Health - Treatments
By: - at July 11, 2013

Telehealth - Healthcare Informatic's Golden Egg

Telehealth is the next revolution to happen in the way medicine is delivered. Three types of this overall category of health informatics are home health care, military, and pathology applications. Recent advancements in technology such as increases in internet bandwidth, encryption, and increased hardware capabilities, have destroyed previous notions of social interaction.

Telehealth and Social Change
medical technologyThe internet has enabled unbridled access to information and thus has made available a global perspective leading to the most rapid advancement of social change this world has ever witnessed. News applications like Flipboard deliver news stories for free and in a fun format. Social networking websites like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn allow users amazing networking power, power strong enough to topple governments. Users of these technologies will soon demand aspects of these technological mediums for similar social change in the way their healthcare is delivered. Telehealth is the advancement of this social change into the realm of medicine.

Full Service Home Care
at home medical care pulse oximeterHome care is a broad range of health care within the realm of telehealth which is as diverse as the number of diseases and conditions which can be inflicted upon human beings and the current technological home monitoring solutions available to solve them. Philip’s telehealth TeleStation provides a customizable means to implement home care for any disease. This technology includes a user interface screen which is customizable for different conditions and managing diseases and also Philip’s has a licensed line of other compatible input devices including pulse oximeter, blood pressure, scales, electro cardio gram, and others including blood glucometer. All of these devices provide input on the patient condition and can be utilized to help clinicians focus on decompensating patients.

DARPA to the Rescue

Often times breakthroughs are made first in the military. DARPA, or the Defense Advanced Research Proposal Agency, was after all a large funder of the internet. DARPA is always looking for the next breakthrough in technology and having envisioned promise in the internet, it is now looking to fund telehealth, specifically portable and low cost electro encephalogram devices which could record brain patterns (Dillow, 2013). Amazingly, this coupled with rapidly developing research in brain function and electrical patterns could lead to real-time stroke or seizure detection (Zandi, Javidan, Dumont & Tafreshi, 2010). It could then be possible, once developed, to implement an embedded device in clothing to provide additional input to a system as noted above in Philip’s TeleStation.

Blackberry using medical waveform software to read electro encephalogram results
Cell Phone

Slide to the Right
Pathology is another healthcare field teetering on the brink of social change through telehealth. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for reviewing medical procedures and diagnosis techniques in the United States. A good deal of the pathologists work is reviewing microscope slides for signs of cellular abnormalities. There is a growing technique known as whole slide imaging (WSI) gaining popularity which involves essentially phasing out physician microscopic identification. The process involves the scanning of prepared slides and producing high resolution images. The system could be further advanced with the implementation of detection algorithms from a computer for abnormalities. Currently the FDA does not recognize WSI as a valid diagnosis tool, although the College of American Pathologists recently published proposed guidelines for the serious validation of this technique (Pantanowitz, Sinard, Henricks, Fatheree, Carter, Contis, Beckwith & Evans, 2013). Regardless of current state, the future for an approved diagnosis utilizing WSI algorithms is very promising for rapid screening of multiple conditions (Gherardi & Bevilacqua, 2013).

whole slide imaging system medical technology

Bring it Home
The discussion of these three facets of telehealth is the mere tip of the iceberg. It will only be further advanced with future increase in internet bandwidth or the rate of information transferred. Ever increasingly complex data encryption methods will put all parties at ease. The end of Moore’s Law, which states that the processing power will double approximately every two years, has no foreseeable end according to large microprocessor manufacturer Intel (Shah, 2013). Therefore, devices will continually become more powerful and smaller. Given these phenomena, the health informatics worker has a strong future in building our future telehealth infrastructure.

References:
Dillow, C. (2013, January 4). On darpa's 2013 wish list: Extreme diving,pportable brain reading, and gravity vision. Retrieved from http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-01/darpas-2013-wish-list-robotic-dive-doctor-portable-brain-reading-and-gravity-vision

Gherardi, A., & Bevilacqua, A. (2013). Real-time whole slide mosaicing for non-automated microscopes in histopathology analysis. Journal of pathology informatics, 4(9), doi: 10.4103/2153-3539.109867

Pantanowitz, L., Sinard, J., Henricks, W., Fatheree, L., Carter, A., Contis, L., Beckwith, B., & Evans, A. (2013). Validating whole slide imaging for diagnostic purposes in pathology. Archives of pathology and laboratory medicine, doi: 10.5858/arpa.2013-0093-CP

Shah, A. (2013, May 8). Intel: We don't see the end of moore's law yet. Retrieved from http://www.citeworld.com/mobile/21843/intel-moores-law-not-dead

Zandi, A., Javidan, M., Dumont, G., & Tafreshi, R. (2010). Automated real-time epileptic seizure detection in scalp eeg recordings using an algorithm based on wavelet packet transform. Biomedical engineering,57(7), 1639-1651. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2010.2046417.


 

 

 

 

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