In my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine coming out this August, I’ll feature plenty of analyses of the potential dangers we will all have to face due to new technologies. There will be new diseases because of the excessive use of virtual reality applications and it will be a real challenge to persuade people not to live an entirely virtual life.
A new article on Techcrunch, Immersive Infections, features some of these threats with a focus on augmented and virtual reality. It’s worth running over the examples it comes up with in order to prepare for the threats of the next few years.
One of the key components of Augmented Reality (AR) tech is its ability to facilitate interaction with the real world in new ways. This means that in order to provide digital content overlayed on the real world, these devices require the use of cameras.
A camera attached to an AR device that is attached to you can be a very dangerous thing. Consider if you will, malware that can use said camera to take pictures during a user’s most private times. These instances are never meant to be seen by the public, but by using the connections to social media these devices will no doubt have available, a cyber criminal can post these pictures onto the user’s social media whenever they want. Of course the most likely scenario would be if the user refused to pay a ransom.
I just heard the news that the first fully digital (entirely paperless) hospital will open in Abu Dhabi in 2015. The clinic worked with experts from the famous Cleveland Clinic, the No. 4 ranked best hospital in the United States. This might be a good step towards changing the hospital experience not only for professionals working there but more importantly for patients to make it a place where they go to re-energize themselves.
“The fact that a unified medical record is going to exist will provide seamless communication, which means there is an opportunity for us to communicate back and forth with the main campus and elsewhere in the healthcare system, without having the patient have the responsibility of carrying paper,” Harrison was quoted in the article as saying.
The 13-storey LEED Gold-Certified facility in Al Maryah Island will have five Centers of Excellence: Heart & Vascular Institute, Digestive Disease Institute, Eye Institute, Neurological Institute, and Respiratory & Critical Care Institute, according to anEmirates 24/7 article. It will have 364 beds, five clinical floors, three treatment and diagnostic levels, 26 operating rooms, and 13 floors of acute and critical care units.
There has been a long debate whether people would want to get the right diagnosis and the best treatment from human caregivers or algorithms/programs providing the same quality. Every round table or discussion group I have ever been the member of concluded that people need people in interaction and communication, especially when they are vulnerable. However, there is nothing to make us believe there won’t be an algorithm that can diagnose a disease better than a human doctor.
To make this issue even more complicated, new research found patients are more likely to respond honestly to personal questions when talking to a virtual human.
“The power of VH (virtual human) interviewers to elicit more honest responding comes from the sense that no one is observing or judging,” note the researchers, led by Gale Lucas of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. People have a strong tendency to want to look good in front of others, including doctors; this problematic tendency can be short-circuited using this high-tech tool.
If you think this is something we don’t have to deal with yet, try to convince yourself that the chatbot you are talking with is not a human. Coming up with the right questions to prove that is a good exercise before the era of artifical intelligence. Here are some examples, but not all of these links work all the time.
I’ve been featuring the wearable health trackers I use on a daily basis and I was glad to see and amazingly detailed analysis of all these biosensing wearables on the website of Rock Health. The number of trackers has been rising for the past months faster than ever before, therefore the real challenge is to choose which one to use for what purpose. The ultimate goal is to track meaningful health parameters constanly without feeling the disadvantages of wearing a device no matter how small or smart it is.
It’s a crowded market, but there’s a growing tail of opportunity for biosensing wearables. We’re also pretty confident this space will continue to develop as tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Googlestart playing in the sandbox.
By the way, you can browse among these trackers in the database of Amazon.com.
In this edition of my series about wearable health trackers that I use, I have already described Tinké, AliveCor and Withings. Now let me share my experience with the Pebble smartwatch. This smartwatch got famous by being successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter. Mine was shipped this April and since then, I still haven’t been able to discover all its functionalities and the possibilities it provides. The reason behind that is the app store of Pebble full of great applications. Due to its own system, developers can create applications specifically designed for the Pebble.
This way, I have these apps right now:
- I can control music on my smartphone from the Pebble.
- I get notifications about e-mails, phone calls or text messages (I don’t have to keep my phone in front of me during meetings any more).
- Pedometer measuring the number of steps I take.
- Morpheuz is waking me up at the best time.
- 7-min workout guides me to a healthy morning exercise.
- Compass (never know when it comes handy).
Its success truly depends on how rich the community of apps can become soon.
Among negative examples, I could mention that its screen is black and white; only a few apps can be added to the watch, although the battery life is amazingly long.
After weeks of rumors about Apple launching a health initiative then getting much less than expected, now Google is said to launch a new health tracking platform called Google Fit.
Not to be left behind by Apple, Google could soon launch its own health-tracking platform for mobile devices. Forbes reports that the search giant is working on a new service, tentatively called Google Fit, which will pull in data from third-party fitness wearables and health apps and combine them into one central app. It’s not known if Fit will be delivered as a standalone app or come embedded inside future versions of Android, but it would likely operate as Google-made version of Apple’s HealthKit, a service that lets companies like Nike feed in fitness data, and Samsung’s own fitness framework, SAMI.
I’ve been writing about the potentials Google Glass might have in healthcare (see the list below the image) and now here is a great article describing some examples and medical specialties that could benefit from using it the most.
- Wound care
- Intensive Care
- Emergency Response
I would definitely add medical education to the list. Now students don’t have to look over the shoulder of the surgeon but actually can watch what the surgeon is really seeing right now on huge HD screens.
Here are some other articles dedicated to this issue:
Over the last months, there have been a lot of speculations about the next step Apple might take in healthcare, but to be honest, expectations were too high. The HealthKit Apple announced this week is an app measuring a few physical activities and the inclusion of other health trackers such as Nike Fuelband, Withings or Fitbit into the system.
Analysts expected to see a smartwatch measuring plenty of health parameters in an innovative way. Maybe next time.
Health will be able to source some user activity data in newer iOS devices, thanks to Apple’s M7 motion-tracking chip. But it will also tie into other quantified self-tracking apps and devices, and combine their data into one slick new user interface. Apple exec Craig Federighi mentioned Nike and the Mayo Clinic as partners, but more third-party developers will likely participate.
The rumors have been around for some time now and today, Apple might announce a new product called Healthbook that focuses on tracking health. We will see! Stay tuned!
Apple will put on its big show at its world wide developers conferenceon Monday, and you can expect it to take the opportunity to introduce its long-rumored health and fitness app and platform, “Healthbook.”