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Sneak Peek in Up- and- Coming Digital Technologies Today

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1. Lower blood pressure: Omron Evolv

A blood pressure monitor that’s wireless and portable, available on iOS and Android devices. This gadget will eliminate heart attacks and is clinically accurate, a definite recommendation from doctors and pharmacists!

2. Fitbit

A natural cure for health and fitness is physical activity. The Fitbit is a wearable watch that tracks your sleep and daily activity, so you are more aware of your routine to engage in a healthier lifestyle. The new OS 2.1 update allows quick text messaging replies only available on the Android phone with additional improvements and features.

3. AdhereTech: “Smart pills” Reminder

A cognitive connection between color and technology? This innovation is a smart pill bottle that sends real-time alerts to users notifying them when to take their medicine. If it’s blue, the user is noted to take the medication, and red indicates that the patient still yet has to take their medication and are reminded via text or phone call.  

4. Thrive on ThriveOn! http://thriveonapp.com/

An application called ThriveOn offers all the resources you need in one location! It’s just a phone call or message away to outreach to numerous service providers. This is the next bridge of information gap between the older generations and the growing technology that exists today. Some features include:

  • CPAs and tax professionals.
  • Senior living facilities.
  • Caregivers and in-home nurses
  • Mental Health Facilities
  • Estate Attorneys
  • Financial Advisors

Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/leebelltech/2018/03/26/the-best-health-tech-2017/#1d1dc24638df

 

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Digital Health

AR and VR Applications in Healthcare

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Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been growing to encompass a variety of different fields, from business and gaming to healthcare applications. Research into healthcare applications for AR and VR technologies have swelled up in the past decade with the advances in computing power. Currently, AR and VR healthcare applications have been focused on educating or simulating different treatments for surgeons and clinicians. There are three key healthcare delivery stages as defined by the world health organization: Primary care; Secondary care; Tertiary care interventions. According to a research study done in the UK analyzing all the ongoing research in AR and VR in healthcare application, there is a broad focus in hospital and clinical settings. Here is a list of interesting technologies in development or are currently rolled out in hospitals and clinics.

Image by zedinteractive from Pixabay
  • There have been developments in dental care using a 3D iOS scanning system to create dental abutments and to potentially plan for surgical interventions.
  • Simulated needle placements for training purposes, with haptic feedback systems to simulate real tissue.
  • Simulations of surgery procedures for greater patient engagement with practitioners on the outcomes of surgeries.
  • Aiding surgery with additional information about the patient anatomy by reconstructing patient anatomy using spatial information collected through using image-based tracking.
  • Training nature of tools developed need full surgical theater settings and require a hospital setting for deployment.
  • Simulations of health conditions are being developed so that interventions can be planned for a wide variety of scenarios.
  • Human body measurements captured through computer-aided design (CAD) to process 3D measurements and display modeled body shapes.
  • Handheld technology through a hand-held surface scanner can be used to present spatial information in a mobile format.
  • There is a system being developed to measure the size of wounds using 3D sensing technology to improve the reliability and accuracy of surface measurements continuously.
  • A hand-motion based VR game used as a therapy treatment to reduce hand muscle problems associated with keyboard overuse.
  • AR and VR can be combined to add greater depth to technologies. Research for a system has been made to use AR to project a virtual brain onto the patient’s head. On the same system, VR will be used to allow the patient to have a hands-on experience with the projection to see the solutions implemented.
  • The Xbox Kinect has been used for developing AR anatomy education.
  • A wheelchair navigation system using smartphones to scan specific locations in order to assist the user in moving around their environment.

In short, AR is used to visual pre- or intraoperative images onto the patient’s anatomy to aid in decision making moving forward. VR has been used for educational purposes and interacting with anatomy. The future of healthcare will be greatly enhanced for patients and healthcare providers alike.

Source: 

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1532046419300206?via%3Dihub

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Digital Health

5 Reasons Virtual Reality is Changing the Game of Medicine

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Virtual reality can truly transport you to a different world. As many people have reported the first time they try out a headset, the experience is incredibly lifelike. Virtual reality today is producing not only more advanced video games that evoke real emotion in people but a solution for the healthcare industry too. Virtual reality is enhancing the patient experience to the process of rehabilitation. Many VR developers including Samsung have stepped up to produce technology over the last decade that is built with patient experience in mind.

VR applications in the medical field are almost limitless at this point. VR technology is working to deliver an immediate benefit in these five sectors of health care:

  1. Training: VR programs have been introduced for clinical skills training support. Medical students can complete surgical skill training in the form of simulations. Doctors can complete full procedures in VR without risking patient health and feel more confident in their abilities going into a real procedure having done the simulation.
  2. Prevention: VR experiences for promoting wellness, managing stress and treating addictive behavior are all occurring today. Specific programs for helping people to manage stress and coping their addiction are working to improve the patient in stressful situations.
  3. Adherence during training: improving patient experience through various VR training and game-like features is helping medical facilities to engage with patients during the treatment process. This can lead to better injury recovery and more.
  4. Pain management: VR distraction experiences are now being used as an alternative to painkillers. These solutions can reduce the overall dosage of painkillers that are required during specific procedures, and they can even eliminate the use of painkillers in situations such as dressing burns and more.
  5. Telemedicine: standalone VR systems and cell phone-based systems can be of use for providing health care access remotely. Connecting with physicians through VR could enhance chronic disease management and help physicians support improved home diagnosis and recovery.

VR applications in healthcare can have almost limitless possibilities such as overcoming phobias in mental health conditions, fulfilling the dying wishes of the palliative care patient, easing stress during procedures like vaccinations and continuing to provide support as an alternative to painkillers.

Many manufacturers are working on dropping the price of their headset substantially. For medical use, there are headsets now available for less than $100 that can be used with most smartphone devices. As a long-term strategy, VR is still an industry that is mostly consumer driven, but as more developers step forward and continue producing products for medical use, we may see more hospitals continuing to implement this technology for their patients.

As more people have access to this technology at home, it could also improve the availability of applications that they could access on their smartphones or VR devices. Patients both in medical facilities and at home will be able to take advantage of the therapeutic effects of this fantastic technology as long as developers keep scaling up their efforts.

Source:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/reenitadas/2018/05/31/virtual-reality-the-alternative-to-marijuana-and-opioids-for-pain-management/#6df84d9851d6

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Digital Health

The Connection between Smartphones and Atrial Fibrillation Detection

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After seven years of extensive research and development, a new app created at Turku University, Finland recently revealed that it could detect atrial fibrillation without the use of additional equipment. The phone application has the possibility to save lives across the globe because timely diagnosis of the atrial fibrillation is vital in stroke prevention. This joint research of Turku University & the Turku Heart Centre has studied 300 patients having heart-related issues; half of them were having atrial fibrillation. And, the researchers also identified the patients having atrial fibrillation from another group with the smart mobile. The phone app, which was designed at Turku University, had detected which group members had  atrial fibrillation, that too with a 96% accuracy with few false positives.

Members of the study included those who had ventricular extrasystole, heart failure, and coronary disease. With a wide spectrum of heart conditions, the research at the University of Turku was conducted as blind research, meaning that the hospital sent measurements of data for conducting analysis even without any additional information of specific patient conditions. The complete analyses were then sent back to the University of Turku hospital to further examine the reliability.

Is Atrial Fibrillation always Detected at the Doctor’s Office?

No, atrial fibrillation is not always detected at the doctors office, even if it is in its intermittent stages. Proper detection of atrial fibrillation has been a pertinent challenge in medicine due to its affordability constraints.

During the seven year period, the researchers decided to check whether it’s possible for them to detect the atrial fibrillation from micro movements in the chest along with accelerometers.  In the year 2017 when the research was completed, they ascertained that it is quite possible. This means that everyone who owns smartphones has the potential to detect atrial fibrillation, as most smartphones have an accelerometer.

Therefore, this mobile application not only can direct patients straight to doctors without any further delay but can also lead to significant economic savings.

When will we see the App in the Market?

The researchers aim to make this app available for everyone relatively soon and believe that the app can spread to the world market. The commercialization of this app is quickly advancing. Currently, the researchers have applied for patent protection regarding all the new techniques which are at the initial stages of the research.

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180316100609.htm

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