Health Tech News This Week – November 19, 2022

What happened in health care technology this week, and why it’s important.

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LG, Amwell Launch New Healthcare TV Kit to Fight Burnout and Workforce Shortages

LG Electronics announced the first solution to come from its collaboration with Amwell. The product, called the Carepoint TV Kit 200L, is in beta testing but will soon be sold to hospitals to help clinicians virtually connect to patients’ rooms. Katie Adams brings us the story in MedCity News online. Powered by Amwell’s Converge platform, the product is aimed at helping clinicians more easily engage with patients amid healthcare’s workforce shortage crisis, according to Atul Singh, LG’s general manager for digital health.

“This allows not only clinicians and providers to monitor patients, but it also allows a pathway for them to engage with their family and with their nonclinical care providers.”

Atul Singh, LG’s general manager for digital health

Why it’s important – LG’s new product provides new software and hardware that can be added to LG’s existing healthcare TVs. NYC Health + Hospitals is an example of a health system that already uses LG’s healthcare TVs for better patient engagement. This new software and hardware allow hospitals to admit, monitor, and discharge patients remotely.

Infographic of the week – Another great infographic from Gist Healthcare this week. This is their “World Cup of Healthcare” update to assess which of the 32 nations best protected its population from COVID. They based their analysis on three key metrics that they selected as the most reliable and meaningful representations of a nation’s response to the pandemic: 1) the quality of each nation’s underlying healthcare system (measured by the Consumer Value Index score that we created last time; 2) its per-capita vaccination rate (counting all doses administered, including boosters); and 3) its per-capita COVID mortality rate (adjusted by the percentage of population 65+). (Check out the U.S. position 👇)

Image Credit: Gist Healthcare

Yale uses ML based PRECISION model for personalized treatment for Hypertension

Preetipadma K brings us this story in Analytics Drift this week. Yale University researchers have created a machine learning-based clinical decision support tool to tailor recommendations for blood pressure control treatment goals. Their tool, PREssure Control In Hypertension (PRECISION), is an ML model aimed to discover features of individuals who benefited the most from actively reducing blood pressure. Through a data-driven methodology, the innovative clinical decision support tool encourages collaborative decision-making between patients and healthcare professionals.

Why it’s important – When compared to conventional treatment, researchers discovered that the tool could identify diabetic patients who benefited from intensive blood pressure management. These results suggest that PRECISION can offer trustworthy, helpful information to guide decisions about intensive vs. conventional systolic blood pressure treatment among patients with diabetes. Until the team prospectively proves its clinical relevance, the proposed machine learning algorithm, PRECISION, is only authorized to be applied for research.

Exoskeletons qualify for direct disability compensation in Germany

ReWalk Robotics made progress in German courts this week. BARMER announced it would accept a ruling from state courts that made exoskeletons considered eligible for direct disability compensation and withdrew its pending case at the federal level. BARMER is one of Germany’s largest statutory health insurance providers. Brianna Wessling reports that the ruling gives eligible, insured patients with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) a legal basis to use an exoskeleton as an orthopedic aid for direct disability compensation in Germany.

“The German healthcare system has led the way in its adoption of exoskeletons for spinal cord injured individuals. We expect that this acceptance of the prior ruling will enable medically eligible members of the SCI community to access exoskeleton technology in a more efficient manner.”

Larry Jasinski, CEO of ReWalk

Why it’s important – ReWalk Robotics’ Personal 6.0 System is an exoskeleton designed for all-day use at home and in the community. The system is personalized for each user, ensuring a precise fit and optimal safety, function, and joint alignment. It can help users stand upright, walk, turn and climb and descend stairs.

How AcuPebble is changing the face of sleep apnea diagnosis

Acurable’s first product AcuPebble is the first medical device to be authorized by regulators for the automated diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea at home. Ian Bolland has the interview with Emilio Sanz-Pereiras, co-CEO, and COO from Acurable, in Med-Tech Innovation News. To summarise what the product offers, it is a multi-use rechargeable sensor stuck to the base of the neck against the windpipe to collect cardio-respiratory signals. It extracts respiratory and cardiac data and transmits it wirelessly to a mobile device. Algorithms then interpret this data, and reports are sent to clinicians who can make a diagnostic decision without the patient needing to visit a sleep clinic, which has long waiting lists and require extensive training.

“We are really working on multiple fronts within the NHS to rethink pathways, to rethink the way the whole system works for a sleep test. We are continuing to build further medical credibility with more research, with the ultimate aim being that we will get to a point where consumers can request a test themselves and their HCP will trust this data without having to repeat the whole pathway.”

Emilio Sanz-Pereiras, co-CEO and COO from Acurable

Why it’s important – AcuPebble provides a real solution for health services in which resources are increasingly stretched and waiting times continue to rise. The product is already live in several NHS Trusts, with the company keen to develop the credibility of the device within medical circles before contemplating making it more consumer-focused.

Alphabet’s Verily, ResMed launch sleep platform Primasun

In another article focused on sleep disorders, Jessica Hagen reports on this development at the HLTH 2022 conference in MobiHealthNews. San Diego-based connected sleep device maker ResMed and Alphabet’s life science offshoot Verily announced the formation of Primasun, an end-to-end solution to help employers and healthcare providers identify populations at risk for complex sleep disorders. Formed as a joint venture, Primasun will initially evaluate patients with insomnia, provide guidance to improve sleep hygiene, and connect patients with certified sleep physicians who diagnose and treat sleep apnea.

Why it’s important – A third of U.S. adults report getting less than the recommended amount of sleep, and lack of rest has been linked with chronic conditions such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, and heart disease, according to the CDC. Diagnosing and treating sleep disorders can help people live healthier and longer, be safer and more present in their work and personal lives, and lower healthcare costs.

How safe is 7T MRI for patients with neurosurgical implants?

Hannah Murphy reports on this important topic in her article in Health Imaging. Although the clinical use of new 7T MRI technology is not yet widespread, it is growing. As such, patients and clinicians must understand the safety and risks involved in 7T exams. Thanks to a team of students and faculty members from Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the Carle Foundation Hospital—one of a few institutions in the country with a 7T machine—experts now have a bit more insight into the machine’s safety in the presence of neurosurgical implants.

Image Credit: Carle Foundation Hospital

Why it’s important – Based on their findings, the team concluded that cranial fixation devices, deep brain stimulation devices, spinal rods, and pedicle screws are likely compatible with 7T MRI. Mixed outcomes were found with aneurysm clips and EEG devices, and VP shunts were reported to lose functionality after 7T exposure. The study’s findings could encourage device manufacturers to conduct more thorough testing to ensure that their products are safe to use with the emerging imaging technology.

Skin-like electronics could monitor your health continuously

Finally, this week, Science Daily reports on research conducted at DOE/Argonne National Laboratory, where researchers are developing skin-like electronics paired with artificial intelligence for health monitoring and diagnosis. The team’s skin-like neuromorphic “chip” consists of a thin film of a plastic semiconductor combined with stretchable gold nanowire electrodes. Even when stretched to twice its normal size, their device functioned as planned without the formation of any cracks.

“While still requiring further development on several fronts, our device could one day be a game changer in which everyone can get their health status in a much more effective and frequent way.”

Sihong Wang, assistant professor in UChicago PME

Why it’s important – Worn routinely, future wearable electronics could potentially detect possible emerging health problems — such as heart disease, cancer, or multiple sclerosis — even before obvious symptoms appear. The device could also personally analyze the tracked health data while minimizing the need for its wireless transmission.

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