patients

The range of treatment options for patients with vision problems has expanded dramatically over the past two decades. This has helped to improve outcomes for patients while delivering shorter recovery times. But with so many possibilities available for vision correction, cataract removal and glaucoma surgery, how can patients make informed decisions that give them the best chance of getting the result they expect? While some turn to the internet or rely on the experiences of friends and family, the role of experienced ophthalmologists in demystifying treatment options is now greater than ever, according to Professor Carlos Palomino Bautista, Head of Ophthalmology Services, at the University Hospital of Quirón in Madrid. He says his long career in ophthalmology can be divided into two periods – the era before patients had the internet, and the period thereafter. Each has its own pros and cons. “Patients are increasingly aware of what is possible. We have a lot of patients that come to a consultation with information found online,” he says. “They often have a particular lens or procedure in mind but sometimes, after examining them and discussing the specifics of their case, I help them to change their mind.” Every patient is different. Not only can age, vision and the physical characteristics of the eye vary considerably from one patient to the next, their needs differ depending on the kind of job they do and how they spend their spare time. For example, ophthalmic surgeons can now implant corrective lenses in the eye during cataract surgery. But deciding which one requires a detailed conversation between patient and surgeon. “For a patient with long-sightedness, who has glaucoma or macular degeneration, there is a specific lens that I would choose,” says Prof Palomino who is also Professor of Ophthalmology at the European University of Madrid...
According to the latest estimates of the WHO, 422 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide, and the number is growing steadily. As someone who is passionate about using eHealth to solve the biggest challenges in modern healthcare, diabetes stands out as one of the defining problems of our era. Managing diabetes well is essential to the wellbeing of millions of people, to the sustainability of our health systems, and to the long-term durability of our economies. The scale of the problem is immense but technology can help us rise to the challenge. Cognitive Artificial Intelligence (AI), facilitated by analytical predictive-diagnostics and revolutionary medical devices are transforming the way healthcare is delivered and managed throughout the world. Or, in other words, today’s computers can use patient data from multiple sources, including genomic sequencing and sensors, to diagnose disease, inform treatment decisions, and predict outcomes. It is my objective to bring the AI revolution to diabetes. When it comes to diabetes care, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence can collect information from various devices to create personalized programmes that support medication adherence and blood glucose management. At my company, we have developed a Digital Connected Health Platform™ that works with all diabetes devices. Our goal is to facilitate the analysis of data so that we can help patients stay healthy, avoiding the severe complications that can accompany advanced or uncontrolled diabetes. The insights provided by systems such as ours allow physicians to consistently intervene with patients on a real-time basis, paving the way for a more dynamic kind of disease management. It enables the use of wearables, sensors, devices and home health monitoring systems to transmit data from a patient to their care providers. The system also delivers reminders to patients, prompting them to check their blood glucose levels, take their medication or...
High-tech innovation and advanced surgical techniques have transformed the field of ophthalmology, with new treatment options making surgery faster and more accurate. We speak to Professor Rudy Nuijts, a leader in the field of cataract surgery, about the radical changes he has seen and what the future may hold. How has cataract care changed since you began working as an ophthalmic surgeon ? I was trained in extracapsular surgery which involved making incisions of at least 6mm to remove the patient’s lens. In the early 1990s, ophthalmologists in the Netherlands started to embrace phacoemulsification – a new alternative where the lens is broken into tiny fragments using ultrasound energy before being removed. That changed everything. How did these advances help patients? The recovery process was much faster and there was less post-operative astigmatism . Since then, technology has improved further: the machinery we use results in a more stable anterior chamber, with less risk of posterior capsule rupture and there is much more choice and versatility in the range of lenses available for implantation. Are there other technological advances that have improved outcomes for patients? The introduction of multifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) has meant patients can be spectacle-independent after cataract surgery. Instead of just fixing the cloudy vision caused by their cataract, patients can now have a refractive lens implanted which improves their vision. These include toric IOLs which allow us to correct astigmatism and make patients spectacle independent for distance. Another big leap forward has been multifocal lenses. Most surgeons in Europe have, over the last year or two, moved from bifocal to trifocal lenses. This has big advantages for patients. For example, with multifocal trifocal lenses they can read at intermediate distances – for iPads or reading a computer screen, this is a distinct advantage. Bifocal lenses were...
As ‘thinking season’ kicks off, the focus is on how technology and big data can deliver better value healthcare to more people than ever before. January is a time for reflection, planning and predicting what lies ahead. It’s the season for assessing the mega-trends that will shape our future and working out how we will respond. Perhaps the most prestigious venue for future-gazing is Davos where world leaders from politics and business gather on 17-20 January for the World Economic Forum . Here, global influencers will look at how prevailing economic, social and political forces present challenges and opportunities for all of us. Last year, the key phrase from Davos was the ‘ 4 th Industrial Revolution’ . The WEF set the tone for thousands of conversations on the topic last year, including at the MedTech Forum in Brussels last December. This year – with the convergence of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological systems still very much in view – the theme will be Responsive and Responsible Leadership . But what can healthcare leaders expect from 2017? When it comes to healthcare , the WEF frames the conversation with some key demographic statistics: - By 2050, the world’s population will have risen to 9.7 billion - 2 billion people will be over the age of 60 To continue to meet the (growing) demands of healthcare consumers without blowing up healthcare budgets, new ways of delivery services will be required. Smarter, more efficient, technologies and systems will be essential. This brings us to the concept at the heart of many new-year health policy forecasts: value . Value-based healthcare has been something of a buzzword since it was coined by Harvard’s Michael Porter . Most of us have an intuitive sense of value. In healthcare, Porter...
During the past few years, several trends have emerged that are reshaping how health care is delivered. Health systems continue to consolidate. Risk sharing and price sensitivity are more commonplace than ever. Payors are no longer rewarding incremental innovation. The cumulative effect of these trends is a willingness by healthcare providers to use ‘good enough’ products with a reluctance to use products that provide only an incremental benefit. However, as much as things are changing, one thing remains critically important: health care systems are still looking at the healthcare industry to develop truly meaningful innovation that positively affects patient’s lives. Yes, reducing costs is critical, but delivering better outcomes and better patient experiences have risen to the top of demands from health systems globally. Our focus should be on transforming clinical care through meaningful, differentiated innovation. It is important to have healthy debates about the capabilities and opportunities that exist within different approaches to innovation, especially the differences between outcomes innovation, when a patient’s prognosis is improved and process innovation, where there is a change in procedure performance or cost, but no meaningful impact on the patient. This distinction is critical, because if we are to truly deliver transformational innovation that positively affects the lives of patients, we must have an unrelenting focus on outcomes not process. To redefine innovation we need to focus on disease states and the entire continuum of care. We need to source innovation wherever it is, within our company or externally. And, as we are innovating, we must consider product attributes that deliver the evidence and value for payors that ultimately leads to access for patients. Within Johnson & Johnson, we have adopted a broad-based approach to innovation to allow us to deliver the promise of products that are truly transformational. The key is to...
Since the beginning, patient empowerment has been a central pillar of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF)’s vision and mission. Our aim is to promote patient-centred health systems involving patients in the decision-making and management of their condition. Following a consultation with our members, we decided to strengthen this commitment by setting up a one-year campaign dedicated to patient empowerment. The Patient Empowerment Campaign saw the light in May 2015 aiming to take the European discussion on this topic to the next level, towards concrete political actions. The campaign succeeded in promoting understanding of the concept, in raising awareness about the positive impact of patient empowerment both on patients’ lives and on healthcare systems and, above all, in calling up those crucial stakeholders that can actually make a difference. In this regard, I was delighted to see all the support we received from partners and policy makers. On one hand, national and European organisations embraced our campaign and helped us to spread the message on social media, in the European health arena and also at national level with events across Europe. On the other hand, Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the European Commission showed their commitment and willingness to work with us to move the topic forward. This commitment was particularly apparent during the closing event of the campaign last June in the European Parliament. In the form of a roundtable, the event was a great point of discussion where panellists and participants debated different approaches of empowerment – such as access to quality healthcare for all, health literacy and patient education – and reached a clear conclusion: we need empowered patients to build a better and more sustainable healthcare system. The campaign is now officially closed, but our work does not end here. We have now two...