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Posts tagged ‘Health’

The Most Popular Articles About The Future Of Medicine & Healthcare

I’ve received plenty of messages about where the most popular articles I’ve written about the future of medicine can be accessed. I thought I would share the list in one post, I hope you will enjoy it!

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.

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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.

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12 Things We Can 3D Print in Medicine Right Now

3D printing is just one of the many revolutionary technologies currently being used in healthcare.

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Commentary: we need to be better prepared for a technological future (BMJ)

IBM Watson is the Stethoscope of the 21st Century

Computer assistance can only facilitate the work of physicians, not replace it. Just like how stethoscope did.

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10 Things How Artificial Intelligence Could Make Me a Better Doctor

I was watching the movie Her for the second time and I was fascinated again about the scene in which the main character played by Joaquin Phoenix got his new operating system with artificial intelligence (AI) and started working with that. I couldn’t stop thinking about the ways I could use such an AI system in my life and how it actually could make me a better doctor.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX as Theodore in the romantic drama "HER," directed by Spike Jonze, a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

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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The Future of Diabetes Management: 8 Reasons Why We Face Extraordinary Times!

Around 400 million patients have diabetes worldwide according to estimations. And over the last few years, diabetes management has been improving but due to the new technologies and devices coming to the market very soon, the whole management of diabetes will significantly change in the coming years. Let me show you some examples how.

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Ethical Issues of The Future of Medicine: The Top 10

I remain confident that we are still in time and we can still prepare for the amazing yet uncertain future of medicine. What is definitely needed, among others things such as new skills, is initiating public discussions now. It was my intention when I made a list of 10 potential ethical issues we will all have to deal with soon.

[In the first test of a new program designed to bring innovative medical devices to market faster, the Food and Drug Administration will evaluate brain-controlled prosthetic arms developed by the Defense Department. Photo credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.] *** []

Defining Digital Medicine: New Paper in Nature Biotechnology

There is a new paper in Nature Biotechnology about defining digital medicine and it’s one of the most comprehensive articles I have ever read about this topic. They also have a figure describing many of the devices currently available for measuring vital signs.

Based on the last segment, new pieces will come soon:

There are many opportunities and challenges that will be clarified as this exciting new field emerges and over the coming year; this column will dig deeper into topics, such as the complexities of data sharing, interpreting data for real decision support, the shifting regulatory landscape, new company opportunities and emerging business models.

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The World’s Most Famous Real-Life Cyborgs

In the future of human mankind, we could have brain implants improving memory and other cognitive skills. We could have implanted magnets or RFID chips in our fingers to replace passwords and keys. We could have exoskeletons boosting our strength, we could be faster, jump higher augmenting a whole range of human capabilities. But augmentation will pose threats and ethical issues to society we have never faced before. It’s important to remain humans though, but use technology to improve our lives.

Let’s see what kind of real-life cyborgs we know of today who might show a good example of where we should find a balance between using technologies with our body but remaining a human being.

1) Neil Harbisson: He has a specialized electronic eye, rendering perceived colors as sounds on the musical scale. So it means it lets him “hear” color. He said „It’s not necessary to hack into the body to become a cyborg. We are all cyborgs already.” He is an artist born with achromatopsia, or extreme colorblindness that meant he could only see in black-and-white, he is now capable of experiencing colors beyond the scope of normal human perception.

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2) Dr. Kevin Warwick: He is a cybernetics professor in the UK’s University of Reading. He has experimented with different electronic implants since 1998 such as installing a microchip in his arm which lets him operate lights, heaters, computers and lights remotely. He and his work have become one. He is the founder of Project Cyborg using himself as the guinea pig, he’s on a mission to become the world’s most complete cyborg.

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3) Jesse Sullivan: He became a cyborg when he got equipped with a bionic limb, which was connected through nerve-muscle grafting. Aside from having control over his limb with his mind, he can also feel temperature as well as how much pressure his grip applies.

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4) Nigel Ackland. After losing a part of his arm during a work accident, he got upgraded. His new arm has a hand that can independently move to grip even delicate objects. He controls the arm through muscle movements in his remaining forearm. The range of movement is truly extraordinary. He can independently move each of his five fingers to grip delicate objects, or even pour a liquid into a glass.

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5) Jerry Jalava: He lost a finger in a motorcycle accident, and decided to have a 2GB USB port embedded into his prosthetic. It doesn’t upload any information directly into his brain though. He is the perfect example of how you don’t need to be a robotics mastermind to become a cyborg; you can pretty much do it yourself.

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6) Cameron Clapp: He was 14 when he collapsed and fainted along a railroad track. When the train passed, he unfortunately lost both of his legs plus an arm. He got fitted with a couple of prosthetic legs controlled by his brain with the help of a microprocessor. Since then, he has become an athlete and an amputee activist.

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7) Professor Steve Mann: He designed a headset that is outfitted with a number of small computers and through it, he can record and play video and audio. He was one of the, if not the first, cyborgs in the world.

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8) Claudia Mitchell: She became the first woman to become a cyborg when she was outfitted with a bionic limb. Her robotic arm is similar to the one installed on fellow cyborg Jesse Sullivan.

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 14:  Claudia Mitchell demonstrates the functionality of her "bionic arm" during a news conference on September 14, 2006 in Washington, DC. Mitchell is the first female recipient of a "thought controlled bionic arm", an advanced prosthesis, developed by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

9) Stelios Arcadiou, also known as Stelarc: He is a performance artist who believes that the human body is obsolete. To prove this, he’s had an artificially-created ear surgically attached to his left arm. In another show, he hooked up electrodes to his body to allow people to control his muscles through the Web.

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They are the world’s most famous real-life cyborgs. Did I miss anyone? You can read more about cyborgs and the future of life in The Guide to The Future of Medicine.

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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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Virtual Reality Will Change The Healthcare Experience

Virtual Reality or VR is a computer-simulated environment in which we can have the feeling as being in a digital, virtual world experiencing smell, sound, taste, and visuals. VR has been mentioned in many sci-fi masterpieces such as the Necromancer by Gibson, but technology behind that only came to a point where it can become reality now. Therefore I decided to describe some medical implications of virtual reality in the newest video of The Medical Futurist Youtube Channel.

I recently started discovering the options of virtual reality with the Google Cardboard. Putting my own smartphone with the right application into a cardboard can give the feeling of being in a virtual world. My favorite apps so far are Roller Coaster VRCmoar Roller Coaster VR, and Solar System VR. I should start filming the first reaction of people who give it a try.

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Cardboard is just the very first step. Devices such as Oculus Rift acquired by Facebook, Sony’s Morpheus or Magic Leap will make the difference in the coming years. Check how Magic Leap could change the world around ourselves. Let’s see how virtual reality could change the healthcare experience with ever-improving technologies.

  • Imagine that we could use virtual reality for training surgeons. They could be inside the human body based on the patient’s radiology images discovering all the options before opening up the patient during an operation.
  • We could use virtual reality for patients to experience the hospital feeling even before going to the hospital. They could see how a procedure takes place, how much time it takes, what’s going to happen to them by getting a treatment or procedure.
  • We could use that for psychology treatments, for people with addictions to show them different kinds of worlds. One with being addicted to something, and one with not being addicted any more showing them the real differences in life and how it could change if they found a solution for that addiction. The same is used in PTSD or fighting phobias.
  • Imagine that we could use it for stress relief letting people travel to countries around the world and experiencing the real world through virtual reality.
  • We could train people for emergency and disaster situations without risking anybody’s life.
  • Virtual rehabilitation performed at the patient’s home for anxieties, attention deficits or amnesia. The list of conditions in which VR could be helpful is incredibly long.
  • 360 immersive Virtual Reality arrived to the Cathlab chaning Medical Education.
  • If there is no available real cadaver to practice surgery on, VR can help.
  • A new way for motivating people for doing exercises could be merging VR with video games. See this video:

When for the first time I showed Google Cardboard to my 7 years old niece and she checked that out, she asked me, why would people want real-life experience any more when they can have this. So we will face really serious ethical questions in the coming years, but again virtual reality with the devices coming to the market very soon has the potentials to change the whole healthcare experience.

Read more about the future of virtual reality in my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine!

The Guide to the Future of Medicine ebook cover

9 Ways Technology Helps Manage Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease

With all these technological advances, improvements and new devices coming to the market, we could significantly improve the lives of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease patients. They could change the way they eat or they orientate, how they gather information. We could improve their lives all together. In the newest video of The Medical Futurist Youtube channel, I describe 9 examples.

Lift Labs designs a spoon that can cancel the tremor for Parkinson’s disease patients while they are having their meal.

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The Wright Stuff offers a range of products that makes getting dressed easier for anyone who has lost the use of one of their hands. The company has Dressing Sticks, one-handed belt, sock aids, they even one-handed nail clippers for people.

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Wearable cameras and augmented reality glasses could help patients with Alzheimer’s disease. These gadgets can snap hundreds of photos every day from their user’s perspective logging their lives this way.

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Tablet-based applications such as Speak For Yourself put vocabularies of 13,000 words within a few touches on a screen. Plus, as the sound quality is improving, the voice becomes more and more natural.

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MC10 develops a Biostamp that is thinner than a band-aid, and it has the size of just two postage stamps. It can be attached to any part of the body and the sensors monitor temperature, movements, heart rate, all these vital signs which can be transmitted wirelessly to an application, for example.

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Even little ideas matter. A German senior center implemented the idea of using fake bus stops to prevent Alzheimer’s disease patients from wandering off. Because their short term memory is not intact, but while the long term memory works fine, therefore they know what the sign means and they stop. It is a huge success in Germany, now they want to bring it to several clinics.

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Devices could be used for fall prevention to make sure when a patient falls down or there is an emergency situation, this sign could be transmitted wirelessly to the local clinic or hospital.

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A company called Ybrain has built a wearable device based on neuroscience technology to specifically target brain regions using electrical signals that aim to reduce the symptoms of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

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A company called GTX Corp developed a smart shoe with which patients can find the way home and they can orientate quite easily while walking around the street.

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It’s time to significantly improve the lives of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients. If you know about other examples, technological solutions or gadgets, please share those!

Read more about the future of disease management in my recent book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine!

The Guide to the Future of Medicine ebook cover

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