Radiation from smartwatches, wearables: real, alarmist, or the NY Times?

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The Gimlet Eye has that certain half-baked radioactive ‘glow’. The healtherati are all aTwitter over a New York Times Style (!) section article that does the unthinkable–it dares to raise the question of the possible harm of radiation that wearables, including smartwatches as well as smartphones, might present to both adults and children. The writer, Nick Bilton, is a regular tech columnist.

After an unfortunate baiting for attention at the start, making an analogy of cellphone/wearable radiation to 1930s adverts with doctors ‘endorsing’ cigarettes, he for the most part tries to take a balanced approach. By the end, he lines it up like this. Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi–no evidence of harm in adults. 3G/4G cellphone radiation–you may want to be careful. He points out that studies aren’t definitive. Older studies, such as the WHO’s, a Swedish and some European studies point to harmful (carcinogenic) effects from phones held extensively too close to the head, but nothing is definitive in causality as the CDC pointed out and additional studies have proven no conclusive evidence of harm. Conclusion–use anything 3G/4G with caution, away from the head, limit exposure by children or pregnant women. Cautious enough?

Oddly, he advocates Bluetooth headsets but doesn’t mention using speakerphone settings–and then, for the smashing windup, won’t put the Bluetoothed Apple Watch near his head. It’s a weirdly sourced (an alternative doctor the only one cited? Old studies?) and half-baked, partially tossed salad article. Consider: most wearables are–surprise, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connected. But it does bring up the inconvenient question, only partially answered, of All Those Rads and What (If Anything) Are They Doing To Us.

What’s really interesting? The immediate, twitchy and prolonged press response. As they say in New Jersey, they are ‘jumping ugly’. (more…)

66% of ‘tech-savvy seniors’ dissatisfied with current health tech

Yes, those same people who–gee whiz–designed computers, did their own programs in MS-DOS and went from Palm Pilots to BlackBerries to iPhones, are already over or hitting 65 (3.9 million in US in 2015)–and they aren’t happy with what’s being served up to them in healthcare tech. The Accenture study across 10 countries and over 10,000 adults points out the demand–67 percent–and the dissatisfaction–66 percent. They want independent self-care tools, wearables to monitor themselves, online communities like PatientsLikeMe, patient navigators and health record tools. Moreover, the more comfortable they are with and value technology, the more likely they are already using technology for tracking weight and cholesterol levels. Couple this with the ‘Drawn and Quartered’ Parks Associates research [TTA 11 Aug 14] and moving past the mHealth hype earlier this week, the study points out a strong market for apps, online tools and other digital health–but designed not for a peer group of most designers, nor to be ‘cool’. Helloooo designers! Wake up! Laurie Orlov does point out on AgeInPlaceTech that there’s not much new here, but that we shouldn’t move on. Accenture release, Modern Healthcare, Fred Pennic in HIT Consultant, Stephanie Baum in MedCityNews

Moving past the hype on mobile, wearables for consumer health

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/crystal-ball.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Directionally positive, but still quite developmental in reality. The gold rush not quite begun.

In the past week or two, this Editor has been working her way through a stack of surveys and journal-published research, all heavily promoting the greater interest in and usage of consumer mobile health. Here we have Monique Levy of the well-regarded Manhattan Research finding in their surveys (via Mobihealthnews):

  • 86 percent of the general population is online for health
    • Half of those use mobile
    • Two-thirds use social media to seek health information
    • One-third communicate digitally with doctors
    • Three-quarters interact with online pharma resources
    • About 20 percent of patients say that mobile is essential for managing their care–increasing to 32 percent of people with diabetes, 39 percent for people with MS

Before the D3H (Digital Health Hypester Horde) crowd vaults over the moon, however, Ms Levy states that “What people mostly do on their smartphone is look for information.” She recommends optimizing websites (in this context, primarily pharma) for mobile search, and apps should address “real customer pain points or niche needs”, not just a cool tracking app.

Yes, but the D3H point out the fifth annual ‘Pulse of Online Health’ by Makovsky Health (healthcare PR agency) and Kelton (research), a survey of over 1,000 adults, headlining that almost two-thirds (66 percent)of Americans would use a mobile app to manage health-related issues, (more…)

Economist study on mHealth: improving outcomes, but revenue model?

The Economist‘s just published survey of 144 healthcare executives in 23 countries, taken in June 2014, is a combination of cheering and dismaying.

The good:

  • Most executives surveyed (64 percent) believe that new mobile technologies and services that provide greater patient access to medical information “could dramatically improve health outcomes”.
  • 63 percent project that “greater patient access to their personal data will allow people to make better decisions about their health”.

Holding things back are factors as diverse as:

  • Risk aversion within the healthcare industry (institutional bias and conservatism
    within the healthcare establishment) cited by 44 percent
  • Patient privacy concerns (49 percent)
  • Patients finding technology hard to use (54 percent)

These executives are also not strong on wearables; they do not believe that it will alter healthcare in any noticeable way (21 percent). And still there is the consideration about how to make money in mobile health: 10% of respondents (and 19% of those in the US) believe mobile health has no promising revenue model.  PDF  Hat tip to Ashley Gold of POLITICO’s Morning eHealth on Monday.

Caregiving a la robot: GeriJoy, Giraff Plus, CosmoBot

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/robot-cosmobot-85532261-slide-2.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]HP, a tech name not often associated with health monitoring, focuses on health tech in its Winter 2015 issue of HP Matter (produced by Fast Company). Focusing on monitoring and assistance for older adults, the Robot Caregivers article profiles the US’ GeriJoy, a ‘virtual pet’ on a tablet which acts as a therapeutic companion and, through the tablet camera, provides 24/7 video monitoring; Sweden’s Giraff Plus which combines home digital sensors with a tall mobile robot to comprehensively monitor personal well-being; and its pint-size cousin, CosmoBot (US), a character robot for education and therapeutics targeted to younger children. The wearables article notes AdhereTech‘s very smart IoT pill bottle and Proteus Digital Health’s smartpill to body sensor to smartphone monitor. There’s more about bionic prosthetic knees and making healthcare unhackable (!) promoting HP’s security software.

Something for (almost) everyone – a digital health gallymaufry

The Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) is looking for companies to share the British Pavilion at the CMEF trade show from 15th – 18th May 2015 in Shanghai, China. It is apparently the the leading Healthcare trade show in China and is now the largest Medical Equipment exhibition in the Asia Pacific region attracting over 60,000 visitors. Details here.

Still need to see some more predictions for 2015? – try these 12 for telecoms, which does include the odd interesting nod towards subjects we cover, including interconnection of wearables and connected homes.

Prompted by our mention of V-Connect in our review of our 2014 predictions, MD Adam Hoare has pointed out that his company also won the Medilink ‘partnership with the NHS’ award for their renal project with The Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Congratulations!

Accenture has produced an interesting (more…)

Two free CES overview webinars on 7th & 8th January

Courtesy of Futuresource Consulting:

Wearable Technology at International CES, 15.15 GMT on 7/1/15 – to register click here

  • The killer apps on show from smartwatches, head-mounted displays and other emerging categories.
  • Will health and fitness tracking remain the primary application in the short run?
  • What are the emerging new wearables categories?
  • Are smart garments becoming a competitive reality?
  • The latest headphones trends including health tracking, sports and wireless.
  • What competitive trends are on display – prestige brands from the worlds of jewellery and fashion?
  • Beyond GoPro – the roadmap for wearable cameras and imaging beyond sports and evidential.

(more…)

2015: a few predictions (UK-biased)

As intimated in our review of last year’s predictions, we feel little need to change course significantly, however some are now done & dusted, whereas others have a way to go. The latter include a concern about doctors, especially those in hospitals, continuing to use high-risk uncertified apps where the chance of injury or death of a patient is high if there is an error in them. Uncertified dosage calculators are considered particularly concerning.

Of necessity this is an area where clinicians are unwilling to be quoted, and meetings impose Chatham House rules. Suffice to say therefore that the point has now been well taken, and the MHRA are well aware of general concerns. Our first prediction therefore is that:

One or more Royal College/College will advise or instruct its members only to use CE-certified or otherwise risk-assessed medical apps.

The challenge here of course is that a restriction to CE-certified apps-only would be a disaster as many, if not most, apps used by clinicians do not meet the definition of a Medical Device and so could not justifiably be CE-certified. And apps are now a major source of efficiencies in hospitals – (more…)

Are wearables starting to deliver?

If you caught the recent Wired article entitled Wearables Are Totally Failing the People Who Need Them Most, you may have felt a sense of deep depression that a sector growing as strongly as it is is apparently delivering so little real health benefit (you may also be depressed to see the world of apps developers described as “From Silicon Valley and San Francisco to Austin and MIT…” although remember the North American-based Major League Baseball is called the World Series). The thrust of the article is that young people are developing wearables for people like them, who are then stopping using them within a few months, whereas those with long term conditions (LTCs) who are not the target customers are actually the ones using wearables consistently. As they say: (more…)

The ultimate ‘comfy sensor patch’–an implant

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/3036175-inline-i-2-from-the-designers-of-fitbit-a-digital-tattoo.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]John A. Rogers and his ‘skunkworks’, take notice. From the design shop that brought you Fitbit, NewDealDesign (FDR would be puzzled), comes the next big step in wearables–a sensor patch concept which would be implanted in your hand and multi-task till the cows come home. Project Underskin would detect fitness levels, vital signs such as blood glucose or body temperature, unlock your door or pre-authorize your credit card. The curved implant (more…)

A salmagundi of (mainly free) opportunities to learn more about health technology this autumn (UK)

UKTI Belgium is running an excellent webinar series on eHealth & the European Union. Dates/times are:

  1. Thu, Nov 13, 2014 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM GMT
  2. Tue, Dec 2, 2014 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM GMT

During these webinars they will discuss tools that will enable you and your organisation to react to EU opportunities and challenges. For more information and to register go here.

TechUK and the BCS are running another of their very successful Healthtech Startup Schools, starting on Monday 20 October, ending on Monday 08 December. It is at techUK London , 10 St Bride Street, London , EC4A 4AD. Registration is here.

The University of Bath’s Assisted Living Action Network (ALAN) is holding an evening meeting in Bristol on 22nd October entitled on the flyer “Digital Health Apps: Insider views on the Challenges and Opportunities”, and on the website “Understanding the new regulatory and information environment for health apps”. It is being addressed by many worthies including Rob Turpin of BSI and Graham Worsley, recently retired from the TSB and now assembling a portoflio of really interesting roles. Book here

The GSMA has announced a whole bunch of awards for 2015 – entries are now open. Don’t dismiss them without checking each one out first – for example the Best Connected Life Award has eight categories, each with an award, including Best Mobile Innovation for Health. (If you wonder why this is under opportunities to learn (more…)

Smartphones, wearables are the future says NHS England

NHS England has sketched out the future of healthcare and it will be one using smartphones and wearable bio-sensors to monitor ourselves and alert clinicians. [grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/NHS-England.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]NHS National Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh has written to around 250 organisations across health, social care, industry and third sector asking them to support the Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) programme which he says will take the NHS into this new technological era.

The TECS programme, born out of the Three Million Lives (3ML) initiative (which didn’t quite go anywhere after all the song and dance, including from Prime Minister David Cameron), was reviewed last year resulting in the change of focus to “address the demand for support and practical tools to commission, procure, implement and evaluate technology enabled care services” according to Sir Bruce’s letter as reported on the NHS England website.

The TECS Stakeholder Forum‘s views and proposals now form the TECS Improvement Plan for 2014-17. This is a broader group following the failure of the 3ML Stakeholder Forum, which consisted mainly big industry organisations, to achieve anything of substance.

According to the NHS England website posting, Sir Bruce explains: “To ensure continued progress, we have brought together a TECS Implementation Group consisting of experts and leaders from across these sectors whose remit is to support the strategic development and delivery of the proposals within the Improvement Plan. In addition, we have formed the TECS Executive Steering Group which meets regularly to provide clinical, technological and strategic leadership for the programme at a director level in NHS England.”

This all sounds like a lot of bureaucracy and a drawn out attempt to rescue what remains of the 3ML programme. I started thinking of the Titanic and deck chairs.

Shoes that direct you where to go (India)

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/shoe-sideview.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The LeChal casual shoe and insoles are wearables which relate to a ‘job to be done’–guiding you to your destination–as well as using an Android app and Bluetooth transceiver to record steps taken, distance and approximate calories burned. The app uses Google Maps to guide your feet by haptics: the left shoe vibrates when the wearer is supposed to go left and right when the direction is right. Ducere Technologies in Telangana, India originally conceived it for the visually impaired but (more…)

Fashion Week’s fickle fitness favorites

[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Misfit-shine-wearable.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Last September during NYC Fashion Week, the must-have fashionista accessory for the wrist was a Jawbone, in hard-to-get colors like aqua [TTA 17 Nov 13]. This year, Misfit Shine hit the runways with a vengeance (so to speak) with some…er, interesting…wearables with hard-core appeal. Courtesy of Chromat, it was incorporated into this interestingly air-conditioned evening look. We doubt we’ll see it at Connected Health Symposium in Boston at the end of October…but maybe at CES Unveiled on 11 November in New York.

But Jawbone is the one that’s scoring big funding–they’ve ‘jawboned’ another $100 million, the same amount they received in financing last year at this time. It’s a chunk of the $250 million they were raising earlier this year. According to Re/Code, new investors include Rizvi Traverse Management. The round puts the company valuation north of $3.3 billion. Like Misfit, it is also opening up its UP software API to be used by developers on other smartphones, watches and wearables.

Forced to wear a fitness tracker for insurance? (US)

For those covered by corporate health policies, the day is not far away where employee health insurance programs will require wearing a fitness tracker and meeting certain metrics, such as walking a million steps or sleep quality. Already some programs have the employee log food, exercise, blood glucose, heart rate and other vital signs to qualify for a discount. The trajectory is much like BYOD–once unheard of, now it is expected to be the norm in 50 percent of US companies by 2017, with a concomitant loss of personal security and privacy. CVS Caremark and other companies have already made the stick, not the carrot, the norm of employee wellness programs [TTA 12 April 2013]. Writer Adrian Kingsley-Hughes asks: “How much access do we want our employers to have to our medical data? How much access to our daily activities do we want our employers and insurers having?” And what about spoofing those Fitbits and Jawbones? His ZDNet article notes the interest that Apple (plus Samsung and Google, despite Sergey’s and Larry’s vapors–Ed.) has in health, then takes it out a few more yards with Wearables and health insurance: A health bar over everyone’s head (and do check out the comments.)

Rubber Bands – The next big thing in wearable sensors?

Rubberbands

When you’re ten years old, pinging rubber bands across the classroom is fun. Getting caught doing so by your teacher is not. However you have to admit it’s kind of a novel use for those flexible little bands. Now Irish researchers may have upped the game by finding another, even more novel application for them.

The team at AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded materials science centre, and the School of Physics TCD, working with researchers from the University of Surrey, have discovered a method of creating wearable sensors from shop-bought rubber bands. If you were listening back in class, you’ll remember that rubber doesn’t normally conduct electricity. However, the researchers whose findings have just been published in ACS Nano, a leading international nanoscience publication, discovered that by adding graphene the rubber bands became electrically conductive. In tests, the bands were strongly affected by any electrical current flowing through them if the band was stretched, which means tiny movements such as breath and pulse could be sensed by the technology.

The potential of graphene to be used in wearable sensors was noted by our TTA Editor-In-Chief, Donna, in her Pointer to the Future item back in 2011, Nanosheets and graphene: powering sensors, computers. Because rubber is available widely and cheaply, this latest development could open up major possibilities in the manufacturing of wearable sensors worldwide. Which means we can all look forward to finding graphene infused biosensors in everything from our bras to our bionic underpants.

Read more: TANN IrelandENGINEERING.com