MEDi- Robot companion to ease pediatric hospital visits

Photo: Calgary Sun
Photo: Calgary Sun

In an ongoing 3-year study at Alberta Children’s Hospital, 57 children between the ages of four and nine found the MEDi robots helped ease fears. The hospital has found these robots reduced children’s pain and anxiety by 50 per cent.

Welcome MEDi. Acting as a Pain Coach, Educator, and most importantly Companion, these two-foot-tall, knee-high-sized robots, MEDi’s, for Medical and Engineering Designing Intelligence help to distract, amuse, and educate children during a trip to the hospital.

Read more at: http://www.rxrobots.com/home.html

Healbe GoBe: Review of Fitness Band that claims it can automatically track calories

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Ran across this really good review of the Healbe GoBe Fitness Band. This article was of interest because the author investigates the company’s claim that this band is able to automatically track your calories. If this is true, then we have started to see some major advances in wearables. Check out the review at: http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/09/healbe-gobe-review/

Glowfaster:Running Jacket has lights/app for feedback/safety

Glowfaster

Kickstarter-based Glowfaster is a running jacket designed for nighttime runners.  The jacket has lights built into it, and is paired with a heart-rate monitor and smartphone app so that data can be captured, pace and music can be controlled, and feedback can be provided. Read more at: http://www.psfk.com/2014/02/smart-running-jacket.html

Fraunhofer: Therapeutic fitness game for the physically impaired

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Fraunhofer, a large European research organization, in collaboration with a number of partners and thalidomide victims, has developed a fitness training technology/game.

By controlling and avatar on the screen, the game’s required movements help exercise motor functions, train concentration and coordination, and improve fitness and stamina. Read more at: http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2015/february/fitness-game-for-the-physically-impaired.html

Mobile Check-ins at Doctor’s Office: Practice Fusion

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Inevitably we would expect healthcare institutions to automate and mobilize the check-in-process. Enter companies like cloud-based EHR vendor Practice Fusion.

Practice Fusion has an online patient check-in that can eliminate the typically 3-7 page intake forms. With their consumer-focused application, “a patient can provide medical history, demographics, insurance information, and reasons for the visit in an online form, which is then automatically provided to the doctor for review and incorporated into the patient’s record within the Practice Fusion EHR,” the company said.

Expect this type of automation to become the rule rather than an exception as we see the explosion of mobile-enabled healthcare devices and apps. Read more at: http://medcitynews.com/2015/02/practice-fusion-hopes-eliminate-paper-check-ins-doctor-visits/

Digital Epidemiology: Using Wikipedia and Twitter to Change the Way We Respond to Epidemics

Map generated by more than 250 million public tweets with high-resolution location information, March 2011 – January 2012. Inset shows greater Los Angeles area. Brightness of color corresponds to geographic density of tweets. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002616.g001 Source: plos.org
Map generated by more than 250 million public tweets with high-resolution location information, March 2011 – January 2012. Inset shows greater Los Angeles area. Brightness of color corresponds to geographic density of tweets. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002616.g001
Source: plos.org

There is a segment of the research community known as digital epidemiology that is taking advantage of raw data that is openly available. Here are some examples from an article on plos.org:

“A system to forecast 28 days in advance where influenza will strike hardest based on localized Wikipedia searches

A basis for predicting which communities will see more cases of flu resulting from vaccination decisions as revealed by geographically-based Twitter sentiments.”

Read more at: http://blogs.plos.org/plos/2015/01/researchers-changing-way-respond-epidemics-wikipedia-twitt/

Third Eye Health: Telemedicine company testing Google Glass with first responders and ERs

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Chicago based Third Eye Health is seeking to improve acute care communication between EMTs and ER physicians with the use of Google Glass. Physicians diagnose and treat patients who have suffered a stroke as quickly as possible so they can give them the proper medication before brain damage takes hold.

Four hospitals are piloting Third Eye Health’s platform, including University of Texas Health Science Center, who is doing a 200 patient study through a mobile stroke ambulance. Eventually this platform for telemedicine could expand into other acute care areas, such as trauma and heart attacks.

Read more at: http://medcitynews.com/2015/02/smart-glasses-way-improve-ambulance-er-communication/