People have been thinking about the potential ways Google Glass could be used in medicine and healthcare. Even though it will probably be bad for your eyes, early testers seemed to love using it and didn’t feel it would distract them from anything. A few examples how it could be used in the future:
- Displaying the patient’s electronic medical records real-time.
- Assisting the doctor in making the diagnosis with evidence-based and relevant information from the medical literature.
- Recording every operation and procedure from the doctors perspective. Every movement of doctors will be archived and screened for potential mistakes. (I know it’s harsh.)
- Based on the lab tests of the patient, it will give an estimated prognosis and suggest next steps in the treatment.
- Live consultations with colleagues as they will be able to see what I see live.
- It will guide users through all the steps during an emergency situation. It could save lives if used by laypeople.
- It will suggest treatment plans based on the patient’s genomic data.
Hopefully, Google Glass will not be only a smartphone attached to our glasses:
Such mobile technologies will make a much more significant impact on the practice of medicine than any smartphone applications so far. Fujitsu’s Generation walking stick that features GPS technology to track and monitor users was a big hit at the recent Mobile World Congress, just to come up with one example.
But what about the company that could revolutionize the use of mobile phones in healthcare? Apple is working on iWatch, a smart watch that could be used for consultations, as a pager or even for displaying fresh lab test results from the patients. While it can be a hit as well, I’m pretty sure Google Glass will rule this market for some time.
Moreover, imagine all these technologies with IBM Watson being the brain behind them. It seems Watson will eventually fit on a smartphone and diagnose illness. If Watson could be used by Google Glass, iWatch or any other disruptive mobile technologies, even though medical professionals will have to go through the traditional educational systems, the revolution of the practice of medicine will be imminent.
After reaching my childhood dream of becoming a geneticist, I decided to make a brave change in my academic career and started discovering the steps needed to become a medical futurist. There is no clear path or course for that, therefore I try to reveal more and more information about this exciting journey in this series of blog entries.
After giving a talk about how I have been using social media for medical purposes as a geek doctor at the recent FutureMed course at NASA campus organized by the Singularity University, I was very much surprised that the audience seemed to be quite surprised by the whole range of opportunities social media can provide in medicine. It became clear for me, my job as a medical futurist is not only facilitating the adoption of digital and disruptive technologies in the practice of medicine and healthcare, but I must put a special emphasis on social media.
I think this intention was also made clear in the reviews I wrote about the future of medicine (Key Trends in the Future of Medicine: E-Patients, Communication and Technology & 15 Predictions in Healthcare, Technology and Innovation for 2013).
It’s good to see my mission that clearly, but the steps ahead of me are still mysterious which makes the journey even more exciting. In this quest, my next task is to digest a few amazing must-have books for futurists:
The next step should be the comparison of the methodologies I have used as a genome researcher and the ones I should use now as a futurist. The point from which you become a futurist is also very interesting to cover.
Steps taken so far:
The Dutch Parkinson Charity wanted to ride the social media wave around the Harlem Shake phenomenon and created a video in which the leader of the charity didn’t take his medications to show its effect on his movements.
I must say this is a clever way of using social media to promote something very important related to health.
I’m a geek and you know how much I support the inclusion of digital technologies in medicine, healthcare and medical education. At the same time, I always highlight the fact that doctors will be needed for practicing medicine, robots cannot do their job. I know Vinod Khosla thinks otherwise.
Now, after watching the video demonstration of how Watson could help a clinician, I have doubts about a future. We will see how it gets integrated in everyday medicine. I support the IBM Watson project very much, but I hope medical professionals, humans, will always play the major role in the practice of medicine.
See also the Medgadget report.
It’s an honor to serve my second year as a member of the Advisory Board of The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. Let’s work together for a better healthcare worldwide with the help of social media.
The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media exists to improve health globally by accelerating effective application of social media tools throughout Mayo Clinic and spurring broader and deeper engagement in social media by hospitals, medical professionals and patients.
I’ve come across a very interesting service, Facewa.sh, that offers to wash all the non-desirable content from your social media accounts. It says after graduation, a professional life should start with erasing all the party photos and other materials.
While I agree with its mission, it should be performed by medical professionals themselves; and I teach medical students how to avoid such potential problems in time.
Now it only works with Facebook, in details, this way:
- FaceWash™ will perform a search and return results in conceptual chunks, for example “Comments posted on your wall” and “Links that you have liked.”
- Each result has a blue, clickable link that takes you directly to the post. There you can delete or privatize your post as desired.
- Welcome to the cleanest Face you’ve ever had on Facebook.
Yesterday, I had a chance to participate in a webinar about mobile solutions in healthcare organized by the team of Doctors 2.0 and You and Pharmaphorum. It was a vibrant discussion and I hope you will enjoy listening to that!
Everyone has heard about the new Graph Search function on Facebook. It says “Want to start a book club or find a gym buddy? Connect with friends who like the same activities—and meet new people, too.” It will let Facebook users do searches by choosing different parameters (e.g. who goes to the same gym as me and is single).
Well, many bloggers are optimistic about this launch and think it will be used in medicine too. I don’t think so and everyone should hope I’ll be right. It’s fun to identify friends in my community who I share the same multiple interests with (e.g. sci-fi and reading books), but the same concept in medicine just should not work. Here are examples what Michael Spitz came up with:
- “What do my friends think about HIV?”
- “Do any of my friends have erectile dysfunction?”
- “Have any of my friends had a bad reaction to taking Drug X?”
- “What do you think about Dr. Y?”
- “How was your stay at hospital Z?”
Only a minority of Facebook users would add the medical conditions they have to their profile; or publish a post about a side effect of a new drug they are taking. As such data would not be added to Facebook, it will not be used for search. Moreover, if Facebook makes it clear to my friends which gym I go to, that’s OK as far as this is within the privacy borders I set; but making clear which conditions I have or which drugs I take is just not the function I expect from a social networking site.
WolframAlpha works fine because data are added in a professional, anonymous and structured way. See all the medical examples they have.
There are other platforms such as Yandex Wonder doing the same as Facebook Graph but in a much better quality and with much more data (its access to Facebook was blocked when Facebook Graph was released, what a “coincidence”). But it still might not be used for medical purposes.
So expect to see this kind of search engines in the near future, but hopefully this new feature will not breach the privacy of patients and doctors on Facebook.
Designers dreamed up what the future of medical records will be like. You might remember when Wired reported the blood test makeover. It is inevitable to create medical records that can be better interpreted not only by patients but medical professionals as well.
The practical concerns pointed out by the study include ease of use and ability to share information across systems. But another important metric — the corollary to questions like Would You Want to See Everything Your Doctor Writes About You?” — is, What would you, the patient, do with that information provided you were granted access?
The federal government took the Department of Veterans Affairs’ current record system, which “looks and feels like a receipt,” and challenged designers to reimagine the Continuity of Care Document, an EMR output used to describe a patient’s health history.
Pew Internet Research published its new findings about online health. Here are the most important results:
1 in 3 U.S. adults use the internet to diagnose themselves or someone else – and a clinician is more likely than not to confirm their suspicions.
1 in 4 people looking online for health info have hit a pay wall.
11% of internet users have looked online for information about how to control their health care costs.
14% of internet users have looked online for information about caring for an aging relative or friend.
16% of internet users have looked online for information about a drug they saw advertised.