Monday, February 4, 2013

This Blog Has Moved

We are moving this blog to our (new) permanent website, located at:

Please join us at our new website!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Opportunities Abound

Assessment of quality of care is a direct intention of the Patient Protection & the Affordable Care Act. I expect the approach taken by New York (with the largest public health system in the United States) will become the norm over the next 10 years or so. This is worth paying attention to.

NYTimes: New York City Ties Doctors’ Income to Quality of Care

U.S. Health in International Perspective Shorter Lives, Poorer Health

The title of this post comes from a recent study performed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academes portrays severe issues in the U.S. Healthcare system.  

From The New York Times today (13 January):

It is no secret that the United States spends a lot more on health care than any other country yet ranks far behind other advanced nations in keeping its citizens healthy. This has been well documented in studies of older people and of newborn infants. It is now shockingly clear that poor health is a much broader and deeper problem than past studies have suggested.

An authoritative report issued by the Institute of Medicine this week found that, on average, Americans experience higher rates of disease and injury and die sooner than people in other high-income countries. That is true at all ages between birth and 75 and for even well-off Americans who mistakenly think that top-tier medical care ensures that they will remain in good health. The study found that even upper-income Americans with health insurance and college educations appear to be sicker than their peers in other rich nations.

Here is a link to the synopsis of the report.  From the report, here are the nine areas where Americans as a group fare worse: 

  1. Infant mortality and low birth weight
  2. Injuries and homicides
  3. Adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
  4. HIV and AIDS
  5. Drug-related deaths
  6. Obesity and diabetes
  7. Heart disease
  8. Chronic lung disease
  9. Disability

Also, from the report:

The United States does enjoy a few health advantages when compared with peer countries, including lower cancer death rates and greater control of blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Americans who reach age 75 can expect to live longer than people in the peer countries. With these exceptions, however, other high-income countries outrank the United States on most measures of health.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Google Flu Trends

Flu Trends in Norfolk, Virginia.

The dark blue line is the Google "estimate" based upon evaluation of search terms.  The lighter colors represent past year efforts.

This is from the Google Flu Trends website.

The MedBiquitous Consortium

Just came across this organization, MedBiquitous.

The MedBiquitous Consortium develops IT standards for healthcare education and quality improvement.

According to their website:

Founded by Johns Hopkins Medicine and leading professional medical societies, MedBiquitous is a not-for-profit, international group of professional associations, universities, commercial, and governmental organizations seeking to develop and promote technology standards for the health professions that advance lifelong learning, continuous improvement, and better patient outcomes. MedBiquitous is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop information technology standards supporting the health professions.
MedBiquitous members are creating a technology blueprint for advancing the health professions. Based on XML and Web services standards, this blueprint will weave together the many activities, organizations, and resources that support the ongoing education and improvement of healthcare professionals. Ultimately, this blueprint will seamlessly support the learner in ways that will improve patient outcomes and simplify the administrative work associated with lifelong learning and continuous improvement.
  Their standards and development efforts include work in the following areas:
  • Activity Reporting
  • Competencies
  • Curriculum Inventory
  • Educational Achievement
  • Educational Trajectory
  • Healthcare Learning Object Metadata
  • Medical Education Metrics
  • Performance Framework
  • Professional Profile
  • SCORM for Healthcare
  • Virtual Patients

Friday, November 9, 2012

How Visualization Can Enable Understanding

The good folks at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) have developed an animation that helps to communicate the science of "vulnerable plaques" to the doctors, scientists, students, industry professionals and patients who need to understand it.

Two-thirds of all heart attacks are caused by something known as vulnerable plaques, which are fatty lipid pool deposits in the inner layer of the arterial wall.

This work was accomplished with the help of sophisticated visualization expertise and techniques from TACC and their Faculty Innovation Center.

"Modeling these very complicated systems involves solving millions of equations each time step, and for millions of time steps, so the computational burden is enormous," Hughes said. "For a computational institute like ICES, having an advanced computing center like TACC available is a platform for all of our research," said Thomas Hughes, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Computational and Engineering Sciences.

Read more here.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Paul Boom: The Psychology of Everything

While there is no mention of medical modeling and simulation in this video, this quick but thorough introduction to psychology is definitely worth the 43 minutes it will take you to watch it.  I find it important to understand the base reasons behind why people like or dislike certain things, and what motivates people.  Dr. Bloom excels at reducing this information into layman's terms in this video.