Young Innovators and The Future of Healthcare

Brain InterfaceThis article is about the power of the Internet as a learning and research tool, and the role that young, Internet-savvy innovators are playing as they develop the future of healthcare

Easton LaChappelle

Easton, a 17-year old inventor, spoke recently at TEDxMileHigh about his 3D printing & animatronics project and the future of prosthetic & animatronic limbs. He started this work at age 14 and used the Internet to research and learn about electronics & sensor technologies, programming & modeling software, 3D printing & industrial design, and wireless networking. He’s now living in Houston and working at NASA on robotics projects. Read More …

Moore’s Law and The FUTURE of Healthcare

By Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk
Which Future

This article examines a future driven by Moore’s Law and the trend of circuits and components getting smaller, faster and cheaper exponentially over time and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). I approach this topic from the unique perspective of an IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, and consumer advocate. See About the Author and About Modern Health, below, to better understand what shaped this view of the future. You can also see my slide presentation and related articles & infographics at the bottom.

Which Future?

Futurists regularly consider alternative scenarios and examine factors that can steer the future in one direction or another. That way, clients can select a preferred version of the future and know what they might do to make that future happen.

It’s relatively easy to extrapolate past trends, assuming that nothing prevents those trends from continuing at the same rate, but will they? One can also look at what’s possible by tracking research lab activity and then estimating how long it will take to bring those new technologies to market.

But a potentially better approach is to start with a solid understanding of market NEEDS and what drives the development of solutions for them, or factors that inhibit solutions. Changes in politics and public policy, for example, can be a huge driver, with Obamacare as an example, or a huge inhibitor. That’s why I’m so interested in various healthcare reforms that accompany tech innovation. Read More …

The Digital Diagnosis

The Digital DiagnosisAs shown in the infographic below, digital devices with access to the Internet are redefining healthcare and driving a revolution in its delivery systems.

FIRST is the wealth of medical information available online and the tools to find and make sense of it. This helps medical professionals and patients alike, and consumers can now take more responsibility for their own wellness. Realizing they have a greater stake in the game than their physician, they’re regularly engaging in online conversations using social media or searching online websites like WebMD, PatientsLikeMe and mHealthTalk for healthcare information.

NEXT is mobility, with smartphones, tablet computers, and Read More …

What’s holding up the Internet of Things?

Internet of Things, showing the Cloud and connected devices and services

Brian Profit wrote a good article about technology embedded in ordinary objects and how they are being connected in ways the industry calls “The Internet of Things.” Since I introduced IBM to the connected home market in the early 1990s and ran a Digital Home consulting firm after retiring, I felt compelled to share my perspective in a comment to Brian’s article, which I include below.

The “smart home” concept has been stuck in the niche of DIY geeks and high-end new homes with professional installation for over 40 years, always just on the cusp of becoming a mainstream market. Brian touched on the issue of protocol compatibility, but why is that such an issue, and what other issues are there? Read More …

Bionic Eye Gives Hope for the Blind

The Bionic Eye will improve over time with increased resolution.

The Bionic Eye will improve over time with increased resolution. (simulation)

Dr. Mark Humayun was going to be a doctor all along, but when a family member lost her eyesight, he soon began his journey as an innovator. “When I was going through medical school, my grandmother went blind and there was really no cure for her,” the Duke University graduate says. “And it made me rethink my career and focus more on how to restore sight to those who are going blind.”

Now a professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Humayun has invented the Argus Ocular Implant, which allows blind patients to see again. According a press release on the school’s website, the intraocular retinal prosthesis “restores some visual capabilities for patients whose blindness is caused by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). RP is an inherited retinal degenerative disease that affects about 100,000 people nationwide.”

Read the rest of the story and comment at Huffington Post.

Future implications

Read More …

The Internet of Things: Prediction

The Internet of Things

Le Web Paris (see video) explores a future of technology that connects everyday devices all the time, often described as The Internet of Things.

This story and video from Reuters and the Huffington Post form the basis of my own observations and developer recommendations as a 30-year IBM technologist, futurist and Digital Home consultant. Included at the end are four interesting infographics from Cisco, Intel, Casaleggio Associati, and Beecham Research. Read More …

The Smartphone Physical: Checkup of the Future?

AliveCor Heart MonitorBased almost entirely on an article by Stacy Lu,
Freelance Writer and TEDMED.com Blog Editor

Imagine a comprehensive, clinically relevant well-patient checkup using only smartphone-based devices. The data is immediately readable and fully uploadable to an electronic health record. The patient understands — and even participates — in the interaction far beyond faking a cough and gulping a deep breath. For real?

Johns Hopkins medical student and Medgadgeteditor Shiv Gaglani says it is not only possible, but may in fact be the checkup of the future. Gaglani and a team of current and future physicians will do a first-of-its kind demo of a “smartphone physical” for hundreds of attendees at TEDMED 2013 on April 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

The checkup will capture quantitative and qualitative data, ranging from simple readings of weight and blood pressure to more complex readings such as heart rhythm strips and optic discs. Measurements and instruments will include: Read More …

Under Skin Blood Test Sends Lab Results to Phone

Under-skin Lab-on-a-Chip has 7 sensors to detect blood compoundsSwiss researchers have unveiled a prototype “lab on a chip” that is surgically implanted in the interstitial tissue just beneath the skin, where it analyzes compounds in the blood, and sends results to a phone or tablet through wireless radio connections.

How does it work? The microchip has seven chemical & molecular sensors and gets inductive power from a patch worn on top of the skin. Every 10 minutes the collected data is sent through the patch and a Bluetooth connection to a patient or doctor via smartphone or tablet.

Although the device will not be widely available for at least a few years, its potential practical applications are widespread and include:

  • Glucose monitoring in diabetics, more frequently and without a finger prick.
  • Post surgery patient monitoring
  • Facilitate predictive medicine, including a pending heart attack
  • Measure metabolism and drug absorption
  • Athletes monitoring fluids & nutrition

Video:  Read More …

mHealth: What does it mean and what’s included

What is mHealth, and does the term stand for Mobile Health or Modern Health?
That’s the subject of a an online discussion started by David Doherty, moderator of a LinkedIn group interested in using mobile technologies to improve health. He started the discussion to support my view that any definition of mHealth that only includes smartphones is both limiting and arrogant. This article supports that discussion by expanding the definition of mHealth and what’s included.

Much of this article builds on an earlier article that I wrote in May 2012, where I addressed confusion among syllogisms, using the analogy that Lions & Tigers are both Animals, but not all Animals are Lions or Tigers. Likewise, there are some confusing overlaps among the terms mHealth, eHealth, Wireless Health, Connected Health, Digital HealthTelehealth, and Modern Health. The devices that serve these market segments overlap too, so I must discuss them collectively.

Syllogism examples in healthcare Read More …

Smartphone app lets you monitor lung health

Hand holding SpiroSmart
photo by: S. Patel, Univ. of Washington
SpiroSmart is a research app to let people test their lung function using only a smartphone.

App lets you monitor lung health using only a smartphone
By Hannah Hickey, University of Washington

9/12/2012 | People suffering from asthma or other chronic lung problems are typically only able to get a measure of their lung function at the doctor’s office a few times a year by blowing into a specialized piece of equipment. More frequent testing at home could detect problems earlier, potentially avoiding emergency room visits and hospitalization.

A new tool from researchers at the University of Washington, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s hospital lets people monitor their lung function at home or on the go simply by blowing into their smartphones. A paper presented this month at the Association for Computing Machinery’s International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing showed results that came within 5 percent of commercial devices, meaning it already meets the medical community’s standards for accuracy.

“There’s a big need in the pulmonary community to make testing cheaper and more convenient,” said lead researcher Shwetak Patel, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering and of electrical engineering. “Other people have been working on attachments for the mobile phone that you can blow into. We said, ‘Let’s just try to figure out how to do it with the microphone that’s already there.’”

Read More …

What the Fork – $100?

Why do we need a smart fork, you may ask? Well, here’s the hype…

Studies show that people who eat slower eat 11% fewer calories and digest food better, so HAPILABS introduced 2 devices at CES: HAPIfork and HAPItrack. The dishwasher safe HAPIfork got immense press coverage, including articles in Consumer Reports and Bon Appetit, as well as placement on the Stephen Colbert Show (see video below).

This latest electronic gadget functions like a friendly shock collar by paying attention to when you eat, how many bites you take, and the intervals between each bite, vibrating to tell you when you’re eating too fast or too much. The goal is to encourage you to slow down, chew your food, improve your digestion, transform the way you eat, and… enjoy life more. HAPIfork then communicates with your smartphone so you can track your eating habits or share them with friends online. Read More …

Big Data and the Future of Healthcare

Accessible introduction transcript…

  • Every day technology makes new things possible, and some predict that it’s just a matter of time until technology completely revolutionizes healthcare.
  • Some believe that medical diagnosis, general patient care, and medical practices are more expensive and inferior than they need to be.
  • The problem with health care is that it’s often the practice of medicine, rather than the science of medicine, as most medical decisions are simply based on tradition, a doctor’s limited medical knowledge, and the patient’s known symptoms and medical history.
  • The result? Three doctors could diagnose a problem three different ways. This can be a serious issue.
  • Over 40,000 patients die in the ICU in the U.S. each year due to misdiagnosis.
  • The solution? Big Data. Some believe medicine can become more of a science, rather than practice, by relying on technology.

INFOGRAPHIC follows…  Read More …

CES 2013 prominently features HealthSpot Station

“Real doctors. Real medicine. Really convenient.”

HealthSpot Station was prominently featured in the central lobby just as you entered the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2013, an honor that only the most interesting companies get.

Doctors and patients meet face-to-face like they always have, only in this case, the face-to-face is virtual: the doctor is in his home or office; the patient is seated in the kiosk; and the kiosk is located in a retail store. The HealthSpot Station kiosk allows board-certified doctors to conduct remote diagnosis and treatment using high-def videoconferencing and digital medical devices that appear behind locked doors when needed.

Read More …

Brianna’s Smart House

I just returned from CES 2013, the big consumer electronics show, where I learned about the latest in health & wellness technologies and home automation products that can serve seniors and the disabled and support aging in place, when I saw this story on KCBD News Channel 11. They’ve been following the story of Brianna Graves, an active little girl who was diagnosed at age 9 with Gorham’s Disease, also known as “Vanishing Bone Disease.” Instead of focusing on what Brianna cannot do anymore, this story looks at what she can do from now on.

It’s a heart warming story of how technology and universal design concepts can make life easier – in this case for a young girl with some severe physical limitations.

Brianna controls her environment by moving her lip, as a computer monitors the movement. But just imagine what she’ll soon be able to do with the brain sensing technologies that I saw at CES. I’m excited about the pace of tech innovation and the positive impact on medicine, health care, and wellness. And I’d like to hear your stories of how technology has helped you or a loved one.

CES 2013, Digital Health Revolution: Body, Mind & Soul

On the first day of CES I attended a Digital Health Summit panel discussion hosted by Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post. To introduce the discussion, she described Americans’ increase in antidepressants, sleep medications, and stress, and how 75% of healthcare spending is spent on preventable diseases, and 80% of medications are for pain. All of these conditions are preventable through other means, she said.

The panel discussed a perfect storm of multiple trends: (1) stress (and I’d add sleep deprivation) is a killer, (2) our broken & expensive sick care system, and (3) technology & wearable devices that can help us focus on health & wellness. Market researchers note that 30 million wearable devices shipped in 2012, going to 60 million in the next year. In addition, 44 million health apps will be downloaded to smartphones and tablets this year.

Read More …

Blood Glucose Meters: Monitoring Diabetes on Your Phone

iBGStar Glucose MeterLiving with Diabetes requires frequent monitoring of blood glucose (blood sugar), an essential measure of your health. The American Diabetes Association can help you better understand Diabetes, select from the latest tools, learn how to manage your blood glucose levels, and prevent serious complications. We provide a guide to help you select a blood glucose meter, many of which are available at local drug stores, but today’s article is inspired by one that’s not listed and you may not have seen yet.

iBGStar blood glucose monitor

Read More …

Health & Medicine Outlook 2013

Click on the magazine cover to see more forecasts collected in the World Future Society’s annual Outlook reports.“Human actions could become more accurately predictable, thanks to neuroscience. Nano-sized robots will deliver cancer-fighting drugs directly to their targets. And though many recently lost jobs may never come back, people will find plenty to do (and get paid for) in the future,” according to forecasts you’ll find in this roundup of the most thought-provoking possibilities and ideas published in The Futurist magazine over the past year.

I’ve extracted the following Health & Medicine forecasts from the World Future Society’s special report, Outlook 2013. It’s a promotional piece to attract new members who then get a subscription to The Futurist.

  • Better health, but fewer doctors.
    A projected shortage of more than 90,000 doctors by 2020 will drive technological innovations such as low-cost, point-of-care diagnostics—i.e., Lab-on-a-Chip technologies. A cell-phone-sized device could analyze your blood or sputum while you talk to a health provider from the comfort of your home. —Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, “The Abundance Builders,” July-Aug 2012,p. 17
    Read More …

Sensor Network to Protect the Elderly

Marge Skubic

Marge Skubic developed a remote sensor network to monitor seniors’ activity and baseline health. Click image for credits and larger version

System monitors seniors’ health in the comfort of their own homes

By Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation, December 6, 2012

Many elderly dread the prospect that chronic medical issues will force them to leave their homes for an assisted living facility or nursing home, making them dependent upon others for their care and personal needs. Sometime in the near future, however, new technology could help them remain in their homes longer, perhaps indefinitely, without having to give up their independence.

“Our goal is to keep people in their private homes for as long as possible,” says Marjorie Skubic, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri. “The idea is to detect functional decline or early signs of illness, so we can identify problems when they are very small and proactively address them before they become catastrophic. That way, mom won’t have to leave her home.” Read More …

This $200 iPhone Case Is An FDA-Approved EKG Machine

By Mark Wilson
Alivecor Heart Monitor -- Click image to visit original article at FastCoDesign.com.

Health Care is hurting, and the world is changing.
More and more, Hospitals will fit in our Pockets. 

Most iPhone cases just protect your phone from drops. If you’re getting fancy, it may have a fisheye camera lens or a screen-printed back. But what about diagnosing coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, or congenital heart defects? The AliveCor Heart Monitor is an FDA-approved iPhone case that can be held in your hands (or dramatically pressed against your chest) to produce an EKG/ECG–the infamous green blips pulsing patient-side in hospitals everywhere.

“We think that EKG screening can be as approachable as taking blood pressure,” AliveCor President and CEO Judy Wade tells Co.Design. Read More …

Smart Car Features for Older Drivers

Nearly Nine in 10 Seniors Drive a Car that Doesn’t Fit their Aging Needs

AAA research helps “silver tsunami” match vehicle features to health concerns

Click to read about the future of driverless cars.

This photo by Henry Fountain pictures one of Google’s fleet of self-driving vehicles. The Lexus hybrid has a range-finder on top but otherwise looks reasonably conventional. We may eventually be able to buy cars that drive themselves (see comment below), and three states already license experimental models for operation on public roads, but until they’re commercially available, AAA offers advice on selecting car features for older drivers.

Washington, D.C., (Dec. 3, 2012) – With nearly 90 percent of motorists 65 and older suffering from health issues that affect driving safety, finding a car that not only adapts to conditions, such as lack of flexibility or muscle strength, while maintaining safety and comfort can be difficult. Data from a new AAA survey also reveals that only one in 10 senior drivers with aging health issues are driving a vehicle that has features like keyless entry and larger dashboard controls that can assist with such conditions.

To better equip the “silver tsunami” for driving safety and comfort, AAA has updated its Smart Features for Older Drivers resource to address a broader range of health conditions and include new data on 2012 vehicle features. As a leading advocate for senior driver safety, AAA launched Smart Features for Older Drivers in partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation in 2008. In the update, Smart Features identifies vehicle features that optimize older driver safety and comfort, lists current vehicles with those features, and allows users to explore their individual needs through an interactive online tool.  Read More …