If you caught John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight this past Sunday, you saw a lengthy segment detailing the atrocities of the rehabilitation industry. As Oliver pointed out, it’s largely an unregulated, unstandardized market rife with bad actors, scams, and bunkum that offers little help to patients desperate to recover from deadly addictions. With some charging tens of thousands of dollars for a month of treatment, rehab facilities often rely on therapies with little evidence of efficacy—such as horse petting—and report largely made-up percentages for their success rates. Even experts in the field find themselves at a loss for how to identify effective, quality facilities. The result is that many patients pay large sums only to go on to struggle with or die from their condition. And these devastating consequences are only heightened by the country’s current epidemic of opioid addiction. While Oliver gave a skillful overview of some of the rampant problems, an … [Read more...] about “Like slavery”: Rehab patients forced into unpaid labor to cover “treatment”
My dad’s company had season tickets to the White Sox. On muggy Midwest summer days we’d go as a family—always sitting in the same seats, 25 rows above first base. I told this to a counselor I’ll call Bill, when he asked me to remember a childhood memory. It was part of the confrontational circle, a form of group therapy with a self-explanatory name. A half-dozen other clinicians looked on as Bill laid into me. “I bet you don’t go to those games with your family anymore, do you?” Bill asked in a way that felt more like telling. I shook my head no. It was the summer of 2012, and the beginning of my third round of treatment for an opioid addiction I’d been trying to kick since I was 17. Now, I was 22 and out of excuses for where all my money went. I’d confessed to my mom that the pills I’d been using had escalated to heroin. At the behest of a counselor, I checked in to a residential program, the kind of rehab you probably … [Read more...] about Addiction Rehab Is Broken. Can Technology Fix It?
Recently, Dr. Lauren Jarmusz (PT, DPT) and I interviewed Dr. Krishnaj Gourab (MD). Krishnaj is the co-founder of ReHAP; a startup that provides clinical decision support for rehabilitation therapy service (physical and occupational therapy). Dr. Gourab and his co-founder, John Adamovich, MHA were awarded the Louis B. Thalheimer Fund for Translational Research and Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) Grant for developing ReHAP.Dr. Gourab is an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also serves as the chair of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Dr. Gourab earned his medical degree at Grant Medical College, University of Mumbai in India. He completed a residency in orthopedic surgery at Lokmanya Tilak Medical College and Hospital, and a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. He also … [Read more...] about Using analytics to identify and predict patients’ physical health needs
A robot could help patients with COPD manage their condition after being discharged from the hospital.According to a study published this month in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, socially assistive robots can help patients stick to their medication and exercises. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is primarily treated through medication and behavioral changes such as exercising and giving up smoking, according to the study, but only around 50 percent of patients adhere to their medication. The study says that compliance has been linked with better education, less depression and "higher satisfaction with the patient-provider relationship."The New Zealand study involved 60 patients, who were randomized to either have the iRobi robot at home for four months or were placed in a control group. The robot was programmed to monitor patients' health and contact medical staff if there were any problems. It measured things like pulse oximetry, forced expiration volume, … [Read more...] about Robots may help patients with lung disease stick to treatment
Leasha Ali had been drunk for the last two days, but she didn’t want to be anymore. The 39-year-old math teacher and mother of two was in a spiral familiar to anyone who’s struggled with addiction. A difficult event — a hospitalization, thanks to lingering symptoms from a birth defect — had stressed her to the breaking point, and then she’d gotten home and found herself alone in her house, depressed and unable to sleep. After a few days without drinking, she gave in, and spent the next 48 hours on a bender. On the second night, January 8th of this year, she got an email from the hospital. Her liver enzymes had been dangerously high — even before the days of abuse. The birth defect that put her in the hospital had already left her with several damaged organs. Afraid of hurting another, she searched the test results in Google. Right there at the top was an ad for rehab. “I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, even Google knows I need … [Read more...] about How disreputable rehabs game Google to profit off patients