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Posts from the ‘Health’ Category

The Future of Diabetes Management: 8 Reasons Why We Face Extraordinary Times!

Around 400 million patients have diabetes worldwide according to estimations. And over the last few years, diabetes management has been improving but due to the new technologies and devices coming to the market very soon, the whole management of diabetes will significantly change in the coming years. Let me show you some examples how.

Digital Contact Lenses

Google has an augmented reality glass called the Google Glass which they just stopped developing, but they also patented a digital contact lens through which we can get more information from the digital world plus it can measure blood glucose levels from tears as an added benefit. Google launched a partnership with the pharmaceutical company Novartis to develop these smart contact lenses that can track diabetes and fix farsightedness as well.

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Gamification

There are amazing applications for smartphones that can help you manage diabetes efficiently. MySugr, an Austrian company, released several applications that can add a little bit of gamification to the traditional diabetes management apps. The company also developed the mySugr Junior App designed for kids to learn how to manage diabetes properly. It also enables parents to keep control over the therapy when they are not around the kid. The app looks like a game in which the children get points for every entry and the goal is to score a particular amount of points every single day.

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Patient empowerment with big data

Databetes helps patients better manage their diabetes by providing a good way for logging and measuring data, as well as a revolutionary concept to analyze the big data behind one person’s disease. Patients can support each other through social media channels and become coaches for each other. Look at sixuntilme.com for best practice examples.

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Bionic pancreas

There is artificial pancreas which means that it’s a closed-loop insulin delivery system. The device can measure blood glucose levels constantly and decide upon the insulin delivery itself. Engineers from Boston University have developed a bionic pancreas system that uses continuous glucose monitoring along with subcutaneous delivery of both rapid-acting insulin and glucagon as directed by a computer algorithm.

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Food scanners

TellSpec, a Canadian company is coming up with a food scanner this year which by scanning your food can tell you how many and what kind of ingredients, how many allergens, toxins, how many carbohydrates you actually have in the food you are about to eat.

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Pocket-sized gadgets

When you live with diabetes, you get used to carting around with plenty of things such as meters, test strips, lancing devices, and so on therefore a pocket-sized gadget can change this called Dario that also comes with a diabetes management system.

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Wireless monitors

The medical company Abbott just released a FreeStyle Libre system which makes it possible to constantly measure blood glucose levels in a wireless way.

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Digital tattoos

Here is a digital tattoo that can measure glucose levels by using electric current to attract glucose to the surface of the skin. The proof-of-concept study was just published and it’s time to bring the era of wireless diabetes management to patients.

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So there are more and more technologies that can help people manage diabetes properly besides potentially future therapies such as new drugs or islet cell transplantation but it’s really time to manage diabetes in a gamified and comfortable way and I believe that the best gadgets and the best technological solutions are just yet to come.

Please share your experience and thoughts on this!

Further reading:

Running Tips For Geeks: Wearable Devices and Smartphone Apps

It’s really hard to find motivation to go out for a run or to do exercises every single day. I struggle with that, just like you. I only go out for a run if I can measure data, I’m a geek. Here are the wearable devices and smartphone apps that help me find the motivation I need.

What Should Hospitals Look Like In The Future?

How do you start when the goal is to design the hospital of the future? When I was writing this chapter for my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, I contacted talented architects, as well as organizations such as NXT Health focusing on this sensitive topic and shared my own views as well.

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Here are a few things from the top of my mind as excerpts from the book:

  • No waiting time will harden the lives of patients as cognitive computers will organize all the details of the healthcare system. It will direct people when and where to go by analyzing their records, and automatically responding to doctors’ notes and prescriptions.
  • Extrapolating from today’s trends, it is clear sophisticaed surgical robots will rule the scenes of operating rooms (ORs), although not all ORs will include surgical robots as there will still be operations that could not be performed using only robots.
  • Devices and equipment of radiology, surgery and many other specialties from CT scans to endoscopic technologies will be so small they would all fit in the OR.
  • Cameras will record every movement in the OR as robots will be controlled from a different, sometimes distant locations. Examples are already available, e.g. in the Radboud Medical Centre.
  • Using radiology images such as CT or MRI scans ot patients, surgeons will be able to look into the body and even organs of patients before the operation for better surgical planning and during the operation for more precise movements. Augmented reality in action.
  • It will only include materials that cannot be infected; flexible touchscreens featuring important health data will be around the bed which will be controlled by the patient.
  • The walls might include virtual reality to make sure the patient feels literally at home by showing them images and pictures from their home which they can upload to the system while lying in a hospital bed.
  • Waiting rooms will feature charging sets for wearable devices where data could also be exported before the visit.

Here is how NXT Health thinks about the future of patient rooms:

A canopy above the bed houses electrical, technical, and gas components, even a noise–blocking system. A Halo light box can be programmed for mood and light therapy, and also serving as screen to display clouds or the sky. The head panel contains equipment that can measure almost any health parameter unobtrusively while continually logging results. The footwall features a screen for entertainment, video consultations, and accessing whatever information the patient needs. Floors are made of low–porosity rubber that does not need chemical sealers and does not trap bacteria and other substances. In case of a fall it reduces impact.

To reduce potential infections all surfaces are made of solid materials that are often used in kitchen countertops. A light at the entrance reminds staff to wash their hands before entering the room. Information and data can be added to patient records here as well as at a control panel.

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Although not all advantages will be the consequences of ever improving technologies but a different kind of training for the staff:

The Walnut Hill Medical Center in Dallas has been referred to as the Apple experience hospital due to its design and innovative nature. Potential employees must take a psychological exam, and the application process is exceptionally tough. Patient greeting begin in the parking lot with complementary valet service. Inside, the staff follows the Ritz Carlton “15–5” rule meaning that a hospital employee must smile at the patient from 15 feet and greet them with a warm hello at 5 feet. All employees are trained to communicate properly with patients and their families. Patient rooms feature large windows that provide natural light and pleasuring views.

Read more about the hospital of the future and what examplary hospitals operate today in The Guide to the Future of Medicine.

And as a bonus, here is how people in the 1950s saw the future of hospitals:

The Top 9 Books About The Future Of Medicine (Video)

I really love reading and thought I would summarize those 9 books which I like the most focusing on the future of medicine, healthcare and technology. Please share your favorite ones with me!

See similar topics covered in The Medical Futurist Youtube Channel.

Social Media in Clinical Practice: The Handbook

Since Springer published my book, Social Media in Clinical Practice, I have received amazing feedback from e-patients and medical professionals worldwide who found my handbook to be very helpful in their professional and personal lives. Here are a few lines about the book:

The number of patients using social media and the number of applications and solutions used by medical professionals online have been sky-rocketing in the past few years, therefore the rational behind creating a well-designed, clear and tight handbook of practical examples and case studies with simple pieces of suggestions about different social media platforms is evident.

While the number of e-patients is rising, the number of web-savvy doctors who can meet the expectations of these new generations of patients is not, this huge gap can only be closed by providing medical professionals with easily implementable, useful and primarily practical pieces of advice and suggestions about how they should use these tools or at least what they should know about these, so then when an e-patient has an internet-related question, they will know how to respond properly.

As all medical professionals regardless of their medical specialties will meet e-patients, this issue with growing importance will affect every medical professionals which means there is a huge need for such a easily understandable handbook.​

Here you can check out the detailed descriptions of each chapter.

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A Digital Tattoo Measures Blood Glucose in Diabetes

I’ve been saying that the goal is not have as many wearables on our body as we can put on ourselves, but to measure vital signs and health parameters when we need it in a comfortable way. Here is a digital tattoo that can measure glucose levels. The proof-of-concept study was just published and it’s time to bring the era of wireless diabetes management to patients.

The thin, flexible device created by nanoengineers at UCSD is based on the much bulkierGlucoWatch, a now-discontinued wristband that worked through the same glucose-sucking principal. But the electric current GlucoWatch used to attract glucose to the surface of the skin was too high, and wearers were not keen on the discomfort. This temporary tattoo gets around the problem by using a gentler but still effective current.

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Top Trends And Technologies Shaping Medicine in 2015!

It was an extraordinary year for technological improvements in medicine & healthcare. Wearable devices measuring our vital signs at home; the 3D printing revolution producing prosthetics and biomaterials; exoskeletons getting FDA approval; brain-to-brain interfaces; artificial intelligence becoming widely available and many more as described in my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine.

There are a lot of reasons to look forward to the year 2015, therefore let’s see the top trends and technologies that will shape the year 2015 in medicine and healthcare!

Organ-on-a-chip technique that can mimic the physiology of human organs might be available in the year 2015 which mean that we might soon be able to create the first virtual model of the human body making it possible to run drug tests on billions of patient models in seconds with supercomputers. Keep an eye on: Wyss Institute of Harvard

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In the coming year, digital tattoos as thin as two micrometers might become available making it the ultimate sensor. So I don’t have to use all these gadgets around myself to measure my health data but with one very thin digital tattoo I could measure whatever I would like to measure. Keep an eye on: Takao Someya

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Well, while the year of 2014 was the year of the wearable health trackers, 2015 will be the year of smart clothes. T-shirts and trousers which will be able to measure our health parameters in the most convenient way. Keep an eye on: Hexoskin.

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The first medical tricorders will come to the market due to the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize and Nokia Sensing XChallenges. These will produce little devices that by scanning the body would come up with a few simple diagnostic options or measure any kind of vital signs at once. Keep an eye on: DMI.

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IBM supercomputer named Watson as a cognitive computer will be used in more and more medical practices worldwide and more and more hospitals will buy that as an actual asset to the medical decision making process. Keep an eye on: IBM Watson.

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Blood tests will be revolutionized by making them available with just one droplet of blood at first Walmarts around the US. Keep an eye on: Theranos.

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Food scanning is coming at home and we will be able to finally know what ingredients our food contains by using spectroscopy. Keep an eye on: Tellspec.

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Augmented reality will move away from Google Glass more towards the first digital contact lenses that can measure blood glucose levels from tears as an added benefit. Keep an eye on: bionic contact lenses.

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The first 3D printed biomaterials will become mainstream as this year, the first liver tissues printed out in 3D will be used by pharmaceutical companies maybe making animal testing unnecessary. Keep an eye on: Organovo.

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Empowered patients will attend more and more conferences, they will speak at these conferences and more and more e-patients will be included in editorial boards of peer reviewed journals.

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Direct-to-consumer companies in genomics will deal with the challenges FDA will come up with and we will move towards very cheap whole genome sequencing. Although the cost will not be zero next year, but we will get closer to my prediction that the shipping cost of the sample will be higher than actually sequencing the genome. Keep an eye on: Gentle.

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In areas with doctor shortages, telemedicine will be used at its best. Moreover, the first force-feedback gloves will come to the market making it possible to even feel the handshake form a distance, even from continents away while discussing medical issues through telemedical applications. Keep an eye on: InTouch Health.

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Prosthetics will become more sophisticated and much much cheaper due to the 3D printing revolution. There will be people who will want to replace their healthy limbs for state-of-the-art prosthetic ones. Keep an eye on: Touch Bionics.

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And I think that the first brain-computer interfaces will be used in practice, plus we will more and more be able to measure our brain activities; and to learn how to be relaxed or how to be focused at home. Keep an eye on: Muse and PIP.

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Besides these, privacy and security issues will rule the year as well as an effort to get good mobile health applications and digital services reimbursed by insurers. We will see.

Here are some more lists.

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