Posts Tagged ‘chronic illness’

The Touch of an Imerman Angel.

The phone rings.

It’s your doctor with the biopsy results and the news isn’t good.

Cancer.

Just the word itself takes your breath away. You feel dizzy.

Amidst swirling emotions of fear and uncertainty, you place a call to a number your doctor gave you. He called them angels. Whatever.

Later that day you get a call back from a woman who identifies herself as a cancer survivor. She’s your age and gender and she had your same diagnosis and she beat it. A survivor who knows exactly what you’re going through…

Slide1Welcome to Imerman Angels, the largest network of cancer survivors who volunteer to provide high touch, one-on-one support to cancer patients.

Jonny Imerman, the founder of Imerman Angels and himself a cancer survivor, was on a panel that I moderated at the recent Point of Care Conference in Philadelphia. The other panelists included a pharma marketing executive, a mobile health entrepreneur, and a medical mobile technology investor. Together we explored how technology can improve the physician-patient relationship.

It was very refreshing to have the voice of the patient on the panel, but why was Jonny on a panel about mobile technology? Is it possible to use mobile and social media and still retain the high touch experience of a cancer survivor talking to a newly diagnosed cancer patient? Read Full Article Now »

Three Key Strategies to Drive Better Patient Care

When it comes to health technology and new mobile apps, we often jump right into a discussion about cool features and social media. But the real question should be impact. What positive impact are we having on patients and their physicians, the ultimate gatekeepers?

The bottom line for most physicians is efficiency: “How can I be more productive with the time I have with my patients given the clinical load I carry?” Therefore, a good place to start in any technology impact discussion is how to enhance the physician-patient interaction to make it better and more efficient.

There are three important activities that influence physician efficiency:

 1) Precise diagnosis of ailments

 2) Patient education support

 3) After-care compliance and home monitoring

These are also three activities that can have a significant influence on patient outcomes.

All three of these are time-consuming but critical activities, and all of them can benefit greatly from technology.

1) Precise Diagnosis

Stopwatch1During the typical 15-minute office visit, in addition to collecting as much medical and family history as possible, physicians will review a patient’s symptoms. Very often they’re listening for that random clue that might influence the diagnosis, something that maybe the patient hasn’t thought of or hasn’t remembered since the last office visit.

When a patient walks in a doctor’s office, particularly if they don’t have a caregiver with them, they often are stressed and very often forget or misread symptoms that might have happened at home. It’s kind of like when you take your car into the shop and suddenly that engine knock isn’t there anymore, and the garage guy rolls his eyes and tells you to bring it back when there is a real problem.

Technology can play a supportive role here by capturing a wide range of patient symptoms as they are experienced at home, at work or socializing with friends.

One solution to this challenge is an mHealth (mobile health) iPhone-based symptom tracker. A mobile app can capture relevant patient experience data and efficiently provide it to the physician to inform the diagnosis – information that the patient might not even remember or consider important. By providing additional diagnostic clues, a symptom tracker will enhance the conversation about health between the physician and patient.

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Learning How to Nudge

Still exercisingIn a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a Ms. Ruthanne Lowe from San Jose, CA reported that three years after her participation in a Stanford University study on behavioral change, she is still exercising. The study showed that even just a gentle nudge can have a positive effect on motivation.

The issue of how to support patients with chronic illnesses is back on the healthcare front page. Studies show that even if a patient sees a doctor, gets diagnosed, and receives a care plan, whether a drug or a regimen like diet and exercise, up to 50% of those patients will elect not to follow through. The prescription won’t be filled or the healthy life choices won’t be followed. So even if 32 million new consumers in our new health care world get access to a physician, half of them likely won’t take their meds as prescribed.

That’s a big problem.

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