Technologies I didn’t expect to learn from a Heart Attack

Mobile Patient Monitoring, Electronic Records and Other Healthcare Technologies.
Gadgets, Electronic Records lead to Smarter and Mobile Medical Care.  
“updated from original publication in IBM Mobile Insights, Jan 2013”

Never saw it coming! I didn’t know how much I would learn about technologies along my way to recovery from a Heart Attack.   I have long since recovered.  While I was/am a little overweight, I had no previous issues with high blood pressure, no real cholesterol issues, a negative Cardiac Stress Test the year before,  Even the Emergency Room staff in the thought it would be something else until the blood test results came back.

Personal Advice, if your over 40 and especially over 50 and haven’t , get a full Cardiac Workup, including a Cardiac CT Scan.   Just a few months back in 2016 a friends son died without warning, he was in his mid 40’s.  If you think you are possibly having an attack, Assume you are! And Act Immediately!!

So, I was “OK”, AND it happened any way!  A blocked LAD the “Widow-Maker” artery.  Fortunately for me the Attack was discovered and resolved quickly with 2 Stents, few days in the hospital and I was good to go.  I’m understating it for the blog, but I was Very lucky and blessed with good Doctors and Nurses!!

I certainly researched my surprise heart condition and issues before checking into the Mobile technology that let my doctors follow my case while they were away from the Hospital.

Had A Glitch: A month after the attack I was having an issue with an irregular heart beat. I returned to the Bethesda Heart Hospital, Boynton Beach, FL Emergency Room.  And, of course it was the weekend “my” Cardiologist was off and I saw someone covering.  Irregular heart beat due to low magnesium, I got some medications, given electrolytes, started feeling much better right away.  But, I was still concerned I wasn’t seeing my regular Cardiologist.

Mobility, When I’m not here…I’m here!!:   I was feeling much better by the time my cardiologist arrived Monday morning.  I wanted to fill him in and as I started, he said, “I know all about it”, when I’m not here…I’m here!!  I followed your treatment from my iPhone.  In discussions then and those that followed since, I learned everything that was available “was” available from workstations in the hospital.  Similarly, from a remote workstation at the physicians home or office, it changes if they log in directly the web access portal or use a tablet or Smartphone.

At the time, the Hospital’s remote access was somewhat less is available to IOS Devices, but was told by the cardiologist iPad capability would be available soon.    He said remote access via Mobile devices has vastly improved his productivity, awareness of conditions and allows him the ability to provide a greater quality of care with faster responsiveness, in an area of medicine where time is critical.  My current Cardiologist is savvy with Iphone/Ipad, uses them all the time, can see test results and place new orders in my chart.

My Primary Care Physician also remotely accesses my data.  She uses workstations more than her Ipad and Iphone.  On a  visit near the time, she mentioned she needed to take the device back to the IT guy at the hospital, to get it working again.

 A Mobile Enabler, Electronic Health Care Records, (EHCR/EHR)
It’s more than mobile gadgetry in the healthcare revolution.  When I got to the technology research what I discovered was that the Hospital Implemented an EHCR System.  Where  Physicians can follow a patients progress, ensure proper tests are taken based on Protocols for symptoms and or possible diagnosis, Enter orders, prescriptions, (No more paper charts, hieroglyphics for the pharmacy to interpret!).  In addition they can see test results, not just reports but images from CT Scans, MRI’s, Etc. How many of the hospital systems have been integrated, I’m not sure, as hospital staff, and execs were unavailable.   Unlike a few other institutions records are not available to patients. (update “meaningful use” of electronic records was mandated for use by all physicians and hospitals by Jan 2014.  This catapulted demand for systems and better technologies such as those created by “Modernizing”

In researching, I found the following video somewhat similar to my experience, Electronic Health Records interconnected healthcare systems, where “Computers on Wheels” or “COW’s” are used.  In my case and I believe more the “COW’s have gone home.  in my room were wall mounted terminals with optical scanners and the data has been extended to my physicians via the system.

My Primary Care Physician values the EHR systems for what they can provide, but has concerns about Government programs to adopt a “single” unified patient record system and security of the information.  My words, this is more than just credit card data and if corrupted lives are at stake.  At the same time my Primary understands that there are several solutions out there in the marketplace and many don’t talk to each other.  What’s important it that the data about a patient be available to their health care providers to make quality care decisions.   in 2017, I believe it is still true.  I have more to learn.  However I believe the Hospital has records in one format, Primary care and specialists use different systems, competing technologies, creating islands of health information.

For me, I’m, just glad it was there and in use.  I know it having my recent history and medications got me through the ER and see a doctor more quickly  and believe the EHS aided my diagnosis and recovery (See my other post). The ER, Nurses, Cardiologist, Electro-physioligist, and Primary Care doctor all had Mobile access to my testing, medications and progress.  Physicians tracked my progress, entered my orders remotely, instead of nurses trying to chase them down.

Mobility in Healthcare Future:  Healthcare technology has always been an interest. For over 38 years my wife has told me, “don’t touch the equipment!”   . In preparing this Blog, I discovered the tip of the iceberg in IBM’s involvement in Healthcare Watson is now everywhere.  Reading MRI’s providing diagnosis’; Holter (Heart) monitors were Bricks you wore for a day and took a week to get results, evolving to a device with a cell phone attached, the last one I used a few years back for a new baseline was a small device Bluetooth connected

LifeMD, Wireless Body Network

to a phone with an app for real time monitoring.    The future, (actually today at LifeMD)  is an integrated series of implanted monitors using a “Wireless Body Area Network” to monitor your health real time and automatically engage emergency services.

Technology and Healthcare are inextricably linked forever with constant innovation.  If your interested, don’t wait for a heart attack to start researching.

Best of health to all



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