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5 Technologies Changing Healthcare

5 Technologies Changing Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare isn’t what it used to be, and that’s a good thing! It’s no coincidence that the healthcare revolution aligns with the Digital Era, and how we approach our well-being, including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, is getting faster, better and more accessible thanks to technology. It might seem like the healthcare industry is behind others when it comes to tasks like digitizing documents for a paperless environment, but that’s not the case. With regulations like HIPPA ensuring security compliance, it just takes healthcare a little longer to get fully on board with special technology that’s much more comprehensive and advanced than what’s readily available to other industries.

We take a lot of technology for granted, but consider these five technologies that are changing healthcare, and it’s easy to see how far we’ve come:

1. Fitness trackers. Whether you couldn’t imagine life without your Fitbit, heart rate monitor in spin class or Apple’s health app, how we track, compete, encourage ourselves and promote our fitness has shifted drastically thanks to these devices. They’re not perfect, and in some cases fitness trackers have been linked to negative practices such as orthorexia, but for most devotees they’re fun and easy ways to help move more and encourage healthy eating. When you know exactly what you’ve consumed, how long you’ve worked out and to what degree, and your tracker is telling you to get up and move because you’ve been sitting too long, it’s like having a 24/7 personal trainer at a very small fraction of the cost.

2. DietSensor. It’s another app, but one with a new approach to a healthier lifestyle. This recent development, and others like it, can scan nutritional labels to instantly gauge how an item fits into your diet (keeping in mind that a diet is something we all have, for better or worse). Learning to read nutritional labels is a skill that’s gone by the wayside. However, whether you teach yourself to be a better label checker or prefer to rely on the quick scan of technology, it’s a critical part of choosing a healthier lifestyle. Reading nutritional labels isn’t a skill that’s taught at school, and it’s rarely taught at home—often because those who should be teaching it are clueless, too. Nutritional labels have become increasingly confusing in recent years with ingredients we can’t pronounce and additions to labels to include items like “sugar alcohols.” A great app can be personalized so you’re getting the information you both need and want. For example, maybe you’re embracing a carb-cycling lifestyle and need to know net carbs instead of just a breakdown of carbohydrate types.

3. Healthcare data storage solutions. Embracing a paperless environment isn’t just kind to the environment, though you may get extra brownie points for that. It’s also a means of minimizing human error and double work. With cloud storage available, patient files (and more) can be instantly uploaded, downloaded, shared and viewed with those granted access anywhere in the world. Even with the threat of security breaches, soft copies of files are generally more secure than hard copies. Data storage designed specifically for healthcare can also help sync a patients’ many healthcare providers including GPs, mental health experts, physical therapists, nutritionists and even personal trainers.

4. New glucose monitoring systems with no prick. There are a few on the market, but a popular option in Europe and Australia is the Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System. Instead of daily finger pricks previously required of those with diabetes, it’s a sensor that you wear for 14 days that tests blood sugar levels 14 times throughout the day completely discomfort-free. Overall, technology is revolutionizing medical tests and routine precautions making approaches easier, more flexible, and more comfortable than ever. Those with diabetes aren’t the only patients who need frequent blood tests, but they make up the majority of such patients.

5. Virtual reality. VR options were big on Santa’s wish lists during the past holiday season, but they’re more than just fun and games. Virtual reality can help medical students “experience” future situations in a much more realistic fashion, and VR can also help the elderly or those with agoraphobia and PTSD slowly re-immerse themselves into a space that’s safe and accessible while mimicking the real world. There are a variety of VR offerings available, and doing your due diligence to find the right match for you is critical to having a successful experience.

Another technological breakthrough that’s been around for a while is being able to connect with healthcare professionals virtually. There’s been a boom in the number of physicians, mental health experts, and other healthcare professionals “meeting” with patients via video conferencing. It’s a faster, easier, and sometimes more affordable way for patients to get the care they need. As an added bonus, patients who are immobile, in rural areas, or for other reasons that have trouble seeing a medical professional in person suddenly has instant access to the help they need.

Technology is far from perfect, and there’s no telling what kind of medical technology breakthroughs we’ll experience in the coming years. However, with every offering there’s a chance to learn, grow and make sure the next breakthrough is even better. Technology can only improve if tested, though. For those in a position to try out new technology solutions, do so, and share your experience. It just might help drive the next generation of medical technology.

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5 ways technology will change the future of healthcare

5 ways technology will change the future of healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Companies preparing to launch their health business ventures under the Trump administration's policies have met a state of flux around insurance and regulations.

But this is nothing new for businesses to grapple with, according to Mike Strazzella, a federal government healthcare attorney at Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, PC. Our healthcare system has been in a state of flux for the past eight years, Strazzella said, with former president Barack Obama's commitment to reshaping the healthcare delivery system with the Affordable Care Act.

Back in the early 2000s, healthcare providers such as hospitals would put together five-year strategic plans. Now, the field changes so rapidly that they can only build one- to three-year plans, Strazzella said.

However, technology advances faster than the government can keep up, Strazzella said. "While the industry will have an appetite for more, entrepreneurs have to be ready for slow public sector progress, which is always a frustration," he said. "I think we're going to see the FDA implement processes and regulations to spark greater competition, whether that's a generic medication or a device."

Strazzella recommends businesses stay in touch with the latest trends within the industry, and build relationships with customers to gain a better understanding of their needs. He also advises business leaders to keep up with the happenings in Washington, DC, as much innovation in healthcare is driven by government regulation.

"We're still in flux," Strazzella said. "As long as people continue to think outside the box, and try and shape the policy debate around the delivery of healthcare, it will without a doubt trickle down to new ideas and concepts to try and help make health more effective."

Here are five predictions from Strazzella on the future of healthcare technology.

1. Advances in data mining and record keeping

 

"I think we're going to find that there will be a much stronger need for data mining and record keeping by a lot of people along all providers that touch the delivery system," Strazzella said. That includes information on a patient's income, Medicaid, and citizenship eligibility. "We're going to see more requirements put on places within the delivery system, and checks and balances of whether somebody should be receiving the type of insurance they're receiving, or if they're better suited for another option," Strazzella said.

2. Tailoring the health plan to the patient

"We're starting to see health plans gear people toward the right type of insurance for that person," Strazzella said. "We're starting to see them looking toward tech companies with that information, and how to parcel it out, and either gear future products that are the right fit for people based on that information, or try to help the patient move toward an existing product."

3. Moving to a fee-for-service system

Strazzella predicts that we will move toward a fee-for-service, value-based outcomes system in US healthcare, based on how successful a provider is at treating a patient. That might mean testing a medication to see if it works in three days instead of six days, for example. "It's going to require more metrics as we move to this, so there is going to be high demand on the IT side of things, and higher levels of competition," Strazzella said.

4. Electronic health records that talk to each other

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is going to transition away from investing in electronic health record infrastructure, Strazzella said. Instead, meaningful use will be more about the interoperability of these systems. "We'll see systems that are user-friendly and will minimize time spent interacting with EHRs versus patients," Strazzella said.

5. Rise of telehealth

"Telehealth is starting to get its deserved recognition for how it can help save on costs to the healthcare system and patients in terms of hard dollars, time, and accessibility," Strazzella said. The field is growing in terms of care for patients in neurology, behavioral health, dermatology, and remote monitoring of chronic conditions. "As those tech advances advance, we can see those services can be removed from face to face encounters, and will progress a lot faster," he said.

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4 Important Ways Healthcare Technology Improves Your Patient Care

4 Important Ways Healthcare Technology Improves Your Patient Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare technology continues to be a hot topic of conversation, as the world that we’ve long visualized gets closer to being our reality.

It’s changing how healthcare providers diagnose, treat, manage and monitor. Health tech has the potential to save lives, improve quality of life, and completely redirect the downward trajectory of hard to manage patients.

Let’s explore how 4 important health techs are improving patient care.

Predictive Analytics & Machine Learning

Physicians today utilize predictive analytics & machine learning to better identify high risk patients and put the right interventions in place to:

  • Prevent admissions
  • Prevent readmissions
  • Reduce decline and relapse
  • Improve medication compliance
  • Speed up recovery
  • Help patients respond to triggers
  • Better engage patients in between visits

Patients today want more personalized care Health tech like this helps give patients what they want as it improves patient care and patient outcomes.

Continue on see more.

Wearable Technology

For patients suffering from chronic conditions, wearable technology provides a better way for patients to meet their health metrics.

This is because they receive immediate feedback about their health, current state of being, and behaviors that will impact those metrics. In many cases, the data can even be accessed by their physician in real time.

Wearables provide tools patients need to track and adjust behavior on a moment-to-moment basis rather than waiting until they have a doctor’s visit.

Today doctors are using wearables to:

  • Help patients be more active
  • Keep patients informed about day to day heart health
  • Help those with musculoskeletal injuries and physical developmental delays regain or gain mobility, including paralysis of the lower extremities
  • Track sleep patterns
  • Better understand mood disorders
  • Painlessly monitor glucose levels
  • Relieve chronic pain

The potential of remote monitoring to improve care has long been studied, but more recently we are finding it within our reach.

Virtual Reality

Medical students today can use virtual reality (VR) to get hands-on without a real patient in sight. This allows for more in-depth training and real time feedback that doesn’t include your patient screaming when you make a wrong move.

Furthermore, doctors today use VR to help treat patients with:

  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Phobias

Through systematic desensitization, patients can face their fears, anger and sadness in a controlled setting. Before VR, such “facing of fears” would have been much more logistically challenging and less controlled.

Telemedicine

As part of the patient’s desire for more personalized care, they’re looking for healthcare services that align with their personal needs. This goes beyond medical treatments.

Telemedicine does this in several very effective ways.  For example, telemedicine:

  • Provides ultimate convenience to patients who think they don’t have time to see the doctor, so patients don’t delay seeing the doctor.
  • Meets the needs of the elderly and other individuals who may be home-bound or even bed-ridden.
  • Eliminates that boring waiting room experience.
  • Helps keep patients with immune disorders out of medical facilities that, despite best efforts, become breeding grounds for infections and even superbugs.
  • Delivers most of the benefits of face to face, especially when combined with wearable technologies.
  • Provides a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform on which doctors and patients can connect.

Healthcare Technology Makes a Big Difference in Patients’ Lives

Whether you’re a doctor, nurse or other medical services provider, you understand that it’s not about medicine. It’s about people.

Through healthcare technology, you can make sure every patient gets the care that they deserve. You can tear down barriers to care, expand your reach, and improve patient outcomes.

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Technology benefits the elderly, but can it help those with dementia?

Technology benefits the elderly, but can it help those with dementia? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The buzz is building about technology’s ability to enrich the lives of the elderly, effectively turning back the clock and opening up new possibilities. The statistics back it up, with 67 percent of adults over 65 accessing the news on mobile devices and 77 percent of adults over 65 owning a mobile phone. Anecdotally, I hear it all the time: So many people talk about how their parents or grandparents initially resisted the adoption of technology, but after learning to use iPads and other devices, their lives are transformed.

Still, amidst all of the valid excitement over technology’s positive effects on the aging population, huge gaps and opportunities remain in the space. Much of the technology is dedicated toward the concept of “aging in place,” with the goal of keeping older adults as independent and healthy for as long as possible. These products are aimed at keeping people connected and brain-fit, as well as enhancing wellness and longevity. These are all valid endeavors, and it’s fascinating as every year goes by to see what’s on the horizon.

 

However, in the wake of that well-justified enthusiasm, folks dealing with cognitive decline, and in particular dementia, can be left out of the equation. Arguably, those experiencing cognitive decline have the most to gain from adopting technology of any group. And the good news is that finding ways to help this group through technology isn’t very complicated.

 

The right technology for the right person

It’s important to realize that the dramatic impact we have seen with technology and dementia over the years has not usually come from new and groundbreaking technologies. Instead, it typically comes from repurposing tools already at our fingertips. Many of us have become blasé about new technologies. While our lives are changed through these tools, it happens incrementally, so the novelty and astonishment can wear off. Not so for those living with dementia. Do you know what it’s like for a 93-year-old with mid-stage dementia to see the house she grew up in via Google Earth? Or a grandmother in Iowa watching her granddaughter get married in France via Skype? Or how about a Korean War pilot reliving the experience of flying simply by navigating a joystick with off-the-shelf flight simulation software? The Jetsons weren’t so far off! We have these tools and many more at our disposal every day; it’s just a matter of integrating them into the dementia landscape. Of course, we must account for the cognitive and physical realities of each individual person, but that reality does not change the human desire we all feel to stay connected and to stay relevant.

 

Fortunately, we’ve had hundreds of providers over the years help us with thousands of ideas as to how to change the paradigm and make technology more accessible to the aging. What these valued partners have taught me is that what matters is not technology for its own sake, but searching to find the right technology that is most relevant to that one person. To the geography teacher, it’s putting together a puzzle of the United States; to the priest, it’s hearing the rosary, to the farmer, it’s being immersed in multimedia videos of farming, and to me, it’s hearing my daughter, Perrin, sing! We all have our own quirks and interests, and the communities that do it right are the ones that proactively look for technology solutions that match the needs of each person. It’s a fun, rewarding puzzle to put together.

 

Our journey into technology for the aging population is just beginning. Thanks to the promise of virtual reality, augmented reality, voice activation, holograms and more, the future is bright, and full of endless possibilities. So, if you are part of an organization that works with older adults, keep looking for technology that will keep the folks you serve as healthy and independent as long as possible. It’s without question a noble endeavor. But I guarantee you will be blown away by the outcomes if you also look for ways to benefit the folks that seem like they are the hardest to reach. The smiles you get back will make it worth the effort!

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The Future of Diabetes Management

The Future of Diabetes Management | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
One in eleven persons has to cope with diabetes worldwide on a daily basis 

According to the latest estimates of the WHO, 422 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide – and the number is growing steadily. It means that one person in eleven has to manage the chronic condition on a daily basis, which might lead to stroke, blindness, heart attack, kidney failure or amputation. There are two types of diabetes: when the body does not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) and when the organism cannot utilize the generated insulin (type 2 diabetes). While the latter can be prevented with conscious lifestyle choices, the former is a mystery to the medical community. But if someone has diabetes, that means having a constant companion.

In both cases, the treatment of the symptoms requires constant blood glucose control, which usually requires a kind of insulin intake at regular intervals, as well as blood pressure control and/or foot care. It is a truly technologically dependent condition: you need to monitor your blood glucose level, your blood pressure, your weight, follow a meal plan, test your blood every now and then. Luckily, there are so many digital health innovations for diabetes patients out there that diabetes management has been improving for years steadily – and it will significantly change in the coming years.

But technology in itself is insufficient: you need people to utilize it – and diabetes patients do. It is one of the largest and most motivated communities both online and offline, sharing their experiences on social media and other platforms. I believe one of the most amazing development is due to the diabetes community: the #wearenotwaiting movement advocated the absolutely efficient DIY artificial pancreas for so long and so successfully that the FDA approved it! Democratized healthcare at its finest!

1) Digital Contact Lenses

Although Google stopped developing its augmented reality glass, Google Glass, they did not give up on combining vision and technology. The search engine giant and Novartis signed an agreement in order to cooperate on the development of the digital contact lens patented in 2014. According to the plans, through the lens, you can get more information from the digital world plus it can measure blood glucose levels from tears as an added benefit.

Google and Novartis said the lens would contain a tiny and ultra slim microchip that would be embedded in one of its thin concave sides. Through its equally tiny antenna, it would send data about the glucose measurements from the user’s tears to his or her paired smartphone via installed software. Originally, the companies promised to put the digital contact lens around 2020 on the market, but Novartis Chief Executive Joe Jimenez in 2015 said that the contact lens would be on track to begin testing that year – and backtracked later.

Since then, there has been no news about the state of progress. However, in March 2017 Novartis Chairman Joerg Reinhardt talked down the chances of the project bringing visible results in the next couple of years, which is not very promising. [It’s] a long-term project, not something where we were expecting a breakthrough in the first couple of years. We certainly haven’t seen such a breakthrough. We don’t expect anything incredible in the next three to four years, Reinhardt said.

2) Gamification

Isn’t it more fun to make the diabetes monster happy than to boringly measure blood glucose level? There are already companies leveraging on your inner child. There are amazing applications for smartphones that can help you manage diabetes efficiently. MySugr, an Austrian company, released several applications that can add a little bit of gamification to the traditional diabetes management apps.

The company also developed the mySugr Junior App designed for kids to learn how to manage diabetes properly. It also enables parents to keep control over the therapy when they are not around the kid. The app looks like a game in which the children get points for every entry and the goal is to score a particular amount of points every single day.

3) Patient empowerment with big data

I have been quantifying my health for decades, I have even done so before the start of the wearable revolution: in an excel spreadsheet. But it’s not just l’art pour l’art data collection, I want to know everything about my organism in order to live longer and healthier in full mental, physiological and psychological capacity. So I am always happy to see inventions aiming to do the same.

Doug Kanter collected data about himself for a full year – blood sugar readings, insulin doses, meals, sporting activity etc. His company, Databetes was born out of his own experiences with diabetes. It helps patients better manage their condition by providing a good way for logging and measuring data, as well as a revolutionary concept to analyze the big data behind one person’s disease. Patients can support each other through social media channels and become coaches for each other. Look at sixuntilme.com for best practice examples.

4) Artificial pancreas

The bionic or artificial pancreas basically replicates what a healthy version of the organ does on its own, and it enables diabetes patients to live an easier life in a sustainable way. The device can measure blood glucose levels constantly and decide upon the insulin delivery itself. Engineers from Boston University have developed a bionic pancreas system that uses continuous glucose monitoring along with subcutaneous delivery of both rapid-acting insulin and glucagon as directed by a computer algorithm. However, it was not in commercial use.

As there was no single device on the medical market, which was able to monitor blood sugar and supply insulin automatically, creative persons invented a DIY version from existing technologies. Aas I mentioned above, a grass-root (social media) movement called #wearenotwaiting grew out of the initiative, who campaigned for the introduction of such artificial pancreas on the market for years persistently. One of the leading figures of the movement, Dana Lewis told me how an artificial pancreas eases everyday life. She has been using the device for almost two years by the time the US Food and Drug Administration finally approved it.

5) Food scanners

Currently, we have absolutely no idea, what we are eating – not to speak about what we should. Food scanners promised they will be able to tell how many grams of sugar a piece of fruit contains, or what the alcohol percentage of a drink is. Canadian TellSpec announced its aim is to develop a hand–held food scanner that can inform users about specific ingredients and macronutrients, but the market launch is unfortunately in delay. The Israeli company SCiO  uses a technology similar to TellSpec’s but is designed to identify the molecular content of foods, medicines, and even plants. The company says that in milliseconds the ingredients and molecular make–up of the foodstuff will appear on the user’s smartphone. However, their promises have yet to be fulfilled, as the scanner, they introduced on the market does not exactly deliver what the demo did.

The Nima gluten-sensor (already on the market!) was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 best inventions of 2015. It is a portable, nicely designed gadget, which is able to tell you from a small food sample within two minutes, whether the food on your plate contains gluten. The firm also hopes to apply its technology to detect other food allergens, including peanuts and dairy.

6) Pocket-sized gadgets

When you live with diabetes, you get used to carting around with plenty of things such as meters, test strips, lancing devices. Therefore a pocket-sized gadget combining many meters and strips can mean change in life quality. The personalized, pocket-sized, all-in-one glucose meter called Dario can offer you that comfort. Moreover, it comes with a robust real-time mobile app to manage diabetes quickly, efficiently and accurately.

For over 25 years, Medtronic has been helping people with diabetes with its complex insulin pumps. With its latest, personalized, hybrid closed-loop system it seems to get a step closer to build its own artificial pancreas. In 2016, Medtronic announced its partnership with IBM Watson. The company introduced a demo for a new app at CES 2016 that will eventually give patients detail information about the rate of insulin delivered, the constantly fluctuating glucose level and carbohydrate intake information, alongside with information from wearable trackers or calendar details.

7) Wireless blood glucose monitor

Glucose monitors usually work like this: you prick your finger, you apply the drop of blood to the glucose strip, and soon you will get the results. For someone, who requires glucose monitoring more than 3-4 times per day, it is a troublesome process.

The medical company Abbott released a FreeStyle Libre wireless monitor especially for them. It is the first of a new class of glucose monitoring devices that use “flash” technology. The user has to wear a sensor on the upper arm, which measures glucose in the body water known as “interstitial fluid”. The FreeStyle Libre is very accurate, as it can do the measurement every minute!

8) Digital tattoos

Doctors have been searching for ways how to spare patients from the pain and trouble of blood glucose monitoring for years. Beyond wireless monitors, researchers have created an electronic skin patchthat senses excess glucose in sweat and automatically administers drugs by heating up microneedles that penetrate the skin. The prototype was developed by Dae-Hyeong Kim, assistant professor at Seoul National University and researchers at MC10, the company experimenting with all kinds of microchips and biostamps that can measure numerous vital signs simultaneously.

I hope that the technology will spread around soon and it will bring the era of wireless diabetes management to every patient.

So there are more and more technologies that can help people manage diabetes properly besides potentially future therapies such as new drugs or islet cell transplantation but it’s really time to manage diabetes in a gamified and comfortable way and I believe that the best gadgets and the best technological solutions are just yet to come.

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The World’s Most Famous Real-Life Cyborgs

The World’s Most Famous Real-Life Cyborgs | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
Tiptoeing around humans with machine parts
People imagine cyborgs usually as mean creatures combining some human and superhuman features in a robotic body. Movie characters such as the Terminator, Darth Vader or the Borgs in Star Trek come to mind. But you do not have to go as far as Star Wars to get in contact with cyborg-like features or characteristics. According to the usual definition, a cyborg combines organic and mechanic body parts. Yet, some scientists stretch this understanding. They include people with cochlear implants, cardiac pacemakers or even contact lenses. In a way, it is valid: the human body is augmented with technology, and the two works together to improve human capabilities.
 
As technological innovations in the field of medicine and healthcare multiply day by day, it will be more and more usual to augment our bodies with the help of machines. It makes us faster, stronger or more sensitive to the environment. This means that the boundaries of “human-ness” are stretched raising serious ethical questions. Here, I introduce you real-life cyborgs, who show us the current boundaries of the coexistence of man and machine in one person. And they might also mark the way how to find a balance between the two.
1) Neil Harbisson

With an antenna implanted into his head, he looks like a giant ant led from behind by a piece of bread on a stick. Coupled with his light mop haircut he looks like the main character would in a Wes Anderson sci-fi if he ever directed one. Harbisson is actually an artist born with achromatopsia or extreme colorblindness meaning he could only see in black-and-white. At first, he received his specialized electronic eye, his “eyeborg” to be able to render perceived colors as sounds on the musical scale. He is capable of experiencing colors beyond the scope of normal human perception: Amy Winehouse is red and pink, while ringtones are green.

Harbisson has been living as a cyborg for more than 10 years already. He believes that humans have a duty to use technology to transcend themselves and that it will happen in the future. It will start with a third eye on the back of the head or an implanted sensor indicating whether there is a car behind you.

2) Dr. Kevin Warwick

He has been known as “Captain Cyborg” and teaches at the University of Reading as a cybernetics professor. Warwick has experimented with different electronic implants since 1998 such as installing a microchip in his arm which lets him operate lights, heaters or computers remotely. As dedicated as he is, Warwick also gave an implant to his wife, so that when someone grasped her hand the man was able to experience the same sensation in his. It is jaw-dropping and awkwardly scary at the same time.

He is the founder of Project Cyborg using himself as the guinea pig on a mission to become the world’s most complete cyborg. Beyond his work on himself, he is involved in AI research. He faced serious criticism in 2014 over claims that the “supercomputer” called Eugene Goostman passed the “milestone” Turing-test for Artificial Intelligence.

3) Jesse Sullivan

Sullivan worked as an electrical linesman when in May 2001, he suffered a life-threatening accident: he was electrocuted so severely that both of his arms needed to be amputated. This, however, led to him to become the world’s first “Bionic Man”. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago offered him to replace his arms with robotic prosthetics, which opportunity he gladly took. He was fitted with a bionic limb connected through a nerve-muscle grafting.

He has control over his limb with his mind: when he thinks about lifting an arm, for example, certain muscles in his chest contract instead of muscles in his original arm, and the prosthetic replacement interprets this contraction as an instruction to move in a certain way. Moreover, he can also feel temperature as well as how much pressure his grip applies.

4) Nigel Ackland

He worked as a precious metals smelter until his accident at his workplace involving an industrial blender. This led to a severe crush injury of his right forearm. He underwent six months of operations and infections before deciding to have a below elbow amputation.

Over the years, he tried several prosthetic types, but finally, he received a bebionic3 hand. With its help, he can independently move to grip even delicate objects. He controls the arm through muscle movements in his remaining forearm. The range of movement is truly extraordinary. He can independently move each of his five fingers to grip delicate objects, or even pour a liquid into a glass.

5) Jerry Jalava

The Finnish programmer had a terrible motorcycle accident when he lost his left ring finger. It was just a week after he bought his new motorbike that he accidentally hit a deer. Right after it happened, he lit a cigarette when he realized that he misses the upper half of his finger.

Then he decided against a traditional prosthesis and rather went for something “useful”: a 2GB USB port was embedded into his prosthetic. It doesn’t upload any information directly into his brain though. He is the perfect example of how you don’t need to be a robotics mastermind to become a cyborg…

6) Cameron Clapp

Until his life-changing accident, Cameron lived the life of the “California teens”: he loved to surf, skateboard and hang with friends. He was 15 when he wandered over to some railroad tracks near their house and passed out after drinking with his brother moved by the 9/11 tragedy what happened around that time. When a train passed, he, unfortunately, lost both of his legs plus an arm.

He got fitted with a couple of prosthetic legs controlled by his brain with the help of a microprocessor. Since then, he has become an athlete and an amputee activist. His advice to struggling patients? “Surround yourself with good people… good doctors, therapists, family, and friends. Set reachable goals, work hard and maintain a good attitude.”

7) Professor Steve Mann

The Canadian tech-crazy professor designed a headset that is outfitted with a number of small computers and through it, he can record and play video and audio. He was one of the, if not the first, cyborgs in the world. Mann definitely experimented first with wearable computing in high school in the 70s. At MIT he literally bristled with equipment, wearing 80 pounds of computing equipment to class.

Mann was allegedly also the victim of the world’s “first cybernetic hate crime” in 2012: he was at a McDonald’s restaurant in Paris with his family when three different McDonald’s employees attempted to forcibly remove his “Digital Eye Glass” from his head.

8) Claudia Mitchell

Mitchell is the first woman to have a bionic arm and just as in the majority of the listed cases, her transformation into a cyborg life was also due to an accident. Although she spent four years in the Marine Corps she did not lose her arm during military service but in a motorcycle accident. She lost her left arm completely.

She told several newspapers that she used to peel bananas using both feet and one hand before she received her bionic arm. The robotic limb comes from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago just as in the case of Jesse Sullivan and was developed for $3 million. She cried when she first peeled a banana one-handed. 

9) Stelios Arcadio

He is also known as Stelarc. He is a performance artist who believes that the human body is obsolete. To prove this, he has had an artificially-created ear surgically attached to his left arm. In another show, he hooked up electrodes to his body to allow people to control his muscles through the Web.

He has his particular views how humans should look at technology and the symbiosis of the two. In an interview, he said that “we shouldn’t have a Frankensteinian fear of incorporating technology into the body, and we shouldn’t consider our relationship to technology in a Faustian way – that we’re somehow selling our soul because we’re using these forbidden energies. My attitude is that technology is, and always has been, an appendage of the body.”

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The 10 Best Health Technology Innovations at CES 2017

The 10 Best Health Technology Innovations at CES 2017 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

For geeks and gadget-lovers the year does not usually start with the 1st January, but a couple of days later, when CES opens in Las Vegas. It is even more exciting this year, since the exhibition celebrates its 50th anniversary – so it is obviously bigger and better than ever before.

It’s almost impossible to collect and analyse every novelty appearing at the fair, and I’m certainly more interested in the coolest health sensors and trackers than the announcement of T-Mobile making customer bills much simpler (although that’s relevant, too), but there are some palpable trends. Here are the two most important.

 

  • Tech companies and start-ups jumped eagerly on the ‘smart’-train, so your phone’s sensor might actually tell you which strawberry is sweeter or what is hiding in your fridge, but I do not think that creating smart apps, gadgets or technology for the sake of data is enough. I believe that instead of the tech version of l’art pour l’art, companies and start-ups should rather strengthen behavioral change. So smart objects and apps do not only gather information about the users or the environment for the sake of data, but in order to (ultimately) achieve a better life.
  • Looking through the latest technologies presented at CES – I have to emphasize that not every product was introduced at the tech gathering, but they certainly get here the most attention -, I believe real innovation is missing. According to the most trending chart created by CES, one of the most used buzzword (next to spidermanhomecoming) was “upgrade”. It is obvious, isn’t it? Instead of impacting, long-lasting, real innovation, tech companies are mostly upgrading their already existing products. Which is also quite exciting and requires a lot of work, it just indicates more of a gradual than a disruptive process.

However, no matter how the big picture looks like, there are still truly inspiring and forward-looking innovations out there with great potential for medicine and healthcare.

Here, let me show you the best health technologies to find at CES 2017!

 

1) Smart watch against sleep apnoea

No, apnoea is not an exotic snake type. It is actually a very dangerous health condition. It means that breathing stops periodically during sleeping. Apnoea might generate hypertension, heart disease, brain attacks, diabetes or somnolence. Neogia offers a smart solution for recognizing the problem and normalizing sleep. Its wearable, MOTIO HW detects sleep apnoea and improves sleeping quality via a personalized artificial intelligence that learns about the user.

 

2) Monitoring temperature easily

If you have a small child, you know how difficult it is to measure the sweet little baby’s temperature. There are always some movements, plush animals or bodily fluids involved. Now, the struggle is over. TempTraq offers a patch-like smart device, which monitors body temperature 24/7. It continuously senses, records, and sends temperature data to mobile devices so caregivers can keep track without unnecessarily disturbing the child. It is amazing due to its double effect: it will calm the mom down, while letting the baby sleep.

 

3) Chest strap to monitor your hearth

QardioCore promises a discreet as well as easily usable hearth monitor without patches and wires. The FDA-approved, medical-grade wearable uses sensors to record clinically accurate continuous ECG, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, skin temperature, and activity data, which can be shared with medical professionals or synced to the free Qardio app or Apple’s Health app on iPhone or iPad. It was first introduced at CES 2015, and the first batch of these smart and tiny chest straps will be shipped to their lucky users as early as April 2017.

 

4) Mio Slice: if step count is not enough for you!

What if reaching 10 thousand steps a day is actually great for your annoying co-worker, Nathan, but bad for your health? Every single person has a different body in need of a personalized fitness plan and health solution. And Mio Slice wants to take that into account. At first sight, it looks and acts like a fitness tracker. It measures steps, calories burned, distance, all day heart rate and sleep. However, it adds to it its very own Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) index. PAI provides you with a personalised target score which reflects your body’s response to physical activity based on heart rate. It can reform the market of fitness trackers!

 

5) Smart glasses for the visually impaired

If you’ve ever been to any of the invisible exhibition series, you already got a limited impression how difficult it is to navigate through the world if you cannot see your surroundings. Aira is eager to help everyone who has problems with vision. Using a pair of smart glasses or a phone camera, the system allows an Aira “agent” to see what the blind person sees in real-time, and then talk them through whatever situation they’re in. It would be a bit easier crossing a busy street, shopping for dinner or finding the light switch. You could even help the company by becoming their agent! Stunning technology!

 

6) Keep calm and measure contractions

 

Expecting a baby comes with a lot of worries and stress. Is the little one healthy? Safe? Am I doing okay? Is my wife or girlfriend doing okay? Bloomlife wants to help every concerned parent-to-be out there. They developed a “pregnancy wearable”, a patch with a small device that sticks to the baby bump and measures contractions by reading the electrical activity of uterine muscle. It sends the information to your smart phone and lets you read and interpret the data. This way, you can make a difference between false alarms such as Braxton Hicks contractions and the real thing. Also, one of the most awesome idea of the start-up is that you do not need to buy the wearable. Since it is useful for you only for a limited time, the company is leasing the product instead of selling it. Great marketing, guys!

 

7) Falling asleep without the need for counting sheep

Okay, if you dread to think of panpipe music, this app will not work for you, but in most cases 2breathe’s sleep inducer has a pretty good success rate. It combines a Bluetooth sensor, a smartphone app and some soothing panpipe melodies. The wearable around your waistanalyses your breathing patterns, and then your phone gives out guidance in the form of smooth, lilting melodic tones to prolong exhalation and reduce brain activity, thus making you sleepy. It’s pretty easy. And believe me, you do not have to count sheep anymore before falling into a sweet dream.

 

8) One to rule them all – the ultimate fitness ring

Do you find fitness trackers and wearables too big, too visible, too uncomfortable and never matching your outfit? For a long time, companies and start-ups are experimenting with the idea of stuffing all their features into a tiny ring. Now, I believe Motiv succeeded. Its ring acts like a fitness tracker – with step counter, heart rate monitor or sleep tracker. It also withstands the elements – so you can wear it during swimming as well as on the North Pole. The ring is elegant, stylish and tasteful.

 

9) Take care of your skin wisely!

Your facial skin is one of the best indicator of your health due to its sensitivity. It responds to your mood, stress level and changes in the environment. Thus, it needs your peculiar attention. S-Skin wants to help you achieving it. It is made up of a microneedle patch and a portable device that can help analyse your skin, give you solutions and even suggest products that you’ll be able to use. Through the LED light, it can measure your skin’s dryness, hydration, redness, or melanin and then save the information on the app so you can track its changes.

 

10) Monitoring vital signs from your ear

Bodytrak is a unique wearable and vital signs meter. It measures biometric information from your ear. It is not well-known that the ear is actually a great spot for measurement, but I believe when the hype around the wrist will calm down, start-ups and tech companies will find the ear irresistible for their innovations. Although by that time, Bodytrak will be way before them. Its device measures body temperature, heart rate, VO2, speed, distance and cadence – continuously – and all in real-time. Moreover, since it fits nicely into your ear, you can listen to music and make telephone calls as well. What a win-win situation!

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Can technology break the silos in the healthcare sector?

Can technology break the silos in the healthcare sector? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Digital health or the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to provide health services, has the potential to advance the goal of universal health coverage and improve the quality and efficiency of health services, according to a new report published by the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s Working Group on Digital Health.

 

But can technology also break silos between the technology and healthcare sectors? 

 

The study group, co-chaired by the Novartis Foundation and Nokia, noted that key challenges remain in making digital health a reality, including fragmentation in digital health solutions, risks to funding continuity and capital expenditure, workforce capacity constraints, and collaboration problems across the health and ICT sectors. 

“Despite the promise and potential of global connectivity, we cannot lose sight of the fact that nearly four billion people have no access to the Internet. We need to look at innovative cross-sectoral strategies that can leverage the power of high-speed networks to improve education, healthcare and the delivery of basic social services to everyone, especially the poorest people, who need healthcare most urgently,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

 

The report, “Digital Health: A call for Government Leadership and Cooperation between ICT and Health,” recommends that the industry look into at least three things: the importance of senior government leadership with committed financing, effective governance mechanisms with defined roles, and a national ICT framework to facilitate alignment between the ICT and healthcare sectors.

 

“We need continuous committed leadership from government with sustained financial resources to ensure a strong national digital health strategy,” Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation, and Chair of the Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Health.

 

She said many technology-based health initiatives have been introduced in the past but they never reached scale or achieved long-term sustainability because more government support and intergovernmental collaboration are needed to take these initiatives past the pilot stage.

 

“To help solve these challenges and to uncover how we can truly harness the power of information and communications technology (ICT) for health, we need a better understanding of the key elements involved,” she explained in the report.

Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia and Chair, Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Health, added that many technology companies are pushing the frontiers of healthcare to reach the remotest of locations, harnessing the power of mobile devices to help health professionals bring the most efficient medical techniques.

 

“The next step is to share the technology with every corner of the globe. To do that we need the leadership of national governments. Health and telecommunication should be united, working closely with regulators—to avoid potential roadblocks, change old practices and spread new knowledge on how to leverage technology for healthcare,” he said.

 

Case Study: Malaysia

With a population of 30 million, Malaysia is currently implementing the Health Information System Strategic Plan (11th MP). This plan builds on the first Health Information System Strategic Plan (10th MP) rolled out between 2010-2015. 

According to the report, the government is currently scaling of a hospital information system deployed in 25 percent of hospitals, in the process of integrating primary care and oral health clinical information system, rolling out a pharmacy information system and building the Malaysia Health Data Warehouse.

Because Malaysia began using digital health in the late 1990s when the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH) unveiled the first
telemedicine blueprint and created the first paperless hospital in the world, it has adopted a progressive approach.

“The MoH provides digital health leadership, strategy and program implementation in the form of three divisions: ICT, Planning and Telehealth,” the report noted. “MoH’s ICT strategic plan and ensures alignment with the national ICT strategic plan.”

However, even after years of digital health implementation, some challenges still remain. “Our biggest challenges are still the user, change management and training. And clinical leadership is so important! If you don’t get buy-in from the clinicians, the system won’t work. We learned from experience,” said Dr. Fazilah Shaik Allaudin, Director of Telehealth Division at MoH.  

 

Other challenges include monitoring, evaluation, and private sector engagement. “ “We’re still struggling with M&E and how to do it effectively. We haven’t really come up with a mechanism for this yet. We’ve seen hospitals give up on digital systems and go back to paper or situations where the core team involved in implementation leaves and the project dies or loses momentum. How do you keep this when the leader leaves? How to keep the fire burning?” he explained.

 

Case Study: Philippines

The Philippines launched the National eHealth Strategy in 2010. This was followed in 2014 with the release of the eHealth Strategic Framework and Plan for 2004-2020. The overall goal of the plans is to achieve universal health coverage, which means access to affordable health services for all citizens.

Some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) the 2014 eHealth framework set out to do include the increasing use of the DoH/PhilHealth eClaims, deployment of telehealth devices, the establishment of a government data warehouse and implementation of health data standards.

According to the report, a joint memorandum between the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) created the basis for a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities. Each agency has its own IT teams which make it hard to know which team is responsible for what. 

“In our country, the DoST was keen to start working on eHealth but realized that it needed to be led by the health sector as per the WHO-ITU Toolkit. Fortunately, our DoH also shared the same view. From this common ground, the seeds for the multisectoral approach emerged. The key is to get those two persons engaged, one from the DoH and one from the DoST, and involved in the development of the national eHealth strategy” Dr. Alvin Marcelo, Executive Director of AeHIN and former CIO of PhilHealth.

Meanwhile, the creation of advisory groups allowed universities and private-sector representatives to share their expertise and views. 

 

“Cross-sectoral collaboration is not easy. Players come from different backgrounds, with different approaches and priorities, and may understand different things on the basis of the same words or phrases,” affirmed Zhao in the report’s foreword. “Nowhere is this truer than in digital health, where the needs are great, the investments are significant and lives are at risk.”

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Wearable Thermometer, mHealth App Predict Flu Outbreaks

Wearable Thermometer, mHealth App Predict Flu Outbreaks | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

When equipped with both a wearable thermometer and an app, healthcare experts can use mHealth monitoring to quickly predict flu outbreaks.

 

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that a wearable thermometer integrated with an online educational tool can predict influenza outbreaks.

 

When developers from Boston Children’s Hospital integrated iThermometer with a digital app called Thermia and provided these tools to children in China, they were able to predict seasonal flu outbreaks a month before the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of the People's Republic of China.

 

"Delays in clinically reported data and lack of data availability contribute to the challenges of identifying outbreaks rapidly," says John Brownstein, PhD, chief innovation officer at Boston Children's and director of the Computational Epidemiology Lab and the Boston Children's Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA). “As a result, we have more and more opportunities to use real-time, low-cost digital solutions like Thermia to improve disease surveillance."

 

Officials said this was the first time that an mHealth wearable in addition to an online tool preemptively identified an outbreak.

 

Thermia receives a child's temperature reading directly through the iThermonitor, an FDA-approved, patch-like wearable thermometer that is worn under the arm. When iThermonitor detects a fever, parents can access Thermia via the web or a mobile app and answer online questions about the child's current symptoms and medical history.

 

The team analyzed 45,000 data points from China's Thermia users between 2014 and 2016. They discovered outbreaks of "influenza-like illnesses” and detected them in real-time.

 

"The fact that we were able to predict influenza outbreaks faster than China's national surveillance programs really shows the capacity for everyday, wearable digital health devices to track the spread of disease at the population level," said the study's lead author, Yulin Hswen, a research fellow at  Boston Children's Computational Epidemiology Group and a Doctoral candidate at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

 

While the results are a promising development for mHealth and preventative care, the team believes the next step is taking this data and using it to expand usage and policy.

 

"Collectively we are still coming to terms with the data deluge from wearable devices, but it is imperative that we begin to generate value from this data," says the study's senior author, Jared Hawkins, PhD, director of informatics at IDHA. "From a public health perspective -- as we have shown with this latest study -- there is enormous potential for tapping this data for research, surveillance and influencing policy.”

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Technology Is Leading a Healthcare Revolution

Technology Is Leading a Healthcare Revolution | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

If you’re thinking fruit, you’re way off. If you’re thinking device or computer, then you’re on the right track!

Healthcare is in a state of metamorphosis, with a full-on medical revolution unfolding before our eyes. According to global entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, this revolution is being driven by exponential technologies: artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, 3D printing, big data, genomics and stem cells. What does this mean? Well, in the next 10 years, some mind-boggling feats of human innovation are going to completely transform the medical field. They include:

  1. Artificial intelligence-enabled autonomous health scans that provide the best diagnostics equally to the poorest people in Kenya and the wealthiest people in East Hampton.
  2. Large-scale genome sequencing that allows us to understand the root causes of cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases—and what to do about it.
  3. Robotic surgeons that carry out a perfect operation (every time) for pennies on the dollar.
  4. Growing major organs like a heart, liver, lung or kidney instead of waiting for a donor to die.

Diamandis is so committed to this revolution that he has expanded his global XPRIZE competition to the healthcare industry. His competition will encourage the brightest minds in the medical field to develop a Tricorder device that will accurately diagnose 13 health conditions and capture five real-time health vital signs, independent of a healthcare worker or facility and in a way that provides a compelling human experience. This will be made possible through talking to the device, coughing on it or doing a skin prick and the results will be more accurate than if done by a board-certified doctor!

How will this impact the way healthcare providers market themselves? Patients—who are now responsible for an expanded share of medical costs—are searching online for valuable and relevant information. Those medical providers who can quickly and effectively market, promote and publicize these innovative technologies will be that much ahead of the game than their competitors.

It’s amazing to think that the same device that will be promoting these new technologies is the same device that might one day save your life.

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Patients grow comfortable with digital health tools, CDW finds

Patients grow comfortable with digital health tools, CDW finds | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

It’s generally thought that healthy people are more health-engaged than people diagnosed with medical issues. But that’s old health school thinking: most health consumers managing chronic conditions say they’ve become more engaged with healthcare over the past two years, according to CDW’s 2017 Patient Engagement Perspectives Study.

In 2017, 70 percent of patients told CDW they’d become more engaged with healthcare, up from 57 percent in 2016. That’s a 20percent growth in the proportion of patients engaging in healthcare in just one year.

Growing signs of patient engagement are in people driven to access online patient portals for their personal healthcare records:

  • People using an online patient portal provided by healthcare providers, growing from 45 percent in 2016 to 74 percent of patients using portals in 2017
  • More frequently speaking to healthcare providers, by 69 percent of patients
  • More frequently accessing personal healthcare information, by 69 percent of patients.

Underneath these trends is consumers’ growing recognition of the benefits of online access. Nearly 100 percent of patients have experienced benefits from engaging with personal health information online, with:

  • 70 percent of patients becoming more knowledgeable about personal medical information in 2017;
  • 60 percent of patients saving time
  • 50 percent of patients increasing overall engagement with personal healthcare
  • 49 percent seeing improvement in overall healthcare convenience
  • 46 percent of people saving unnecessary phone calls and appointments.

It’s also commonly thought that older patients won’t want or be able to access their online health information. However, by 2017, 53 percent of older patients over 50 years of age said they used a portal at least monthly.

Finally, patients are getting comfortable communicating with providers via digital channels: 83 percent of patients are comfortable communicating via mobile apps, 77 percent are comfortable with texts, 75 percent are comfortable with online chat, and 69 percent of patients are comfortable with video chat.

For this research, CDW interviewed 200 patients diagnosed with a chronic disease. This population was defined as people who had been to the doctor six or more times in the past year (including visits to any primary physician or specialist, but excluding dental care).

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  CDW’s research confirms that not only healthy, younger people engage with digital tech for health: people who are managing medical conditions have also gone digital, especially when it comes to accessing their personal health information via online portals to electronic health records.

CDW also polled healthcare providers on their progress to meeting patients’ digital demands. Sadly, only 29 percent of patients would give their healthcare providers an “A” for their use of tech to engage with them. The bottom line: nine in 10 patients would like to be able to more easily access their personal healthcare records.

This begs the perennial question: who owns our (patients’) data? As patients continue to grow their health consumer muscles, and experience, they’ll be expecting greater and more streamlined accessibility to “their” health information. Those providers who do not respond to this demand may see more digitally-savvy patients move to practices that offer more digital access, apps, and convenient, personalized health coaching services.

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Understanding IoT: Is Healthcare Harnessing the Potential?

Understanding IoT: Is Healthcare Harnessing the Potential? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Digital technology has paved the way for businesses and industries alike to utilise its benefits to incredible calibers, such as providing ergonomic solutions solely by “smart” machines or eliminating tedious methods of organising large quantities of data. However, the healthcare industry in particular can find itself to be most affected by digital technology and the Internet of Things (IoT).

 

By the year 2020, it is predicted that IoT inventions will result in a digital healthcare market of $117 billion, bringing to the table a plethora of inventions that will revolutionise the industry and save millions of dollars. According to analysts, the digital healthcare revolution and its innovative methods will completely change the way society optimises technology.

 

First, it is expected that all patients will soon be able to use “advanced wearable devices” solely for at-home use that automatically sends data to a healthcare provider regarding their condition status thanks to digital sensors worn on the body. This is especially helpful for individuals who have chronic conditions, such as cancer, high blood-pressure, or kidney disease requiring constant dialysis.

 

Additionally, advanced wearable devices prevent patients from making unnecessary visits to the hospital - which in fact, is one of the most expensive elements of healthcare next to hospitals paying professional labour and the pharmaceutical prices of life-saving drugs. As a result, patients will have a 24/7 working support staff of nurses to call in case of any arising concern or emergency. The wearable device connects to a real-time application that establishes a consistent digital dialogue between a patient and their provider. With it, providers implement a sense of security to the patient due to the constant back-and-forth of digital “smart” communication that constantly updates the provider with not only the patient’s status, but the opportunity to instantly administer medication reminders because of careful and accurate observation.

 

If more healthcare systems participated in this system, billions of dollars could be saved for future technological investments and human research. Moreover, the digital partnership and relationship between the patient and provider creates a solidified foundation of unquestionable trust and reliability on the provider. Lastly, this digital communication ultimately depends upon the patient, which in turn can help motivate them to always take responsibility for their health and hold themselves accountable for their health-related actions.

 

Moving on from wearable devices and health system applications, IoT has the ability to create a profound IP cloud network that is able to meticulously organise overwhelming amounts of data; this data comes from not only patient conditions, but provider statuses, the coordination of medications distributed at a pharmacy, and most importantly - a cloud system eliminates the opportunity for error in inventory and workflow with digital interconnections.

 

Apart from the digital communication, IoT opened the doors to radio frequency identification (RFID), which is a type of technology that combines the implementation of electromagnetic (or electrostatic) coupling with radio frequency to identify an object, product, or individual. The main benefits of using RFID are to improve patient safety and reduce costs. For example, an RFID tag is able to monitor the time of a patient’s specific activity, physical location, and overview of their entire health record with a microchip. Unlike tracking patients with a barcode in a psychiatry hospital, for example, multiple RFID microchips embedded on a tag upon different individuals are able to be simultaneously read in one sitting - cutting down time finding each person and manually interacting with them and therefore, efficiently surveilling an entire area of a hospital. These RFID chips also track blood and temperature, making checking vitals less of a time-consuming task. 


 

Last but certainly not least, managing inventory is a completely different matter in comparison, but one that is vital to the functionality of a hospital. The overall chaos of inventory control  diminishes thanks to IoT and puts the responsibility completely on machines to track medications and perfectly interpret and send data to pharmacies.

 

The healthcare industry has not even begun to scratch the surface of the opportunities IoT provides. Smart wearable devices and a constant digital communication between the patient and provider is only the beginning of a promising era for medical technology.

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What are the Top Healthcare Industry Challenges in 2017?

What are the Top Healthcare Industry Challenges in 2017? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare Industry challenges are always going to be evolving alongside the breakthroughs and innovations. In 2017, there are new healthcare industry challenges that go alongside the age-old difficulties.

For doctors, nurses and medical teams, here are 7 of the key healthcare industry challenges they are currently facing in the year ahead for 2017.

1) Retail Care offering increased access

Retail giants like CVS and Walgreens are pushing further into care delivery, continuing to put pressure on traditional providers to increase access to care.

According to Laura Jacobs, writing for Hospitals and Health Networks “The greatest challenge for most organizations will be finding the right pace for adapting to or embracing new [healthcare] payment models.”

Doctors will be required to step up their efforts to optimize the patient experience, beyond measuring patient satisfaction.

2) Behavioral healthcare

The healthcare industry is starting to recognize that Mental Health is important to the well-being of employees and consumers, according to a report from PWC.

The report notes that one out of five American adults experiences a mental illness every year. These conditions cost businesses more than $440 billion each year. Healthcare organizations and employers will look at behavioral care as ‘key to keeping costs down, productivity up and consumers healthy’ the report said.


3) Meaningful Use and Value Based Payments

Eligible providers and eligible hospitals are continuing to work on meaningful use of EHRs.

Value-based purchasing programs are solidly in place, and eligible physicians are starting to experience the penalty phase of CMS’s quality reporting and Meaningful Use initiatives. In fact, CMS revealed that more than 257,000 eligible professional providers who are not meaningful users of certified EHR technology would have their Medicare Fee Schedule cut by one percent.

Eligible physicians also need to comply with CMS’s new Value-Based Payment Modifier program, or face penalties. It’s part of Medicare’s efforts to improve healthcare, but the program adds yet more regulations physicians need to monitor.

All these changes and new reporting requirements can become overwhelming for already busy physicians, which is why the American Medical Association has repeatedly asked for relief.


4) Switching to ICD-10

The much anticipated and maligned change to ICD10 codes in 2015 led to a lot of discomfort for physicians. The increase in codes from 14,000 to 68,000 means a lot of diagnosis criteria must be re-learned.

There is a great deal of planning, re-training and new systems that go along with the upgrade in codes. For doctors, finding the time to do this proved to be a huge challenge, and still is.

5) Data Security

Patient privacy issues, including concerns about data breaches, continue to be a challenge for providers, payers, and consumers.

Providers and payers will need to be aware of the best practices for data security to avoid the type of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations that can negatively impact an organization.


6) Managing Patient volume

While new payment models will are aiming to reduce acute hospital utilization, the continued expansion of Medicaid and the insured population through the public exchanges will seemingly keep demand up.

The rise of obesity and chronic disease and population aging are creating a demand for medical services like never before.

Emergency departments will continue to be overworked until efforts to decant volume through urgent care, better care management or redesigned primary care models begins to take effect..


7) Implementing Telemedicine

The idea of a doctor seeing you via a computer screen may no longer be new, but the adoption of the Telemedicine services by doctors with their own patients is still a struggle.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation shares a vision of how Telemedicine can reduce patient backlogs. “Imagine a world where patients in rural areas far from a nearby doctor can easily find a health care provider to consult with online from the comfort of their own homes; where doctors living in Pennsylvania can help reduce the backlog of patients waiting to see doctors in Mississippi; and where patients can connect to a doctor over the Internet for routine medical purposes with a few clicks of the mouse—like they do when ordering a book on Amazon.”

Finding a balance between in person visits and telemedicine will require doctors to adjust their approach to care. Learning to diagnose remotely also requires new skills and detailed reporting.

Of course, Healthcare Industry Challenges are nothing new. Technology and legislation will continue to change the landscape. Doctors and their medical teams must evolve their approach and focus to meet them.

 

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Six Ways Technology Is Changing Health Care System As We Know It

Six Ways Technology Is Changing Health Care System As We Know It | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Several leaps have been made in our health care industry over the last two decades and technology is considered to be the driving force behind most of these improvements.

A careful examination will reveal how different digital innovations is ushering in an era of democratization of medical care in which patients have more control over their health care. The enormous growth of our communication technology has also made it easier to combat the kind of epidemic situation that seems insurmountable few centuries ago.

Below is a compilation of six different Ways technological advancement is changing the face of 21st Century medical practices.

1. Robotic surgery and Robotic Checkups

Surgical robotics is one of the new technological advancements that are revolutionizing health care. For instance, laparoscopic surgery is turning major surgeries that usually leave scars and keep patients in the hospital for several days into fairly minor procedures.

A recent study by surgeons at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington showed that a supervised autonomous robot could perform soft-tissue surgery better than a human surgeon. This is a big leap on how technology is enhancing health care in 21st century.

Robotic check-Ups is another area of technological advancement in health care. According to a report by Michael MacRae, we now have FDA approved robots with the capacity to patrol hospital hallways, checking on patients in different rooms and also manage patient’s individual charts and vital signs without human contact.

The robot is basically a mobile cart device with a two-way video screen with medical monitoring equipment. It was intelligently programmed in such a way that it could maneuver itself through a busy hospital hall.

2. Technology for Fighting Addiction

Technology is also changing how we treat addiction of different kinds. Technology Assisted Care (TAC) involves the use of technology devices to deliver some aspects of psychotherapy or behavioral treatment directly to patients via interaction with a web-based program.

A number of technology based interventions are proving to be very effective in treating substance use disorders (SUD). An example is Therapeutic Education System (TES), an interactive, web-based psychosocial intervention for SUDs. Another example is “Project Quit“, a web-based smoking cessation program. Many addiction treatment centers all across US are leveraging these technology based addiction treatment modalities to achieve more effective results.

The technology based system simply replicates a therapy program that is already known to work when delivered by a human and they do so with consistency and at a time and place convenient to the patient.

3. The Age of Patient-Centered Care (PCC)

One of the main conclusions of a review study conducted by researchers from John Hopkins University few years ago is that combining patient-centered care principles with health information technology improves overall health care outcome significantly.

The study which was published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2012 reviewed over 300 published articles between 1998 and 2010. Ever since, many other studies have reiterated the significant role advancement in technology is playing in enhancing patient-centered care.

An article published by Dr. Lawrence Rosen in 2013 identified 3 distinct ways IT is improving PCC. One of these is the development of patient portal which now makes it possible for patients to update their health and demographic information, request appointments and prescriptions, receive test results, and communicate via secure messaging.

Such technology has not only increased the efficiency of doctor-patient communication, it’s enabling doctors to spend more quality time with their patients. According to Dr. Jon Ward, a dermatology specialist in Florida, many specialists’ hospitals are now designing their whole operation around this concept of PCC.

4. Ingestible Sensors and Smart Pills

The development of Neuro-stimulation system for addressing chronic cluster headache and Ingestion monitoring systems are some of the ways technology is revolutionizing health care.

Doctors have linked most forms of chronic cluster headache to the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG), a nerve bundle located behind the nose. Until now, there is yet to be a long term treatment that works on the SPG. The new technology which involves the stimulation of the SPG offers a reversible and adjustable option to control the debilitating pain of cluster headache.

The technology which is under clinical investigation was developed by Autonomic Technologies, Inc (ATI). The ATI Neuro-stimulation system is a patient-powered tool for blocking SPG signals at the first sign of a headache.

There are two components of the system. The permanent implant of a small nerve stimulating device called ATI Neurostimulator, and the handheld remote controller. The whole system works by delivering low-level energy directly to the area of the SPG.

Aside the electronic drug like Neuro-stimulator and Ingestion monitoring systems, the development of Cognitive Enhancement Drugs is also becoming a trend that could shape history and herald a 21st century of neuroscience.

By leveraging both innovative technologies and predictive knowledge, scientists are developing smarter ways to create the kind of drugs that seems impossible 20 years ago. According to a recent article by JonHa Revesencio on HuffingtonPost, smart drugs, like Noopept and Adrafinil, are the secrets behind a lot of the World’s Tech Billionaires.

Although these drugs don’t fundamentally make people smart, they mainly enhance users’s focus, memory, motivation, attention, mental clarity, and problem solving abilities. How much impact these type of drugs have on healthcare and lifestyle are still subject of debate in the academic realm.

5. Technology for Combating Epidemics

Technology is playing a key role in combating outbreak of infectious diseases. One glaring example is the recent Ebola pandemic. During the outbreak, technological tools were harnessed for early diagnosis, early warning communication and messaging, training, real time monitoring, and epidemiological surveillance.

The use of technological tool such as Touch-free infra red thermometer and a virus-killing robot also help prevent the spread of the virus in the United States. This type of technology helped enhance real-time data sharing and collaboration between scientists across different fields. It is also interesting to note that infrared thermometers are now becoming invaluable tools for home use as well.

6. Adoption of Laser Technologies

The word LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The adoption of laser technologies for medical treatment is one of the new ways technological advancement is changing health care system.

A review article by scientist from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston laid out different laser platforms available for medical treatment and how to identify the most appropriate laser for specific issues. Laser technology is now applicable for treating a range of medical issues from cancer treatment to hair removal and toenail fungus.

Technology is revolutionizing the health care industry in very unique ways. The technology is driving healthcare ahead in a way that could deliver great dividends to healthcare providers and consumers.

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Technological innovations in the healthcare industry

Technological innovations in the healthcare industry | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Medicine and Technology

In today’s world, technology plays an important role in every industry as well as in our personal lives. Out of all of the industries that technology plays a crucial role in, healthcare is definitely one of the most important. This merger is responsible for improving and saving countless lives all around the world.

Medical technology is a broad field where innovation plays a crucial role in sustaining health. Areas like biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, information technology, the development of medical devices and equipment, and more have all made significant contributions to improving the health of people all around the world. From “small” innovations like adhesive bandages and ankle braces, to larger, more complex technologies like MRI machines, artificial organs, and robotic prosthetic limbs, technology has undoubtedly made an incredible impact on medicine.

In the healthcare industry, the dependence on medical technology cannot be overstated, and as a result of the development of these brilliant innovations, healthcare practitioners can continue to find ways to improve their practice – from better diagnosis, surgical procedures, and improved patient care.

Information Technology and Medicine

Information technology has made significant contributions to our world, namely in the medical industry. With the increased use of electronic medical records (EMR), telehealth services, and mobile technologies like tablets and smart phones, physicians and patients are both seeing the benefits that these new medical technologies are bringing.

Medical technology has evolved from introducing doctors to new equipment to use inside private practices and hospitals to connecting patients and doctors thousands of miles away through telecommunications. It is not uncommon in today’s world for patients to hold video conferences with physicians to save time and money normally spent on traveling to another geographic location or send health information instantaneously to any specialist or doctor in the world.

With more and more hospitals and practices using medical technology like mobile devices on the job, physicians can now have access to any type of information they need – from drug information, research and studies, patient history or records, and more – within mere seconds. And, with the ability to effortlessly carry these mobile devices around with them throughout the day, they are never far from the information they need. Applications that aid in identifying potential health threats and examining digital information like x-rays and CT scans also contribute to the benefits that information technology brings to medicine.

Medical Equipment Technology

Improving quality of life is one of the main benefits of integrating new innovations into medicine. Medical technologies like minimally-invasive surgeries, better monitoring systems, and more comfortable scanning equipment are allowing patients to spend less time in recovery and more time enjoying a healthy life.

The integration of medical equipment technology and telehealth has also created robotic surgeries, where in some cases, physicians do not even need to be in the operating room with a patient when the surgery is performed. Instead, surgeons can operate out of their “home base”, and patients can have the procedure done in a hospital or clinic close their own hometown, eliminating the hassles and stress of health-related travel. With other robotic surgeries, the surgeon is still in the room, operating the robotic devices, but the technology allows for a minimally-invasive procedure that leaves patients with less scarring and significantly less recovery time.

Technology and Medical Research

Medical scientists and physicians are constantly conducting research and testing new procedures to help prevent, diagnose, and cure diseases as well as developing new drugs and medicines that can lessen symptoms or treat ailments.

Through the use of technology in medical research, scientists have been able to examine diseases on a cellular level and produce antibodies against them. These vaccines against life-threatening diseases like malaria, polio, MMR, and more prevent the spread of disease and save thousands of lives all around the globe. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that vaccines save about 3 million lives per year, and prevent millions of others from contracting deadly viruses and diseases.

Medical Technology and The Law

As technology in the world of healthcare continues to evolve, rules and regulations concerning its use must be established and adjusted to adapt to the new methods of administering care. Regulations like HIPAA and its Privacy and Security Act target the concerns about the confidentiality of patient information and the steps that must be taken to maintain privacy in our digital world. Medical providers and healthcare administration must be careful when choosing to implement new products and technologies into their services, and should ensure that all technologies are “HIPAA compliant” before investing in their implementation. Other initiatives, like the 2010 Health Care Reform bill, state the steps that must be taken by hospitals and other care providers to integrate medical technology into their practices.

Technological innovations in the healthcare industry continue to provide physicians with new ways to improve the quality of care delivered to their patients and improve the state of global healthcare. Through technology’s integration with areas like disease prevention, surgical procedures, better access to information, and medical telecommunications, the medical industry and patients around the world continue to benefit.

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7 Ways Health Informatics Transforms Health Care

7 Ways Health Informatics Transforms Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

It is amazing how technology intertwines with the health sector. Just a few years ago, nobody could predict how the development of technology would drive health care innovation.  Now we see that nearly everything in the health care industry derives from these transformations. Health informatics, for example, has had a significant impact on the management, handling, and storage of health care information. It is on the forefront of enabling ease in communication and coordination of activities within health facilities.

Below are some of the reasons to celebrate the impact health informatics has had on health care.

1. Health informatics improve coordination

If you have been to a healthcare facility recently, you probably know that specializations in the medical profession have increased significantly. This increase led to a rise in departmental divisions within hospitals, including telemedicine solution providers. These divisions require record-keeping that is coordinated across departments and easy to update.  Indeed, without health informatics hospitals would be in total chaos. You can imagine what would happen if, for example, you arrived in an X-ray room rather than the referred maternity ward!  Health informatics, through a channel of organized electronic facilities, allows easy transfer of patient information from one department to another for better communication and minimal error.

2. Health informatics is cost effective

Lack of coordination and resulting delays waste a lot of money.  Research has shown that hospitals spend significant amounts dealing with recurring procedures and errors due to inadequate information-sharing. A proper health informatics system minimizes such mishaps. This is because effective communication gives health care facilities the ability to carry out operations between departments without error.  The fact that the communication is electronic also eliminates delays in relaying updates between departments.  Therefore, health informatics systems decrease unnecessary spending.

3. Health informatics enables population health management

Consistency in keeping health records enables health professionals to analyze and compare common diseases that affect the general population. It also helps medical providers keep track of these illnesses and carefully design strategies to counter potential epidemics. Furthermore, the consistency achieved through health informatics makes it easier to carry out an evaluation of patients with common conditions and thus determine what treatment is most effective for the present, as well as develop procedures for the future.

4. Health informatics increases patient involvement

Through health informatics, patients have electronic access their health records. Electronic records give patients a chance to be more informed of their conditions and consider their health matters more seriously. They also allow patients to be more vigilant about the dos and don’ts regarding their treatment. Patients can interact with health practitioners through online portals, and specialists can have quick one-on-one consultations with a patient, even when the patient cannot be present at the health facility.

5. Health informatics improves efficiency

Improved efficiency is the key achievement of health informatics.  With hard-copy records, you have to wade through piles of paper files to trace records entered only a few days ago.  Using electronic systems to record and store data has proven to be the best way to keep high-quality authentic records that are easily accessible and useful far into the future.  And they definitely take up less space!  Similarly, automation of some activities empowers health professionals to make easier diagnoses and reduces fatigue from repetitive tasks. This allows doctors and nurses more productive time with their patients, resulting in better care.

6. Health informatics increases medical knowledge

Health informatics enables health care providers to gain knowledge systematically through continuously monitoring patients. For example, doctors can use electronic records to evaluate the effectiveness of certain drugs on some diseases and even individuals. This means they can more easily design the best treatment plans after considering a given sample of patients.  Then they can share the results of their analysis and treatment with the other health care providers in their system, facilitating innovations in health care.

7. Health informatics expands the margin of care

Because health informatics uses information about the patient’s medical history stored electronically, it is easy for a new doctor or nurse to understand the patient’s condition quickly. Such records are accurate and up-to-date — updated every time the patient visits the facility. This extends the ability to treat a patient effectively to any available medical practitioner, improving the speed and responsiveness of patient care.

There is no doubt about it, health informatics is steering a revolution that will see systematic improvement in the efficiency and reliability of care that health professionals are able to provide for their patients.

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Niche Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Niche Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Artificial Intelligence has made its way to every field possible, steamrolling the processes along its way. One such field is healthcare. They say healthcare is a field that is not very rules based and a successful doctor is the one who leverages his/her experience to deal with complex and unseen cases. However, there are many low hanging fruits that are already being plucked by AI. This trend is being fueled by increasing digitization in healthcare data and advances in new algorithms. In this piece, we intend to give you a sneak peek into how AI is leading to improved healthcare for humanity. Below are some key examples of research areas and applications.

Virtual Slides Diagnosis

  • The tissue-based diagnosis has seen technological advancement with the introduction of virtual slides. However, virtual slides demand a lot of time and efforts than that for viewing the original glass slides from the pathologists. This is the time taken in the selection of information containing fields of view. Artificial intelligence can automate the tissue diagnosis routine work. Deep Convolutional Neural Networks are already being used in this area. Automated diagnosis would save a lot of time wasted in supervising and the pathologists can focus on the serious cases.

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

  • Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is the fastest growing cause of blindness, with nearly 415 million diabetic patients at risk worldwide. If not caught early, it can lead to irreversible blindness. In “Development and Validation of a Deep Learning Algorithm for Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy in Retinal Fundus Photographs“, published by JAMA, Google presented a deep learning algorithm capable of interpreting signs of DR in retinal photographs, potentially helping doctors screen more patients in settings with limited resources.

Skin Cancer Treatment

  • Sebastian Thrun’s lab at Stanford released an AI algorithm which detects Skin Cancer with very high accuracy. This algorithm was tested against 21 board-certified dermatologists. In its diagnoses of skin lesions, which represented the most common and deadliest skin cancers, the algorithm matched the performance of professional dermatologists.

Medical Diagnosis

AI algorithms can aid doctors in medical diagnosis.They can highlight key instances in a person’s previous health history. Incorporating AI into the medical field has the potential to change and vastly improve healthcare in its core. From improved diagnostic accuracy to better-optimized treatment plans, AI could be the key to better medical care for doctors and patients alike.

In August 2016, doctors at a hospital in Japan misidentified a 60-year-old woman’s leukemia. But IBM’s Watson examined a vast database of 20 million research papers and made a successful diagnosis in just 10 minutes. The AI-based system can be utilized to prune out the irrelevant data and help the doctor think more clearly focusing on the vital data.

Risk Prediction

The team of primary care researchers and computer scientists compared a set of standard guidelines from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) with four ‘machine-learning’ algorithms. These algorithms analyzed large amounts of data and self-learn patterns within the data to make predictions on future events which were a patient’s future risk of having heart disease or a stroke, in this case.

The results, published in the online journal PLOS ONE, showed that the self-teaching ‘artificially intelligent’ tools were remarkably more accurate in predicting cardiovascular disease than the established guidelines. This technology is a godsend for insurance companies by helping them do a more effective appraisal of health risks of a customer.

Radiology

Applying AI for Radiology is harder as compared to Histopathology and hence we are yet to see groundbreaking results here. There is, however, a lot of work going on in situations where X-rays, CTs, and MRIs can be analyzed automatically, thereby giving radiologists a quick second opinion to consult with.

AI has already been used for Chest X-rays for direct diagnosis. Some of the other areas where AI aids diagnosis significantly is segmenting hip bones and lumbar vertebra for QCT/MRI in osteoporosis screening.

A Recent release of Stanford Medical-ImageNet is likely to start a revolution like what ImageNet did for normal images.

Automating Drug Discovery

Discovery of a new drug takes years of research, its launch takes even more time and money. Automating drug discovery through AI can tremendously reduce the cost and time as well.The average biomedical researcher deals with a huge amount of new information every day. It is estimated that the bioscience industry is getting 10,000 new publications uploaded on a daily basis from across the globe and among a huge variety of biomedical databases and journals. So, it becomes impossible for the researcher to process the entire information alone. Artificial Intelligence has a vital role to play in elevating the work of drug development researchers.

  • A study published in Cell Chemical Biology reveals a big data-based approach to detecting toxic side effects of a drug before it goes to the expensive clinical testing. In the approach called PrOCTOR, researchers analyze each drug using 48 different features to ascertain its safety for clinical use. The entire process is automated using machine learning.
  • A company named BenevolentBio has been doing research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The AI they’ve developed incorporated in the company’s Judgement Correlation System (JACS) reviews billions of sentences and paragraphs from scientific research papers and abstracts. JACS then links direct relationships between the data and regulates the data into ‘known facts’. These known facts are used to generate a large number of possible hypotheses using criteria set by the scientists. Based on these hypotheses, possible drugs are discovered. They have already managed to identify two potential drug targets for Alzheimer.
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10 Ways Artificial Intelligence Could Make Me a Better Doctor

10 Ways Artificial Intelligence Could Make Me a Better Doctor | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Automation through AI, robotics or 3D-printing will make healthcare more efficient and more sustainable. These new digital technologies will improve healthcare processes resulting in the earlier and more efficient treatment of patients. It will eventually shift the focus in medicine from treatment to prevention. Moreover, medical professionals will get the chance to move from repetitive, monotonous tasks to the challenging, creative assignments.

AI has certainly more revolutionary potential than simply optimizing processes: it can mine medical records or medical images in order to come up with previously unknown implications or signals; design treatment plans for cancer patients or create drugs from existing pills or re-use old drugs for new purposes. But imagine how much time you as a GP would have if the administrative process would be taken care of by an AI-powered system. Your only task would be to concentrate on the patient’s problem! Imagine how much time you as a GP could spare if healthcare chatbots and instant messaging health apps would give answers to simple patient questions, which do not necessarily need the intervention of a medical professional!

She could have been a great doctor!

These were exactly the thoughts in my head when I was watching the movie Her for the second time. I was fascinated again about the scene in which the main character played by Joaquin Phoenix got his new, AI operating system and started working with it. I could not stop thinking about the ways I could use such an AI system in my life and how it actually could make me a better doctor.

Don’t get me wrong, I think empathy and great communication with patients can make a doctor better primarily, but as the amount of medical information out there is exponentially growing; as the time for dealing with patients and information is getting shorter, it is becoming humanly impossible to keep up with everything. If I could devote the time it takes now to deal with technology (inputting information, looking for papers, etc.) to patients, that would be a huge step towards becoming better.

Through the following 10 ways, AI could make me a better doctor.

1) Eradicate waiting time

You would think that waiting time is the exclusive “privilege” of patients and doctors do not have any free moment during their overpacked days. However, suboptimal health care processes not only result in patients sometimes waiting for hours in front of doctors’ offices but also medical professionals losing a lot of time every day waiting for something (a patient, a lab result, etc.). An AI system that makes my schedule as efficient as possible directing me to the next logical task would be a jackpot.

2) Prioritize my emails

The digital tsunami is upon us. Our inboxes are full of unread messages and it is an everyday challenge not to drown into the ocean of new letters. I deal with about 200 e-mails every single day. I try to teach Gmail how to mark an email important or categorize them automatically into social media messages, newsletters, and personal emails, it’s still a challenge. In Her, the AI system prioritized all the 3000 unread emails in a second. Imagine if we could streamline digital communication completely in line with our needs and if we could share and receive information more efficiently and more accurately without too much effort.

According to a recent report in the New Scientist, half a million people have professed their love for Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant and more than 250,000 have proposed marriage to it. I have to say, I would probably do the same if it could organize my emails that way. (Also, if Scarlett Johansson were to be the voice of the assistant.)

3) Find me the information I need

I think I have mastered the skill of searching for information online using dozens of Google search operators and different kinds of search engines for different tasks, but it still takes time. What if an AI OS could answer my questions immediately by looking up the answer online?

More and more intelligent personal assistants, such as Siri on iOS or Alexa for Amazon lead us into the future, and there will be soon highly capable, specialized AI-powered chatbots also in the field of healthcare. Bots like HealthTap or Your.Md already aim to help patients find a solution to the most common symptoms through AI. Safedrugbot embodies a chat messaging service that offers assistant-like support to health professionals, doctors who need appropriate information about the use of drugs during breastfeeding.

4) Keep me up-to-date

There is too much information out there. Without an appropriate compass, we are lost in the jungle of data. It is even more important to find the most accurate, relevant and up-to-date information when it comes to such a sensitive area as healthcare. That’s why I started Webicina, which collects the latest news from the best, most reliable sources into one, easily manageable magazine.

On Pubmed, there are 23 million papers. If I could read 3-4 studies of my field of interest per week, I could not finish it in a lifetime and meanwhile millions of new studies would come out. I need an AI to process the pile of information for me and show me the most relevant papers – and we will get there soon. IBM Watson can already process a million pages in seconds. This remarkable speed has led to trying Watson in oncology centers to see how helpful it is in making treatment decisions in cancer care.

5) Work when I don’t

I can fulfill my online tasks (emails, reading papers, searching for information) when I use my PC or laptop, and I can do most of these on my smartphone. When I don’t use any of these, I obviously cannot work. An AI system could work on these when I don’t have any device in hand.

Imagine that you are playing tennis or doing the dishes at home when an important message comes in. With the help of an AI, you could respond to your boss without the need to touch any devices – a toned down version of Joaquin Phoenix’s AI, that arranged the whole publishing process of his book without the need for him to lift a finger.

6) Help me make hard decisions rational

A doctor must face a series of hard decisions every day. The best we can do is to make those decisions as informed as possible. I can ask people whose opinion I value, but basically, that’s it. Unfortunately, you would search the world wide web in vain for certain answers.

But AI-powered algorithms could help in the future. For example, IBM Watson launched its special program for oncologists – and I interviewed one of the professors working with it – which is able to provide clinicians evidence-based treatment options. Watson for Oncology has an advanced ability to analyze the meaning and context of structured and unstructured data in clinical notes and reports that may be critical to selecting a treatment pathway. So, AI is not making the decision per se but offers you the most rational options.

7) Help patients with urgent matters reach me

A doctor has a lot of calls, in-person questions, emails and even messages from social media channels on a daily basis. In this noise of information, not every urgent matter can reach you. What if an AI OS could select the crucial ones out of the mess and direct your attention to it when it’s actually needed.

Moreover, if you look at the patient side, you will see how long is the route from recognizing symptoms at home until reaching out to a specialist. For example, in the Hungarian county of Kaposvár, the average time from the discovery of a cancerous disease until the actual medical consultation about the treatment plan was 54 days. This alarming number has been drastically reduced to 21 days with the help of a special software and by optimizing patient management practices since November 2015. Imagine, though, what earthquake-like changes AI could bring into patient management if the usage of a simpler process management tool and follow-up system could halve the waiting time!

8) Help me improve over time

People, even those who work on becoming better at their job, make the same mistakes over and over again. What if by discussing every challenging task or decision with an AI, I could improve the quality of my job. Just look at the following:

97% of healthcare invoices in the Netherlands are digital containing data regarding the treatment, the doctor, and the hospital. These invoices could be easily retrieved. A local company, Zorgprisma Publiek analyzes the invoices and uses IBM Watson in the cloud to mine the data. They can tell if a doctor, clinic or hospital makes mistakes repetitively in treating a certain type of condition in order to help them improve and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations of patients.

9) Help me collaborate more

Sometimes I’m wondering how many researchers, doctors, nurses or patients are thinking about the same issues in healthcare as I do. At those times, I imagine that I have an AI by my side, which helps me find the most potential collaborators and invite them to work together with me for a better future.

Clinical and research collaborations are crucial to find the best solutions for arising problems, however, more often than not, it is difficult to find the most relevant partners. There are already efforts to change this. For example, in the field of clinical trials, TrialReachtries to bridge the gap between patients and researchers who are developing new drugs. If more patients have a chance to participate in trials, they might become more engaged with potential treatments or even be able to access new treatments before they become FDA approved and freely available.

10) Do administrative work

Quite an essential percentage of an average day of a doctor is spent with administrative stuff. An AI could learn how to do it properly and do it better than me by time. This is the area where AI could impact healthcare the most. Repetitive, monotonous tasks without the slightest need for creativity could and should be done by artificial intelligence. There are already great examples leaning towards this trend.

IBM launched another algorithm called Medical Sieve. It is an ambitious long-term exploratory project to build a next generation “cognitive assistant” with analytical, reasoning capabilities and a wide range of clinical knowledge. Medical Sieve is qualified to assist in clinical decision making in radiology and cardiology.

 

Many fear that algorithms and artificial intelligence will take the jobs of medical professionals in the future. I highly doubt it. Instead of replacing doctors, AI will augment them and make them better at their jobs. Without the day-to-day treadmill of administrative and repetitive tasks, the medical community could again turn to its most important task with full attention: healing.

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The Top Five Digital Health Innovations For Food Tracking and Eating

The Top Five Digital Health Innovations For Food Tracking and Eating | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
Almost 700 million people have some health problem with food or eating

For some, eating is the most natural process on Earth. You are hungry, you get some nice food and some company, you sit down and have the meal making you happy and full. These people do not know how lucky they are. Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18. That’s 1 in 13 children or roughly two in every classroom. According to some estimations, 1-5 percent of the whole population of the EU has a type of food allergy.

Although it is not easy to measure it, some analysts say that there could be as much as 70 million people worldwide affected by various eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia or binge eating disorder. There are also concerning numbers when we look at the WHO statistics concerning obesity. According to the UN organization, in 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight; of theses over 600 million were obese. Moreover, worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.

All these issues need to be addressed. Although digital devices, food trackers, calorie counters, etc. cannot offer alone long-term, comprehensive solutions, they could support eating healthily and reduce the harm we do through food to our bodies.

1) Smart utensils

It is not easy to find time for a long meal in our mad, mad world, but I’m sure that you also experienced that eating too fast leads to poor digestion and poor weight control. The HAPIfork, powered by Slow Control, is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It also alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you are eating too fast.

But what if you experience eating as a living hell? Imagine, that you cannot enjoy your food no matter how great it looks and smells. Your hand is shaking so intensely, you cannot lift your spoon or fork to your mouth without dropping it to the ground. There are many people out there with Essential Tremor, Parkinson’s Disease, or other motion disorders. For them, eating is a torture due to their condition. Designed by Lift Labs which was acquired by Google Life Sciences, Liftware is a stabilizing handle and a selection of attachments that include a soup spoon, everyday spoon, and fork. Liftware is specially designed to improve the lives of those with such motion disorders.

 

2) Food scanners

There are many uncertainties around eating. Usually, we have no idea what we are eating. Where did the chicken come from that was on your plate at the Indian restaurant last week? Where were the beans or the carrots packaged? What does the pre-packaged tiramisu on the supermarket shelf contain? Many burning questions of 21st-century living, as most of us, urban dwellers, are unfortunately not living near enough to our food sources. The solution might come from food scanners. Canadian TellSpec has developed a hand–held food scanner that can inform users about specific ingredients and macronutrients. The company brings together spectroscopy and a unique mathematical algorithm in a revolutionary system that can analyze the chemical composition of food.

The Israeli company, SCiO, uses a technology similar to TellSpec’s but is designed to identify the molecular content of foods, medicines, and even plants. The company says that in milliseconds the ingredients and molecular make–up of the foodstuff will appear on the user’s smartphone. However, their promises have yet to be fulfilled, as the scanner, they introduced on the market does not exactly deliver what the demo did.

The Nima gluten-sensor (already on the market!) was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 best inventions of 2015. It is a portable, nicely designed gadget. The Nima is able to tell you from a small food sample within two minutes, whether the food on your plate contains gluten. The firm also aims to apply its technology to detect other food allergens, including peanuts and dairy. They plan to introduce their peanut sensor in fall 2017.

 

3) Nutrigenomics

It is a brand-new cross-field combining genetics and nutrition science. The basic idea behind nutrigenomics is that our genome reveals valuable information about our organism’s needs, which we should map out and utilize in order to lead a long and healthy life. After having your DNA sequenced (perhaps already at home!), a smart app could let you know which food you should eat and what you should avoid at all cost. As we are all genetically different, our diet should be personalized.

For example, the California-based start-up, Habit, plans to use genetic markers to identify the ideal meal for each of its customers and send that meal directly to their doors.  You only need to send back their required blood sample kit, do their so-called “metabolic challenge” and provide a series of body metrics like height, weight, and waist circumference as well as lifestyle habits like how often a person walks, runs, or exercises. All of this analysis leads to a personalized meal plan of foods that works best for the user’s body.

 

4) Calorie counters

Finding the ideal weight is a challenge for many people; while there are as many bits of advice regarding healthy eating and diets as sand in the desert. While there is a lot of debate around calories as well, it is common knowledge that if you reduce your calorie intake to a certain amount, you will lose weight. You should obviously not forget about the quality of your food while cutting on calorie intake to make sure you feel good and ultimately shift the fat in the long term – not just the weight in the short term.

But first things first. If you want to know your eating habits better and see how much you are really eating, you might want to use a calorie tracker. Similarly to counting steps and following your fitness activities closely, there are plenty of trackers on calories on the market. For example, you definitely know Fitbit and the Fitbit Surge as your fitness companion; but you should also consider the Fitbit Charge 2 as your choice for the best of what the company has to offer for calorie counting. Although if you do not want to have a separate wearable just for calories, you can choose from many apps whose goal is to help you log your meals. If so, let’s try MyFitnessPal, Lifesum, Calorie Counter Pro, HAPIcoach or Noom Coach.

My favorites are MyFitnessPal and HAPIcoach. Both are great for diet management and calorie counting. MyFitnessPal has over 5 million food items in its database and it is super easy to log what kind of food or drink you had during the day. Moreover, the counter can be synced with various health apps, fitness bands or smart scales. With HAPIcoach, you can take a photo of your meals for 5 consecutive days; then send them back to a real nutritionist, who will give you advice on how to adjust your diet to the ideal. It’s a great way to acquire your very own, personalized diet.

5) Food chatbots

Has it ever happened to you that you stood in the middle of a supermarket wondering about where the tortilla chips with jalapeno dip are and whether they are very far away from shampoo so that you have to make another round in the store again? Has it ever happened to you that you had no idea what to eat or what to cook tomorrow that does not involve asparagus which you have been eating for the whole week already?

Food chatbots might be here to help you. In 2016, Whole Foods announced the launch of their very own chatbot developed by Conversable. It lets customers browse through the store find products, and then, with a few taps in a Facebook Messenger chatbot, find recipes for an upcoming meal. So, you just select a tomato emoji, and the chatbot will find you great recipes for spaghetti bolognese for example. The Food Network TV Channel launched a similar chatbot: you can search for various recipes by ingredient, meal type, your favorite chef or show. Both sound like a lot of fun and a great way to explore new ways in cooking.

 

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3 Ways Technology has Changed Healthcare

3 Ways Technology has Changed Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Technology is considered to be the driving force behind improvements in healthcare and, when you look at the rate of change and recent innovations, many find it hard not to agree with that observation.

Graduates of health informatics will no doubt agree that technology is impacting many aspects of our lives as breakthroughs in data collection, research and treatments allow medical providers to use new tools and find fresh and innovative ways to practice medicine into the future.

Better and More Accessible Treatment

A number of industry analysts have observed that increased accessibility of treatment is one of the most tangible ways that technology has changed healthcare. Health IT opens up many more avenues of exploration and research, which allows experts to make healthcare more driven and effective than it has ever been.

Improved Care and Efficiency

Another key area that has grown and continues to do so is patient care. The use of information technology has made patient care safer and more reliable in most applications.

The fact that nurses and doctors who are working on the frontline are now routinely using hand-held computers to record important real-time patient data and then sharing it instantly within their updated medical history is an excellent illustration of the benefits of health IT.

Being able to accumulate lab results, records of vital signs and other critical patient data into one centralized area has transformed the level of care and efficiency a patient can expect to receive when they enter the healthcare system.

An increased level of efficiency in data collection means that a vast online resource of patient history is available to scientists, who are finding new ways to study trends and make medical breakthroughs at a faster rate.

Software Improves Healthcare and Disease Control

The development of specific software programs means that, for example, the World Health Organization has been able to classify illnesses, their causes and symptoms into a massive database that encompasses more than 14,000 individual codes.

This resource allows medical professionals and researchers to track, retrieve and utilize valuable data in the fight to control disease and provide better healthcare outcomes in general.

Software also plays a pivotal role in tracking procedures and using billing methods that not only reduce paperwork levels, but also allow practitioners to use this data to improve quality of care and all around efficiency.

Doctors report that they are deriving enormous benefits from the drive toward a total system of electronic medical records; patients enjoy the fact that software has created a greater degree of transparency in the healthcare system.

We have seen many positive changes in health IT and expect to continue witnessing more exciting developments in the future!

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Consumers think that innovation will lead to better diagnosis and treatment

Consumers think that innovation will lead to better diagnosis and treatment | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Innovation in the field of mobile technology has glued consumers to their devices as they can regularly track their health and know about symptoms on the go. On the physician side, there has been some resistance to the adoption of technology. A recent survey by Klick Health revealed that consumers believe that innovation in healthcare would lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

 

The survey in which 1,012 adults participated also found that patient-physician experience would also improve with innovation. Particularly, almost 50 percent of the participants said that innovation would bring improvement in diagnosis and treatment, while 20 percent said that it would help patients better manage their health and 19 percent thought that it would help in prevention of diseases.

 

Consumers are also positive about the impact of technology in their health and 90 percent believe that it would have a huge impact on their healthcare. In fact, 70 percent of the respondents believe that technology will help them manage their personal health.

 

At present, only 50 percent of the participants indicated about the positive impact on health due to innovative technology. Moreover, merely 41 percent confirmed that they have used new technology for their health. The survey results point to the definite gap in consumer expectations and what is being offered to them. If patients are offered innovative technological solutions, there is a high probability that they would utilize those resources to better manage their health.

 

Neuropsychologist Rex Jung from the University of New Mexico pointed, “This survey highlights consumers’ adoption of technology as the main healthcare interface. The findings really reflect a shift in the consumer mindset from being passive recipients of healthcare to more active and autonomous individuals who appear eager to try more creative and innovative approaches to managing their health.”

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How Remote Monitoring Tools, Smartwatch Track Patient Health

How Remote Monitoring Tools, Smartwatch Track Patient Health | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The medical sphere is constantly changing as new technologies continue to expand the opportunities within patient care. Remote monitoring tools, for example, are making a huge impact on the overall quality of patient care and health outcomes among those with chronic medical conditions. Mobile health devices like the smartwatch or smart glasses could also revolutionize patient care.

 

As previously reported by mHealthIntelligence.com, mobile health applications and mobile devices like the smartwatch can actually expand patient engagement. As the federal government continues to push the importance of patient engagement through meaningful use requirements under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, healthcare providers are scrambling to ensure that the right patient engagement protocols are in place to keep consumers accessing their medical data.

 

With the help of mobile health apps, patient portals can be accessed and providers would meet the meaningful use requirements set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Additionally, the smartwatch can be used to boost patient engagement with their health and wellness.

 

“We’re always looking for ways to improve the satisfaction of our patients,” Michael Ash, M.D., Chief Transformation Officer at Nebraska Medicine, said in a public statement. “We recognize that as more of our patients use devices like the Apple Watch, we not only have to be able to use that technology to initially provide convenience for them, but we also have to envision how we can improve patient outcomes via use of the device in the future.”

 

In a new infographic, experts outlined how the smartwatch could benefit the health of consumers over the coming years. Within the next five years, the smartwatch will be able to track vital signs including heart rate and blood pressure, detect blood oxygen levels, monitor stress levels via electrodermal activity, and keep an eye on your sleep patterns.

 

Additionally, wearables like the smartwatch could let the consumer know their blood sugar levels, provide alerts regarding their risk of an oncoming heart attack or stroke, and offer reminders about medical appointments.

 

Additionally, wearable devices could be connected to a hospital monitoring system and, thereby, offer more guidance to physicians with regard to a patient’s health and lifestyle choices. This could offer more information during diagnosis of a medical condition.

 

Along with the benefits of the smartwatch, mHealthIntelligence.com previously reported that remote monitoring tools are a system for ensuring the Triple Aim of Healthcare is met. This means that medical costs are lowered through the use of remote monitoring technology, patient health outcomes are enhanced, and the quality of overall care is improved.

 

Patients could reside at home instead of at the hospital with the help of remote monitoring tools, which can track vital signs including heart rate, respiration, temperature, and blood pressure. Dr. Raj Khandwalla of Cedars Sinai Medical Center spoke with mHealthIntelligence.com to offer his perspective on the use of remote monitoring tools within the healthcare industry.

 

“I personally think that mobile health technology and remote monitoring tools are going to be widespread in the future,” Khandwalla stated. “I think that when you look at the implementation of mobile technology, you have biosensor technology rapidly evolving. You have clinical decision support tools that are being integrated into the electronic health record that help guide decision-making among physicians.”

 

Additionally, Khandwalla spoke about the significant benefits of biosensors and remote monitoring technology for the healthcare field. In particular, biosensors and other devices could be a “game changer” within the medical space, Khandwalla mentioned.

 

“We’ll see changes in outcomes that are – instead of evolutionary – almost revolutionary when we apply data analytics to the output of the biosensors,” he explained.

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10 Great Gadgets for Tech-Savvy Doctors

10 Great Gadgets for Tech-Savvy Doctors | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As technology continuously innovates how we deal with healthcare everyday, it’s vital that doctors stay up to date on new trends. Many of the latest gadgets not only provide great value but are also fun. Here’s our list of 10 tech gadgets for doctors to use at their practice:

1. Digital Stethoscope

The cold, hard stethoscopes that doctors use have now been greatly upgraded. Now, the digital stethoscope is one of the smallest, yet powerful stethoscopes in the world. It’s so small that it fits right in the palm of your hands but can amplify over 100 times. It’s plug and play compatible making it easy for doctors to hear via their headphones or earplugs. It also connects via smartphone, tablet, or computer to record info right into the patient’s EMR!

2. Google Glass

Google seems to have their hands in just about every new piece of technology. Google Glass is a wearable spectacle that’s perfect for many industries. Doctors can enjoy the ease of accessing their patients’ records, collaborating what they are viewing with other doctors via surgery, and checking patients’ vitals. Though Google halted sales of Glass on 15 Jan 2015, many vendors have created specialized software applications & continue to supply the device, and Google itself is reportedly working on a successor.

3. AV300 Vein Viewing System

Doctors can easily examine their patients closely with the AccuVein AV300 Vein Viewing System. This handy gadget makes viewing clumps and other issues with veins simple. It’s lightweight and small, so doctors can carry it around room to room. Since it doesn’t come in contact with the patient, it does not need a protective covering or to be sterilized.

4. EarlySense System 

The EarlySense Proactive enables doctors and their medical staff to capture all a patients vitals in the exam room. Everything from their heart rate to their respiratory rate can be quickly captured and transferred to the EMR system. This not only reduces the time of transferring patient’s room to room, but also reduces mistakes of recording incorrect readings.

5. VScan by GE

Another helpful examination gadget is the GE VScan. The VScan is a pocket-sized ultrasound, allowing doctors to access many systems of the body including the abdominal, cardiac, urology, fetal, thoracic and others. This device helps speed decisions doctors normally would need to make after receiving x-rays. Unnecessary testing is also reduced.

6. Infrared Thermometer

Gone are the days of ten second readouts and probe-covers. Infrared thermometers now give accurate temperatures in one second, with no contact required. They are small and require just AAA batteries. These are perfect to use for fussy children. The Rediscan thermometer (pictured) can also measure the temperature of objects such as milk bottles or bath water.

7. Wacom Intuos

The Wacom Intuos system instantly converts what you write into a digitally readable format. It consists of a tablet which is basically a touch-sensitive pad (without a screen) and a stylus. Doctors can write clinical notes, prescriptions and draw directly on x-rays and charts. The information is digital, and can plug in directly into an EMR system. This method enables doctors to keep all data private as well, without paperwork lying around for others to see.

8. AliveCor ECG monitor

The AliveCor ECG system consists of a heart monitor device that connects to a smartphone app. Patients use it to record their ECG reading, which can be shared with their doctor and integrated into the PHR (patient health record). Doctors use the physician app to monitor patients’ ECGs remotely.  The physician app can also analyse readings and detect aberrations like AF (atrial fibrillation) automatically. Doctors can view trends, act promptly in case of an emergency, and integrate the readings into the patient’s EMR from their end as well.

9. Fitbit

The famous Fitbit is an activity tracker and monitoring device that doctors can suggest to patients to stay fit. It provides motivational tips and helps patients lead a healthy lifestyle. Not only patients, but doctors can also use a Fitbit themselves and practice what they preach! There are many activity trackers on the market, and doctors must try out devices themselves to evaluate their efficacy.

10. Adheretech’s Smart Pill Container

Smart pill containers are not used directly by doctors, but they are an excellent way for doctors to monitor their patient’s prescriptions taken. These containers emit light and sound alerting patients when it’s time to take their medication. If the dosage is skipped, an alert is sent to the caregiver or patient.

A lot of these gadgets are not easily available in India, but you can definitely pick them up in your next visit abroad. Do share this post with your colleagues (and patients) if you found it useful!

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12 medical technology innovations likely to transform healthcare in 2017

12 medical technology innovations likely to transform healthcare in 2017 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

1. 3D Printing is poised to make a big impact in 2017 - and is expected to be worth $1.2 billion by 2020. The first 3D-printed prescription drug received FDA approval in 2015 and medical devices made from 3D printing now include instruments used for surgery or devices implanted into patients. End-use parts, like surgical tools and device implants will become more common in 2017 as sophisticated metal materials for 3D printing are refined and gain approval for human contact. By 2019, 3D printing is expected to be a central tool in roughly one-third of surgical procedures involving prosthetic and implanted devices.i

2. Increased use of 3D visualisation and augmented reality for surgery - In 2016, two of the most intricate surgical practices, ophthalmology and neurology, began experimenting with 3D visual representations of their patients enabling them to operate more effectively and efficiently while also giving medical trainees a clear picture of what they're doing. Augmented reality glasses that display holographic images of human anatomy could also bring the end of cadaver labs at medical schools. Meanwhile virtual reality is also being used to accelerate behaviour change in patients in a way that is safer, more convenient, and more accessible.ii

3. Artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analysis and machine learning are developing in new areas - AI is starting to demonstrate the kind of impact it can have in medicine from accurately interpreting patient records including pathology slides, x-rays, skin lesions and scientific literature. These highly advanced AI systems are capable of employing deep learning algorithms to sort through massive amounts of structured and unstructured data to automatically detect, diagnose and suggest treatments regimes for medical conditions. There are numerous start-up companies working on AI applications in healthcare, with the engagement of the major technology companies who have all made major investments in this the space. A recent 60 Minutes US news segment suggested that AI could find an evidence-based therapy for 30 per cent of patients with cancer that was not identified by their oncologists.iii

4. Blockchain is starting to transform healthcare - blockchain can help organisations bridge traditional data silos, dramatically increase IT and organisational efficiencies, keep business and medical data secure, and streamline patients’ access to medical data. Blockchain offers "long data" as opposed to big data, capturing a full history of a patient's health. A 2016 IBM survey of 200 healthcare executives in 16 countries found that 16 per cent expect to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale in 2017. These companies expect the greatest blockchain benefits in three areas: clinical trial records, regulatory compliance, and medical/health records. They also anticipate widespread business model innovation but believe that regulatory constraints will keep new competitors and models in check.

5. Diabetes drugs and advanced monitoring technology will reduce complications and improve the management of diabetes - Experts predict 2017 could bring a shift in the medicines prescribed and ways of managing type 2 diabetes. Glucose sensing technology is advancing, moving away from low-tech finger pricks of the past to continuous glucose monitoring where a sensor is placed beneath the diabetic’s skin in the abdomen region and could dramatically reduce spikes in glucose levels. These monitoring technologies then link to medication administration devices, and often utilise mobile apps for sharing readings with physician as well as caregivers.iv

6. Drones, will play an increasingly important role in bringing medical care to people in emergencies - helping to link remote communities with distant clinics, and delivering blood, vaccines and other medical products and patient samples to and from regional hospitals.v For example a drone could transport an emergency medical kit along with say smart ‘glasses’ to people stranded in hard to reach places. A person attending the injured individual can then connect to a remote physician who can see the scene and guide treatment until paramedics get there. Another example is a drone that can transport patient samples or medical supplies over distances, using a drone that is fully automated, taking off, flying to its destination, and landing all on its own. This is already happening in Madagascarvi, but regulatory restrictions in many parts of the world don’t yet permit autonomous flying devices.

7. Gamification will come into its own as a healthcare tool - The 2016 worldwide phenomenon, Pokemon Go, showed how a game could be used to encourage people to get outside and become more active. This success is likely to lead to new ‘video games’ being used in 2017 to impact on people’s behaviors and actions. For example, creating healthcare-facing games that feel like, actual video games, can make rehabilitation exercises fun or simulate surgery functions.

8. Liquid biopsies will improve cancer detection and measurement of treatment responses - Analysing tumor genetics is enabling the development of targeted cancer drugs and ushering in the era of less toxic “precision” medicine. More specifically "liquid biopsies” are blood tests that uncover signs of highly abundant cell-free circulating tumor DNA which is shed from a tumor into the bloodstream.vii Several companies are developing testing kits expected to hit the market in 2017. Liquid biopsies are also hailed as a flagship technology of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, a national effort across the US aimed at ending cancer.viii It remains to be seen whether a liquid biopsy will provide accurate detection, but the benefits over solid tissue biopsy include being less expensive and risky.

9. The microbiome will be used to prevent, diagnose and treat disease - the human microbiome is a community of trillions of bacteria, archaea, viruses and other microbes that are an integral for human physiology, including supporting vitamin production and helping provide an efficient immune response. However, unlike their fixed genome, people’s microbiome changes constantly, in response to changes in their environment. Scientific advances during the past fifteen years, among them the Human Microbiome Project, increased our understanding of the interaction between people and their microbiome. Biotech companies are increasingly looking at the microbiome's potential to develop new diagnostics or therapies and probiotic products to prevent microbe imbalances. Over the next 12 months the microbiome is likely to establish itself as one of the health care industry's most promising markets.ix

10. Use of Point-of-care (POC) diagnostics will accelerate - The growth of boundary-less hospitals and community care is increasing the need for rapid results outside of the clinical setting. Key factors include the increasing prevalence of lifestyle and infectious diseases and a move towards home healthcare. 70 per cent of POC testing takes place in provider locations and experts predict this will grow at an average of 15.5 per cent each year.x POC testing delivers precision medicine that will both improve quality and affordability of care at a time when outcomes-based medicine is the new model for healthcare. Providing faster access to test results expedites speed of diagnosis and treatment and can reduce unnecessary hospital associated costs. The ability of POC to rapidly and inexpensively diagnose a significant number of infectious diseases is increasing, with the list now including HIV, human papillomavirus and influenza , to name but a few.

11. Demand for surgical, rehabilitation, and hospital robots will continue to rise - Driven by declining costs, labour shortages, and successful pilot projects; healthcare robots deployed in the years ahead will be involved in surgery, hospital logistics, disinfection, nursing, exoskeletal rehabilitation and prosthetic limbs. Forecasts suggest that healthcare robot shipments will increase from approximately 3,400 units sold annually in 2016, to more than 10,500 units per year by 2021, representing an increase in revenues from $1.7 billion to £2.1 billion over the same time period.xi

12. The adoption of telemedicine will be mainstreamed - with an explosion in easy-to-use, clinical grade, consumer-facing devices that allow patients to administer readings on themselves and which can then be used (and trusted) by care providers. These advances in consumer-facing medical devices will increase the quality of care that is able to be delivered via these remote systems. Telemedicine also allows those who are homebound and/or geographically isolated, to obtain access to the medical attention they need.

While predicting the future is by its nature challenging, one thing all the above predictions have in common is that the developments are made possible by the advances in technology and the emergence of new collaborations and partnerships.

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ECRI: Top 10 Healthcare Innovations

ECRI: Top 10 Healthcare Innovations | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

New technologies are made available with a view to improving patient care as well as reducing costs. For healthcare executives, deciding what to bring into their hospitals – and what to keep out – may not be easy.

 

"Navigating new technologies is one of the biggest challenges we hear about from hospital leaders," according to Robert P. Maliff, director of Applied Solutions Group, ECRI Institute. "They simply can't afford to miss the mark on which clinical advancements to bring in to improve patient care."

 

ECRI has released its annual "Top 10 Hospital C-suite Watch List" that can serve as a guide for hospital leaders in making tough decisions about new and emerging technologies in 2017 and beyond. The list draws upon ECRI's nearly 50 years of experience evaluating and providing technical assistance on the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of health technologies.

 

The topics and tech ECRI found will affect care delivery over the next 12-18 months:

 

1. Liquid biopsies. These are a genetic testing mechanism that uses a patient's blood, plasma, serum or urine, instead of biopsied tissue. Liquid biopsies are easier to obtain and are less risky for the patient. The FDA approved the first liquid biopsy for cancer in June 2016.

 

2. Genetic testing and biosensors for opioid addiction. Genetic tests can help identify individuals at the greatest risk for opioid addiction. Current tests aren't ready for wide use, but are in the pipeline. Also, biosensors (worn like wristwatches) can detect relapse episodes for opioid addicts using skin temperature, electrodermal activity and movement.

 

3. Abdominal surgery initiative. Initiatives that include a web-based, risk-assessment algorithm and patient coaching can prevent poor outcomes and reduce costs of patients facing major abdominal surgery.

 

4. Horizon scanners. Organisations should designate a leader to conduct tests and future planning on technology developments and care processes, as a way to better make decisions on infrastructure, equipment purchases and predict inpatient cases.

 

5. Ultraviolet-C LEDs for disinfection. This latest LED option comes in strips and emits UV-C light with the greatest germicidal effect – and efficient use of power. Developers are also working on sanitising wands and UV disinfecting cabinets for mobile devices.

 

6. AI. The humanoid robot Pepper can interpret human body language and read emotion to respond accordingly to the user, evolving as it learns the person. It can also be programmed to fit an environment.

 

7. Robotic surgery. The latest surgical robot model is designed for complex surgeries. It boasts four robotic arms attached overhead that can be repositioned without the need to undock the robot. It communicates with a new type of OR table, which allows for automatic repositioning.

 

8. Fluorescent endoscopic imaging. Indocyanine green imaging highlights malignant tissue during an endoscopy that is normally undetectable under regular light, making it easier for physicians to distinguish malignant tumours from healthy tissue.

 

9. Immunotherapy and stem cell therapy for Crohn's disease. Ovasave, a new, personalised T-cell immunotherapy, uses antigen-specific regulatory T-cells generated by in vitro exposure to ovalbumin to treat patients with refractory Crohn's.

 

10. Type 1 diabetes vaccines. There are two types of these vaccines: a therapeutic vaccine to slow or stop the autoimmune attack on insulin-producing islet cells for patients with some residual islet function, and a preventative vaccine to create immune tolerance of islet cells in children with an increased genetic risk of developing the disease.

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