10 Smart Medical Devices That Are Changing HealthCare 2016
Although the idea of the ultimate connected hospital was conceived a while back (several decades ago), it is only recently that it has taken shape as far as it’s entire or partial implementation goes. And this is courtesy of emerging technology, digital health and the inception of the IoT (The Internet of Things) which has made it easier to integrate smart wearable medical devices to the Internet and in effect fuse communication with functionality.
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So, without much further ado, here are the top 10 wearable and smart medical devices today.
1. The Intelligent Asthma Management Kit (ADAMM)
A product of Health Care Originals, the Intelligent Asthma Management Kit was developed to aid in the management and treatment of this chronic (lifetime) illness sometime last year.
As you may already know, Asthma patients, especially those in their sunset years require round-the-clock monitoring and regular checkups that sometimes can become arduous over time. It is even worse in big hospitals where a facility can have dozens if not hundred of asthma patients under its care. So, to bridge this gap, Health Care Originals came up with an automated smart medical device (ADAMM) particularly designed to lessen the workload associated with monitoring chronic asthma.
The device, popularly dubbed as the Automated Device For Asthma Monitoring And Management (ADAMM) comes with a secondary app that allows the health caregiver to get real-time info concerning the asthmatic patient. Most of the time, both the device and the companion app are connected to the hospital’s private network (as opposed to external broadbands or mobile data connections) to lessen the chances of interference from outside signals.
With such a setup in place, a nurse/doctor can keep track of their patient’s improvement track record or alerted in the event of a serious Asthma attack. Other than that, the device and the app can also aid in scheduling treatment plans and notifying the relevant medical personnel whenever the patient is due for treatment and charting the progress or deterioration of the symptoms. In effect, it frees up the healthcare’s schedule and also reduces drastically the chances of accidental neglect especially in large health facilities.
2. The Valedo Back Therapy Kit
Of all smart connected healthcare devices that have graced the past decade or two, the Valedo Back Therapy Kit stands out in terms of ingenuity, reliability and effectiveness. And this is even more enunciated if you have a soft spot for video games. The Valedo, as it is fondly referred by many, was engineered for patients who experience lower back pain or related complications.
In terms of the construction, the kit brings together a gaming platform, a user interface and a connected module, all in one convenient package. The gaming platform issues exercises to the patient in the form of video game interactions. On the other hand, the connection module is attached to the patient’s lower back via smart sensors and can store data that is even relayed to the companion smartphone app via Bluetooth. From here, the patient or healthcare giver can access the crucial data collected related to his lower back health and symptoms. Until now, it has mainly been used to treat and manage chronic kidney problems, spinal cord injury, etc.
Although it is currently not a fully integrated ‘connected’ smart medical device, there are plans for improving the current prototype to allow the linking up of dozens of such kits to a private network such a hospital’s wi-fi.
3. Healthpatch MD Smart Medical Devices
It is one of the latest technologies in the medical scene right now that is immensely aiding healthcare professionals in keeping tabs on their patients’ vital information. And thanks to this technology, the traditional and dreaded ward rounds could soon be a thing of the past.
Therefore, instead of a doctor or physician going from bed to bed taking note of the patient’s vitals, Healthpatch MD, does this surreptitiously and uniformly on their behalf.
The technology, which is in the form a wearable patch, is basically a biosensor embedded in a band-like form factor that can be worn over the forearm. Beneath this structure, is three ECG electrodes with three axis accelerometers that can detect and record the patient’s heart rate, temperature, breathing rate and any sudden movements, e.g., panic jerks. It can also sound an externally connected alarm in case of any abnormal body positions, e.g. if the patient accidentally falls off their bed.
Further, this wearable connected patch is also Bluetooth enabled and can be connected to an external ordinary smartphone or tablet for the analysis of the results collected by the biosensor. It is also worth noting that Healthpatch MD has recently received clearance from the FDA in the US and is currently in the course of being approved for use throughout Europe. This is actually one of the few connected products that could be rolled out to the international market even before 2020.
Those who have been avid followers of medical tech are probably familiar with Proteus Digital Health Inc. Now, it turns out that the multi-million pound company has another trick up its sleeve in the form of a consumable pill. It may not be a ‘device’ as per se, but the pill is typically connected to a companion app that in turn links up to a private network.
Basically, the “digital pill” in such a way that once consumed, it can keep track of important health details of the patient in question. The data collected is recorded in real-time for further analysis with the app of the connected Helius companion app. Now with the aid of Helius, a healthcare professional can tell how regularly their patient takes their medication or whether or not they are responding to treatment or therapy. So, in case anything goes wrong while the patient is at home, the doctor can be alerted remotely regardless of whether the patient notices that their symptoms are deteriorating.
Despite the fact that Helium is only at its formative stages of development and clinical trials, experts in the industry have pointed out that the chances of the pill changing how medical professionals follow up on their patients is more likely than not. Again, considering that there are plans for a home-based version of the same, the possibility of the system being adopted widely on the international front are very high.
That said, With such as ingenuity in place, regular and compulsory medical check-ups could soon be as aged as the stone age itself.
5. Google’s Smart Contact Lenses
There’s no denying that the label Google is associated with almost every other technological field. And so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there have also spread their wings to smart connected and wearable medical technology.
Unlike regular contact lenses, Google’s smart lenses are made for diabetes patients especially those who coincidentally also wear glasses. The product was developed after the giant tech company partnered with a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company. The technology behind this innovation stems from the fact that a person’s glucose level can be measured through their tears’ fluidal composition. The data is then relayed to a connected iPhone or Android app that then analyses and displays the results to the patient or relevant healthcare professional.
Other than that, Google also claims that the smart contact lenses can also be used additionally to restore a patient’s vision’s natural autofocus. Plans of fine-tuning and expanding the use of these glasses are currently underway.
6. The tiniest Healthcare monitoring crystals by the University of Illinois at Urbanna-Champaign
Most of us have already heard about health monitoring patches and connected braces, but I can bet that very few of us have caught wind of this ground-breaking innovation in this industry. Following up on the miniaturisation of connected medical devices, the University of Illinois tech fraternity have unveiled fully connected healthcare monitoring tech that measures only 5 centimetre squares wide! In fact, the crystals are so small that they can be actually applied directly to the skin as you would do with body lotion.
As far as functionality goes, the crystals on the skin can be used to measure a patient’s vitals and relay them to nearby connected devices via Bluetooth or an inbuilt app. The engineers behind the crystal innovation say that the initial success of their prototype has opened up limitless possibilities in the health care tech devices bracket and that they are working to expand its usage to even monitoring complex physiological functions such as cardiovascular health.
7. Keeping track of breast health using iTbra
Cycadia Health, one of the fastest growing medical tech start-ups, launched their newest product, iTBra a few months ago. It is a smart connected bra with inbuilt sensors that can keep track of the patient’s breast health. This is it does by monitoring the rhythms and conditions in the breast tissue especially those related to breast cancer.
The special bra also comes with a companion app that relays vital tips regarding optimal breast care and health. Currently, this innovative combination has been tested on more than 500 subjects and reported a success rate of over 88%.
8. Cloud DX’s Vitaliti
It is not every day that we stumble across a connected medical piece of tech that cuts across the technological realm in terms of functionality, portability, and relevance. And by connecting directly to the cloud, Cloud DX’s Vitaliti trumps over most other wearables by killing two birds with a single stone- communication and storage.
From the outside, Vitaliti looks like an ordinary neckpiece that can be draped over the neck. However, underneath the sheath, there are two sensors that can detect and record info regarding a users’s vitals such as their heart and respiration rate, blood pressure, movement, oxygen level, temperature, etc. The relayed info is then stored in the cloud or processed and this way, the user can know how to improve their fitness exercise or diet depending on the info collected.
Other than its cloud capabilities, Vitaliti is also Bluetooth compatible with iOS and Android devices.
9. QardioCore – The Connected ECG monitor
It was only a few years ago when ECG devices used to be bulky and overly massive. Now, courtesy of miniaturisation technology, the newest ECG in the market QardioCore you can strap it to your chest for easy monitoring of vitals and your heart’s health. And unlike the connected wearable tech outline above, QardioCore is entirely wireless and doesn’t need gel or sticky patches to link the patient with an external connection.
On the other side of the spectrum, it still has all the monitoring capabilities of ordinary ECGs though it weighs only a fraction of their weight. Plans are also underway to integrate the device into a full-fledged cloud-based system that will enable doctors monitor patients in hospital’s ICU units remotely and in real-time.
10. Quell Relief
It might be your run-of-the-mill medical connected device, but Quell Relief is one of the smart health-related pain relief wearables that is taking the functionality of knee braces to the next level.
The brace, which is Bluetooth compatible, is engineered and designed to give stability to patients experiencing knee defects and problems. But unlike the typical brace, Quell relief has inbuilt sensors that collect data for smart record keeping. Information that is accessible via a companion app that comes with the brace.
The brace also has an innovative pain-relief button feature that can be used to smother painful muscular spasms associated with most knee ailments. All this is topped with a portable light battery that can power the device for up to 40 hours continuously.
Smart Medical Devices – In Conclusion
Although the cost to research and develop connected medical devices and wearable smart health gadgets is often prohibitive most of the time, the convenience, functionality and expediency accorded by such technology is indispensable, especially considering the alternative (managing and tracking vitals manually).
Not only the manual/conventional way slow and cumbersome but also subject to human error, inaccuracy, and other unavoidable inconsistencies. The only shortcoming of connected medical devices is the initial cost of setting up and integrate a system to a private network such as a hospital’s WiFi. Which can easily spiral to several hundred pounds at the very least.