EPIC User Group Meeting 2012


Prosthetic Arms Approach Life-Like Utility

We knew this was coming but it’s still great to see; robotic prostheses are quickly approaching the utility of their biological equivalents. Here we have Dean Kamen plugging his new show for Planet Green and in the process viewers get a great look at modern robotic arms. (Boing Boing)


Trends In Mobile Medicine

Our friends over at NursingSchools.net sent over a great article about the top 10 trends in mobile medicine. I’ve posted the first five head on over to their website for the rest. (NursingSchools.net)

  1. Using cell phones to detect airborne toxins: Cell phones are everywhere these days, and I do mean everywhere: There are 4.6 billion of them in the world as of February 2010. Because of that, some scientists want to use a chip that can be embedded in cell phones to detect any dangerous chemicals that might be in the air, which would subsequently help them map their source and cause. The sensors are made of silicon and change color when they’re exposed to certain chemicals, in effect giving your cell phone a high-tech nose. It’s a brilliant way to harness an existing network for medical gain.
  2. Pay with your phone: Identity fraud is more prevalent than ever in a digital age, but some researchers are looking for ways to buck that by letting people make payments for goods and services — including medical treatments — with their cell phones. Some computer networks aren’t safe, and paper cheques remain easy to forge, but payment via cell phone would allow you to visit your doctor and make a payment using a highly encrypted program that safely stores and transmits your data without letting a third party interfere. The system creates a unique code for each transaction that the payer and payee verify, and a match means the transaction is protected. This can greatly reduce paperwork for medical payments and also speed up visits to the doctor’s office.
  3. Medical records on cell phones: Advances in phone technology have drastically changed the way we communicate on the go, but while most people think of smartphones primarily as ways to send text and video messages, medical professionals are using them to get a look at your health records. Using phones to download, transmit, and organize medical records can greatly reduce clerical errors and make it easier for doctors to learn your medical history quickly and easily.
  4. Using cell phones to monitor physical activity: Obesity is a terrible problem in the United States, thanks to entrenched methods of poor eating and low exercise. Weight issues lead to heart disease, diabetes, and hosts of other problems that are best fought by starting early and attacking the source. However, some medical professionals are working on ways to let people use their cell phones to monitor physical activity and weight loss. The Walk n’Play iPhone app makes a game of basic movement, providing a score and statistics for users based on how often they walk around while carrying their phones. It’s a smart way to encourage incremental but noticeable changes in the habits of someone with a weight problem: Instead of forcing them to suddenly begin a grueling exercise routine, they’re eased into it by earning points for being more active in general.
  5. Using tablet computers: Contrary to popular belief, the iPad isn’t the only tablet on the market. Smaller computers designed for getting work done without being tethered to a desk have been gaining traction for years, and the Motion C5v is the latest example. Tablet PCs can be tailored to meet a number of specific but vital needs for medical pros, whether it’s taking pictures of a patient or scanning the barcode on their bracelet to access their health information. Medical-oriented tablets are also designed to be used in high-impact situations that doctors deal with on a daily basis, which makes them sturdier than traditional laptops and far easier to tote around. Tablets aren’t the future of medicine; they’re the present.

Amazing X-Rays!

The gifts of health technology…. Here’s a collection of some amazing x-rays taken over the past few years:

A Florida man was stabbed in the head by an unknown assailant in 2007, resulting in a gruesome image that doesn’t even look real. But Michael Hill survived the ordeal, and is currently the Guiness World Record holder in the category “Largest Object Removed From Human Skull.”

A Woman was left with a pair of surgical scissors still inside her after a procedure to remove her colon.

A construction worker in Los-Angeles fell from a roof while using a nail gun, sending several metal bolts directly into his skull.

Head over to MRITechnicianTraining.org for the full list of 30 X-rays. [Thanks Amy]


Wear Contact Lenses At Night To See Perfectly During The Day

Courtesy of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

For all my farsighted friends out there, some health technology that could change your life. A scientist in Spain has developed a new type of contact lens that temporarily corrects Hyperopia overnight so that users can go without contacts during the day:

Pauné’s design is the first contact lens capable of correcting hyperopia without refractive surgery by means of corneal reshaping, also known as orthokeratology or ortho-K. This technique uses rigid gas-permeable contact lenses to reshape the cornea to correct vision defects such as myopia, stigmatism and mild to moderate hyperopia without surgery. Each patient is fitted with unique lenses that are custom-made for his or her eyes.

For the sake of comfort, the patient wears the contact lenses only at night. The lens works by applying pressure to the tear film that coats the outside of the cornea. This pressure changes the shape of the cornea by about 20 µm, or about half the width of a strand of human hair. In the morning, the patient removes the lenses and is able to see perfectly. The results are the same as with refractive surgery, but are temporary. These new contact lenses, developed as part of a master’s thesis by Jaume Pauné, are being sold at an initial price of €1000, which includes the cost of designing unique lenses to fit each cornea, and €400 for annual replacement lenses.

It looks like these contacts will be hitting Europe first but stay tuned for news on their North American release. [Science Daily]


Dr. Kevorkian Talks About Assisting The Death Of 130 Patients

An interesting topic for discussion. [CNN]


Microsoft's Next Software Should Be EHR

Microsoft already has Healthvault, their electronic health records solution but this is not a full scale EHR(electronic health record) solution. The company already has is deeply involved in ERP solutions (with Microsoft dynamics) and even CRM… So why haven’t they tackled health care head on?

An article by Austin Merritt tackles this question and according to him, it’s not a matter of when but a matter of who Microsoft will acquire. The article goes on to list the merits of each possible acquisition as well as general characteristics Microsoft would look for in an EHR provider. Check out the article and make sure to comment! [Software Advice]


Dean Kamen On Colbert Report

There’s few cooler health technology video clips on the web than Stephan Colbert roll out on an advanced wheelchair created by Dean Kamen. Here’s the clip: Clip 1

The second clip is their discussion on the role of technology in America. Check it out here: Clip 2

[Comedy Network]


Bionic Eye May Restore Vision To Blind

Courtesy William West, AFP/Getty Images

It may not be as high-tech as Jordy’s visor in Star Trek but a research group in Australia has created a ‘bionic’ eye that can restore partial vision to those with degenerative vision loss.

It consists of a miniature camera, mounted on glasses, that captures images and sends them to a processor the wearer keeps in their pocket.

The processor then transmits a signal wirelessly to a unit implanted in the eye which will directly stimulate surviving neurons in the retina, signalling an image to the brain.

Those using the bionic eye will not have perfect vision restored, but it is hoped they will be able to perceive points of light in their field of vision which the brain can then reconstruct into an image.

Sounds like an amazing new health technology, can’t wait to hear more on this. [Canwest]


New SmartPill Knows When You Take It

Courtesy of The University of Florida

Here at Techmedicus we love our smartpills. This new one has been developed at the University of Florida and is specifically used to track whether a patient has taken their pills or not.

The American Heart Association calls patients’ failure to follow prescription regimens “the number one problem in treating illness today.” Studies have found, for example, that patients with chronic diseases normally take only about half their prescribed medications. According to the American Heart Association, 10 percent of hospital admissions result from patients not following the guidelines on their prescriptions. Other studies have found that not taking medication properly results in 218,000 deaths annually.

Apparently version 2.0 of this pill is in production and expected to be sent to the FDA for approval. [University of Florida]