New App Gives Patients 24/7 Physician Access

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First Opinion is a mobile app that connects patients to practicing physicians via text. The patients can use the application to send questions and/or photos of symptoms to a physician and get a response in nine minutes or less. The patients are matched with a doctor and a small team (for after hours), so they get the same doctor every time. Additionally, the company says the doctor will frequently check-in with the patient. For more info, check out their web site here: First Opinion

Medical Emergency Drones

41965_01_medical-emergency-ambulance-drone-help_fullOne of the great trends we are seeing in healthcare innovation is taking a product or service that is being developed by a for-profit company and seeing it tailored to a healthcare use. Large firms like DHL, Google, and Amazon, have discussed plans to launch delivery drones. Well, a student at Delft University in Holland has come up with a potential life-saving application of these drones. This Medical Emergency Drone would deliver health saving equipment, instructions, and a live communications link from the scene to medical professions well before an ambulance arrives. It is believed that this technology could increase the survival rate of cardiac arrest from 8 to 80 percent. Read more about this at http://www.gizmag.com/ambulance-drone-response-time-cardiac-arrests/34504/​ .

Jibo – The Family Robot

designingjiboWhen Siri, the Personal Digital Assistant voice of iPhone first came out, it was the beginning of realistic voice interaction with our smartphones. Since then, we have seen Google follow with Google Now, and Microsoft with Cortana. While these are cool ways to interact with your phone, they are primarily passive.

The folks at Jibo, have taken this idea to the next level. With a device they define as the “first family robot”, they have created a proactive interactive experience. It doesn’t have to be woken up (e.g. “OK Google”, etc.) to interact and it doesn’t need to work in a question-then-answer mode. Their robot can “see, hear, speak, learn, help, and relate.” Although few have investigated the potential healthcare applications for such a device, it is obvious that there are many possibilities for this type of innovation. This is certainly a technology/idea that is worth keeping an eye on. Move over HAL2000.

New Hi-Tech Way to Handle Chronic Conditions……A Teddy (Jerry) Bear

jerrythebearThis “toy”, which came out in 2013 teaches children with Type 1 diabetes interactively, with narrative and interactive games/play. The “teddy” bear, named Jerry the Bear, has a touchscreen and sensors so “injections” can be made. The company’s web site also talks about expanding their efforts into food allergies and asthma. What an innovative way to help children with chronic conditions! Check this out at Jerry the Bear.

Whoa!…Slow Down There!…Where’s the FHIR?

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Executive Summary: In 2014, one of the most talked about technological challenges in the healthcare space has been “interoperability.” For anyone who doesn’t like fancy words, this just means computers talking to computers. An example of this might be your PACS system talking to the Electronic Health Record (i.e. Epic). Enter the Fast Healthcare Interoperable Resource or FHIR (pronounced “Fire”). Not yet ready for production, this new communication standard is expected to significantly simplify the ability to exchange health data between systems, in a secure and cost effective way. More info can be found at HL7’s FHIR webpage.

“What’s That Mean?”: The Internet of Things (IoT)

Image Credit: http://www.theconnectivist.com/
Image Credit: http://www.theconnectivist.com/

As part of the Innovation Blog, we would like to periodically spend some time defining concepts for you. Without a common definition, it will be impossible for us all to reach a common understanding. Today, we will talk about the “Internet of Things.” Identified as Gartner’s #2 “Top Strategic Trends For 2015”, The Internet of Things Is defined by Techopedia as “a computing concept that describes a future where everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices”. Already, we have seen people interacting with their home Thermostats (See Nest.) and appliances like their Washer/Dryer. Wearables like Fitbit are also just taking off. The impact on healthcare will be enormous and later articles will target these innovations. For now, let’s just converge on what IoT means. For more info check out this definition at Wikipedia.

Sensiotec Gains More Recognition and Named Healthcare IT Startup of the Year

Sensiotec

Executive Summary: What would you say if I told you that you could have a device that monitors a patient’s cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal systems, and monitors for pressure ulcers and fall risk, without ever making contact with them? Sound like science fiction? Star Trek-ish? Not any more. Sensiotec has developed just such a product. Already winning awards, they are FDA approved. More info can be found at their home page​ .