All Posts by Kanwal Sood

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Apr 16

‘Disruptive diagnostics’: How it’s changing healthcare.

By Kanwal Sood | Artificial Intelligence , Big Data in Healthcare , Blockchain , Disruptive Innovation , Spine Cloud Platter , Wearable Tech

In this week’s platter we pay attention to ‘disruptive diagnostics’; we look at an example of the novel use of technology to communicate with the deafblind; we consider 2 applications for cryptocurrency in healthcare; we look at what healthcare can learn from finance about data sharing; and, finally, we turn to insightful infographic on wearables. Enjoy!

What is ‘Disruptive Diagnostics’ and How is it Changing Health Care?

No keen observer of the healthcare sector can deny the massive innovation witnessed in various pockets of the health care value-chain in recent times – from the advent of all things digital to the shift in business models. Here we pay attention to innovation in disease diagnostics and we take a look at how far it has come in just a few years.


Good Vibes – New app helps deafblind people communicate

How can deaf-blind people communicate with each other or with their care givers? Enter Good Vibes – a free app that uses haptic feedback and does not have a visible user interface. Developers say this is the “first time in history” that an effective tool has been created for two-way communication between those who are visually and hearing impaired. It can be downloaded for free on Google Play.


Cryptocurrency’s digital health potential for data sharing, behavior incentives

Cryptocurrency has both advocates and critics in the financial sector. In digital health, the use of cryptocurrency is equally undefined, but it has a lot of potential. While the use of cryptocurrency in digital health is still in its infancy, some experts say this is only the beginning of a growing field. This article looks at 2 applications for cryptocurrency in healthcare – data for digital dollars and cryptocurrency as a behavorial incentive.


What can healthcare learn from finance about data sharing

Both financial data and health data require the highest levels of security and privacy. But the experience of that safe and secure data exchange, between healthcare and finance, is dramatically different. Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions are able to navigate these barriers to talk to one another, making it easier for customers to coordinate payments and understand their overall financial wellbeing. So why can’t patients, doctors, payers and insurance providers do the same for health data? … It is time redesign the way that healthcare ecosystems communicate…


Infographic: Wearable Healthcare Technology

And finally, we pay attention to an infographic which provides examples of a wide range of healthcare wearables, the most popular types of healthcare apps and insight into healthcare wearable trends. Enjoy!

Image Credit: Vivian Abagiu/University of Texas at Austin

Apr 06

3 healthcare delivery problems will be solved by disruptive innovation

By Kanwal Sood | Big Data in Healthcare , Disruptive Innovation , Spine Cloud Platter , Value-Based Healthcare

In this week’s platter, we turn our attention to the indicators of true innovation in healthcare delivery, we look at arguments for the migration towards value-based payment model for providers; then we consider U.S. healthcare through an investor’s lens; and finally, we pay attention to Apple’s updated EHR solution. Enjoy!!! Let us know of your thoughts on our facebook page

Catching disruption in the act: 3 problems that innovation will solve in healthcare delivery

This brilliant article by Rebecca Fogg makes a clear distinction between sustaining innovations (which ultimately drive higher prices) and true disruptive innovations. The author lists 3 innovation design problems which market watchers keen to spot disruption in healthcare delivery should keep an eye on.


3 reasons to let go of fee-for-service payment models

Health care payment models remain in flux, with the pace of movement from fee-for-service toward value-based payments continuing to be unclear in the context of changing federal and state policy decisions and significant local market variation. In the face of this uncertainty, health care providers can feel trapped, fearful of “having a foot in two canoes,” straddling the two divergent payment models.
In this article, Dr. Gary S. Kaplan presents 3 compelling reasons to why physician organisations should quit resisting payment model changes and embrace value-based payment.


Understanding the Value-Based Reimbursement Model Landscape

Much is being said about the migration to value-based reimbursement – but what does this mean for providers and how do these options impact potential revenue?


Health Care Is an Investment, and the U.S. Health Care Is an Investment, and the U.S. Should Start Treating It Like One

The U.S. invests billions of dollars each year in medicines, new technologies, doctors, and hospitals — all with the goal of improving health, arguably the most prized commodity. Yet, investments in the U.S. health care system woefully underperform relative to those made in health care in other countries. So if we want to see better outcomes, we need to start to think like investors…


Apple Health Records Solution Spreads to 39 Health Systems

Just two months after Apple announced its Health Records solution that allows consumers to see their medical records right on their iPhone, 39 health systems have signed on to launch the feature, the tech giant announced this week.
The updated Health Records section helps consumers see medical information from various institutions organized into one view and receive notifications when their data is updated. This information can help patients better understand their health history, have informed conversations with physicians and family members, and make future healthcare decisions.
This is a beautiful product at the intersection of digital technology and customer centricity.

Mar 31

How could digital technology make an impact on primary care?

By Kanwal Sood | Artificial Intelligence , Big Data in Healthcare , Disruptive Innovation , Spine Cloud Platter , Wearable Tech

In this week’s platter, we look at what PCPs think of digital tech, we consider an innovative development in drug delivery; we look at wearables in the mouth; we consider a tele-ultrasound system; and, finally, we pay attention to stunning 3D insights of the human brain… Enjoy!


Managing back pain without addiction risk

Everybody occasionally experiences pain. Generally, pain is manageable with over-the-counter medications, or no medication at all. But when pain is acute and severe, such as after an injury or surgery, stronger pain medication may be required. And for chronic pain, such as from neck and back disorders, the long-term use of opioids to subdue pain can become addictive.
In light of the above, three University of Virginia researchers are working toward an innovative solution for treating lower back pain after surgery and for chronic back pain. They are developing drug delivery patches that would be worn on the skin, like a bandage, to deliver non-addictive pain medicine directly to the site of pain, rather than systemically via pills or injections.


Tooth-mounted sensors track your diet and health from inside your mouth

High-tech wearables are everywhere, from our wrists to our pets to our … mouths?
Engineers at Tufts University have created tiny sensors that attach to teeth. It’s not a fashion statement, though it could very well someday become one! Instead, the wireless sensors are designed to monitor health and dietary habits, relaying data about sugar, salt, and alcohol intake to a wearer’s mobile device. It’s like a little nutritionist in your mouth that keeps tabs on every time you cheat on your diet.


How Could Digital Technology Make An Impact On Primary Care?

Healthcare is on the verge of a paradigm shift due to digital technologies. Trends and research suggest that in the next few years, medicine will shift from a reactive to a proactive discipline. With the help of digital technologies, such as portable diagnostics, wearables, sensors, the patient will become the point of care instead of hospitals, clinical labs or other medical facilities. Moreover, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, various targeted therapies and precision medicine place the individual in the center of care instead of large populations. But how does all this impact primary care?

Philips Unveils First Live Tele-Ultrasound System

Philips, in a partnership with Innovative Imaging Technologies, a company out of Canada, is releasing the first telemedicine system that transmits live ultrasound images during scans performed by a paramedic or nurse to a physician’s smartphone, tablet, or computer. Audio and video are shared as well, allowing physicians to have a clear sense of the context, how the ultrasound is positioned and used, and what the on-site person is seeing.
This is very useful development, but let’s hope that those transmitting live images have ready access to broadband…


New tissue technique gives stunning 3D insights into the human brain

Imperial researchers have helped develop a breakthrough imaging technique which reveals the ultra-fine structure of the brain in unprecedented detail. Enjoy!!!

Image Credit: EntrepreneurCountry Global

Mar 22

Full-body exoskeletons to minimise occupational injuries?

By Kanwal Sood | Artificial Intelligence , Big Data in Healthcare , Blockchain , Disruptive Innovation , Spine Cloud Platter , Videos , Wearable Tech

In this week’s platter, we get introduced to industrial exoskeletons; we look at UAE’s adoption of digital health solutions; we see the smartwatch come of age; and we pay attention to innovations in the pharma supply chain. Enjoy!

They say that prevention is better than cure – so let the robot lift…

Backaches as a result of poor lifting techniques may soon be a thing of the past.  Sacros Robotics, a global leader in the production of robots that combine human intelligence and dexterity with strength, is working with industry groups to identify key performance and safety requirements necessary to bring powered and quasi-passive, full-body industrial exoskeleton systems to the work force.  This will surely improve efficiency and reduce occupational injuries and especially the proverbial lower back pain (yay!!!).  See demonstration of this highly dexterous machine here and here.  Who wants to bet that we see surgical robots evolve to surgical exoskeletons…?


Saved by the watch

The Apple Watch smartwatch has been found to be pretty accurate when it comes to detecting abnormal heart rhythms. A continuing study (see journal article here) on the potentials of wearables has identified that the watchOS device has a 97 percent accuracy rate in determining abnormal heart conditions.  We can be sure that the phone will inform your cardiologist before you even know it. This development is enough to make my heart skip a beat…


UAE adopts virtualization of care through digital health solutions.

Residents in the UAE will soon be able to access real-time medical data, ascertaining the continuity of care when patients move from one hospital to another.

The project for unified medical records ‘Riayati’ will connect public and private sector healthcare providers across the country, in order to create a secure way to access and share the right health data with the right people in real time. That’s right – in real time… Complications arising due to unavailability of reliable medical information during emergencies will soon be a thing of the past.


Robotics, A.I. and Blockchain Redesign The Pharma Supply Chain

Exoskeletons will aid pharma factory workers. 3D printing will allow pharmacies to produce drugs on the spot. Blockchain technologies will help fight counterfeit drugs. These are just bits and pieces, but the entire process of the pharmaceutical supply chain will be affected by disruptive technologies. Let’s look at a comprehensive overview of how innovations will make the supply chain more efficient, faster and cheaper than ever before.

Image Credit: Utah Business

Mar 14

What is the next big opportunity in healthcare?

By Kanwal Sood | Artificial Intelligence , Disruptive Innovation , Spine Cloud Platter , Value-Based Healthcare , Wearable Tech

In this week’s platter, we pay attention to the next big opportunity in healthcare; we consider strategies to prepare for the migration from fee-for-service to fee-for-value; we look at the application of design thinking in healthcare; and, finally, we look at the case for the return of the primary care physician. Enjoy.

The next big opportunity in healthcare lies at the intersection of women’s health and digital health

The signs were there – 80 percent of household healthcare spending is done by women; 50 percent of global healthcare customers are women; 80 of healthcare professionals are women – and intersect that with the rise of the “she economy” (the rising buying power of women), the increasing focus on gender-specific medicine and the ubiquity of digital health and you get…”femtech!” “Femtech” is software, diagnostics, products and services that use technology to improve women’s health. Although still believed to a niche sector (perhaps there is a need to redefine the word ‘niche’), “femtech” is tipped to be a $50 billion market by 2025. The overlap between women’s health and digital health is increasing by the day and it is imperative for companies to cater to unmet needs in the industry.


Migration from volume to value – how does one prepare?

While most stakeholders agree the shift toward value-based care is imminent, the growth of physician participation in value-based payment models has been slow. This article presents five strategies leaders identified during the discussion to strengthen their organization’s financial operations to better position them for value-based care.


Azar Emphasizes Administration’s Plan around Value-Based Care, Creation of “True Healthcare Market”

At a speaking event in Washington, D.C., Alex Aza, (the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) Secretary, confirms that the value-based transformation of the entire healthcare system as one of the top four priorities for his department. He acknowledges that the transformation will present some challenges – some which will require “uncomfortable” federal intervention – but that there is no turning back to an unsustainable system that pays for procedures rather than value.
These are seismic reverberations which cannot be ignored…


Design thinking in healthcare

Fueled by the desire to find human-centered solutions to healthcare problems, researchers from IDEO and Verily Life Sciences discuss the application of design thinking methodologies to generate and test lots of ideas to find more innovative, far-reaching solutions to healthcare challenges. In this article (podcast), they speak about the application of design thinking to a schizophrenia case and they conclude with a an analysis of three mindset shifts that are currently moving healthcare in a more human-centered direction.
For a short treatise on design thinking in healthcare, with an associated case study, see here.


Contact Lenses That Deliver Drugs Directly To The Eye

In an attempt to improve patient compliance, a team from a Havard Medical School affiliate has developed contact lenses that deliver medications directly to the eye over days or weeks. Made from FDA-approved materials, the lens delivers medication in a controlled, sustained release and does not interfere with the wearer’s vision.
Eye drops are the traditional treatment method, but they can be ineffective, as the liquid drips out of the eye or patients may stop treatment. Moreover, the lenses can effectively deliver drugs to the back of the eye to treat macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, and other diseases that today require in-office injections.

‘No eye drops, no injections – just one lens’ -> this is design thinking…


Why do we need help buying and using healthcare? It’s complicated.

This post laments the lack of support that today’s predominant care delivery paradigm affords to patients facing the myriad of complex and often expensive health improvement processes and clinical interventions and self-care regimes. The authors then argue for the return of the primary care physician (a.k.a “health coach”) to offer coordinated, multidisciplinary support throughout the care continuum. Well, look no further than our PSP programme to respond to this need. Sign up here.

Photo Credit: mathisworks, Getty Images

Mar 01

Spine & Health Info Platter (1 March ’18)

By Kanwal Sood | Artificial Intelligence , Disruptive Innovation , Spine Cloud Platter , Value-Based Healthcare

In this week’s platter we look at how AI looks at the eye to predict heart disease risk, then we pay attention to an interesting statistic related to EHR, we consider 3 insightful takeaways from the Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit, and we probe the true health risks related to the Brexit negotiations. Sign up for our newsletter on the left. Enjoy!


The eye is no longer just the window to the soul, as it may actually now save your life

A new study by Google and its health-focused Alphabet-sibling, Verily Life Sciences, has shown that deep-learning algorithms can accurately predict heart disease by analyzing photographs of an individual’s retina.

Given that the algorithm could accurately predict risk factors, the scientists also trained the algorithm to predict the onset of a major cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack within five years.  The technical journal is found here 


Study: In Family Practice Visits, EHR Time Exceeds Face-to-Face Patient Time

A Time-Motion Study reveals that primary care physicians in the US spent more time working in the electronic health record (EHR) than they spent in face-to-face time with patients in clinic visits.  This is in contrast to a recent study in the UK which found the inverse to be true.  There is a need for serious introspection here (read disruption…).


3 thoughts that emerged from the Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit

The recent Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit sought to bring money to the forefront of the conversation by asking a central question: Why does healthcare cost so much and what can we do about it?

Here are three takeaways that came out of the summit.

  1. There’s a lot of unnecessary care that’s amping up costs
  2. Implementing value-based care is still a work in progress
  3. America’s broken political system is a threat to the future of healthcare

Simple yet insightful.


When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers – the case of Brexit as a healthcare risk…

Public health leaders have warned that health risks are being forgotten in Brexit negotiations, potentially delaying the availability of new medicines and imposing large costs on manufacturers.  According to this article, a ‘hard Brexit’ would pose the greatest disruption for the European healthcare sector and patients, particularly if there is no mutual recognition agreement on clinical trials, batch testing and diagnostics.

It is said that history repeats itself, but this unfortunately does not have the “undo” button.  This is definitely a development worth following closely….

Image Credit: Google

Feb 23

Spine & Health Info Platter (23 Feb ’18)

By Kanwal Sood | Artificial Intelligence , Big Data in Healthcare , Blockchain , Disruptive Innovation , Value-Based Healthcare

In this week’s platter, we consider some of the issues related to the migration towards value-based programmes; we look at an executive’s guide to AI; we learn about the FDA approval for AI-enabled stroke alert app; we learn about the deployment of DNA nanorobots in the fight against cancer; and, finally, a treatise of blockchain technology and what it means for healthcare and pharma. Enjoy…

Most healthcare execs say value-based programs led to positive financial results

HFMA and AAFP reports found that nearly three-quarters of executives surveyed said their organizations achieved positive financial results, including return on investment, from value-based payment programs. Despite the benefits associated with the fee-for-value payment models, the report found that barriers to value-based payments persist: such as lack of resources, inconsistencies among payers, lack of physician alignment and support, lack of staff time, lack of standardization of performance measures and uniform performance reports from payers.
The move into value-based payments is just beginning…


An executive’s guide to AI

With the accelerating artificial-intelligence race, executives have to make nimble, informed decisions about where and how to employ AI in their business. Management consultant McKinsey & Co. present AI essentials for executives in this interactive guide.


FDA OKs marketing of AI-enabled stroke alert for providers

We’ve seen the FDA approve prescription apps for substance abuse and digital pills that track when patients take it, and now we learn of the approval of clinical decision support software which analyzes brain scans and alerts clinicians if a patient is at risk of a stroke. During the FDA review, real world evidence was used to show that the app could alert a neurovascular specialist sooner than a clinician in cases where a large vessel blockage was seen. Incremental improvement, but improvement nonetheless…


Power Source Inspired by Electric Eels to Energize Medical Implants

Last week we learnt about the development of spine-like battery to power flexible electronics. Here we learn of a power source inspired by electric eels to energize medical implants. This is a significant development as the power source would overcome the limitations of batteries: it will remain inside the body (no need to remove/replace), no need for the introduction of toxic materials into the body, and – stating the obvious – completely alleviate the need to use batteries for implants.


Nanomachines Create Clots Inside Vessels Feeding Cancer Tumors

Researchers from Arizona State University and National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a remarkable new way of killing tumors. They’ve developed robot-like nanoscale devices that cling to the walls of tumor vessels, release a clotting agent, and block the tumor from receiving nutrients. This article reports that the technology was applied to mice with a variety of tumors, including breast cancer, ovarian, melanoma, and lung cancer. It worked in all the tumor types, to different degrees, but quite well. Inasmuch as there is a lot of work still to be done even before clinical trials can begin, the expanding of the possibilities of this new technology is exciting…


What Is Blockchain And What Does It Mean For Healthcare And Pharma?

This article presents a treatise on blockchain technology; and argues the immense potential in both healthcare and pharma.

Feb 18

Spine & Health Info Platter (18 Feb ’18)

By Kanwal Sood | Big Data in Healthcare , Blockchain , Disruptive Innovation , Wearable Tech

In this week’s platter, we look at how the earth’s most customer-centric company (…Amazon) could disrupt healthcare; we learn how FitBit is enabling providers to better support patients beyond the walls of the clinical environment; we pay attention to an application of blockchain technology that promises to lower drug costs; we consider the importance of cybersecurity given the advent of EHRs; we look at how technology imitates nature; and finally, we pay attention to the application of machine vision for spinal navigation. Enjoy!


What could Amazon’s approach to healthcare look like?

It is clear from some of its recent moves that Amazon sees the 18% of U.S. GDP dedicated to health care as fertile ground for expansion. The challenge is formidable. As many critics have 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 Amazon succeeds in changing health care, how might it do so? This article presents four key strengths that Amazon will have to exploit to bank this opportunity.
Suffice to say that for existing health care companies, the operative words in their mandates have been “health care”; for Amazon, the operative words likely are “service that needs to be delivered to a customer.” Is this the disruption that the healthcare industry has been waiting for?


Fitbit digs into healthcare industry with acquisition of personal coaching platform Twine Health

On Tuesday, the wearables manufacturer announced plans to purchase Twine Health, a Boston-based company that combines artificial intelligence with personalized coaching to assist patients with diseases like diabetes and hypertension. This is in pursuit of helping healthcare providers to better support patients beyond the walls of the clinical environment, which can lead to better health outcomes and ultimately, lower medical costs.


Cambridge Consultants creates blockchain-based platform to help manage drug costs

Development firm Cambridge Consultants has designed an open market trading platform for drug price negotiation that’s based on a public blockchain. The company says it’s an effort to help fix the lack of transparency around how drug prices are set – that by creating a set of so-called smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, it will enable a trust-based mechanism for the trading of drug products as if they were commodities. By moving to an open market that creates price competition and improves access, one can expect that drug prices will taper and could eventually decline.


Tennessee Hospital’s EHR Hacked by Cryptocurrency Malware

Decatur County General Hospital, a 40-bed hospital located in Parsons, Tennessee, has informed its patients about a security incident in which is electronic medical record (EMR) system was hacked, impacting 24,000 patients’ records.
As per classic PR, the hospital alleges that, at this time, there is no evidence that patient information was actually acquired or viewed by an unauthorized individual and officials investigating the incident do not believe that patient health information was targeted. Nonetheless, this incident highlights the risk associated with digital EHRs on a network


Lithium-ion battery shaped like spine could power flexible electronics

Scientists are developing a lithium-ion battery shaped like the human spine to power wearable electronics in the future. Researchers from Columbia University in the US were inspired by the suppleness of the human spine, and used the spine model to design a battery with a similar structure as that of the spine. The battery allows remarkable flexibility, high energy density and stable voltage no matter how it is flexed or twisted, researchers said. The solution to some of our problems is found in paying attention to what has already been created…


Machine-Vision Image Guided Surgery: Cost-Effective & Radiation-Free (YouTube)

The 7D Surgical System is an impressive Machine-vision Image Guided Surgery (MvIGS) platform. The system delivers on the promise of image guided surgery (IGS) and allows surgeons to perform fast, cost-effective, radiation-free IGS. Unlike conventional IGS systems that rely on time-consuming intra-operative radiation emitting devices or laborious point matching techniques, MvIGS uses only visible light to easily register patients in less than 20 seconds. Have a look…

Feb 14

The Strategy That Will Fix Healthcare: Part III- The Model

By Kanwal Sood | Clinical Pathways , Disruptive Innovation , Primary Spine Provider , Spine Pathway , Value-Based Healthcare

Our review of Porter & Lee’s publication continues. This week we outline the model that defines the ‘value agenda’- the model that will transform healthcare. It’s six distinct, mutually reinforcing components are briefly described below:

1) Organise into integrated practice units (IPUs). In an IPU, a dedicated team made up of both clinical & non-clinical personnel provides the full care cycle for a patient’s condition. IPU’s treat not only a disease but also the related conditions, complications and circumstances that commonly occur along with it e.g. kidney disorders for diabetics. They also assume responsibility for engaging patients and their families in care e.g. by providing education and counselling, encouraging adherence to treatment & prevention protocols, and supporting needed behavioural changes  such as smoking cessation or weight loss

2) Measure outcomes and costs for every patient. Wherever we see systematic measurement of results in health care – no matter what the country – we see the results improve. The key is to measure outcomes that matter to patients i.e. key functional measures/functional status. Outcomes should cover the full cycle of care for the condition and track the patient’s health status after care is completed.

3) Move to bundled payments for care cycles. These cover the full cycle care for acute medical conditions, the overall care for chronic conditions for a defined period (usually a year), or primary and preventative care for a defined patient population (e.g. healthy kids). Well designed bundled payments directly encourage teamwork & high-value care.

4) Integrate care delivery systems. This eliminates the fragmentation & duplication of care and  optimizes the type of care delivered in each location. To achieve this, organizations must grapple with four related sets of choices: defining the scope of services, concentrating volume in fewer locations, choosing the right location for each service line, and integrating care for patients across locations.

5) Expand geographic reach– this takes two principle forms. The first is a hub-and spoke model- for each IPU, satellite facilities are established and staffed partly by clinicians & other personnel employed by the parent organization. The second model is clinical affiliation, in which an IPU partners with community providers or other local organizations, using their facilities rather than adding capacity.

6) Build an enabling IT platform– this powerfully enables the preceding five components. The right kind of system can help the parts of an IPU work with one another, enable measurement and new reimbursement approaches, and tie the parts of a well-structured delivery system together.

Implementing the value agenda is not a one-shot effort; it is an open-ended commitment that requires strong leadership. For most providers, creating IPUs and measuring outcomes and costs should take the lead. Superior IPUs will be sought out as partners of choice, enabling them to expand across their local regions and beyond.

Feb 09

Spine & Health Info Platter (9 Feb ’18)

By Kanwal Sood | Big Data in Healthcare , Blockchain , Disruptive Innovation , Spine Cloud Platter

In this week’s platter, we look at curing disease through big data; then we pay attention to the early applications of virtual reality technology in healthcare; we look at how a simple tweet about your cough could help reduce the impact of a pandemic; we consider the rise of ‘digiceuticals’; and finally, and frankly ironically, we turn our attention to the lobby against digital addiction.            Sign up for our newsletter on the left. Enjoy!


Medichain – saving lives with blockchain

MediChain is a Medical Big-Data Platform that allows patients to control all their medical data with complete privacy and at no cost to themselves, the doctors, or hospitals using the system. The platform is unique in that it that stores the anonymised data in such a way that patients can opt to let researchers use it in developing cures for every possible disease or illness that occurs in the population. So your data can actually be used to save the life of others. This is a fine example of curing disease through big data.

Where is the business case for medical VR?

Proponents of virtual reality (VR) technology believe VR offers a valuable new addition to the clinical toolkit, with potential applications ranging from education and training to rehabilitation, pain reduction and even treating anxiety and depression. But is there evidence supporting the use of VR in the treatment of medical conditions? This article answers in the affirmative, and suggests that VR could even find application in cognitive behavioral therapies.


Fighting the flu with code

Early detection and prediction of disease outbreak is critical because it can provide more time to prepare a response and significantly reduce the impact caused by a pandemic. Multiple researchers are harvesting data from social media platforms to estimate current (real-time) influenza activity and determine hot spots of transmission.
This represents a big leap because such predictions provide actionable insights for public health that can be used for planning, resource allocation, treatments and prevention. So, the next time you tweet ‘Oh, I’m coughing,’ you may just be helping the authorities determine to where to focus their resources. Was that a cough I just heard…?


Don’t worry, be appy

LUANN STOTTLEMYER has had diabetes for 23 years, but it was only in 2016 that her doctor prescribed a treatment that changed her life. It has allowed her to bring her blood-sugar levels under control and lose weight. Yet this miracle of modern science is not a new pill. It was a smartphone app (a “digiceutical” for those who are into the lingo).


Social media pioneers will now fight what they helped build

With the advent of digital solutions/apps for just about anything, a lobby group has been formed to highlight the dangers of excessive smartphone use has on the mental health of the users. Ironically, the lobby group is spearheaded by the very same people who helped create these ubiquitous social media platforms. What was once a solution is now becoming a massive problem…