Increasing Understanding of Technology and Communication

Ineffective EHRs and Inaccurate Wearable Gadgets

Ineffective-Health-Records

If there was a wearable that could alert you and your doctor if you were in danger of having a heart attack, would you want it? I sure would. But apparently, not everyone feels the same way, just because most current wearables are not accurate enough.

Take Dr. James Madara, CEO of the American Medical Association, for example. Earlier this month, he took time to explain how inaccurate wearable devices are overrunning healthcare in his speech at the AMA annual meeting in Chicago.

“From ineffective electronic health records (EHR), to an explosion of direct-to-consumer digital health products, to apps of mixed quality,” said Madara, according to his prepared remarks, "this is the digital snake oil of the early 21st century.”

Certainly, much of the U.S. healthcare system now has electronic health records. And it’s largely ineffective.

According to a survey released early this year by HIMSS, a health IT trade group, only 29% of physicians report positive benefits from electronic health records. And an AMA survey found that nearly one-half of physician’s report implementing the technology has resulted in a higher cost, lower productivity and reduced efficiency.

So it’s not hard to understand why many healthcare providers have a jaundiced view of the technology, and why they bristle at the notion of funneling oceans of remote patient monitoring data into the system.

Caregivers resist

To the extent that electronic health records have been ineffective, I believe it’s due more to a failure of our system of care than it is of the technology. Because while most facilities met their obligation to install electronic health records, few have embraced it.

I can tell you that from personal experience.

Recently, I got an email from an outpatient facility asking me to input my medical data into their system. This was weeks ahead of a planned arthroscopic procedure. I dutifully took the time to gather the information and enter it into the portal. So I was surprised a couple weeks later when, during my pre-op appointment, the doctor asked me what meds I was taking. And then, just after surgery, he gave me pictures from the procedure and told me to bring them to my follow-up appointment so they could explain to me what they did.

So much data. So little access. I’d have to agree, that’s pretty ineffective. It’s also pretty common.

I do understand why some healthcare providers resist electronic health records. Change is difficult. And time consuming. They already have taxing jobs. They’re busy, stressed. And they may have a bad taste in their mouths from previous forays into technology.

But guess what? Sooner or later, they will have to take the plunge, and incorporate the technology into their workflow. And they will have to incorporate remote patient monitoring devices into the records. Because wearables, connected scales, glucometers and blood-pressure cuffs will be what give healthcare professionals the insight they need to make better decisions.

The practice of medicine urgently needs to make better decisions. Because the $3 trillion US healthcare system is beginning to bow under the weight of an aging population that needs increasing care and attention. It will only get worse if they don’t get better.

Think about this: the meteorologist on the Weather Channel has far better tools at her disposal to forecast whether it will rain on your upcoming trip to Boston than your doctor does to assess whether you might need medical attention while you’re away.

Let that sink in for a second. The meteorologist has sophisticated, self-adjusting computer models, fed by streams of data from satellites, weather balloons and weather stations that detail temperatures, atmospheric pressure and the state of approaching systems.

And your doctor? All she has to go on are a few bloodwork reports, a few sets of vital signs recorded during your office visits and some insight you’ve chosen to share in the examination room – accurate or no. In climatic terms, it would be like forecasting rain armed with little more than yesterday’s highs and lows.

To make the best medical decisions, physicians need insight gleaned during the eleven months, 29 days and 22 hours you’re not in their office each year. Insight akin to what meteorologists have. Fortunately, that’s starting to come.

It’s coming in the form of stick-on patches, injectable biosensors and smart clothing, They’re typically paired with companion hardware, smartphones apps and cloud services to monitor the steady stream of data, make suggestions for improving the results and notify caregivers at the first hint of a problem.

In the past few weeks alone:

  • Medtronic and Qualcomm announced they are partnering on next-generation continuous glucose monitors, or CGMs. A CGM pairs a monitoring patch with a device that constantly records blood sugar levels, giving diabetics and their caregivers much finer control over their condition.
  • Startup VitalConnect unveiled VitalPatch, a stick-able device that continuously monitors heart patients’ condition. The device has been tested in Europe and is beginning trials in the US this summer.
  • Startup Profusa announced the Lumee, an injectable biosensor that sits in the tissue just underneath the skin and a companion reader to collect measurements from the device. The first product is called the Lumee Oxygen Sensing System, which will be available in Europe later this year to help monitor recovery after vascular surgery.

Devices like these, I believe, will prove to be the Doppler Radar of medicine. Because what they bring to the practice of healthcare is a healthy injection of insight.

That’s not snake oil. It’s science. And it’s long overdue.

Read Article (name | domain | 03/11/2016)

First, let’s set the record straight about these devices the marketing strategist author talks about. There are two groups of medical devices available, one group has been through trial testing with proven published results. The other group has not gone through trail testing and has no proven published results. (Snake oil)

Meteorologist use devices from the first group, proven electronics with published results. It’s no secret that unproven devices are not accurate enough for doctors to rely upon their data, yet. Some manufacturers are finally starting to provide the needed testing results that will garner that trust, which is needed to accurately diagnose a person’s health.

Many of the devices from these startups will go down the same path as lumosity and for the same reason, unproven technology.

Wearables have many downsides other than accuracy such as limited functions or no cellular connection.

A paid lobbyist is no substitute for trial testing and published results.

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Big Tech Crushes NYs ‘Right To Repair’ Bill Again!

Right-To-Repair

Companies like Apple maintain control over devices you purchase, even when they break. Major tech companies like Apple have trampled legislation that would have helped consumers and small businesses fix broken gadgets.

New York state legislation that would have required manufacturers to provide information about how to repair devices like the iPhone failed to get a vote, ending any chance of passage this legislative session. Similar measures have met the same fate in Minnesota, Nebraska, Massachusetts and, yes, even previously in New York.

Essentially, politicians never get to vote on so-called right to repair legislation because groups petitioning on behalf of the electronics industry gum up the proceedings.

Senate Bill S3998B (Summary): Requires manufacturers of digital electronic parts to offer for sale diagnostic and repair information in the same manner as such manufacturer provides such diagnostic and repair information to such manufacturer's repair channel; section does not apply to motor vehicles.

“We were disappointed that it wasn’t brought to the floor, but we were successful in bringing more attention to the issue,” New York state Sen. Phil Boyle (R), a sponsor of the bill, told The Huffington Post Friday.

Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of The Repair Association, a group of nonprofits and businesses that backed New York’s right to repair legislation, blamed the lack of a vote on lobbyists for major tech companies.

“They threw enough doubt into the minds of legislators that Fair Repair was not put out for a vote,” Gordon-Byrne told HuffPost in an email, referring to the legislation by its title, the “Fair Repair Act.” “Four companies against 19 million [New York] consumers.”

Gordon-Byrne said lobbyists from IBM, Apple, Xerox and Cisco were particularly active in working against the legislation. A variety of interests have opposed right to repair measures in the past, including the Consumer Technology Association, to which IBM, Apple and Cisco belong.

Advocates say right to repair laws would protect consumers and help the environment by insuring that devices last longer, thus reducing electronics waste. If you or a business can affordably repair a broken device, you may have less incentive to buy a new one, the logic goes.

But corporations typically oppose right to repair legislation because it would relax their total control over their products.

“The proposal could enable anyone posing as a repair shop to reverse-engineer such a device to create counterfeit devices,” the Consumer Technology Association once wrote in a letter opposing right to repair obtained by HuffPost.

Louis Rossman, an electronics repairman who makes informational videos, recently claimed on YouTube and Reddit that companies like Apple argue that third-party repairs destroy the integrity of their products.

“I just thought I'd add my two cents in here.

When I visited the Senate in Albany, I was allowed into many rooms I would not usually have access to, and able to speak to many highly qualified, intelligent individuals in politics. I was given a rare opportunity to be inside the "inner circle", and to hear what was going on.

It made me want to throw up in my mouth. Lobbyists opposing this bill literally told people that when I repair a Macbook using schematics I find online, that I am turning it into a PC when I replace a resistor or run a wire. Then I tell my customer that it is still a Macbook, which is misrepresenting the device to my customer, which is why they need to keep these schematics out of the hands of end users.

I talk about that in this video. I cannot express in words how much internal discipline and fortitude it took for me to not do this.”

Apple says it does not comment on pending legislation, but maintains its products don’t contribute to an e-waste problem.

Regardless, New Yorkers, at least, will have to wait until next year before right to repair legislation has another chance.

Read Article (name | domain | 03/11/2016)

When a high-tech device breaks the manufacturer want it repaired only by them. As in the case of Apple, this is part of their revenue stream. And when the repair costs get too high for you, this prompts you to buy a newer version.

Normal electronic repair shops are quite capable of making these repairs at a quarter the cost and maybe the repair is better (and permanent).

This really does bring into question – “Authorized Repair Centers”.

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BlackBerry Does Still Exist and It’s Doing Fine

BlackBerry-Still-Exists

TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd broke even in the first quarter, topping expectations, and forecast a smaller-than-expected annual loss on Thursday, even as its revenue fell sharply. Shares of the smartphone industry pioneer rose more than 4 percent in premarket trading.

The Canadian company, which has shifted focus from its once-dominant smartphones to the software that companies and governments need to manage their devices, said it expects to post an adjusted annual loss of around 15 cents per share.

Analysts had estimated a fiscal 2017 loss of 33 cents per share.

“They have not put figures behind some of their forecasts in quite some time, and hopefully that speaks to improved visibility into the business,” said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello.

Excluding one-time items, the company posted profit of $14 million, or nil per share. Adjusted revenue totaled $424 million. Analysts, on average, expected a loss of 8 cents a share on revenue of $470.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a net loss of $670 million, or $1.28 cents a share, as it ran up costs to restructure operations and wrote down the value of some assets.

A year ago, it reported a profit of $68 million, or 10 cents a share.

BlackBerry said the net loss reflected a $501 million impairment charge, a $57 million goodwill impairment charge, and a $41 million writedown of inventory and other charges.

Software and licensing revenue was $166 million in the quarter ended May 31, just below the growth rate they have targeted for the full year.

Colello said a better selling smartphone could make the segment profitable.

“They have done a really good job of cutting operating expenses and shrinking the cost side of the business as revenue has fallen over the past couple years. The problem seems to be that hardware keeps falling faster,” he said.

Read Article (Sharp & Martell | huffingtonpost.com | 06/23/2016)

Internet availability and access is important without a doubt, but knowing how to fully utilize the constantly evolving devices that connect to it and the Internet itself, is an issue just as important if not more.  Our instructional webinars are the long-term solution for addressing device usage, and we need your support.

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Why This Year’s iPhone May be Kinda Lame

Kinda-Lame

Rumor has it that Apple’s going to seriously shake up the way it updates the iPhone — and you probably won’t like it that much.

For nearly a decade, Apple has alternated between releasing big overhauls and smaller upgrades to its phones. Citing a top Apple analyst, the Wall Street Journal reported that the firm will follow up last year’s incremental upgrades to the iPhone with even more incremental upgrades — breaking its established update schedule.

That means consumers waiting to upgrade until this year’s expected major revamp will have to either bite the bullet and get the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, or wait an extra year and hope that rumors of a really big revamp for 2017 are true.

The reported decision — Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment — comes as the company faces mounting questions about slowing iPhone sales. The iPhone is at the heart of Apple’s revenue, but sales numbers have started falling. That’s bad news for the Cupertino company.

The smartphone market as a whole has slowed down a bit, with more consumers saying they’re happy to hang on to their phones for a little longer than they have in the past. It’s hard to say what, exactly, is causing that shift. But one theory is that companies aren’t able to offer the same scale of advances that they used to because the technology isn’t there yet.

“Look at it from the vantage point of innovation,” said IDC analyst William Stofega. “Part of the slowdown of the industry is there’s just very incremental updates and upgrades. The technology to really push the smartphone forward isn’t quite developed yet.”

In other words, Apple may have an innovation problem, but it’s not alone. Companies are continually making phones thinner and lighter for their power levels, but at a certain point consumers will be looking for breakthrough battery technology, flexible screens or something more drastic to reinvent the smartphone. And those advances, while in the works at various companies, aren’t yet ready for prime time.

Furthermore, changes in the way that mobile carriers have designed their contracts could also be changing the mental calculus for consumers considering whether to upgrade their phones. Today’s plans separate the cost of a phone from the cost of wireless service, which gives customers the option to upgrade their device every year. But, Stofega said, the new payment scheme encourages people to hold onto their phones longer, especially once the devices are paid off.

A change in how Apple manages its upgrade cycle would be acknowledging that its next big developments are still in the research and development lab. While the firm still has its eye on creating markets for its phones in places such as China and India, it’s also clearly looking to pull back its dependence on hardware. Focusing on services — Apple Music, iCloud, Siri — and other products such as the Apple Watch has been a big trend out of Apple in the past year. And Apple has been letting rumors about even crazier projects, such as the Apple Car, circulate unchecked.

At the end of the day, Apple may be betting that it is better to release a truly innovative smartphone later and disappoint some fans now, even if such a strategy could open the door for Samsung as well as budget-friendly firms such as Xiaomi and Huawei to grab market share.

Stofega thinks this approach could work in the long run, if properly executed. “People may start looking for a slower cycle,” he said. “And, in thinking about it, that could get all the fanboys and fangirls a better boom for their buck.”

Read Article (Hayley Tsukayama | washingtonpost.com | 06/22/2016)

Smartphone innovation seems to have stalled or reached some kind of standstill. New releases look very much like their predecessor or some other device with not much difference in features or originality.

HTC One M9 really looks like a make-over of an M7, M8. Sure, it comes with a new paint job, camera, processor, RAM and interface but they all look basically the same.

From a distance the Samsung Galaxy S6 could be mistaken for an iPhone 6, with the rounded silver border, antenna markers on the bottom, the drilled speaker holes, even the Touch ID fingerprint scanner appears replicated.

Concept Video: Here

This overview does beg the question, has the hyper-activity of smartphone innovation and design finally burnt itself out?

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Internet Pace Grows as Smartphone Slows Down

Smartphone-slowdown

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. — What's the state of the Internet? It's growing slowly, but still outpacing the smartphone market.

So says Mary Meeker, the former Internet analyst-turned-venture capitalist who has been the Nostradamus of online research for years. Her highly anticipated annual Internet status update, a staple at industry conferences, offers insight into major mega-trends for the tech industry.

On Wednesday, she was at it again. At the Code Conference here, she said Internet use is at 3 billion people worldwide (42% penetration), with China and India — countries coveted by Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and others — leading the way.

But the device of the moment isn't iPhone anymore. Its sales peaked in 2015, she reports, and the action has moved to the voice-activated Amazon Echo speaker, "which is just getting started," she said. Meeker is bullish on messaging (she called it "secret sauce") and ride-sharing services ("We may be entering an automotive golden age") but souring on online search.

In a 213-slide presentation, she said she expects global smartphone user growth to slow to 21% year-over-year from 31%, and shipments to cool dramatically, to 10% from 28%. Internet growth, meanwhile, is a victim of saturation in developed countries.

Worldwide smartphone unit shipments slipped 3%, to 335 million, in the first three months of 2016, the first such year-over-year decline, according to Strategy Analytics, which tracks smartphone sales.

Apple is feeling the pinch. The first-ever year-over-year decline in iPhone sales during Apple's fiscal second quarter was a major reason for the first drop in Apple sales in more than a decade and lowered expectations for the current quarter.

Worldwide, Android is far and away the dominant mobile operating system. It has 81% market share to 16% for Apple iOS, and three times the audience size of Apple.

Meeker, a venture capitalist at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has been involved in investments in tech firms such as SoundCloud, LegalZoom, Spotify, Twitter, Instacart and NextDoor. She sits on the boards of Square and DocuSign.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk doesn't see Google as a potential competitor to his firm. Instead, he's focused on Apple.

Apple, maker of the iconic iPhone and Macintosh computers, "will be a direct competitor," Musk said. He expects Apple to be in production with cars by 2020, but thinks it waited too long. "They should have started production sooner. It's a missed opportunity."

Speaking to the Code Conference here, the South African-born, charismatic CEO leads a company that sells electric cars, with a recent software update that includes partial self-driving features. Tesla cars start at around $80,000, but recently announced a 2017 Model 3 that will start at $35,000. The company has reaped about 400,000 orders for the car that include $1,000 deposits.

Internet giant Google is testing self-driving cars, but Musk doesn't see Google getting into the car business. "Google is not a car company," he said. "They'll license the technology."

Apple, on the other hand, hasn't publicly announced its intentions to get into the car business, but has been hiring engineers, and Musk clearly expects Apple to join the fray.

Musk was asked if the new Model 3 will be a self-driving car. He demurred, saying he would have an event in the fall to reveal the answer. Asked for clarifications, he simply said, "We’re going to do the obvious thing."

Musk, who is also CEO of rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, also talked about his passion of exploring Mars and space.

Missions to Mars will start in 2018, he said, and he predicted that trips for humans ("if things go according to plan") will begin in 2024 -- for arrival in 2025.

Musk, who has not flown into space, has said he wanted to die on Mars, but not on a landing. "If you had to choose a place to die, Mars is probably not a bad choice. Born on Earth, died on Mars."

Read Article (Graham &Swartz | usatoday.com | 06/01/2016)

To be sure, smartphones almost always get better with each new model introduction, and have beefier specs.  Still, it’s worth asking: is better, better enough? While nearly half the population contemplates “choice”, the other half contemplates simply learning to use the thing (Digital Literacy).

This miss-placed step of the Digital Era must be eventually addressed and sooner or later there will be finger-pointing as to just who dropped the ball.

Our instructional webinars are the long-term solution for addressing device usage, and we need your support.

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