Digital Health: “That must cost a bomb”

Gemma Morris checks out the GIANT Healthcare Event in London and I think the short piece makes it really clear why Patients and Clinicians need “Mobile Health” rather than “Digital Health” innovation.

mHealth Insights

“(4 Min) an USB stick and a drop of blood that’s all you need for a new HIV test developed by scientists the process is similar to the one here the disposable device detect the virus and then creates an electric signal your computer or handheld device reads to get the result the whole test can be complete within just 30 minutes”

It stuns me that the Digital Health industry has learnt so little from the Mobile industry or the BornMobile generation.

It should be obvious in 2016 that we are categorically failing millions of Diabetic Patients and Clinicians because 99% of the data captured by Digital Glucometers isn’t being automatically collected and shared but how could anyone working at Imperial College London think that we would want Patients to be monitoring their expensive HIV treatments with dumb  unconnected devices that need to be mounted to computers via USB drives when connectivity is such a simple and inexpensive addition?

I think we need to look to mHealth because ‘Digital Health’ entrepreneurs are nearly as out of touch as the EU Researchers who are trying to produce Robots to provide answer machines to Patients who have Mobile phones.

“(5 min) there’s the whole load of innovators and entrepreneurs here each with their own high-tech solution for helping us improve our health. We found one exhibitor who has been using holographic technology to help train medical students come and meet Dr. Javed Kahn.


And you bought half a human body with you!

That’s right this is a holographic 3D image of  human anatomy and it’s used to train medical students at the University of Edinburgh how has this become a tool for training one of the problems faced by teachers of anatomy and for the students is to understand the complexities of the internals of the human body this includes things like the organs the skeleton arteries this is very complex information and a good way to show this is in three dimensions so what are the current methods for training students would it be dissection and graphics that’s right currently students use dissection which happens in later years and they also use two-dimensional atlases which is just like a book and in fact we’ve made a three-dimensional version of this Atlas which enables you to see all of the human anatomy were imaged everything holographic technology doesn’t need glasses so things appear in midair and this is a real plus for this technology so you want those atlases to be rolled out across universities then that’s right we’re working on this now together with a medical publisher and a couple of universities.

I bet that’s going to be expensive though, there must be some drawbacks to this technology i bet it cost a bomb?

it used to be the case but the latest technology is is now manufacturable and replicable so you can copy it more easily so the prices have come down significantly”

I recently visited Edinburgh Medical School to provide the mHealth course I developed and while there took the opportunity to join an anatomy class and was stunned to find that the course materials being used were little different to those printed pages and textbooks that I used 20 years ago when at Medical School down in London.

In the common room I found noticeboard adverts for second hand/out-of-date textbooks which I think should be an embarrassment to any Medical School in 2016. How is this preparing future Doctors from the worlds most expensive medical schools are being out done by their counterparts in low income countries (there is no longer a market for such out of date books in these as the students download copies of the latest textbooks onto their cheap android devices that they can use anytime anywhere).

I noticed only 7 students had iPads in the full lecture hall and they were all using the great Complete Anatomy apps produced by 3D4Medical and when chatting with them I was told they had made the decision for themselves to use these mHealth tools to aid their study (eg. the apps hadn’t been prescribed by their tutors). I thought it was also revealing that all 7 of these smart students were female, all the male students used pen/paper.

I cannot begin to imagine how Edinburgh University tutors can justify wasting money ring binding expensive printed study materials with hologram printing tech or huge unweildy and expensive 3D display screens when there are world leading Medical Schools that have retired paper course materials years ago and have already published research showing how it improves the quality of teaching and student performance.

Augmented Reality (the next mass media) apps are coming but they’re going to build on mobile educational apps and not from a marginal improvement to printed efforts:

Medical Schools should move with the times because the reality is there won’t be a single day in these future Doctors careers when they won’t be carrying at least one mobile phone that is at least as powerful as the latest iPhone 7 and is loaded with all their text and reference books.


Related Posts:

The Medical Tech divide is disappearing thanks to #mHealth

mHealth Lesson for Medical Device Manufacturers: Clever doesn’t beat Connected

About David Doherty
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