The Wall Street Journal: Telemedicine Helps Pregnant Women at Risk

By: Betsy McKay

 

Britney Stewart was nervous at first when her obstetrician told her she’d like her to see a specialist in high-risk pregnancies. “Once I know a doctor I like to stick with that doctor,” says the 27-year-old, whose high blood pressure and weight issues put her and her unborn baby at risk.

Now she says those appointments—conducted by video link with the specialist, Anne Patterson in Atlanta, a two-hour drive away—saved her baby’s life.

Ms. Stewart’s obstetrician, Joy Baker, is one of many physicians seeking to improve care for pregnant women as childbirth in rural America has grown more dangerous. Pregnancy-related complications are rising across the U.S., meaning more women need specialized care, and rural areas have higher rates of obesity and other risk factors for complications.

Telemedicine programs like the one Ms. Stewart used are helping to fill those gaps. Some of those programs are expanding, and experts hope that the development of professional guidelines and the shrinking costs of technology will encourage wider use of telemedicine for obstetrics.

Ms. Stewart, who lives in rural Milner, Ga., saw Dr. Patterson, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist who is chief executive officer of Women’s Telehealth, a company in Atlanta. Dr. Baker began offering her patients appointments with Women’s Telehealth from her office earlier this year. Starting halfway through her pregnancy, Ms. Stewart had special ultrasounds administered regularly by a local technician trained by Women’s Telehealth to perform them, followed by a consultation by video with Dr. Patterson.

In early August, one of those special ultrasounds showed that blood wasn’t flowing properly through the umbilical cord—a sign that the baby wasn’t getting enough nutrients or oxygen, even though his vital signs appeared fine. Worried, Dr. Patterson told Ms. Stewart to come back in a week for another test. The new test showed the baby wasn’t taking in any blood through the umbilical cord. He had gone limp. “You know you’re in trouble there,” says Dr. Patterson.

After seeing the ultrasound, Dr. Baker delivered baby Titus by an emergency caesarean section right away. “Had I not had an ultrasound that day, it would have been a different situation and he would not be here,” Ms. Stewart says.

About 70% of Dr. Baker’s pregnant patients are high-risk, because they are obese, diabetic or have other risk factors for complications, the doctor says. Based in Thomaston, Ga., she is one of two full-time obstetrician-gynecologists serving eight counties.

Previously, Dr. Baker had to send high-risk patients to specialists an hour or more away—appointments many couldn’t make because they couldn’t find a ride, afford the gas, or get time off from work. Now they have those appointments from her office.

“We really needed it, because of our population that we are serving and our remote location,” says Dr. Baker. “I want my patients to have the same thing they would have living in Atlanta.”

She paid more than $15,000 for videoconferencing equipment, an upgrade to the office’s internet service, and training in the advanced ultrasound techniques with a grant secured by her hospital, Upson Regional Medical Center, she says. Appointments are scheduled one day a week, but she plans to expand to two soon. Women’s Telehealth gets paid for the consultation, while the hospital, which owns the practice where Dr. Baker works, gets paid for the use of its facilities and the ultrasound technician’s work.

Click here to read more.

 

Advertisements

WPO Guest Blog: Study Shows Promise for the Retirement Savings Future of Women Business Owners

By: Kristen Curry

According to a recent national study performed by Leading Retirement Solutions, a 401(k) Plan administration company supporting clients in all 50 states, a mere 50% of women business owners claim to be early retirement savers or have above average confidence in their ability to retire at the age they hope to. Though this is a far better percentage when compared to women in general, which sits at a meager 33% (according to a study by Prudential), it’s not great.

Our study found that a large percentage of women business owners and leaders are not on the right path for retirement because:

  1. Women business owners need to reinvest not only company profits back into their business, but also must dip into savings to fund their enterprise; and
  2. Women business owners crave financial independence, but do not have consistent savings habits

A third trend revealed by our study, however, shows promise for the retirement savings future of women owners:  Women business owners and leaders are gaining confidence in their retirement preparedness because they rely on professional sources of advice.

Click here for additional commentary about our study  findings.

UPS: We All Need to Forget, Even Robots

Christopher Stanton | Western Sydney University 

How do we decide what a robot should remember?

We all know what it’s like to forget something. A loved one’s birthday. A childhood memory.

Even people capable of extraordinary memory feats – say, memorizing the order of a deck of cards in less than 20 seconds – will still forget where they left their keys. People, it seems, are never in complete control of their memories.

Exploring robot memory raises not only technical issues, but concerns related to privacy, law and ethics.

Forgetting is a tricky business, both for humans and for artificial intelligence (AI), and researchers are exploring the idea of robot memory in many different ways.

This raises not only technical issues, but concerns related to privacy, law and ethics.

Imagine if your household robot witnessed you having a sneaky cigarette despite you promising your spouse that you had quit smoking?

It’s an important question: Who, if anyone, should have the power to make a robot forget what it witnessed? But first, researchers need to work out the best way to make AI forget in the first place.

Why do people forget?

A popular metaphor to explain why people forget is that our brains become full – and thus we forget things to “make space.”

Yet some people have a rare condition called “hyperthymesia,” which allows them to remember almost every detail of their lives. This suggests that the idea of “fullness” is not the complete story.

So if we don’t forget things to make room for new memories, then why do we forget?

One explanation is that memories help us understand the world rather than merely remember it. In this way, we seem to retain memories that are useful, valuable and relevant while forgetting information of lower value.

For example, some studies suggest that people can be better at remembering conflicting information than repetitive information.

Other factors include the importance and novelty of the event, as well as our emotions and mood at the time of the experience. Consider Sept. 11, 2001 – many of us remember vividly where we were and what we were doing on that day.

How do robots forget?

Memory in computers is typically used to describe both its capacity to store information subject to recall, as well as the physical components of the computer in which such information is stored.

For example, a computer’s working memory “forgets” data when it is no longer needed for a task, freeing up computational resources for other tasks.

This also applies to AI, but while forgetting something might cause us frustration, it is the way in which we forget that makes people still superior to AI. Machine learning algorithms in particular are poor at knowing when to keep old information and when to discard outdated information.

For example, connectionist AI (AI that often uses neural networks modelled on the structure of the brain) faces several problems related to “forgetting.” These include over-fitting, which is when a learning machine stores overly detailed information from past experiences, hindering its ability to generalize and predict future events.

Click here to read full article.

The Women Presidents’ Organization would like to thank UPS for providing this week’s sponsor blog content. 

WPO Guest Blog – Fitness Basics: Dance Your Way to Fitness

By: Jeanie Lerche Davis

Whether it’s techno, salsa, ballroom, or Jazzercise, dance is great exercise for everyone

Salsa, techno, swing, hip-hop, ballroom dancing: Whatever you love, it’s all good. Good exercise, that is. Just about any dance style can rev your heart rate, burn calories, and tone muscles.

“Any form of dancing is good for your heart, improves balance and joint stability, helps prevent osteoporosis, burns calories … I’m all for it,” Laurence Sperling, MD, medical director of preventive cardiology at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta, tells WebMD.

The beauty is that, for many folks, dancing just doesn’t feel like exercise. It’s all about the joy of movement.

One senior-age lady, trapped indoors during Chicago winters, puts on her favorite CDs, then dances around her house for a good hour at a time. In Tennessee, Ron and Betty Buchanan have stayed in great shape for decades thanks to square dancing.

Rebecca Miller of Lovejoy, Ga., has been a salsa dancer for years and sometimes teaches classes. Salsa may be smooth and sexy, but it’s also a serious workout. “You’re sweating by the end of the night,” she tells WebMD.

Then, there’s Jazzercise — still going strong since 1969, when Judi Sheppard Missett pioneered a blend of jazz dance and exercise. Back then, there weren’t many fitness options for women, she tells WebMD.

“I was teaching a jazz dance class, but it was too hard for many of the women,” she says. “They were just there to get in shape! I decided to make it simpler, more fun, more exciting for them.”

And thus Jazzercise was born, in her dance studio in Chicago.

Today, Jazzercise is not just jazz dancing. It’s a high-intensity mix of jazz plus salsa, tango, hip-hop and kickboxing — along with low-impact Pilates, ballet, and yoga. Hand weights and exercise bands, for strength work, are part of the mix.

Studios are all over the country, even worldwide, Missett says. The classes are still 99% female, but guys are welcome in a few studios. The atmosphere is casual, chatty, girl-friendly. You’ll find 30-somethings, seniors, and every age in between. Dress is nothing special — T-shirts, sweats, stretchy Lycra, cropped tights.

Click here to read full article.

WPO Guest Blog: SchoemanLaw Shakes Up the Legal Industry in South Africa

By: Nicolene Schoeman-Louw

In the life of an entrepreneur, access to speedy and reliable legal services are crucial. Legal solutions must keep up with the fast pace of a modern business and if it can’t, the reality is that it is put on the “back burner”.

If this happens, there is a real risk which, statistically, is one of the main causes of business failure, particularly in the case of a start-up or SME.

Moreover, the other reality is that running an in-house legal department does not make much sense to many businesses, particularly because it is not a revenue generating expense. So, what to do?

According to Nicolene Schoeman-Louw, the Managing Director of SchoemanLaw Inc. in Cape Town, South Africa, “The fact is the legal profession is unfortunately known for being slow to adapt to the changing world around it. As a result, generally speaking, we have not been able to keep up with the needs of a world largely driven by technology. Therefore, we have become a grudge purchase.”

It is this disconnect between the legal profession and the reality of an entrepreneur that has led to the creation of Self Service Desks. According to Nicolene, this is “disruptive technology and will change how lawyers and their clients interact with each other in SA forever.”

Self Service Desks automate legal processes in such a way that both large and small businesses can access them. Usually a purely operational expense, the legal process is significantly reduced beyond the point where the traditional way of doing this can’t compete. All the documents offered through the system have been hand crafted by a team of experts who focus on serving the needs of entrepreneurs.  Therefore, the user will enjoy all the benefits of a professionally-constructed legal document or agreement – instantaneously.

And this is only the beginning of where the revolution will take us.

The SchoemanLaw SME Self- Service Desk ™ is available through SchoemanLaw, a female owned and managed law firm who is launching this solution as the first of its kind in South Africa.

Read more here: https://www.schoemanlaw.co.za/coming-soon/

The Encore: Redefining Boundaries – Can you see the competition coming?

What makes the world’s top executives cringe? “The ‘Uber syndrome’ – where a competitor with a completely different business model enters your industry and flattens you,” said one executive. As the CIO of a U.S. transportation firm, this is someone who knows just how much momentum an eighteen-wheeler builds up when it’s barreling along the freeway. But many other business leaders also fear a new rival could turn their companies into roadkill.

So how are C-suite executives (CxOs) tackling the threat of competition from companies in other sectors or with very different business models? Our latest study explores what they think the future holds, how they’re identifying new trends and how they’re positioning their organizations to prosper in the “age of disruption.”

Click here to read more.

If you would like more information or would like a presentation to your company, please contact Kathy Pavlik  at kpavlik@us.ibm.com.

WPO Guest Blog: Golden Seeds Exceeds $100,000,000 in Total Investments in Women-led Companies

It is with considerable pride and appreciation that we announce that Golden Seeds has surpassed $100 million in total investments in women-led companies since 2005. This is a substantial milestone for any angel investment group and highlights Golden Seeds’ determined support for the important mission of supporting women entrepreneurs.

This $100 million includes investments in 143 companies, 75% of which was direct investments by over 650 angels who have been part of Golden Seeds from 2005 to the present. 25% came from the Golden Seeds venture funds.
Golden Seeds estimates that these companies went on to raise over $750 million of additional capital. We believe that Golden Seeds’ early support and leadership enabled much of this further funding.

When Golden Seeds began in 2005, women entrepreneurs represented just 3% (~1500) of the 48,000 US companies that received funding from angel investors in that year. In 2016, that number was 22% (~14,000) of 71,000 funded companies. That represents a nine-fold increase in the percentage of funded women entrepreneurs over those twelve years (2005 to 2016). *

Golden Seeds has played a substantial role in encouraging the growth of women angel investors. In 2005, women angels were 5% (~11,000) of the self-identified angel investors in the US. In 2016, women were 26% (~78,000) of the total, a seven-fold increase of women angels over these years. Women angel investors are now an integral part of our industry, using their capital, skills and networks to contribute to the success of start-up companies. *

The women and men of Golden Seeds are proud of our role in championing the potential of women entrepreneurs and of our serious endeavor to fund them. During these years, we have observed large numbers of women entrepreneurs grow and flourish in many industries, demonstrating determination, vision and grit. We extend our gratitude to all who have supported the work of Golden Seeds and the success of our companies.

____________________________________________________________
* Center for Venture Research, University of New Hampshire