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Posts from the ‘Health’ Category

Will The Hospital Of The Future Be Our Home?

The biggest part of healthcare is self care which takes places outside the medical system. I need to manage my health and disease not only in the hospital and during the doctor visits, but also at home. Still when people talk about the future of hospitals, they usually depict amazing technologies and really huge devices.

What if the majority of care could be provided in our homes? What if wearable and other devices could measure what needs to be measured in the bathroom or bedroom? What if smart clothes and brain activity trackers could change the way we work from home?

Let’s see what technologies might transform our home to be the new clinic, the hospital of the future.

The bathroom

It could include a smart scale that measures weight, body fat percentage; recognizes you and sends data immediately to your smartphone. The mirror could be a digital one analyzing your stress levels, pulse and mood just by looking at you. It could present news related to these parameters. You could use a smart toothbrush that could analyze whether you are hydrated or not; and give rewards for spending enough time with that activity. Then in the toilet, there could be a little microchip for urine analysis. When you go into the shower, the smart home could bring the temperature down by using the smart device like Nest acquired by Google. Water quality and quantity, cardiac fitness and a bunch of other things simple devices could measure in the bathroom.

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The bedroom

It could include smart sleep monitors which first give you data about what quality of sleep you had and then it could wake you up at the best time to make sure you are energized in the morning. When you go to bed, the smart sleep monitor could let the Nest know it should bring the temperature down because you are about to sleep. Such monitors could include specific music and lights to make sure you are gently woken up. Pulse, pulse variability, breathing and oxygen saturation could be measured to reduce sleep apnoe and snoring.

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The kitchen

There could be smart forks and spoons that either teach us how to eat slowly; or let people with Parkinson’s disease eat properly again. Scanners could measure the ingredients, allergens and toxins in our food and let smartphone applications help control our diet. There could be 3D food printers using fresh ingredients and create pizza, cookies, or almost any kind of final products just like what Foodini does these days.

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The work desk

You could wear smart clothes measuring vital signs, posture, stress levels and brain activity telling us when exactly to work for better performance. Services such as Exist.io could constantly look for performance tips by finding correlations between our digital habits and health parameters.

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We can use almost all these devices now and looking ahead into the future the best is just yet to come. The quest is to find those technologies that can really change the way we live our lives by bringing the clinical and hospital equipment to our actual homes providing better care without making the distance between patient and caregiver bigger.

What would you like to measure at home? What do you think about the home becoming the clinic with medical equipment and devices measuring our vital signs and making our lives simpler and better?

Please feel free to read more about the future of hospitals in my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine. Thank you!

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What Comes After The #Wearable Health Revolution?

The wearable health trackers’ revolution has been going on producing devices that let us measure vital signs and health parameters at home. It is changing the whole status quo of healthcare as medical information and now tracking health are available outside the ivory tower of medicine.

A 2014 report showed that 71% of 16-24-year-olds want wearable technology. Predictions for 2018 include a market value of $12 billion; a shipment of 112 million wearables and that one third of Americans will own at least a pedometer.

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Now a growing population is using devices to measure a health parameter and while this market is expected to continue growing, devices are expected to shrink, get cheaper and more comfortable. At this point, nobody can be blaimed for over-tracking their health as we got a chance for that for the first time in history. Eventually, by the time the technology behind them gets better, we should get to the stage of meaningful use as well.

Let’s see what I can measure today at home:

  • Daily activities (number of steps, calories burnt, distance covered)
  • Sleep quality + smart alarm
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Blood glucose levels
  • Cardiac fitness
  • Stress
  • Pulse
  • Body temperature
  • Eating habits
  • ECG
  • Cognitive skills
  • Brain activities
  • Productivity
  • I also had genetic tests and microbiome tests ordered from home.

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What else exists or yet to come? Baby and fetal monitors; blood alcohol content; asthma and the I could go on with this list for hours.

The next obvious step is designing smaller gadgets that can still provide a lot of useful data. Smartclothes are meant to fill this gap. Examples include Hexoskin and MC10. Both companies are working on different clothes and sensors that can be included in clothes. Imagine the fashion industry grabbing this opportunity and getting health tracking closer to their audiences.

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Then there might be “insideables“, devices implanted into our body or just under the skin. There are people already having such RFID implants with which they can open up a laptop, a smartphone or even the garage door.

Also, “digestables“, pills or tiny gadgets that can be swallowed could track digestion and the absorption of drugs. Colonoscopy could become an important diagnostic procedure that most people are not afraid of. A little pill cam could be swallowed and the recordings become available in hours.

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Whatever direction this technology is heading, believe me, I don’t want to use all my gadgets to live a healthy life. I would love to wear a tiny digital tattoo that can be replaced easily and measures all my vital signs and health parameters. It could notify me through my smartphone if there is something I should take care of. If there is something I should get checked with a physician.

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But what matters is finally I can become the pilot of my own health.

Right now patients are sitting in the cockpit of their planes and are waiting for the physicians to arrive.

Insurance companies such as Oscar Health have touched upon this movement and offer incentives and rewards (e.g. Amazon gift card) if the patient agrees to share their data obtained from health trackers. This way motivating the patient towards a healthier life.

There is one remaning step then, the era of the medical tricorder. Gadgets such as Scanadu that can detect diseases and microbes by scanning the patient or touching the skin. The Nokia Sensing XChallenge will produce 10 of such devices by this June which will have to test their ideas on thousands of patients before the end of 2015.

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I very much looking forward to seeing the results. Until then, read more about health sensors and the future of portable diagnostics devices in my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine.

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Top 10 Medical Campaigns in Crowdfunding!

One of the best things about the online world and social media is that you can crowdfund your idea if you don’t have the financial background. Websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been working on that and I thought I would collect the 10 most exciting and successful medical crowdfunding campaigns.

It includes health and food scanners, smart rope and robotic hands as well.

9 Ways Technology Helps Manage Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease

With all these technological advances, improvements and new devices coming to the market, we could significantly improve the lives of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease patients. They could change the way they eat or they orientate, how they gather information. We could improve their lives all together. In the newest video of The Medical Futurist Youtube channel, I describe 9 examples.

Lift Labs designs a spoon that can cancel the tremor for Parkinson’s disease patients while they are having their meal.

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The Wright Stuff offers a range of products that makes getting dressed easier for anyone who has lost the use of one of their hands. The company has Dressing Sticks, one-handed belt, sock aids, they even one-handed nail clippers for people.

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Wearable cameras and augmented reality glasses could help patients with Alzheimer’s disease. These gadgets can snap hundreds of photos every day from their user’s perspective logging their lives this way.

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Tablet-based applications such as Speak For Yourself put vocabularies of 13,000 words within a few touches on a screen. Plus, as the sound quality is improving, the voice becomes more and more natural.

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MC10 develops a Biostamp that is thinner than a band-aid, and it has the size of just two postage stamps. It can be attached to any part of the body and the sensors monitor temperature, movements, heart rate, all these vital signs which can be transmitted wirelessly to an application, for example.

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Even little ideas matter. A German senior center implemented the idea of using fake bus stops to prevent Alzheimer’s disease patients from wandering off. Because their short term memory is not intact, but while the long term memory works fine, therefore they know what the sign means and they stop. It is a huge success in Germany, now they want to bring it to several clinics.

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Devices could be used for fall prevention to make sure when a patient falls down or there is an emergency situation, this sign could be transmitted wirelessly to the local clinic or hospital.

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A company called Ybrain has built a wearable device based on neuroscience technology to specifically target brain regions using electrical signals that aim to reduce the symptoms of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

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A company called GTX Corp developed a smart shoe with which patients can find the way home and they can orientate quite easily while walking around the street.

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It’s time to significantly improve the lives of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients. If you know about other examples, technological solutions or gadgets, please share those!

Read more about the future of disease management in my recent book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine!

The Guide to the Future of Medicine ebook cover

Digital Health Rockstars Who Helped Predict The Future Of Medicine

I was very lucky to have the chance to conduct interviews with dozens of experts when I was writing my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine. I learnt from them and used their insights for shaping my views about how technology will dramatically change medicine and healthcare in the upcoming years. Here is a list of people who and companies that helped predict the future:

  • Professor Steve Mann, one of the first cyborgs
  • Chris Dancy, the most connected man
  • E-Patient Dave drBronkart, e-patient guru
  • Denise Silber, organizer of Doctors 2.0 and You.
  • Lucien Engelen, Director REshape Center for Innovation at Radboud University Medical Center
  • Dr. Catherine Mohr, Vice President of Medical Research at Intuitive Surgical, developers of the da Vinci surgical robot
  • Professor Robert S. Langer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Jack Andraka, inventor, scientist
  • Dr. Rafael Grossmann, surgeon futurist, Google Glass user
  • NerdCore Medical developing educational games in medicine
  • Blake Hannaford, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Co-Founder at Applied Dexterity Inc.
  • Jacob Rosen Ph.D., Professor at UCLA
  • Joel Dudley, Ph.D., Director of Biomedical Informatics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School
  • Edward Abrahams, Ph.D., President of the Personalized Medicine Coalition
  • Professor Takao Someya, Organic Electronics
  • Dr. David Albert, Founder & Chief Medical Officer at AliveCor
  • Professor Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
  • Organovo, bio 3D printing
  • Michael Molitch-Hou, Author at 3D Printing Industry
  • Ekso Bionics
  • Robert Hester, PhD, University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Casey Bennett, Dept. of Informatics, Centerstone Research Institute
  • András Paszternák, Ph.D., founder of nanopaprika.eu
  • OpenBCI
  • Interaxon
  • Organizers of the first cyborg Olympic Games, Cybathlon
  • Davecat, the first technosexual
  • Ian Pearson, futurist

The Guide to the Future of Medicine ebook cover

Wearable Predicting When You Need To Go To The Restroom?

I know a wearable revolution is going on, I use 20-30 devices myself, but it seems I can still be surprised. A new wearable that will launch its crowdfunding campaign soon will try to predict when you need to go to the restroom. They want to help elderly and disabled people by giving them enough time to find a restroom. I keep on wondering how it might work if it is not a hoax. An excerpt from the article by Mashable:

The rectangular device appears to be about the size of a business card and is worn over the abdomen, though it’s not clear from the video how users keep it in place.

The device tracks your, err, activity, over time; it will eventually learn more about your habits to provide more tailored notifications, according to the company. “You’ll no longer feel stressed about unpredictable bowel movements,” the video reassures you.

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Here is the video:

Which Wearable Device to Choose? (Video)

As a geek, let me tell you it’s quite simple to fall in love with a gadget or device at first sight. Although the way we try to stay healthy should not be controlled by technology or gadgets but by being proactive in our own health.

As many subscribers asked me about how I choose my own wearable devices for tracking health, I thought I would share the quality features I take a look at first so then you can make an informed decision when purchasing a wearable tracker.

A few things I check:

  • Company behind the device
  • App is updated regularly
  • User reviews
  • Money-back guarantee
  • What do I want to measure
  • How to access data
  • How to export data
  • Is it compatible with my smartphone

Read more about health wearables in The Guide to the Future of Medicine.

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