Apr 7, 2011

Medical Electronics - The tortoise needs to speed up

Recently I had the misfortune of staying in the world renowned hospital with a loved one. Thankfully things turned out ok.

However, during the visit I got my first look at the inefficient tech methodologies in a hospital. Some of my observations
a) All the sensors are wired. That makes it impossible to move about without major disruptions. For a kid it is very painful to even move around. In some cases, I have heard they put 40-50 electrodes all over the body to monitor signals during sleep studies. An example is shown below. Surely wireless technology has proven itself to excel in harsher environments.

An example of sensors attached to the body at one end and a display system at the other - All wired

b) Ultrasounds, MRIs and the likes take so long. With an uncoperative 2 year old, its not easy to get a trust-worthy picture. In medicine, it is said that part of getting better has to do with emotional well-being. Subjecting a patient to lengthy procedures seems counter-productive. It should be easier to address this with appropriate technology.

c) Incompatible standards. This is a longer discourse :-) But I am amazed that the ER would have a different system than say general ward then say another hostpital/clinic. For instance X-rays are not easily transferrable. So its "advised" to use the same hospital for follow-up checkups even if the hospital is less easily accessible. Likewise the sensor contrapations are not standardized causing a lot of grief for a young (or even old) patient having to re-jig their setups.

All in all, this seems to be a ripe area for innovation and bringing benefits to a segment of the human race in unfortunate circumstances.