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PRSonally Speaking
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
The Digital Health Revolution
 
by Ash Patel, MD
 
Over the past four decades, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been a key venue for unveiling the latest technological innovations. The video cassette recorder (VCR) in 1970, compact disc (CD)  in 1981, HDTV (1998) and Blu-Ray disc (2003) to name a few all saw debuts at the event. This years show saw a number of wearable technologies, connected devices and 3-D printers emerge, as well as more unusual innovations such as smartphone cases that acted as electric stun guns and thermal imaging cameras.
 
"Electronics companies have seen the potential in capturing a market that is comfortable with technology, but also in need of healthcare solutions."

This year there was a 40% growth in digital health exhibitors over last year’s show.  Wearable devices and fitness trackers were a big presence, with newly announced devices looking to be more functional, and offer ease of use over current offerings. According to the 2014 Accenture Digital Consumer Tech Survey(http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-Digital-Consumer-Tech-Survey-2014.pdf), 52% of consumers are interested in buying wearable health trackers, and with major companies such as Sony and LG releasing the Sony Core and LG Lifeband Touch respectively, this does not look like a trend that will disappear.

The AARP states that eight in 10 of its members own a computer, tablet, or e-reader, and that 36% of people over  the age of 50 are “extremely or very comfortable” with technology. Electronics companies have seen the potential in capturing a market that is comfortable with technology, but also in need of healthcare solutions. 
 
"For healthcare providers an array of technology providing remote monitoring was unveiled."

Siemens unveiled the miniTek device that connects the user’s hearing aid via Bluetooth to their phone, tv or other audio device, enabling control of the device via smartphone app (http://youtu.be/UdWfxShoidM).
 
The catchphrase “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” , based on the 1980’s commercial is well known, but the latest devices feature automatic fall detection, and operate on a cellular network, offering peace of mind to seniors home and away, relegating that famous phrase to the history books.
 
For healthcare providers an array of technology providing remote monitoring was unveiled. The Vancive Metria system, uses a disposable patch based wearable sensor, which can detect vital signs, EKG, patient activity and send information to smartphone app or web interface. The Scandu Scout has the appearance of an expensive iPhone accessory, but the function of a gadget from Star Trek.  The small handheld scanner connects with the users  smartphone to record a series of vital signs (temperature, HR, EKG, pulse ox), saving them to a profile on the accompanying app. The aim of the device is to warn of potential problems or help its owner manage a chronic condition.
 
From the Plastic surgery perspective, I think that some of these innovations are exciting, and hope that the near future will provide us with better ways to monitor free flaps, view imaging and photographs and interact with our patients.
About the Blog

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

PRSonally Speaking is the official blog of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Visit our blog for exclusive previews of and discussions on hot topics in plastic surgery as well as insider-tips on open access content. PRSonally Speaking is now powered by frequent contributions from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Young Plastic Surgeons Forum (YPS); these practicing plastic surgeons provide the personal side of the plastic surgery story, from daily challenges to unique insights. PRSonally Speaking is home to lively, civil debate on hot topics and great discussions pertaining to our field. So, bookmark us, subscribe to the RSS feed and join in the on-going conversation with Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This is your Journal; have fun, be respectful, get engaged and interact with the PRS community.

The views and recommendations of guest contributors do not necessarily indicate official endorsements or opinions of the Journal, PRS, or the ASPS. All views are those of the authors and the authors alone.

Contributors

Anureet K. Bajaj, MD is a practicing plastic surgeon in Oklahoma City. She completed residency and fellowship in 2004, had a brief stint in academia at the University of Cincinnati, and then chose to join her father (Paramjit Bajaj MD, also a practicing plastic surgeon) in private practice in OKC, where she focuses on breast reconstruction and general cosmetic surgeries.

Devra B. Becker, MD, FACS, is an Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery in the Department of Plastic Surgery at University Hospitals/Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. She completed Plastic Surgery residency at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and completed fellowships with Daniel Marchac and with Bahman Guyuron. She currently has a primarily reconstructive practice.

Henry C. Hsia, MD, FACS is at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey and also holds an appointment at Princeton University.  When he’s not working hard trying to be a good father and husband, he runs a practice focused on reconstructive surgery and wound care as well as a research lab focused on wound biology and regenerative medicine.

Stephanie K. Rowen, MD is a senior physician at The Permanente Medical Group in San Jose, California.  She joined TPMG upon finishing residency and a hand surgery fellowship in 2005.  She has a primarily reconstructive practice, about 50% hand surgery.  Outside of work she enjoys participating in triathlons and spending time with her family.

Jon Ver Halen, MD is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plastic Surgeryat the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, in Memphis. He also acts as Program Director for the plastic surgery residency. His practice focuses on oncologic reconstruction.

Tech Talk Bloggers

Adrian Murphy is a plastic surgery trainee in London, England. He studied medicine in Dublin, Ireland and has trained in Ireland, Boston, MA and the United Kingdom. He is a self-confessed geek and gadget aficionado.

Ash Patel, MD is Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery and Associate Program Director at Albany Medical College, in Albany NY. His practice is primarily reconstructive.