Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have made a proof-of-concept technique to ensure the integrity of data in different clinical trials utilizing blockchain. Currently, this system creates the immutable audit
Blockchain technology utilizes the old computer science method called hashing. Hashing creates a rare digital signature for particular blocks of data. These hashes accumulate as new data is changed or entered, and as a result, information blocks build on top of one another sequentially. The resulting “blockchain” makes one audit trail for the regulators, which is easy to validate and decipher, without even looking at the data.
For example, Daniel Wong is a Ph.D. student in Biological & Medical Informatics at the University of California, San Francisco. He has built this type of system to operate through the web portal. As data is changed or entered within the given trial, the information about the participants, timestamp, receiver, the sender, and file attachments with data accumulate together with the hash from the last data block. While most blockchain applications are decentralized, this new clinical trial prototype relies on containing the regulator along with centralized authority. This technique is used by organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Moreover, data that includes adverse events will be reported to a regulatory agency, which will cause an increase in the efficiency and safety of the clinical trials. While the older version of blockchain created allowances for the data entry or some other mistakes to be error-free, new data will be appended to an existing chain in this decentralized form of blockchain, without having to remove existing information. Now more than ever, it will be extremely clear if data has been corrupted or altered to affect the results of the trial.
In conclusion, blockchain technology might enable trials to be examined under some challenging conditions and will open doors to data exchanges which are secure, efficient, and transparent for the researchers as well as the public. Ultimately, a decentralized version of blockchain has the ability to impact not just researchers but also the public as a whole.
AR and VR Applications in Healthcare
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.
- 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.
5 Reasons Virtual Reality is Changing the Game of Medicine
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The Connection between Smartphones and Atrial Fibrillation Detection
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.
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
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