The mysteries of the brain do not easily become solved. That is what many manufacturers of virtual reality devices and medical and care providers are finding out as they test virtual reality (VR) for seniors in communities for the aged around the country.
Second MedTech Impact Expo & Conference reinforced critical connection between technology and healthcare
The second MedTech Impact Expo and Conference took place from December 15-16, co-located with the A4M/MMI 25th Annual World Congress. The event focused on assisting healthcare practitioners and professionals to better serve their patients through the use of medical technology and devices, while understanding the transformative effects of newly developed products and equipment. Speakers and sessions educated attendees on groundbreaking scientific research and education, supplemented by the most progressive equipment and medical technology.
The conference agenda included keynote speakers who discussed the multitude of ways to leverage data, manage patient privacy and security, understand legal implications, and gain insight into care collaboration software and collaborative health teams. Pablos Holman, self-described ‘futurist and inventor’ discussed “Inventing the Future of Food,” describing the revolutionary shift in the way food is prepared through the advent of 3-D printing. Holman has consulted worldwide on invention and design projects that assimilate the newest technological advancements. Entrepreneur, innovator, professional speaker, and author Robin Farmanfarmaian explained how to utilize and apply technology in order to empower patients and consumers. Chief Medical Officer and Head of Healthcare and Fitness for Samsung Electronics of America Dr. David Rhew focused on the applications of technology to improve and expand the landscape of healthcare.
Other lecturers included Reenita Das, Partner and SVP of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Frost & Sullivan, and Dr. Michael Nova, Chief Innovation Officer of Pathways Genomics, discussed the ways in which health technology wearables and machine learning can be integrated into modern medicine and healthcare. Bryan Boda, Head of Business Development at Fitbit Health Solutions, described his work regarding population health and consumer activation, while Dr. Arlen Meyers held an interactive workshop session that focused on how to become a medical advisor to companies, at all levels of product development.
About MedTech Impact:
The goal of MedTech Impact is to help healthcare practitioners and professionals better serve their patients through the use of technology, by utilizing devices and products that help track progress, assist with diagnoses, and ultimately support injury and disease prevention. By connecting attendees with the most recent and innovative scientific research and education, MedTech Impact envisions helping clinics, hospitals, and private practitioners protect and build the infrastructure of their practices by utilizing the most recently developed and cutting-edge devices, equipment, and technology. For more information, visit www.medtechimpact.com.
The primary issue that consumes the majority of the burden of healthcare costs in the United States is preventable chronic disease: while the most prevalent health conditions are simultaneously the most avoidable, they continue to cost the country’s budget billions of dollars. While overall numbers have decreased since 2010, when chronic disease cost the U.S. a total of $315 billion, morbid obesity rates have continued to rapidly spike—a condition that leads to a range of critical health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Primary care providers have long faced the struggle of determining how to implement best practice care for patients diagnosed with chronic diseases. Recent studies indicate that almost half of the entire U.S. population has at least one chronic health condition—including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, or arthritis. Statistics designate these health care treatments costs to account for 86% of cumulative national healthcare spending, and the CDC reports that chronic conditions are the leading causes of death and disability in the country.
Yet the past decade has seen the advent and proliferation of digital health technology, spurring the generation of new techniques and strategies for healthcare professionals to utilize in chronic disease management. These types of technology vary in terms of accessibility and usability, but include remote monitoring, mobile health apps installable on phones, and wireless wearables—which serve as activity trackers.
A series of interviews conducted by Medical News Today demonstrate a bright future for the potential of new technology, and its ability to spur and provide high-quality care. Suzanne Falck, MD, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, noted that a highly successful digital tool is currently in use for the management of heart failure: an implanted sensor immediately transmits data to a healthcare practitioner, who then analyzes the data in order to make medical recommendations. Further clinical trials and studies indicate that remote monitoring is more cost-effective than traditional, conventional management.
Moreover, the burgeoning popularity of medical apps signifies that mobile technology can make a hugely positive impact on chronic disease management. There are currently approximately 259,000 medical health apps available to purchase; over half are aimed at targeting consumers with chronic conditions. Clinical trials have repeatedly shown that patients with type 2 diabetes who utilized an app to monitor their blood glucose levels showed greater benefits than those who did not. A recent article in Diabetes Technology& Therapeutics states that the prognosis in patients with diabetes is ‘strongly influenced by the degree of control of their disease,’ which reinforces the effectiveness of self-management support through mobile apps.
Another innovative and exciting development is wearable technology and devices, which are currently being studied in a variety of clinical research settings. Many healthcare providers believe that the ‘potential of this technology is endless,’ as they can improve access to care while simultaneously enhancing convenience—and likely patient compliance.
Most importantly, being conscious of medicinal needs and treatments requires a consistently high level of responsibility and awareness. Healthcare experts urge patients to take active, informed roles in managing their health: online workshops have been developed to offer chronic disease self-management programs, which have been proven to significantly improve health statuses. Moreover, healthcare practitioners and professionals must collectively work together and utilize the new landscape of digital medical technology to their patients’ benefits.
Researchers at Ohio State University have taken the first step in creating a medical chip that could ultimately heal almost any injury or disease.
The development of a small, dime-sized silicone device—known as Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT)—uses nanotechnology to actively reprogram a person’s cellular makeup. By simply placing the chip on a wound, the device sends an electrical pulse designed to convert living cells into whatever necessary cells the body requires. The pulse “opens a small window into the cell,” allowing the chip to transmit an entirely new genetic code. Moreover, the entire process takes less than one second.
The findings, published last week in the journal Nature, discuss lab tests during which mice with injured legs were completely repaired with a single touch of TNT: by turning skin cells into vascular cells, within the timespan of three weeks. This breakthrough technology does not only work on skin cells, but can also restore any type of tissue. The device was also able to restore brain function in a mouse who had suffered a stroke, by growing brain cells on its skin.
The future potential and implications of such a device are clearly limitless, but some of the researchers’ ideas include reprogramming the brain cells of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or stroke patients, regenerating injured limbs, or helping victims of car crashes or combat at the scene of the accident.
Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies, Chandan Sen, says, “This technology does not require a laboratory or hospital, and can actually be excited in the field. It’s less than 100 grams to carry and will have a long shelf life.” Additionally, while current cell methods of cell therapy carry high risks—like introducing a virus—TNT treatment has no known side effects, and requires almost no time to carry out.
While the technology is currently waiting for approval from the FDA, Sen states that the device is expected to enter human trials within the next year, and he is currently in communications with Walter Reed National Medical Center. “We are proposing the use of skin as an agricultural land where you can essentially grow any cell of interest,” says Sen.
The Food and Drug Administration has recently announced a program that actively encourages the development of medical digital technology, including wireless wearables and applications that can monitor blood pressure and heart rate, track intake of calories, and measure physical activity.
The program is designed to give pre-clearance to developers working on digital health products, as the approval process for apps sometimes includes burdensome regulations, which can increase costs and limit innovation: the FDA hopes to reduce development costs and give entrepreneurs increased opportunities to develop products.
Quadruple Impact Challenge will reward innovative ideas in medical technology, focused on delivering and enhancing patient care