devices

Digital technologies provide an opportunity to move musculoskeletal care to the heart of value-based healthcare. MedTech Views spoke to Satschin Bansal of Zimmer Biomet about some of the innovations that will change the field. Will digital health deliver the Holy Grail of better results for patients and better value for health systems? The technologies we have today, and those I see emerging from start-ups, are more than capable of changing musculoskeletal care. These digital tools contribute to the promise of value-based healthcare – improving patient outcomes while allowing greater cost-effectiveness. Digital health has to deliver both of these elements if it is to be adopted widely. What kinds of technologies are you thinking of? Think of rehabilitation after a knee or hip replacement. The six weeks after surgery are crucial to the patients’ quality of life after they recover. A major challenge, particularly in older patient populations, is patient compliance with physiotherapy. One of the solutions is to use wearable devices with sensors that give biofeedback to patients on whether they are bending their knee correctly or whether their mobility has improved. It can become like a “game”, making them more likely to stick to exercising. How else could technology improve rehabilitation without adding costs? The major costs of rehab are performing physiotherapy at a clinic and then later at home. The strong increase in using mobile technology also among elderly patients means physiotherapy can be delivered remotely. The physio could, for example, programme exercises for the patient to do in their own time – and then review the data afterwards. This helps each physiotherapist work more effectively with a larger number of patients – which is crucial as our population ages. In addition, further reducing length of stay in hospitals after joint replacement allows patients to return to their...
Roman Lysecky is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. He is a speaker at the MedTech Forum 2018 and his session include: Becoming Hackproof in MedTech on Thursday 25th of January. For more information go to the MTF website and follow #MTF2018 on Twitter. ********************************* Security must become the number one concern when developing connected medical devices. Millions of connected devices have already been produced and many of these are implantable. What would happen if these products were compromised by malware? Implantable cardiac devices, such as insulin pumps and other products with wireless connectivity and remote monitoring features, are delivering considerable benefits to patients and health systems. However, without the right protection, this comes with significant risks that hackers might seek to exploit vulnerable devices . The nightmare scenario would be a security breach that could cause cardiac arrest or be used to extract ransom from individuals or institutions. Failure to protect vulnerable patients from cyberattacks could undermine the lifesaving promise of these technologies, potentially breaking the Hippocratic Oath: First Do No Harm. Producing software that is entirely and provably secure is prohibitively costly, time-consuming, and often infeasible. We need resilient systems that automatically detect any security issues and have a built-in way to mitigate any threat this may pose. Threat detection At my lab at the University of Arizona, we believe security should be a fundamental part of the device itself, not an afterthought or a nice-to-have feature. Our team has developed a prototype pacemaker device that detects runtime anomalies – tiny differences in the order or time it takes for the device to perform computational tasks. For example, if it takes 20 milliseconds instead of three milliseconds to send data to the patient’s digital cardiac log, something may be wrong. Currently,...
According to the latest estimates of the WHO, 422 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide, and the number is growing steadily. As someone who is passionate about using eHealth to solve the biggest challenges in modern healthcare, diabetes stands out as one of the defining problems of our era. Managing diabetes well is essential to the wellbeing of millions of people, to the sustainability of our health systems, and to the long-term durability of our economies. The scale of the problem is immense but technology can help us rise to the challenge. Cognitive Artificial Intelligence (AI), facilitated by analytical predictive-diagnostics and revolutionary medical devices are transforming the way healthcare is delivered and managed throughout the world. Or, in other words, today’s computers can use patient data from multiple sources, including genomic sequencing and sensors, to diagnose disease, inform treatment decisions, and predict outcomes. It is my objective to bring the AI revolution to diabetes. When it comes to diabetes care, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence can collect information from various devices to create personalized programmes that support medication adherence and blood glucose management. At my company, we have developed a Digital Connected Health Platform™ that works with all diabetes devices. Our goal is to facilitate the analysis of data so that we can help patients stay healthy, avoiding the severe complications that can accompany advanced or uncontrolled diabetes. The insights provided by systems such as ours allow physicians to consistently intervene with patients on a real-time basis, paving the way for a more dynamic kind of disease management. It enables the use of wearables, sensors, devices and home health monitoring systems to transmit data from a patient to their care providers. The system also delivers reminders to patients, prompting them to check their blood glucose levels, take their medication or...
As Germany goes to the polls, the VDGH, which represents in vitro diagnostics companies in Germany, has published a new policy paper on the future of healthcare. VDGH Managing Director Martin Walger tells Gary Finnegan why this is a crucial moment for health policy The paper was released just ahead of federal elections in Germany and seeks to highlight the value of laboratory diagnostics. Tackling major challenges such as access to laboratory innovations, pricing challenges and personalised medicines, the report also applies to other European markets. What practical steps can be taken to accelerate access to laboratory innovations? This is one of the most difficult tasks we have to tackle and there are no simple solutions. If assessment procedures take significantly longer than the IVD product lifecycle, industry will suffer. But do we persuade politicians and decision makers with that argument? We are asking for appropriate methods and decision procedures which are transparent. Are you concerned that prices do not match the quality/value of diagnostic products? Is the situation any worse for diagnostics than it is for devices, IT or medicines? The German market is faced with very low prices for most diagnostics services, and this is especially pronounced in clinical chemistry. A high market concentration among the medical laboratories makes this problem worse. In the long run, the innovation capabilities of our industry also depend on the level of remuneration. Can you give an example of how early diagnosis can improve outcomes for patients and deliver long-term value for the economy and society? As far as I can see, the benefits of early diagnosis to prevent colon cancer are the best documented. Germany will rearrange its early detection programme this year, introducing specific cancer screening tests called "iFOB-Tests" and regular invitations for statutory health insurance patients to participate. The...
A World Health Organisation report has found that increasing access to hearing devices is ‘a sound investment’. Are decision-makers listening? For individuals, hearing loss can have a profound impact on quality of life: they lose independence, educational opportunities and earning power. Some people also suffer social isolation, lost confidence and a decline in wellbeing. Now consider the fact that over 5% of the world’s population – that’s 360 million people – are living with disabling hearing loss. In addition to the personal burden borne by millions, the global impact on societies and economies is enormous. Many of those 360 million people require support from their families, communities and – where available – social insurance funds. But there are actions that can be taken to address this serious issue. A sound investment The burden of deafness and hearing problems has come into sharp focus in the wake of a WHO report entitled ‘ Action for hearing loss: make a sound investment ’. The report looks at the economic impact of hearing loss and the cost of intervening to restore hearing using devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. These technologies require investment. The big question for the WHO experts behind the report was how the cost of treating hearing loss compares to the cost of inaction. The answer was clear: doing nothing is simply not an option . According to the WHO, the cost of hearing loss runs to around $750 billion per year. On the other side of the scales, the total cost of hearing care globally is estimated to be around $15 billion annually. ‘Provision of hearing devices is a cost-effective strategy, especially when used regularly and supported with rehabilitation service,’ according to the report. Screening children and adults aged over 50 is also considered to be a...
International efforts to tackle the hepatitis pandemic have reached new heights, especially in the past year since the 69 th World Health Assembly (WHA) endorsed the Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on viral hepatitis 2016–2021 . It is estimated that some 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection alone, and a large portion of these people lack access to life-saving testing and treatment. As a result, millions are at risk of chronic liver disease, cancer and death. To this end, the GHSS calls for the elimination of all types of viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D & E) as a public health threat by 2030 ‒ reducing new infections by 90% and mortality by 65%. Indeed, mortality caused by viral hepatitis is on the rise, with 1.4 million deaths believed to be caused by the disease in 2015. The focus is on HBV and HCV, both blood-borne infections that are responsible for 96% of all hepatitis mortality. Medtech’s contribution On a positive note, a Global Hepatitis Report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in April 2017 says that eliminating viral hepatitis is “technically feasible”. Medical technology will play a critical role. The report points out, for example, that key innovations include rapid serological tests to detect antibodies to HCV as well as point-of-care tests to diagnose HCV infection. Newer and cheaper point-of-care rapid tests, such as those for HBV and affordable ones for HCV, could accelerate the elimination of hepatitis. The WHO’s first-ever viral hepatitis testing guidelines recommend the use of rapid diagnostic tests for hard-to-reach populations and targeted testing in groups most affected by HBV and HCV, such as people who inject drugs, those with HIV and children of mothers with HBV or HCV infection. Simple and...