Qualcomm announced today two releases: an analysis on the effects of 5G mobile on the healthcare sector and the Think Fast virtual reality (VR) simulation program for stroke diagnosis.
5G Mobile: Qualcomm’s study, “5G Mobile: Impact on the Health Care Sector”, found that 5G’s increased data speed, reliability, and security will have a substantial and positive impact on healthcare both in quality and financially.
It will enable the ‘personalization of healthcare’ through permitting the continuous real-time gathering of healthcare data through sensors and on the back end, to process that data usefully. Qualcomm calls this the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) which works for this Editor as long as the devices and apps are secure. (Having worked in telehealth where network drops and latency in many areas, particularly rural, often made check-in via tablet connectivity a matter of the stars aligning right, this is good news–Ed. Donna)
It will better support remote diagnosis and imaging, including the application of VR
It will facilitate distributed computing, which is data processing closer to the patient, for the greater use of predictive analytics
Faster and more data will help in the transition from volume-based to value-based/outcome-based care
Financial impact is estimated by IHS Markit at more than $1.1 trillion in global sales in healthcare by 2035. broken down as follows:
$453bn in the healthcare vertical: hospitals, doctors, medical equipment, pharma
$409bn in supply chain and related
$253bn in added value sectors: payers, data analytics providers, cloud data services
The study was authored by Prof. David J. Teece, Tusher Center for Intellectual Capital, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, and supported by Qualcomm. Study PDF. Previously in TTA: Ericsson’s less rosy 5G international healthcare survey [TTA 13 June].
Think Fast VR: FAST–Facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties and time to call emergency services–is the acronym for what to watch for when someone is having a stroke. But if you could observe it in reality, it would be far less ambiguous and more memorable. Think Fast is a VR simulation program that lets the user (a med student, nurse, healthcare educator, or average person) observe a stroke’s effects as if it was happening to them. By stepping inside a stroke victim’s world, it educates on warning signs and critical steps for care. It was designed by ForwardXP using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon VR SDK and Unity 5.6 plugin. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability–which can be minimized or prevented with quick response within three hours. Video below. Hat tip to Ashley Settle of Weber Shandwick
This year’s trend to develop technologies that solve specific but important problems, such as improving navigation for the visually impaired, [TTA 8 June] continues:
Voice-controlled assistance systems are becoming commonplace, from improved interactive voice response (IVR) to Siri, Echo, and Alexa. Their limitation is that their recognition systems understand only standard, not impaired or even heavily accented speech. For those with the latter, a Tel Aviv-based startup calledVoiceitthas developed Talkitt, an app that learns an individual’s speech based on basic, everyday spoken (or typed input) phrases and after a training period, converts them into normal audio speech or text messages on a tablet or smartphone. This aids with everyday life as well as devices like Echo and Alexa. Voiceitt is out of the Dreamit Health accelerator and was just seed funded with $2 million. This Editor notes from theTechCrunch article that it’s described as ‘the thin edge of the wedge’ and ‘a market with need’. It will be introduced this year to health systems and schools to assist those with speech impairments due to health conditions. Hat tip to Editor Emeritus Steve Hards
Diagnosing degenerative diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, which is preventable but if untreated eventually blinds the patient, is doubly difficult when the patient is in a rural, economically disadvantaged, predominantly minority, and medically underserved area of the US. Ophthalmologist Seema Garg has been on a quest since 2009 to have this recognized as a public health threat. The North Carolina Diabetic Retinopathy Telemedicine Network out of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, headed by Dr. Garg, collaborated with five NC clinics to recruit patients with diabetes. Her team then trained primary care staff to take digital retinal photographs transmitted over a secure network to be examined for symptoms. The public health study used Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-mapping for patient accessibility to ophthalmologists, demographics, and risk factors such as higher A1C levels, minority race, older age, kidney disease, and stroke. JAMA Ophthalmology, FuturityHat tip to Toni Bunting of TASK Ltd. (and former TTA Ireland editor)
Chris Lewis, a world-renowned telecoms expert and regular presenter on disability issues has kindly offered to share some further thoughts with readers.
At the Great Telco Debate last year, one of the biggest laughs was when my co-host Graham Wilde was attacked for buying his wife a FitBit, implying she needed to lose weight! The success of these so-called health tracking devices, and their associated apps, is an indication of how wearables, combined with smart phones and tablets, are beginning to change our behaviour and our lives.
Outside the healthcare industry, these devices with their life-changing outputs are seen as wondrous. However, inside the healthcare sector, they are often dismissed as being toys providing inaccurate and misleading information.
The consumer electronics industry, with its dynamic gadget crazy geeks, coming up against the established healthcare profession, with its hospitals and insurance organisations, represents a key battleground for us all. Regulation in the medical area is rife, and so it should be. Consumer electronics is a considerably more liberal environment. So we have the challenge of making money and identifying new markets on the one hand, whilst accurately treating people with illness and disabilities on the other.
Telehealth and Telecare Aware posts pointers to a broad range of news items. Authors of those items often use terms 'telecare' and telehealth' in inventive and idiosyncratic ways. Telecare Aware's editors can generally live with that variation. However, when we use these terms we usually mean:
• Telecare: from simple personal alarms (AKA pendant/panic/medical/social alarms, PERS, and so on) through to smart homes that focus on alerts for risk including, for example: falls; smoke; changes in daily activity patterns and 'wandering'. Telecare may also be used to confirm that someone is safe and to prompt them to take medication. The alert generates an appropriate response to the situation allowing someone to live more independently and confidently in their own home for longer.
• Telehealth: as in remote vital signs monitoring. Vital signs of patients with long term conditions are measured daily by devices at home and the data sent to a monitoring centre for response by a nurse or doctor if they fall outside predetermined norms. Telehealth has been shown to replace routine trips for check-ups; to speed interventions when health deteriorates, and to reduce stress by educating patients about their condition.
Telecare Aware's editors concentrate on what we perceive to be significant events and technological and other developments in telecare and telehealth. We make no apology for being independent and opinionated or for trying to be interesting rather than comprehensive.