Remote health care took a big leap forward in 2020 because many people want to receive health care without visiting a hospital or clinic. When you combine this with the increasing occurrence of chronic illnesses like diabetes — stat — makes remote health care more critical.
The following hardware technology made remote health consultations possible. Even better, several of these technologies are already widely available, so scaling up is more than reasonable. Once all of this medical data has been collected, it is critical to managing it effectively by using a data management system for remote health care.
Visual cues are a vital part of a health consultation. For example, a doctor may want to examine the appearance of your eyes or skin to inform her diagnosis. Therefore, a camera that shows high-quality images is vital. In some cases, a consumer-grade web camera or smartphone camera is not going to be good enough.
To show what’s possible in remote health care cameras, take a look at the DE605 General Examination Camera. This device is designed to perform up-close inspections of skin and other aspects of the body with magnification up to 150x. This device is a good option when you need to consult a health care specialist in a remote location. This medical camera also has 16 LED lights so a patient can be examined at a high level of detail.
Many physicians listen to your heartbeat and chest during an exam. While a remote health exam isn’t quite the same, a high-end microphone provides health benefits. For instance, a health care professional can ask you to cough and listen. Further, a physician may use a microphone to observe how you speak.
There are new technologies that bring stethoscope style technology to remote health care. StethoMe is a wireless device that pairs with a smartphone to gather medical data. By using an AI system to analyze the sound recordings, this device makes it easier for physicians to detect abnormalities. Initially, this remote health care consultation device was designed with children in mind. Over time, other companies are likely to follow in their footsteps and develop other audio-based remote health data gathering systems.
The critical hardware in the StethoMe system includes a wireless internet connection, a smartphone and sensitive audio equipment to record information from a patient.
For patients recovering from an injury, measuring muscle strength is essential. Without these measures, it is difficult to tell if a patient is making good progress toward recovery. That’s where pressure sensor technology comes to play. According to Medical Device + Diagnostic Industry (MD+DI), an internet-connected pressure sensor offers multiple benefits:
“Digital manipulation of a real-time pressure signal can enable physicians and caregivers to monitor drug administration, vital signs and patient compliance. In devices for the home-use market, intelligent pressure-sensing systems are allowing physicians to remotely measure blood pressure, administer precise quantities of drugs or oxygen, and track patient compliance, all in a closed-loop system via the internet.”
Measuring patient compliance is essential because many people struggle to follow medical directions consistently. Findings reported in The Permanente Journal found that 40-50% of patients do not follow medication instructions for chronic diseases. If pressure sensors bring reminders and advice to help people follow their medication plan, health care outcomes will improve.
Your body temperature is an essential indicator of your health. There are a few different ways to use temperature sensors to scale up remote health care consultations. First, a patient can self-administer temperature checks during a virtual health appointment. However, this approach is not always suitable. That’s why medical remote monitoring devices using temperature sensors are part of the picture.
To find out what’s possible in the world of remote temperature monitoring, take a look at the MyThermo temperature device. Using Bluetooth hardware, MyThermo transmits data to a computer or smartphone as new readings are taken. Unlike traditional temperature sensors that need to be placed in the throat, MyThermo is designed to work without contact. You can hold the device one to two inches away from the body and gather temperature. As a result, it is a good option for people who find direct contact with a medical device uncomfortable.
With certain medical conditions such as diabetes, blood testing is a critical practice. Without this data, a patient will not be able to judge their health situation accurately. Fortunately, these devices have been widely available for a long time. There are two ways to use blood test equipment in the context of remote health care. First, a health care professional can ask you to perform a test during a remote consultation, review the results, and provide tips on your technique.
Second, an internet-connected blood test device like the 100 Plus provides a series of health data points over time. For example, the company’s Blood Glucose Monitor gathers data on glucose levels, an essential piece of information to track for diabetes patients. The product uses cellular radio systems to transmit health data from the patient to the health care professional. That means patients do not need their internet connection to use the system.
Small handheld devices that use Bluetooth, cellular and other radio technologies are excellent tools to gather medical data. However, this type of hardware has limitations. They require the patient to follow directions and keep track of the device. For some patients, such as those who have dementia, a different approach may be helpful.
For remote health consultations that go beyond data collection and conversation, robotics will be vitally important. So far, Japan is one of the world leader’s in health care robotics. Japan’s health care robotics market is already worth more than $1 billion US, and that figure is set to increase substantially over the next few years.
A health care robot is likely to play an essential supporting role in remote health consultations. For example, a robot could help to search for lost medication or assist a patient out of bed. That’s why we think the future is bright for health care robots.