Disrupting the hospital room

The new frontier of disruption is design. Long-term housing for the cognitively impaired is being rethought [TTA 4 Oct]–why not the hospital room, when the last big change in the US was going from wards to semi-private and private rooms? The typical hospital room now houses tons of technology, but resembles a spaghetti bowl of wires and also is a nexus of nosocomial infections. Rethinking it is NXT Health’s Patient Room 2020 designed with a team from Clemson University’s Healthcare + Architecture Graduate Program and with support from the US Department of Defense. The many interesting features include mood adjustment, noise blocking, hand sanitization stations before room entry, nonporous flat surfaces on equipment and seamless flooring for efficient sanitization, UV light for same and multiple built-ins. Wall Street Journal article, full size illustration with callouts.

Mobile, flexible–but not joint–military healthcare (US)

If two areas of the government have made a great deal of progress in telehealth and mobile health, it is the Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) which jointly are the leading users (and developers) of telehealth. Your Editor has often mentioned the US Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) as a leader. Of their current 15 mHealth projects, one of the largest is MobileCare. Working jointly with the University of Miami’s William Lehman Injury Research Center at Ryder Trauma Center (where it is being piloted) and University of Central Florida, MobileCare is a smartphone interface for patient documentation into EHRs using intuitive data entry and voice recognition; mobile learning and point-of-care information; and telemedicine (audio/video consults). Miami’s staff designed the user interface, learning content and programmed interfaces, while an IT team at the University of Central Florida is assisting with mobile development.  Mobile Healthcare Is Solving Major Problems for Military Doctors and Nurses (FedTech)

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Flexible-Electronics-on-Plastic-425×303.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) located at the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University is pioneering flexible, thin, low-power plastic displays, about 1/16 inch thick, for use in battlefield devices. These are designed to be worn on every soldier’s sleeve, on the side of an armored vehicle or used in monitors that need no ruggedizing–produced using commercial methods and thus (relatively) inexpensively. The potential for medical devices, smartphones and tablets is substantial if translated quickly to commercial use. Imagine Samsung’s flexible smartphone at CES 2013, the much-heralded iWatch/iPhone combo and even the cutely colorful and crowdfunded EMBRACE+ bracelet smartphone notifier on steroids. Future Soldiers Will Have Flexible Electronics Everywhere (Armed with Science)

Thus it is doubly disappointing when DOD and the VA, who declared their fine intents to develop an integrated EHR (iEHR–another acronym) to be implemented by 2017, have declared to Congress that the project has come to a screeching halt after 1 billion in taxpayer dollars. DOD might use the VA’s Vista EHR–or not. As the Magic 8 Ball says, ‘hazy, try again’. DOD, VA Face Questions Over Halting of Joint EHR Project (iHealthBeat)