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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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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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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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