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Philips to become a global leader in patient care management solutions for the hospital and the home through the acquisition of BioTelemetry, Inc.

December 18, 2020

  • Philips to acquire BioTelemetry, Inc. for USD 72.00 per share; implied enterprise value of USD 2.8 billion (approx. EUR 2.3 billion)
  • Acquisition is a strong fit with Philips’ strategy to transform the delivery of healthcare: combination of Philips’ leading patient monitoring position in the hospital with BioTelemetry’s leading cardiac diagnostics and monitoring position outside the hospital
  • With 2019 sales of USD 439 million, BioTelemetry annually monitors over 1 million cardiac patients remotely; its portfolio includes wearable heart monitors, AI-based data analytics and services
  • Combination will result in significant synergies driven by cross-selling opportunities, geographical expansion, portfolio innovation synergies, and productivity gains
  • BioTelemetry business is expected to deliver double-digit growth and improve its Adjusted EBITA margin to over 20% by 2025; acquisition will be sales growth and adjusted EBITA margin accretive for Philips in 2021

Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, and BioTelemetry, Inc. (NASDAQ: BEAT), a leading U.S.-based provider of remote cardiac diagnostics and monitoring, today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement. Pursuant to the agreement, Philips will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of BioTelemetry for USD 72.00 per share, to be paid in cash upon completion. This represents a 16.5 percent premium to BioTelemetry’s closing price on December 17, 2020. The implied enterprise value is USD 2.8 billion (approximately EUR 2.3 billion), inclusive of BioTelemetry’s cash and debt. The board of directors of BioTelemetry has approved the transaction and recommends the offer to its shareholders. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

The acquisition of BioTelemetry is a strong fit with Philips’ cardiac care portfolio, and its strategy to transform the delivery of care along the health continuum with integrated solutions. The combination of Philips’ leading patient monitoring position in the hospital with BioTelemetry’s leading cardiac diagnostics and monitoring position outside the hospital, will result in a global leader in patient care management solutions for the hospital and the home for cardiac and other patients. Philips’ current portfolio includes real-time patient monitoring, therapeutic devices, telehealth and informatics. Moreover, Philips has an advanced and secure cloud-based Philips HealthSuite digital platform optimized for the delivery of healthcare across care settings. Every year, Philips’ integrated solutions monitor around 300 million patients in hospitals, as well as around 10 million sleep and respiratory care patients in their own homes.

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Cerner, Xealth simplify digital tool orders for telehealth, remote patient monitoring

From their EHR workflows, clinicians will have a centralized system enabling them to order and prescribe apps, devices or other digital therapeutic tools for virtual care management.By Mike Miliard December 11, 202002:57 PM

Person in medical wear at computer

Cerner announced Thursday a new offering developed through the investment it made this summer in digital prescription platform Xealth. 

It will now offer its customers a centralized digital ordering and monitoring system, delivered right from the electronic health record, to help providers more easily deploy and manage digital tools and smartphone applications for their patients.

The tool enables clinicians to see an array of digital therapeutics and apps in the Cerner EHR, assess their cost and clinical value, and prescribe them for patients from within their workflows. HIMSS20 Digital Learn on-demand, earn credit, find products and solutions.

Additionally, it can help them track how well the connected health tools are working as part of a telehealth, remote monitoring or other virtual care program.

Among the tools on offer via Xealth’s platform: Babyscripts, Glooko, SilverCloud Health and Welldoc.

The platform, by linking digital health tools such as these with EHR data, allows clinicians to monitor how the apps are being used and can send care plans to patients’ smartphones.

THE LARGER TREND

Cerner announced its $6 million investment in Xealth, a Providence spinoff, back in August.

Among the use cases that can be tackled when the tool is deployed in the EHR and in the patients’ own portal: chronic disease management, behavioral health, maternity care and preparation for surgery. As telehealth and remote patient monitoring continue to be major modalities of care during the pandemic, digital tools and app prescriptions will offer enhancement treatment options for those areas and others.

Since then, Phoenix-based Banner Health has been one of the first Cerner customers to put the platform to work within its physicians’ workflows. 

“Banner Health is known for providing leadership and embracing technology to improve patient care in this rapidly transforming health care environment,” said Scott Nordlund, chief strategy and growth officer for Banner Health, in a Cerner statement. “Our patients expect to be treated like consumers. Mindful of that expectation, we are utilizing new capabilities and expanding our formulary to make digital health easier for our doctors to deploy and monitor.”

Earlier this year, Healthcare IT News Features Editor Bill Siwicki explored how UPMC is using Xealth with its Epic EHR platform.

“Xealth offered the ability to integrate with our Epic EHR, sending content seamlessly from the platform, where providers already are used to working,” said Dr. Glenn Updike, medical director of clinical informatics for the women’s health service line at UPMC. “Providers would feel like they are sending materials from Epic, but Xealth would actually be collating information from vendors and UPMC alike into one streamlined package.”

He added: “While patients are not required to download additional apps to access their educational information, one of the successes of our Xealth implementation is our ability to prescribe monitoring apps for patients to better track their individual pregnancy experience,” he continued. “Xealth has allowed us to rapidly scale the prescription of this type of content because of the integration into the EHR.”

ON THE RECORD
“As digital tools are increasingly included in care plans, health systems seek a way to organize and oversee their use across the health system,” said David Bradshaw, senior vice president, consumer and employer solutions at Cerner. “Digital health has extraordinary potential to reshape the way we care for patients and, working with Xealth, we are answering the need and helping providers create more engaging and effective patient experiences.”

“Now more than ever, extending care teams to meet patients where they are is critical,” said Mike McSherry, CEO and cofounder of Xealth. “As digital health programs roll out, they should elevate both the patient and provider experience. Cerner, building out a digital formulary, with Xealth at its core, is listening to its strong clinician base by delivering tools to enhance patient care, without adding additional steps for the care team.”

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Veridata EDC: Elsevier’s electronic data capture software puts compliance front and centre

For more than two decades Elsevier, a global information and analytics company specialising in scientific and medical content, has supported clinical research with its electronic data capture (EDC) software. Its latest development is Veridata EDC, a cloud-based platform designed to simplify the process of data gathering, analysis and compliance.

Veridata EDC: Elsevier’s electronic data capture software puts compliance front and centre
The Veridata electronic data capture software is intuitive, reducing the chances of human error

Here, Elsevier’s commercial manager Philip Dunlop talks to Pharmaceutical Technology about the challenges of compliance in clinical research, how COVID-19 is disrupting the sector and how Veridata EDC can help businesses manage compliance.

Q: Why is compliance so important to clinical research?

The simple answer is patient safety, with regulations in place to ensure that everyone participating in a clinical trial conducts themselves ethically and safely. It is also vitally important to learn from past mistakes, particularly in instances where clinical trials were not as safe as they should have been, or where patients were endangered in accidents or by trial organisers acting in financial self-interest.

Even though regulations add significant overheads to a clinical research programme, they do help make it very clear where a failure has occurred and what needs to be done so it never happens again. Veridata EDC has been designed to keep those key safety aspects while reducing time spent on data entry, analysis and compliance.

Q: What makes data compliance such a challenge in clinical research?

Whenever I think about compliance, I’m always reminded of GDPR. The world was shocked by how much extra work was required but in clinical trials, researchers have needed to meet many aspects of GDPR’s high level of scrutiny for many years. Compliance is a difficult thing to get right because regulations are so often set to a very high standard. One of the major reasons for this, in clinical research, is that a study needs to be repeatable.

Q: What compliance hurdles do clinical research companies tend to face?

There are regulations around how data is stored, so obviously that has to be secure. There must also be checks and balances on the person who is entering the data, to determine if they are who they say they are, and that their account hasn’t been compromised. And then there’s the audit trail. If data has ever changed in the system, we know who has changed it, when they changed it and why they changed it. Veridata EDC makes all that easier.

Q: How can Veridata EDC help clinical research projects with their compliance?

Veridata EDC helps businesses meet their compliance requirements in several ways. Firstly, the software has been assessed by NHS Data Security and Protection (DSP), meaning that it is held to a very high standard. It is also ISO 27001-certified, which is the international standard on how to manage information security. It is also compliant with GCP, FDA CFR 21 Part 11, HIPAA and GDPR.

The software is also intuitive, in that it makes running clinical trials, studies and registries easier to manage, and in turn there are fewer opportunities for human error. Its API-programmable design allows interoperability with existing systems and it’s designed with our MACRO system in mind, which has been in operation for more than twenty years. We have taken our experiences over twenty years and updated them for the modern software application, making collecting clinical trials data simpler and more accessible.

Q: How has COVID-19 changed things from a compliance perspective?

COVID-19 has changed the way clinical trials are conducted in that some of the rules seem to have been relaxed or adapted. In the past, some participants would finish a clinical trial and not receive another call for a decade. But COVID-19 has changed this attitude, with patients now constantly monitored over much longer periods. We’ve also seen an acceleration of experimental treatments with shortened timescales within each phase of the study.

The pandemic has also driven collaboration between universities, hospitals and other clinical research institutions. Together, they’ve formed strong partnerships in joint quality research. Regulatory sign-off on new treatments has accelerated too, to cope with the need for a quick, effective and safe response to COVID-19 globally.

Q: What does the future hold for EDC software in terms of compliance?

At Elsevier, compliance is one of the main focuses of the Veridata EDC team. We continually adapt to the requirements of regulators to guarantee patient safety.

As the world of clinical trials changes due to COVID-19 – with patients visiting hospitals and clinics far less often (if at all) for non-critical care, for example – continuing clinical trials has been a challenge. However, with the use of technology, we’ve overcome many obstacles.

We continue to listen to our customers’ problems and respond with easy to use and accessible solutions, that are both compliant and of high quality.Free Whitepaper

Excel vs EDC: The myths and realities of capturing clinical trial data

Many researchers depend on tools such as Excel and Google Forms to capture, manage and analyse trial data. Based on the findings of a 2019 study, Excel is used by 78% of CROs to study startup processes, despite 60% believing that the use of spreadsheets and manual processes should be reduced. There are a number of factors that are pushing the decision not to switch to electronic data capture (EDC) solutions, such as it is perceived as harder to use or it is less secure, but these are myths.

This whitepaper outlines the myths behind manual spreadsheets and how researchers can navigate the truths and falsehoods of excel and EDCs.

Enter your details here to receive your free whitepaper.

https://ww2.verdict.co.uk/l/375012/2020-05-04/6fnh68?VMS_Company_Name=Elsevier&VMS_WhitePaper_URL=https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/07/Elsevier-MACRO_Myths-Vs-Truth-C-020520-FINAL.pdf&VMS_Title=Excel%20vs%20EDC:%20The%20myths%20and%20realities%20of%20capturing%20clinical%20trial%20data&VMS_Post_ID=117321&VMS_Site_ID=10&VMS_Site_Name=Pharmaceutical%20Technology&Verdict_company_email=leads@verdict.co.uk&VMS_site_logo=https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2017/09/PHarmaceutical-tech@2x.png&Content_Type=Whitepaper

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A Comprehensive Guide to Eye Care for Seniors

Published by Meghan Villalba, President | AROCC.org

Quick Links:


Introduction: Why Is Eye Care for Seniors Important? 

As we age, there’s nothing more important than our health, specifically the wellness of our five senses. Vision is no exception to the rule, yet it can be difficult to feel like you’re doing enough for your eye care as you get older.  According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, approximately one in three elderly people experiences some type of vision reduction or eye disease by age 65. 

Regular, preventative eye care screenings ideally are already a part of your annual or biannual health check-ups. Sure, it’s normal for prescriptions to change. As you grow older, normal changes to vision are bound to happen. Your 20/20 vision may fade. You may find yourself trying on reading glasses at the pharmacy these days. Seeing your eye doctor (ophthalmologist) once in a while may seem like enough of a preventative measure but for seniors, it’s critically important to go the extra mile. 

Grandmother and granddaughter look at a cell phone

Eye health can affect your holistic physical and mental health. Many seniors experience slips and falls that otherwise could be mitigated by successful eye surgery. Seniors with eye conditions may get back functionality and independence when they seek professional treatment. 

For example, successful eye surgery may lengthen the time one can continue to drive a vehicle. Vision is a beautiful part of life, and no one who can have relief from symptoms should settle for less than great eyecare. 

It’s important to understand that an eye disease or eye condition does not always indicate that you will experience vision loss. Often, vision loss occurs when symptoms are beyond surgical repair. 

In this guide, you’ll learn eye care best practices, discover warning signs of age-related conditions, and know what to expect when you get a preventative eye exam. When you’re armed with knowledge about symptoms and treatment options for eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts, you’ll make smarter, logic-informed decisions for disease prevention. 


What Eye Conditions Should You Look Out For? 

Blue eyes are prone to conditions and diseases as we age

There are four critical diseases of the eye that affect seniors: 

  1. Cataracts
  2. Macular Degeneration
  3. Glaucoma
  4. Diabetic Eye Disease  

1. Cataracts

A cataract is a medical condition where the lens of the eye starts to become visibly cloudy, causing blurred vision and decreased coordination due to lack of clarity. 

Specifically, proteins in the eye accumulate and eventually prevent the retina and the lens of the eye from sending clear images to one another. Developing a cataract is considered a standard age-related condition, and the main treatment option available for cataracts is surgery. 

A) Early Signs and Symptoms of Cataracts 

Cataracts tend to develop slowly over time, but there are common signs beyond cloudy vision you can watch out for. 

  • Double vision or seeing halos
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Difficulty seeing in low light 
  • Noticeable changes in prescription or vision, especially if in between appointments with your eye care practitioner  
  • Loss of vibrancy when seeing color 
  • Blurred vision

B) Who Is Most at Risk?

Ophthalmologists generally refer to cataracts as an age-related condition of the eye. However, there are some lifestyle and health decisions that can increase your risk of developing cataracts, such as: 

  • Smoking or excessive consumption alcohol 
  • Obesity 
  • Diabetes 
  • High blood pressure
  • Sustained, regular, unprotected sun exposure (specifically to UV radiation)
  • Previous injury to the eye

C) Treatment 

If you’re not interested in eye surgery and prefer to manage cataracts alternatively, talk to your ophthalmologist about stronger lenses or other ways to live with your cataracts. 

However, in most cases, your eye doctor will recommend surgery to remove the cataract so you can return to daily activities and maintain your eye health for longer.

The National Eye Institute reports a 90% efficacy rate, where 9 out of every 10 people who get the surgery have better vision afterward. 

Cataract surgery tends to be an outpatient procedure that takes an hour or less. The eye will receive an anesthetic, and the patient will receive a mild sedative to place them at ease.

D) Resources on Cataracts

2. Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the thinning of the “macula,” which is the part of the retina that makes vision clear and detailed. The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute defines “age-related macular degeneration” (AMD) as progressive eye condition that affects as many as 15 million Americans, with 200,000 new cases each year. 

Though macular degeneration is classified as incurable, there are varying degrees of severity. AMD happens gradually, and there are three stages of the disorder:

  1. Early AMD, where vision loss has not yet occurred. Your eye doctor can still discover macular degeneration during this stage, especially if you are getting examined regularly. 
  2. Intermediate AMD is where you may experience some vision loss, but perhaps not enough to notice or worry you. 
  3. Late AMD, where vision loss is recognized.   

A) Early Signs and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration 

Symptoms will vary based on the person, but a few things a macular degeneration patient may experience are: 

  • Diminished vision in one (or both) eyes 
  • Difficulty adjusting to changes in light, or work in dim light
  • Blurred vision, whether when interacting with people or reading 
  • Uncomfortable brightness in situations that aren’t as bright as perceived 

B) Who Is Most at Risk? 

According to The Mayo Clinic, smoking nearly doubles your risk of developing AMD. Studies suggest that obesity and cardiovascular disease may predispose someone to macular degeneration as well. Your eye doctor will also always take family history and genetics into consideration. Most patients with AMD are over the age of 50.

C) Treatment 

Unlike glaucoma, there isn’t a medical treatment for macular degeneration. The best measures against AMD are preventative ones, such as following a diet dense in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and omega-3s. Quitting smoking or avoiding smoking is another way to reduce your likelihood of macular degeneration. 

Protecting the eyes from sun exposure such as harmful UV rays or blue light is another key prevention tool. 

D) Resources on Macular Degeneration 

3. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye condition where the main nerve to the eye—also referred to as the “optic nerve”—becomes damaged. Vision becomes patchy. 

While scientists aren’t completely sure why this happens, glaucoma can lead to sudden and complete vision loss without showing major signs or symptoms. Early detection is the only way to prevent glaucoma from affecting vision. Any vision loss associated with glaucoma can’t be recovered. Glaucoma Research Foundation reported research from The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group that in the U.S., more than 120,000 are blind from the condition.

Regular eye exams can make the difference between glaucoma detection and missing a diagnosis. There are multiple types of glaucoma, according to the International Glaucoma Association, such as primary open angle glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, and others. 

A) Early Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma 

The tricky part about glaucoma is that it usually doesn’t have symptoms at first, which can make detection difficult. Signs of the disease worsening include loss of peripheral (side) vision. Glaucoma can occur in one or both eyes. 

Some other symptoms of glaucoma include blurred or distorted vision, eye pain, loss of peripheral vision, and headaches. 

B) How is Glaucoma Diagnosed? 

Glaucoma is typically diagnosed through a dilated eye exam, which is painless for the patient. 

C) Who Is Most at Risk?

According to the National Eye Institute, glaucoma can affect anyone, but those who are over the age of 60 are the most susceptible. If you have a family history of glaucoma, you’ll want to be extra vigilant about getting regular complete eye exams. 

The American Optometric Association reports that African Americans over the age of 40 and Hispanics over the age of 60 present a higher risk of developing glaucoma.  

It’s worth noting that glaucoma doesn’t only affect seniors; it can happen at any age. Developmental glaucoma is when newborns or young children experience the disease.

D) Treatment 

Eye conditions like glaucoma are highly variable, and eye doctors determine specific treatment based on factors like the damage to the optic nerve, corneal thickness, and how much the glaucoma is affecting peripheral vision. There are three main forms of glaucoma treatment today:

  1. Eye drops, which lower the pressure of the eye to lessen optic nerve damage 
  2. Laser treatment, also called Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, creates better drainage in the eye to relieve intraocular pressure (IOP)
  3. Surgery was previously the least common treatment type, but is gaining popularity in newer studies. Glaucoma specialists will recommend surgery when laser treatment and eye drops aren’t helping your symptoms. The typical recovery period for eye surgery lasts between 3-6 weeks. 

E) Resources on Glaucoma 

4. Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease is also called “diabetic retinopathy,” occurring when blood vessels of the retina are damaged. Poor regulation of blood sugar can increase your risk of diabetic eye disease. The longer you’ve been living with diabetes, the higher your chance of developing retinopathy. 

There are two main types of diabetic eye disease: 

  1. Nonproliferative Retinopathy, which is where capillaries in the eye form pouches that affect vision and is the most common of the retinopathies
  2. Proliferative Retinopathy, which causes the development of new, weak blood vessels as they try to increase blood flow to the struggling eye. 

The best thing patients with diabetic eye disease can do is closely monitor both their vision, diabetes, and health. Working with multiple healthcare practitioners for a holistic practice is critical to slow its progression. Diabetic blindness can occur when the disease is left to its own devices.

A) Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease 

In the early states of diabetic eye disease, symptoms may be very mild or difficult to connect with your diabetes. You may experience: 

  • Flashing lights in your vision 
  • Floating spots in the eye, called “floaters”
  • Blind spots
  • Poor or diminished perception of color 

B) Who Is Most at Risk?

  • People with type 1 and 2 diabetes are at increased risk for the disease and its complications, according to the American Diabetes Association.  
  • Those who smoke or have smoked in the past 
  • Those with patterns of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar
  • Those with diabetes who opt not to get an annual dilated eye exam, which can ward off the advancement of the disease

C) Treatment 

Milder cases of diabetic eye disease can be maintained with careful monitoring of diabetes and blood sugar. Once blood pressure and blood sugar are controlled for several months, repair can begin to naturally occur, according to Harvard Health Publishing

More serious cases of diabetic retinopathy mean that the retina has sustained damage that require surgery. Laser treatments, injections of medication into the eye, and surgery on the retina are common treatment options for this category. 

The retina can detach from its proper place, so an eye doctor may recommend a laser surgery to shrink the rogue, weak blood vessels causing the detachment. Injection of a medication to the eye that blocks the growth of blood vessels in the eye is another course of treatment that has seen an increase in efficacy according to the American Society of Retina Specialists

Always ask your eye doctor which treatment is most appropriate for your case of diabetic eye disease.

D) Resources on Diabetic Eye Disease


Preventative Eye Care Tips 

Woman operates an eye testing device in an office.

Daily life has plenty of distractions, screens, and harsh lights that can affect your vision over time. 

One tenant of good eye care is consistency. You wouldn’t apply sunscreen only on beach days, right? The same principle applies to practicing good eye care. Here are some tips: 

  • Ask your family and loved ones about their eye history, and write down their responses to share with your eye doctor
  • Take measures to quit smoking or avoid smoking altogether
  • Exercise regularly for optimal health. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week for adults
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors to protect the eye from harsh UV lights
  • Wear protective eye gear during activities where the eye may sustain damage or get hurt
  • Don’t overwear contact lenses, which can cause infection of the eye
  • If you do wear contact lenses, follow cleanliness guidelines and your eye doctor’s instructions for how often to discard them

Nutrition 

We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale at the kitchen table: “Eat carrots to improve your vision!” Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as a carrot a day keeps the cataracts away. Though carrots do contain essential vitamins like Vitamin A, which protects the eye by strengthening its surface.

There are dietary best practices that can better your eye health in the long-term; for example, Real Simple recommends following a diet that’s dense in leafy greens like kale and spinach, squash, and, essentially, sticking to a colorful diet. 

Medical News Today also provides dietary suggestions such as increasing intake of antioxidants and omega-3s, as well as recommended daily intakes from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. 


Eye Check Up Protocol for Seniors 

Why Do You Need an Eye Exam?

Eye exams are the only method we have of identifying early onset eye conditions. 

It’s important to get eye exams on a regular basis the same way that you’d put gas in your car if the tank was running low, or visit the doctor annually for a physical exam. 

For those over 60 years old, regular eye exams can make a difference in the future health of your eyes and your vision.  

How Often Do You Need an Eye Exam?

According to Prevent Blindness.org, how often you should get your eyes checked varies based on your age range and pre-existing health conditions.  

  • Those between 40-64 should get a complete eye exam every 2-4 years 
  • Those 65 years or older should see their ophthalmologist every year
  • Those with pre-existing eye conditions or concerns about family history should ask their eye doctor how often they’d like to see them

Do You Need An Eye Exam If You Have Good Vision? 

The short answer is: yes! Just because you have good eyesight doesn’t mean you may not have underlying conditions that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Regular eye exams, just like going to the dentist or your primary care doctor, are preventative and can identify warning signs of eye disease or vision issues before symptoms appear, or worsen. 

What to Expect at an Eye Exam for Seniors

Even if you have good vision, you’ll still need to have your eyes tested. Eye exams can be as simple as the standard inspection ophthalmologists use to prescribe glasses. Early detection is the key to preventing vision loss. 

With advancing technologies, videos of different eye conditions make it easier to understand potential conditions and diagnoses. You don’t need to be in medical school to benefit from learning some eye anatomy. 

You may hear a lot about corrective surgeries like Lasik, but remember—your ophthalmologist would never recommend an exam or treatment that they truly didn’t believe you need.  

Why Do I Need a Dilated Eye Exam? 

Dilation is the widening of the pupil to increase light to the eye. Dilated eye exams are one of the only methods of detection for glaucoma or macular degeneration. According to the Mayo Clinic, dilation can also identify health issues like high blood pressure and diabetes. After dilation, which is a painless process, you will generally experience blurry vision or some extra light sensitivity. 

If you do have a dilated eye exam during your visit with the ophthalmologist, it’s recommended that you avoid driving or operating machinery for at least several hours until the pupil returns to normal dilation. 


Convincing An Elderly Family Member to See An Ophthalmologist

As family members and friends grow older, it may be tricky to convince them that going to the ophthalmologist is necessary—especially if they insist they’re healthy. You may be tempted to take a family member at their word, but eye issues can come on suddenly, and seniors may not realize the severity of their symptoms if they’re treating other major health problems in tandem. 

Some don’t have eye insurance, which can add another layer of difficulty, especially if they’re paying out of pocket for all their eyecare. Exams, treatments, and surgeries can add up on top of existing bills and medical necessities.

However, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your vision is well-cared for and addressing any symptoms that arise far outweighs the alternative—missed diagnoses, discomfort, or even loss of vision. 

Resources: 

  • EyeCare America, also known as the American Academy of Ophthalmology, provides information on no and low-cost eye exams. 
  • The [no-follow] National Eye Institute compiled a list of applications and programs to help pay for eye care and low-cost alternatives. 
  • Programs that provide free eye exams and glasses 

Check Your Insurance Coverage: 

  • eHealthMedicare details what specific Medicare programs can help with senior eye care
  • Learn details of individual plans like Humana
  • Recommendations on vision insurance from Senior Living

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Swiss spend the most on health care

Swiss spend the most on health care

The Swiss spend more from their own pockets for health care than any other nation, according to a survey for the price comparison website Comparis. Providers of supplementary health insurance are the biggest beneficiaries.

The Comparis survey found that out of CHF80 billion (USD 82 billion) health expenditure in 2016, the Swiss paid CHF24 billion themselves.

Since 2012, expenditure covered directly by households has continued to rise, it says. This includes CHF5.5 billion for retirement home care, CHF2.8 billion in dentists’ bills and 1.6 billion for medicines.

Whereas insurance companies’ revenue from supplementary healthcare premiums has continued to rise, pay-outs under supplementary schemes have risen only moderately. Between 2008 and 2016, revenue from premiums rose by CHF865 million to CHF6.6 billion, whereas health cost reimbursements to clients rose only CHF353 million to CHF4.7 billion, the survey found. The sector therefore made a healthy profit.

Basic health insurance is mandatory in Switzerland. Private companies must all offer the same basic coverage and are not allowed to make a profit on it. Their profits come from the supplementary schemes.

+Read more about health insurance in Switzerland

Economist Pius Gyger, the author of the Comparis report, says the needs of the population go well beyond basic health care coverage, and a high number of Swiss are prepared to pay for supplementary schemes.

But Comparis health insurance expert Felix Schneuwly says insurers need to be innovative, otherwise they may start to lose this lucrative market.

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Making your home safe for a loved one with Alzheimer’s

Making your home safe for a loved one with Alzheimer’s
By Lydia Chan

 lydia@alzheimerscaregiver.net

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, home safety takes on a whole new meaning. You may go for years satisfied that you’ve made your home environment safe by keeping sharp objects put away and cabinet doors closed.

Alzheimer’s changes the game radically: almost overnight you’re forced to see your home through very different eyes. Objects that may have occupied the same space for decades suddenly pose a lethal threat. It can be very easy to overlook something if you’re not very careful. For instance, if you’re not used to keeping your doors locked 24 hours a day, an Alzheimer’s patient can easily slip out and wander away.

Keeping a loved one with Alzheimer’s safe is a round-the-clock responsibility. It can be stressful and frustrating, forcing you to call on reserves of patience you didn’t know you had. You need to continually assess their capabilities and acuity, making any adaptations that a sudden change in their condition may require.


Keep a checklist

Making a checklist can help you maintain a safe environment. It should cover every room in your home, include instructions if there’s an emergency, and be revised or added to depending on your loved one’s situation. If you feel the need, request a home safety evaluation to make sure you’ve accounted for everything. Many healthcare professionals and social workers are fully qualified to help you with this important task.


Safe and secure

About 60 percent of the Alzheimer’s population wander off and get lost; one-third of those who aren’t found within 24 hours don’t survive. The first thing you should do is make certain that there are solid, reliable locks on all exterior doors and windows. If possible, put in an alarm system so you’re alerted the instant a window or door is unlocked. And conceal a house key somewhere in your yard in case you’re inadvertently locked out of the house.


Safe stairways

Falls are another major safety concern if your loved one has Alzheimer’s. That makes your stairways very dangerous. Each should have a handrail running from the top all the way to the bottom step. Install safety strips on each stair to improve traction and help prevent slippage. If your family member needs help getting up and down stairs, make sure there’s a safety gate blocking the top and bottom (if your gates are worn or hand-me-downs, consider buying new ones).


Clear the clutter

Clutter is a big problem for people who suffer from dementia. Studies have shown that scattered objects only add to their confusion, and impair their ability to make sense of their surroundings. Clutter is a major cause of falls. An Alzheimer’s patient may have trouble navigating even familiar surroundings, so it’s important to keep everything picked up and off the floor. Avoid using extension cords if at all possible, and make sure that the grates on all floor vents are secure and even with the floor.


Medication, alcohol and more

A person who’s cognitively impaired can confuse a dangerous substance for something that’s perfectly harmless. Alcohol and cleaning fluids should be securely locked away in a cabinet and all medication should be kept in a safe place. Your loved one’s prescriptions should be clearly marked. Request a child-proof top if necessary.


A tense situation

Alzheimer’s disease affects about 5.4 million Americans, about 5.2 million of which are 65 and older. It can be your grandparent, your cousin, your sibling or even your parent who faces the diagnosis. Eventually, those with Alzheimer’s require round-the-clock care, and for many families, that means taking the loved one into their own home. Following a home safety checklist can help you control what can be a tense and frustrating situation.

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An EHR optimization that actually wins over physicians?

EHR optimization – Baystate Health takes aim at click fatigue with mobile-optimized workflow tool.

Like all healthcare CIOs, Joel Vengco, chief information officer at Springfield, Massachusetts-based Baystate Health, has no shortage of pressing projects competing for his attention for EHR optimization.

Whether it’s working to drive operational efficiencies across the $2.5 billion health system, improving the usability of an array of applications for clinical end users, spearheading community engagement and patient outreach for population health management or working on analytics and “knowledge management,” it all make for a busy workday.

That’s all in addition to the imperative of constant innovation: Beyond just being Baystate’s CIO, Vengco is the founder of TechSpring, an innovation center based at the health system where IT vendors are given secure access to real patient data to speed the development of new technologies.

“So there are lots of things to focus on as a CIO – notwithstanding all the security issues we’ve got to focus on too,” he said.

But even with so much going across Baystate – five hospitals, an academic medical center, 90 medical groups, a health plan with about 250,000 members, “a Next Gen ACO that we manage, and we’re getting into a Medicaid ACO” – Vengco has generally felt pretty on top of things.

Except, until recently, with one important initiative.

“The big project we’ve still yet to quite crack the nut on is: How do you optimize the EHR? How do you optimize the workflow for a clinician?” he said.

Work for providers, on a day-to-day basis, just gets more burdensome, said Vengco. “They’ve got to document, they’ve got to bill – and then they have to see the patient at some point. And then that 15-minute visit becomes a 20- or 30-minute visit because you’re doing all this other work.”

So Vengco posed a tall task to his IT team: Optimize the electronic health record and improve workflow for Baystate’s clinicians. But do it, crucially, in a way where the clinicians take to the new approach voluntarily, because it works better for them, rather than having to be told to do so.

“That was the challenge,” he said. “To leverage our current legacy EHR, Cerner, but then really enhance it without ripping and replacing it.”

For help, he turned to Palo Alto, California-based Praxify, whose recently unveiled MIRA app can augment existing EHRs, integrating with legacy systems to improve workflow.

Touted as being designed by and for physicians, the app offers capabilities such as “glanceable” interfaces that can surface key patient data for faster documentation and review, and dictation tools that enable voice-activated order entry.

The app gives clinicians the “data and the functionality they need within one or two touches or clicks,” said Vengco. “In our case, it’s more of a mobile design, using the heuristics of swiping and all the mobile capabilities you’re using in your day to day life.”

To Praxify, he also had some clear instructions: “We can’t spend two years doing this, we can’t spend millions of dollars putting you guys on top of Cerner. That doesn’t create value. What creates value is doing it in three to five months and actually getting adoption by the providers without me mandating use,” said Vengco.

“That challenge, happy to say, has been met,” he said.

Praxify connects with Cerner, using APIs, in just two or three months, he said. “Now we’re going full force with a production deployment to our health system. And some of the preliminary feedback is that providers, who are some of the hardest customers, are saying they definitely want to use this,” he said.

“We had a hospitalist, probably one of the most vocal critics of our EHR, initially said she wasn’t going to use Praxify,” said Vengco. “She said it was just another technology burden.”

Not long after trying it, she returned to the CIO with glowing reviews. “She said, ‘This is amazing. It’s incredible.'”

Across Baystate, “we’ve seen efficiencies of, on average, 40 percent if you compare it to the way the EHR was previously being used,” said Vengco. “They love the fact that they can get it on any mobile device. They love that, instead of taking five or seven or 10 clicks, it’s a swipe, or a touch. It’s efficient and fast. They love the design of it. They love that they can dictate.”

Because it connects directly to the EHR, there’s no concern about a loss of data. “And the design is intuitive enough that we don’t have to do five or seven hours of training  – it’s a 20-minute discussion and they’re off and running,” he said.

The point, said Vengo, is that “I want them to adopt it themselves. If I give it to them and it goes viral, and they take to it, that means it’s intuitive, it’s optimized, and that makes me happy because the providers are happy.”

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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

Monitoring Device Market Worth US$ 1,502.9 Mn by 2024

Global remote patient monitoring device market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 6.7% and is estimated to reach US$ 1,502.9 Mn by 2024, creating incremental opportunity of US$ 657.1 Mn between 2016 and 2024. Persistence Market Research analyzes the overall performance of the global remote patient monitoring device market and provides key insights on the factors and trends likely to influence the market during this eight-year period.

Rising prevalence of cardio vascular diseases, respiratory disorders, and diabetes in the general population are major factors driving the growth of the global remote patient monitoring device market. Increasing healthcare expenditure and increasing availability of effective treatment solutions for chronic diseases is also projected to boost revenue growth of the global remote patient monitoring device market. Other factors boosting market growth include an increasing awareness among people to self-monitor before disease advancement and government reimbursement issued on homecare settings facilities.

Lack of trained professionals to help with remote patient monitoring devices is expected to hinder market growth of the global remote patient monitoring device market. Insufficiency in maintaining the privacy and security of the stored data, lack of uniformity in device functionality, and lack of general awareness on patient monitoring devices are the key restraints challenging the market.

Global remote patient monitoring device market is segmented on the basis of Product Type (Cardiac Monitors, Respiratory Monitors, Hematological Monitors), Application (Cardiac Arrhythmia, Diabetes, Ischemic diseases, Hypertension, Sleep apnea, Chronic respiratory diseases, Hyperlipidemia), End User (Hospitals, Homecare Settings, Long-term Care Centers, Others), and Region (North America, Latin America, Europe, APEJ, and MEA).

By product type, the cardiac monitors segment is expected to remain the largest segment and is anticipated to reach US$ 765.4 Mn by the end of 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 6.9% over the forecast period. By the end of 2024, the respiratory monitors segment is projected to reach US$ 435.0 Mn, expanding at a CAGR of 6.5% over the forecast period. By application, the cardiac arrhythmia segment is estimated to reach US$ 307.7 Mn by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 6.8% over the forecast period. The diabetes segment is projected to reach US$ 196.8 Mn by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 5.6% over the forecast period. By end user, the hospitals segment is anticipated to reach US$ 690.1 Mn by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 6.6% over the forecast period. The homecare settings segment is anticipated to reach US$ 347.3 Mn by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 6.2% over the forecast period.

Among regions, North America is estimated to dominate the global remote patient monitoring device market with 31.4% revenue share of the overall market by the end of 2016. The Europe remote patient monitoring device market is anticipated to reach US$ 341.1 Mn by 2024. By 2024, North America and Europe markets are expected to account for over four-fifth share of the global remote patient monitoring device market revenue.

Some key companies covered in the report include Boston Scientific Corporation, Koninklijke Philips N.V., Abbott Laboratories, Nihon Kohden Corporation, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., LifeWatch AG, Medtronic, and St. Jude Medical. These companies are primarily focused on enhancing their product portfolio through research and development initiatives and through the introduction of innovative technologies in order to gain higher market share and to strengthen their respective positions in the global market.

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Machine Learning – MIT professor’s quick primer on 2 types

By Mike Miliard

Machine learning – There are two main approaches – supervised and unsupervised – and each has specific applications in the context of healthcare.

And even though machine learning tools impact has not yet sent shockwaves through the industry, the potential of each is enormous, according to John Guttag, head of the Data Driven Inference Group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

At its basic level, machine learning involves looking at data, and from that data finding information that is not readily visible. Example: Applying machine learning to data about patients infected with Zika or another virus and using what we can learn about what happens to those people to inform care decisions regarding the best ways to treat people who get infected in the future.

“Typically we use machine learning to build inference tools, where we find patterns in existing data that allow us – when presented with new data – to infer something interesting about that data,” said Guttag. “Machine learning is driven entirely by the data, rather than by, say, human intuition.”

Here’s a look at the two main types of machine learning and why they matter to healthcare.

Supervised machine learning
“In supervised machine learning, we’re given the data and some outcome associated with the data,” Guttag explained. “We’re given all the people who have Zika infections and then we know which of the women have children with birth defects and which don’t. And maybe from that we could build a model saying that if the woman is pregnant and has Zika, what’s the probability that her baby has a birth defect. And it might be different for 30 year old women than for 40 year old women. Who knows what the factors would be. But there we have a label – all sorts of details about the woman, and was the baby healthy or not. So that would be supervised learning: We have a label about the outcome of interest.”

Unsupervised machine learning
Unsupervised learning, on the other hand “means we wouldn’t have a label,” he said. “We just get data, and from that data we try to infer some hidden structure in the data. So for example you get a bunch of healthcare data and you find patients who look ‘similar.’ Typically the nice thing about unsupervised learning is you find things you weren’t even looking for. It’s also useful for when, for one reason or another, the data is impossible to label.”

The case for using emerging tech today
Guttag added that machine learning is among the fastest growing parts of computer science right now in the world. As healthcare entities continually ramp up their analytics and big data efforts and gird for precision medicine and population health, machine learning as well as artificial intelligence and cognitive computing are poised to become even more valuable.

While vendors such as IBM Watson, Google, Microsoft, and other tech giants are bringing new technologies to market, most of the progress made in machine learning is happening in financial services, retail and other industries, and has been for about a decade.

Healthcare, true to its reputation for slowly embracing new technologies, is a bit late to the party.

One of the challenges unique to healthcare is the long gap between when new knowledge is obtained and when clinicians and doctors can put it to use treating patients, which is among the reasons Guttag urged major healthcare providers to more aggressively integrate today’s machine learning tools into their workflows now.

“People should be using today’s technology to do things today,” Guttag said. “Machine learning is a huge deal. And we’re going to see some pretty dramatic changes over the next few years.”

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September 17, 2016 / Posted by / Machine Learning – MIT professor’s quick primer on 2 types