Posts Categorized: February 2020

February 2020 Newsletter

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Editor’s Comment

By Tobias Cibis
This newsletter is special, as it is the first special issue of the IEEE Life Sciences Community. In our special issues, we focus on one specific topic at hand. These topics are in the scope of the life sciences and of great interest to our community.

Guest Editor’s Comment

By Nahum Gershon and Michael Ackermann
Mobile health technology has come a long way since the days when devices were often untested, had a small number of capabilities and were of questionable quality. Current and future mobile devices are expected to revolutionize health care through their use in mobile health. Mobile health technology enables patients in remote places and the inner city to get the health care they quickly need. It also enables everybody to get at home treatment without visiting a health practitioner. This will lead to fewer in-office visits and shorter hospital stays as a patient’s treatment and rehabilitation can be monitored from home by the physician or practitioner. As an added benefit, data concerning the encounter will be captured and included in the patient’s medical record automatically. This disruptive technology promises to revolutionize the existing model of the interaction of patients with the healthcare system.

Digital Health: Still finding Its Way

By Robert Jarrin
A former factory worker suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Her day begins the night before as she periodically coughs during her futile attempt at restful sleep. She typically awakes exhausted, cranky, and unprepared for the day ahead. Her lungs, ravaged through years of occupational exposure to smoke, dust, and chemicals, are severely restricted because of inflammation and lung damage. Her COPD is being treated by different specialists through a variety of medical solutions that provide therapy, oxygen, and non-invasive ventilation.

Consumer Health Technologies and FDA-Approved Medical Devices: A Promising Enigma

By Robert D Jensen
None of us likes to think of ourselves as “average.” However, in one way I discovered that I am, disappointingly, very much so.
Like roughly one-in-four Americans, I purchased a consumer wearable for my wrist and wore it daily thinking it would help me be healthier. I used this device to compete with others in my workplace in a “step challenge,” wore it to the gym to check my pulse, and only took it off for recharging.

No Sensor is an Island

By Dejan Milojicic
The future of using consumer devices with a variety of sensors to assist in health care is extremely promising. It may solve a plethora of complicated procedures, simplify tracking human health, consolidating all the data and deploying consistent policies across all the devices to impose the regulatory privacy compliance. These sensors may be carried by a human, deployed at spaces, such as home or work, within SmartCities and Municipalities. All the data/information may be uploaded into the Cloud (see Figure 1). However, these approaches have been discussed for decades now [1, 2, 3]. Most of the problems have been exacerbated by the lack of privacy and regulations which limited the use and sharing of data to only most conservative cases. The following two paragraphs summarize past/present and future of systems support for Smart HealthCare specifically exploring sensors. There are numerous references in support of this discussion, author chose almost a dozen of his own publications over the course of past 20 years.

Functional or Fictional

By Nima Taherinejad
Designing healthcare devices has always been very challenging, which -partly- stems from their interdisciplinary nature, bringing engineers and physicians together for a close -or an entangled- collaboration. Good communication between the two groups could largely reduce the difficulty: Engineers would understand the problem better and do their best to solve it; physicians would understand better what a device is capable of doing and what the limits (requiring complementary actions) are. Physicians would have an extensive knowledge about the physiology and nature of the problem that they could communicate to engineers. Engineers, on the other hand, would know in advance the (expected) operational and environmental conditions of the device and could take them into account at design time. However, the emergence of wearable devices has been a game changer in many aspects.

Integrating Consumer Health with Smart Devices: A need to Weave Privacy and Cybersecurity into the Technology Fabric

By Kevin Littlefiled
Patients are becoming more involved in managing their personal health with the assistance of consumer health products that augment personal healthcare management capabilities. Consumer health technology have expanded from personal fitness tracking to now include a broader set of capabilities which include weight scales, imaging devices, glucose meters, electrocardiogram solutions, diagnostic tools and others that integrate these peripherals with mobile and smart home devices allowing interaction with remote physicians

Health Integrity by Way of Patient Ownership of Health Data Through “Wearables”

By Steve Mann
Compared with older times, records that were ordinarily kept by individuals and their extended families have now become centralized by healthcare providers, police, and other institutions. This often-centralized monitoring of individuals by doctors, hospitals, and other institutions could be called “surveillance”. Surveillance has been the default power relationship of modern medicine where institutions have been the data collectors, curators, and gatekeepers. Patients have been the observed subjects (“the surveilled”). They were sometimes even subjects of privacy-violating experiments run on their personal data without their knowledge or consent.

Legal, Regulatory and Policy Challenges at the Bleeding Edge of Mobile Medicine

By Michael Aisenberg
When Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) inaugurated its experimental remote telemedicine center at Boston’s Logan Airport under a US Departments of Commerce and Health and Human Services joint grant in 1975, it was ushering in a new era of the application of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) to medical challenges. In the MGH-Logan pilot, the effort was to reduce mortality among acutely ill passengers by eliminating the “golden Hour” of ER risk in ill or injured passengers by avoiding the notorious rush hour transit time from Logan to MGH. Tele-diagnosis on site at the airport permits immediate treatment and reduces mortality. And it spawned even more imaginative approaches to linking patients to active medical professional care, spanning gaps of distance and time.

Technology for the Benefit of Humanity Not Humanity for the Benefit of Technology

By Nahum Gershon
“When my kitchen sink was clogged last year, I grabbed the strainer out of the drain and placed it with my left hand above the trash can. I then banged it with the strainer upside down and this got rid of the dirt clogging the strainer. But suddenly, my Internet-connected watch tapped me on my wrist, and I got a message on my watch screen: “It looks like you have taken a hard fall”. I immediately canceled the alert and did not let my watch call emergency.