Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This Is An Interesting View Of The Future Of e-Health Over The Next Decade - And More.

This appeared a few days ago:

The era of virtual medicine is finally here

Chris Pash Sep 10, 2015, 10:30 AM
The intersection of technology and medicine is creating a more efficient and convenient world.
For decades futurists have been predicting giant leaps forward in the quality and speed of healthcare delivery through advances in technology.
If you look around in 2015, through advances such as telehealth, body parts created with 3D printers, medical service delivery in remote areas, and the use of big data to diagnose illnesses or forecast future demand for services, the age of virtual medicine is decidedly upon us.
Why go to the trouble of making your way to a doctor’s surgery, and then spending an afternoon in a waiting room, when you could be working or recuperating in bed? Online services can have you talking direct to a GP via online video link in just a few clicks. And you haven’t even left home or the office.
The doctors can email a medical certificate, make a note on your file and prescribe medicine, all online. The connection between GP and patient is just the first step into the world of networked healthcare.
While access to GPs online is now a reality, the services are still small. Out of 140 million GP visits a year in Australia, only about 20,000 or so are virtual.

Only getting started

David Glance, director of the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Software Practice, says the virtual market will take time to develop as users adapt, and there is huge scope for more adoption and improvement.
“The promise of e-health has yet to live up to the hype as a panacea for our ageing, overweight and increasingly sickly population,” he writes in the Conversation.
However, he says it will definitely be part of the solution in delivering more efficient services.
According to David Hansen, CEO of the eHealth Research Centre at the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, much of the healthcare sector has catching up to do.
“Healthcare may be the last sector where significant amounts of communication are still done via fax and regular post,” he says. “This is not to say that significant changes are not happening.”

Big data analytics

The federal government is creating digital medical records for all in Australia. This project, supported by state health departments, means there will be a mountain of data about the health needs of Australians.
“We’re going to see the big data analytics,” says Hansen. “An example where we’ve done some work is our patient admission prediction tool. This predicts, based on historical data, how many patients are going to turn up in the emergency department and how many will go on to need a bed.”
Lots more here:
What I liked in this article was the frank admission that to date we really have not had all that much success demonstrating the potential we all imagine exists in e-Health. How true it is and how this makes the nonsense claims of proponents of non-sense schemes like the PCEHR even more silly. If only we could see e-Health policies based on what was proven to work how much better the health system would be!
The rest of the series also looks like fun…go here:


Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

We seem to be back to the definitions of eHealth and virtual medicine.

Nothing in that and the other articles it refers to has a lot to do with medicine.

Talking to your GP, emailing a medical certificate, making a note on your file and prescribing medicine, all online isn't using technology for medicine.

The GP does the medicine, you and (s)he are using technology to communicate and process information.

David Glance talks about "delivering more efficient services", which is exactly what it is, delivering services, not providing services i.e. not actually doing them.

In my view, "proper" eHealth is when automated systems start assisting in diagnoses and treatment advice. I don't think they will ever, or ever should, replace health care professionals, but there is huge scope to assist health professionals make better decision. This would be truly disruptive use of technology and is going to be mighty hard to develop and implement, but until it does, we are kidding ourselves we are doing eHealth.

I have a personal interest in better health decision making. For the past eight months I have been in great pain because a whole string of health professionals didn't identify a problem I have that should have been blindingly obvious from day one.

I finally saw a specialist who knows what he is talking about and last week had an operation, so I'm fixed now. I just have to get over the operation.

The PCEHR would have been worse than useless. If some of the data that they collected on me before, during and after the hospital stay had been put into an eHealth record it would have been full of errors, misdiagnosis and wrong treatments.

Use of IT is widespread in the health industry and has brought about huge benefits. But eHealth or more specifically, eMedicine, it most certainly isn't.

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Following on my rant yesterday, this was in the media:

It's about delivering mental health education.

"A new mental health web portal to help people deal with depression and anxiety disorders has been unveiled."

So far it looks like e-education rather than eHealth, however:

"...the centre was offering a world-first bio-psychosocial web and mobile treatment program for depression and the anxiety disorders."

suggests that it is not just delivering ehealth mental services, but it is offering a treatment program. In other words it is offering a service, not just delivering a service provided by someone else.

I have no idea about the efficacy or effectiveness of this program, but IMHO it's heading in the right direction.

And one final observation, if the health systems is being overloaded, the best way to deal with that problem, is to keep people out of it.

In other words, the best way to solve a problem is not to have it in the first place.