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Posts from the ‘Healthcare’ Category

Portable ‘Blood Test in a Box’ To Become Available in 2016

CNN has a great video report about an Irish company that plans to go against Theranos in the battle for the blood test market. They plan to develop a portable blood test in a box with which a lot of blood markers could be accessed right away at the doctor’s office. In The Guide to the Future of Medicine, I wrote about similar services including Labonfoil therefore there is a reason to believe that lab tests are about to dramatically change.

Excerpts from the CNN report:

One Irish company says it has developed the solution — a “clinic-in-a-box” that can test for a range of diseases or medical conditions in minutes, from just a single drop of blood.

“The physicians were crying out for a simple-to-use device,” Jerry O’Brien, a farmer’s son from Cork who broke with the family tradition to pursue a career in healthcare, told CNN.

“There was a huge unmet clinical need. It was very obvious from the start they wanted a simple device that would test for any condition off a finger-prick of blood within a matter of minutes.”

Watch the report here:

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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.

Telemedicine Robots
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.

Interview with a Nokia Sensing Challenge Finalist Making Blood Analysis Available Remotely

When the XPRIZE Foundation named the 11 finalists for the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, I had a chance to interview a team in which I see great potentials. Here is my short talk with the French team behind ARCHIMEJ TECHNOLOGY, a start-up led by co-founder Francisco Vega, developing technology focused on making blood analysis available remotely at an affordable price.

1) Can you tell me more details about the technology behind your solution?

I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to say much on that topic; everything is confidential for the moment. What I can tell you is that we have completely reimagined the linear process by which the measurement/analysis is performed today, to transform it into a complex multi-factor analysis, which paradoxically simplifies the entire process of testing.

There is 3 important parts in our technology:
– The technology that holds and conditions the sample for the measurement (sample = a drop of blood from finger-stick);
– The technology that performs the measurement (called Spectroscopy 2.0®);
– The technology that analyses the information measured and interprets it in test results easy to understand by the user.

Design Beta (concept art)_1

2) How can it be compared to Theranos which has similar goals?

What Theranos does is amazing! ..I mean, being able to perform hundreds (even maybe thousands) of tests with only a tiny volume of blood is already a huge step from anything existing.

What we do is taking this concept and trying to push it even further. We will not perform hundreds of tests (or at least not for now, maybe in the future), but for the moment we focus on those the most used, the most important ones and in making them available to people directly in their homes.

Our solution, Beta-Bioled, is a comprehensive and integrated platform that allows doctors and patients to get a blood-chemistry panel (10 to 20 tests) from 1 drop of blood, anywhere, in real time, for less than 2 dollars.

This idea of democratization of blood analysis, this.. new way for everybody to have access to medical relevant diagnostic is possible because of 3 factors: the mobility (or portability), the simplicity of use and the cost. If you miss one of those 3 factors the impact will not be the same, you will still be targeting a specific group of people or an elite..

3) How does your innovation contribute to the process of breaking down the “ivory tower” of medicine and making even blood analysis accessible to patients?

Imagine that you could monitor your heart, your liver, your kidneys, your lipids profile.. as if you were in a hospital but from the comfort of your home, with a fast and simple process and paying less in a month that what you pay for a coffee every morning.

It will be a huge step in the democratization of healthcare. Instead of going to check your health status when you are feeling unwell, you could anticipate and prevent. It would change the whole healthcare paradigm: less urgencies, and aggressive medication but smoother preventive treatments or lifestyle adjustments.

..Well this is exactly what we do; playing our part in the switch from industrial medicine that treats the symptoms to a personal preventing medicine.

Of course this transition is a process, and that’s why we are prepared to address each step of the transition, in order to speed it up.
– For existing medical facilities, our solution fits the needs of both patients and physician by reducing clinic overload, streamlining the process of performing a blood panel and receiving results instantly and more importantly, onsite.
– For emergency services and NGOs, it becomes an on-the-ground, easy to use ally to quickly make decisions and prioritize treatments.
– For medically underserved regions, either low medical infrastructure or low density of population, it becomes a bridge able to obtain and connect meaningful data to distant medical experts.
– Finally, for the elderly, and more generally for the chronic patients, who intend for more than 20% of all patients in the wealthy country, it brings them the so wanted autonomy and comfort.

My New Book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, is For Free as an E-Book Now!

Download the Kindle version of my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, for free between the 16th and 18th of December! It has already made it to the top 100 overall Kindles on Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still download and read it online at cloud.amazon.com.

I cannot wait to hear what you think about the book and those 22 trends & technologies that will shape the future! Download here!

Here is the description:

A few short years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that exoskeletons could enable paralyzed people to walk again; that billions of people would rely on social media for information; and that the supercomputer Watson would be a key player in medical decision-making. Perhaps more than in any other field, technology has transformed medicine and healthcare in ways that a mere decade ago would have sounded like pure science fiction.

From his unique vantage as a trained physician, researcher, and medical futurist, Dr. Bertalan Mesko examines these developments and the many more down the pipeline. His aim is to assess how the hand of technology can continue to provide the dose of humanity that is crucial to effective healthcare. The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology and the Human Touch is his incisive, illuminating roundup of the technologies and trends that will shape the future of medicine.

Patients, medical professionals, and any healthcare stakeholder will find an eye opening, reassuring roadmap to tomorrow’s potential in this accessible and fact-based book. By preparing for the inevitable waves of change, you can make informed decisions about how technology will shape your own well-being.

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How to keep your job in the coming waves of new technologies?

A lot of medical professionals are worrying about their jobs whether they lose it in the near future due to the coming waves of new technologies. Many of them think they will get replaced by robots and algorithms. My theory about the future focuses on the balance between using disruptive technologies and keeping the human touch. It means we do need to interact with people, although robots and algorithms could perform much better than humans in many areas. But why not combining both?

One of the major obstacles is physicians being resistant to the adoption of new technologies because they are afraid. I think they should not be. Here is how to make sure you will keep your job in the future whether you work in medicine or not.

1) Be a master of information management: Being up-to-date and getting access to the right information at the right time should be a master skill for all of us. Tackling the information pollution is going to be a basic skill but as long as it is not the case, it is going to be a career advantage. You should be perfectly up-to-date in your fields of interest from now on. It requires some efforts but it’s not rocket science.

2) Know more than your decision makers: Having a better knowledge about ongoing and upcoming trends than those making decisions above or for us will be the key in thinking ahead. You should possess all the potentially useful details and pieces of information that allow you to make a step faster than them.

3) Have a new kind of skill set: In different positions before, it was enough to be good at one thing or two, but in the coming era of inter-connected devices, experts and solutions, a network-based approach is very much needed. This new skill set should include digital literacy; advanced problem solving; project management and perfect communication skills on- and offline whatever position you are working in. If you think it’s enough to be good at one thing, you already lost.

4) Exploit the advantages of being human: There might be an algorithm that once will diagnose with a better success rate than people, but there is a range of reasons why the human touch will always be inevitable and crucial. Make sure to bring those skills to the fore that truly leverage the power of the human connection.

5) Improve constantly mentally and physically: Being human in the future will not automatically represent an advantage. This is why we have to constantly improve our cognitive skills, learn new things and keep ourselves sharp. Wearable devices from activity to sleep trackers; and online services such as Lumosity.com or Focusatwill.com could facilitate that.

6) Prepare for future technologies: Do you have all the required knowledge and skills that let you make your own assumptions about the future? You should know about all the trends and technologies that could assist you in your life or job and be able to fast make informed decisions accurately. It does require preparation from now on. Right now, nobody is ready for what is coming next. But soon we all should be.

7) Automate that can be automated: Making tasks and processes around us automated doesn’t mean we become less human. Contrarily, removing inefficient and unnecessary elements of our daily routine gives us a chance to show why being human will always mean something special and will always be an advantage. If we cannot prove that, we deserve to be replaced.

The battle has only begun and we have a lot to do. But if we stick to these rules, it is going to be hard to replace us. Game on.

Philips to Enroll Hereismydata™ Worldwide

My mentor and good friend, Lucien Engelen, Director of the Radboud REshape Innovation Center did it again! He transformed a great idea that can save a lot of lives globally into an actual product or service. Today, he announced that Philips will start enrolling Hereismydata worldwide in front of 140.000 people at the 3rd biggest IT event of the world, “Dreamforce” of Salesforce.com.

We at Hereismydata™ are creating a one-stop-and-go place to store your data. Secure, robust and you in control. Connecting apps and devices, creating clinical modules like the COPD module with Philips, and connecting services like Apple’s healthkit and (lateron) Google Fit and back and forth EMR’s will help to create insight in the patchwork of data out there.

They start with COPD but will add many more conditions soon. Combining all kinds of vendors, operating systems, and languages as well as local legislation issues that have been tackled creates the ecosystem he envisioned long ago.

This video explains how it works.

Five Expectations For Physicians About The Future of Medicine

The waves of technological changes coming towards us will generate new possibilities as well as serious threats to medicine and healthcare. Every stakeholder must prepare for these changes in order to reach a balance between using disruptive technologies in medicine and keeping the human touch.

I remain confident that it is still possible to establish that balance and there are reasons not only for patients but also for physicians to look forward to the next few years in medicine. Here are 5 of them.

1) Finally focus on patients

Technology is not against physicians and algorithms are not designed to replace them. Instead, by using efficient and simple technologies in the practice, physicians will finally have time and energy to focus on the patients.

Looking into their eyes while inputting data with augmented reality (Google Glass or digital contact lenses); listening to patients instead of trying to find the right information (as IBM Watson provides that already); and having access to all the devices that are needed to provide a good care (smartphones serving as biosensor packages). What is it if not a great prospect?

2) Avoid burning out

With supercomputers being used in medical decision making; physicians having skills related to digital literacy; using intuitive IT solutions that make it simple to input, export and move around data just like how children today use touchscreen devices; and getting access to the medical information they actually need, hours can be saved every week.

With less effort and time, they will be able to provide more care for their patients. This way, patient reward becomes an essential part again in the process of practicing medicine helping caregivers avoid burning out.

3) Use data that patients collect

The wearable revolution in health peaking this year gives patients the chance to take care of their own health, thus measure health parameters that have only been available and accessible in the ivory tower of medicine.

By bringing this data to the doctor visit, they can save time and effort, moreover, a true partnership between them can be established. As devices become better, cheaper and more efficient, physicians can soon start encouraging their patients to measure parameters relevant to their health and the results will be discussed and used during the next visit.

4) Crowdsource, crowdfund and crowdsolve

With the advances of social media and technologies that give access to these channels, no medical professional should feel alone when dealing with a complicated medical problem of challenge.

If information is needed, it can be crowdsourced; if funding is needed for a new project; it can be crowdfunded; and when a real medical solution is needed, they can find that through an inter-connected network of experts, resources and services.

5) Share responsibility with patients

Although it is now the responsibility of physicians to become the guides for their patients online (that requires new skills), by empowering them, actually responsibility can finally be shared. Medical professionals don’t have to make decisions alone, but in a close partnership with the patient.

But for this, every stakeholder must start preparing in time.

 

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