Monthly Archives: October 2011

Solectria Renewables Expands into India and China

Lawrence, MA – October 19, 2011 – Solectria Renewables, LLC, the leading U.S. PV inverter manufacturer, announced today that it will expand its manufacturing operations into India and China as both countries announce significant growth opportunities for commercial and utility scale photovoltaic projects. Read more »

‘Retrofit to Save Billions and Get Young Londoners into Work’, Mayor Tells London Businesses

Source: Greater London Authority

14 OCTOBER 2011

The Mayor of London has called on the capital’s businesses and big landlords both private, public, commercial and residential to help deliver London’s biggest ever retrofitting programme.
Retrofitting business premises with energy saving measures will not only save up to a billion pounds a year in wasted energy costs but could significantly help towards eradicating youth unemployment, Mayor Boris Johnson has told London’s top firms.

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Can Computer Games Be Good For Your Health?

Playing Farmville won’t make you fit.

However, serious injuries can benefit from serious games.

Not convinced? Check out two exhibits at San Francisco’s Swissnex, Think Art – Act Science (through 11/12) and Swiss Game Design Exhibition (through 10/27).

Both exhibits showcase technologies and collaborations between Swiss companies and academic institutions. Companion events are free to the public and include stimulating topics such as Next Level Health: How Games Improve Health and Healthcare.

My favorite demo was for a game created at the Zurich University of the Arts called GABARELLO v1.0.

The game is designed for children who have experienced lower body motor loss, through birth defects, accidents, etc. Children (or adults) are strapped to a special rehabilitation robot on a treadmill and through the use of sophisticated sensors, make the adorable virtual robot “move” across the various surfaces of a planet. This turns rehab work into a treat!

Other partners in the collaboration include University Children’s Hospital Zurich, the Institute for Neuropsychology (University of Zurich) and the Sensory Motor Systems Lab (ETH Zurich).

Successful collaborations like these are a roadmap for what is possible. With the ubiquity of platforms such as X-Box and Wii, look for this exciting trend to continue.

America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project To Amplify Need For Ocean Conservation

from America’s Cup Event Authority

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 17, 2011 – Global leaders in the arena of ocean conservation, oceanographic research, and environmental sustainability gathered today in San Francisco to celebrate the launch of the America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project, the global initiative of the 34th America’s Cup to educate the world’s populations about the issues facing our oceans and inspire them to act.

Driven by its commitment to have the 34th America’s Cup be “more than a sport,” the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) has set an ambitious goal with the AC Healthy Ocean Project to develop the world’s largest communication outreach program focused on improving ocean health. To accomplish this goal, ACEA has partnered with some of the leading voices in the ocean conservation field, including Dr. Sylvia Earle and her organization Mission Blue, OceanElders, Sailors for the Sea, One World One Ocean and IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer, Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic and Global Ambassador to the AC Healthy Ocean Project: “As an ocean scientist and explorer with thousands of hours on, around and especially under the sea, I have personally witnessed a time of unprecedented discovery – and unprecedented loss. Half a century ago, it seemed the ocean was too vast, too resilient to be affected by our actions.  Now we know:  coral reefs, kelp forests, coastal marshes, numerous kinds of fish and other ocean wildlife have declined sharply owing to pressures we have applied.  Dead zones have appeared.  Oxygen-producing plankton is declining. The ocean is in trouble – and that means we are in trouble, too.”

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Payers & Providers: The Impact of Health 2.0

Patients now have more tools than ever before to assess and manage their health.

So how are these advanced technologies playing out with payers and providers?

In addition to the widespread use of electronic medical records (EMRs), payers and providers are also increasingly relying on solutions from innovative companies to help them deliver better care based on value not volume.

Castlight Health is helping self-insured companies like Safeway shine the light on previously opaque information, such as out-of-pocket procedure costs at different facilities. By increasing transparency, employees can “know your costs before you go” and better manage their health budgets.

Other self-insured companies (including AT&T and Intel) have banded together to offer a personal health record through Dossia. Because the record belongs to the employee, it “changes jobs” when they do and provides clinicians with a longitudinal picture of their health.

In addition to the obvious data quality increase, it also eliminates the administrative burden on providers. Future plans, and an example of a major trend, is to provide a platform that provides a 360 degree view of health including data such as pharmacy pickups and data from personal health tracking devices such as Nike’s FitBit, Zeo’s Sleep Coach, etc.

Senior living providers are leveraging tablet and touch screen technologies developed through a joint venture between GE & Intel. Known as Care Innovations Connect, the product keeps seniors healthy by collecting basic biometrics and then recommending actions based on a defined protocol.

For example, if a patient has gained weight, a video might pop up talking about cutting back on fluids. The product also uses social networking technologies to keep seniors connected and combat loneliness, a major health risk factor in this population.

GE plans to complement and expand the product’s capabilities by employing smart sensors throughout the home and living areas.

So what technologies can we expect to see featured at next year’s Health 2.0 conference?

Here’s a hint.

23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki says that genetics will soon be integrated into everything that we do.

Stay tuned.

Health, Wellness & the “Unmentionables” @ Health 2.0

Financial Stress. Trouble sleeping. Depression. Alcohol use.

All of these impact health, but aren’t typically part of a seven minute doctor’s visit.

Add them to a list of other “unmentionables” such as caregiver stress, unhealthy sex life, work conflicts and it’s a recipe for disaster…as well as an opportunity for clinicians and patients to engage more effectively around non-obvious issues directly impacting health.

Eliza’s Alexandra Drane led the most dynamic (and best attended) session at this year’s Health 2.0 conference.

Drane started a conversation about “unmentionables” at last year’s conference. Participants from all parts of the patient, provider and clinician continuum weighed in throughout the year, so she extended the list.

Drane presented results from several studies to highlight the impact of these issues.  One was a study of adult patients in which 94% self-reported experiencing at least one ”unmentionable” issue.  Not terribly surprising, given the state of the economy.

What was surprising is that 40% reported having 4-6 issues.

During a deeper dive on financial stress, Drane cited a German study that found higher debt increased the likelihood of obesity by 40%.  She emphasized that, “Stress, loss of control, anxiety…these same words are used to describe both health and financial stress.”

AARP’s Chief Medical Officer Charlotte Yeh, also weighed in, referencing a member study in which 26% of men reported that if they had a “good bank account” and high financial security, they experienced a good sex life.

How does all of this impact providers and employers?  81% of people experiencing financial stress and 95% with care giving stress wanted help from their doctor, medical plan, etc. There were almost identical results for employers–as one patient put it, “I don’t care who helps me, I just want help because these things are really impacting my life.”

So what can be done?  While there is little the health community can do to change macro factors such as unemployment, there are behaviors that that can minimize (or exacerbate) the impact of “unmentionables”.

Drane detailed how “buffers” (healthy relationships, regular exercise, gratitude) plus “magnifiers” (sleep issues, substance abuse)  impact how patients experience and cope with “unmentionables”.

Although there is no clear prescription for dealing with these issues, raising awareness through discussion is a good start.  Given the overwhelming response to the topic, this is a conversation that will surely be continued.

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