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Posts from the ‘Google’ Category

20 Predictions in Medicine And Healthcare for 2014: From DIY Biotech to Mind-Controlled Exoskeletons

Every January, I publish my predictions for the upcoming year regarding medicine and healthcare. Usually, the majority of these predictions turn out to be valid later on, although I prefer calling them apparent trends rather than actual predictions. Here are my 20 points for 2014.

1) Google Glass to be used in everyday healthcare: Google Glass has shown its potentials as demonstrated by forward-thinking medical professionals such as Lucien Engelen, Christian Assad and Rafael Grossmann, even the first clinical study came out focusing on the use of Glass in the clinic in 2013. Prepare to see the first real practical examples in 2014.

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2) IBM Watson’s first commercial use by hospitals: IBM’s supercomputer has been tested by US clinics for months and it has proven its validity and value in medical decision-making processes. The first hospitals that make their doctors understand that Watson does not replace them, instead, it assists them, will buy the service in 2014.

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3) Direct-to-consumer genomics to get new rules: The recent story about the FDA and 23andMe demonstrated how insufficient the regulation around DTC genomic testing is, therefore it is time to come up with standards that only the best services can achieve. By standard I mean the FDA should make sure only companies with deep scientific knowledge and expertise get the permission to perform genomic analysis online. Now it’s certainly not the case.

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4) 3D printing artificial limbs and biomaterials goes mainstream: We have already seen some great examples when artificial limbs and different types of biomaterials such as kidney or heart tissues were printed out in 3D but in 2014 this industry becomes mainstream with the first home 3D printers in the market.

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5) The healthcare experience will be brought to the home: See the recently published “doctor chair” that can measure a user’s blood pressure, pulse, temperature, body motion, and other vital signs just by having the user sit in the chair as an example and expect more similar solutions which will, by time, make hospitals almost useless as we will measure everything about ourselves at home.

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6) LEGO Mindstorms to be applied for DIY biotech: The amazing concept behind LEGO Mindstorms that teach you how to build an actual robot at home could be applied to the biotech industry with people growing cells and performing even simpler biotech tasks at home resulting in a new generation of scientists.

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7) Home diagnostics to be the key trend: Not only Scanadu will ship the first prototypes early 2014, but other similar devices with which patients can measure simple health parameters at home will become available.

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8) Wearable MRI technology: What if we could use radiology imaging without those huge machines? A Swiss group has been working on a wearable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detector and sensor arrays. It would vanish long waiting lists and allow medical professionals to literally see through the patient in emergency situations.

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9) Optogenetics to be featured at major scientific journals: I’ve been following the latest developments related to optogenetics and I was amazed when scientists were able to create false memories in the hippocampus of mice which was the first time fear memory was generated via artificial means. We might see even more studies that will put its potential implications on display.

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10) Bigger role of MOOCs as medical schools change approach about digital literacy: By the time the majority of medical schools worldwide realize the potential and importance of teaching digital literacy for future medical professionals, we will need more and more massive open online courses such as The Social MEDia Course to serve their needs and train a new generation of doctors.

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11) More connected digital healthcare devices and services: This should be one of the key trends this year as for the last years, we have been seeing plenty of great solutions either as medical devices or unique online services, but the connectivity has been a major issue. John Nosta featured the imperative of connectivity in his recent Forbes column.

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12) The first steps of Google Calico to be public: When Larry Page announced the launch of Calico, their new venture focusing on reversing and stopping the process of aging and related diseases, nobody knew what to expect. They will announce the first steps in 2014 led by the former CEO of life sciences giant Genentech and a chairman at Apple.

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13) EEG controlled devices to appear: There have been little games available on Amazon which let you control a ball with your “mind”, but what about those devices that really use your thoughts to control things? I’ve used myself a wheelchair which was controlled by thoughts and will meet soon the team behind SynetIQ, a platform for neuromarketing.

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14) Exoskeletons will be featured worldwide: We have been talking about the potential use of exoskeletons for disabled people but this year the technology will become available for the masses. Also related to the EEG controlled devices, a mind-controlled exoskeleton will kick off the 2014 football World Cup watched by billions of people.

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15) First really useful food scanners to be released: While there are thousands of wearable devices and smartphone apps focusing on fitness, what about a healthy diet? Using a simple meal diary makes no significant change in a lifestyle. The device of a Toronto-based company, Tellspec, detects allergens, chemicals and nutrients in your food. We could also link such data to our own genomic background to make the truly best diet choices.tellspec-17

16) Gamifying the healthy lifestyle: HapiFork measures whether you eat properly, a smart bra spots cancer in time; FitBit, Shine and hundreds of wearable devices were meant to help us live a healthy life by measuring our health parameters/lifestyle and gamifying the steps required for making positive changes.

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17) Finally remote touch and simpler data input become possible: The technology behind designing touchscreens that can work on any surfaces has made crucial steps in the past 2 years therefore it’s time to make simple data input possible. Omnitouch seems to be a valid player in this area.

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18) Nanotechnology to be included in the medical curriculum: For years, nanotechnology has presented the potentials of using nanotech devices in treating diseases, but as bombing cancer cells and using less invasive diagnostics became possible in 2013, we can expect to see nanotech-based clinical trials soon which also means we must teach students about such solutions..

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19) Decision on newborn genome sequencing to be made: Although the recent FDA vs 23andme debate prolonged this, certain countries (mainly in Asia) might start providing newborn babies with their own genome sequences at birth. The decline of the cost of sequencing and the rise of genome centers in Chine could be the key factors in this.

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20) First results of Ray Kurzweil’s work at Google to be revealed: One of the most exciting collaborations of recent years is Google hiring Kurzweil to create the first artificial intelligence brain. While no details about his actual work have been released so far, 2014 could be the year when they present at least a roadmap, if not real results.

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Glassomics: Developing Medical Applications for Google Glass

I’ve been watching closely the developments related to the use of Google Glass in medicine. Once I wrote that start-ups focusing on Google Glass and medicine should be able to join accelerators and incubators. Fortunately, this step has been taken as Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life teamed up to build an incubator for developers called Glassomics.

Here is a video describing what Glassomics can do:

The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Download the White Paper with Infographic

Being a medical futurist means I work on bringing disruptive technologies to medicine & healthcare; assisting medical professionals and students in using these in an efficient and secure way; and educating e-patients about how to become equal partners with their caregivers.

Based on what we see in other industries, this is going to be an exploding series of changes and while redesigning healthcare takes a lot of time and efforts, the best we can do is to prepare all stakeholders for what is coming next. That was the reason behind creating The Guide to the Future of Medicine white paper which you can download for free.

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Please use the Twitter hashtag #MedicalFuture for giving feedback.

In the white paper, there is an infographic featuring the main trends that shape the future of medicine visualized from 3 perspectives:

  1. Which stage of the delivery of healthcare and the practice of medicine is affected by that (Prevent & Prepare; Data Input & Diagnostics; Therapy & Follow-up; and Outcomes & Consequences);
  2. Whether it affects patients or healthcare professionals;
  3. The practicability of it (already available – green boxes; in progress – orange boxes; and still needs time – red boxes)

Click here to see the infographic in the original size.

Guide to the Future of Medicine Infographic

I hope you will find the guide useful in your work or in preparing your company and colleagues for the future of medicine.

6 Reasons Why I Wish I Was a Medical Student Now

When I was a medical student between 2003 and 2009, I studied from mostly old books, I didn’t have access to much e-learning materials or lectures from other medical schools; it was particularly hard to collaborate with fellow medical students worldwide in the early days.

Now, we are living extraordinary times and when I realized I wish I was a medical student these days, I thought I would share my reasons for that.

1) Social Media:

The networks I’ve been creating in my fields of interest on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and the blogosphere are capable of filtering the most relevant news for me; helping me crowdsource complicated clinical/scientific questions; or provide me with updates and news every single day. Practically, I have access to a global community including the key people in my area and I can ask them questions and collaborate with them without borders. Moreover, I could learn about these pretty easily.

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2) Studying Through Gamification:

I hated studying texts and data by heart without proper reasoning and logics behind that, but in many cases, that’s what the curriculum required from me. Instead, I prefer studying through serious diagnostic games such as the ones published by NerdCore Medical. I just received the Healing Blade card game that teaches infectious diseases; and the Occam’s Razor that is a real diagnostic card game.

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3) Improving Cognitive Skills:

For the last 3 weeks, I’ve been using Lumosity to improve my cognitive skills in many areas from flexibility and problem solving to memory and speed. The change has been incredible. I found out I can learn things faster and do multi-tasking even more efficiently by learning new methods and solutions.

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4) Gathering Information:

It has never been so easy to gather the information you need in an automatic way. I’m subscribed to over 400 medical RSS feeds and check news on Feedly, PeRSSonalized Medicine keeps my up-to-date, I have automatic Google Alerts for different search queries from my name to my field of interest; I get papers from Pubmed by e-mail; my citations are automatically sent to me by Google Scholar and I could go on for hours how much relevant information I receive every day without spending time and efforts on websites.

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5) Organizing Tasks in the Cloud:

For the last 4 years, a detailed and color coded Google Document has been helping me organize my tasks, projects, papers, publications and presentations in a perfectly precise way. I don’t have to take notes on paper or on different smartphones, but everything related to my work is in one document stored in the cloud.

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6) Using Gadgets:

I use a Shine to track my physical activities, I use AliveCor for measuring ECG and there are more and more medical gadgets on the way which will play a major role in the near future of healthcare. I would have a chance now to learn how to use them because by the time I should start practicing medicine and patients would bring their data through these, it would be late.

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I hope today’s medical students realize these potentials and leverage their power.

 

Google Glass Keeps On Rocking Healthcare: But For How Long?

Since the launch of Google Glass, I’ve been closely following updates and developments related to healthcare and medicine. It seems clinicians worldwide can leverage its potentials but there is a long way to go to reach wide clinical adoption. A few concepts have to be taken into consideration:

  • Healthcare institutions should be open to experimenting with it (and determine privacy and legal issues). Test drives such as the one in Hartford Hospital are needed.
  • Medical professionals should deal with patient privacy and put evidence behind using it in practice.
  • Patients should be clearly informed if Glass is used in their care.
  • Moreover, start-ups focusing on Google Glass and medicine should be able to join accelerators and incubators. Fortunately, this step has been taken as Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life teamed up to build an incubator for developers called Glassomics.
  • All the stakeholders should watch the sporadic examples (see the links in this post).

Here are 3 examples how Google Glass could be used in medicine and healtchare:

1) It could be used in emergency situations. While you are performing CPR, it could call the ambulance to your GPS location.

 

2) The Radboud REshape & Innovation Center launched a Flickr group so they can share the photos they take while experimenting with Glass in the OR.

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3) Stanford medical doctor, Abraham Verghese, started using it because he can now make videos about patient examination for his medical students.

Glass has many a potential use in education, of course, although there’s going to be a number of concerns about its privacy implications when it comes to sensitive information like a real-world patient’s medical data.

Google Glass in the OR and in Medical Education: Becoming a Disruptive Technology

It’s not the first time I say Google Glass can be the biggest hit in medical technology this yeas, and now as the number of good examples is still rising, it’s becoming more and more evident. Here are a few cases and experiments.

Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS had a pilot project with this team about the use of Google Glass in medical education. Here is his summary:

We worked in three basic forms; first, a critical care LoM RN, emergently treating a patient and requesting advice from a remote GoogleGlass Surgeon. The second scenario involved the G-Glass Surgeon, remotely teaching a procedure to a group of students (PA’s, medical students and EMS students); here, the instructor is hands-free, concentrating on the actual procedure and the different steps to make it easy for the students to learn. The third one was a clinical situation where a request for advice was placed to a remote GoogleGlass cardiologist, my good friend and colleague, glass Explorer pioneer Dr. Christian Assad (@Christianassad), whom was able to give his expertise to the provider in need, from a remote location, wearing GoogleGlass in a Hang-out. Unfortunately, When Dr. Assad gives his advice to the me through GoogleGlass, you are not able to appreciate that on the video, since the audio comes to the GoogleGlass user by the way of bone conductivity.

And the videos:

It seems there are serious technical issues, but that’s always the case with disruptive technologies.

Lucien Engelen and his team at REshape created a video that shows what a regular patient-doctor interaction would look like with the Google Glass and what additional features it could add to the process:

Just one more thing. Get prepared for more and more applications/services based on Google Glass. I recently came across GlassFit that guides you safely through a circuit of workouts while helping you keep track of your full set of workouts. We can also expect to see more and more examples when patients use it in their health management.

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If the majority of the technical issues related to the use of Google Glass can be worked out, it’s going to be a real hit in medical technology. I cannot wait to get mine and test it in medical education.

 

Operation is Recorded with Google Glass!

I’ve been in contact with Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS for years on Twitter and Google+ and we first met at Futuremed where we discussed the potential opportunities of using Google Glass in the OR, then he let me try his Glass at the recent Doctors 2.0 and You in Paris. And now the great news, he had a chance to do an operation while wearing his Google Glass.

By performing and documenting this event, I wanted to show that this device and its platform, are certainly intuitive tools that have a great potential in Healthcare, and specifically for surgery, could allow better intra-operative consultations, surgical mentoring and potentiate remote medical education, in a very simple way.

The patient involved needed a feeding tube (Gastrostomy) and we chose to placed it endoscopically, with a procedure called PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy. You can Google that to learn more…). Being the first time, I wanted to do this during a simple and commonly performed  procedure, to make sure that my full attention was not diverted from taking excellent care of the patient.

Just imagine the future of operations being recorded with Google Glass and the videos will be checked for potential mistakes not by people but by IBM Watson supercomputer.

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