Aisle & Window Seat Brain Power

Posts tagged ‘digital health’

Figure1 @AmericanAir 1636

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I’m fascinated by the Figure 1 app. It’s the Instagram for the medical profession, creating a way to safely share & discuss clinical cases. It has also become a forum to showcase the vagaries & oddities of the human body in a scroll of crowdsourced chronicles. Today, I’m following 3 cases — a patient with tuberous-sclerosis, a patient with an edematous rash that is dry & pruritic who needs a diagnosis (comments are offering thoughts & questions), and a nurse practitioner who is polling for anomaly identification — comments quickly identified as a dual ureter system.

Posts can be graphic & difficult to view.  @jessiwrites who wrote about the app for Fortune, noted that the images could “make your stomach turn”.  Ashley Feinberg @gizmodo said that it, “approximates the fruit of an unholy union between Instagram and the Discovery Health Channel.”  And it’s true that your finger can just as easily pause at a gaping wound from an unfortunate encounter with a fuchsia bush, as a vivid polycystic kidney — just #lichenification for truly “never seen by most people, not sure we should have seen that” images.  Yet there are also strangely lovely things to ponder, like the fluro imaging of a stomach with a deep sea moodiness, complete with jelly-fish like creature, or melodic-esque cardiac stress test results.

Co-founder Joshua Landy is an MD from Toronto, and reflecting his commitment to patient care & privacy, the app has elegant medical, safety, consent & privacy solutions.   Only medical professionals can post photos and make comments, and these are verified by a medical officer and moderation team prior to posting.  The rest of us can only view their content.  For compliance, users must sign a one-click, one-signature waiver with every photo.  There are also only body parts, no recognizable faces, due to a face detection software that blacks out identifying features.  However, I’ve noted that the community tends to self-govern on this with care taken to show the area of medical interest only.  The patient consent element is an in-app “tap, type & sign” form.  This app is technologically sophisticated.

Figure 1 is currently available in North America, the UK, Ireland, Australia & New Zealand.  The US community has more than 145,000 users, exceeding 30 million views since its May launch, so spending time with the medical minds here is good medicine for informing any healthcare perspective.  Or diagnosing a nagging itch.

@American Air #1448, 19F

Missing my FitBit on today’s trip.   FitBit #3 leapt from its customary jeans loop spot (right side, first loop) about 3 weeks ago at family ice cream time. Sadly, #3 followed in the paths of #1, who over-indulged in watery dip, and #2 that preferred to stay in Prague. The first few days after the #3 FitBit AWOL incident, I relished my newfound freedom from my “digi-sessory”, that wearable that tracked my movements, and with which I willingly shared every morsel I ate, wink of sleep I got, and extra activities beyond tracked steps (barbell, yoga, circuit).

But now I’m in full blown miss mode, a state which my new iPhone 6 is making even more acute. It’s taunting me with the new Health capabilities — what could I learn if only I could pair my digital health information across my devices? I’m one of the roughly 69% of Americans who would like direct access to my health records.  This means that these records must be updated to show an accurate view.  So, sharing my health & fitness data consensually seems reasonable … even favorable. Nirvana if I could do that completely unobtrusively, my private window into my own biology. Managing my own physiological evolution through a fully quantified self — in a cycle of listening, knowing and choosing based on knowledge of what is actually happening within my own body.

The ultimate in unobtrusive? Subcutaneous! Getting under someone’s skin … literally.

Imagine this:

… an asthma sufferer walks into a building lobby & the sensor in her wrist reads the air quality, immediately sending her a message on her smart device of elevated levels of her asthmatic triggers. She gets this message before her body suffers a reaction, and leaves the area, avoiding an unforeseen attack,

… high blood pressure, glaucoma & high cholesterol patients, typically some of the highest non-compliant with their prescriptions, receive a mild vibration from an ear chip when its medication time. This vibration becomes more insistent and longer in duration until the medication is taken,

… a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy has vital sign information continuously transmitted to the doctor’s smart device from an ankle insert, with the doctor responding to any changes in condition in real time.

In a healthy digital future, we could move beyond trivializing scientific health wearables as “digi-sessories”, and treat them as serious & vital devices that drive humans to knowledge & action. We can skip the “fashion do or don’t” debate, and get to substantive outcomes faster.

Yet, today, I’d be happy if I just knew how many steps I took from the plane to the taxi.

(thank you @_Cooper #inspiration)

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