Living in Atlanta and working within the healthcare delivery innovation community, the mounting Ebola outbreak taught us all how quickly the “global” can become local.
For a healthcare system threatened by infectious disease, complex chronic illness, environmental and population management issues, the outbreak also reinforces how new technologies are advancing patient and caregiver safety, prevention, patient monitoring, diagnosis and even treatment.
The answer, through non-contact medicine, is literally in the airwaves.
Researchers at Stanford are pursuing the combined use of laser and carbon nanotubes to provide a more detailed view of blood flow in the brain – down to single capillaries – to increase the understanding of cerebral-vascular disease beyond the imaging provided by CT scan or MRI.
Today XPRIZE announced the 12 finalists for the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE. This is a $2.25m prize competition to advance the ability to use sensors to measure and manage health, and it’s something that we’re fascinated by at Health 2.0.
We’re even more thrilled to tell you that on October 2nd the winners will be unveiled live on stage at Health 2.0’s Fall Conference by our friends at XPRIZE and Nokia, the XChALLENGE’s sponsor. The 12 finalists come from the US, Israel, Japan and the UK and run the gamut in new diagnostic tools. Details below the fold, but this is going to change how we measure health–not to mention it’ll also be lots of fun!
Eric Topol was once a lowly (well not that lowly) cardiology professor at the University of Michigan, but he’s now without question the leading renaissance man in health care technology. Virtually every week sees him on some big stage disgnosing his own heart murmur with an iPhone app or showing off how his sleep brain waves and his genome interact or don’t.
His new book, The Creative Destruction of Medicine is a tour de force romp through basically every type of cool new medical technology. He covers the Cloud/Web/Wireless/Sensor phenomenon from both a social, transactional and diagnostic point of view–leaning heavily on his connection to the West Wireless Health Institute which he helped persuade Gary & Mary West to fund. He’s the creator of a new medical school program at Scripps focusing on the genomics and proteomics revolution, and the book covers in great detail the evolution of the human genome project and its impact on disease discovery (coming eventually) and matching patients to the right drug (available more or less now). Finally he was of course the head of Cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic where he not only was heavily involved in the testing of tPA (the drug that built Genetech) but also in unveiling the problems with Vioxx not limited to the drug itself but also concerning Merck’s behavior at the time. (Remember Dodgeball?)
Most of the time I write about the psychology of patient, consumer or provider adoption. This is not an accident. The psychology of adoption is the next big hurdle for connected health to overcome. We have good evidence that connected health solutions can be engaging and sticky for patients, leading to improved self-care. Likewise, we have evidence that enriching data coming from patients to providers can lead to better care decisions and that these decisions, made and delivered in the moment of need, are the other half of the magic of connected health. Further we have a sense that those patients who are not interested in the level of engagement that connected health demands often have worse outcomes and therefore cost the system more.
But today, I want to talk about technology. Most of the time, I write from the perspective of a technology vision that includes continuous (or near continuous) sensing of multiple physiologic signals. These signals are flawlessly transmitted to a computing environment where decision support can be applied to aid in improved communication with patients and improved decision making by providers. The state of the art today is not so elegant.
We use multiple different sensors, both wired and wireless, communicating via a large variety of aggregator devices that then transmit the sensor outputs to us via the Internet. The environment is both user-unfriendly and error prone, which increases the technical support resources required. We have the strong sense that some individuals drop out of programs because the technology is too challenging for them, so we miss them before we can turn them on to the benefits of a connected health experience.
The marketplace for sensors is changing in a number of exciting, dynamic ways. First, a number of sensors are coming to market that have embedded mobile chips right in them. They are sold in the same way as the Amazon Kindle (the wireless connectivity is bundled in the price of the device).