It's official: the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, which, however you feel about it, means 32 million Americans will likely gain health care coverage. A part of the legislation dictates that all those people, by law, need somewhere to enroll, compare coverage, and purchase insurance. The design consultancy Ideo has spent more than a year putting together an open-source template to keep the potential paperwork from crushing everyone before they even have health insurance to cover the damage.
Children’s Hospital Boston is sending some bedside manner home with its discharged patients via a pilot program that integrates telepresence robots into its regular post-op care regimen. Using five robots made by Vgo Communications Inc., doctors and nurses are opening a direct line of communication and observation between themselves and patients even as they recover at home.
Labs-on-a-chip are useful tools for diagnosing diseases, but most can only pick out one or two sickness signatures amid an array of symptoms. The X Prize Foundation, responsible for innovation challenges in anything from spacecraft to oil spills, wants an all-purpose mobile device that can diagnose a patient better than a doctor. A tricorder!
It’s almost as if Heritage Provider Network set out to create the perfect PopSci story by mashing up all of our favorite things: clever algorithms, a multi-million dollar intellectual competition, and the future. The California-based health care provider has put up a purse of $3 million for the person or group who can come up with a predictive algorithm that accurately identifies people at risk for hospitalization in the next year, thus encouraging predictive medical measures and reducing unnecessary hospital stays.
In Japan, robot-led weddings, robot factory workers and even squeaky robot pets are all fine and good. But in-home helper bots, which are the main goal of many robotics research projects, are anything but widespread, even in that robo-friendly country. Apparently old people and sick people, even in Japan, still prefer that human touch.
For the past six months, fixing our flawed health care system has consumed our country's politics. In the course of the debate (including the health care summit underway today), one of the few things that both sides can agree on is the potential for new technologies to improve the system. And while technology can never do the job on its own, the money-saving potential is vast. Here we've gathered the most promising devices and processes--ranging from simple tweaks of doctors' most basic tools to advanced methods for drug production--that could save our bloated system billions.
Until the naked mole rats yield their secrets, humanity will still have to worry about treating and controlling cancer. And to that end, one company may have figured out a novel way to prevent the spread of a highly dangerous form of brain cancer, through the use of pulsing electric fields.
While some companies hope an iTunes-like approach to distributing scientific papers on the cheap will get journal articles into the hands of people who need them, a new study shows that many medical students are already taking the Napster approach. A new paper studying the downloading habits of medical students found 125,000 users of peer-to-peer filesharing services who obtained some 5,000 scientific papers for free, circumventing the usual $30 fee.