When someone goes into cardiac arrest, survival depends on how quickly the heart can be restarted. Enter Amazon’s Echo, a voice-driven computer that answers to the name of Alexa, which can recite life-saving instructions about cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a skill taught to it by the American Heart Association. Alexa is accumulating other health-care skills, too, including acting as a companion for the elderly and answering questions about children’s illnesses. In the near future she will probably help doctors with grubby hands to take notes and to request scans, as well as remind patients to take their pills.
Alexa is one manifestation of a drive to disrupt an industry that has so far largely failed to deliver on the potential of digital information. Health care is over-regulated and expensive to innovate in, and has a history of failing to implement ambitious IT projects. But the momentum towards a digital future is gathering pace. Investment into digital health care has soared.
Image Credit: Dave Simonds
As consumers, we enjoy so many options that give us more control over almost every aspect of our lives: We order carry-out and rides from our phones and watch TV shows and movies online whenever we please. We chat virtually with friends and family around the globe. Of course, major cloud-based infrastructure makes all those services possible.
And within the past 10 years, we’ve watched eagerly as the cloud has proved to be a boon to medicine, helping hospitals and providers become more effective and efficient while increasing patient engagement and satisfaction.
There’s no going back: The future of healthcare IT is in the cloud. As more and more older, legacy software systems shift to cloud-based services, even the newest healthcare apps are being developed for cloud use only.
For patients recovering from total knee replacement (TKR) surgery, physical therapy is a critical part of the healing process. But traditional clinic-based physical therapy can be expensive and inconvenient, especially for senior and disabled patients for whom travel is difficult. Patients who can’t afford or are unable to travel to physical therapy appointments are often given hard-to-follow paper instructions and told to do the exercises on their own. However, Duke University’s Clinical Research Institute is currently evaluating a virtual rehabilitation solution that could solve these challenges by delivering guided physical therapy instruction in the patient’s home.
The FDA-cleared VERA system from Reflexion Health, Inc., walks patients through exercises and monitors their movements using motion-tracking technology to ensure they’re doing them correctly. The system also provides real-time feedback and tips, and sends performance data back to the prescribing physician or physical therapist.
By Taylor Mallory Holland | Insights (Samsung)
Dear Medscape Colleagues,
Last year, I put out my first top 10 tech list, and it seemed to get a lot of interest. So here is this year’s list, not in any rank order. There are many more important advances than I list here, but I have focused on the ones that can make a real difference for patients and patient care. I have no conflict of interest with any of the companies listed here.
With telemedicine seemingly on an upward trajectory, it’s likely that competition among companies may increase as newcomers enter the field. REACH Health’s 2016 U.S. Telemedicine Industry Benchmark Survey found that nearly two-thirds of healthcare providers included in the survey ranked telemedicine as one of their top priorities moving into 2017.
If you’re interested in telemedicine, either from an investment perspective or as a consumer who’s looking for more variety in how you receive medical care, here are five companies that have proven themselves as industry leaders.
If the next physician you see has a robotic bedside manner, it could be for good reason: That doctor might actually be a robot. Surgical robots that help perform delicate, minimally invasive procedures have been around for more than 15 years. Now, telemedicine robots are roving through emergency rooms, allowing remote specialists to rapidly assess and diagnose patients experiencing strokes when every second counts. Here’s a glimpse at how robotic devices add another dimension to health care.
Spending time with grandparents is a lot of fun. They share a lot of untold stories about the past, embarrassing stories about parents (who still like to parade as serious adults with everything to know about life in front of their kids). Of course grandmas have the best recipe for strawberry jam and sponge-cake, and grandpas have a waste knowledge of football and grumble every now and then about why it is not compulsory anymore for young boys to join the army.
And from time to time, you find yourself trying to talk louder to them as they cannot hear well. You find yourself repeating stories as they do not understand everything you tell them at once. You walk slower when you are around, and they often ask you to get things done for them. For example, it is a nightmare for them to arrange problems with their phone bills on the phone because up until you reach an operator, you have to press a gazillion of buttons in a specific order.
By Berci Mesko, MD, PhD | The Medical Futurist