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Posts tagged ‘Health 2.0’

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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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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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.

Translate medical jargon on any web page!

I just came across a very interesting website Iodine.com where you can install a Google Chrome plugin which automatically translates medical jargon into more common expressions on any website. For example, while reading an article it turns words such as epistaxis into nosebleed.

It can also give you crowdsourced data and experience about drugs and drug interactions.

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My Wearable Health Trackers: Viatom CheckMe

In this edition of my series about wearable health trackers that I use, I have already described TinkéAliveCor, Pebble, Tickr Run and Withings. Now here is a new device from Viatom Technology that I have been testing for some time now.

The team kindly sent me a CheckMe which I have been using to measure my body temperature, ECG, pulse, oxygen saturation and sleep almost on a daily basis. This is the first device I have used which includes so many measurements at once.

It can measure:

  • oxygen saturation
  • pulse
  • perfusion index
  • ECG including QRS distance and regularity
  • body temperature
  • sleep quality + oxygen saturation
  • physical activities
  • blood pressure (indirectly)

It gives feedback about the results with a happy or sad smiley indicating whether we should get checked ourselves with a medical professional based on a measurement.

Although the way I have to wear it for measuring sleep  quality is not really comfortable, the data it gives me are very much detailed, plus finally I could see how my oxygen saturation changes during the night.

To be honest, there might be prettier devices out there with better background light for the screen, but for me, the fact that I can measure all these vital signs in quite a good quality led to keep on using the device on a daily basis.

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I also talk about Viatom in two of my recent videos:

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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