Founder's letter 1
Mediclim has been up and running since Jan 2009. Soon we will have sent out 5,000,000 Health Forecasts to our 27,500 subscribers, whose numbers increase daily.
We've had to ask for a small yearly subscription fee of $20 ( to register simply go to www.mediclim.com/membership.) I'd like to explain the value that Mediclim brings and how this new subscription fee will help us to continue to offer this service to our existing and new subscribers.
When we started our research into the relationship between the weather and human health, back in the 1980's, there was a great deal of general information to find but very little of it was statistically based. That has all changed and, I am proud to say, Mediclim is part of that change.
We waited a long time for statistical proof that the Mediclim Index really works before we took the step of offering it to the public, but, in 2007, we got it. We were part of a study that looked at the effect of weather on the visits of over 600,000 people to the emergency depratments of four Ontario hospitals over a two year period. The results showed that only the Mediclim way of looking at the weather PREDICTED changes in the daily numbers (which we at Mediclim had predicted it would.)
The positive results of this independent study gave us the push to launch www.mediclim.com Not only could we predict changes in numbers, we could identify which diseases were more likely to be destabilized by the next day's weather.
We were keen to offer help because we knew WE WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO PEOPLE'S HEALTH.
Let's take a look at the six diseases we issue warnings about:
Every medical textbook acknowledges that the weather is a strong trigger for migraine attacks. The feedback from our migraine subscribers shows that our Health Forecasts really make a difference, that for the majority of people they are accurated and reliable.
For example, take a look at the news items about Mediclim which are featured on our website and You Tube (at mediclimpress) for confirmation of this. Please remember that we had no influence over who the reporters would interview, or what was said. Happily it was all positive.
INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION: Headache Clinics, such as the one at the prestigious Women's College Hospital in Toronto, now recommend the use of our Forecasts. Also, up to now, the unsubscribe rate for all our Forecasts has been less than 4%... in other words people value us, and that certainly includes migraineurs who are our single largest group of subscribers.
People have told reporters that they use our Health Forecasts to remind themselves to take their puffers with them everywhere, and when it's best to use them. Does this really help?
IT CERTAINLY DOES. A recent study of asthma patients showed that there is a disconnect between a patient's perception of asthma control and clinical reality. In the EUCAN AIM study of 2,400 Canadian and European patients (www.takingaimatasthma.ca) 93% of people reported that their asthma was well controlled. However, 39% had experienced a severe episode in the preceding 12 months; more than half (52%) had required medical attention; 45% had seen a doctor for worsening symptoms; 28% had required emergency or hospital care; and 5% had spent the night in a hospital due to asthma. Not only that, 42% reported asthma related sleep disturbances, 48% said that asthma affected physical activities, 37% admitted that asthma had affected their social life and MORE THAN 20% had missed work or school.
The W.H.O. estimates that each migraineur costs an employer $3,000 per year in lost work time and that says nothing about the misery that the patient goes through.
Poor control, which these figures show, results in people being sicker. Proper use of the meds and inhalers available keeps people healthier. Our Health Forecasts do just that, as the news programs show...Mediclim Forecasts promote better use of medicines=healthier patients.
INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION: for a couple of years Mediclim has been recommended to subscribers by Asthma Canada.
We know, from feedback, that Mediclim Forecasts do indeed tell subscribers when their athritis is going to flare. Our research said they would and it's good that the prediction bears out.
Everyone has a relative or friend who can tell when the weather is going to change because one of more of their joints hurt them. What we have learned is that our Health Forecasts tell these people THE DAY BEFORE their aches and pains are going to come on. This gives them the opportunity to plan ahead... get the right meds prepared, avoid physically demanding tasks, to be prepared.
INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION that Mediclim Forecasts help arthritics...they are recommended by the Arthritis Society of Canada to its members.
This is an interesting one. From mortality stats in Germany comes the news that certain weather conditions affect diabetics very seriously indeed. We do not know why that should be but the stats are there. The Mediclim Index can identify which weather patterns do this. That's why we offer a diabetes warning.
INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION: We were asked to be part of a project to warn diabetics in Turkey when the weather would worsen their condition. This project is to be part of Intel's World Ahead Program.
Like many other docs I tell my patients with heart disease to bundle up warm when the weathe is bad. It's a no brainer. The research behind the Mediclim Index actually identifies weather patterns which will affect people's heart condition. It's not just any bad weather, it's particular types of weather that do this.
INDEPENDENT PROOF: The German Weather Service, a branch of their federal government, uses a a simpler index than ours, but based on the same research. It regularly warns people when the weather will affect their heart adversely.
Recently the U.K. government showed that weather related health warnings, distributed by telephone, reduced hospital admissions for 8,000 C.O.P.D. sufferers by a whopping 22%.
Mediclim Forecasts are being used in another smaller telehealth study in the U.K. which is the brainchild of a doc whose a lecturer in this subject at the U.of York, U.K.
The Cheshire Peaks and Plains Charitable Trust is the first of 300 similar units to use our Forecasts to monitor the status of people the Trust cares for. A small preliminary paper on this telehealth initiative has been published already. When the final outcome is available our Forecasts will be offered to other Trusts in this group.
This is the newest field in medical care: Health advice, monitoring and treatment mediated through the internet, right to people's homes.
I can provide a list of over 50 studies that show that ehealth reminders such as ours improve people's wellbeing. What more to the point our Forecasts help people manage their meds and lifestyle better. Sometimes subscribers receive warnings on behalf of their relatives (e.g. mothers of asthmatic children) and of course this applies to this group too.
All in all MEDICLIM HELPS YOUR FAMILY SPEND LESS TO STAY WELL.
INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION that Mediclim is in the forefront of ehealth:
Early in 2010 The Times/Sunday Times of Britain published listed ten areas in people's lives that will be most affected by the internet. At number 3 was Health. To our surprise, THE EXAMPLE THEY USED WAS MEDICLIM'S HEALTH FORECASTS. We had no idea they even knew of our existence.
What we DO know, however, is that, like water on a stone, we change people's health for the better. It may not be noticeable on a day to day basis, but overall, WE EMPOWER YOU in a small but significant way. That's the reason started Mediclim: TO HELP PEOPLE STAY HEALTHIER.
Together we have showen that Mediclim works. We hope to continue supporting our subscribers for many years to come. But in order to do so, we need your support too. Please help us keep Mediclim alive and well by subscribing today at www.mediclim.com/membership.
Thanks, John Bart, famliy doc.