Telehealth is in the spotlight in a big way thanks to the pandemic.
With many swapping face-to-face appointments for virtual consultations and digital triage platforms such as Babylon and Livi, being able to monitor vitals from home hasn’t just been convenient for doctors, it’s been essential.
That explains why 80 per cent of UK clinicians say their organisations have increased the adoption of digital technologies to provide more effective ways of engaging with patients.
‘The pandemic has unwittingly removed a major obstacle in the adoption of digital technologies — a reluctance of clinicians and patients to change the way they interact,’ says Karen Taylor, director for Deloitte’s Centre for Health Solutions.
‘Now both sides can see the benefits of digital healthcare, we would expect technology-enabled diagnosis and treatment to be a central part of the new normal, freeing up resources and reducing waiting times.’
It’s a radically different model of care — and news this week that a simple skin-swab test to detect Parkinson’s is ‘in sight’ shows how user-friendly game-changing medical tech can be.
If the next doctor-patient devices are anything to go by, waiting rooms could be a thing of the past.
Not to be mistaken for a prop from the Tron movie, the iSyncWave is a brain-mapping helmet that’s designed for detecting early signs of Alzheimer’s dementia.
It’s an alternative to an EEG machine, which is typically used in doctor’s offices and hospitals to detect electrical activity in the brain and diagnose neurological disorders.
The main difference is that, unlike traditional EEGs (which require adhesive electrode patches attached to your scalp or electrode helmets filled with gel), iSyncWave has been designed to perch on top of the head to enable it to provide a reading on the electrical activity in the brain.
It also provides LED therapy treatments for a range of neurological conditions, including dementia, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, ADHD, depression and other neurological issues.
It’s still in the development stage but its potential for simplifying brain monitoring is huge.
This square device from HD Medical crams in a lot of tech to monitor your cardiac goings on.
Specifically, we’re talking about a seven-lead ECG without wires, a temperature sensor, a pulse oximeter, a stethoscope, a heart-rate monitor and a blood-pressure sensor — and all in a device that’s no bigger than a GoPro.
It’s also easy to use: users hold the device to their chest, resting their fingers on the sensors to get an ECG reading, alongside other vital signs.
Info collected is then sent to a patient’s doctor via a dedicated platform. It’s currently seeking FDA approval in the US.
Omron wants to make taking your blood pressure at home easier. Its VitalSight connected blood pressure monitoring system is a preconfigured kit complete with a connected blood pressure cuff, a scale and a secure modem-equipped data hub that automatically uploads readings to your doctor’s electronic medical records system.
A doctor could set notifications for individual patient blood pressure thresholds or communicate with a patient to recommend behaviour changes.
It’s already had a seal of approval too — Omron is joining forces with the NHS to accelerate the rollout of remote patient-monitoring systems.
Spare a thought for hayfever sufferers dreading the smell of freshly cut grass. Sniffly salvation is on the way, though.
Fluo Labs’ Flō is a small hand-held device designed to stop your body from releasing histamines when pollen, dust and other allergens enter it. Best of all, it does it without you needing to pop an allergy pill.
Witchcraft, you say? Not quite. Once you insert Flō into each nostril for ten seconds, it uses red and NIR (Near Infrared) light at a precise balance of wavelength, dosage, power and pulse structure to prevent the release of histamines and reduce inflammation.
It’s currently going through the FDA approval process to be sold over the counter — release is slated for late 2021.
Optical heart-rate company Valencell says it’s cracked blood pressure monitoring from the wrist that boasts the same accuracy as traditional arm cuffs.
Valencell says it can use its HR sensors to take blood pressure readings from the wrist or finger using a technique called photoplethysmography.
By measuring the nature of light reflected back from your skin as blood courses beneath it, the sensors go to work, measuring blood pressure indirectly.
The interesting bit is these sensors have the potential to be embedded in gadgets you might wear daily. It’s still subject to regulatory approval from the FDA but we’re one step closer to smartwatches and fitness trackers monitoring blood pressure.
More remote monitoring devices
This overhead lamp’s loaded with intelligent sensors that can detect if a person is lying in bed or has fallen down.
If it detects the latter, the lamp will ask if assistance is required, sending out an alert and triggering the two-way mic for talking if there’s no response. Due later this year.
Ava Fertility Tracker
The fertility-tracking wearable uses physiological parameters like temperature and breathing rate to detect a fertile window. The US FDA-approved bracelet is worn while sleeping and synced up with an app the next morning, to pinpoint the five best days to get it on.
This FDA-certified on-body sensor remotely monitors vital signs like respiratory and heart rate, temperature and cough frequency. It sits discreetly beneath clothing to continuously monitor its wearer via an app. Due later this year.
AirPop Active+ Halo
The Halo sensor inside this smart mask connects to an app that monitors your breathing, as well as local air quality, revealing the amount of pollutants detected and blocked by your mask. It then uses this info to tell your phone when the filter needs replacing.
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