More than 50 million of people die each year according to the World Health Organization. While majority of these people die due to old age, some die due to preventable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and infectious diseases. This is why many agencies, both government and non-government, are finding ways on how to stop preventable diseases from claiming more lives. One of the recent trends in technology nowadays is in health care. According to the NHS (UK), technology can help lessen thousands of preventable deaths in the UK each year and can save many lives.
One way of preventing deaths is to track diseases digitally. Many people monitor their blood pressure and blood sugar levels at home, so their data can be automatically synced in their smartphones and to doctors’ computers in clinics. There are also some apps that can change lifestyle behaviours such as sleep trackers and weight trackers. Wearable devices are also now available which can easily capture data about a person’s activity levels and what is happening in his or her body. Recently, big companies such as Google, Apple and Samsung are developing new resources in collaboration with top health companies such as pharmaceuticals. Here are some examples of how digital medicine is evolving on these top companies.
Samsung has recently become more ambitious in health care because it has developed wearable health tracking devices such as the Gear smartwatch and the Gear Fit wristband. They have also developed an app called S health which serves as a mobile personal fitness coach. Samsung has recently released medical devices in the field of diagnostic imaging. It has collaborated with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Google-Novartis Contact Lens
Google has a Life Science unit that develops products for diabetics. They are now developing a contact lens that can measure blood sugar levels in collaboration with Swiss pharmaceutical Novartis. Google glass, its internet-connected headgear shows promise in the field of surgery.
Google has also founded Calico (California Life Company) which specializes in age-related diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases. It has partnered with a pharmaceutical company, AbbVie in this endeavour.
Apple has recently expressed interest in health care. Their Apple watch serves as a heart rate tracker and a steps tracker. ReasearchKit is a big help to researchers who want to use iPhones. Apple also signified plans to focus more on diabetes care.
Intel has recently acquired Basis, a watch that serves as a health tracker. The company is also focusing on health systems that utilize big data.
IBM has a Watson Division that utilizes big data in health start-ups. It now focuses on health research that uses pattern recognition, data analysis, image interpretation and algorithms used to analyze patient records. Last year, IBM has partnered with Apple and medical device manufacturers Medtonic and Johnson and Johnson.
Qualcomm Life captures and delivers data from medical devices using its 2net platform. This platform collects data from connected devices during clinical trials. It is currently collaborating with Novartis for its “Trials of The Future” program.
Microsoft has a “Connected Health Platform”, which contains tools, solutions, prescription architecture, designs, accelerators, and deployments for its digital health partners. It is built on the principles of “Microsoft Connected Health Framework Architecture and Design Blueprint”. Microsoft Lync is now being used at Dallas Neurosurgical & Spine to review images and other health data. Microsoft Kinect allows a doctor to swipe patient records during surgery while remaining sterile. KInect also has potential in physical therapy or autism therapy to allow movement without using a controller.
This company is involved in medical technology and clinical informatics. Its projects include “Philips eCareCoordinator”, “Philips eCareCompanion”, “Philips IntelliVue”, HealthSuite Digital Platform, and Philips My Heart Project. The platforms allowed doctors to monitor their patients at home.