What happened in health care technology this week, and why it’s important.
This new neural sleeve helps people overcome mobility challenges
Greg Nichols, a contributor on ZD Net, posted this article on a new mobility sleeve under development and out of stealth promises a compelling solution for those suffering various mobility issues. The device is a wearable for people with mobility issues that doesn’t just monitor leg movements but helps activate the person’s muscles. The resulting sensor array successfully combines electromyography (EMG) and functional electrical stimulation (FES). LISiN also helped develop a comprehensive risk assessment strategy to ensure that the product was effective and safe, a critical step in bringing the product to market.
Why it’s important – Combining two critical signal technologies to monitor and stimulate the neuromuscular system, the sleeve represents the cutting edge of lightweight next-gen mobility devices.
Infographics of the week – Updated for 2022, this graphic from Dr> Bertalan Mesko and his team at The Medical Futurist Institute shows their top 50 emerging technologies in digital health arranged using the Garter Hype Cycle concept. I always find these interesting.
The second infographic this week comes from a LinkedIn post by Dr. Tazeen H. Rizvi, where he discusses why technology implementation in health care takes so long and why so many companies underestimate how long the sales cycle may be when bringing products to market. I like this framework.
This wearable device can read your brain
CNN Health posted this video featuring inventor Mary Lou Jepsen talking about the future of medical brain imaging. Her company Open Water is in the development of a wearable diagnostic headset capable of measuring features related to cerebral blood flow. Our technology is non-invasive, low-cost, and portable and may allow for broader applications, including point-of-care. Hospital studies are underway for potential future use as a stroke detector on humans in ambulances and urgent care facilities.
Why it’s important – Endovascular treatment within 2 hours of Large Vessel Occlusion (LVO) stroke onset has yielded a 90% chance of a good outcome. Meta-analysis of endovascular therapy clinical trials has found that >55% of LVO stroke patients suffered poor outcomes of death or severe disability. This highlights that even with the best treatment, without faster stroke routing, we cannot improve outcomes in stroke care. The company’s vision is to equip EMS with better neural diagnostics that could detect stroke sooner to more quickly route patients for definitive endovascular intervention to save lives and prevent disability.
Drones Set to Deliver Medical Products in Washington State in 2024
Zipline, which flies drones in five countries, has a new deal with health care provider MultiCare. Stephen Shankland reported on this news in CNET. Startup drone maker Zipline and health care provider MultiCare said the service would whisk lab samples, medicines, and test kits among Multicare’s local facilities, the companies exclusively told CNET. MultiCare expects the partnership will mean its health care providers, with their on-demand delivery system, will be able to improve the care patients get.
Why it’s important – The Tacoma project marks the latest use of drones to speed up deliveries, which can be slowed by increasingly congested roads. The World Economic Forum expects delivery truck usage will increase 78% by 2030 without alternative shipping approaches, adding 11 minutes to average commute times. The Tacoma project still requires regulatory approval for details of the flight operations, including whether Zipline drones will fly autonomously, as they do in the company’s other operations. In June, Zipline cleared one US regulatory hurdle, winning a Federal Aviation Administration certification that permits flights up to 26 miles.
Mass General Brigham outlines plans to expand hospital-at-home care
Mass General Brigham has plans to expand its home-based care offerings and snagged a field veteran to lead the charge. Fierce Healthcare’s Dave Muoio has the story. The Massachusetts-based system aims to grow its hospital-at-home programs from 25 patients to 200 in the next 2.5 years, according to reported numbers a spokesperson confirmed for Fierce Healthcare. MGB is looking to grow its home care support team from about 800 employees to more than 1,000 by the end of this year. It has already expanded its fleet of remote care delivery support vehicles from two to 10 and could begin tapping outside vendors for additional medical equipment deliveries, per the spokesperson. Guiding the ramp-up strategy will be Heather O’Sullivan, who, according to a Monday announcement, has been named MGB’s first-ever president of home-based care.
Why it’s important – I’ve covered the hospital-at-home concept in detail in an earlier post. MGHB’s latest initiative adds to the number of health systems accelerating the movement to making H@H a standard part of care delivery and aggressively shifting the System of CARE (as defined by my former colleagues at Sg2) impact into the home, which is good news for patients, families, and caregivers alike.
New AI That Predicts Heart Attacks Could Save Patients From Cardiac Death For 10 Years
AI-powered heart attack prediction is soon to come and could save a million lives. Joaquin Victor Tacla reports on this technology in his article in Tech Times online. The artificial intelligence and bioengineering technique, created by American researcher Professor Natalia Trayanova from Johns Hopkins University, may save the lives of more than four million Australians who suffer from cardiovascular disease (CVD). The AI developed by Trayanova’s lab aims to close the significant prognostic gaps in SCD. Her team built the system using patient records from 156 persons with cardiac issues over ten years who volunteered to disclose their health information. To estimate a patient’s risk of sudden cardiac death over ten years, Professor Trayanova explained that the AI technology combines algorithms generated from MRI and PET scans in conjunction with deep learning of clinical data.
Why it’s important – The leading cause of death worldwide continues to be heart disease. Up to 20% of fatalities can be attributed to sudden cardiac death (SCD) alone. SCD is an electrical problem that prevents the heart from beating normally rather than a heart attack, which occurs when arteries are clogged. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the country’s economy loses almost $12 billion annually (according to 2018-2019 data) from CVD costs. This new AI tool may be essential to easing the strain on Australia’s healthcare system. In contrast, Americans suffer 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes yearly—a burden contributing to the more than $320 billion in annual healthcare costs and lost productivity caused by cardiovascular disease. So, the potential benefits of this technology could be considerable.
Healthy.io receives FDA clearance for smartphone-based home kidney test
Smartphone urinalysis and wound-care company Healthy.io received FDA 510(k) clearance for home use of its Minuteful kidney-damage test. Emily Olsen reported on the story in her article in MobiHealthNews. The test is used to determine the increased presence of a protein called albumin in the urine, which can be an early sign of chronic kidney disease. The kit includes a testing strip, a sample cup, and a color board. Patients dip the test strip into their urine sample and take a photo of their strip alongside the board using the company’s app to determine their albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR). This marks the urinalysis and wound-care company’s third 510(k) clearance.
Why it’s important – According to the CDC, 15% of U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease, but many people are unaware they have it. Early-stage kidney disease usually has no symptoms, and many patients aren’t diagnosed until the condition is more advanced. About two in a thousand Americans have end-stage kidney disease, which requires a kidney transplant or dialysis, according to the NIH. This clearance is another example of the growing number of tests that can be performed at home.
FDA clears way for an AI stethoscope to detect heart disease
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first artificial intelligence algorithm powering a digital stethoscope for doctors to detect valvular heart disease more accurately. Katyanna Quach reports on the clearance in her article in The Register. Eko, a digital health startup based in Oakland, California, has developed software to analyze a patient’s pulse and help health care professionals detect heart murmurs. Its Eko Murmur Analysis Software (EMAS) is the first of its kind to receive FDA approval. EMAS analyzes heartbeat data collected by doctors using Eko’s smart stethoscopes. EMAS characterizes the heart murmurs to detect and better understand what type of valvular heart disease a patient might have in seconds, according to the company.
Why it’s important – Around 2.5 percent of the US population has valvular heart disease, and tens of thousands die each year from complications like heart failure or cardiac arrest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eko claims its EMAS tool has an overall sensitivity and specificity – measures of how accurately it can identify the disease – of 85.6 percent and 84.4 percent, respectively. For comparison, similar tests performed with general practitioners using traditional stethoscopes to detect valvular heart disease reportedly had a sensitivity and specificity of 44 percent and 69 percent, respectively.