Page 32 - 2014-sept-oct

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32
SEPT / OCT 2014
I 
Healthcare Journal of little rock  
wearable technology
How Is Wearable Technology
Being Used for Healthcare?
The year 2014 is said to be the year of wear-
able technology, and its ability to revolution-
ize healthcare for patients, doctors, andmedi-
cal staff is being seenmore strongly than ever.
For example, Phillips Healthcare has used
GoogleGlass to devise a solution that enables
doctors and hospital and clinic staff to have
real-time access to a patient’s status, vitals,
and even electronic health records at all times.
Wearable technology also
allows patients to moni-
tor their own health, such
as heart rate, blood pres-
sure, and blood sugar. iHealth
introduced three such devices
at CES 2014: the industry’s first
wearable ambulatory blood pres-
sure monitor; a first-of-its-kind wear-
able wireless ambulatory electrocardio-
gram; and a wearable pulse oximeter.
Wearable technology has already
been used extensively in the monitoring
and treatment of diabetic patients. Gene-
sis fromPancreum, for example, is a water-
proof, Bluetooth-enabled, wearable artificial
pancreas that acts as both an insulin delivery
system and a way to continuously monitor
the wearer’s glucose levels. Other glucose
monitoring systems, which are helpful for
both the patient and the patient’s doctor, are
prevalent in the consumer market, not just
in medical settings.
Known as the “father of augmented real-
ity,” Professor Steve Mann and his team at
Eyetap have created a wearable computer in
the formof glasses that capture high dynamic
range photography, or images that cannot be
seen by the human eye, in real time. While
this was originally developed for welders
at work, the medical implications of such a
vision-improving device could be revolution-
ary for healthcare, particularly for that of the
extremely hard of seeing or even the blind.
But these are just a few examples, and
healthcare companies and researchers are
finding many other innovative uses with
innumerable devices now in the pipeline.
Wearable Healthcare
Technology in Arkansas
While wearable technology in medical set-
tings has not yet become prominent in local
Little Rock hospitals, researchers at the Uni-
versity of Arkansas have developed some of
thesewearablehealthcareproducts andmeth-
odswhich couldbecomemorewidelyused in
the future. These involved products created
by researchers as well as the strategic use of
Google Glass, a wearable headset technology
that employs augmented reality to display
external information on the glasses’ screen.
Engineers from the University of Arkan-
sas, for example, have developed a wear-
able technology—sports bras for women and
vests for men—that monitor various aspects
of cardiac health and patient information.
This information includes blood pressure,
respiratory rate, body temperature, oxygen
consumption, and some neural activity, and
it can be transmitted in real time over a wire-
less network to inform the patient herself,
her physician or a hospital.
In another instance, an interventional car-
diologist from the University of Arkansas
for Medical Sciences, Dr. Christian Assad-
Kottner, wore Google Glass during surgery
to digitally augment the surgical process by
Shiv K. Agarwal
Srikanth Vallurupalli