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Posts from the ‘Future’ Category

10 Promising Technologies Assisting the Future of Medicine

Ray Kurzweil says technology is improving at an exponential rate. Peter Thiel says technological innovations couldn’t live up to the expectations. There are plenty of philosophies and schools of thought, but regarding the future of medicine, only two things are certain.

Technology will not solve the problems that healthcare faces globally today. And the human touch alone is not enough any more, therefore a new balance is needed between using disruptive innovations but still keeping the human interaction between patients and caregivers. Here are 10 technologies and trends that could enable this.

You can read the whole article on my Kinja page.

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Five Expectations For Physicians About The Future of Medicine

The waves of technological changes coming towards us will generate new possibilities as well as serious threats to medicine and healthcare. Every stakeholder must prepare for these changes in order to reach a balance between using disruptive technologies in medicine and keeping the human touch.

I remain confident that it is still possible to establish that balance and there are reasons not only for patients but also for physicians to look forward to the next few years in medicine. Here are 5 of them.

1) Finally focus on patients

Technology is not against physicians and algorithms are not designed to replace them. Instead, by using efficient and simple technologies in the practice, physicians will finally have time and energy to focus on the patients.

Looking into their eyes while inputting data with augmented reality (Google Glass or digital contact lenses); listening to patients instead of trying to find the right information (as IBM Watson provides that already); and having access to all the devices that are needed to provide a good care (smartphones serving as biosensor packages). What is it if not a great prospect?

2) Avoid burning out

With supercomputers being used in medical decision making; physicians having skills related to digital literacy; using intuitive IT solutions that make it simple to input, export and move around data just like how children today use touchscreen devices; and getting access to the medical information they actually need, hours can be saved every week.

With less effort and time, they will be able to provide more care for their patients. This way, patient reward becomes an essential part again in the process of practicing medicine helping caregivers avoid burning out.

3) Use data that patients collect

The wearable revolution in health peaking this year gives patients the chance to take care of their own health, thus measure health parameters that have only been available and accessible in the ivory tower of medicine.

By bringing this data to the doctor visit, they can save time and effort, moreover, a true partnership between them can be established. As devices become better, cheaper and more efficient, physicians can soon start encouraging their patients to measure parameters relevant to their health and the results will be discussed and used during the next visit.

4) Crowdsource, crowdfund and crowdsolve

With the advances of social media and technologies that give access to these channels, no medical professional should feel alone when dealing with a complicated medical problem of challenge.

If information is needed, it can be crowdsourced; if funding is needed for a new project; it can be crowdfunded; and when a real medical solution is needed, they can find that through an inter-connected network of experts, resources and services.

5) Share responsibility with patients

Although it is now the responsibility of physicians to become the guides for their patients online (that requires new skills), by empowering them, actually responsibility can finally be shared. Medical professionals don’t have to make decisions alone, but in a close partnership with the patient.

But for this, every stakeholder must start preparing in time.

 

Here Is The Bionic Man

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering released a website that features all the technologies and interventions that are being developed in research projects supported by them. It clearly shows how many futuristic developments are already on the way and might be used in practice soon. Here is the list:

  • Robotic leg prosthesis senses a person’s next move and provides powered assistance to achieve a more natural gait.
  • Cartilage regeneration: A light sensitive biogel and biological adhesive help new cartilage grow and become functional.
  • Blood clot emulator can be used to optimize ventricular assist devices to reduce the risk of blood clots.
  • Artificial kidney could be used in place of kidney dialysis for treatment of end-stage kidney disease.
  • Microneedle patch delivers vaccines painlessly and doesn’t require refrigeration.
  • Interstitial pressure sensor could help doctors determine optimal times for delivering chemotherapy/radiation to cancer patients.
  • Glucose-Sensing Contacts could provide a non-invasive solution for continuous blood sugar monitoring.
  • Tongue Drive System helps individuals with severe paralysis navigate their environment using only tongue movements.
  • Wireless Brain-Computer Interface records and transmits brain activity wirelessly and could allow people with paralysis to use their thoughts to control robotic arms or other devices.
  • Implantable Sensors for Prosthesis Control detect nerve signals above a missing limb and can use these signals to move a prosthesis in a more natural way.
  • Synthetic Tissue Adhesive: A synthetic glue modeled after an adhesive found in nature could be used to repair tissues in the body.
  • Opening the Blood Brain Barrier with Ultrasound could be used to temporarily open the blood brain barrier to let gene therapy treatments reach the brain.
  • Flexible Electrodes Record Brain’s Activity from the surface of the brain and could be used to control robotic arms or provide real-time information about brain states.
  • Spinal Stimulation is being used in individuals with paralysis to help restore voluntary movement and other functions.

 

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Medicine in 2064: Video

Daniel Kraft, the Executive Director of Exponential Medicine, shared the main content of his presentations in a few minutes in a video produced by Alger. Enjoy!

The Foreruners of Intel’s Wearable Technology Movement

Intel launched a global year-long initiative under the name Make It Wearable to support the evolution of wearable devices. Students, designers, engineers, and makers got involved in the VISIONARY track and the DEVELOPMENT track. Here are the finalists of the development track.

  • BABYBE is a bionic mattress that keeps mothers and their babies connected through the process of artificial incubation in a NICU.
  • The Wristify band provides natural refreshing cool or soothing warmth on demand.
  • Snowcookie is a wearable device which monitors user’s kinetics and physiology and augments it with crowdsourced ski data to enhance safety, improve technique and connect winter sports enthusiasts.
  • BabyGuard provides smart healthcare for babies before birth to 3 years of age.
  • ProGlove is a professional wearable production tool that enables the user to work faster and easier and opens up a new level in control and business intelligence for production management.
  • BLOCKS is a hardware and software platform for wearable technology.
  • This low-cost robotic prosthetic hand aims to replicate advanced functionality for under $1000.
  • vumbl is a beautiful and discrete sports and activity necklace that monitors information from the body through vibrations, and relays this information back to you using touch.
  • Nixie is the first wearable camera that can fly. First V1sion is a new broadcast system allowing the player’s point of view to be shown in sports, such as basketball, football, tennis, etc.

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QuantuMDx Announces Prototype Handheld DNA Analyzer

At the TEDMED 2014 conference, medical device developers QuantuMDx Group announced the successful production of their first fully-integrated sample-to-result working prototype of Q-POC™, a handheld lab that delivers DNA-based medical diagnosis in minutes. Here is an excerpt from their press release.

With genetic data at their fingertips, frontline healthworkers will be able to provide personalized healthcare, no matter where they are; public health officials will have the information they need to mobilize the right resources to the right place at the right time; researchers will be better equipped to monitor the efficacy of a disease intervention. Due for commercialisation in 2016, Q-POC™ is the Bio-API™ that will make this possible by translating genetic code to binary.”

QuantuMDx Q-POC prototype 72dpi

I used to work with PCR machines in the lab and it sounded like science fiction back then that once the technique could become performed at home.

Jonathan O’Halloran’s WIRED Health talk in which he described the £500 handheld device that tracks disease mutations.

The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch

I see enormous technological changes heading our way. If they hit us unprepared, which we are now, they will wash away the medical system we know and leave it a purely technology–based service without personal interaction. Such a complicated system should not be washed away. Rather, it should be consciously and purposefully redesigned piece by piece. If we are unprepared for the future, then we lose this opportunity. I think we are still in time and it is still possible if an easily digestible and practical guide becomes available.

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I wrote a book “The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch” to prepare everyone for the coming waves of change, to be a guide for the future of medicine that anyone can use. It describes 22 trends and technologies that will shape the future including Augmented Reality, Surgical and Humanoid Robots, Genomics, Body Sensors, The Medical Tricorder, 3D Printing, Exoskeletons, Artificial Intelligence, Nanorobots, Virtual–Digital Brains, The Rise of Recreational Cyborgs or Cryonics and Longevity.

 

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The book made it to the Amazon Top 100 as well!

As described by the foreword from Lucien Engelen, new technologies will finally help medical professionals focus more on the patient as a human being instead of spending time hunting down pertinent information. They will be able to do what they do best: provide care with expertise. In turn, patients will get the chance to be equal partners in this process taking matters into their own hands. But only if we are prepared.

Paperback | Colored paperback | Kindle version

Excerpts from reader reviews:

“This excellent book should be read not only by health care professionals, but also by policy makers, researchers and even patients.”

 

“It is an amazing piece of work! A must read for all interested in what the future -and the present – of medicine has to offer.”

 

“The book is so well executed that I couldn’t put it down. This book provides us with an easy writing style, a simple clear lay-out, and well-chosen photos.”

Please use the #medicalfuture hashtag to discuss the topics depicted by the book.

 

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