Each week PSFK.com with its partner Boehringer Ingelheim bring you a snapshot of Five Innovative Ideas that are reshaping the health care industry. This week innovations include an ingestible computer in the form of a pill and a 3D printed exoskeleton cast.
Will Ingestible Micro Computers Be The Doctors Of The Future?
Proteus Digital Health is a startup that’s working on an ingestible computer in the form of ‘smart’ pills that could help doctors better diagnose their patients. The smart pills are actually tiny robots that travel through the digestive system and monitor how everything works, from vital signs to blood flow to measuring temperature. They then wirelessly transmit results back to a cell phone app, body patch or website. The technology has the potential to offer doctors a whole new method of gathering data on a patient’s well being and to monitor patient metrics in real time.
Livestreaming A Surgery With Google Glass
Google Glass has been making its way into the mainstream, used to capture everything from everyday routine to skydiving. Dr. Rafael Grossman of Eastern Maine Medical Center, also a TEDx speaker and Google Glass Explorer, has used the wearable device to livestream a surgery. The operation involved endoscopically inserting a feeding tube for a patient and, though he captured footage of the procedure, Grossman said he kept the patient’s confidentiality intact. Recorded from Grossman’s point of view, the surgical footage was transmitted to a Google hangout. Grossman said that his goal with the procedure was to show how the device and its platform could be used as intuitive, inexpensive tools to aid in surgical maneuvering and mentoring.
Patients In Seoul Can Streamline Their Hospital Visits With A Smartphone
The Seoul National University Bundang Hospital has recently updated a number of its core services so that they can be accessed via patients’ smartphones. Working with mobile operator SK Telecom, visitors to the hospital can begin digitally interacting with the hospital as soon as they walk through the door, through the Patient Guide app. GPS detects when they’re on the premises and uses the relevant electronic medical records and patient data to bring up information about scheduled appointments, expected waiting times and healthcare costs. Users can check in to let their doctor know they’re there and can even pay bills through the app. The new offerings show how increasingly common consumer technology can be applied to improve key services, while saving time and money for healthcare providers.
Pacemaker Technology Automatically Adjusts To Patient’s Breathing
Medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific is introducing a new line of pacemakers with a feature called RightRate technology that monitors respiration and adjusts its pacing accordingly. Until now, patients often find themselves tiring when their level of physical activity increases, because the steady pulse of their pacemakers does not pump enough blood to keep up with their added oxygen use. The new technology offers a solution to this problem by automatically adjusting to the users’ body, allowing patients to continue their active lifestyles, without having to constantly stop and wait for their bodies to catch up with their increased activity.
3D Printed Exoskeletons Could Replace Plaster Casts
Cortex is a 3D printed exoskeletal cast concept designed to replace traditional plaster casts. Designed by Jake Evill, it is more wearer-friendly for patients who suffer from breaks and fractures. The Cortex cast utilizes an x-ray and 3D scan of a patient and generates a personalized 3D model in relation to the point of injury. Once printed, the cast is ready to fit, with one side open to enable access and built-in durable fasteners that snap closed. The exoskeletal cast provides a highly technical and trauma zone localized support system that is fully ventilated, shower friendly, hygienic, and recyclable. The Cortex is thin yet strong and durable, and unlike traditional plaster casts, can be worn with a shirt and jacket over it.
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