Making The Transition

Making The Transition

Came out of the hospital yesterday.

Able to walk with a walker–thankful for this miracle already.

Thanks to good ‘ol technology, I was able to send my surgeon a photo from my smartphone this morning, so he could see for himself what was going on and advise me.

Later today, having nursing and physical therapy to the house and am glad to have yet another set of eyes on me, while I heal up.

Emotionally, it’s trying.

I am a very active and structured person, and for now I am just physically limited–no getting around it.

As I push myself to walk, I can see my body pushing back to give it more time.

Overall, I am determined to get back to myself with G-d’s merciful help.

I’ve already logged onto work–telework–and been in touch with my team trying to keep things moving forward.

I’m also here, on the blogosphere, sharing my experience.

While in the hospital orthopedic unit, I got to meet many others with similar or even worse situations.

One guy had a knee replacement in January and was already back and had his hip done.

Another, I was told had one hip done, followed about 2 weeks later, by the other one.

All sorts of amazing stories of people fighting to recover and get back on their feet, literally.

One more time, I just want to say how my wife has been amazing through all of this, and I can’t thank her enough.

And truly, as my parents told me, “If you have your health, you have everything!”

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Healthcare Where You Need It

Great new medical examination device from Tyto Care.

Handheld, mobile, cloud-based solution for performing a basic medical examination, anywhere–either remotely guided by an online physician or using the 3D avatar on the device itself for conducting a self-examination.

The device looks like the one in the doctors office that checks your ears, but it also has sensors to listen to your heart and lungs, and for viewing your eyes, throat, and skin, and for taking your temperature.

The results can be read by the end-user or sent to a physician for review and diagnosis.

When your not feeling well or aren’t sure what’s wrong–isn’t great to have the convenience to have your vitals checked from wherever you are and the self-sufficiency to even get and see your own basic medical stats.

In a time where we are under more stress to get adequate medical care due to families made up of dual working parents, jobs that are 24/7, and a declining ratio of medical professionals to patients–the Tyto seems like a breakthrough that can help us get checked and get help, anytime and place.

Now, we just need to get our medical practitioners online and in regular remote communication with their patients–so the traditional office visit and emergency room aren’t the only options for being seen. 😉

>Saved On The Battlefield By A BEAR

>

Bear

The Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR) developed by Vecna Technologies in collaboration with the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Centre (TATRC) is no teddy bear.

The Economist (10 March 2011) says this it is “a highly agile and powerful mobile robot capable of lifting and carrying a combat casualty from a hazardous area across uneven terrain.” And when BEAR is not saving wounded soldiers on the battlefield, it can perform “difficult and repetitive tasks, such as loading and unloading ammunition.”

The BEAR is a tracked vehicle that can travel up to 12 mph and has 2 hydraulic arms for lifting and carrying. It is controlled with a set of wireless video cameras and joystick control either embedded on the grip of a rifle or with a special glove that can sense the wearer’s movements.

This is great concept and I imagine this will be enhanced over time especially with the advances in telemedicine, so that at some point we will see the BEAR or its progeny actually performing battlefield medicine.

One thing, however, in my opinion, the bear face on this robot undermines the seriousness of mission that it performs and it should be changed to look like a medic, it’s primary function.

>Health Care Reform is Technologically Deficient

>

The debate on the news, in the streets, and on the Hill these days is health care reform—getting insurance coverage for those who lack it. And while this is an important and noble pursuit, there is something extraordinary absent from the health care reform discussion—and that is technology—in terms of how we get better care to everyone, the uninsured and insured alike?

We are living with a health care system that is functioning devoid of the most basic technology aids—such as electronic medical records, electronic scheduling, e-appointments with doctors using IM or video, electronic prescription handling, and much more.

If the finance industry is at the advanced end of the technology spectrum, the medical industry is at the extreme low end—and how sad a commentary is that: is our money more important to us than our health?

An article in Fast Company in May 2009 called “The Doctor of the Future” states: “This is a $2.4 trillion industry run on handwritten notes. We’re using 3,000 year-old tools to deliver health care in the richest country on the planet.”

The health care system is broken for sure, but it goes way beyond the 45 million American’s that lack insurance.

  • “Health care accounts for $1 in every $6 spent in the United States.”
  • “Costs are climbing at twice the rate of inflation.”
  • “Every year, an estimated 1.5 million families lose their homes because of medical bills.”
  • “Although we have the word’s most expensive health-care system, 24 counties have a longer life expectancy and 34 have a lower infant-mortality rate.”

Based on these numbers, the medical industry in this country is overcharging and under-delivering, and part of the reason for this–as Fast Company states is the lack of technological innovation: one of the paradoxes of modern medicine is that it demands continual innovation yet often resists change.”

New medical technology programs are available that provide for a vastly improved patient experience.

For example, using the Myca platform the user-experience is simpler, faster, and cheaper. Here’s a view of how it would work: “your profile shows your medical team…to make an appointment, you look at the doctors schedule, select a time slot or at least half an hour and the type of appointment (in-person, video, IM), and fill out a text box describing your ailment so the doctor can start thinking about treatment. Typically follow ups are e-visits. A timeline doted with icons representing appointments lets you review the doctors comments, read the IM thread, watch the video of an earlier electronic house call or link t test results.”

Using other technological advances, we could also benefit the patient by being able to:

  • Send electronic prescriptions to the pharmacy and automatically check for drug interaction.
  • Enter a patient’s symptoms and test results and get a comprehensive software generated diagnosis along with the probability of each result as well as other pertinent tests for the doctor to consider.
  • Provide electronic medical records that can be shared securely with medical providers including medical history, exam notes, tests ordered and results, and drugs prescribed.
  • Utilize telemedicine for consultation with medical providers anywhere and anytime.
  • And even apply robots to surgical procedures that result in less invasive, more effective, quicker recovery rates, and with less chance of infection.

None of this is science fiction…and this is all possible today.

Therefore, if we are going to call for a revamp to our health care system, let’s go beyond the coverage issue and address the logjam on quality of care for all Americans.

Absolutely we need to address the 18% uninsured in this country, but while we do that and figure out how to pay for it, let’s also deal with providing 21st century care to all our citizens through the modernization of our medical industry benefitting both the patients and medical providers through more efficient and effective care-giving.