Health TEDTalks

How technology can empower patients, including 4 diagnostic tools for your iPhone

Posted by: Brooke Borel

Eric-Dishman-at-TED@Intel

Eric Dishman is used to thinking about how technology can transform the world of health care. As an Intel Fellow and general manager of the company’s Health Strategy & Solutions Group, his job is all about finding innovative new approaches to healthcare. Eric Dishman: Take health care off the mainframeEric Dishman: Take health care off the mainframe And he’s no stranger to talking about them. At TEDMED 2009, in the talk featured to the left, Dishman asked us to “Take health care off the mainframe,” boldly comparing the current American health care system to mainframe computers circa 1959.

But just two weeks ago, at TED@Intel, Dishman tells the much more personal story of his battle with kidney disease.

To say that his battle is with disease isn’t the full story. Instead, as he describes in this second talk, his fight is not only with faulty kidneys, Eric Dishman: Health care should be a team sportEric Dishman: Health care should be a team sportbut also with a flawed healthcare system.

Two decades ago, when he was a college student, Dishman had several fainting spells. This kicked off months of testing by six different doctors, in what he describes as a “clash of medical titans.” Dishman was told he would not live longer than two or three years.

The doctors were wrong — but not because they weren’t good doctors. Instead, they were stuck in an old-fashioned system that lacked technologically advanced tools and a culture of communication.

With smartphones and tablets becoming ubiquitous, and social networks connecting us more and more, Dishman sees three major steps to achieving better, individually-tailored healthcare that takes pressure off of brick-and-mortar hospitals and clinics, and empowers a patient to be the captain of a team working toward their well-being: Care anywhere, care networking, and care customization. To hear what each means, watch this talk.

On the stage, Dishman demonstrates MobiSante’s smartphone-based ultrasound imaging system, called MobiUS, which he used to scan his newly donated kidney. A doctor hours away at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Oregon examined the kidney live over the Internet, dispelling worry over a few dark spots and noting they’d double check them at Dishman’s next scheduled appointment.

Here is a round up of other disruptive products and projects that could hugely impact the way we think about our health care. Have more to add? Put them in the comments.

Health tests on your smartphone
MobiSante’s affordable, portable ultrasound isn’t the only medical device to take advantage of mobile networks and the power of smartphones. Some other examples:

The doctor isn’t in… but that’s okay
InTouch Health’s RP-VITA Remote Presence Robot is the first-ever that will connect doctors to patients across the world.Daniel Kraft: Medicine's future? There's an app for thatDaniel Kraft: Medicine's future? There's an app for that Doctors can do rounds in a hospital across the country or the world, controlling Jetson-like robots that show their faces on a screen. Through the robots, the doctors can visit with and diagnose patients from afar.

Another less-futuristic option: as Daniel Kraft, the chair of the FutureMed program at Singularity University, mentioned in the TED Talk, “Medicine’s future? There’s an app for that,” the website AmericanWell.com can connect you to physicians and specialists in your state who do appointments over secure chat, Skype or the telephone.

Health care at your local drugstore
While it isn’t tech-heavy, the move towards what this recent article from The Economist calls “retail clinics” is taking some health services out of hospitals and doctor’s offices and into malls and popular pharmacy chains. The article details how CVS and Walgreens are bringing basic care clinics to many stores – 640 and 372 of them respectively.

Medical devices that can leave the hospital
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services put out a recent request for information seeking new approaches for smart medical hardware that can remain on even during power outages in natural disasters. The goal is to to protect hospital patients on life-saving medical devices — including ventilators or IV pumps — by keeping the machines on and mobile if there is need for evacuation.

Are you interested in where health care is going? Watch the TED Playlist, the Future of Medicine, below.

Comments (11)

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  • commented on Apr 12 2013

    Reblogged this on Innovation Inside and commented:
    Good health directly impacts our potential for success – our readiness for school, our productivity on the job, our quality of life and even our length of days.

    The conversations about access to health care that have been dominating the news lately center on our ability to pay — who has health insurance? What does it cost? Who is eligible for Medicaid? How can we afford to expand Medicaid to the uninsured? How can we afford not to?

    After funding, our access to health care is wholly dependent upon one thing — our ability to get to the doctor’s office.

    Why are we letting our proximity to a doctor’s office and the transportation available to us dictate our access to health care? The answer to this question is leading to innovations that could completely transform the entire health care industry from the inside out.

    Telehealth has the potential to both improve our health and reduce the cost of health care for all of us. Imagine the possibilities for impoverished urban and inaccessible rural communities, and the value for prosperous, connected communities all around the world.

    Even more exciting is what we could do at the intersection of technology-based and relationship-based health care. Imagine your care coordinator visiting you at your home with her iPad and your doctor joining you via Skype. Imagine going to your family doctor and having a specialist in another part of the world join your conversation about your options through video-conferencing.

    Learn more about this Innovation Inside from the article below from Ted Blog!

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  • commented on Apr 11 2013

    Reblogged this on The ESL Techie and commented:
    “The website AmericanWell.com can connect you to physicians and specialists in your state who do appointments over secure chat, Skype or the telephone.” That’s amazing, I can sit at home in my PJs and conduct follow-up appointments? Sign me up! My only concern with the current cultural shift of receiving health care at a local pharmacy. (ex: Walgreens, CVS) is whether or not this will raise more “family” pharmacies and the ethical issues that could ensue.