Technology

This week we’d like to highlight one of our technology partner’s: Microsoft.

If you haven’t heard of the Accessibility Developer Hub they’ve created, follow the link and check it out. The idea is that app developers can use their library of videos and ebooks and coding examples to learn how to make their apps more accessible for the over 1 billion people on earth estimated to have a disability.

 Microsofts Acessibility

 

Some of the obvious examples highlight a change in contrast or a magnifying option to help individuals read in-app text, but there are a plethora of options available to a curious (and courteous!) mind.

If you’re developing an app, are you considering making it friendly to individuals with a disability? You should be.

Aside from the many moral and ethical reasons that you should be striving to be inclusive, there are business reasons as well – such as a hugely untapped market of people whose needs are not being catered to currently.

 

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We’ve developed all of our solutions to be user friendly, regardless of language, learning, or other barriers an individual might have.

Still not convinced putting in the time to make your app more accessible is worth it? Well, head to the Accessibility Developer Hub and see for yourself how easy it is and maybe your mind will be changed.

The Paradox
There is an old paradox that asks, “What happens when an irresistible force meets an unmovable object?” also known as the ‘Spear and the Shield.’

When it comes to healthcare, we have expeditiously advancing technology, an aging population, and unsustainable consumption of resources as the ‘Spear.’ On the other hand, we have the healthcare system as it exists today: slow moving procedures; a lack of accountability; and healthcare initiatives and teams that are massively divided and far from patient-centric. This is the seemingly unmovable object, or the “Shield.”

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A recent article by HP proposes this very thought, and also theorizes there are going to be six major disruptions to the current healthcare system by 2020.

What if there was a way to ensure that things not only continued to function properly, but could be given tools which enabled the current state of healthcare to operate more efficiently and in a way that puts the patient first?

The change Mozzaz seeks to propagate is exactly that: sustainable and patient-centric care. We created—and continue to improve on—our complex care solutions in order to assist healthcare providers and organizations to reduce the strain that the existing state of fragmented care plans produces.

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Why does this matter?
The current circle of care includes a feedback loop that involves doctors, therapists, and other clinicians, that will eventually dictate their version of the best care plan to the patient. This often leaves family members wanting more for their loved ones—but the healthcare organizations can’t produce better results because they lack the resources. With modern technology being affordable and accessible by any segment of the population, we can now empower the patient more than ever before.

This change reduces costs on all parties involved.

As we move closer to 2020 and its “inevitable” healthcare disruptions, it is our hope that we can work together to enable patients, clinicians, and organizations alike to empower one another in a way that ensures a significant boost to accountability, quality, and standards of care while reducing financial burdens and resource strains.

Patient-centric Technology
2014 was a huge year for healthcare reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or, “Obamacare,” continued its rollout, placing emphasis on Meaningful Use—the term placed on the requirement that healthcare organizations prove that technology they adopt benefits all parties in a purposeful way; while patients continued to seek new ways to raise the standards of care. Social media engagement, increased data tracking, and patient empowerment are on the rise.

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What’s Ahead?
Trends for 2015 are centered on the ever-increasing importance of technology in healthcare. According to several experts the big trends to watch out for are: ‘Care without boundaries;’ customized personal health analytics; and tech-enabled patient engagement.

‘Care Without Boundaries’

It’s a relatively new term that involves an individual’s wish to maintain health and wellness, particularly during an episode of care. If you are suffering a chronic condition you may and likely will have to coordinate your care with several clinicians including specialists and general health practitioners. Keeping many appointments, tracking the effectiveness of your care plan, and managing your medications can be a massive stressor. Thankfully, technology now allows this data to empower patients more than ever before with a seamless flow from patient to clinician.

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Personal Health Analytics
Using customized personal health analytics, such as data tracking applications and solutions, can enable a care giver or patient to receive a quality of care higher than ever before.

“The use of mobile and personalized analytics in healthcare is what’s next to improve healthcare delivery with integrated, assistive, and augmentative technology,” says Judy Murphy, CNO and Director of IBM Healthcare Global. This means that patients will experience more patient-centric care while clinicians can easily track complex care plans.

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Technology Enabling Patient Engagement
Tech-enabled patient engagement means a consistent flow of information between patients and their healthcare providers. Rather than the traditional episodic touch points that have us stuck in the mid-1900s, patients and doctors can now collaborate and communicate effortlessly in order to steadily adjust and improve a personalized care plan that makes sense for the individual. This reduces financial costs and time constraints for the patients and the clinicians.

Apple’s HealthKit has finally been released as part of the iOS 8.0.2 update - which was rushed out late last week after problems were found with the iOS 8.0.1 update.

 

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HealthKit is designed to collect health data from various apps and make it available in Apple's new Health app for both users and healthcare providers. Company officials say it addresses two of the most pressing questions in the industry today – how to pull data from consumer-facing devices and make is easy-to-access and meaningful for healthcare providers.

 

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"Developers have created a vast array of healthcare devices and accompanying applications, everything from monitoring your activity level, to your heart rate, to your weight, and chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes," Apple Senior Vice President Craig Federighi announced at the company's developers' conference in June. But "you can’t get a single comprehensive picture of your health situation. Now you can, with HealthKit. HealthKit provides a single place that applications can contribute to a composite profile of your activity and health."

At Mozzaz our team has already started digging into what’s possible with this platform and the initial impressions seem very exciting – especially with our new data collection & analytics engine built into the Mozzaz platform that will support data correlations from a whole host of newly accessible health data. Stay tuned!

My first real exposure to developer hackathons was during my years at Microsoft. Even tech giants turn to the grass roots developer community that would include students, hobbyists, geeks and professional coders to hangout on a weekend, form teams and belt out some innovative code for a specific problem – and help find the “next big thing”.

 

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As defined in Wikipedia:

Hackathons typically start with one or more presentations about the event, as well as about the specific subject, if any. Then participants suggest ideas and form teams, based on individual interests and skills. Then the main work of the hackathon begins, which can last anywhere from several hours to several days. For hackathons that last 24 hours or longer, especially competitive ones, eating is often informal, with participants often subsisting on food like pizza and energy drinks. Sometimes sleeping is informal as well, with participants sleeping on-site with sleeping bags.

Now the MIT Hacking Medicine hackathon always draws super smart people and talent looking to build the next disruptive healthcare technology that will better society with massive impact.

 

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Impressive growth of health hackathons around the world as tracked by the MIT Hacking Medicine’s living database:

 

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Source: The Rise of the Health Hackathon: 6 Insights from Hackathons Around the World from Aman Bhandari and Matt Hayward

Read a great blogpost by Aman Bhandari and Sachin Jain on 3 Reasons Why Healthcare Needs Hackathons.

Great job guys!

OK, yes, I’m a geek when it comes to tech gadgets, but I love pushing the limits when it comes to using tech to help those with complex needs. As a dad to my son with autism, I’m fascinated in the way he thinks and I often wonder how he’s perceiving and processing the world around him with all the sensory inputs that neurotypical brains routinely manage.

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We’re living is some exciting times with commercialization of real wearable technology that’s actually smart and usable. The exciting part is how this is opening up new opportunities to interact, learn, and enhance a person’s life who is living with a complex disability.

I came across the amazing work that Dr. Ned Sahin, a neuroscientist and neurotechnology entrepreneur from MIT and Harvard, who has started Brain Power – a company with a mission to “neuro-assisted devices” that can unlock the power of the brain.

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I wanted to use my decades of neuroscience training to help people in their daily lives,” says Dr. Sahin, “and with autism there was the biggest chance to do so. I was struck to my heart when a friend told me he says ‘I love you’ to his child each night at bedtime and cries inside hoping against hope his child will someday be able to say it back.”

For example, one could measure when the child looks at the parent (using Glass’s head-motion detector), then catch their attention by redrawing faces as cartoons and prompting with arrows and awarding points for well-timed eye contact. Another will measure bodily signs of sensory overload to predict when a child may melt down — delivering warnings both to the parent (via a phone app) and to the child. The system could even learn from the crowd — e.g. warning ahead of time if a child is somewhere where others were triggered on previous days.

“Our tools are based in brain science from Harvard and MIT,” says Ned, “but they’re practical. They’re like dance steps for a productive social life. For a while, you might be counting your steps, but at least you’re dancing. We want to empower these wonderful children to get out into daily life and dance on through it.”

I look forward to meeting Dr. Sahin and his team one day and eager to utilize Brain-Power’s technology to see if we can make a combined difference.