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How AI is used today in healthcare?

Rapid advances in AI helping both doctors and patients.

There had been huge advances in the field of medicine in the past few decades: joint replacement, live donor liver transplant, DNA sequencing, MRI scan, stem cell transplants, etc. And now, there is Artificial Intelligence. AI has already produced impressive technologies that altered the healthcare landscape and enabled smarter and faster ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases. Despite the advancements of AI in healthcare, and other fields as well, people believe that AI may turn on us and eliminate all our jobs. But in reality, technology is only as good as the humans who create it, direct it, and use it. And when it comes to healthcare, AI is crucial for reinventing and reinvigorating the healthcare system for the better.

Machine learning – neural networks and deep learning

Medical data is a high dimensional data; very vast and with thousands and thousand of attributes. Deep learning is a type of machine learning that uses layered algorithms architecture to  process and analyze data of this dimension and solve complex problems. This multi-layered strategy allows deep learning models to complete classification tasks such as identifying subtle abnormalities in medical images, clustering patients with similar characteristics into risk-based cohorts, or highlight relationships between symptoms and outcomes within vast quantities of unstructured data. 

Imaging analytics and diagnostics

One type of deep learning, known as convolutional neural networks (CNNs), is well-suited for analyzing images, such as MRI results or x-rays. CNNs are designed with the assumption that they will be processing images, allowing the networks to operate more efficiency and handle larger images. Researchers at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine have developed a deep neural network that takes just 1.2 seconds to process images, analyze its contents, and alert of problematic findings. By using these technologies to screen images and identify abnormalities in patient scans, radiologists can significantly reduce the risk for both misdiagnosis and oversight in their analysis. With AI algorithms detecting abnormalities quicker than the human eye, AI has the ability to drive more efficient workflows for radiologists.

Natural language processing

Making sense of human language has been a goal of AI researchers since the 1950s. This field, NLP, includes applications such as speech recognition, text analysis, translation and other goals related to language. Because neural networks are designed for classification, they can identify individual linguistic or grammatical elements by “grouping” similar words together and mapping them in relation to one another. For example, all mentions of fatigue would show on a timeline at the top of the page, and the notes about the word would show in a box at the bottom of the page. The interface makes it easier for clinicians to find buried data and make diagnoses they might have otherwise missed. 

Artificial Intelligence is estimated to contribute over $15 trillion to the world economy by the year 2030 and the greatest impact of AI will be in the field of healthcare. Besides the boost in the economy, both doctors and patients will benefit from the advancements in AI. Earlier and more accurate diagnostics, powered by AI, means earlier treatment of life-threatening diseases. Given the rapid advances in AI for imaging analysis and speech and text recognition, AI will help doctors by cutting documentation time and improving report quality. 

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Changing Our Healthcare System through VR Tech

Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, allows people to access medical professionals through video call, phone call, or online messaging portal. 

During this uncertain time, accessing medical consultation via online portals has never been more vital. As of 2019, there are 275 telehealth companies, and the number has only continued to increase due to the current Coronavirus climate. Most of these companies are privately held, but due to the increasing demand, more publicly-traded health groups are opening their own telehealth portals. 

History of Telemedicine

Interestingly enough, the beginning of telemedicine dates back to the 1960s. According to researchers, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), had a growing need for remote monitoring. 

It has taken around fifty years for telemedicine to overcome technological barriers as well as other politically-focused challenges. However, with the current instability of our healthcare system, an increasing need for it to be adopted has come to the forefront. President Obama proposed a plan for this in 2010 called the “‘Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan’.  According to sources, “this plan call[ed] for the build-out and improvement of medical networks that facilitate remote patient monitoring, electronic health records, and other technology-based health services such as telemedicine.”

In the past decade, we have only seen more developments in telemedicine, including mobile app development and secure HIPPA compliant portals for both web and mobile apps. 

Top Benefits of Telemedicine:

  1. No Contact

 Due to the rise of infectious diseases, telemedicine and virtual hospitals have allowed patients to receive the remote care they need to recover from mild illnesses. In our current situation, there has never been a greater need for telemedicine than now. 

  1. Growing Patient/Doctor Engagement

The stigma of not being able to talk to your doctor has gone down the drain. With telemedicine, patients can feel supported by their primary doctors and have more frequent contact with them for any important questions or concerns. More connectivity equals more trust in healthcare professionals.

  1. Affordable

The main benefit of telemedicine is that you’re saving money. Virtual hospital visits cost less, because less physical resources are being used. This is beneficial for the working class, especially adults with families, because they can solve their health concerns over the phone in the comfort of their home. 

What Are Virtual Hospitals?

Virtual hospitals are an extension of telemedicine. Hospitals are in need of virtual platforms now that there is a rise in infectious diseases. In these virtual platforms, a variety of doctors and specialists would be able to monitor a patient. The biggest need for doctors right now would probably be an e-ICU. By minimizing contact, we would protect our healthcare workers and still care for intensive care patients carefully.

What does the future look like for telemedicine and virtual hospitals?

We need them now more than ever. With the Coronavirus pandemic, we need to find solutions to protect patients and healthcare professionals. At Bytecraft, we strongly believe telemedicine will be the fastest solution to our current health crisis. 

Stay Safe, Stay Strong. #stayhomesavelives

-Team Bytecraft

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Wearable Tech

_Wearable Tech

Wearable tech are smartly powered electronic devices that are typically worn on the body for everyday use.

Wearable tech falls under the IoT (internet of things) category, which means it is connected objects and people to the internet. This direct human-internet interaction creates an accessible, portable, and futuristic lifestyle for all tech-lovers.

History

The earliest and most notable wearable tech was the first electronic hearing aid, which was developed around the 1880s. Post 1990s, beepers came into the forefront as more than a communication portal, but a wearable tech fashion statement. Late 90s, early 2000s, Bluetooth technology came into the forefront.

Bluetooth, which started as a wireless technology that connected devices to phones and computers, largely became the channel for future wearable tech inventions. Bluetooth-wireless headphones were introduced into the market and rapidly grew into a main resource for tech users. 

By the 2010s, new wearable tech categories were created, from smart watches to fitness trackers to smart spectacles. The tech game has continued to propel itself into making technology as wearable as possible. 

Key Players in the Wearable Tech Category 

 

1. Fitbit

Category: Health & Wellness

Type: Wristband

Fitbit is an activity tracker that monitors users heart rate, steps, sleep pattern, and other metrics involving health and fitness.  The wristband gained popularity in the health and wellness category for obvious reasons. So much so that brands like Adidas and Blue Cross Blue Shield began partnering with the company to create more versions of the product. 

Recently, Google has made its announcement that it intends to buy Fitbit for 2.1 billion.

2. Apple

Category: Lifestyle
Type: Watch

 

 

 

 

In 2015, Apple launched its first Apple Watch Series 1 Smartwatch. It surpassed any current expectations of wearable tech at the time and plunged into the market. It not surprisingly became the best-selling wearable tech device, selling 4.2 million in one fiscal quarter.

 

Apple continues to release newer versions of the watch, with Series 4 (launched in Fall 2019) being the most affordable smartwatch launched by Apple.

3. Snap Inc.

Category: Lifestyle

Type: Glasses

Snap Spectacles are smart glasses that are meant to capture video through the lense.

 

Snap Inc launched their first pair back in 2016 and launched a newer generation in 2018. This wearable device derived from the companies app success: Snapchat. Through Snapchat, users are able to create augmented realities on their face and send photos of it instantaneously to friends. These augmented faces, also known as “filters”, prove that AR and VR are in the works for Snap Inc  We’ll have to see what newer generations of the spectacles bring to the table. 

Positives & Negatives of Wearable Tech

 

Let’s start with the negatives. With all technology there are negatives to the using it. With wearables specifically, it comes down to three cons: 

1. Battery Life 

Like smartphones, battery consumption is a problem in the tech community. Users have to constantly charge all their smart devices, making it time consuming. 

2.  Easy to Lose

Since wearable tech is typically small, it is easy to misplace. Especially when it comes to smartwatches and Apple airpods. 

3. Cost 

The price of these wearable devices are pretty high. Recently, Apple launched its new set of airpods for a grand total of 250 dollars. Making it inaccessible for people with lower incomes. 

The positives of having wearable tech devices comes down to two main reasons: 

  1. Efficiency 

We all know that technology helps save us time. Wearable tech specifically decreases the amount of time spent doing certain tasks. Most doctors and lawyers own an Apple Watch or Fitbit because of its fast data-driven capabilities. Similarly, all working class people love wearable devices because of it’s readily available data. 

2. Fashion Forward

All around the world, we look for new trends. Tech trends specifically are highly encouraged in multiple countries, especially the United States and Asia. Being trendy and fashion forward keeps users on their toes and up to date with the world. There is a high demand for this reason. 

Regardless if you’re for or against wearable tech, it is important to recognize its growing presence. In the future, we can expect this category of tech to overrule other forms of technology. 

 

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Generation Z: The Future of Tech Use

Gen Z

Born: 1997-2015

Age: 4-21

Size: 82 million

Overview: Generation that has grown up with advanced technology throughout their entire lives. Too young (or weren’t born) to remember 9/11, but have grown up during active wars globally. Raised on the Internet and using social media. Most ethnically-diverse and largest generation in US history.

generation z on a iPad tablet

Purchasing Habits

Gen Zers have seen their parents (Gen Xers) struggle with money, so they are curious about finances at a young age. Thankfully, they are more equipped to learn about financial literacy. Social media and the internet plays a major role in their financial decisions, or lack thereof.

Generation Z is learning the newest cutting-edge technologies for nearly as long as they have been alive. From a young age in school, Gen Zers have learned the most cutting-edge technology. The generation that started seeing iPads and other tablets in school early on. It has digitally done schoolwork for almost their entire educational career. They not only uses social media religiously, but also doesn’t even know the difference of a life without social media. In fact, its found that Gen Zers spend twice as much time on smartphones than Millennials do. Due to growing up in a world of omnipresent social media, Gen Z is stereotyped to be “tech-addicted” and “antisocial”.

iphone user

Since they are the largest generation, Gen Zers have large buying power; they take up 40% of consumer sales. Gen Zers are most likely make purchases on their smartphones and are heavily digitally influenced. Gen Z purchasing behaviors have shown that they care more about being part of an experience than being part of a brand.

Political & Social Behavior

To Gen Zers, brand loyalty is about trust, honesty and transparency about the company. Growing up active social media users, Gen Zers care about political and social change and equality. Seeing those traits in a brand is important in a brand gaining Gen Z followers. They have also shown that they’re willing to spend more on products that hold value through its message, rather than through its label power.

This generation is different than any other generation; they hold strong passions that are purposed towards changing a larger picture, and the hold the brands of products that they buy accountable to their standards.

Gen Z is the largest generation in the US, and sooner than later will numerically take over the workforce from its predecessors; Millennials and Gen Xers. Since Gen Zers aren’t quite in the professional workforce yet, we can’t indefinitely say what this will look like regarding the dynamic with three other generations actively working.

What we do know, is that Gen Z is growing during (what’s currently) the peak of the digital age. This makes them the most technologically driven generation, which will show in the workplace. With the rise of the digital age, more and more jobs are opening in tech-based fields, which are high in demand and have high-paying salaries.

High schools across the country are not only including technology further into students’ everyday routines, but also they are expanding curriculum to cover more technological skills to prepare them to go into these jobs in the workplace. . As time passes, women are diving into this industry which used to be predominantly run by men. Once Gen Zers reach a professional working age, we can expect to see a highly diverse group of young adults spread across technologically-related industries.

Check out our Generation Use Series. Part 1 is live on bytecraft.io/byte-buzz.

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How Innovative Technologies Impact Healthcare

Technologies are developing rapidly while actively penetrating all spheres of our lives, and the healthcare system is not an exception.

As we live in a brave new world, cutting-edge Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 technologies have immense potential to disrupt healthcare, facilitate the overall workflow, make diagnosis more accurate and treatment more efficient.

Nowadays, it’s impossible to imagine the healthcare system without the implementation of telemedicine applications, electronic health record software, and diverse solutions that leverage artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and data science.

In 2018, Accenture conducted a comprehensive Consumer Survey on Digital Health based on the feedback from more than 2,300 U.S. residents over the age of 18 and compared its results to similar surveys of 2016 and 2017.

The research shows that as many as 36% of Americans consider eHealth technologies to be very important (up 6% from 2016), with 90% of users admitting willingness to share their health data from wearable devices with doctors.

The top 5 sources used to manage health in the United States are:

  • websites (56%, down 2% from 2016)
  • smartphones and tablets (46%, up 10% from 2016)
  • EHR (38%, up 11% from 2016)
  • social media (35%, up 13% from 2016)
  • wearables (33%, up 7% from 2016).

When asked if they’ve ever accessed their EHR, the prevailing majority of survey participants replied with a yes (44%), while only 6% opted out of having one. Among those who have access to their EHR, almost 40% admit EHR keeps them informed of their current health conditions. Also, in 2018, 25% of Americans received some healthcare service virtually, which is up 4% from 2017.

The Top 3 digital health benefits are:

  • medical costs reduction for patients (54%)
  • the ability to better accommodate the patients’ schedules (49%)
  • providing timely care to patients (43%).

The survey results show how consumer perception of eHealth and its benefits has changed over just two years. This proves that modern healthcare systems can only be effective when powered by progressive technologies.

How Technologies Are Changing Healthcare

Technologies were penetrating the healthcare system with the advent of computers and started changing the industry drastically at the beginning of the 1990s with the creation of the first healthcare applications.

Then, the digitization of healthcare and technology implementation became a common practice in order to develop new ways of treatment, improve quality of life, provide better patient care, make the workflow easier, and reduce healthcare expenses. Today, innovations make an effective healthcare system impossible without technologies.

Let’s take a closer look at how the integration of computers into the clinical process changes the industry.

Health Record Digitization

Instead of endless piles of papers, digital records are now the everyday reality that allows accessing all sorts of healthcare documents in just a few seconds. All papers and documents are uploaded to the cloud, are strictly secured, and at the same time, access to them for healthcare professionals became much easier and faster. With digital health records, it’s possible to make a more informed treatment decision and provide care to remote patients.

Medical Mobile Apps

There are a plethora of different medical mobile apps that allow patients to monitor doctor’s appointments, get reminded to take medications, and lots of other useful features. People use health and fitness apps to become healthier, manage their food intake, physical activity level, and vital signs. Doctors can use these apps to communicate with patients, get access to drug information to make treatment more efficient, and to reduce time spent on other routine tasks such as record maintenance.

Electronic Health Record (EHR)

Electronic Health Records or simply EHRs, are digital summaries of all patients’ medical records, including diagnosis, prescriptions, lab reports, allergies, intolerances, surgical intervention reports, and so on.

These records allow healthcare professionals to make diagnoses more accurate and improve overall patient care based on their health overview. With EHRs, it became much easier and faster to collaborate with diverse professionals, lab specialists. Electronic records not just minimize time on record maintenance but also lower the chances of malpractice and medical errors.

Cloud Storage for Big Data

In the healthcare field, the amount of patients’ records and various data is enormous. All the data collected is usually used for further medical research to make predictions, prevent death, develop new treatment ways, pharmaceutical solutions, and so on.

Cloud services facilitate access to big data and improve workflow efficiency and make the exchange of health information more convenient. Cloud storages are not only highly secure but also can be cost-efficient for healthcare institutions.

Communication Technologies

New information and communication technologies improve the interaction between care providers and patients. Healthcare professionals can access a larger amount of research and other data to compare patients’ records, identify risk factors, and come up with more effective treatment solutions. This technology also allows patients to get in touch with specialists not just across the country but to contact medical experts throughout the world.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine is a perfect way to overcome the distance barrier and contact healthcare professionals from across the world. This particular technology makes remote patient care more simple yet effective. With video telephony and various apps, patients can get high-quality home care and support. Video conferencing enables patients and doctors to communicate, diagnose, monitor patients and medical documentation, images, and biosignals are transmitted in a few seconds to facilitate consultations.

The Future of Digital Health

Within the next few years, interactive technologies such as VR, 3D printing, robot-assisted surgeries, and artificial intelligence will be actively integrated into the healthcare system.

AI

AI will help make the diagnosing process of strokes, heart and eye diseases as well as cancers much faster and more accurate. Artificial intelligence will also be used for clinical decision support and disease management.

ROBOT – ASSISTED SURGERIES

Robot-assisted surgeries will also become more common in the healthcare industry. It’s definitely the future of medicine as this type of surgery is much less invasive, more controlled, and precise. All risks of complications are minimized, and it requires less recovery time.

VIRTUAL REALITY

Virtual reality is a promising technology which is penetrating healthcare so fast. From 2017 to 2022, the value of VR in this industry will grow by 30 times and will attain $285 million. This technology will be helping healthcare professionals with training for a more accurate radiological diagnosing process, pain management, and exposure treatment.

3D PRINTING

3D printing is another aspect that drastically changes the healthcare system. Innovative 3D printers will be able to make not just medical tools but also artificial bones, braces, supports for amputees, prosthetics, and even tiny organs.

Main Benefits of Technology Implementation in Healthcare

Cutting edge technologies are called to facilitate the workflow process, make patients record automated, and data access fast and easy. It’s possible to provide treatment remotely, manage patients directly, and diagnose more precisely. Healthcare applications and software also enables us to minimize the risks of medical and diagnostic errors.

93% of physicians believe that healthcare apps help improve patients’ health, and 90% of doctors also use mobile devices in their daily practice. Applications and software enhance the overall productivity and efficiency of healthcare providers.

For patients, the benefits of technology implementation are better convenience, greater care, and treatment as well as the opportunity to get virtual care, which is becoming more and more popular.

Technologies allow virtual visits with doctors and healthcare specialists using mobile apps. 23% of patients have already had experience of virtual visits, and 57% of patients are just willing to try. Also, there are plenty of mobile applications that allow the monitoring of health and body during everyday life and during physical activities.

Examples of Healthcare Technologies

Check out these examples of excellent health care application that make all processes easier, smoother, and more effective and is beneficial for patients as well as for healthcare providers.

1upHealth

These amazing tools make the interaction between patients and care providers easier and faster. The app aggregates all patients’ data they have shared with it and enables access for healthcare professionals to start and monitor the treatment process.

Dock Health

This tool helps medical staff coordinate their effort for a seamless workflow. The application allows prioritizing, delegating, and managing clinical tasks to deliver better care and work efficiently. The tool makes collaboration between staff smooth and reduces potential inconveniences.

Kapanu 

The app facilitates patient’s decision-making regarding teeth treatment and helps them choose one that will yield the best result. The app comes along with a detachable scanner that creates a holographic reproduction of the patient’s mouth. It helps dentists better explain to patients what type of treatment would work best for their jaw structure and other mouth peculiarities by visualizing the whole thing for them.

Check out more cool eHealth apps here.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, technologies keep changing the healthcare system every day, and their advantages are countless. More innovations are being designed and implemented in order to make the workflow smooth and efficient, provide better patient care, make the diagnosing process easier and more accurate.

Therefore, the integration of innovative applications and healthcare software is imperative to achieve quality improvements and take the industry to the next level.

Are you looking to build a high-quality and secure eHealth solution? Get in touch with us to discuss how ByteCraft can help!

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Technology and Mental Health: An Unorthodox Relationship

Technology, specifically through the lense of social media, has been used to leverage the conversation of mental health for years.  Although technology and social media have always gone hand- in-hand, technology and mental health have not. It wasn’t until recently that the conversation on how technology affects mental health has come to the forefront.

This is due to the fact that many scholars and mental health advocates have expressed their concerns about social media and the negative stressors they inhibit. One of the most notable arguments was done by social media expert, Bailey Parnell. In her 2017 Ted Talk, she discussed the four main stressors of social media and it’s negative impacts on our society.

Recap on 4 Stressors:

   1. Highlight Reel

Have you ever heard of people only showing their “highlight reel”on social media? Well, if you haven’t, it simply means that people only post and showcase the best parts of their life.

Yes, the baby is smiling for the camera, but two hours before was screetching bloody murder for his mom to feed him. The couple at prom might look cute and in love, but thirty minutes later fight over how long it took to take the “perfect” photo.  The examples are endless, but the reality is too brutal to post on social. Hence, why people choose to choose their “reel” life over their real life.

2. Social Currency

What do we value the most on social media? Bailey Parnell goes on to tell us that the likes, shares, reactions, and comments have become what is known as a “social currency” in today’s age. This is because we hold value in these features, which were essentially invented for validation purposes. This concept is linked to mental health, because if we don’t get the validation (social currency) we feel we
deserve, it leads to feelings of worthlessness, sadness, and depression.

3. F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out)

Bailey explains that this stressor actually comes from social anxiety. It causes people to have biological reactions, or withdrawals.  This comes in response to the fear of missing an experience via social media, especially ones we cannot be a part of.This can be from stalking your ex and his new girlfriend to Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  We all have a need to stay up to date with what is going on in our world.

4. Online Harassment

With technology, bullying has been taken to another level. Using social media, bullies and online trolls can target just about anyone from children to celebrities. This stressor has led a lot of victims, especially young children, to have mental health issues. Some cases have even lead people to self-harm or commit suicide. Schools have now taken preventative measures to block social media from their technology to protect students from this issue.

Check out the video below this article for the full talk.

Along with Bailey’s argument, it is important to note that technology and social media has become a registered addiction.  According to the Addiction Center, psychologists estimate that as many as 5 to 10% of Americans meet the criteria for social media addiction.

When technology started to evolve in the 90s, it was the internet and e-mail that took us by a storm. Now, technology has become such an integral part of our lives that social media is now the primary mask it wears to normalize its daily use.

Regardless of your personal stance, social media and technology has allowed the topic of mental health to come to the forefront. This taboo topic is now a globally recognized issue.

The question is, how are we going to keep pushing the envelope? How are we going to continue making strides in the mental health category? We don’t know the exact answers, but what we do know is that we must work with and for tech, rather than against it. Despite not being able to eradicate the negatives of tech, we can optimize the positives. How? Well, that can start with you. 

Use the hashtag #mentech to tell us how you use technology to optimize your mental health.

Check out the full Ted Talk that inspired our blog topic below:

//youtu.be/Czg_9C7gw0o