4 healthcare innovations for improved access.

Julia Mastropaolo 02/14/18 - 8:24 pm

Access. As a healthcare marketer, how many times do you hear, think about and talk about this word in a day? How many healthcare innovations are fueled by creating a better entryway to your services? Here are four noteworthy breakthroughs on the horizon you can use as conversation starters with the next neurosurgeon you’re meeting with – or perhaps to impress a fellow Patient Access Committee member.

  1. Alexa doubles as home health care assistant. This takes “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” to a new level. Piloted through Libertana Home Health Care in California, Alexa Echo Dot with voice technology helps users manage ADL, with immediate connection to a homecare provider in an emergency. A resident can even request transportation or learn about social or recreational activities through their device. “Voice assistants overcome challenges for individuals who, due to physical limitations, cannot use a keyboard or touch screen,” says Debra Harrison, a Libertana RN. The voice application was designed by Orbita, a voice platform start-up in Boston. “The ability to have that ‘always on and always available’ interaction with a patient is huge,” says Nathan Treloar, Orbita president and COO. Also on his horizon? Health care programs for hospitals to assure patients take their meds, and comply with post-surgery instruction. Of course, none will run afoul of HIPPA concerns.
  2. Google AI Eye Doctor prevents blindness. Maybe this topic could be broached with your favorite ophthalmologist at the next community eye screening event. Google’s software examines photos of a patient’s retina to spot tiny aneurisms indicating early stages of diabetic retinopathy, which causes blindness if untreated. How cool is it that this technology could literally save millions of eyes? It is being piloted in India, due to the country’s lack of ophthalmologists, and hence, access to the recommended annual diabetic retinopathy screening for diabetics. “This kind of blindness is completely preventable, but because people can’t get screened, half suffer vision loss before they’re detected,” said Lily Peng, product manager with the Google Brain AI research group. “One of the promises of this technology is being able to make healthcare more accessible.” There are more than 400 million people with diabetes, including 70 million in India.
  3. Saykara aims to provide virtual scribes for doctors. So just how many times have you heard your docs complain about the EHR? The pain point is high, with this concordant dilemma: documenting during a patient exam thus de-personalizing the physician-patient interaction; OR spending hours at night dictating and entering fields of required medical records, thus, getting home late for dinner. Enter Saykara’s AI-powered, voice-activated virtual scribe. You might call it an Alexa for doctors. Emerging from the stealth phase, it shows promise not only for physician sanity, but for access to the more personalized care patients so value.
  4. Samsung Mobile VR Goggles encourage healing. And finally, the commercial that brought me out of my near slumber the other night while awaiting Shaun White’s turn at his qualifying half pipe (another technological wonder!). A woman doubts her ability to walk with a prosthetic during physical therapy. With the help of this virtual reality device, she is able to overcome that doubt and achieve her goals, because as Samsung believes, “It is human nature to do what can’t be done.” See how this spot and product give access to inspirational hope in healing.


So what do you think of these inventions? Which would you be most excited to market?

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