Talk of the paperless office has come and gone for years, with common document formats, like Adobe's PDF, partly bridging the gap.Adobe's new service, Document Cloud, is betting heavily on the idea that mobile devices, not only PDFs, will help reduce enterprise reliance on paper.
Among the services offered by Document Cloud: the ability to e-sign documents on touch-enabled devices or to apply a saved signature. The resulting document can then be signed, either by using a touch-enabled device or Acrobat DC to apply a previously stored signature image to the document.A¬†Adobe also includes a Dropbox-like component of the cloud service, Mobile Link, that allows documents to remain accessible between desktop and mobile devices. Social media, it turns out, is a new vital sign, and it's one that health providers are learning how to read. Psychologists and computer scientists can now read between the lines of social media to interpret and predict how people feel and what they'll do. People don’t just use social media to talk about celebrity sightings or joke about why TSA agents take so long to search them. Users post videos showing whether they’re anxious and how fast their hearts are beating.
Health providers will soon be able to use social media as a powerful tool to monitor patients outside of healthcare settings. Teams of psychologists and computer scientists are working together to analyze the words and images that people organically share on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For example, in our research, we’ve used these methods to learn to monitor stress, anxiety, and depression levels among UCLA students, and have even been able to intervene and provide psychological services to a student we found expressing suicidal intentions. The practical implications of this approach are clear, actionable, and stand to significantly improve health care.
Implementing these tools won’t require additional time from doctors, but we will need to rethink our current medical approach, as few health systems are equipped to deal with remote patient monitoring. Tools for analyzing social data are already successfully being used in other fields like consumer behavior, education, and crime prediction.


Sean Young, PhD, is a UCLA medical school professor in the Department of Family Medicine and the executive director of the University of California Institute for Prediction Technology (UCIPT). In the clinic, most health providers measure physiological vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate, but the best doctors also notice psychological vital signs, like observing whether a patient is anxious or sad, or reluctant to take medication. Smartwatches and self-monitoring devices can track vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure, but they don’t monitor psychological vital signs.
They’re developing technologies that learn to think like a large team of psychologists.
Health systems will be able to use social media data to monitor and predict a broad range of health issues, like diabetes self-management and medication adherence, and public health departments can use them to predict and address regional trends, like planning the number of vaccinations needed for an upcoming flu season. Apps and health monitoring tools that incorporate social media vital signs will soon be available for health systems nationwide. They’ll be able to use this information to diagnose clinical disorders and request patients to come for follow-up appointments. That leaves to big questions unanswered: First, will doctors want to have access to more information about their patients?
If social media is as valuable a resource as research is suggesting, then we need to start talking about how to restructure our health systems to incorporate this new approach. Incorporating social media as a medical vital sign is an investment in the future well-being of our society.
If this sounds familiar, that's because pieces of it have been floating inside Adobe's ecosystem for some time.
They’ll share openly on Facebook and elsewhere about their feelings, their plans to do healthy things like exercise, and their intentions to do unhealthy things like use drugs.
Together, psychologists and computer scientists can now read between the lines of social media to interpret and predict how people feel and what they'll do.


If health providers could detect when their patients were sad, or why they were reluctant to take medications, for example, they could provide real-time interventions to improve health care. Working side-by-side with psychologists and public health experts, these machines can quickly learn to identify psychological patterns from millions of social media texts and images and use that information to predict people’s emotions and behaviors. Armed with them, health providers will be able to gain real-time knowledge of when patients show unhealthy psychological behavior. Big Brotherish as it might sound, studies nevertheless show that patients will willingly share this publicly available information with the world if it can be used to improve their health.
It's time that health care providers and health technologists start discussing how to incorporate social media into clinical care.
Although real-time monitoring of depression could save money and lives, it has been virtually impossible to track depression outcomes when patients are outside of a clinic. Today, when doctors receive information about patients' vital signs, they have a medical responsibility to respond based on that information if need be. If health providers would be required to act on social media vital-sign information, then some might prefer to not receive it at all.
It's an echo of Adobe's reworking of Photoshop and its associated products into Creative Cloud, including the pay-as-you-go monetization model. Though Adobe offers a stand-alone, perpetual-user license for Document Cloud, it supports only a subset of the features provided by the full cloud version -- and gives users another incentive to opt for the latter instead.



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