Facebook wanted users’ medical data for a research project

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CNBC reports today that Facebook was recently designing a research project that would match users' Facebook data with their medical information. The project has since been halted, but the company had approached a number of health organizations includ…
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Apple’s Health App can Show Medical Records From 39 Health Systems

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Today’s been a busy day for Apple, with the company launching updates for iOS, tvOS, and watchOS, but it’s not quite done with the news. Continue reading
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Apple now lets you access medical records in Health app

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Apple released iOS 11.3 today, and along with a slew of other fun additions, the update includes a new feature: Health Records. If you're a patient within certain health systems — like Duke, NYU Langone, Stanford and Yale — you can view your medica…
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The Internet Made Everyone a Medical Expert, and Patients Are Worse for It

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Admit it, you’ve done it: you notice a strange ache or a bump where there wasn’t one before, so you run to the internet. In mere minutes, you’re convinced you have cancer, or a parasite, or a rare disease that was only seen one time on the other side of the world. Even when your doctor tells you it’s just a rash and you shouldn’t worry about it, you can’t help but wonder: is she sure?

Turns out, that sort of self-diagnosis does more than just stress you out — it has lasting repercussions on medicine as a whole. Patients who’ve spent too much time on WebMD are pressuring doctors into over-prescribing antibiotics, which in turn has bolstered the rise of antibiotic resistance.

According to Wiredheath care workers say they worry about bad patient satisfaction and negative reviews online creates a “Yelp effect,” which drives doctors to make decisions based on what patients want instead of, you know, actual medicine.

And it seems patients expect antibiotics: a 2016 study of a large group of medical records showed that a third of antibiotics prescriptions were written for viral infections, which, as you might know, do not respond to antibiotics.

“Providers believe — whether it’s accurate or not — that there is a business reason, in terms of customer satisfaction, patient retention, to give patients what they want,” David Hyun, a pediatric infectious disease physician who recently directed a review of why doctors mis-prescribe antibiotics, told Wired. “We frequently hear providers say, ‘If I don’t give the antibiotics, the patient will go across the street, to urgent care or another primary care practice, and get them there.’”

Wired reports that the problem has gotten so bad that there’s even a petition on Change.org, by the organization Physicians Working Together, asking Yelp to remove negative reviews of doctors.
Hyun’s research suggested there are lots of other reasons that doctors might improperly prescribe, like being worn out at the end of the day (when doctors tend to prescribe antibiotics more often).But of all the squeaky wheels in medicine, whiney patients seem like the easiest to fix.
And then there’s the role of the internet, which seems to be misleading an awful lot of would-be patients — a 2013 study from the Pew Research Center found that 35 percent of American adults had used the internet to diagnose themselves or someone they knew. (That number has likely risen since then, as more and more people become connected to the web.)
There’s certainly nothing wrong with checking out a simple symptom to quell your paranoia. But in the same way you know not to blindly believe every headline that screams about latest food that causes cancer, it’s ultimately the doctor who has gone through an average of 14 years (in the U.S.) of training to decide whether or not you have anything wrong with you. Or if you even need that antibiotic you saw on WebMD.
So, be an adult. Don’t leave nasty Yelp reviews for doctors that don’t give you what you want. Not taking antibiotics when you don’t need them could one day save lives.

The post The Internet Made Everyone a Medical Expert, and Patients Are Worse for It appeared first on Futurism.


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Medical ID: This iPhone Feature Could Save Your Life

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Statistically speaking, you’re probably reading this on your smartphone. It goes everywhere with you. You care for it, put it in a case, keep it topped up with power, and it even sits by your side all night long.

Wouldn’t it be great if your iPhone could take care of you too? It’s not just a nice idea; it’s a feature built into iOS. Set up Medical ID today, and you can rest a little easier knowing any vital medical information and next of kin details are just a few taps away.

Let’s have a look at this potentially life-saving feature, and how to set it up on your own iPhone.

What Is Medical ID?

Medical ID is a safety feature built into your iPhone which can inform others of important medical information in the event of an emergency. You can store the following information in your Medical ID, which is viewable by anyone who knows how to access it:

  • Your name, Apple ID picture, and date of birth.
  • Known medical conditions (for example, asthma).
  • Relevant medical notes relating to conditions (for example, any metal pins from past surgery).
  • Known allergies and reactions.
  • Any medication you are currently taking.
  • Your blood type and organ donor status.
  • Your weight and height.
  • An emergency contact of your choosing.

Keep in mind that there’s no way of limiting this information to strictly emergency personnel. Anyone with physical access to your iPhone can find your Medical ID if they’re looking for it. This does raise some potential privacy concerns, but it’s a trade you’ll have to make if you want to use the feature.

Do Paramedics Check Medical ID?

Findings suggest that many paramedics and emergency responders do check for Medical ID. However, many others are unaware of the feature’s existence. Considering the feature was added to the iPhone in 2014 with iOS 8, it’s likely that awareness has grown among medical professionals over the past few years.

One Redditor posed this question to the /r/apple community in 2015, with a mixed bag of results. One trauma nurse and another paramedic confirmed that they’ve used it to great effect. Others either didn’t find the information useful, or didn’t know how to access it. Some were frustrated that not enough people make use of the feature.

One respondent on Quora noted: “When it’s at that point where an individual can’t provide any info it’s too late to be digging around the pocket for a phone. We resort to our own step by step assessment and procede [sic] with the appropriate treatment. We don’t always need to know what your past medical history is to treat the emergency.”

It’s increasingly likely that paramedics will receive exposure to the feature as part of their standard training. Yet it seems like more needs done to ensure that people are creating a Medical ID, and that emergency responders are trained to access the information.

Setting Up Your Medical ID

You can create your Medical ID by launching the Health app and tapping on the Medical ID tab. You can also head to Contacts, tap your name at the top, and tap Create Medical ID at the bottom. Use the Edit button to add, remove, or change any information, then hit Done to save your changes.

Show Medical ID When Locked on iphone

Important: For your Medical ID to be useful, you’ll want to enable the Show When Locked option on this screen. This will enable others to access the feature without unlocking your iPhone first.

Medical ID iphone

You can add as much information as you like to the various fields, but keep in mind the privacy implications of the information you share. Your date of birth, name, and picture can be used to positively ID you. Any emergency contacts you nominate will have their phone number displayed, and whoever has your phone can call them.

iOS Emergency SOS Mode

When you use the Emergency SOS shortcut (instructions below) and proceed with an emergency call, iOS will send a map of your current location to any emergency contacts listed in this field.

How to Access Medical ID on an iPhone

To access your (or anyone else’s) Medical ID, use one of the following methods:

  • Tap the side/power button five times to activate Emergency SOS until you see three sliders appear on screen, then choose Medical ID.
  • On the Lock Screen tap Emergency then Medical ID.

Despite this information being easily accessible to those who know how, no other apps can access your Medical ID.

How to Access Medical ID on an Apple Watch

As of watchOS 3, the Apple Watch is both an emergency call button and a medical ID bracelet. When you press and hold the side button, you’ll see the Emergency SOS feature. This is where you’ll find the information listed in your Medical ID.

Considering many emergency responders are trained to look for a medical bracelet for clues about any existing conditions like diabetes or epilepsy, the Apple Watch might be better than your iPhone for this purpose. The feature has only been a part of the Watch for around two years, so first responders may not yet be familiar with it.

Medical ID on apple watch

If you keep holding the button, you’ll connect to emergency services (your watch will detect and call the right number, regardless of where you are). Your Watch will then send your location to any emergency contacts listed in Medical ID.

Medical ID: A Feature You’ll Hopefully Never Need

Most of us probably won’t ever have any use for Medical ID, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth taking five minutes out of your day to set it up. If you’re OK with divulging some potentially life-saving information, Medical ID could really help emergency personnel deliver a higher standard of care in an emergency.

Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia/Depositphotos

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How to Set Up Medical ID on Your iPhone

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Medical ID is a built-in feature of your iPhone’s Health app that gives ambulance crews and other emergency first responders fast access to potentially life-saving information about any allergies or medical conditions you have, even if your iPhone is locked.

Even if you don’t suffer from any health conditions, it’s still worth enabling Medical ID, because it can also provide other vital information about you to emergency services, such as your blood type and who to contact in an emergency. This article shows you how to set up Medical ID in iOS 11.
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Apple to Launch Medical Practices to Treat Its Own Employees

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What if your employer was really invested in your health? I don’t mean just providing you with insurance. I mean operating the clinic itself.

Well, Apple employees will soon find out: the company plans to launch new medical practices, named AC Wellness, to treat Apple employees in spring 2018, CNBC reports. The company will start with two clinics in Santa Clara County, California, near its headquarters in Cupertino.

“AC Wellness is an independent medical practice dedicated to delivering compassionate, effective healthcare to the Apple employee population,” according to the AC Wellness homepage.

There are already numerous job listings for an acute care physician, primary care physician, exercise coach, nurse coordinator, and more. According to CNBC, Apple is also looking for “designers” to create programs focused on preventing disease and promoting healthy behavior. Furthermore, the clinics will serve as a testing ground for various health-related products and services.

Homepage for Apple's AC Wellness. Image Credit: AC Wellness
Homepage for Apple’s AC Wellness. Image Credit: AC Wellness.

Apple isn’t the first company to try its hand at healthcare — last month Amazon announced that it intends to create a healthcare company of its own with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase. Amazon, however, hasn’t announced when its company will go live, so chances are Apple’s initiative will open first.

The two corporate giants’ moves towards commandeering their employees’ healthcare bring the future of the U.S. healthcare landscape into question. Companies already exert a modicum of control over their employees’ healthcare options and other benefits, and companies like Google have begun adding on-site wellness centers, physicians, and chiropractors for their workers.

Companies don’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts. Health issues cause 69 million workers to skip work each year, reducing economic output by $ 260 billion per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthier employees also cost less in the long run because their insurance is cheaper. In short, lower healthcare costs equals higher profits.

So all these benefits, this new corporate obsession with subsidizing healthcare? It’s employers looking out for their bottom line.

So far, none of the reports have discussed the potential privacy issues that may arise from an employer that operates the clinic where an employee seeks care. There are strict laws governing patient privacy, which Apple will have to be sure not to violate as it both employs and treats people.

Amazon and Apple don’t have their own healthcare companies up and running just yet, so we can only speculate. Hopefully their moves might change employee health benefits for the better.

The post Apple to Launch Medical Practices to Treat Its Own Employees appeared first on Futurism.


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Apple Launching ‘AC Wellness’ Medical Clinics for its Employees

Apple is planning to open two “AC Wellness” health clinics for its employees and their families this spring, reports CNBC. The clinics, detailed on an accompanying AC Wellness website, will serve Apple employees in Santa Clara County, which is where its Apple Park and One Infinite Loop campuses are located.

One of the clinics, the Apple Park Wellness Center, will be located on the Apple Park campus, according job listings posted LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed.

AC Wellness Network is an independent medical practice exclusively dedicated to delivering compassionate, effective healthcare to the Apple employee and dependent population at the Apple Wellness Centers in Santa Clara Valley, including the new Apple Park Wellness Center. AC Wellness Network believes that having trusting, accessible relationships with our patients, enabled by technology, promotes high-quality care and a unique patient experience.

AC Wellness job listings also describe the clinic experience, which is meant to offer a “unique concierge-like healthcare experience” for employees and their dependents. Several positions are open at the AC Wellness locations ahead of their planned opening this spring, with Apple seeking physicians, nurses, a clinical exercise coach, a behavioral health partner, and more.

As Apple prepares to launch its AC Wellness clinics, it has scaled back its partnership with Crossover Health, its current in-house clinic provider. Apple considered purchasing Crossover Health at one point, but no deal materialized after several months of discussion.

Sources that spoke to CNBC said that Apple plans to use its medical clinics as a way to “test out” its health services and products. Apple is exploring several health-related advancements, such as non-invasive blood glucose monitoring, and it has begun heavily investing in health-related research with CareKit and ResearchKit.

Most recently, Apple launched a medical study in partnership with Stanford to determine whether the Apple Watch can accurately predict irregular heart rhythms. The study is live and can be joined by downloading the Apple Heart Study app from the App Store.
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Lyft offers more rides to non-urgent medical appointments

Lyft is continuing its bid to become the go-to choice for non-emergency medical trips. It's launching a new partnership with Hitch Health that will offer Lyft rides to health care appointments across the US. The basic concept is familiar, but there…
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AI is giving the entire medical field super powers

The field of medicine has, arguably, been more positively affected by modern deep learning techniques than any other industry. And, despite the unending deluge of panic-ridden articles declaring AI the path to apocalypse, we’re now living in a world where algorithms save lives every day. Welcome to Utopia. Thanks to AI, an iPhone can detect cancer and a smart watch can detect a stroke. Machine learning is infiltrating and optimizing nearly every aspect of medicine from the way 911 emergency services are dispatched to assisting doctors during surgery. You can even quit smoking or kick your opiate addiction with the…

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