Tag Archives: Wearables

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

“For when my outward action doth demonstrate The native act and figure of my heart In compliment extern, ’tis not long after But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve”

-Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello

When Shakespeare first penned the words “I will wear my heart upon my sleeve” in 1604, he meant them in the way we are all familiar with today. That someone who wears their heart upon their sleeve is so open and transparent in their wants, desires, and thoughts and that it is easy to know these things just from looking at them and speaking with them. 58312743_sHowever, in a technological twist of fate, those words may be truer in a literal sense today than they ever have been before all due to a very interesting category of products: wearables.

When most people think of wearables, the most common example that comes to mind is most likely Fitbit. Considering that Fitbit has 19 million registered users and that there are 29 million registered Fitbit devices in over 50 countries that makes sense. Fitbit revolutionized personal fitness tracking, and in doing so, opened up the door for some amazing opportunities to increase the quality of care in telemedicine.

There is a consensus that telemedicine is more efficient than traditional office visits, saving wait and travel times, offering quicker access to healthcare professionals, and reducing costs of services. Given all this, why is there still some hesitation by some providers and patients to utilize telemedicine? One reason is that there is still a perceived advantage to being in the room with a physician. The physician can actually check vitals and get potentially important information on blood glucose levels, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, etc while there with the patient. However in today’s connected world, technology, especially in the form of wearable, embeddable, and even ingestible connected medical sensors, all of this data can be gathered instantly remotely as well, and presented to the physician in real time while they conduct the appointment through a high definition video feed.

If you missed our previous blog on the variety of sensors out there in the marketplace today for remote healthcare, you should take a look at it here just to catch up. Technology has moved at an amazing pace, and to come full circle, is bringing Shakespeare’s “heart on your sleeve” analogy to its technological manifestation.

There is a brand new category of wearable clothing being developed that integrates sensors right into clothing to track biometric data. Textile electronics are allowing computers to literally be woven into the clothes we wear, and yes, some of these sensors are even woven into the sleeve to track heart rates.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), an organization known mostly in the past for internet standards and protocols, has taken an amazing role in these endeavors and “dedicated chips have been developed for health care monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment.” The IEEE has even shifted its tagline to relate the greater role of the internet in our daily lives and continued health. They now summarize their mission as Advancing Technology for Humanity. Sounds like a common goal.

Given all this, technology is in place today to maximize the efficiency of providing remote services without compromising the quality of care. Wearables and other medical sensors, used in combination with telemedicine can assure that both patients and physicians are confident in the diagnoses being made and the treatments being provided because all of the important data needed to make good decisions is available to them…remotely.

Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: https://www.fitbit.com/

#2: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/fitbit-statistics/

#3: http://blog.avidex.com/up-with-telemedicine-down-with-healthcare-costs/

#4: http://blog.avidex.com/deliver-better-care-be-more-sensor-tive/

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

Deliver Better Care, Be More ‘Sensor’-tive.

A four year old is admitted to the hospital with a congenital heart condition. Traditionally,child in hospital ipad the hospital staff would connect him to a multitude of modern machinery to track blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and breathing rate.  Each of these systems would require wires that restrict the child’s movement and would be able to alert the staff if any of the systems drop below an acceptable baseline.  Today however, a few small wireless sensors are placed on the child’s chest to track all of these things.  Not only are there no wires, but the sensors work together to identify relationships and trends across this bio data, creating a predictive analysis of any potential deterioration in the child’s condition before any single reading drops to a dangerous level.

If this sounds improbable, it’s not. It’s actually being done in the UK at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital where 4 year old Maci was the first child to utilize the program.

It’s all an extension of the Internet of Things (IoT), but instead of allowing someone to control their lights from their iPhone, it is potentially saving lives and creating better patient outcomes in healthcare.

The implications of wireless connected sensors in a hospital environment are huge. They can communicate with each other, with hospital staff, and even with patient tracking systems as well. They allow patients to remain connected to vital monitoring equipment while moving through different departments and tests without having to be continually disconnected and reconnected at each stop.  In short they increase staff efficiency and promote better patient outcomes. Now imagine the impact these same types of sensors have on remote healthcare services like telemedicine.

With the advent of sensor technologies, telemedicine goes way beyond a video conference with your doctor. There are a variety of sensors currently on the market and even more on the way, that all work to better assist healthcare providers with gathering important biometric data remotely.  Some states like Texas are starting to put regulations in place that require a doctor to have either a previous in-person relationship with a patient and/or a way to perform a similar medical evaluation a patient would get in the office before prescribing care.

They argue, “How can a physician make an accurate diagnosis when they have no objective diagnostic data? All they have is what the patient has told them.” But sensors are turning that argument on its head by providing real objective data, the same data collected in an in-person exam.

Imagine how telemedicine can be enhanced by sensors like:

  • Wireless, needle-free, glucose monitors for diabetes
  • Shoe insoles that track amputees’ gait for prosthetic evaluations
  • Stick sensors that monitor hydration levels
  • Wearable and ingestible sensors that track ingestions and physiologic data
  • Sensors that collect ECG and pulse oximetry data
  • A connected asthma inhaler tracking dosage, frequency and location of use
  • A breast cancer detection sensor tracking cell temperatures over time
  • A sensor that can be placed on the forehead for 10 seconds to get heart rate, blood oxygen levels, temperature, and blood pressure with 99% accuracy.

The small sample of the sensors above are either on the market or in development today. It’s obvious the benefit this type of technology provides to remote health monitoring, especially to telemedicine.

With access to electronic health records and sensor data, a doctor can sit across from a patient virtually through an HD teleconference and make real-time diagnoses and care recommendations based on health history and current biometric data. Fitbit eat your heart out.

To the casual observer, all this data collection is happening invisibly. No longer does a patient have to wear large recording devices or battery packs.  Sensors are now wearable, embeddable, and ingestible. They utilize new printing techniques and materials to make them comfortable, with some even deeming the resulting sensors as eSkin. Data flows to secure phones or mobile devices or to HIPPA compliant cloud based systems in a “store and forward” fashion for later access and review.

Given the state of sensor technology in healthcare, it’s time to get connected to your patients in new and exciting ways, whether they are inside your facility or at home. The IoT just got very interesting didn’t it?

For more than 20 years Avidex AV has provided innovative technologies that drive business outcomes for our clients. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

Resources:

#1: http://www.mhealthnews.com/press-release/isansys-wearable-technology-and-wireless-patient-monitoring-platform-scale-deployment-

#2: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/06/02/408513139/texas-put-brakes-on-telemedicine-and-teladoc-cries-foul

#3: http://www.mhealthnews.com/content/infographic-are-you-ready-sensors-healthcare

#4: http://www.vivalnk.com/eskin

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

The Doctor’s Watch Just Stole My Medical Records (and Other Strange Tales)

Hi Tech computer imagesJames Bond is stuck. He is 500 feet from safety, bad guys are approaching and all that is keeping him from safety is a large ravine, a wire cable draped across that ravine and those pesky 500 feet. He takes his Omega Sea Master watch, unscrews the crown and out comes a small wire, which he wraps around the hanging draped wire and traverses himself to safety, 500 feet across the Swiss Alps to safety. All from a watch! Imagine what MacGyver could have done with that watch! I am a watch guy…love them and collect them. But helping to save a life or view records of a patient in real time…awesome. Call me to discuss if you too, love the watch and love James Bond or MacGyver! I can hear it now over the paging system…”Doctor MacGyver, Dr. Angus MacGyver, you are needed in OR Two”…

It’s an amazing time to be in the healthcare profession. Every day new innovations in technology are facilitating everything from bio-printing new tissues for a patient to giving surgeons real time, context aware information during surgery. With each new piece of technology comes the need for it to be interconnected with other devices in the facility. New switches, routers, and upgraded WiFi networks are required to keep all of this technology up and running, and IT departments in healthcare are working harder than ever to make sure everything is HIPPA compliant. However, the job may be even bigger than it seems.

“While you were busy updating your WiFi router’s firewall and giving your laptop a strong password, your vacuum cleaner and smart lighting system were conspiring with your phone to steal your online banking information.” –Cleve Adams, AirPatrol

The quote is funny yet somewhat chilling at the same time. As more and more devices hit the network, the importance of securing them becomes ever more important as well.

Take Apple Watch for example. Apple has shared that three hospitals are using the Apple watch: Nebraska Medicine, Ochsner Health System, and London-based King’s College Hospital. These hospitals are utilizing the Apple Watch for everything from communicating with patients, to gathering bio-data, to relaying chart and dosage information to doctors all through the use of customized healthcare apps.

This isn’t the first instance of wearable devices being used in healthcare either. Google Glass has been used to deliver context aware information to surgeons in real time in the OR, all without having to look away from the delicate job at hand. In fact, the potential impact of wearables in the healthcare field has spawned a whole new society aptly named “WATCH”.

What does WATCH stand for? WeArable TeChnolgy in Healthcare.

Given the popularity of the movement and the potential positive impact technology can have on patient outcomes, care providers should not shy away from adopting the devices because of security concerns, but rather create strategies to minimize them.

Of course an awareness of the potential risks, creating multi-layered security protocols, and using secure software and hardware products are all a great start. But is that enough?

Take the well-known security breach of the Target POS system that put an estimated 70-110 million customers’ payment data at risk. Target had strong IT policies, trusted IT a hardware and firewalls, and a tried and true POS hardware and software system in place. The breach came through stealing network credentials from Target’s third party HVAC vendor. For this reason, choosing the right AV technology partners can be just as critical.

If you are looking to integrate technology like Apple Watch, patient tracking and monitoring systems, or telemedicine systems, it is important to choose an audio video integrator with experience in the healthcare vertical.

These partners not only need to understand the technology and how it is being used, but also the potential security risks the devices themselves may present if not secured properly. Going back to Apple Watch for instance, it is important to know that the wearable communicates with the iPhone not only via paired and encrypted Bluetooth, but may also auto-switch over to WiFi to maintain a connection at greater distances. It also may use near field communications (NFC) to talk to other internet enabled devices as well. A partner well versed in this technology and the healthcare vertical is best suited to address these issues ahead of time to create a strategy to secure them

At the end of the day, technology will continue to become an integral part of the evolution of healthcare. Security concerns should not deter facilities from adopting new technologies, but rather make them more selective in the partners they choose to help implement them. Doing so will assure that “bringing your own device” doesn’t mean bringing your own security breach.

 Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.

 

Resources:

#1: http://www.watch-society.com/

#2: http://www.watch-society.com/news/news-articles/1019-apple-names-nebraska-medicine-king-s-college-hospital-as-latest-to-use-apple-watch-with-patients

#3: http://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/5-ways-to-prepare-for-iot-security-risks/d/d-id/1319215

#4: http://airpatrolcorp.com/2014/08/04/blackhat/

#5: http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/02/target-hackers-broke-in-via-hvac-company/

#6: http://www.computerworld.com/article/2898892/apple-watch-and-its-wireless-tech.html

 

 

 

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com