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With the advancement of medical technology, a lot of new equipment and technologies are used for medical treatment and bodycheck; more mobile applications are developed to assist the daily lives of the disabled…… In the first article of this series, let’s get to know about the medical and health-related technologies, and see how technology helped us to save our lives and remain our physical health.
In our previous insights, we have mentioned that medical and biological technology is one of the anticipated technological trends in 2021. Apart from the significant progress in the development of vaccines and medicine manufacturing, PCR test and diagnosis, telemedicine, organ transplant, and AR surgical assistance, a lot of hospitals adopted AI technology and different sensors to assist the medical treatment of the patient.
There are a lot of patients who passed away because of unrecognized cardiac arrest during transferral to the hospital every year. With the sight of this, Corti, an American company, developed an AI assistant Audia to assist the rescue team, and monitor and analyze the urgent voice messages and cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, so that the rescue team may be assisted to recognize the situation of the patient and provide suitable first-aid treatment.
Meanwhile, Health Catalyst, an American medical data research company, has launched AI data engines such as Healthcare.AI, Twistle Patient Engagement, and Community care. These data engines may analyze patients’ data through machine learning, and provide hospitals and clinics with an all-rounded medical data managing service. For example, the engine may identify patients with high risk who are more likely to return to the hospitals, and then interact with these patients with systems like Twistle, provide them with daily reminders, and follow up on their status. In this case, the patients would know when should they make an appointment with the doctor. The mentioned medical data records may assist medical staff to make suitable plans for the patients, as well as adjusting medical resources for the more urgent patient.
In Isreal, to reduce the infection risk of the medical staff, a hospital called Sheba tried to use different sensors to check the status of the patients, rather than letting the nurses do so manually. The hospital room of the future had the sensors installed nearby the patients’ beds and under the mattress, and detect the physical status of the patients. The AI system connected to the system will then detect and forecast the patients’ status after 4 to 6 hours, and alerts will be sent to the medical team for timely medical treatment.
Be My Eyes is a free mobile application that provides assistance to visually impaired people. As the name suggests, the application is to become the eyes of blind people. There are two types of users in this application, visually impaired people (sometimes they are called VIPs) and volunteers. The VIPs may send assistance requests via the application, and the system will instantly arrange a volunteer to have a real-time video call with them. The volunteers may look around the environment of the visually impaired people through their devices and provide verbal assistance for them to overcome obstacles.
Apart from the visually impaired people, there is also an application developed for the hearing impaired people – AVA. Via audio recognition, the application may generate and demonstrate the words of the conversation on the mobile phone for the hearing impaired people. Especially under the pandemic, wearing masks and telecommunication has become our new normal, it would be a huge obstacle for the hearing impaired people to communicate with others via sign language, lips reading, and other body languages. Fortunately, along with the enhancement in the accuracy of the audio recognition technology, the hearing impaired people may communicate with others relying on it.
The Hong Kong Blind Union has collaborated with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and launched an indoor GPS location and guidance mobile application called Smart City Walk, combining GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi locating technology, providing guidance services for the users in over 120 indoor places like shopping malls. The users may search for a particular facility such as the nursing room or toilets, from the floorplan in the application, the shortest route will then be automatically generated for the users, and the real-time guiding function will then lead the users to the designated place according to the route. At the same time, as an accessible application, disabled users may choose to use the elevator or wheelchair ramps. The visually impaired people may also use the application through voice assistance, getting to know about their surroundings, current locations, and other important information.
There are a lot of people who are diagnosed to have skin cancer, more than any other type of cancer. If they are recognized sooner, over 95% of skin cancer is recoverable. Hence, a lot of dermatologists suggest we have a check on our skin every 3 to 6 months. SkinVision is an easy-to-use application that let us check on the moles on our skin. All the users have to do is upload a picture of the moles, then SkinVision will automatically analyze the risk of moles within 60 seconds. Diseases like skin cancer and melanoma will also be discovered sooner. We can also save the picture of the abnormal situation of our skin to spot the changes and share them with the doctor.
In some third-world countries, a lot of people might miss the curing opportunity because of the unavailability of diagnosing services. Hence, Peek has developed a light, convenient, and easy-to-use camera called Peek Retina, letting the medical staff diagnose the patient via the camera in some places that lack medical facilities. The staff may check the pupil of the patient via the camera and capture a high-quality image of their retina. Diseases like cataracts, glaucomas, macular degeneration, and background diabetic retinopathy can be tracked down sooner and treatment can be delivered on time.
Sub-health is a typical health problem for urbanites. Regular body status tracking can help us to know more about our bodies and discover other health-related problems. We may make great use of the health tracking application inbuilt into our smartphones like Health in Apple or Samsung phones, smartwatches, and the paired application Zepp Life by Xiaomi. With these assistants, we may regularly keep records of our cardio level, amounts of exercise, and the quality of sleep, so that we can pay attention to our bodies constantly. The latest smartwatches even included the functions of checking walking stability, oxygen saturation, respiration rate, and stress level, providing us with a set of all-rounded data, helping us to know more about our health levels, and discover the abnormal situation happening in our bodies. At the same time, this heal-related information may be the reference for the doctor during diagnosis, so that the diagnosis will be more accurate and proper treatment can be carried out
Apart from the basic data, there are also applications developed to keep track of the recovery journey of the patient. For instance, there are diabetic health management applications Health2Sync and BG Monitor Diabetes. Patients with diabetes may keep track of the data of their blood sugar level, blood pressure, weight, insulin intake, diet, exercise, and emotions. The changes and trends of these data will be automatically updated in the dashboard, so that the users may find out about their recovery status and speed easily. The stored data can also be shared with family and doctors, for better assistance.
Apart from health tracking and disease recognition, blood donation progress can also be tracked down with application. The Red Cross United States combined blood donation, progress tracking, and an activity-based loyalty, and launched an application called Blood Donor, to encourage citizens to donate blood regularly. In the application, the users may keep track of their money and blood donation, search for nearby blood donating centers, reserve blood donation services, and open up notifications (Booking confirmation, blood lacking emergency, notification of the use of donated blood). Besides, there is gamification in the application, the donors may receive special badges after donating a certain amount of blood, as well as join the lifesaving team, recruit other donors, and check their progress on the leaderboard so that the willingness of the citizens to donate blood will be increased.
After seeing this many heal-related applications used and technological examples, which one impressed you the most? In fact, there are a lot of engineers and scientists dedicated to the innovations that make our lives better. Next, we will talk about how these technologies help us to survive in emergencies. Stay tuned!!