The Digital Health Update by Paul Sonnier ⋅ Dec 31, 2016 ⋅ #254

I made this announcement to 52,895 members of the Digital Health group on LinkedIn. If you’re on LinkedIn, please do join the group, which allows you to opt in to receiving these announcements in addition to connecting with thousands of other global stakeholders in digital health. Note that I will continue to update this announcement up until sending out the final version via LinkedIn.

The Digital Health Update by Paul Sonnier ⋅ Dec 31, 2016 ⋅ #254

Dear Group,

The FDA has issued its final guidance on medical device cybersecurity, outlining how manufacturers should protect products like pacemakers and insulin pumps from cyberattacks. The agency wants companies to integrate methods to monitor and detect vulnerabilities and  share information about potential vulnerabilities with researchers, who can assess the risks posed to patients. This comes none too soon, as the black market value of stolen medical records has dropped so low that criminals are focusing less on stealing patient medical data (often used for medical billing fraud and identity theft) to profiting off of ransomware and, reportedly, “attacking” connected devices. Alarmingly, the medical info of almost half of all Americans is already out there.

The NHS is now requiring that implants and medications get safety barcodes. The intent is to record every medicine and implant given to patients by scanning the product packet along with the patient’s identity wristband. According to UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the requirement could save the NHS £1 billion over the next seven years. One major benefit includes the ability for surgeons to compare the performance of different implants. Cardiologist Tim Wells stated that “This provides us with a level of data and insight that can be used to better challenge clinical practice and variation, helping us to reduce inefficiencies and improve patient experience and outcomes. It ultimately helps to safeguard our patients from avoidable harm. In the event of a product recall, we can now easily and quickly track an affected product to the right patient.”

Human automobile drivers have a lot of issues, including distraction and information overload. AI systems that include automatic braking can be life-, injury-, and vehicle-savers. Case in point: A recently released video shows a Tesla predicting a car crash two vehicles ahead and then slamming on the brakes. As I’ve previously shared, the benefits of self-driving cars are significant. They could save the lives of 42,000 people in the U.S. each year and as much as $190 billion per year in health-care costs associated with accidents. Add on the reduced stress from driving plus the potential for a reduction in emissions by 90%.

During the recent Love and Sex With Robots Conference at Goldsmiths, University of London, Dr. Kate Devlin pointed to the value of bringing sex robots into nursing homes: “The thing that interests me is the use of sex tech for the elderly in care homes because when we say to old people, ‘We’re going to put you in a care home.’ It really infantilizes them. But these are still grown adults with the same amount of desire for intimacy. You could be talking about someone who has lost a husband or a wife and they’re feeling alone and perhaps that is one thing that we could offer.”

Also on the aging front, IBM is working with Rice University to develop sensors for robots that help senior citizens live independently and safely. Susann Keohane with IBM Research stated that the project addresses a need for technology to help aging populations preserve both their independence and their overall health, while also avoiding disruption in their daily lives. As she astutely points out, “If you slap an Apple Watch on an 88-year-old, that’s not feasible for most 88-year-olds.” Of course with the incorporation of more and more sensors and sensing systems, including in shoes, these types of assistive solutions won’t be limited to any one type of form factor.

And good news for people who carry their smartphone in their pockets. It is reconfirmed that you can’t fry eggs (or sperm) with a cellphone.

According to Startup Health, Digital Health investments reached $7.9B across 585 companies in 2016. More than 200 new investors entered the fray, putting the total at almost 900. Big deals in companies like Onduo and Human Longevity Inc. accounted for nearly 25% of funding.

Follow me on Twitter @Paul_Sonnier for all the news I share each day.

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Paul Sonnier
Keynote Speaker ⋅ Management Consultant ⋅ Social Entrepreneur
Founder, Digital Health group on LinkedIn ⋅ 50,000+ members
Creator, Story of Digital Health
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Twitter: @Paul_Sonnier
San Diego, CA, USA

 

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