I work in digital imaging and love how the technology has helped to save lives. The advantage that we are seeing is that I could have an issue and be in California, but the formost expert on my issue may live in Texas and in a matter of seconds the images can be made available to them for review. I have implemented systems for the DoD that allows them to do this. It has exponentially increased their quality of care.
What I like about this is that if you have some issue that requires monitoring you will no longer be tied to a bed in a hospital. This technology will allow one to live their lives with more than likely some restrictions.
I see the sensors more than likely being in the form of some jewelry or something like that.
I would prefer to know I was showing symptoms of a heartattack than to be be driving down the road and have an actual heart attack, thus endangering the lives of others.
I just see some many positives for this, especially in places like the antartic for research expiditions, etc...
Quite agree digital medicine is the field where so much can be done for human betterment. But when you try living with technology there are always some limitations. But yes so much can be done an dimproved in healthcare sector with technology.
The potential for digital medicine to detect and illness where people live and work is exciting. Now diagnoses may be made before serious medical damage is done. Furthermore, it cuts costs and potentially detects conditions that only occur in work environments, while sleeping, or under particular stresses that would be missed in a clinical setting.
I think the pushback from doctors ("I don't need this much data") is because of a fundamental mismatch in interest between the patient and the doctor. When the patient is sitting in the office they have (or appear to have) the doctor's full attention. It is easy to forget that ten minutes later someone else has their attention. If the doctor is equipped to easily accept the data and automatically do a trend analysis then it becomes useful to them. Otherwise, it is just a neurotic patient that is eating up their time. If we are faxing readings to them they have to absorb a lot of what might be questionable information taken by untrained techs (that would be us). Unless we can get them the information in a useful form they will in most cases resist it.
Yes, my doctor wants my results put into as few numbers as possible. So, a six-month average is good enough for him. All he wants to know is if my meds are adequate for controlling my blood sugar. I can see how this continuous monitoring might be useful for some critical conditions, but in gereral? And if not generally useful, it wont affect the role of hospitals.
@Rich: A friend told me he was faxing his doctor a handwritten log of his blood glucose levels for three days at a strech. One time he sent a week's worth of data and the doctor told him "I don't need that much information."
"The problem with digital medicine, at least this personal sensor push, is that people have to wear the sensors consistently for these benefits to accrue."
I wouldn't word it that way, Rich. I'd say instead, one ADVANTAGE of low cost personal sensors is that you CAN wear them consistently if there's a benefit to doing so, where in the past this was not typically possible.
But for example, for blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, etc., no one is mandating that these be monitored constantly. You take the tests whenever it's most convenient for you, and not when most convenient for the doctor. There are many such tests you can administer on yourself these days. In most cases, the results are available immediately. No need to even mail anything to a lab.
The problem with digital medicine, at least this personal sensor push, is that people have to wear the sensors consistently for these benefits to accrue. It makes me think of the scene from Apollo 13 where Tom Hanks gets tired of Houston control commenting on his heartrate and stress levels and he tears off all the sensor leads. I, too, would feel intruded upon if I were telemetering my vital statistics 24/7.
Maybe in a generation or two the technology will be ubiquitous and inexpensive enough that literally everyone will be instrumented in this way. THen hospitals may need to change. But not for quite a while.
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