Medical curriculum worldwide cannot meet the needs of today’s e-patients and technologies any more, therefore there is time for a substantial change. Good examples are sporadic but at least exist. At Monash University, they developed a kit of 3D-printed anatomical body parts to revolutionize medical education and training. I studied anatomy when I was a medical student from books with tiny font sizes and old atlases. Here is how it can be a different experience.
The 3D Printed Anatomy Series kit, to go on sale later this year, could have particular impact in developing countries where cadavers aren’t readily available, or are prohibited for cultural or religious reasons. After scanning real anatomical specimens with either a CT or surface laser scanner, the body parts are 3D printed either in a plaster-like powder or in plastic, resulting in high resolution, accurate color reproductions.
Moreover, in the Netherlands, a 3D bioprinting Masters program was just introduced and now they plan to become a global centre of bioprinting. This is how medical schools and institutions worldwide should aim at adopting new technologies. This is what the main organizer said:
“There will be 120 researchers completely dedicated to regenerative medicine and biofabrication. Our main work within the bioprinting facility in the early stages is on cartilage and underlying bones. For this type of biological structures, bioprinting technologies are mature and the development of bioinks is taking off exponentially. Our goal is to create a hub of knowledge focused on Utrecht while reaching out to the international scientific community.”
If we don’t change curriculum worldwide, it will be late to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world.
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.
After fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a doctor and a geneticist, I decided to make a brave change in my academic career and tried to merge my two selves: the doctor and the geek. As there was no profession like that, I created one. This is how I 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 pieces of information about this exciting journey in a series of blog entries.
The last years of this journey culminated in the book I’ll release in about 4-5 weeks. The Guide to the Future of Medicine features all the trends, technologies and concepts we will all have to face soon in medicine and healthcare. During the time I was writing the book, my method of gathering information and expert opinions worldwide had to significantly improve.
Besides trying all the traditional methods futurists usually use such as scenario planning, I came to the conclusion that networked foresight is the format I’m most familiar with. As I have been crowdsourcing medical information, sometimes even diagnoses, through my social media channels for years, I turned to this expert network to get insights nobody else could get.
It led to identifying around 100 experts from genomics to surgical robotics and doing about 70 interviews; moreover I used these online networks dedicated to determining the future of medicine to gather additional information and details to make the book as comprehensive and fact-filled as possible.
When it comes out, hopefully, you will understand why I chose and customized this method to get the best potential results and will realize, just as I did, how hard and exciting it is to try to predict the future.
Steps taken so far:
After 8 months of hard work, I just submitted the manuscript of my upcoming book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, to the editor. Over 70 interviews and a lot of examples.
I cannot tell you how excited I’m about its release this August. 3D printing organs, artificial intelligence, home diagnostics, digital brains and many more topics in a guide that is meant to prepare all of us for the future of medicine. It’s coming soon!
It has been rumored that Apple would come up with something truly innovative related to the wearable health trackers. Then what they actually came up with was less then people expected. Days later, Google announced its Google Fit project. But maybe a third applicant could be the winner as WebMD just released its application and the mission statement behind the smartphone app is that we can measure more and more health parameters about ourselves, but what matters is how we interpret the data.
On Monday, WebMD launched a new program in its iOS app called Healthy Target that works with activity trackers like Fitbit and Jawbone, as well as glucometers and wireless scales, to aggregate and pull in health data.
The concept of the “patients included act” was developed by Lucien Engelen of the REshape Center from the of Radboud University Medical Center in 2010. Conferences featuring actual patients as speakers or attendees could receive this prestigious badge.
Now, Prof. Dr. Melvin Samson, chairman of the Board of the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen awarded the British Medical Journal a special “Patients Included” certificate to acknowledge and encourage their focus on the involvement of patients in the field of medical publishing. Well done!
Read the official announcement here.
In this edition of my series about wearable health trackers that I use, I have described Tinké and AliveCor. Now let me share my experience of using Withings products. Withings has developed plenty of trackers from smart body analyzers and activity trackers to blood pressure monitor or baby scale. I’ve been using their Pulse activity tracker and the smart Blood Pressure Monitor.
The Pulse is really small, easy to wear, measures the number of steps I take, number of calories I burn, the distance I cover; and can measure oxygen saturation as well as monitor my sleep. The device can be controlled by a small button on the top, but also, and it is remarkably well-designed, by swiping my finger on the screen to change the parameters.
What I like the most is the sleep monitor functionality that helps me assess the quality of sleeping time. It shows me how much time it took to go to sleep, how much light and deep sleep I actually had.
The Blood Pressure monitor is wireless, user-friendly (only has one start button), and makes proper measurements (I compared it to traditional devices). My only concern with that is the Bluetooth connection as every time when I want to initiate a measurement, I have to remove the device from my phone’s “Bluetooth connected devices” list and add it again. It is a bit frustrating, but it still causes less hassle than using old gadgets.
Regarding the common Withings app (there is one app for all their devices), the visualizations of measurements could allow a smoother zooming, otherwise it provides what it has to provide.
As a company producing more types of health trackers, so far, Withings seems to be the best one taking design, functionalities and user experience into consideration.
The next item in this series of wearable health trackers is AliveCor which I have been using for over a year now and I consider it the most useful tracker these days. AliveCor has a brave mission of developing a device that measures ECG of the heart at home in clinically approved quality. It provides a one channel ECG and has been shrinking in size over the last couple of versions (see the images below).
The old device working only with iPhones.
The new, universal device.
A few key features:
- Universal device working with any smartphones.
- Stores the ECG measurements in the cloud in a safe format.
- Results can be sent by e-mail in PDF format.
- It highlights educational materials about different diagnoses and measurements.
- Users can request professional analysis for a fee.
- It is FDA approved.
AliveCor is the health tracker every medical professional is impressed about when I show it to them during my talks.
Here is a video about how it works in action: