HEALTH

Continua Health Alliance advocates eCare use at House subcommittee meeting

BY Michael Johnsen

BEAVERTON, Ore. The Continua Health Alliance last week testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health regarding the use of personal connected healthcare technologies to increase veteran access to quality health care.

Rick Cnossen, Continua president and chairman, advocated the use of eCare — a class of health information technologies that can facilitate any kind of virtual visit or electronic connectivity outside of traditional office visits — and personal connected healthcare devices that can provide lower-cost access to quality care.

“We are excited about Continua’s efforts to remove geographical barriers and provide efficient and affordable access to health care for veterans,” Cnossen said. “Personal connected health care offers many beneficial clinical capabilities, such as the ability to track vital signs and other important health data that can be shared with healthcare providers through secure systems on a regular basis, ultimately increasing the likelihood of catching health changes early and preventing illness. These are not currently available to the majority of rural-area veterans.”

Continua has made progress in the development of interoperable healthcare devices and services, but there still are barriers to integrating eCare into care plans, Cnossen noted. To ensure veterans and clinicians will receive full access to optimum health care, Continua recommended the House Committee on Veterans Affairs establish a federal organization focused on eCare, develop eCare payment reform, create blueprints for the use of eCare in states and communities, incorporate eCare as part of “meaningful use,” and make home broadband adoption for all Americans a top priority following recommendations in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. If they are implemented, the Alliance’s recommendations will help guide the transition and adoption of eCare, making it available to U.S. veterans.

Continua Health Alliance is working to implement a system of care that enables personal connected health with an in-home or mobile broadband device that assists providers in tracking and trending healthcare data. The alliance seeks to help the nation harness the benefits of this technology to allow healthcare consumers and providers to use real-world, remotely collected data to make more informed healthcare decisions on a continual basis. This model helps empower individuals in their care, and allows caregivers to intervene as needed for more effective and efficient care.

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Survey participants have gut health misconceptions

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI A recent GfK Roper "Gut Check" survey, sponsored by the Align brand, revealed that approximately 1-in-4 survey participants experience occasional digestive upsets, and of those, 1-in-5 have been told that these disruptive upsets are caused by their attitude or emotions, Procter & Gamble announced Wednesday.

"I see the frustration occasional digestive upsets cause my patients," stated Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. "The first step to building a stronger inside is to better understand how your digestive system works and what you can do to keep it healthy,” she said. "To help improve both their health and lifestyle, I teach my patients that it comes down to simple science — it is important to have the right balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. When we replenish the good bacteria with probiotics it helps maintain a healthy digestive system."

 

Although probiotics, or good bacteria that provide a health benefit, have been in use for more than 100 years, the survey also found that people still have misconceptions about their gut health:

  • 43% of those surveyed believed that most types of bacteria are not helpful for the GI tract;
  • More than 40% believed that all probiotics essentially have the same benefits and are not strain specific; and
  • A large majority (77%) thought that probiotics found in supplements are not as natural as those found in foods.

 

 

The "Gut Check" survey findings also showed that digestive upsets can interrupt daily life. Of those who experienced occasional digestive upsets, more than half felt their upsets impacted their self confidence. Eight-in-10 tried to go about their day normally, but most still made adjustments to their activities. Nearly half missed an event or trip or avoided a social situation because of an occasional digestive upset, and more than one-third of survey respondents changed their diet to deal with their digestive upsets.

 

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SOS 4 Life launches Health Records app for the world traveler

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON SOS 4 Life, a company that provides medical mobile applications, on Wednesday announced the launch of its Health Records iPhone app dedicated to providing peace of mind during a medical crisis while in a foreign country.

The application stores a patient’s most important medical information, including allergies, medical conditions and medication history in a health record on a mobile phone, and provides an immediate translation of that health record into Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese or Dutch without the need of an Internet connection.

“SOS 4 Life has been created to help people who travel, live or work abroad to take better care of their health,” stated Heike Unverhau, who created the app in collaboration with more than 20 medical practitioners across Europe. “We wanted to develop a convenient, helpful and reliable application that would help people to live life to the [fullest], whilst minimizing some of the risks associated with international travel,” he said. “[People] often don’t realize that doctors need to know their medical history to help effectively, especially when they have pre-existing conditions, take medications or have allergies.”

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