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Wireless Health Data Collection Innovations Getting Hot

Posted on September 25, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

This week, psfk.com and pharma partner Boehringer Mannheim published a list of the week’s top innovations in healthcare. All were interesting, but I was particularly intrigued by a couple which continue to stretch the boundaries of wireless medicine.

One innovation example comes from a German research team, which has developed a tiny chip (a two-millimeter device much shorter than an eyelash) which can sample blood sugar levels by testing tears or sweat. The chip is equipped to transmit the results wirelessly to providers, as well as sending patients alerts to their wireless phone.  Even cooler, the chip can be powered wirelessly through radio frequency, keeping it charged for weeks or even months.

Another entirely cool innovation comes from U.S. high school student Catherine Wong, who has invented an ECG made of off the shelf electronic components which can broadcast results wirelessly.  The device, which could make ECGs available to to the two billion-plus people without access to healthcare, picks up heart signals, then transmits them via cellphone to a healthcare provider.  The cellphone connects to the ECG using Bluetooth, and heart rhythms display on  a smartphone screen thanks to a Java app.

As readers know, the idea of broadcasting test results to remote providers via wireless devices is not a new one. The idea is so hot, in fact, that the FCC is holding a public meeting on September 24 to discuss how to accelerate the adoption of such approaches. (The event will be live streamed at http://www.itif.org/events/recommendations-mhealth-task-force at 2PM Eastern Standard Time.)

After watching projects like these germinate for a number of years, I’m thrilled to see more innovation arising in this sector of the mHealth space. Inventors, keep it coming!

What Else is Happening on HealthcareScene.com?

Posted on January 7, 2012 I Written By

Here is a quick look at some of the other articles recently posted on some of the other HealthcareScene.com websites:

EHR and EMR Videos
Medical Billing Software & Practice Management Software Demo Video from ADP AdvancedMD – Medical billing software, like AdvancedMD from ADP, will help improve your insurance collections and workflows in your entire medical practice. With cloud software you never have to install software or maintain servers again. Just login from anywhere and you can manage your patients and your entire practice.

Cerner CareAware MDBUS® Demonstration Video – This video is a demonstration of Cerner’s CareAware MDBUS®, a platform which connects medical devices to the electronic medical record using plug-and-play functionality.

EHR and EMR Screenshots
These three posts provide numerous screenshots from the Simple EMR. Check them out and I’d love to read some feedback on what you think about their EMR interface. Is it a Simple EMR?
Screenshots from the Simple EMR
More Screenshots from the Simple EMR
Even More Screenshots from the Simple EMR

Smart Phone Health Care
Future of mHealth Dependent on Interoperability and Use of Available Technology – One of the biggest stumbling blocks with mHealth is there are way too many people developing products rather than businesses.  That is the problem with most of the companies in mHealth at this point.  There are tons of apps and gadgets and other fun things out there, but there is no one company that is trying to bring it all together.  Interoperability is the real basis of success in this industry.

iPads Not Adopted as Quickly by Hospitals as Doctors – iPads are all the rage amongst doctors right now and it is understandable with all they are able to do.  They provide a great amount of convenience for a relatively small financial investment.  For some reason hospitals have not been as quick to adopt this great technology.

Smartphone-Based Petri Dish Provides Quality Imaging With a Much Smaller Device

Posted on October 7, 2011 I Written By

This would definitely fall under the category of things your smartphone can do that you will never use, but that could prove to be very valuable to scientists.  You can read about all of the details of this cool new device on the Caltech website, but here are some of the highlights.

Petri dishes are probably the simplest and oldest tool used by biologists to grow cells and conduct studies on things such as bacteria.  The ePetri dish allows for the same cell growth and observation but in a simpler, and in some ways more controlled, way.

The engineers at Caltech used a Google smart phone, a commercially available cell-phone image sensor, and Lego building blocks to build this simple, yet powerful device.  I personally find it incredibly interesting that Legos were used in the ePetri dish as there are few people who have not let their imagination wander with Legos.  To see them used on a device that could have such a tremendous impact is very cool.

The culture the scientist is studying is placed on the sensor and the whole device is placed into the incubator attached to a wire that runs to a laptop outside the incubator.  This allows scientists to study the culture without removing it from the incubator and risking possible contamination.

In the past, scientists had to repeatedly remove their dishes to study them under microscopes.  The ePetri dish allows for the same study to be done without the risk of contamination, and in a much less labor intensive manner.

In the long run, the engineers are hoping to broaden the technology to other research arenas.  They are even hoping to develop a standalone device that includes the incubator allowing research to literally be done at any given desktop.  Something that was impossible with the bulky, expensive microscopes that have been used up until now.