Medical Devices Changing Patient/Doctor Communication
Mobile technology is part of our day-to-day lives now; it’s no longer an alien concept but rather integral to our business and social communications. Medical technology and development (mHealth) is taking off at record speeds, with many believing that it will completely revolutionize the healthcare industry by changing the way patients and doctors, and medical professionals communicate.
Healthcare professionals are already utilising technology to communicate with one another via social media channels, Electronic Health Records (EHR) and tailored applications, however digital communication between patients and doctors is just beginning to take hold.
At Healthcare Global we have been taking a look at some of the most innovative tech solutions in the pipeline, which could be changing the face of patient/doctor communication for good.
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Healthspot Station is probably best described as a ‘medical pod’ where patients can conveniently go to get a virtual appointment with a physician. The station would be placed in locations such as pharmacies, supermarkets and shopping malls and will be constantly monitored by a member of staff.
The station offers patients a private, secure and spacious experience, where they can interact via video with a qualified physician. They can discuss symptoms, input data through specially designed apps and even measure their own heart rate and blood pressure. Patients can also schedule follow up appointments from the pod at a time that is convenient for them. The pod also has built in software which allows doctors and patients to seamlessly share medical reports, so patients can see any doctor, at any location, at any time.
iRobot has just received FDA clearance to operate in hospitals. In a nutshell, the iRobot will allow doctors to visit hospital patients remotely and communicate with them via a high-tech iPad application. The robot, which can move independently, will be accompanied by a staff nurse, who will be able to follow instructions from the doctor, for example, take blood pressure, monitor heart rate and take temperature. All the data collected is fed back to the doctor immediately, who can analyse and diagnose from afar. This technology will allow doctors to visit a far greater number of patients per day. It also means that electronic data for each patient is collected and stored immediately reducing room for human error.
Birdie aims to reinvent elderly care with tech
British startup Birdie has announced it has raised £8.2 million to invest in innovation and scale up the business.
The company's announcement is timely as it follows the criticism of the UK government over their lack of a plan for social care, despite acknowledging the sector is in crisis - around a quarter of the UK's home care providers are on the brink of bankruptcy due to a lack of funds and staffing.
Birdie was born with a mission to "radically improve the lives of millions of older adults", by using app-based solutions, IoT and machine learning to put preventative care at the forefront. The company was founded by Max Parmentier, after experiencing his own frustrations with the care system - his grandfather struggled with the impact of life in a care home, but lacked any other option.
In 2017 Parmentier partnered with venture builder Kamet Ventures to set up Birdie, in a bid to fix this problem. Since then, Birdie has partnered with almost 500 providers across the UK, and supports more than 20,000 older people every week. In the past 12 months alone the number of people Birdie supports has got six times greater.
Birdie’s solution is an app to help care providers deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care, by giving them access to digital assessments, medication scheduling and planning tools. By using digital tools to take care of admin, staff have more time to spend with their care recipients.
The new investment will be used to fund Birdie’s next phase of growth in the UK, as the company scales to meet the rapidly growing demand of the aging population. The company will also invest in product innovation, creating new features to address customer requests.
In addition, Birdie is piloting new care models, including partnering with the NHS to identify COVID-19 symptoms, building predictive pharmacy models with AI, and helping health authorities to detect early warning signs of patients’ health risks.
Internally, Birdie is committed to having a progressive company ethos. All salaries are transparent, and staff work asynchronously to maximise flexibility and equity. Staff members also volunteer in their local community during office hours, and the company offsets all its emissions.
These efforts have led to numerous awards, including having the best SME culture in the UK, an Honorable Mention in the Health category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, and innovation in care at the LangBuisson awards.
“We believe the future of care for older people should be helping them to live at home for as long as possible through the delivery of personalised and preventative care" Parmentier said.
"Birdie is already the partner of choice for caregivers up and down the UK, and this new funding will help us rapidly increase the number we partner with and what we can offer them - meaning more people benefiting from more affordable, quality care. We’re proud of our mission and the values we embody to pursue it.”