Remote Patient Monitoring Research


Remote Patient Monitoring via Smartphone

Telehealth is finally beginning to show real adoption with the move to outcome based care.

Any number of virtual care platforms have now thrown their hat in the ring to attempt to make patient communications as easy as regular calls. 

Smartphone monitoring seems like a good option for physicians and patients alike. The literature on smartphone monitoring is limited, but it shows potential for clinical use.

In a recent study by Dalla Pozza et al. (2017), the researchers explored patient monitoring after treatment, which asked their patients to take photos of post-op procedure as they were instructed by their surgeons. Patients were asked to send photos of the front and side views of their face to send to the surgeons.

Out of the original 57 in the sample, only fifty followed-up with post-operative photos.

The following procedures performed were:

  • (32) Facelifts, platysmaplasty, submental lipectomy;
  • (14) Upper and lower blerophaplasty;
  • (11) Fat injections

After treatment, three patients experienced complications early on. The patient in the study still preferred the usual face to face consultation, but the researchers mention that most of their sample were older patients, and were not able to adapt to some applications used for the study.

A similar study also examined the use of patient monitoring via smartphone. Chee et al. (2016) focused more on laser resurfacing on the dermatological aspect of it. Their study provided insight on the patient’s use of smartphone monitoring. There were 123 patients in the study, and having done the procedure around 12% had adverse events after it. Due to the complications, the dermatologist treated them the day after. Numbers dwindled as only a few answered the follow-up survey leaving only a few to report the smartphone review had good effects on them.

According to the authors, 95% out of the 24 who completed their survey felt at ease with the teledermatology process.

There is the risk of violating HIPAA and HITECH. In the first study, the researchers mention that limitation as patients may not have a HIPAA-compliant smartphone to send images or details of their condition. In this case, physicians have the responsibility to make sure their images are secure. In the second study, patients were wary with sharing their photos as well.

To learn more you might take a look at the scores from the KLAS 2017 Virtual Care Platform Report in which a dozen or so telehealth platforms (TruClinic, American Wellness, InTouch, etc.) were scored across a number of criteria.

Protect Your Data & Patient Privacy

Global technological threats are growing. Privacy is breached knowing that anyone can access your information from your smartphone or computer, without even having grab hold of it. The WannaCry hack is a wake-up call for everybody, which should prompt everyone to raise their security levels.

It is important that physicians should be able to protect their patient’s privacy. Cosmetic and aesthetic physicians should take caution most especially considering the nature of their treatments and procedures.

Imagine the the following scenario; you get an email one morning that all of your patient before and after photos have been stole and if you don't pay $20k in Bitcoins by noon, they'll be posted online.

What do you do? Are you going to pay or wait until noon and see if all of your patient's before photos are posted and...

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Medical Spa Phishing?

Phishing attacks have become more sophisticated and healthcare providers (especially cosmetic clinics) look like a prime target.

A few weeks after WannaCry’s attack on the NHS in the UK, a new cybercriminal group “The Team” hacked a Lithuanian clinic comprising private photos of their patients. The group demanded a ransom of around €50 to €2000 (approx. US$57 to US$2295), which should be converted to bitcoin. Among the compromised photos are nude photos and national IDs.

What do the WannaCry and “The Team”s hacking entail for everyone else in the globe? In simple terms, better security and privacy. However, it’s not easy to double up on security. You may need to heighten security measures on your devices and may have to change up any protocol concerning saving patient photographs and details.

The table below shows examples of privacy regulation acts in several countries

Heighten Your Practice's Security Measures

Your staff is probably already well informed about HIPAA or your country’s own Privacy Act, the dangers of having data online,  Wi-Fi passwords and such (Er... make sure your Wi-Fi is password protected.), but most attacks are not on the big players, they're a simple email that is sent to a staff member with an attachment or link that contains malware that can give access to a system. Sophisticated attackers simply find out a few emails and sends an email that looks like it's authentic. 

Unfortunately, many people will just click the link.

Example: You get an email that looks like it's from a patient complaining about a reaction with an image/link. Your front desk staff clicks on that link and malware infects your front-desk computer. 

Not somethign you want...

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Current Known Use of Imaging in Medical Aesthetics

Medical aesthetics continue to welcome technology in practices, allowing physicians and patients to connect further or envision outcomes prior to treatment, giving patients an opportunity a chance to see the possible outcome .

Despite the rising number of using imaging in practices, studies on imaging technology are limited in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery although that is expected to change. As such, there are no reported studies about the efficacy of usage of these technologies prior to treatment. Bummer. It would be interesting to know the future of technology in the aesthetics field, and its effectiveness in bringing expected outcomes. Still, you can imagine what is coming down the pipe in the fairly near future.

Virtual Reality (VR Headsets)

Virtual Reality was first introduced to the gaming scene. Its use has branched out for other fields, which include medicine. VR is usually used via a headgear, introducing one to the “virtual world”. In the field of medical aesthetics, its function might be to help a physician figure out where to inject the fillers or perform the incision. Another possible function is to give the patient an idea about how a certain surgery would work on them or how a celebrity’s eyes, nose, or lips, or even body would fit well with them. Its other function is to lessen the pain during surgery, which has been employed for other fields of medicine. The idea is to have the patient where the headset post-surgery where a simulation will play as the patient recovers.

Augmented Reality

Its most famous use is in Pokémon Go, the game that swept the whole world by catching Pokémon anywhere with the use of one’s smartphone. In the aesthetics field, Illusio is one company that provides Augmented Reality for plastic surgeons. The application acts as a mirror, where it flashes the patient’s body. A physician can adjust the settings via toggles on the app, helping them visualize how an augmentation or reduction would look. Pretty rudimentary right now but continually improving.

Google Glass

Google Glass was used for one study in the operating room. It had the ability to transmit images real time for other observers to see. The device has the potential to become an educational or training tool.

3D Scanning and Printing

In a recent interview by Dr. Yakup Avsar with the International Master Course in Aging Science (IMCAS), he mentions that he uses 3D Scanning and Printing in his practice to visualize his patient’s face when it has aged. He has long used this method, as he emphasizes the need for this in the medical aesthetic field. While this is not a novel idea, more cases have yet to be reported or publicized.

The idea of technology in the field of aesthetic is promising. It will give physicians an opportunity to recognize any areas of concerns, which could be prevented as the patient ages. Its use could help medical aesthetics move forward in adopting more technology as the rest advances.

The Coming Shift to Telemedicine (Everywhere)

2015 Telemedicine Report from Freelance MD

There is a rise of telemedicine startups everywhere, especially in cosmetic medicine. What might this mean for you?

Silicon Valley, New York, London and Berlin all are investing big in telemedicine, A.I. and big data services. There are massive changes in the US that are opening doors for new services. what does it all mean for a little one-doc clinic in Des Moines, Charolette or San Antonio?

Why is there a need to utilize telemedicine?

Telemedicine makes it easier to keep patient records, track patient progress, saves time (and money) and offers the promise of integrated deep learning for clinical decision support.

There has been a report that patient preference leans towards employing telemedicine. It provides follow-up care for those who underwent surgery and many patients favor that. The convenience allowed for better communication with the physician through email.

Why are some physicians skeptical about telemedicine?

While there are many benefits to telemedicine, it is still faced with criticism. Many physicians are hesitant to adopt telemedicine because of costs. One of the many concerns about adopting telemedicine is the HIPAA. Patient privacy can be breached, especially with aesthetic medicine where photographs and video can be saved or used as before and after media output. Tools and software can be costly, because of this doctors would prefer to stick with traditional practice instead.

When will aesthetic medicine adopt telemedicine practices?

Several dermatology and plastic surgery practices have made progress in using telemedicine. The most common telemedicine method for aesthetic practices are Skype consults. Virtual consults cost less and patient retention is slightly higher.

Another example of telemedicine applicable for aesthetic practices are Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Primarily known for its use in gaming, it has branched out to other science and technology fields. Several plastic surgery practices have installed some devices such as VR or AR for patients to visualize the expected outcome of their procedure. Back in 2015, plastic surgery performed through Google Glass resulted successfully. In other uses, scribes send data to physicians via Glass. Expectations to use Google Glass in the practice is huge.

Telemedicine is also not limited to patient care, as it focuses also on the devices you use for your practice. While Luan et al., (2015) study focuses on access to plastic surgery literature, a physician can utilize their devices to use to communicate with patients. In addition, since the rise of smartphones, it is easier to enforce telemedicine. Video messaging apps like FaceTime and Skype can be used for telemedicine.

How to prepare yourself in integrating telemedicine in your practice?

Telemedicine, while mostly beneficial, may be difficult to integrate to a practice especially if it is not telemedicine-ready. You may need to consider these factors.

According to Krupinski (2014), set-up a room dedicated for all telemedicine needs. You will need to examine factors such as lighting and audio and video so you can examine them better. Let your patients feel comfortable inside the room as well.

Choose the telemedicine tools, methods, and technologies you will adopt. As we have mentioned there are various tools and devices for the physician’s use, but you do not need to employ everything. Some examples of the telemedicine methods you can use are Real Time (RT), which you can do on your own devices or through store-forward (SF). A physician can find a telemedicine tool or software online, which one can subscribe to.

Training is important, as studies have shown that those who are mishandling telemedicine tools or software can make patients feel uncomfortable. Train along with your staff so everyone in the practice has an idea how your telemedicine devices and software work.

Most physicians overlook the hindrances and barriers to using telemedicine for easier accessibility. Telemedicine is not just implementation just to keep up with trends, but its convenience and eventual cost-cutting advantages can help save practices.

Download the Medical Spa MD Telemedicine Report here.

New Concierge Startups Could Devastate The Cosmetic Medicine Market

Futuristic new startups in concierge medicine could really put the screws to competitors as they expand their offering.

Silicon Valley is rife with startups looking to disrupt all aspects of healthcare, moving from traditional approaches to entirely new delivery systems and business models. The result is a number of new, well financed competitors that don't have the baggage of traditional methodologies and can easily adopt new methodologies and could bury existing competitors. Here are a couple of examples.

Forward is a new tech concierge medical start-up San Francisco that is focusing on reinventing the primary care clinic. With something of a clean look that founder Adrian Aoun describes as something aking to an Apple store crossed with Star Treks next generation sick bay. Physicians have access to some really cool gizmos, from a wall-sized screen to visualize and show patient data to automated speach recognition that transcribes converstaions in real time and adds them to patient records. Patients can get their prescritions filled in the on-site pharmacy and can text staff around the clock (with 30 second response times).

But the biggest value is not the glass and white walls, it's the removal of trivial tasks that prevent clinicians from operating at the top of their license. According to a 2016 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, physicians spend more than half of their time on paperwork, compared to a measly 27% interacting with patients. (Read the study here)

Forward is using technology to ruthlessly elimiate waste and improve physician productivity while also delivering what patients are asking for with whiz-bang tools. They currently don't taken insurance - although they have plans to change that - and charge patients $149/month all in.

Of course Forward is joining a number of other primary care and concierge competitors.

One Medical is another that already has a number of locations. It's not quite as technically cool but it's also getting traction by delivering what patients want  - same day appointments, online access, and 24/7 virtual care - at the even more affordable price of $149 per year.

And that brings us to telemedicine and what's happening there.

Read the 2015 Telemedicine Report from Medical Spa MD

In a poll asking dermatologists if they were to use telemedicine in their practice, 41.84% were opposed to the idea of adopting it. Only 38.1% were in favor in using telemedicine, but that may be changing.

In a study by Wilson and Maeder (2015), teledermatology has produced positive outcomes with user satisfaction and uptake, and hopeful in the idea of improvements with healthcare. Another study mentions the benefits of using teledermatology, which could serve as an educational tool.

Despite study findings about telemedicine’s ability to diagnose illnesses, it is still met with resistance. In another study referenced by the authors, it seems that while it can screen and diagnose illnesses, it faced a challenge with an accuracy. Bashur et al., (2015) also suggest the same finding that inaccuracy could be a common challenge when using teledermatology.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the American Telemedicine Association expected the number of physicians using telemedicine to rise approximately 30% more. Healthmine has conducted a poll saying that out of 1500 physicians, only 15% employed telemedicine.

What does this mean for cosmetic / aestheitic practices?

These new startups are going to be under increasing pressure to find ways to generate revenue Forward, for example, has already raised $30m from venture capitalists and needs to get to a value of more than $100m to raise additional funding.

The likely result is that they, like others before them, will see that cosmetic medicine is primarily a cash fee-for-service business that will need little additional investment to add. Since these new competitors are built to deliver such extrodinalry patient satisfaction it will be more than just a little challenging for stand-alone clinics to compete.

Of course their success is not yet assured and they could implode if they can't meet their revenue needs.

If they can, there will be a period of adoption but they will be riding the wave of transformative care that is coming.

Getting Naked on the Internet: What does the law say?


Telemedicine and Cyber Security

The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of your personal health information (PHI). HIPAA includes several rules and provisions that set guidelines and requirements for the administration and enforcement of HIPAA. The relevant ones for the exchange of PHI in the digital cyberspace are the Privacy Rule1, the Security Rule2, and the aptly named Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act3.

Telemedicine is a burgeoning field of medicine that incorporates digital technology such as electronic health records (EHR), information sharing, and videoconferencing to enhance the interaction between physicians and their patients, and ultimately, improve the delivery of healthcare. Having been a plastic surgeon for several years now, I’m all too familiar with meeting people at social events, and immediately getting bombarded with intrusive and unusual questions and requests as soon as my chosen profession is ousted. Sure, it’s unlikely that a woman will disrobe and expose herself in front of me and my wife at a friend’s dinner party, but get us into an online “private” videoconference call, and who knows what body parts will make an abrupt entrance into the conversation. Physicians must approach with caution, says American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) President Stephen S. Park, M.D. in a recent article4. But, for me and most physicians I know, I feel like the cat is already out of the bag. Considering the amount of texts, emails, online chats, phone conversations over internet and satellite lines, and selfies of both pre- and post-op patients I’ve been privy to, I’m sure I’ve already broken too many laws, and completely disregarded the good doctor’s advice. The truth is, though, that we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.

Telemedicine may involve the electronic exchange of PHI which is protected under HIPAA law. Security considerations with telemedicine involve making sure unauthorized third parties cannot eavesdrop on or record a videoconferencing session where sensitive PHI is transmitted seamlessly, and unfortunately, innocently. Recently, a monumental data breach at one of the nation’s largest insurance providers has spurred a bipartisan political effort to reexamine HIPAA as it relates to telemedicine, possibly adding costly and cumbersome requirements to encrypt EHR data5. Additionally, a recent report done by BitSight Technologies, a cyber security risk analysis and management firm, found that healthcare and pharmaceutical companies ranked the lowest among the four industry categories studied6. Suffice it to say, people are taking heed of this emerging new threat.

The aforementioned laws, rules, and regulations guide the generation, maintenance, and implementation of telemedicine HIPAA compliance. We must be cautioned, though, that HIPAA compliance does not necessarily equate to actual cyber security, and that simply meeting standards set forth in these regulations may not be enough. As more public attention and scrutiny rise to the forefront of media exposure, look for the healthcare industry to take the cyber security threat much more seriously.

Daniel Kaufman, MD
Discreet Plastic Surgery


The 2015 Telemedicine Report

2015 Telemedicine Report from Freelance MD2015 Telemedicine Report from Freelance MD

The 2015 Telemedicine Report: This report provides an overview of the current sentiment and opinion of telemedicine from the point of view of tens of thousands of clinicians and health care administrators all around the world. This report provides insights into providers’ opinions and the current level of opportunity for telemedicine to have an impact on the delivery of health care.

Download Telemedicine Report 2015

The Telemedicine Story: Telemedicine is in its infancy but poised to gain wider acceptance and usage as health care providers and markets realize its potential to both scale delivery of services and cut costs (efficiency) and drive greater revenue by removing friction from provider-patient interactions (scalability).

The current view of telemedicine is just beginning to become a topic of mainstream discussions and excitement is growing along with expectations. We're happy to have been able to work with Freelance MD to help generate the content for this report. (A special thanks for our Members who contributed.)


telemedicine adoption graph 2015

There are indications that this is beginning to happen as insurance companies and others see this as a way to provide high-value services at a more reasonable cost while keeping patients healthy and without the need for more expensive intervention treatments. For example, Arches Health Plan recently announced that it will reimburse providers for home-based telemedicine interactions. As this becomes more commonplace the few remaining impediments to adoption will be removed and telemedicine will begin to ramp from the realm of innovators and early adopters and towards the majority of providers.

telemedicine report

Market Opportunities

As with all emerging technologies telemedicine is going to disrupt some traditional models and put others out of business. Telemedicine is inherently more efficient, more predictable, and less costly than any current delivery of care. While it cannot replace actual interventional or hands-on care, it solves entire categories of wasteful informational visits and begins to provide a platform where every provider and patient has access to the very best information and care. Early adopters are already realizing this in as evidenced by adoption trends being more pronounced in cosmetic and concierge medicine (direct pay) than family and general practice (third party payer). Those providers who get out ahead of this macro-economic trend be best situated to capitalize on what will inevitably be a commercial marketplace with both winners and losers driven by the availability of big data and consumer choice.

Make sure that you take a look at our other free reports for Members here.

Survey: Share your opinion of the future of telemedicine.

Take our 2 minute survey and share your thoughts and opinions about the future (or lack thereof) of telemedicine!

Telemedicine is gaining at least a toe-hold in health care at both ends of the health care spectrum. For some large hospital groups and insurers it offers an ability to scale with significant cost savings, and on the other end individual physicians like those in concierge and cosmetic practices are using telemedicine to stay in touch with patients and offer services on-demand.

If you're a physician, clinician or clinic/hospital administrator, we're asking you for a few minutes of your time to take this survey an answer a couple of simple questions to see what providers are thinking about telemedicine.



We'll aggregate the answers and create a report outlining the sentiment of physicians and other providers around telemedicine.

This survey is being run by our frends at Freelance MD but we'll share it with our Members. (If you're not a Member, join now.)

Here's a direct link to share with your networks:

Telemedicine Startups: TruClinic

TruClinic is delivering on the promise that telemedicine can finally get to work in health care.

I've mentioned TruClinic before and my guess is that you'll be hearing more about them since they look like they're starting to gain traction with larger providers who need to become more efficient in delivering care without lowering their standards or running afoul of compliance issues. TruClinic lets them do that by taking many patient interactions onine.

TruClinic has just been awarded a $50,000 prize as a "health venture with business solutions to challenges faced by patients and healthcare systems".

Here's the press release.

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Concierge Medicine: The First Insurance Company Moves To Reimburse Physicians For Online Care

Physicians just got a little bit of a boost towards the ability to use the power of the web to deliver services online, and be reimbursed for it.

Arches Health Plan has activated 30 new CPT codes specifically for telemedicine sessions conducted by physicians, PAs and nurses marking the first health insurance co-op and the first non-affilliated insurance company to provide reimbursment for both primary online care and primary specialty online care.

Here's the press release.

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TruClinc Finally Brings A Real Telemedicine Solution For Concierge & Cosmetic Clinics

Telemedicine for small (cosmetic and concierge clinics) is finally getting off of the ground with TruClinic.

Very different from the doc-in-a-box model of other telemedicine players, TruClinic is the first truly embedded technology that closely fits how providers already work, and increases the ability of both physicians and physician-extenders to see more patients.

TruClinic has been built into a full telemedicine platform with a knack for tackling hard integrations, bottom-up user growth, and jaw-dropping uses. TruClinic’s cloud-based portal gives providders and patients access to each other from anywhere. All they need is a computing device, Internet connection, and a webcam, smart phone or tablet. From remotely wiring every home on the Goshute Reservation to facilitating interactions between a mother and her newborn child in an ICU to hosting surgical followup appointments, the uses of an always on, instantly connected telemedicine platform are only starting to be realized.

TruClinic is already being used actively by both small individual physician clinics, and larger hospital and clinic chains like the University of Utah Health Care that serves 5 surroundings states in a referral area encompassing more than 10 percent of the continental US and where TruClinc helps the U to reach their clients better, particularly in fields that mostly require communication, like mental health or post-surgery follow-up.

The University of Utah Health Care System is a thought leader in telemedicine. Here's a video:

One of the places that this is likely to be addopted first by individual physicians is around concierge or cosmetic medicine, where a very high-touch interaction at a distance can really have an effect on an ability to scale and interact with more patients in the same amount of time drives real revenue.

You can request a demo of TruClinic here.

2nd.MD Select Partner Code For Members

2nd MDMedical Spa MD Members only pricing with code DOC1166

Use technology to consult online and set your own consultation rate, without any paperwork! 2nd MD is now a Select Partner of Medical Spa MD and is offering our Members special pricing. Watch the video below to learn more.

Creating an account is free and without obligation. You can set your own schedule, set your own fees, and set yourself at the forefront of medical technology.

(You must be a board certified US specialist to accept this offer.)

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Physician Testimonials

Who are the specialists are using 2nd MD right now?

  • 5% of 2nd MD physicians have either studied, trained, or currently work at one of US News & World Report's top hospitals or specialty programs.
  • 20% of 2nd MD doctors are chiefs or directors of their departments or hospital programs.

Richard Andrassy, MD
Chairman, Department of Surgery
UTHealth Medical School &
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Stanley Fisher, MD
Board Certified Neurologist

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