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Staying Happy and Healthy: How Seniors Can Maintain a Safe and Fulfilling Life

By Hazel Bridges

Your body goes through a number of gradual changes as it ages. Your sense of smell and taste are altered, the body loses some of its strength and flexibility, and memory and cognition may slowly diminish. Lifestyle changes and adaptations are often necessary during the later years, but
your basic needs stay the same. You still need to exercise, eat nutritious food, find ways to keep your mind active, and pay close attention to your health.

Nutrient-Dense Foods
As your sense of taste changes, your food preferences may shift. Foods you once ate with gusto may have lost their luster., but the need for a diet rich in nutritional food remains. Your diet still needs to include vegetables and fruit (the more colorful the better); beans, seeds, and nuts; low- fat dairy, including milk, cheese, and yogurt; protein-rich meats, including seafood, poultry, and eggs; and whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal. Mindful Chef and Hello Fresh, two of Britain’s leading meal delivery services, offer delicious foods made from healthy ingredients, a valuable resource if cooking every day has become too difficult.
If you’re looking for some easy and healthful recipes, why not enjoy a breakfast of scrambled eggs over red potatoes and a salmon wrap for dinner (salmon in a whole grain wrap with tomatoes and avocado)? Or, if you’re into really simple recipes, just whip up a can of pinto or black beans and serve with brown rice, oats, or barley.
Technology Smart home technology is making it easier for older adults to age in place and live safely in their homes. For those with hearing impairments, smart doorbells allow you to see who’s at the front door, whereas external security cameras help keep your home secure from intruders. These high-tech advantages also let you check on your house from wherever you happen to be, and indoor cameras make it easy for family members to keep an eye on you.

Senior-Friendly Exercise
Exercise is an important factor in one’s health no matter what age you happen to be. Even if mobility limitations make it difficult to engage in physical activity, there are many senior- friendly exercises that can be done easily in the comfort of your own home. Just raising your arms and legs slowly can help strengthen weakened limbs, and all you need to do toe raises is a straight-backed chair to lean on. If walking is your favorite form of exercise, start a walking group with friends so you can enjoy some social interaction as you exercise. However you like to exercise, bear in mind the National Health Service’s recommendation that seniors need to do two types of physical activity every week, involving both aerobic and strength exercises.

The NHS and Seniors
The National Health Service works to help seniors remain as healthy and independent as possible, for as long as possible. That includes using early identification and self-management assistance to help reduce the period of time an older adult spends in ill health. Check out this online resource on healthy aging. The NHS emphasizes personalized care planning and provides information on maintaining a safe home environment. Older adults who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can find support through Britain’s Alzheimer’s Society. Growing older doesn’t have to mean giving up on an active and enriching life. Your body may have changed, but you don’t have to settle for a sedentary lifestyle. The secret to good health
remains much the same for seniors as it always has: exercise, eat a nutritious and well-rounded diet, and pay careful attention to one’s health and in-home safety. It’s a time to try new things, to see new places, and make (or renew) friendships.


Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Seriously Simple, and Smart, Ways to Plan Ahead for Long-Term Care

Seriously Simple, and Smart, Ways to Plan Ahead for Long-Term Care

Why do you need to plan ahead for long-term care? If you have no clue how to answer this and you are planning for retirement, you could be in for a major financial surprise. Long-term care is expensive and most everyone needs it at some point, so it’s important to take these long-term care planning tips to heart before you finalize your retirement plans.

 

Be Aware of Medicare Limitations

If you’re looking forward to retirement, you may think you don’t need to plan for long-term care because Medicare will cover it. This is a huge mistake, however, because Medicare offers basically no coverage when it comes to paying for a nursing home, an assisted living home, or in-home care. That’s because this kind of care is considered custodial, rather than medical, and therefore is not included in the coverage that most seniors receive from Medicare. With long-term care, you are more likely to need help with daily tasks such as bathing or dressing, and this is why more involved care is necessary. Medicaid might cover some costs if you’re eligible, or you may be entitled to assistance from the VA if you have served in the military or are an eligible dependent. If neither of these is an option, you will need to come up with other ways to plan for care. However, try not to stress yet. If you are planning well ahead of time, you have some ways to prepare yourself for long-term care.

Make Healthier Changes to Your Life

There’s really no surefire way to prevent the need for long-term care. According to statistics, you may need long-term care at some point in your adult lifetime. You can, however, try to beat the odds by making some simple changes to your life and home. Falls can be a source of debilitating injuries as you get older. Those tricky stairs could lead to a serious fall in the future, so take steps to help yourself age in place at your own home. If you do have steps or stairs, have some secure railings installed on either side to provide support and reduce your risk of falling. You’ll also want to think about fall-proofing your bathroom as time goes on, by installing grab bars in slippery areas. Another simple change you can make is to add better lighting throughout your home. You can swap out to brighter bulbs or add fixtures to ensure areas are lit evenly. Finally, don’t underestimate the impact lifestyle choices can have on your long-term health. Regular exercise and diet can reduce your risk for serious conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and give you a chance for a more independent life.

Research All Your Options for Paying for Care

Paying for long-term care can be a real financial burden, especially if the need comes up unexpectedly. Most American seriously underestimate long-term care expenses, which can run upwards of $100,000 per year if you need to stay in a nursing home. However, you have a decided advantage by choosing to plan ahead. For one, you can research just how much care could cost you, as well as how exactly you can pay for it. If you are in your 50s, for example, you may be able to snag long-term care insurance for much lower monthly payments than someone who is only a few years older than you. When long-term care insurance is not feasible, there are other financial avenues you can include in your long-term care plans. You could pre-pay, plan to receive care from a loved one, or you can get roommates to offset housing costs and allow you to tuck away more funds for care.

Planning for long-term care doesn’t have to be a headache. If you start planning early and going over all your options now, you will have more options to choose from and end up with less stress in the future if you do need some form of long-term care. So, don’t forget to add long-term care to your list of essential retirement planning steps.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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Switzerland Telemedicine Market is Expected to Reach Over CHF 500 Million by 2022: Research Forecast

Switzerland Telemedicine Market is Expected to Reach Over CHF 500 Million by 2022: Research Forecast

Telemedicine services will be more reliant on cloud-based compared to the web-based as the data or details of every patient is stored on the cloud while treatment. Artificial intelligence will be the future trend in the Tele-Medicine. There will also be more emphasis placed on the use of connected devices which can be continuously monitored at Tele-Medicine Center and required action can be taken. There is a scope that virtual hospitals might come into the picture which will be a central hub and where the patients could be treated via telemedicine.

Companies will enhance their services in order to compete in the market. Medgate will develop more follow-up services for stroke and epilepsy in coming years. Clinical robots are expected to be popular technology in the telemedicine market in future as they will help the specialists to visit their patients regardless of the location. Moreover, the specialists will be able to connect with the patient and X-ray or laboratory reports simultaneously. Personalized telemedicine applications can be made in future for both the patient and the doctor, which will be customized according to the requirements of the customers. Moreover, there will be better integration of EHR software

Radiology has been used effectively in the telemedicine market and fields such as dermatology, mental health and stroke care are also being used heavily. In future, other fields might explore telemedicine further such as psychiatry, neurology and others. Moreover, psychological ailments will become a big challenge for Swiss healthcare which will further increase the demand for tele-psychology.

Analysts at Research Forecast in their latest publication Switzerland Telemedicine Market Forecast to 2022 – By Service Platform (Tele Home & M-Health and Tele Hospital), by Technology Platform (Software and Hardware) and by Clinical Applications (Tele Consultation, Tele Dermatology, Tele Pathology, Tele Neurology and Others) believe that promoting better regulations, providing access to patient’s long term medical records, partnering with universities and corporates offices will aid the telemedicine market.

Switzerland Telemedicine market is expected to register positive CAGR of around 12.4% during the period 2018-2022 in terms of revenue. Providing better data security and adopting different marketing techniques to creating awareness is expected to have positive impact on the overall telemedicine market.

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Blockchain beyond EHRs: Transforming value-based payment, precision medicine, patient-centric care

While EHRs and information security get all the attention, there are more immediate opportunities for the distributed digital ledger technology.

By Bill Siwicki

12:02 PM
Blockchain in healthcare

The considerable hype around blockchain is starting to be tempered by enterprises earning practical experience and identifying worthwhile use cases for the technology.

Most of the buzz around blockchain in healthcare has focused on EHRs, interoperability and security, but a new potential for value-based care, precision medicine and a patient-driven healthcare system are emerging as more clear and present opportunities for the distributed digital ledger technology.

While we don’t expect the hope for data interoperability and security to fade away, hospital executives who want to stay abreast of what’s really happening with blockchain will also need to understand these new considerations.

Blockchain and the move to value-based care

A variety of possible use-cases for blockchain are coming into focus for healthcare, ranging from clinical to financial to administrative.

“Traditional healthcare fee-for-service payment systems are overly complex and expensive from an administrative perspective. On average, payment administration accounts for about 14 percent of healthcare spending. Blockchain applications can definitely reduce the waste,” said Corey Todaro, chief product officer at Hashed Health, which leads a consortium of healthcare companies focused on accelerating innovation using blockchain.

Beyond fee-for-service, blockchain as a technical architecture can enable value-based payments to take off and thrive, some experts said.

“Blockchain can enable a smart payment system to match the distributed care teams that will take responsibility for episode- and disease-centered payment models,” Todaro added.

Claims adjudication and billing management is ripe for a blockchain-based system that can provide realistic solutions for minimizing medical billing-related fraud; this is a highly relevant use-case given the amount of fraudulent activities around improper medical billing and reimbursements across the payer industry, said Tapan Mehta, market development executive in the healthcare practice at DMI, a mobile technology and services company.

“For example, in a situation where a health plan and patient are dealing with a contract, the blockchain could automatically verify and authorize information, as well as the contractual processes, eliminating the back-and-forth between multiple parties,” Mehta said. “This would increase transparency and efficiency, leading to lower administration costs, faster claims processing and less money lost.”

Precision medicine and a patient-driven healthcare system

Blockchain-based systems could help drive unprecedented collaboration between participants and researchers around innovation within medical research, particularly in the fields of precision or personalized medicine.

Maria Palombini, director of emerging communities and initiatives development at the IEEE Standards Association, said that blockchain can enable the patient-driven healthcare system.

“The lack of interoperability among data systems in a personal health network is a detriment on patient care,” she said. “Informed patients know that data is critical to enhancing their care and safety. This is beyond safety from data hacks, this is the ability for their healthcare providers to have access to information that will help them better treat the patient.”

There has been a trend in educating patients to manage their health to embrace wellness and prevention, and that may also include the data that is generated out of this practice, she added.

The best type of patient is an informed patient. If blockchain can deliver a patient-managed EHR system, the business of healthcare will be about delivering service and treatment to better health and not owning the patient’s health, Palombini said.

Precision medicine in clinical trials presents another big opportunity for blockchain innovation, Mehta said.

“According to IgeaHub, it is estimated that about 40 percent of clinical trials go unreported,” he said. “In fact, a majority of pharmaceutical research related to clinical trials is completed in silos, thereby making collaboration across an organization’s internal team impossible. This creates crucial safety issues for patients and knowledge gaps for healthcare stakeholders and policymakers.”

The contribution of wearables

Wearables and internet of things devices can also be integrated into the health IT ecosystem via blockchain.

“Health wearables are currently hoarding critical information for clinical research, outcomes of treatments, and disease prevention and management,” Palombini said. “However, in its current state, the information often sits in a repository where raw data may be inaccessible and never has the ability to be shared for other uses.”

If validated, this health data could be secured, shared and verified on a blockchain and the function of the health wearable takes on a whole new role, with, for example, clinical trial patient recruitment, clinical research and treatment of disease.

Indeed, patient-mediated health data exchange holds a big opportunity for blockchain innovation in healthcare. Blockchain can empower patients and data owners to control access to their healthcare data by using the blockchain as a system of record for patient consent and health data transfer activity.

“Today, patients have little access to their health data and cannot easily share with researchers or providers,” said Shahram Ebadollahi, chief science officer at IBM Watson Health. “Giving patients the opportunity to share their data securely, for research purposes or across their healthcare providers, creates opportunities for major advancements in healthcare. Blockchain technology is designed to make this a reality.”

As more and more patients gain that kind of control over their own data it will flow more efficiently across the system to create something a lot closer to a longitudinal view than what exists now and that, in turn, can enable more accurate data, better access to new treatment options and ultimately improved outcomes, Ebadollahi said.

Yes, this is where electronic health records come back into the blockchain picture.

Blockchain and EHRs

One big question is how might blockchain affect the evolution of the electronic health record? Blockchain can enhance EHRs in many ways, presuming healthcare CIOs and other executives want to move in that direction.

“Blockchain will help connect electronic health records across providers, to enable the full view of a patient’s health data, if patients provide the consent to do so,” Ebadollahi said. “This would be through a patient-mediated health data exchange.”

Currently, EHRs focus on clinical data. The fastest growing type of information is exogenous data, from mobile devices and medical devices and including genomics, Ebadollahi added, and blockchain can help connect these disparate sources to the more traditional clinical data.

The electronic health record, in fact, is generated from many different sources – hospitals, doctors offices, labs and more – each acting as the owner of the data. The fragmented network tying things together can be viewed as more about maintaining the business of patient care.

“If we look at the truly disruptive and emerging trend in blockchain and healthcare, the EHR will be created, maintained and distributed by the patient,” said IEEE’s Palombini. “Therefore, no longer multiple health records owned and operated by Healthcare Inc. Instead, it will be one record with multiple compartments containing data that was extracted as a service by one of these entities and given back to the person to add to their health record.”

These entities will no longer own a patient’s health record; they will merely contribute to the data in it as a rendered service, she added. Blockchain could flip the ownership and maintenance of the EHR completely upside down. It could empower patients to choose with whom, how much, and when they want to share their information, and not be beholden to any health system, she said.

Dave Watson Chief Operating Officer of SSI Group said that EHRs and blockchain working together have a long way to go.

“First, EHR vendors have so many pressing enhancements to deliver, and second, without clear and compelling use-cases, why would EHR vendors move blockchain up in the development queue?” Watson pressed. “They may entertain some proofs of concept or simply make positioning statements so they don’t appear to not be on the bandwagon, but that’s not a viable deployment of the technology.”

Blockchain and security

Another area in healthcare where blockchain could have a profound impact, like with EHRs, is cybersecurity. Blockchain can fundamentally change the way healthcare CISOs and infosec teams think about securing data.

“Blockchain offers a new combat strategy because it is not simply a security system, it is a technology that compels every enterprise professional to rethink their business operations in a digital universe,” Palombini said. “Blockchain is not a patch. It’s a whole new approach to distributing, managing and verifying information in a tamper-proof, decentralized system.”

All transactions are time-stamped and replicated in every block visible to permissioned users but can never be altered, only appended. The decentralized nature of the blockchain provides the ability to distribute anonymized, encrypted data that can be verified by credentialed users.

“This can provide traceability for all health data access, with transparency to auditors,” said IBM’s Ebadollahi. “Blockchain can provide integrity of data by maintaining indelible hashes of the data, so that any alterations of the data are detected.”

The distributed digital ledger technology can also can maintain keys for access to data, adding another level of security by working in concert with other systems to produce immutable audit logs, thereby making illegitimate access more difficult, Hashed Health’s Todaro said.

The largest opportunity is rethinking the movement of data in the healthcare ecosystem. Todaro explained that blockchain enables the development of light-data transactional models in which partners can get expanded utility without having to do large-scale data transfers or availability, both of which are sources of cybersecurity risk.

“One might argue that it may not be blockchain the technology that is oversold, but the amount of work to fix existing taxonomies, protocols and policies to fully maximize blockchain may be undersold.”

Maria Palombini, IEEE Standards Association

Hype outpacing reality? 

In the end, one might wonder whether blockchain is all it’s cracked up to be. Evangelists sure make blockchain sound like a panacea for all of healthcare’s woes. But is it? Or is there more hype than promise?

Today, the challenge in truly driving innovation in the healthcare system is the inability to obtain and share clean patient health data while maintaining data privacy. The current crop of data management systems are not designed to evenly negotiate the ability to share data while retaining privacy, so the default has been to safe-harbor the data and let data-sharing fall to the wayside.

“The lack of data-sharing has become a true impediment to advancing innovation in drug development and healthcare,” Palombini said. “The true value healthcare providers offer is not the service or product but the data they provide. The data is the key to innovation in finding treatments, disease prevention and more.”

The very nature of blockchain – to distribute information with anonymity in an encrypted and tamper-proof environment – provides the platform to overcome this critical barrier of data-sharing and privacy, Palombini said.

As history has shown time and again, however, technology for technology’s sake cannot fix all problems.

“One might argue that it may not be blockchain the technology that is oversold, but the amount of work to fix existing taxonomies, protocols and policies to fully maximize blockchain may be undersold,” Palombini said.

“It’s important to remember we are just at the beginning of blockchain’s potential in health, so it will take some time before its benefits are fully realized.”

Shahram Ebadollahi, IBM Watson Health

An evolutionary journey

Palombini said that there are already more than 100 blockchains in existence across multiple vertical industry sectors.

“It’s important to remember we are just at the beginning of blockchain’s potential in health, so it will take some time before its benefits are fully realized,” IBM’s Ebadollahi said. “But it’s potential should not be underestimated.”

In the next five to 10 years, patient consent and data exchange backed by blockchain could fundamentally change the way healthcare services are provided by making patient longitudinal data readily available and opening the door to new treatments, new care delivery models and better coordination of care, IBM’s Ebadollahi explained. He pointed to blockchain underlying precision medicine and wellness programs outside the health systems as potentially having a large impact on outcomes.

And the matters of blockchain’s inherent limitations with respect to scalability, confidentiality and governance still need to be ironed out, SSI Group’s Watson said.

Working through those thorny issues will be an evolutionary journey for blockchain-based healthcare applications. Trust and governance are key as the interval between proof-of-concept production-quality technologies gets shorter. And building blockchain networks will require a lot of heavy lifting by software vendors and hospitals alike.

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Happy New Year 2018!

Here’s a new chance for a vibrant start
New Year greetings to all the eMEDICS.org staff!!!

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Happy New Year 2017!

Each moment in a day has its own value.
Morning brings HOPE,
Afternoon brings FAITH,
Evening brings LOVE,
Night brings REST,
Hope you will have all of them everyday.

May your days be as glittery as Diamonds;
May your companions be as good as Gold;
May your heart stay as green as Emerald;
Ánd may your soul remain as pure as Pearl.
Happy New Year 2017!

-eMEDICS.org team

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google harvard symptom patient monitoring

Google partners with Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic for symptom search

Google, the world’s most used search engine, is partnering with two of the world’s leading health organizations to take the confusion out of symptom searching.

“We worked with a team of medical doctors to carefully review the individual symptom information, and experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches to help improve the lists we show,” Veronica Pinchin, a product manager on Google’s search team, writes in a blog post introducing Google’s new offering.

“Before symptom search, you really had to know the exact name of what you were looking for to find the best health information,” Pinchin adds. “It was difficult to stumble on the right condition. Health content on the web can be difficult to navigate, and tends to lead people from mild symptoms to scary and unlikely conditions, which can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress.”

About 1 percent of Google’s search queries worldwide are related to medical symptoms. That seems small, but it translates into millions of searches, she notes.

In consultation with Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic, Google has built millions of digital cards for millions of searches.

“Because this is an algorithm, it isn’t perfect,” Pinchin writes. “But we’re going to expand and improve it over time.”

Symptom search is currently available only in the U.S. – and only in English – in Google iOS and Android apps, and in Google.com search results on mobile phones and tablets.

But Google plans to make searches available via desktop browsers and to international markets in more languages, but the company has not indicated when.

In her blog, Pinchin offers some cautionary words: “Symptom search (like all medical information on Google) is intended for informational purposes only, and you should always consult a doctor for medical advice.”

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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Monitoring health – Patients overwhelmingly support it

For health monitoring, most respondents believe doctor-recommended mobile devices can help them manage care between visits.

By Jessica Davis

Regarding monitoring their health, the vast majority of Americans say they would welcome using technology and mobile devices for it, according to a recent study by the Society for Participatory Medicine, a nonprofit membership organization focused on patient engagement.

The study found 84 percent of survey respondents felt tracking blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, physical activity and other data with a user-friendly mobile device between provider visits would help to better manage their health. Thanks for mobile monitoring apps.

“The important findings from the survey show patients really want to partner with physicians,” said Daniel Z. Sands, MD, co-founder, co-chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine.

“It’s not a typical service industry, like the car wash model of healthcare where the patient cruises through the system,” he added. “Providers need to engage patients, and patients want it.”

In fact, 77 percent of survey respondents felt it was both important for themselves and their healthcare provider.

ORC International interviewed more than 1,000 Americans on behalf of the Society for Participatory Medicine and found 76 percent of respondents would use a clinically accurate and easy-to-use monitoring device; 81 percent would be more likely to use a device if their provider recommended it, and 57 percent would like to use the device and share the information with their provider.

“I think many physicians believe patients just want to come in for their visits, but don’t really want to engage in their healthcare,” said Sands. “The participatory method is really important, but the question is, do physicians want to have a partnership?”

“If we get it right, we have the opportunity to leverage technology to help patients contribute to their health information without coming into the office,” he added. “This information is valuable to patients and to providers. It’s an important tool to get healthcare outside of the office.”

According to Sands, it’s a change in mindset for many providers that medical schools are attempting to combat. But it’s challenging in the constraints of a medical practice to transition to this type of care. Further research must be done on physicians to determine their issues and thoughts.

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UNICEF – eMEDICS.org is proud to sponsor NGO projects

UNICEF – Donate today and help keep children safe from disease such as polio

UNICEF Corporate Alliances team has extensive experience working with some of the world’s biggest brands.  Each corporate partner is provided with a dedicated international account manager from the Corporate Alliance team located in New York and Geneva.  The account managers have backgrounds in corporate marketing, public relations, web marketing, advertising, media, market research, packaged-goods marketing, corporate philanthropy and/or product donations. UNICEF’s international account managers liaise with UNICEF’s National Committees in the country where the corporate partner is headquartered to build and leverage the alliance for highest impact.

unicef-1unicef-3unicef-4unicef-5

Millions of children around the world are in danger of contracting polio – it’s highly contagious and can lead to life-long paralysis. There is no cure, yet there is a safe and effective vaccine. Three doses of polio vaccine give a lifetime of immunity, meaning it costs as little as €0.33 to protect a child forever. In 1988, polio was endemic in 125 countries. Today, thanks to successful vaccination programs like those funded by UNICEF’s. unicef-8

We are close to the goal to end polio forever, but to do so we have to reach every child. Your support helps to vaccinate millions of mothers and babies against deadly diseases and keeps millions of children safe from polio. Your kind donations will help UNICEF keep more children safe. Donations can be made in Sterling, Euros or US Dollars. Use any of the picture on the following page to donate.

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In over 190 countries around the world, UNICEF teams are doing whatever it takes to reach the world’s most vulnerable children. They’re saving lives, protecting childhoods and getting children to school. They’re constantly monitoring the situation of children worldwide and act rapidly when an emergency strikes.But they don’t just want children to have better lives today; they’re working with governments and partners to change laws and policies to help future generations of children too.

From immunizing children against preventable diseases, to rebuilding schools after disasters, UNICEF does whatever it takes to reach every child who needs us. But to do this they need the help of supporters like us.

Give a monthly gift today and you can save lives, protect childhoods and give children the chance to go to school every month.

eMEDICS.org is sponsoring UNICEF Switzerland projects all over the world and donates 5% of any of its sales to UNICEF in order to promote their actions and make children have a better life.

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Roche app measures Parkinson’s disease fluctuations

This is another fine example of how smartphones could be used to good effect in modern day medicine. Roche Pharma Research & Early Development (pRED) has developed a smartphone-based monitoring system for those with Parkinson’s disease (PD) that complements the traditional physician-led assessments with automated tests that continuously measure their symptom fluctuations. This could be the first time that such an app has been used to measure disease and symptom severity in a medicine development program in Parkinson’s disease.

“The app is being used in a Phase I trial run by Prothena, in collaboration with Roche in PD. In clinical trials in this area, disease disability and impairment are traditionally measured by physician assessments using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). However, these are limited to the specific times that patients go for an appointment with their physicians. The app will enable continuous measurement of PD fluctuation every day and throughout the day. Ultimately, we hope the app can be used in future clinical development to enable  more objective measures on response to treatment to complement doctor assessments,” explains Anirvan Ghosh, Head of Neuroscience Discovery for pRED.

Patients will be asked to follow a daily routine with the app, using it every day for the duration of the trial. The routine will consist of six active tests followed by passive monitoring. These assessments are designed to provide information on a person’s symptoms, their progress and impact on daily life. The app has been developed in consultation with Max Little, a pioneer in PD app development who is best known for his work on the Parkinson’s Voice Initiative. Max is Assistant Professor at Aston University and is associated with Oxford University and the MIT Media Lab. The project has also been presented to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

A series of Roche activities

“The data collected will be used to predict patient UPDRS scores and study symptom fluctuations throughout the duration of the trial. In addition, patient adherence data will be used to assess the patient’s willingness to adopt technology which will be beneficial for future trials,” says Christian Czech, Group Leader in Neuroscience Biomarker Experimental Medicine, pRED.

The active tests will ask patients to do a series of 30-second long activities. These include:

  • Voice test: conducting an “aaah” sound for as long as possible
  • Balance test: standing still
  • Gait test: walking 20 yards, including an 180 degree turn
  • Dexterity test: tapping two buttons alternately on the touchscreen with the dominant use hand
  • Rest tremor test: holding the smartphone in the hand most affected by the tremor, resting it on the lap and counting back from 100
  • Postural tremor test: holding the smartphone in the same hand, outstretched

For passive monitoring, patients are asked to carry the smartphone with them throughout the day. Data is then collected from the various smartphone sensors. Patients will be asked to use the app for the duration of the trial, including screening, dosing and follow-up, which may last up to a period of about 32 weeks.

Key role of investigators

The app is equipped with dashboards that show the patient’s compliance level. Based on this information, investigators can guide patients to use the app more regularly. Additionally, we can also monitor how much data is coming in from the smartphones. Based on this, we can ask investigators to speak with patients who should be using the app more regularly,” points out Christian Gossens, Head of Early Development Workflows, pRED Informatics.

The app has been developed for Android and it has been deployed to the trial on a Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini. Roche provides patients with dedicated, preconfigured smartphones for the sole purpose of remote patient monitoring via the app. This makes the device and the app easier to use for the elderly patient population.

Speaking about the project, Max Little said, “It was clear that Roche had the vision to recognise the value and potential of this technology, and the resources to make this a reality. It has been an exciting experience to see the concept take shape over the last couple of years.”

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December 16, 2015 / Posted by / Roche app measures Parkinson’s disease fluctuations