[INFOGRAPHIC] The Complicated, Evolving World of mHealth
The world is undoubtedly becoming more connected, but there’s one place that the 21st century wave of connectivity has yet to conquer: the human body.
That could all be changing soon though. As technology is becoming cheaper and relatively easier to improve upon, developers are looking at existing tech and trying to apply it in new ways. This is where electronic health, or eHealth, enters the mix.
EHealth is a complicated topic as it tends to encompass everything that walks the line between the electronics and healthcare industries.
In search of a better definition for the sector, the editorial team at JMIR Publications defined eHealth as, “… an emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies. In a broader sense, the term characterizes not only a technical development, but also a state-of-mind, a way of thinking, an attitude and a commitment for networked, global thinking, to improve health care locally, regionally and worldwide by using information and communications technology.”
In essence, eHealth pertains to a vast array of technologies and developments in the medical sector in the last decade or two and the definition tends to shift in each context.
But subsectors of eHealth have arisen that offer a bit more clarity. One such sector is mobile health, or mHealth, which utilizes mobile devices like tablets, but predominantly smart phones, to allow better connectivity between consumers, medical providers and business, while allowing for greater monitoring of patient conditions.
One example of mHealth is telemedicine, which has seen explosive growth in the last few years. While serious patient symptoms must still be reviewed in-person by a qualified medical professional, routine check-ups in non-emergency scenarios are still increasingly being done using remote platforms, such as Skype or many other more specialized programs.
On the more cutting-edge end of the sector are real-time monitoring devices, which allow medical professionals and family members of a patient to receive real-time notifications if there is a significant change in vital signs.
The field is still an emerging one that is sure to change drastically in the immediate future, but to help clarify this complicated topic, the folks at Pathfinder Software created the following infographic.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”