Monday, January 26, 2015

Holographic Imaging Aids Surgeons

It looks like something out of a science fiction film: a human heart floating in mid-air in such a way that a doctor can walk around it and see it in action from all sides. This technology has the potential to completely revolutionize the way surgeons get to see inside their patients. Already tested in pilot programs, the technology should start appearing in medical care facilities in 2016.
Fans of the television show Grey's Anatomy got to see a holographic clip of the technology in an episode that aired this past spring. In We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Burke arranges for Cristina to go to Zurich where she gets to see a hologram of the heart they are to operate on. In reality, the work on the technology behind the holography was performed in Israel by RealView Imaging.
Read more in 

Holographic Images for Healthcare

SaaS cuts down on sick visits

onically, seeking out healthcare can actually spread germs contained in a room packed with patients. If you've recently been in such a situation, and been forced to wait an hour or even longer to be seen, you might have thought, as I did, "there has to be a better way." There is, thanks to SaaS.
SaaS makes it possible for patients to use any web-enabled device to access convenient and affordable healthcare. It does not just give information like you'd find on WebMD, but a  personalized diagnosis and even a prescription--if warranted--at a cost that is just slightly higher than standard insurance copayments
Minneapolis-based Zipnosis is the company that developed the SaaS platform. It promises "online diagnosis and treatment in minutes" for $25. 
Read more in 

SaaS Replaces Sick Visits

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Device to diminish driving while drowsy or distracted

Like the directive to buy low and sell high to make money in the stock market, the principle of keeping your eyes on the road to be safe when driving sounds simple but remains elusive. With countless distractions and our own tendency to drive while sleep deprived, many of us fail to give driving the full attention it deserves.
Fortunately, analytics technology offers a solution to alert drivers when their attention wanders. Read more in 

Realtime Data Targets Drowsy & Distracted Driving

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A smarter phone for use by the visually impaired

For the visually impaired, the empowerment offered by suitably equipped smartphones provides more than convenience -- it represents independence!
Today's smartphones offer the computational power of yesterday's desktop computers, coupled with intuitive, easy-to use interfaces, all small enough to fit in our pockets.

For the visually impaired, however, it's been another story. The visual design of such devices has largely rendered them useless to those who can't see. Taking up the challenge of making mobile devices useful for the vision impaired, Project Ray has launched the "world's only multi-purpose assistive tools with integrated Internet services."


Smartphones for the Blind

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tablets for a better hospital experience

Tablets have already made a place for themselves in healthcare as doctors use them to upload information to patient electronic health records. Successful pilot programs have proven that there are even more benefits to be realized from putting tablets into the hands of patients. 
Read about two successful pilot programs in 

Tablets for Patients: Pilot Programs Demonstrate Benefits

For more ways in which such technology can be tapped to improve the patient's hospital experience, see 

Tablet Computers: The Way Forward for Better Patient Experiences

Friday, December 26, 2014

Behold, no w!

Today I read part of a Smithsonian article. It lost me when it got to the quote that began, "Low and behold." That was almost as painful to read as "it's" standing in for the possessive form of the pronoun. It's not "low" but "lo" in the context of the expression. Ah, but you might say, "lo" is not a word. True, we don't use it, but in the context of the expression, it's a shortened form of "look." That's the explanation offered in
" Lo in this and its other meaning, which is more akin to O!, has been in use since the first Millennium and appears in the epic poem Beowulf."
It also offers the first written record of the full phrse, "lo and behold"  in an 1808 letter in theCorrespondence 1787–1870, of Queen Victoria's lady of the bedchamber - Lady Sarah Spencer Lyttelton:
"Hartington... had just told us how hard he had worked all the morning... when, lo and behold! M. Deshayes himself appeared."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

3D printing goes live

Within a generation, we likely will not just hear of things like 3D-printed hearts serving as models, but as real, functioning organs.

The world of 3D printing possibilities keeps expanding, from the purely ornamental to the truly useful. This technology has already made a difference in healthcare with prosthetics and replacements for bones, and even models of patients' hearts that improve the outcome of surgery. In the future, the 3D-printed heart may itself be alive, as researchers have now discovered how to print living tissue.
Read more in 

It's Alive! The 3D Printing of Living Tissues

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Data for doctors: should there be limits on it?

This summer, Carolinas HealthCare System made the news rounds as a warning of the new levels of data mining available to healthcare companies. In Hospitals Are Mining Patients' Credit Card Data to Predict Who Will Get Sick, we get a very Big Brother type of picture of the invasiveness of such data mining with an illustrative picture showing a doctor saying, “Don’t lie to me, Susan, I know about the 2 a.m. Papa John’s deliveries.”

 It makes for dramatic copy, but it’s still in the realm of fiction rather than fact, as I found our when  I contacted Carolinas HealthCare and got a response from Jason Schneider, Director, Clinical PR. He explained that the article “focused on how providers could use data for in the future and didn't include details what data we are currently using and how we are using it.”

The data they are currently using does not follow an individual’s consumer trail but looks at things like socio-economic circles, neighborhood limitations, and cultural affiliation that could shape one’s access to healthcare. One example of that was identifying why patients in one particular area were not coming in for regular doctor’s visits. It turned out that it didn’t have reliable public transportation to a doctor's office. After identifying the geographic problem, Carolinas HealthCare set up a doctor in the neighborhood itself.

As the person quoted in each of the articles on Carolinas use of data is Dr.  Michael Dulin, chief clinical officer for analytics and outcomes research at Carolinas, I contacted him and spoke with him on the phone. He explained that Carolinas has a decade of experience in using data to improve healthcare by identifying individuals within contexts that could pose obstacles to care.

Read more in 

More Info in the Name of Better Healthcare