Thursday, October 11, 2007

E -Mailing Doctors Boosts Health Access, Quality, Study Finds

Parents who contacted their child's pediatrician through e-mail reported increased access to care and improved quality of care, according to a study in the October issue of Pediatrics, Reuters Health reports.

Paul Rosen and C. Kent Kwoh of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine studied results from a physician e-mail access program over a two-year period. Along with improved access and quality of care, families who used the program also said they had a "better understanding of their child's medical tests," Rosen said.

The researchers found using the e-mail program provided responses from physicians 57% faster than using the telephone.

Forty percent of the 848 e-mails were sent outside business hours, according to the study.
The program asked that participants not use e-mail for emergencies. Researchers found that 5.7% of total messages were urgent, such as notification of new symptoms or an expectation of a same-day response from the doctor.

"Patients would like the ability to e-mail their doctors," Rosen said, adding, "More physicians should consider providing the service" (Douglas, Reuters Health, 10/10).

Friday, October 5, 2007

from the web2.0 meeting...The history of health

Interesting and thought provoking video on you tube.

Thanks to Joan the Swiss Ms for the link.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

More Patients Use Cell Phones To Manage Chronic Diseases

There is a growing push to employ common electronic devices to monitor chronic diseases, let patients confer with physicians remotely and encourage stricter adherence to medication, diet and exercise, the National Post reports.

For example, the average blood pressure reading of 31 patients was significantly reduced when they used a cell phone-based system that sent alerts to patients and physicians when their blood pressures got too high or too low, according to a study in this month's American Journal of Hypertension.Researchers launched the study at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto because blood pressure tends to fluctuate and is affected by external factors, but doctors usually see just an isolated reading, making it difficult to treat effectively.Study participants used a blood pressure cuff equipped with a Bluetooth device that automatically transmitted data to the cell phone, which then sent the readings to a central server.

Algorithms determined if the reading was too high or too low and sent alerts to doctors and patients when necessary using a standard landline. Doctors also received a series of readings via fax before a patient's visit. A larger clinical trial using BlackBerry devices is being conducted to confirm the initial findings.Other health care applications for cell phones also are being investigated. A Health Canada team is encouraging drug companies to record and transmit photos of patients' meals via cell phone during clinical trials for diabetes drugs in an effort to compare the effect of diet and exercise to medications, the Post reports.

In addition, cell phone network provider Qualcomm by late 2008 hopes to launch Lifecomm, a monthly service that provides health care applications to cell phones. Don Jones, Qualcomm's health vice president, said that he thinks the next major market probably will be for phones that allow patients to video conference