I attended a medical information conference this past year, in Washington DC. It was actually an interesting conference. Many researchers presented their research projects and delivered new ideas for improving medical care through IT. One study I found related and interesting. It was titled “Congestive Heart Failure Telemanagement using a Wii-based Telecare Platform”. Now in my opinion this is consumer Health 2.0 at its finest.
The study was performed by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore VA. By having an easy to use telemedicine solution to monitor heart failure, patients can be treated sooner and spend less time in the hospital. The Wii console is a popular system that is user friendly. The researchers developed an application where the patient uses the Wii Internet channel and answers a few daily questions regarding their health. Following that they stand on a scale and input their weight. After all this information is inputted, an action plan for the patient is delivered. They receive immediate feedback and the information is accessible by their physician’s office. http://proceedings.amia.org/127ior
I was really intrigued on a few fronts. The first is that it’s an easy to deliver monitoring solution for CHF patients. The second is the fact that class II and III heart failure patients with implantable devices are already doing this. I know that Boston Scientific heart failure device patients are given the option to have a scale and blood pressure cuff at their house. They transmit information daily to their doctor from these devices and certain key items from their implanted devices. Pretty cool, huh?
This study leads into determining if this may become a viable option for medical device companies to develop and sell. I can’t wait to find out of Medicare would reimburse for a Wii gaming console. Health 2.0 does include existing household devices, even gaming devices, to improve health and improve health access.
The National Library of Medicine was at the conference, as well. They are continuing to improve their Patient Health Record (PHR) internet-based system. This is a way for patients to become more active in their own health. By logging into your personal account, you maintain your health information including medications. This is moving slow, as they need physicians to buy into using this system. Full utility will come as doctors monitor your information and keep it updated, also. For more information on this go to http://www.myphr.com/index.php/start_a_phr/what_is_a_phr/ or ask your doctor.