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Letter from the Editor #717: Mobile Healthcare Technologies

As the national healthcare landscape changes with the integration of the recent government laws and expansion of medical information technology, more emphasis has been placed on patient-centered care. I believe that if patient engagement were a drug, it would be the blockbuster drug of the century.

Mobile healthcare technologies, a term used to describe the use of mobile telecommunication technologies for the delivery of healthcare and in support of wellness, may be starting to provide the answer. We were at the CES in Las Vegas and saw a lot of promising new devices especially in the the category of "wearables." These devices can monitor your patient’s heart rhythm, blood pressure,  sleep patterns, physical activity, and blood glucose, and then deliver it to your office or phone.  These devices may be in the form of a wristwatch, T-shirt, or even a pair of socks.

Physicians will be able to track health remotely and intervene earlier when problems arise. Moreover, patients will be seeing their own results and following them, promoting greater awareness of their own health trends.

With this in mind, we have our first review of a product from the CES Digital Health area. We decided to start with the Spark, a simple but accurate electronic pedometer that has a whole community of help backing it.  Please see the Product of the Week to learn more. These new devices may come in really handy in helping our prediabetes patients to do a better job of preventing progression of the disease. This week’s Item #7, on the use of electronic health records to examine rates of follow-up care for prediabetes, shows that we need to do a better job of motivating our patients and these devices may help. 

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Announcements:
 
With a day packed full of education, motivational tools, one-on-one sessions, and workshops, the TCOYD health fair is a great way to get your patients to take better care of their health and themselves. TCOYD.com

 
From dLife.com: "Vietnam veterans who developed type 2 diabetes after exposure to Agent Orange recount their struggles. Plus, Chef Michel Nischan in the dLife kitchen with a cheesy veggie favorite, and Jim Turner in the dentist’s chair." Sundays live online at dLifeTV.com at 7 PM ET, 6 PM CT, and 4 PM PT. Keep up on the latest dLife news at dLifeTV.com.
 
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We can make a difference!
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Dave Joffe, Editor-in-chief