pain management

With a 10-day supply of opioids, 1 in 5 become long-term users

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Hydrocodone Has Dark Side as Recreational DrugThe longer a person uses opioids, the greater the risk of forming a deadly addiction. But just how long does it take to switch from being a short-term user—say, while you’re dealing with pain after a surgery—to a long-term, potentially problematic user? A few weeks? A month?

According to a new study, that transition could take just a matter of days.

When patients get an initial opioid prescription that’s just a one-day supply, they have about a six-percent chance of being on opioids for a year or longer. But if that first prescription is for a three-day supply, the probability of long-term use starts inching up. With an initial five-day supply, the chance jumps to about 10 percent. With a six-day supply, the chance hits 12 percent. With 10-day’s worth, the odds of still being on opioids a year later hits roughly 20 percent.

So, with an initial 10-day opioid prescription, about one-in-five patients become long-term users. That’s according to the new study’s lead author Bradley Martin, a professor of pharmaceutical evaluation and policy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science. It’s a fast rise, Martin said to Ars. “We really didn’t expect that.”

By Beth Mole | arsTECHNICA

Image Credit: Getty Images

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What You Need to Know About Virtual Reality in Healthcare

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VirtualReality703-703x437You’ve heard of virtual reality, maybe you’ve even tried Google Cardboard, but the world of augmented and mixed reality is still a mystery, as is its potential impact on healthcare delivery. Justin Barad breaks down what physicians need to know.

In 2012 a Kickstarter launched for a virtual reality headset called the Oculus Rift. The campaign raised $2.4 million – shooting past its $250,000 goal. What started as a garage-based pet project has turned into a worldwide phenomenon and two new computing platforms: Virtual and augmented reality. The market for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is projected to reach $160 billion by 2020. One of the major useful applications for this technology is in the area of healthcare. In this article, I will try and list a few of the interesting uses of VR and AR in medicine which I have broken down into therapeutics, visualization, surgical navigation, patient education, training, telepresence, telementoring, and workflow/EMR-integration.

By Justin Barad | Telemedicine Magazine

Image Credit: Osso VR

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How virtual reality is shaping the healthcare industry

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VR HealthcareOne of the most common misconceptions is that Virtual Reality is just for entertainment.

However, researchers, doctors and scientists from across the world have been exploring the use of VR in military and healthcare for decades. This accumulation of data has since exploded with the universal funding and adoption Virtual Reality is receiving from giants in the industry.

In turn this makes VR more affordable and accessible to the mass market, once a very big factor holding the technology back holding it back. We’re going to explore Virtual Reality in the healthcare industry and how it’s shaping the future for people across the world.

By VR BOUND

Illustration Credit: VR BOUND

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Virtual Reality Can Make the Pain of Surgery Easier to Bear

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c3kk28lwqaathvcAna Maria has never been to Machu Picchu. The 61-year-old always wanted to visit the mountain ruins but she suffers from hypertension, and doctors warned that the extreme altitude could cause her blood pressure to rise dangerously high. Today, dressed in a white gown and hairnet, she will explore its ancient walls and pyramids for the first time.

She’s in a private medical clinic in Mexico City, and laughs nervously as she’s wheeled into a windowless operating room. The surgeon takes a Sharpie and draws a large circle on her left thigh, paints on several layers of iodine, then injects a local anesthetic into the skin. Inside the circle is a fatty lump, a lipoma around six centimeters across, which he is about to remove.

By Jo Marchant | The Atlantic

Image Credit: Chester Holme / Mosaic

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How Samsung is leveraging VR to manage pain

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applied-vr-pic-2-768x512As legislation at the state and federal level seeks to curb opioid prescriptions, providers are keen to find alternatives to such medication that alleviates patient anxiety and chronic pain symptoms but can be addictive.

Virtual reality could very well be that alternative.

Los Angeles-based startup AppliedVR has developed a platform with a library of interactive games and relaxing landscapes to draw users attention away from their pain, reducing dependence on pain medications with Samsung’s virtual reality hardware Gear VR.

Together, Samsung and AppliedVR are working with a group of hospitals to validate the technology for children and adults. In one randomized controlled trial, the two have collaborated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to evaluate the clinical utility of VR for inpatient pain management and its effect on narcotic use, length of stay, and patient satisfaction. The study is currently recruiting up to 120 hospitalized adults, according to the description on ClinicalTrials.gov’s website.

By Stephanie Baum | MedCity News

Image Credit: AppliedVR

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Orbita unveils Amazon Echo-based home health tool

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screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-5-42-16-pmOrbita announced its Voice Experience Designer at the Connected Health Conference on Monday. The company described the software as a graphical tool healthcare organizations can use to build voice assistants that aid patients in their homes.

“We provide the connectivity services, the orchestration logic for data that comes in and collaboration app for caregivers to communication with patients,” Orbita Co-Founder and President Nathan Treloar said. “We want to be able to work within care plans.”

Likely applications include medication adherence, pain management, patient monitoring and coordination among various caregivers, the company said.

By Tom Sullivan | mobihealth news

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A doctor with a bad knee runs into one-size-fits-all medicine

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myleftknee01It took me three months of physical torture before I diagnosed my problem: I was suffering from one-size-fits-all medicine.

I am one of more than 750,000 Americans who this year will have a total knee replacement, the most common orthopedic operation. Most people do well with the standard physical therapy protocol, but there are many who have a rough rehab.

My knees went bad as a teenager because of OCD — not obsessive-compulsive disorder, but a rare condition known as osteochondritis dissecans. It wreaked havoc on both knees with plenty of pain and frequent dislocations, ultimately leading to extensive surgery just before I started medical school at age 20.

Over the next four decades, I progressively curtailed activities including running, hiking, tennis and even elliptical exercise, while increasing my reliance on anti-inflammatory medications to deal with the pain. After injections of steroids and synovial fluid directly into the joint failed, it was time to consider getting a new knee. My orthopedist told me I was a “perfect candidate” being relatively young (I was 62), thin and fit; he said the only concern would be a risk — 1 to 2 percent — of infection. Nothing else.

By Eric Topol | The Washington Post

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