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Posts tagged ‘Health’

Five Expectations For Patients 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 for patients to look forward to the next few years in medicine. Here are 5 of them.

1) Health management: The vast majority of people only deal with their health when they get sick. It is due to the fact that it has been really difficult to obtain useful data about our health. Now, the wearable revolution produces a lot of devices that bring health data measurements to our homes. So far, only physicians and hospitals could measure parameters, but today anyone can. Whether it is ECG, blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, EEG or sleep, devices which we can order online provide us with the chance of changing lifestyle based on informed decisions.

Such devices will eventually get smaller and cheaper, and we will hopefully only use them when it is of help.

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AliveCor measures ECG with a smartphone.

2) Partnership: Medicine is a paternalistic system with the doctor being on the top making decisions about the patients. The digital revolution has changed it dramatically as now information, devices and even studies became widely available to anyone with an internet connection. This newly formed partnership makes it possible to be equal with the caregiver and play an equal role in making decisions. This will create an ecosystem in which patients get more possibilities to take care of themselves, while physicians will get help from their own patients. Jackpot. Although, a very old system has to be deconstructed for this.

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3) Communities: Social media is not famous for connecting patients, but several stories proved its potential power in connecting patients with like-minded others. We have done discussed our health concerns with our neighbors before. Now we do the same online without limitations and physical boundaries. Blogs, community sites, forums, Youtube and Twitter channels focus on patients and let them have their voices heard. As Kerri Morrone Sparling said, her doctor is an expert but can only understand what she goes through every single day if he/she is diabetic, otherwise he/she can only guess.

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4) Access to data: The Blue Button movement and E-Patient Dave’s talks encourage people to understand how important it is to own your own health data. It is not only unbelievable but actually outrageous that many hospitals and practices cannot communicate online with each other. Moreover, in others, patients who want to get their own X-Ray image must provide an empty CD disk to get it in the era of digital revolution. As it is not rocket science, we can expect to see major steps forward in this area. Without proper health data, informed medical decisions cannot be made.

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5) Prediction and prevention: Never in the history of medicine patients have had that many opportunities to predict and actually prevent diseases. Anyone can order genetic tests that tell them what rare conditions and mutations they carry and what drugs they are genetically sensitive for. We are not far away from doing a blood test or sequencing genes at home. In this sea of opportunities, the activity and participation of patients are very much needed, In a few years’ time, we will have to deal with the problem of too many choices regarding wearable devices. What is required for making good decisions is knowledge about where we are heading; and skills to make our own assumptions.

If changes happen as expected, patients will benefit the most of a newly constructed and entirely better healthcare system.

My new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, includes more details and an actual guide about how to prepare properly for the technological changes.

The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch

I see enormous technological changes heading our way. If they hit us unprepared, which we are now, they will wash away the medical system we know and leave it a purely technology–based service without personal interaction. Such a complicated system should not be washed away. Rather, it should be consciously and purposefully redesigned piece by piece. If we are unprepared for the future, then we lose this opportunity. I think we are still in time and it is still possible if an easily digestible and practical guide becomes available.

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I wrote a book “The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch” to prepare everyone for the coming waves of change, to be a guide for the future of medicine that anyone can use. It describes 22 trends and technologies that will shape the future including Augmented Reality, Surgical and Humanoid Robots, Genomics, Body Sensors, The Medical Tricorder, 3D Printing, Exoskeletons, Artificial Intelligence, Nanorobots, Virtual–Digital Brains, The Rise of Recreational Cyborgs or Cryonics and Longevity.

 

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The book made it to the Amazon Top 100 as well!

As described by the foreword from Lucien Engelen, new technologies will finally help medical professionals focus more on the patient as a human being instead of spending time hunting down pertinent information. They will be able to do what they do best: provide care with expertise. In turn, patients will get the chance to be equal partners in this process taking matters into their own hands. But only if we are prepared.

Paperback | Colored paperback | Kindle version

Excerpts from reader reviews:

“This excellent book should be read not only by health care professionals, but also by policy makers, researchers and even patients.”

 

“It is an amazing piece of work! A must read for all interested in what the future -and the present – of medicine has to offer.”

 

“The book is so well executed that I couldn’t put it down. This book provides us with an easy writing style, a simple clear lay-out, and well-chosen photos.”

Please use the #medicalfuture hashtag to discuss the topics depicted by the book.

 

Withings launches #NoMoreSnooze and Aura: Interview

Withings launched the #NoMoreSnooze campaign to encourage people to not hit the snooze button, as well as their sleep tracker Aura which not only helps improve sleep but how we wake up. I did a quick interview with the founders to find out how it actually works. I wrote about how and why I use Withings Pulse before.

How do Pulse and Aura compare regarding the quality of measuring sleep?
Pulse measures sleep only based on the users movements. The Aura measures sleep based on movement and vital signs (heart rate & breathing), therefore it allows the user to track more in depth sleep cycles including REM (rapid eye movement) sleep when the user is completely motionless except for their breathing. Understanding the user’s sleep cycles is why the Aura is called the smart sleep system and uses data from the sleep sensor to wake up the user at the lightest time in their sleep cycle.

Isn’t the ultimate goal of wearables to make them smaller and smaller?
The Aura is not a wearable, in fact it is better than a wearable because it allows for a completely discrete experience for the user. Once the sleep sensor is placed under the user’s mattress, they never have to worry about it again and it automatically starts tracking sleep without having to touch any buttons. Along with the bedside device, the user never has to think about tracking because they will just automatically receive their sleep data on their smartphone every morning.

So far, I have been setting the Morpheuz app on my Pebble smartwatch to wake me up at the best potential time based on the measurements of Pulse. How would Aura change this habit of mine?
Aura uses scientifically proven light and sound program to drastically improve the user’s wake-up experience. It is not only the data from the sleep sensor but also that it connects to the bedside device to slowly wake up the user in their lightest sleep cycle with soothing rhythm based on their breathing rate and emitting the appropriate wavelengths of light to slowly inhibit the secretion of melatonin (the hormone responsible for our sleep-wake cycle) to wake up the user peacefully ensuring the best overall sleep quality.  

Let me know what experience you had after using Aura!

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The Most Connected Man: Video

There is an amazing article about Chris Dancy, who I also interviewed for my upcoming book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, and who is considered the most connected man. Sometimes, I heard people commenting on his story/journey saying that he is focusing on technology too much and his case should not be an example for others.

Although I think he made it clear in this article why he is using a lot of wearables and sensors to make his life better.

“I’m the most connected man in the world to myself,” he says. “I’m not the most connected man in the world to technology. Technology was the route.”

Giving a Keynote at HIC2014 in Melbourne

I’m flying to Melbourne to give a keynote at Australia’s premier digital health, e-health & health informatics conference called HIC 2014. My keynote, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, will feature directions medicine is heading at the moment accompanied by a guide to help everyone prepare for this future world. I’ll live tweet during the event through #hic2014.

See you there!

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Smart Socks, Necklace, Tattoo And Even Water Bottle: When Does It Stop?

Many times I wrote about the wearable gadgets that help me live a healthy life. I know there is a wearable revolution going on but some of the recent announcements make me think whether the list and range of such gadgets ever get rationale. A few examples from the past days:

  • Smart socks as fitness activity trackers
  • Smart water bottle to alert you to keep yourself hydrated: “The Hug solution includes a sensor band that wraps around just about any water bottle to track your H2O consumption, and an accompanying mobile app that reminds you to drink when your hydration levels are low.”
  • Smart ring controlling devices
  • Smart golf gloves and many more.

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The next ones would be smart ear rings and smart nail clippers? Hopefully not.

I cannot wait to reach the point when we get over this phase of hype and start focusing on meaningful developments.

Why Predicting The Future Is Not Possible Without Knowing Today’s Trends

Minsuk Cho, South Korean architect, curates an “epic-scale show about both Koreas” at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. One of the most exciting projects they present there is the result of how architects of North Korea designed the future of houses and cities without actually ever leaving the country or studying about other city design in details.

Look what kind of futuristic concepts they came up with while, for instance, keeping the old types of phones alive, not really moving forward with the advances of technology.

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It clearly shows how important it is to stay up-to-date about how technology is advancing today in order to be able to make informed decisions and assumptions about the future.

This is why I launched a Facebook page under the name The Medical Futurist to curate and publish news, reports and analyses about the most important trends and technologies that will shape the future of medicine. Feel free to join the discussion there!

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