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 …

Scanadu’s smartphone-enabled home diagnostics

Scanadu Unveils Family of New Tools to Revolutionize Consumer Healthcare

Scanadu SCOUTNASA-Based Company Puts a Doctor in Your Pocket

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA – November 29, 2012

Scanadu, a new personalized health electronics company, today unveiled the first three products in its family of consumer health tools: Scanadu SCOUT, Project ScanaFlu and Project ScanaFlo. Based at NASA-Ames Research Center, Scanadu is using mobile, sensor and social technology to ensure this is the last generation to know so little about our health. The newly introduced home diagnostic tools are set to be the biggest innovation in home medicine since the invention of the thermometer.

Founded in 2010 by Walter de Brouwer after a family medical emergency, Scanadu is using imaging and sound analysis, molecular diagnostics, data analytics and a suite of algorithms to create devices that offer a comprehensive, real-time picture of your health data. The company is also participating in the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, which looks to bring healthcare to the palm of your hand, as well as the Nokia Sensing X Challenge, which seeks to revolutionize digital healthcare. Read More …

Senior Living Options & Costs Infographic

As seniors age, they may need help with daily tasks. Helping them decide on appropriate living arrangements is critical to staying safe and healthy. Investing in home modifications and some sort of medical alert system is a cost effective way for seniors to feel safe and secure while living an independent lifestyle, as this infographic suggests. Read More …

AT&T blocks FaceTime, impacts the Deaf

AT&T blocks FaceTime, and sign language for the deaf and hard of hearingBy Brendan Gramer, in Wired Magazine

When I learned that Apple would finally be enabling the iPhone’s FaceTime app to work over mobile connections, I was ecstatic. As someone who is deaf, I could now use this one-touch, always-on video chat app to communicate with friends and family in my natural language: American Sign Language (ASL).

But then I found out that AT&T will block mobile FaceTime unless customers sign up for an expensive unlimited voice plan. I wasn’t thrilled with the thought of having to pay this AT&T “deaf tax” just to use the mobile data I’m already paying for.

It’s disappointing that AT&T is standing in the way of innovation that addresses the needs of its deaf and hard-of-hearing customers. Sometimes it takes a while (and some prodding) for technology and technology companies to catch up to and embrace accessibility. In this case the technology is there, but it’s AT&T that’s throwing up the barrier.

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What’s new in Smart Home technology?

Smart HouseBy Alex Lane (original article: What is a Smart Home? Samsung’s NaviBot S can clean the low places)

The original Smart Home device has to be the Teasmade, and the textbooks say that a smart home is one that uses home networking technology and your internet connection to automate and simplify everyday living.

It’s the use of networking and broadband connections that takes smart home technology beyond simple home automation, where each device usually stands alone, with its own control system.

Smart home tech is a fast-growing field, from cleaning your house to opening the curtains and switching on the lights. There’s also a growing field of utility and power management, for your gas, water and electricity [and for home health care]. Surrounding them all are unified networking and control systems that can control and monitor all of your devices, not just one for each.

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Wireless Opportunities in Health and Wellness Monitoring

Bluetooth is a global wireless standard that enables simple connectivity among mobile and medical devices. Version 4.0, with its low energy features for long battery life, is already transforming the healthcare industry, creating efficiencies, and promoting responsible personal health monitoring, as noted in my earlier article, Healthcare meets Bluetooth Low Energy. But the following press release highlights new market research that predicts a … Read More …

Medical students invent app that checks your symptoms

Craig Monsen and David Do show off Symcat

Craig Monsen and David Do show off their diagnostic tool for consumers.

Craig Monsen and David Do are fourth-year medical students at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine students. According to this article, they recently created a smartphone compatible website that uses big data, analytics, and artificial intelligence to analyze your symptoms and help determine the cause.

Using Symcat (symptoms-based, computer-assisted triage), you enter various ailments (fever, rash, cough, swelling etc.) and receive a diagnosis, prioritizing potential causes by likelihood and color-coding them by urgency. As you’ll see in the video demo below, entering and refining the symptoms and medical history is an iterative process, and the results are quite impressive. At some point, if you decide to see a doctor, the system also recommends local practitioners based on their specific specialty and experience.

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Too Much Hype in the Mobile Health App World?

Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPABy Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

[Original post, “Too Much Hype in the Mobile Health App World?” published on The Huffington Post on 7/23/12 in the Healthy Living/Health News Section.]

The Wild West of mobile health (mHealth) is taking the health care industry by storm, but “there are no rules to the game,” said Joseph C. Kvedar, M.D., founder and director at the Center for Connected Health in a recent interview. Mobile health is a “game changer,” he added, but there is a lot of hype because there are a lot of people developing health apps just to “get rich quick.”

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Home Monitoring of Seniors will drive Wearable Devices

Home Monitoring for Seniors Will Drive 36 Million Wearable Wireless Device Market

Some High Tech mHealth SolutionsFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – LONDON – July 13, 2012

​A combination of factors including the growing senior demographic combined with economic, social, and technological developments are driving investment and demand for home monitoring devices that can extend and improve in-home care.

As the market transitions from safety focused offerings toward health monitoring and extending and enhancing the comfort, safety, and well-being for seniors living in their own homes and care homes, monitoring devices will grow to more than 36 million units in 2017, up from under 3 million units in 2011, at a CAGR of 55.9%.

Over the same time, home monitoring will almost double its share of the wearable wireless device health market to 22% from 12%.

“Healthcare providers and caregivers alike are looking for devices to improve the monitoring of seniors in their own homes as economics and demographics increasingly drive that demand” says Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research and author of a new report examining the wearable wireless device healthcare market. Read More …

Emerging mHealth: Paths for Growth

Report cover: Emerging mHealth Paths for GrowthIn this 44-page market research report from PwC (formerly Pricewaterhouse Cooper), patients, doctors and payers share their sometimes-conflicting views on mHealth. We provide highlights below.

We live in a world that’s connected wirelessly with almost as many cellular phone subscriptions as there are people on the planet. According to the International Telecommunications Union, there were almost 6 billion mobile phones in use worldwide in late 2011. The ubiquity of mobile technology offers tremendous opportunities for the healthcare industry to address one of the most pressing global challenges: making healthcare more accessible, faster, better and cheaper.

Several factors effect how mHealth care will be provided, including:

  • The ubiquity and personal nature of mobile devices;
  • The very nature of always-in-touch mobility; and
  • Competition that will increase functionality and drive lower prices. Read More …

Five Reasons Why mHealth is Not Going Away

Click for larger image of Basic Telehealth System, connecting patients, sensor devices, caregivers, and healthcare services

Five Reasons Why mHealth is Not Going Away
(despite the Hype-haters)

By David Lee Scher, MD

One feels almost assaulted by financial projections of the mHealth market every day.  Extrapolations from the increasing use of smartphones, the use of iPads by physicians, the adoption of patient portals by insurers, and research of the Internet for medical purposes are commonplace.  Occasionally there will be a welcomed “Let’s bring it back to Earth” post, but  I can almost predict verbatim the final paragraphs of some of these predictions.

Mobile health is part of the overall movement of the digitization of healthcare.  While adoption of these technologies will take a while to occur for a variety of reasons, (many of which have been the subject of other posts by this author), it would not be fair to let the hype become the face of the industry and an easy target of critics.

These technologies WILL become a major part of healthcare for the following reasons: Read More …

What mobile phone and tablet do you use?

What platforms should healthcare app developers support?

iPhone4s showing Facetime with granddaughterWhile participating in the “What is Mobile Health?” Linkedin discussion that I mentioned a few days ago, an Australian app developer asked me the following question, sensing that I might have a helpful perspective. Because my response might also help Modern Health Talk readers, I’ll include both his question and my reply here.

Hi Wayne,
Can I ask what mobile phone you currently have and use? Do you have an iPad? The reason I ask is I find it interesting to appreciate the technology individuals use and the effects it has on the opportunities we see to advance healthcare.

@David, I have an Apple iPhone3, and both my wife and son (in Dallas) have an iPhone4s so they can use FaceTime video conferencing and we see our year-old granddaughter. On the tablet side, I have my wife’s old iPad after getting her an iPad2 to resolve conflicts over who gets to use it. BTW, she completely quit using her PC after getting the first iPad. Read More …

10 Forecasts for the Future of Healthcare

World Future Society's special report on 20 Forecasts for the Next 25 YearsFORESIGHT may be the single most critical skill for the 21st Century. Knowledge quickly goes out of date, but foresight enables you to anticipate and navigate change, make good decisions, and take action to create a better future.

That’s why I’ve been a member of the Central Texas chapter of the World Future Society for years, where I meet interesting people with widely varied perspectives of the future. It’s also why I participate in so many Linkedin discussion groups on emerging healthcare issues.

The following ten forecasts came from the World Future Society’s special report, Forecasts for the Next 25 Years. It’s a promotional piece to attract new members who then get a subscription to The Futurist magazine.

Forecast #3. Nanotechnology offers hope for restoring eyesight.

Flower-shaped electrodes topped with photodiodes, implanted in blind patients’ eyes, may restore their sight. The “nanoflowers” mimic the geometry of neurons, making them a better medium than traditional computer chips for carrying photodiodes and transmitting the collected light signals to the brain. Read More …

mHealth – Is it Mobile Health or Modern Health?

What is Mobile Health?  That’s the subject of a Linkedin discussion started by Wendy Thomas, founder of the Mobile Health Association in Austin, TX.

Her purpose was to clear up confusion between syllogisms, and the analogy she used was that Lions are all Animals, but not all Animals are Lions. The same goes with the health terms such as digital health, ehealth (electronic healthcare), mhealth (mobile healthcare), and telemedicine, so she argued that…

Mobile Health IS Wireless Health AND Mobile Health IS Telemedicine, but Wireless Health AND Telemedicine are not necessarily MOBILE HEALTH.

Syllogism examples in healthcare

While I agree with the premise of Wendy’s argument, people often associate Mobile Health with the ambulance that shows up to provide care and transportation, rather than the use of mobile devices and wireless networks. That’s why I drew the diagram with Mobile Health not entirely within Wireless Health or within Telemedicine. Confusion still persists, and I’m adding to it with yet another term – Modern Health. Read More …

Healthcare Robots – Eldercare in the Hands of Machines

Robots and other assistive technology may be inevitable in aged care moving into the future, but can they replace the human touch? Annie May reports. Reprinted from Aged Care INsite, Apr/May 2011, and expanded greatly since.

Matilda the robot can read emotions

Click image to watch video: “Matilda the robot can read emotions”

Standing at just 40cm tall and looking suspiciously like the latest toy their grandchildren have been dropping hints about for their upcoming birthdays, Matilda the robot doesn’t give the impression that she has much to offer in the way of care for the elderly.

So when placed in front of an aged care resident to talk about her diet, the resident doesn’t have high expectations. But on admitting to having a love of sweets, Matilda is quick to inform her about all the negative health impacts this indulgence can have. Becoming slightly anxious, – whether a result of being lectured by a bright orange robot or at the thought of having to cut back on her sweets – the resident is then shocked at being reassured by the robot.

How can it be that this baby-face robot can read emotions and give a sensitive response? The result of a breakthrough by Melbourne and Japanese scientists, Matilda is one of two robots, the other her brother Jack, which has been developed with ’emotional intelligent’ software.

Read More …

Digital Divide Still Prevalent

Among seniors, Internet and broadband use drop off around age 75By Lisa Nelson, http://blog.howto.gov/2012/04/20/digital-divide-still-prevalent/

The rapid adoption of mobile and mobile devices is providing Internet access to those who had little or no none before.

With almost 90% of American twenty-somethings accessing the Internet through smartphones or tablets, the digital divide may narrow significantly by the end of the decade.

Despite this sunny future, a PEW Internet report looks at differences in digital access and use among American adults and finds one in five people do not use the Internet.

While increased Internet adoption and the rise of mobile connectivity have reduced many gaps in technology access over the past decade, for some groups digital disparities still remain.

The report finds that those most likely to be part of the digital divide include: Read More …

Wireless Health as Cure for U.S. Healthcare Business

The Battle for Wireless Health May Help Cure an Ailing US Healthcare Business

U.S. Business School War Game Predicts Mergers and New Services to Gain Affluent Boomer Market ShareWar Games and the Battle for Wireless Healthcare

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Healthcare technology companies – ranging from large such as GE to startups like Independa – will need to find partners and cater to the affluent Baby Boomer generation and their caregivers if they are to take the lead in wireless health, an industry that promises to help reduce much of the estimated $2.5 trillion of wasted resources in the global healthcare system. This was among the predictions of a national war gaming contest held between four top business schools and run by Fuld & Company last week in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Read More …

The Nurse in Your Pocket

Ginger.io monitors smartphone activity to give health insightsFrom The Nurse in Your Pocket:

In 2009, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave a dorm full of students smartphones and tracked where they went, who they called and texted, and at what times they communicated. The researchers found that the data pouring out of the phones could reliably tell when a student was ill: Those stricken with the flu moved around much less, and those who were depressed had fewer calls and interactions with others.

 

As a result of the study, some students who worked on it founded Ginger.io, a behavioral analytics firm that turns mobile data into health insights. Based on branches of computer science known as “machine learning” and “big data,” they sort through tens of thousands of data points coming out of a smartphone each month to identify a user’s typical pattern of behavior. And when someone deviates from that pattern, Ginger.io can alert friends or doctors that they may need to intervene.

It’s kind of like a “check engine light” for the body, and it extends the thinking of Intel’s Eric Dishman that’s described in the video below. Read More …

Intel-GE Care Innovations, a critique

Care Innovations™ is a unique joint venture that brings together GE’s expertise in healthcare and Intel’s technology expertise 
— to help change the way health care is delivered.

I’ve worked with Intel before in the wireless standards area and have great respect for the company. And I also like their approach to market development, which often starts with ethnographic market research to understand the people who use technology products rather than starting with what’s technically possible. But in this case I question their design choices, because I think they ignored widely accepted standards and mainstream opportunities. Let me explain. Read More …