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Origami Inspired Medical Devices

Posted on April 7, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I recently came across some amazing technology that uses Origami to be able to make surgical tools so small that the incision needed for an operation could be much smaller. The work is being done by a group out of Brigham Young University in partnership with Intuitive Surgical, makers of the da Vinci Surgical robot. Here’s a video overview of the technology:

I love that the principles they used for NASA also apply to the medical field. Both fields want to take something that’s small and make it much larger. Although, the definition of “small” and “larger” are relative.

While we haven’t covered as many medical devices on this blog before, seeing inspirational things like this makes me think that maybe we should spend a lot more time learning about the innovations happening in this space.

My First Look at Digital Health at CES

Posted on January 5, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Last night was the official press kick off of CES (Use to be called the Consumer Electronics Show) with a press only event called CES Unveiled. In past years CES Unveiled has been somewhat of a disappointment. Too crowded. Little food. Not very many interesting companies. However, you’d find 1 or 2 companies that really caught your eye and it was also good to see generally what some of the trends of the industry were.

This year felt different. The variety of interesting technologies that were on display was quite exciting. Here’s some mostly healthcare related observations from CES Unveiled.

The number of healthcare wearable copycats is exploding. I’ll be following up on this when I hit the full show floor. I’m going to do my best to make a list of all the companies that are doing health wearables at CES and which ones they’re doing. Needless to say, you’re going to have a lot of choices the next time you want to buy a fitness watch, blood pressure cuff, ekg, connected scale, etc. If I’ve already seen this proliferation at CES Unveiled (which has like 100 companies) I can only imagine how many more there will be on the CES show floor. Plus, there’s at least a few companies talking about invisibles which track the same as wearables but you don’t wear them. More on those later.

The digital health solutions I found are very international. I was impressed by the large number of international players that were developing digital health solutions. I saw solutions coming from China, Netherlands, France, and Italy to name a few. It makes sense that health matters around the world. I just hadn’t seen all these international players in the digital health space at past CES. Some of them haven’t even thought about the US market. However, they’re considering it in the future.

I also came across a smart desk solution from Humanscale that shows promise for employee wellness. I’ll be exploring these solutions more, but they have a sit-stand desk and sensors that track how long you’re sitting or standing and have created software to encourage you to move around more if you’re not moving enough. They even have employer dashboards that help a company evaluate their employee’s wellness from an ergonomic standpoint.

The home is being digitized. A simple example of this is the ICON Home Panel. Imagine having an iPad or Android device on your wall. That’s basically what they’ve done. They’ve started with having it control the temperature of your house the way your current temperature gauge can do, but now that you have a full Android device on the wall, it opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

My family got an Amazon Echo for Christmas this year and that’s opened my eyes to the future. If you haven’t seen or used the Amazon Echo, it’s basically a voice controlled virtual assistant. Kind of like Siri for your home. Now imagine that technology available in the Android home panel I just talked about. Pretty powerful stuff.

What does a smart panel and Amazon echo have to do with healthcare? It’s all part of the mesh of connections that will be needed to help you monitor and improve your health. Amazon Echo already has what they call the 7 minute workout. You just say “Alexa, start my 7 minute workout” and the Amazon Echo will start walking you through a workout. Think about the Humanscale sensors mentioned above. Could the wall mounted “brain” connect with sensors around your house to let you know that you’ve been in front of the TV for 4 hours? I don’t see it shouting out at you to get off the couch, but there could be ways to use this data to motivate you to be more healthy.

From a security and privacy perspective, I was really impressed by the Qkey. In many cases, CES Unveiled was a progression of existing technologies. However, I’d never seen anything like Qkey. The Qkey is basically a key size device that you can plug into any computer. You can then run a web browser (one they developed) and securely surf the internet. It also has a number of other interesting security features like securing storing your credit card info so that you don’t have to hit any keystrokes. Not only is that convenient, but it makes it so keyloggers can’t capture your credit card info either. I’m planning to stop by their booth and get one that I can use. So, I’ll report back on it more later.

The one challenge with the Qkey for health care is that it runs a custom web browser. I’d be interested to know if it works with the web based EHR out there or not. However, that doesn’t really matter since you can’t run any of the client server applications like Cerner, Epic, or MEDITECH on it. So, it’s not really an option for a large portion of healthcare. From a patient perspective, it could be a great way to access their health info. I love that Qkey is looking at security and privacy from a very different perspective though.

There’s a few of the things I saw that caught my eye. Along with these there was an interesting mix of drones, 3D printers, Virtual Reality (VR), accessories, and new input devices. Some of the new input devices get me excited. Unfortunately, they’re all focused on things like gaming and music right now. However, that tech will no doubt leak over into all of our computer interfaces in the future.

Roundup of Tweets from #RSNA15

Posted on December 2, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.


The number of international people at RSNA 2015 is impressive. It provides a unique mix of perspectives.


Like the rest of health care, radiologists care deeply about patients.


The visualizations at RSNA were really extraordinary.


One thing I discovered about RSNA and radiology is that they have a really strong grip on history. In some cases that’s good, but in other ways it’s damaging to progress.


This ultrasound is an example of how inexpensive and portable imaging and other health data collection has become. It’s incredibly powerful!


Outside of the various visualizations, the 3D printing was one of the most exciting things I saw at the conference. It was all over the place and has really become a reasonable option.

First Impressions of RSNA 2015 (#RSNA15)

Posted on November 30, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This year will be my first time attending RSNA (see my full schedule of healthcare IT conferences), the massive radiology conference held in Chicago each year. I’d been wanting to check it out for years, but traveling to Chicago right after the Thanksgiving holiday never seemed all that appealing to me. Don’t ask me what convinced me to do it this year. I’m not sure why other than a real desire to experience the show first hand. I’d heard it was massive and would be worth my time. I’ll be sure to let you know what I think.

I’ve already got a schedule that’s nearly as full as HIMSS or MGMA and that’s saying something. I’ll be interested to see how many of them give me the radiology pitch as opposed to the healthcare IT pitch. I think I’ve made myself pretty clear, but we’ll see when we get to the actual meetings. Of course, there’s plenty of healthcare IT that’s worth hearing about. Not to mention amazing innovations around 3D printing and other mobile health technologies. I even saw a virtual reality viewer that I hope I get a chance to check out.

As I’ve prepared for my first trip to RSNA, I’ve been watching the #RSNA15 hashtag on Twitter. It’s been a great way for me to connect with those in the RSNA community. Plus, it’s given me a good overview of what’s likely to be topic of conversations at RSNA. The power of Twitter and hashtags is really amazing to me.

One thing that surprised me on the Twitter stream is how the message to Radiologists is very similar to many of the other healthcare IT events I go to around the country. No, I’m not talking about the #RSNA15 tweetup or the Cannoli Shooters. It seems that radiologists are being encouraged to be more involved in health care. This tweet illustrates an example of this message:

Here’s a good roundup of tweets from the opening RSNA keynotes and day 1 of RSNA 2015:

I look forward to seeing many of you at RSNA and reporting on the event for those of you who can’t make it.

3D Printed Stethoscopes for Just 30 Cents

Posted on August 25, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We’ve written about 3D printing a number of times before including the 3D printed hand, 3D printed hearts, and even 3D printed blood systems to name a few. Plus, we’re just getting started with the 3D printing revolution.

Another example of the amazing work of 3D printing in healthcare is this story about a doctor in Gaza that’s developed a 3D printed Stethoscope. Here’s a quote from the article which highlight the healthcare challenges he faces:

“I had to hold my ear to the chests of victims because there were no good stethoscopes, and that was a tragedy, a travesty, and unacceptable,” Loubani told the Chaos Communications Camp in Zehdenick, Germany. “We made a list of these things that if I could bring them into Gaza, into the third world in which I work and live, then I felt like I could change the lives of my patients.”

In order to solve this problem Loubani turned to the Glia Free Medical hardware project in order to develop the 3D printed stethoscope. They estimate that it cost them about $10,000 to develop. Here’s the quote about the 3D printed stethoscope that’s astounding:

“This stethoscope is as good as any stethoscope out there in the world and we have the data to prove it,” Loubani says.

I’m sure the FDA won’t let them say that, but when your alternative is putting your ear to the chest of the patient, it’s hard to argue with a 30 cent tool that will be an improvement over no stethoscope.

It’s also exciting that the Glia team is also working to develop pulse oximetry equipment, a gauze loom, otoscope, and other surgical tools. Plus, as you can probably imagine from the name, anything that the Glia Free Medical hardware project develops will be released as open source to the community.

It’s worth noting that prominent people like Dr. Eric Topol have been saying that he no longer carries a stethoscope since he can just do an ultrasound and see the heart or an EKG with his cell phone. This reminds me of the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems The hashtag doesn’t quite work for this, but it reminds us of the difference between what’s available in a first world country versus the developing world. It’s amazing what we take for granted. A doctor having a stethoscope nearby has been a standard forever in the US. Hopefully now it will become a standard in Gaza thanks to the new 30 cent innovation.

3D Printed Hearts and Tracheas

Posted on July 8, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

How amazing is 3D printing in healthcare?