EMRs: Increasing Complexity and Capabilities III

Change-over-time rather than point-in-time

There is an evolving body of services that gather health related data beyond the scope of traditional healthcare and then deliver the data and analysis to your personal health record. They provide a form of diagnosis based on measurement-of-change-over-time rather than the point-in-time-assessment made at your doctor’s office or a hospital in response to an incident. The enabling technology records information about what you are doing or how your body is reacting as it as it happens and then transmits the data to a central computer for analysis.

The data and the analysis are then sent to you and your doctor. Not necessarily better information but additional information for preventative medicine or to supplement the assessment of a medical incident.

The Internet has a history of beginning simple and then adding new capabilities. It is not clear whether need leads to the creation of these new capabilities or the new capabilities awaken unfelt needs. Either way the scope of the information that is available continues to grow and systems become more robust. That kind of future evolution must be built in to each step forward if progress is to continue. Two recent examples:

US Preventive Medicine is offering a preventive “program and it sounds pretty cool: you pay $229 for the first year, complete an online health risk questionnaire, and then go to a local lab to have a panel of blood tests. The company sends your lab results to a PHR, you and your doctor get a custom prevention plan, you gain access to online dashboards and action programs, and a nurse advocate is available to help with health maintenance. Since it’s not tied to insurance or employment, nobody sees the information without your approval.”
DirectLife, a subsidiary of Phillips, provides a, “program designed to help you become more active by setting goals based on your current activity levels. The monitor tracks your movements and, when plugged into the computer, transmits your data to the website where you can track your progress.”

I would be surprised if there are not similar services already available on your iPhone or Android based phone that will expand the amount of data available for diagnosis.

I’ve written on this topic before. The first dealt with the Johns Hopkins University depression mood tracking SMS technology. The second dealt with Intel’s ten year old program studying technical and societal solutions for problems related to care for the aging. On August 2, 2010, Intel and GE announced the formation of a joint venture that will focus on telehealth and independent living which suggests further expansion of these and related programs.

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