Healthcare Applications Spotted for Newly Showcased ‘Consumer’ Electronics

As part of the ramp-up to the 2017 HealthTrust Innovation Summit, members of the physician services team hit the road scouting for the latest greatest products with a meaningful role to play in hospitals.

Out of the 3,800 suppliers at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, 15 were showcasing products with potential applications in the acute care setting and have thus been invited to apply for participation in HealthTrust’s 2017 Innovation Summit. Among the up-and-coming technologies that caught my eye:

Wearable devices. Innovations in this category included wearables that adhere to the skin or strap onto the chest to continuously monitor body temperature and measures of cardiac activity such as heart and respiratory rate.

3D printers. These ran the gamut from small printers that could make Lego-like toys to advanced, room-size printers that could manufacture orthopedic implants out of surgical titanium or stainless steel. Body parts—including skull plates, hips, knees and spinal implants—can now be tailored to individual patients based on their CT data.

3D holographic imaging. A company out of New Zealand has technology that may help overcome the hurdles we’ve been grappling with for decades—namely, how to 3D images of the body or organs in action (e.g., to visualize congenital cardiac anomaly across relaxed and contracted heart cycles) without the potential viewing side effects of doing so on a monitor. Holograms have already been used to create a moving model of the immune system for cancer detection and are being investigated for other uses.

Smart glasses. Several companies have technology a physician might wear to see lab test results from an electronic health record or be “telepresent” at an off-site location to, say, view the wound of a nursing home patient or virtually participate in hospital rounds—all via a quarter-inch display in the upper right corner of an ordinary looking pair of glasses.

I scouted the exhibit halls at the recent annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and will do the same at upcoming meetings of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (Feb. 19-23), Federation of American Hospitals (Feb. 28-March 1) and American College of Cardiology (March 17-19), looking for other products worthy of a closer look at this year’s Innovation Summit. Three products identified at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show will soon be on contract with HealthTrust.

The 2017 Innovation Summit takes place Oct. 5-7 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and suppliers have until May 5 to submit a product for possible inclusion. To be considered for inclusion, the product must relate to patient care, information technology or supply chain management, and either have or be actively working toward FDA approval. No more than one-third of the more than 200 submissions expected will make the cut.

Author Information

Mark Dumond

Mark Dumond

Mark Dumond, BSBA, RT, is assistant vice president of technology services at HealthTrust. He leads its IT Advisory Board and both tracks technology developments and assists with product evaluations for all HealthTrust clinical advisory boards. His background includes both contracting and clinical operations. Dumond has traveled to 11 countries in South America, Africa and Central Asia to perform medical missionary healthcare assessments related to needed hospital equipment and supplies. More Articles by This Author »

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