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Posts from the ‘Technology’ Category

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:

What Question Does Excite You the Most About the Future of Medicine?

I have amazing conversations on social media with people from around the world about where technology leads us in medicine and healthcare in the coming years. As I give around 90 talks per year, I also receive fantastic questions from the audience from time to time and I started listing these.

Now I would love to hear what question excites you the most about the future of medicine! Will we print organs or will robots replace doctors? Anything else? Please leave a comment here or submit your question on medicalfuturist.com.

The questions will be used anonymously for an upcoming and very exciting project which I will share more details about soon. Thank you!

Medical Doctor holding a world globe in her hands as medical network concept

Will Robots Replace Doctors?

It is quite obvious, based on my previous posts, that I think cognitive computing will play a major role in the future of diagnostics. See these examples:

Now MobileHealthGlobal.com asked me to share my views on this:

In fact, these machines, which are also called cognitive computers, have the advantage of allowing the doctor to focus all of his or her attention on the patient, instead of having to concentrate on finding information. Thus, to combine human and artificial intelligence is key. Meskó defends that “the best potential pair is a human with technology.”

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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.

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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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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