With so many diseases in a growing population, the demand for healthcare manpower rises exponentially. Many hospitals and clinics have shortages in doctors and nurses, while the cases of both curable and incurable diseases remain high. As an aid to medical staff and patients, a machine that resembles a photo booth has been developed to keep track of people's health.
Health Pod to Track User's Health
Early detection of diseases, right before the symptoms present themselves, is very important in treatment and prognosis. People can visit clinics or hospitals and request a general physician for a general medical examination. The medical exam involves an annual physical examination or a general health checkup to detect any signs of disorder or disease. It also determines other health-related concerns on the patient, such as updates of immunizations, details about diet and nutrition, information regarding physical activities, and identification of certain issues that may lead to health problems later on.
The stethoscope is the most common medical instrument used for a physical checkup. The device can detect issues in the chest area, blood vessels, and even the abdomen. The next series of tests can provide figures about the blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels which can reveal clinical signs of abnormalities. For women, certain tests are also recommended such as mammography for the breasts and the Papanicolaou test or Pap smear for the cervix.
A general health checkup can take hours, especially the long waiting time, and requires the services of several staff members including the general physician, nurses, and lab technicians. However, all this hassle may just be circumvented with the development of the AiPod, developed by the tech firm Bodyo. This new medical tool can perform a health analysis in public places, such as shopping malls, government offices, and health gyms, and it only requires a single nurse to operate.
“We have developed products that enable us to detect and monitor community and population health data using our own algorithm and Artificial Intelligence. This enables us to monitor happiness, health, fitness and early detection of serious health conditions such as chronic heart disease and early detection of diabetes,” said Patrice Coutard, a sports scientist and founder of Bodyo General Trading.
The AiPod looks like a photo booth with the capability to monitor different health measurements, such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels, height and weight, bone density, and fat and muscle mass. All of these health measurements can be tracked by the machine using non-invasive methods.
To use it, an individual must spare several minutes as the machine performs the initial setup process. After that, individuals can easily use the machine and need only to spare about seven minutes for the analysis to be complete. The company mentioned that the data obtained by the machine from users is uploaded to a secure cloud server. The data is restricted from being shared to any third-party services unless the user allows it. Users can also review their health analysis result using a dedicated app for smartphones. They can enable alerts, monitor progress, and share history with other people, including healthcare professionals.
Currently, the AiPod health analysis machine is a business-ready piece of equipment available for rent. For consumers, Bodyo created a set of health monitoring devices that track health vitals for personal use.
“In a faster, more connected world, having access to care that is customized to the needs of the individual can make a world of difference in ensuring better health outcomes. Apps that can deliver a well-being-focused approach to health management can lead to a healthier population, which means the burden of health costs is reduced in the long run,” said Art Cozad, CEO at Cigna Middle East.
Whole Body Imaging Using an iPhone
With the current technologies, some diagnostic tools in medicine are being reinvented into portable scanners, such as the Butterfly iQ. While the AiPod analyzes health statistics on a larger scale, the Butterfly iQ identifies abnormalities at a targeted level using ultrasound.
Butterfly iQ is a very small ultrasound machine that projects image scans to an iOS device via WiFi connection. It is approved for 13 clinical applications across the human body including heart scans for adults and infants, small organ scans, urology scans, and abdominal scans. The device captures scans using three different transducers, devices that convert physical quantity like brightness and pressure into an electrical signal. Meanwhile, the high-resolution details are enabled by the matrix array of microelectromechanical sensors which have been integrated onto a circuit that contains all other important parts.
“The potential for this is really far-reaching, and that's why so many people are excited,” said Dr. Rachel Liu, the director of Clinical Ultrasound Education at Yale School of Medicine.
Last year, a vascular surgeon who was testing the Butterfly iQ device diagnosed his own cancer. Dr. John Martin, who is also the chief medical officer at Butterfly Network, noticed some discomfort in his throat and decided to scan himself using the small ultrasound device. Dr. Martin detected a mass in his throat that looked cancerous. The mass has been confirmed to be cancer later on, and Dr. Martin underwent five and a half hours of surgery and radiation treatment for the disease.
[메디컬리포트=Ralph Chen 기자]