PSFK Picks: Top 10 Health Innovations Of The Week

From a Facebook for doctors to a smartphone with built-in health sensors, we bring you the most innovative stories from the world of wellness research.

PSFK has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a snapshot of Ten Innovative Ideas each week that are reshaping the health care industry. Continue reading below for the most exciting ideas from the past seven days.

Facebook For Physicians Could Help Save Lives
iRounds is an online social network that gives physicians a forum where they can discuss cases, ask for second opinions, and consult colleagues across multiple disciplines in real-time. Doctors utilizing the platform to consult fellow physicians can see which publications, specializations, board certifications, and other qualifications a doctor has obtained in order to determine with whom to interact. Launched by Doximity, the largest online professional physician network, the platform is secure under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and only verified Doximity physicians and medical students are granted access to participate.

Service Helps Users Keep Tabs On Solitary Loved Ones Via Daily Check-Ins
In an effort to help people ensure that their elderly loved ones are safe and secure, London-based POM4U(Piece Of Mind For You) offers a service that requires solitary loved ones to perform daily check-ins. Users living alone simply check in quickly from their computer or mobile device once a day at the time of their choice. Check-ins can be arranged for one-time situations such as when they go for a walk alone. If a user fails to check in, people on their “piece of mind” list are alerted immediately via email, sms or phone call. The service also offers social network-style functionality, enabling family and friends to share photos, videos and contacts.

Better Medicine, Brought To You By Big Data
Different facets of healthcare and fitness are utilizing big data and new types of analysis to improve their respective fields. Analyzed in aggregate, this data can lead to new cures, reduce errors and lead to overall operational efficiencies. As genome sequencing gets cheaper, genomics research is adopting cutting-edge algorithms and cloud computing cores in order to analyze data and discover cures for diseases easier, cheaper, and more efficient. Doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital are using visual data dispersed across the hospital’s servers to reduce medical errors, help plan trials, and reduce supply chain costs. The startup Apixio is centralizing patient records in the cloud and applying semantic analysis in order to streamline patient information and communication.

Fitness Devices Powered By Your Body’s Effort Instead Of A Battery
A new series of battery-free gadgets using thermoelectric energy (TEG) technology are being developed that receive their from user’s body heat as they workout. Renewable energy company Perpetua has developed an insertable chip that converts body heat into electric energy. TEGWear technology relies on two different temperatures – body heat and the coolness surrounding the device; converting the difference between the two into usable energy. The hardware doesn’t produce enough energy to power a cell phone, but can instead be integrated into low-power gadgets (Fitbit, Nike+, fitness watches, etc.) that are regularly used by fitness buffs. Perpetua plans to have the technology available to consumers by 2014.

Startup Turns Physical Therapy Into A Game With Microsoft Kinect
Canadian startup, Jintronix Inc., is building software that uses Microsoft Kinect’s motion-sensing and scanning properties with clinical programs to deliver physical therapy exercises remotely to patients such as stroke victims and those in geriatric care. Patients use their bodies to perform basic movements that correspond to virtual characters on the screen. As the players perform their rehabilitation, the system records their progress to a Web Portal that can be accessed by their clinician remotely to check on their progress. Since March of this year, the startup has developed three games focused on different types of physical therapy. The company recently won the $50,000 top prize at Montreal’s International Startup Festival for their work.  

Platform Lets Employees Design Personalized Health Insurance Plan
Liazon’s Bright Choices Exchange is an online health insurance exchange where employees can use the money allocated by their employers to customize medical plans based on their individual needs. Employers begin by deciding the total amount they’d like to set aside for healthcare, while employees can mix and match which benefits are right for them. An online questionnaire assists employees by analyzing their needs based on income, health history, and the requirements of their family members. After building a personalized healthcare benefit portfolio, the service educates participants as to how and where they can use their benefits.

Easily Diagnose Diabetes With Specially Designed Glucose Monitoring Paper Strips
A team of scientists at VU University in the Netherlands has developed an inexpensive, paper-based device designed for testing diabetes in developing countries. Unlike clinical tests, which require a blood sample, the new glucose monitoring solution utilizes urine to detect abnormal blood sugar levels. Existing diagnostic tests for diabetes, although inexpensive, still prove cost-prohibitive in rural areas of world like China and India where the disease is still prominent, but often goes under diagnosed.

Female-Focused Health And Wellness Platform Provides Comprehensive Advice
ChickRx is an online health and wellness platform that allows women to seek medical advice from a community of experts and peers. Targeted at women aged 18-40, users sign up to join the online community and ask questions, and view news from medical journals about topics like weight loss and diet, sex and relationships, and preventative health. ChickRx further curates reviews of cosmetic products, self-improvement materials, and other items. The founders have recruited top female physicians to contribute to the site, including the popular New York-based sexologist and sex educator, Amy Levine.

Portable Medical Diagnostic System Provides Test Results In Less Than 15 Minutes
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico have developed a portable rapid diagnostic system that will improve speeds and cut costs of lab sample testing. The SpinDx technology uses a spinning disk, much like a CD player, to manipulate samples. The disks cost only cents to manufacture and are able to determine a patient’s white blood cell count, analyze important protein markers and process up to 64 assays from a single blood sample in as little as 15 minutes. According to the researchers, the SpinDx could have profound implications for patient care – allowing medical professionals to detect heart attacks, strokes, infections, certain cancers and other afflictions days or weeks sooner than they can today.

Smartphone With Built-In Sensors Can Track A User’s Health
The LifeWatch V is an Android-based smartphone built by Switzerland-based LifeWatch AG which includes sensors that can measure everything from a user’s heart rhythm and body fat index to their blood glucose levels. When users hold the phone with their thumbs and fingers pressed against sensors built into the outside case, the phone can measure their pulse, stress level, temperature, etc. The scan results are sent to a cloud-based app that responds with an automated diagnosis that is sent back to the user’s phone. Additionally, results from the scan can be shared with a user’s doctor or anybody else with an interest in their well-being.

PSFK has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a steady stream of inspiring news and ideas in the health and wellness space. Once each week, we will be posting an article on PSFK.com. If you would like to gain access to the full stream of content, please check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s Facebook page, where they are publishing a regular stream of inspiring and informative content.

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