1.2 billion of the 8 billion people on earth will be elderly; equivalent to the population of India. Elderly people tend to have more healthcare issues, therefore increasing costs. So, as life expectancy rises, it is expected that healthcare costs will follow suit.

IoMT can provide a better way to care for our elderly and has a tremendous potential to help deal with the rising costs of care. IoMT devices can help track vitals and heart performance, monitor glucose and other body systems, and activity and sleeping levels. Seniors often forget to take their prescribed medication on time, and IoMT devices can help remind them to take it and document what time they took medication. Additionally, portable diagnostic devices can make routine blood and urine tests easier on our aging population—a group of individuals where mobility is more challenging and who need to complete these tests more frequently than for younger patients. Portable diagnostic devices can analyze and report the findings of these tests without requiring a visit to the doctor’s office. There is a lot of opportunity for IoMT things to help remote caregivers ensure the safety of their loved ones with wearable devices that learn the regular routines of the person who wears the device and can issue a warning if something seems amiss as well as alert if seniors have breached their boundaries which is often of concern for memory-care patients.

 

Continue reading HERE.

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How the world created a trillion-dollar industry in health and wellness

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Many industries have been unsuccessful in overcoming the challenges brought about by the recent financial crisis. However, the wellness sector has surprisingly survived and managed to flourish against all odds. In fact, a recent report revealed that the global fitness and wellness industry is a $3.7 trillion market today and it’s predicted to continue to dominate in the years to come.

According to many statistics conducted on health and wellness around the world, the younger and present generation are more sedentary, spending more hours in inactivity and consuming unhealthy diets. In addition, the prevalence of fast food and processed goods as an answer to their fast-paced lifestyle is not really helping solve the problem.

A 2014 global survey showed that almost 40% of adults over the age of 18 were overweight, and in the U.S. alone, the percentage went up to 70%. As a response to these troubling revelations, a great portion of the world’s population began making changes in their lifestyle choices, starting a massive demand for both products and services that encouraged healthy living.

Image source: neoreach.com

Millions of individuals began looking for ways to stay fit, exploring alternative dieting methods just to make that first step to achieve a healthier lifestyle – and many businesses and startups seized this opportunity.

For most experts, the different movements centered on healthy lifestyle awareness will continue to influence not only the modern population but also the generations of the future.

With an emerging digital health market, the value of the industry is anticipated to grow and contribute to the global economy come 2020.

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REPOST: Healthcare technologies in the new digital era

As with most other industries, the healthcare sector’s evolution will be defined by technology. Read the article below from The Telegraph to know how digital tech is taking traction in this field:

Research 2.0: obtaining patient consent via an app would pave way for studies on an industrial scale

As we ride the wave of the fourth industrial revolution, it is amazing that Britain’s National Health Service continues to be one of the biggest users of fax machines in the world and still spends £79m a year on second-class stamps rather than emailing people.

However, healthcare is facing a digital overhaul in the new “open economy”, driven by mobile tech and connected devices. It could re-energise medical research and save lives, time and money, according to two leading British experts.

Mobile devices can help deliver care to patients in their own homes, speeding up the way healthcare professionals and patients communicate, according to Mark Howells, founder and managing director of Konnektis. “Our system runs on Samsung tablets that replace the pen-and-paper notes currently used in home care,” he says.

“These mobile devices have data connectivity and become the hub for health professionals, formal carers and family members to access, record and share information easily and securely. As a result, we can all collaborate in real-time to deliver the highest standards of care.”

Building the Konnektis system involved “significant” input from users to ensure that it met their needs, says Mr Howells. “Konnektis becomes the individual’s hub to access information about their care.

“Technology that is accessible and easy to use can provide people with better information, greater choice and more control. At its core, health and social care will always be about people. Technology is simply an enabler, whether it is improved care co-ordination in the home, more effectively supporting people in rural communities with video consultations or the power of predictive analytics.”

Continue reading HERE.

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The three countries with the healthiest people

Image source: welldoing.org

 

Nobody can predict how long we’ll live but in this world of modern technology, there are various factors and ways to prolong man’s life. In some countries, the average life expectancy has been increasing over the past few decades. You might be wondering how these nations live longer than others. Economically speaking, a healthy population is essential to productivity. The healthier the people, ideally, the more they can produce goods or services. Below is a list of the countries considered to be the healthiest in the world:

 

  1. Monaco

This small principality in the Mediterranean is the second smallest nation but one of the wealthiest in the world. In this country, there’s no such thing as income tax, however, most of the residents are millionaires and billionaires. For decades, Monaco is known for its Monte-Carlo casino, Monaco Grand Prix, and yacht-lined harbors which became the country’s main sources of income.

Aside from being rich, the inhabitants of Monaco are also very healthy. One of the reasons is the healthy Mediterranean diet, which includes lots of veggies and seafood, especially fish which is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, Monaco has state-funded health care system that provides excellent-quality health care services to all its people. The average life expectancy in the city-state is almost 90 years old.

 

  1. Japan

Most travelers consider Japan as one of the best places to live in. Apart from possessing impressive natural scenery and electrifying urban landscapes, the country also offers unique cultural traditions such as tea ceremony, social conventions, as well as martial arts, among others. They are undoubtedly one of the most technologically advanced nations on earth.

Japan ranks second worldwide on life expectancy, with its citizens capable of reaching the age of 87, according to World Health Statistics. Japanese diet is most likely their number one secret to such longevity. This eating pattern is based on consuming foods with less calories but has high amount of antioxidants (such as fish, seaweeds, and vegetables). In addition, all the residents of Japan are covered by a mandatory health care system, in which 70 percent of the hospital costs is paid by the government.

 

  1. Macau

It is widely known as the “Las Vegas of Asia,” which is now the 4th wealthiest territory and the biggest gambling enclave in the world. A tiny SAR (special administrative region) of China, it is the most densely populated place on the planet. It primarily earns from its vibrant casino industry, bagging large revenues that are being used by the government to provide free high-quality public services such as health care. Recently, the World Health Statistics has put Macau’s average life expectancy at 84 years. Healthy (and sumptuous) Macanese food and active lifestyle also contribute to such long life span.

 

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REPOST: Health-care consumers need to take the lead, so get smart

Is diversity the key to improving the healthcare industry? David Russian shares his views on this subject, and more, through HeraldNet.com:

Our health care system is a Rube Goldberg machine: Complicated, with lots of parts moving in different directions, producing unpredictable, frustrating results.

Some of the parts are well-designed and produce great outcomes. We have amazing medical research in our universities and hospitals. The Puget Sound region is a leader in discovering new drugs, treatments and devices that save lives. We must preserve the environment that makes the area an innovator in health care.

This is also a healthy place to live. Compared to the rest of America, we eat better, exercise more, and weigh less.

So we’re healthier, and our health care costs are lower than the rest of the country.

Our community has seen consolidation of big players, and the entry of large corporations.

Providence assumed control of Swedish — it’s one big system. DaVita, a for-profit company, purchased The Everett Clinic. Kaiser Permanente took control of Group Health. Consolidation can lead to efficiencies of scale. Elsewhere in the country, consolidation has led to increased costs and decreased choice. We need to guard against that.

Medical informatics is a disaster. Electronic medical records (EMRs) are a part of doing business. They are clunky, time-consuming and do not talk to each other. They keep doctors and nurses away from their patients. They are expensive. They don’t transfer data from one EMR to another. Despite the cost, time and frustration, EMRs do not improve health outcomes. The Steve Jobs of EMRs has not yet been born.

The payment system is broken. Reimbursement to hospitals and providers has not kept pace with inflation. But pharmacy and device costs have skyrocketed. We’ve allowed health care costs to be corrupted by lobbyists. There have been a few big winners, but increased costs for all.

Continue reading HERE.

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The three diets you’ve probably never heard of

Image source: medicalxpress.com

Many of our certified nutritionists have created a large selection of easy-to-follow dietary guidelines that are designed for people who don’t want to follow a strict meal planning in order to achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle. Here are three diet plans you may not have heard of yet that may actually work for you:

 

  1. Shangri-La Diet

Image source: drhealthbenefits.com

A very eccentric weight control regimen, Shangri-La Diet, was created by Professor Seth Roberts. This unusual method of diet can change your eating habits which allows you to eat anything without gaining those extra pounds. In doing so, you need to consume 100-400 calories daily by consuming light olive oil and/or fructose water (a water with sugar) between meals.

According to Roberts, consuming flavorless foods will diminish your appetite, thus, makes you less hungry. The theory of Shangri-La Diet is that your body will regulate itself to keep your body fat at a certain time depending on the amount of weight you want to lose. Hence, if you don’t want to suffer and follow strict diet plan, this dietary regimen might work well for you.

 

  1. Dukan Diet

Image source: bbcgoodfood.com

A French physician, Dr. Pierre Dukan is the creator of the famous Dukan Diet. His best-selling book about this diet was published in France in 2000 and sold over 7 million copies worldwide. The Dukan Diet plan is based on a high protein, low carb, and low fat diet. It is divided into four phases –attack, cruise, consolidation and stabilization.

The Attack phase consists of pure protein and strictly no carbs for one week, while Cruise phase involves alternate days of eating pure protein and days of protein with unlimited vegetables. The third phase, consolidation, allows you to eat starchy foods, cheese, whole grain bread, and fruits. Its main purpose is to achieve and maintain your true weight. Lastly, the stabilization phase, aims to stabilize your true weight for the rest of your life following three simple steps: (1) consuming pure protein every Thursday (2), eating 3 tablespoons of oat bran every day, and (3) choosing to take the stairs instead of escalators or lift whenever possible.

 

  1. Blood Type Diet

Image source: healthylivingassociation.org

According to Dr. Peter D’Adamo, a naturopathic physician, each blood type represents genetic traits of our ancestors, including which diet they evolved to thrive on. In his diet plan, he suggests to eat essential foods that are compatible with your blood type. Type O people are supposed to eat more high-protein foods such as meat and fish. For type A’s (agrarian) must follow the vegetarian diet. Type B’s (nomad), meanwhile, should avoid eating corn and wheat but are encouraged to eat green vegetables and low-fat dairy. Type AB blood (enigma) calls for dairy, tofu, and green veggies. Finally, type O’s (hunter) are encouraged to stick to a meaty diet high in protein, dairy, beans, grains, and vegetables.

 

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REPOST: Virtual Reality Is A Growing Reality In Health Care

The virtual reality (VR) phenomenon is transcending the realms of video games and entertainment as it is now being seen to be just as useful in the health care industry. This Forbes article explains how this is going to be possible:

Pictured here at the Games for Change festival is Kognito’s simulation game. (Photo: Courtesy of Ron Goldman/Kognito)

 

Back to reality … sort of. Recently, I attended the Games for Change Festival at the Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York City. The 14th installment of this annual event that brings together people who make video games to help society, people, and health also included a one-day Virtual Reality (VR) for Change Summit on August 2. And this VR Summit showed just how much of a reality VR for health care is becoming.

 

As Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change, explained, “The VR portion of the Festival is new. The Games for Change Festival started with 40 or so people in a conference room who realized that video games offer a way to connect with audiences and reach audiences that are tough to reach. Now we have over 1100 people attending.”

 

The festival concluded with a cocktail reception at VR World NYC that included VR games, sushi, and beer…which for some people is the definition of Nirvana.

 

Indeed, the prospect of playing video games to help people may seem sort of like eating healthy molten lava chocolate cake. Combining indulgent fun with health benefits is just desserts for anyone who was told while growing up that playing video games is bad for you. Previously, many gamers have had to argue the indirect benefits of playing such as improving hand eye coordination (as described in this study published in Psychological Science) and problem solving skills while stealing cars (Grand Theft Auto), gathering abnormally large mushrooms (Super Mario Brothers), avoiding a massive gorilla who seems to have an endless supply of barrels (Donkey Kong), or saving the Universe (Halo). Note: the saving the universe argument doesn’t work with parents.

 

But now there are more and more video games explicitly being designed to improve health. For example, I wrote previously for Forbes about how Amblyotech and Ubisoft are introducing Dig Rush to help kids with “lazy eye” or amblyopia. Now, while there isn’t yet a “rush” to develop video games for health (certainly compared to the much larger overall video game market), efforts are growing.

 

Continue reading HERE.

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These countries spend the most money on healthcare

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Countries around the world allocate their national budget depending on the demand and priorities of their population.  For instance, among the list of the standard and highly important expenses that government focus on are education, military, infrastructure, and most importantly, healthcare.

Because of the varying needs of these sectors, administrations have to prioritize some over the others. This list gives you the countries with the highest allocated budget on healthcare in the world.

United States

As one of the wealthiest and most culturally diverse countries in the world, the United States’ annual spending on healthcare ranks as the first and top compared to other countries with similar life expectancy, allocating 17.1 percent (based on 2014 data) of the GDP on health services. That’s equivalent to an average of over $9,000 dollars per person. Looking at the data from 1995, there was an increase in budget distribution in 2014 and it can be credited to the Obamacare reforms that opened more opportunities and benefits for healthcare services.

Sweden

Did you know that per 1,000 people in Sweden (based on 2013 data), there were four practicing physicians available? This is thanks to the country’s jump in health spending that has reached 11.9 percent in 2014.  Furthermore, these changes have boosted their population’s life expectancy to 84.7 years (2014).

Switzerland

With 11.7 percent of GDP allocated to healthcare, Switzerland became 2013’s second highest spending country ($6,325 per person) in the world with a life expectancy of 82.9 years. The country has been topping rankings among many others, revealing a 66 percent increase in health expenditure from its 1995 to 2014.

Haiti

According to the 2014 expenditure statistics, Haiti recorded a 13.2 percentage of GDP expenditure per capita—that’s $61.50—and as the World Health Organization (WHO) noted, the country’s annual spending has more than doubled from its 1995 budget of 6.6 percent.

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