We already know that technology is slowly chipping away at our privacy, but a new report from the New York Times only adds to the evidence pile. According to the Times, the Food and Drug Administration has just approved the first-ever pill that notifies a doctor when their patient takes their prescription medication. The drug in question is an antipsychotic called Abilify MyCite, which houses a small, ingestion-safe sensor that sets off a signal when it hits stomach acid. The patient wears an adhesive patch on their left side that picks up the sensor’s signal and transmits timestamped information to a smartphone app where the doctor can access it. Abilify MyCite does come with some conditions intended to protect patient privacy. The user can, for example, authorize up to four people—in addition to their doctor—to check the usage log, but to do so, the patient must sign consent forms. They can revoke that consent at any time by blocking those people on the app.There … [Read more...] about This Digital Pill Tells Your Doctor When You Take It— and It’s a Big Problem
Doctor patient confidentiality
Zachariah Reitano was 17 when he realized something was wrong with his health. He was suffering from a disorder most often associated with guys three times his age: erectile dysfunction.“It's a very personal story for me,” Reitano told Men’s Health. “I experienced erectile dysfunction when I was 17, but fortunately I had a father who is a physician and an expert in sexual health so I felt comfortable enough bringing it up to him.”It was the first sign to Reitano’s father that something may be seriously wrong with his son. ED can be a sign that something else may be going wrong inside the body of any guy at any age, including heart disease, clogged blood vessels, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even Parkinson's disease. As a 2015 University of Mississippi found, guys with ED have a 70 percent increased risk for premature death.Knowing this, Reitano’s dad took him in for a stress test, where his worst fears were confirmed when his son’s … [Read more...] about How to Diagnose Your Erectile Dysfunction Without Setting Foot In a Doctor’s Office
Kids start to talk around their first birthday--and stop around the time they hit 13. At least, they frequently quit talking to their parents about anything that matters. But teens do open up to Jessica Kahn, MD, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Kahn is a certified adolescent-medicine specialist, a pediatrician with extra training in the health issues that affect teenagers--from acne to eating disorders. She can help smooth some of the bumps in one of life's big transitions. "Adolescence is an exciting time of life," she says. "But it isn't easy. Teens have to make a lot of choices on their own, and it helps to have a doctor they trust." Specialists like Kahn come by that trustworthiness the hard way. They usually get board certified in internal medicine or pediatrics, and then receive 1 to 3 years of extra training in teen health. Unfortunately, these experts are rare: Fewer than 500 were certified in adolescent medicine between 1996 and 2005. In … [Read more...] about Is Your Teen Seeing the Right Doctor?
Desperate Times, Desperate MeasuresWhen medical science had nothing left to offer (or, in 16-year-old Billy Best's case, when conventional therapy sickened him), each of these four people turned in desperation to alternatives that oncologists consider, at best, unproven. David Yoffie and Bill Mears went to New York City physician Nicholas Gonzalez, MD, whose controversial nutritional regimen (100+ supplements, regular coffee enemas) and rejection of conventional cancer treatment have made him a lightning rod for criticism. Little Katie Hartley and Best, who were children when they developed cancer, took (among other things) a substance called 714X, an injected or inhaled combination of camphor, nitrogen, and mineral salts. This treatment was developed by a French scientist who was once arrested for negligent homicide and practicing medicine without a license, though he was later cleared of those charges. They also took an herbal tea that purports to fight cancer. All four … [Read more...] about Nothing Left to Lose
There are no statistics that show how often men triple-dose on pain medications, toss their antibiotics before finishing the bottle, or use an energy drink to wash down a sleep aid. But ask any pharmacist on the front lines of medicinal mayhem about the sorts of shenanigans men pull, and you'll hear a litany of sordid tales like these. "Guys tend to ask fewer questions about drug interactions and how to take a medicine," says Greg Collins, Pharm.D., a pharmacy supervisor for CVS. "They also struggle with taking their prescriptions consistently if they don't 'feel' the medication working."Such bungling costs this country $177 billion a year, according to the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association. But we can't blame simple male obstinacy for the problem; drugs are complex and confusingly marketed. We need as many tips from the back of the store as pharmacists can provide. And fortunately for us, a pharmacist looks at the side effects, uses, and costs of pills the way Brett … [Read more...] about Drugstore Confidential
(Natural News) Pharmacy chain giant CVS Health Corporation recently came under fire for allegedly overcharging insured customers for certain generic prescriptions.A lawsuit was filed against CVS claiming that the company participated in a fraudulent scheme. The lawsuit has also alleged that the plaintiff, Megan Schultz, paid $165.68 for a prescription in July which, if bought without using insurance, would have only costed $92. According to Schultz, the pharma giant did not inform her that there was a cheaper option.According to the lawsuit, the problems stem from the co-pays sent back to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). These PBMs serve as intermediary between insurance companies and pharmacies who discuss the prices that insurers have to pay the pharmacies.The charges claim that PBMs regulate the pharmacies that were in-network for the insurance companies. According to the lawsuit, this incentivizes CVS to offer them a portion of their sales … [Read more...] about CVS sued for conspiring to overcharge insured patients for prescription drugs
A significant minority of practicing doctors do not agree that patients should always be told the whole truth, even though The Charter on Medical Professionalism insists on openness and honesty, researchers from Harvard Medical School and other institutions in Massachusetts reported in the journal Health Affairs. The Charter is backed by over 100 professional organizations globally, including the US Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. By far, most of the doctors agreed fully that they should be completely open to patients when talking about the pros and cons of interventions. The vast majority also believe that a doctor should never reveal confidential patient data to unauthorized persons. About one-third of them said they do not believe it is always necessary or best to disclose serious medical errors to patients Nearly one-fifth said they did not agree fully that physicians should never tell the patient an untruth Almost 40% thought it was not always necessary to … [Read more...] about Some Doctors Do Not Tell Their Patients The Truth
With the World Health Organization declaring the Zika virus a “public health emergency of international concern,” U.S. hospitals are scrambling to learn what they can about the disease and how to handle an outbreak. So far, 31 domestic cases have been reported, all contracted outside the U.S. However, as warm weather approaches, the odds could be that local transmission of the mosquito-borne disease will begin to be seen. On Jan. 26, President Obama called for accelerated development of tests, vaccines and treatments for the mosquito-born Zika virus, which has been linked to a brain defect in infants and Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults. The same day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued interim guidelines for healthcare providers caring for infants born to mothers who traveled to a country where Zika was active during her pregnancy. The guidelines also require all Zika cases be reported to state and territorial health … [Read more...] about As U.S. braces for Zika virus, communication is first line of defense
Dive Brief: Following in the footsteps of the OpenNotes project, Beth Israel Deaconess is allowing 700 mental health patients access to their physicians' notes. Patients can read their therapy session notes on mobile or desktop within days of their appointment. The project is controversial. Proponents advocate for equality between mental health and medical patients while others are concerned that there may be a negative impact on privacy, confidentiality and outcomes. Last year, the Department of Veteran Affairs opened both medical and mental health records to patients, but the agency has not begun to analyze the results yet. Dive Insight: Patients have the right to their health records; however, if a doctor thinks reading notes would be harmful to the patient or others, he or she can withhold them. One risk that psychiatrists have raised is the density of clinical language: "Diagnostic language is used among doctors to describe features of a mental … [Read more...] about Beth Israel opening physician notes to mental health patients
Figure 1, already available in the United States, England and Ireland, will be available by the year's end in Western Europe. It is the newest move for the app, launched in May 2013, that allows physicians to share patient photos. The app hit more than 50 million image views earlier this year. The Toronto-based developer raised more than $6 million in 2014 for the app. The program, which has more than 150,000 uploaded patient photos, is different than others on the market. UpToDate and DynaMed are two subscription-based image services, but unlike Figure 1, they provide "a highly curated repository" of articles about the conditions, company co-founded Josh Landy told the BBC. "What our app does is provide the opportunity to contribute any case no matter how classic or unusual," Landy told the publication. "Ours is all image-based and totally crowd-sourced." Figure 1 was founded on the principle that the industry needed to move forward and match the social media needs of … [Read more...] about What are the risks of the ‘Instagram for docs’ to physicians?