Real Deal: No More Needles for Blood Draws

v12Velano Vascular is on a mission to bring compassion to healthcare and make painful blood draws more pleasant for patients.  So far, they’re succeeding. They’ve received their 3rd FDA-clearance to help children and adults who cringe at the sight of needles.

Needlephobia affects 24% of adults and 63% of children.

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf may come to mind when we talk about no more needles for blood draws because of ill-fated Theranos.  They’re the overly-hyped biotech start-up currently under federal investigation by the S.E.C. and U.S. Attorney’s office. Patients initially thrilled about no more needles got hoodwinked by fake news.

Meet the Real Deal.

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Velano Vascular creates a single-use, disposable device called PIVO.

 

It attaches to a peripheral IV line, in hospital inpatients, allowing for lab quality blood samples to be drawn back through the IV –without requiring venipuncture (needle sticks or drawing blood from central lines) .

 

Many of the questions Therano’s CEO never answered, avoided or even got asked by reporters is welcomed by Velano Vascular’s CEO, Eric Stone, who I interviewed.

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WHAT IS PIVO AN ACRONYM FOR?

ERIC STONE, CEO, VELANO VASCULAR:  PIVO derives from “peripheral intravenous catheter,” or PIV, which is a medical term for the standard IV most hospital patients are hooked up to in order to receive intravenous fluids..

WHAT IS PIVO?

STONE: PIVO is a single-use, disposable device that attaches temporarily to an IV line, allowing for needle-free blood draws from this existing line.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

STONE: It enables blood draws to be taken by clinicians from the same intravenous (IV) catheter most hospital patients already have inserted in their arms, instead of poking them again each time they need their blood drawn and instead of accessing larger catheters (Central Venous Catheters) which raise different challenges associated with each time they are accessed.

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WHO DOES THIS DEVICE HELP PEOPLE?

STONE:  The device works for any patient with an IV catheter. Of course, children tend to more commonly have an acute fear of needles, so it can make pediatric care less invasive and painful.

There are also an estimated 30% of our hospital inpatients that are classified as DVA (Difficult Venous Access) because of aging, obesity, disease and more.

PIVO helps practitioners capture critical labs from these growing populations of patients who otherwise may take significant time and expense.

STONE: Also, those in hospitals or other inpatient settings, where the average length of stay is almost 5 days in the U.S. require daily or more frequent blood draws. Many of these patients have problematic veins or skin, which requires a lot of poking and prodding to draw blood. PIVO tackles these issues head on.

According to the CDC, an estimated 35M inpatient stays occur in the U.S. alone each year.  So, PIVO is set to  help many millions of Americans, not to mention those inpatients around the world.

HOW IS PIVO MORE COMFORTABLE & LESS DANGEROUS FOR PATIENT?

STONE:  For patients who have their blood drawn for a check-up once a year in an outpatient setting, blood draws are not that disruptive.  For a “frequent flyer” in the hospital, or a DVA (difficult venous access) patient –noted as such upon admission or who has become DVA after 10 or 20 days in the hospital feeling like a pin cushion –removing the needle from the procedure can have a lifelong impact.

Enabling practitioners to avoid accessing central lines (large, surgically-placed catheters) for blood draws aims to reduce the risks of Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infection.

Further, removing the needle from blood draws helps avoid risk of injury and infection for our phlebotomists, nurses and physicians. Hospital leadership is recognizing that an important alternative to a prevalent practice is now available.

IF I GET BLOOD WORK FROM AN ANNUAL PHYSICAL WILL THEY USE PIVO?

STONE:  PIVO requires a Peripheral IV catheter in order to access the vein. The IV line serves as a temporary conduit to the vein, so without the IV line PIVO cannot access the vein.

The IV line serves as a temporary conduit to the vein, so without the IV line, PIVO cannot access a patient’s blood.  As such, this procedure is most appropriate for the hospital inpatient setting.

I do envision PIVO will adopted in other care settings, where patients possess an IV line and require frequent blood draws, but the annual physical unfortunately is not one of these.

WHY AREN’T IV’S GOOD FOR DRAWING BLOOD WITHOUT PIVO?

STONE:  IV’s are essentially plastic  tubes which overtime become soft, like a noodle. While a noodle is fine for injecting fluids and medications into a patient, its soft walls collapse under the negative pressure of suction when you try to take fluids out.

There are other reasons why IV’s are less-than-optimal for drawing blood back, but these are quite complex in nature and we’re only just now uncovering some of the novel reasons through our research with leading clinical collaborators.

PIVO simply inserts a small, stiffer tube inside the existing IV tube for the purpose of drawing blood.

It works by propping open and unkinking the IV tube temporarily while enabling lab quality blood be collected.

HOW WAS THE IDEA FOR PIVO ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED?

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STONE:   Velano’s co-founder and physician, Pitamber Devgon had an elderly patient with bruises up and down her arms from repeated needle sticks.  That patient asked him why he was continually sticking her with needles when she already had an IV catheter in her vein. He didn’t know, but began exploring if it was possible to draw lab quality samples out of the IV line using a separate device.

Stone, a Wharton MBA shares, “Most of my career has been in healthcare, plus I am a needle phobic following my childhood diagnosis with Crohn’s disease as a teenager. So, when I was looking for a company start and a product to bring to market and my former graduate school classmates introduced us, I was instantly engaged following years as a serial healthcare entrepreneur and patient advocate.  From that connection,  Velano was born. “

Velano first won FDA approval for PIVO in 2015, and has also obtained multiple U.S. and international patents for it, with additional applications outstanding in the U.S. & abroad.

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STONE: “Five years from now,” asserts Stone, “I believe, without a doubt that PIVO will be the standard of care for inpatient blood draws and vascular access.”

Thanks for a great interview and innovation for healthcare consumers! -Maria Dorfner

http://velanovascular.com

 

MEDIA:   Contact: Michael Azzano at 415-596-1978 to set up telephone or on-camera interviews with patients or Eric Stone, CEO, Velano Vascular.

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RELATED NEWS:

 

A year ago, Forbes contributor Robert Reiss called Eric Stone “The Steve Jobs of Drawing Blood” and tested PIVO himself.  Reprint of article below courtesy of Reiss.

The Steve Jobs Of Drawing Blood

by Robert Reiss , FORBES CONTRIBUTOR (specializing in writing about CEOs)

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I was recently at a board meeting at Griffin Hospital and our CEO was telling us about a new product that could transform perhaps the most ubiquitous healthcare practice – drawing blood.

The concept from a company called Velano Vascular repurposes the IV most hospital patients already have in their arms so blood can be drawn without having their veins repeatedly stuck by needles.

It aims to eliminate the associated negatives of traditional blood drawing: the pain and anxiety, injuries, excessive time and cost.

It seemed like such a revolutionary solution to a broad issue – sort of like in 1892 when Keds invented sneakers – and I was curious to understand if this was truly an historic moment where the age old process of drawing blood could once and for all be revolutionized.

It reminded me of one of my first CEO interviews back in 2007 with Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline when he described the driving force behind one of his over 700 patents, “The key to successful innovation is having a better solution for something that’s used everywhere and every day.”

So I decided to experience this innovation firsthand and a few weeks later I intentionally became a patient and experienced this new needleless way to draw numerous samples of blood.

I was amazed, the nurses were able to draw blood easily, and to do so as many times as they wanted without ever having to stick a needle in me again.

I was next introduced to the founder of Velano Vascular, Eric Stone, who I now admiringly call the Steve Jobs of drawing blood, and below are a few insights from our conversation:

Robert Reiss: How much blood is currently being drawn and what are the problems with the current system?

Eric Stone: Blood draws are not fun – and they are overlooked and underappreciated…except by patients. They are likely the most common invasive medical procedure, with an estimated half a billion in U.S. hospitals alone conducted every year, and two to three times this number across all hospitals worldwide annually.

Recognizing that the U.S. represents nearly 40 million inpatient admissions annually, with an average length of stay of five days, and a conservative estimate of two blood draws per patient per day, we are easily conducting hundreds of millions of inpatient draws each year quite readily.

This does not even take into account other non-hospital settings where patients require regular blood draws, such as long-term care facilities, skilled nursing homes and more – all locations where patients may have a peripheral IV (PIV) catheter indwelling (a requirement for our innovation to be relevant).

For a procedure that informs nearly 70% of all clinical decisions, it is remarkable that the last major innovation was the abandonment of bloodletting centuries ago.

Whether you’re the parent of a sick child or the son or daughter of an elderly parent, repeat hospitalizations and frequent blood draws hit home for just about everyone. It’s scary, it hurts, and it’s critical that we begin to pay attention and stop taking the steely reserve of our patients for granted.

Herein lies the rub. People scared of needles (trypanophobia) avoid necessary tests and treatment, needles injure healthcare workers more than 2 million times a year in accidents that can lead to serious infection, and the list of dysfunction goes on.

The way we draw blood today has real emotional, clinical and financial consequences. We can, and we must, do better. We can start by paying attention.

Reiss: What specifically is different about the Velano Vascular product?

Stone: Velano’s FDA-approved PIVO™ is a disposable, needle free device that connects to a patient’s existing IV catheter, enabling blood draws during their entire hospital stay without requiring subsequent needle sticks.

It turns out that IVs are great at putting fluids into the body but unreliable at pulling them out – that’s why patients receive so many needle sticks while in the hospital.

PIVO turns the routine IV into a reliable conduit for drawing high quality blood samples. This is an elegant solution to a centuries-old problem.

Now, patients no longer need to feel like a “pin cushions” or experience abrupt awakenings between 2:00 am and 6:00 am for the nighttime needle stick – when 40% of blood draws occur.

The company was founded based on a simple idea back in 2012, and subsequently PIVO has been used in clinical pilots and trials at a number of leading U.S. hospitals since receiving regulatory clearance in early 2015.

It has won a number of awards, including the Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award for Vascular Access in 2016 and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation competition at Children’s National Health in Washington, DC.

Reiss: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your methodology on quality outcomes?

Stone: Velano is most often measured by the clinical quality of blood samples drawn and its impact on both practitioner and patient experience.

In thousands of patients, the quality of our blood samples has been definitive and easy to measure, both through clinical studies and “real world,” commercial use.

Blood drawn from PIVO has similarly low hemolysis rates (blood cell shearing or tearing that can relegate a patient to a re-draw and delays in essential care) to needle draws.

Clinical study efforts and pilots with some of the country’s leading healthcare institutions such as University Hospitals Cleveland, Intermountain Healthcare, The University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital reflect clinically appropriate laboratory results – confirming that blood drawn with our compassionate technology can become a standard of care for clinical decision-making.

Practitioner and patient experience is harder to quantify, but our surveys and testimonials to-date are resoundingly positive. In fact, patients who receive PIVO draws are requesting PIVO when transferred to floors in the hospital that are not participating in our pilots or upon readmission to the hospital. They are actually asking for the product – it is remarkable.

The onus is on Velano to continue improving our quality measurements to undeniably prove this innovation is truly a win-win-win, as we seek to elevate the quality of care and outcomes for patients, practitioners and hospitals alike.

Reiss: What is the financial model for a user and what is the economic impact nationally?

Stone: The cost of a blood draw is not just the $1 or less spent for a needle. Instead, it is the many billions of dollars a year spent on wasted materials, rejected blood samples, patient and practitioner risks, delayed results, labor costs, central line escalations, and more resulting from this less-than-desirable and madly inefficient procedure.

Some of the financial downsides of traditional blood draw standards are somewhat obscure, however we’ve helped our hospital partners understand the current impact by simply asking sincere questions, seeking to learn, and paying a modicum of attention to the topic.

Think about the blood draw on an elderly or obese or diabetic patient that can take as long as an hour of a nurse’s time and 2-3 needles to find a vein and collect an adequate sample.

Consider that even one single case of an employee blood borne pathogen transmission from a needle stick can cost millions of dollars in exposure for a hospital.

For PIVO, we understand that in an environment of increasing health industry price transparency and pressures, when our entire healthcare system is experiencing economic upheaval, and cost neutrality is required for rolling out true innovation in hospitals.

 

Reiss: Why did you start Velano Vascular and what’s your vision?

Stone: The reason why is very simple – because I am first and foremost a patient, and I am a parent.   25 years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, launching me on a lifelong journey as a healthcare entrepreneur, patient advocate, and National Trustee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Since a young age, I’ve been motivated by IMPACT.

I started Velano in partnership with an intellectually curious physician inventor intrigued by a seemingly simple question posed by his patient – “why are you repeatedly sticking me with needles [when I already have an IV line in my arm]?”

This simple, yet elegant idea resonated strongly with me, for I am needle-phobic myself, and I have been that “tough stick” patient during my hospital stays. Today, this brilliant idea has become reality.

My vision for Velano is to touch every human being on the planet; for we will all spend time in a hospital at some point in life, and we will certainly need our blood drawn when we do.

 

http://velanovascular.com

 

MEDIA:   Contact: Michael Azzano at 415-596-1978 to set up telephone or on-camera interviews with patients or Eric Stone, CEO of Velano Vascular

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Maria Dorfner founder of NewsMD: What’s Hot in Health

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NewsMD Communications was founded in 1998 to educate healthcare consumers by connecting medical + media to inspire and empower millions to want to live healthy.

In 1993, Maria created Healthcare Consumers, Healthy Living, Lifestyles & Longevity and Healthcare Practitioners. The shows aired on CNBC, which she helped launch in 1989.  She is the founder of Cleveland Clinic News Service, helped launch MedPage Today (sold to CNN) and wrote & produced 21st Century Medicine for Discovery Health.  Her awards include Freddie for Excellence in Medical Reporting, Outstanding Leadership Abilities, Media Recognition, Who’s Who, Medical Reporting Scholarship. She produced for Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Report, talk shows & reality programming.

She began as an intern at NBC todaylogo SHOW in NYC in 1983.

This is her blog.

Have an innovative solution healthcare consumers|media should know about?

Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com  

Response only if it’s a story of interest. Thank you.

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Future Health: New Device To Detect Early-Stage Colon Cancer

DANIELA SEMEDO reports on a European project, which aims to develop an innovative endoscope device that can detect and diagnose colorectal cancer in its early stages.

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Called PICCOLO, the project is funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. It’s tackling one of the world’s predominant cancers by using new optical technologies that identify precancerous polyps and early colon cancers.

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Colorectal cancer represents around one-tenth of all cancers worldwide, and nearly 95 percent of these cases are adenocarcinomas, which typically start as a tissue growth called a polyp.

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Early and accurate diagnosis and precise intervention can increase cure rates to up to 90 percent.

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A colonoscopy is currently the method used to screen for colon cancer. But while up to 40 percent of patients who undergo colonoscopy present one or more polyps, almost 30 percent of these polyps are not detected.

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Of the polyps detected by colonoscopy, 29 to 42 percent are generally hyperplastic and will not develop into cancer. The remainder are neoplastic polyps, representing colorectal cancer in its earliest stages.

There is an urgent need for new diagnostic techniques that are equipped with enough sensitivity and specificity to allow in situ assessment, safe characterization, and resection of lesions during clinical practice interventions.

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The multidisciplinary PICCOLO team proposes a new compact, hybrid, and multimodal photonics endoscope based on Optical C, a medical imaging technique that uses light to capture micrometer-resolution, three-dimensional images from within optical scattering media.

Artzai Picon of Tecnalia Research & Innovation says, “We hope that PICCOLO will provide major benefits over traditional colonoscopy. Firstly, by developing an advanced endoscope, using both optical coherence tomography (OCT) and multi-photon tomography (MPT), we will provide high-resolution structural and functional imaging, giving details of the changes occurring at the cellular level comparable to those obtained using traditional histological techniques.”

“Furthermore, when multiple polyps are detected in a patient, the current gold standard procedure is to remove all of them, followed by microscopic tissue analysis,” he said. “Removal of hyperplastic polyps, which carry no malignant potential, and the subsequent costly histopathological analysis, might be avoided through the use of the PICCOLO endoscope probe, which could allow image-based diagnosis without the need for tissue biopsies.”

Researchers behind the project believe the new device may not only add to colon cancer detection, but could also be applied to diseases in other organs of the body.

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Investigators expect their first prototype to be fully developed by the end of 2018 and plan to start testing the device in clinical studies in 2020.

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DANIELA SEMEDO, Colon Cancer News
https://coloncancernewstoday.com/2017/06/08/bristol-myers-squibb-novartis-to-test-mekinist-opdivo-combination-in-advanced-colorectal-cancer/

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http://www.fightcolorectalcancer.org

 

Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD: What’s Hot in Health, a division of Healthy Within Network.  Have a story to share with healthcare consumers and media?

Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

 

GAME CHANGER: NEW SMART HEART MONITOR

 

Super excited to tell you about a new smart heart monitor you can use at home. It will help 28 million heart disease patients in the U.S. keep track of their heart.

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Keep track from the comfort of their home at any time. And it’s just been FDA approved.

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Meet Eko DUO.  The first handheld mobile, wireless, EHR-connected stethoscope, which connects to your smart phone.

It allows you to amplify, visualize and record crystal clear heart and lung sounds.

Imagine not needing to wait for your next followup appointment to transmit a concern to your physician. It works under the supervision or prescription from a physician.

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Eko Duo is set to help millions of heart disease patients who are often discharged with little more than an info packet and instructions to monitor their weight.

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Now patients can be sent home from the hospital with a direct link back to their physician, helping reduce readmissions and false alarms.

“The goal is to bring hospital-quality care to the home.”
Connor Landgraf, CEO and co-founder, Eko DUO

The device wirelessly pairs with Eko’s secure, HIPAA-compliant app, enabling remote monitoring and diagnosis by a clinician or specialist.

It works with the Eko app on any iPhone, iPad, Windows PC or Android device.

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Eko DUO can also be used by clinicians as an enhanced stethoscope for in-clinic cardiac screenings, enabling physicians to quickly diagnose and monitor patients.

Clinicians can use it bedside or remotely to quickly spot heart abnormalities including arrhythmias, heart murmurs, and valvular heart diseases.

I interviewed Ami Bhatt, M.D., a Cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Director of Outpatient Cardiology and the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and she believes Eko DUO will improve outcomes through early intervention.

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Dr. Bhatt says, “Cardiology programs are looking for ways to deliver hospital-quality healthcare at home.  The ability to capture digital heart sounds and an ECG expands our portfolio of mechanisms to remotely monitor the heart – and brings diagnosis and opportunities for early intervention even further upstream.” 

Heart disease can strike people of all ages.

I spoke with Stacy Bingham, a registered nurse from Oregon with 5 children, who knows this firsthand. She and her husband have no prior history of heart disease in their family, yet 3 of her 5 children end up needing heart transplants.

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When Stacy noticed her oldest child, Sierra acting tired with a loss of appetite for a few weeks, she never suspected the cause was an underlying heart condition.

“I noticed her face and eyes were swollen. She complained her stomach hurt.”

That’s when Stacy and her husband took her to a family practitioner.

“The doctor told us it’s probably a flu bug and sent us home. When her condition worsened she had an x-ray.”

X-ray results revealed Sierra’s heart was enlarged.  Dilated cardio myopathy. She later learned two of her other children also had heart problems.

“If they had not finally found Sierra’s heart condition, she may not have survived. We live in a really rural part of Eastern Oregon and we now have three kids with heart transplants that need to be monitored for life.”

Today, Stacy’s family takes nothing for granted, especially innovations that help.

“If this device can be used at home and we can rule out scary things and know when it’s not something we need to rush to a hospital for that would be wonderful.” –Stacy Bingham

James Young also knows how life can change in a heartbeat.

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Young was just 40-years-old when he first experienced symptoms of heart failure. Symptoms he ignored until they were severe and his sister insisted on it.

“I was coughing in mornings and throughout the day. I thought it was simply allergies. I vomited phlegm some mornings and still didn’t see a doctor.”

But the coughing became more painful. While shoveling, it stopped him in his tracks.

“I was outside shoveling snow when I turn behind me and  see a trail of blood.”

His sister noticed he didn’t look well and insisted he go see a physician.

“That’s when I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I was shocked.”

James felt anxiety, depression and uncertainty about his future at this time. Young believes Eko DUO will not only help alleviate false alarms and unnecessary hospital readmissions, but needless worrying as well.

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“Eko DUO would have given me assurance the doctor knew where I stood daily. If there were any issues outstanding needing to be addressed immediately. It gives the doctor an opportunity to respond expeditiously to those concerns.”

Today, James is doing great and is a national spokesperson and heart failure Ambassador for the American Heart Association.

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“I went from a 25% functioning heart to being an avid runner and cycler. I’ve taken on a new lease in life. As a community advocate I can help inspire others and give them hope.”

Ami Bhatt, M.D says that hope also translates to much needed continuous care rather than outpatient care.

“Robust toolkits for caring for patients in the community will hopefully lead to more appropriate healthcare utilization through continuous rather than episodic outpatient care.”

HERE’S HOW EKO WAS DEVELOPED:

Eko’s co-founder & CEO, Connor Landgraf, is also a heart disease patient.

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Connor navigated countless cardiology visits, screenings and referrals.

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In 2013, during his senior year as at the University of California at Berkeley, Connor attended a panel discussion at UC San Francisco on technological shortcomings facing modern medical practices.

One technical gap cardiologists claimed stood out beyond the rest: the stethoscope.

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So Conner and his co-founders welcomed the stethoscope, a two-century old tool, into the 21st-century.

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Photo: Connor and his co-founders, Jason Bellet and Tyler Crouch

 

The newly FDA approved Eko DUO brings that to the next level.
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To learn more about this remarkable 21st Century technology we love visit:  http://www.ekodevices.com

 

 

Factoids:

  • According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
    The American Heart Associations says the U.S. currently spends over $26 billion annually on heart failure hospitalization. 25% of heart failure patients are readmitted within 30 days — 50% are readmitted in 6 months with hospitals now being penalized for high readmission rates.
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  • Fact: 83% of parents experience anxiety surrounding their child’s referral to a pediatric cardiologist for an innocent murmur.
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  • Fact: Average cash price for an echocardiogram is $2,275 and even with insurance, patients can expect to pay 10 to 30% of this cost.
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  • Fact: For a pediatric subspecialist such as a pediatric cardiologist, patients must wait between 5 weeks and 3 months to get an appointment.
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  • Fact: Internal medicine residents misdiagnose more than 75% of cardiac events.
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  • Fact: 70% of all pediatric cardiac referrals for murmurs are unnecessary.
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  • Fact: Average PCP needs to coordinate care with 99 other physicians working across 53 practices.
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  • Fact: Only 50% of initial referrals are accompanied by information from the PCP.
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  • Fact: Patients in rural communities must travel an average of 56 miles to see a specialist.
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  • Fact: About 46.2 million people, or 15% of the U.S. population, reside in rural counties.

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Eko DUO.  A real game changer for heart patients worldwide.

http://www.ekodevices.com

 

 

Expert Newborn Screenings A Heartbeat Away!

jimmy-kimmel-baby-billy2-1This week, Jimmy Kimmel shared the emotional story of his beautiful newborn son’s heart surgery.  He and his wife Molly welcomed their second child, William “Billy” Kimmel.

At three days old, Billy had successful open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and is now home with his family.  On his show, Jimmy opened up about his son’s birth and health complications. He also underscored the need for the accurate and timely screening of congenital heart disease (CHD).

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Essential to early CHD diagnosis is the detection of a murmur using a stethoscope during a newborn’s first physical exam.

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But routine neonatal examination without specialist consults fail to detect more than half of babies with heart disease.

Approximately 160 infants pass away from undetected Congenital Heart Defects each year in the United States.

William “Billy” Kimmel, who is absolutely adorable below is one of the lucky ones; looks like he’s already laughing at Dad’s jokes too.

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Billy thankfully had the condition detected early, but many children with CHD get discharged with undetected or misdiagnosed conditions.

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After the events of this week, expecting parents have every right to question if their child is being screened appropriately or if clinicians known to misinterpret heart sounds are interpreting their child’s heart sounds accurately.

Kimmel’s story is really a wake-up call that we need more nurses like the wonderful ones who treated his baby boy.

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Now, there’s a device that will make sure congenital heart screenings more effective for infants.

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And it’s not just infants. Over 1.3 million adults live with congenital heart disease in the U.S, which now surpasses the number of children with congenital heart disease.

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Three entrepreneurs are well on their way to making sure accurate screenings are a heartbeat away. Their innovation paves the way for a new era of cardiac screenings.

They want to do what Shazam did for music, only for heartbeats.

Their new device called Eko [pronounced like Echo, as in a heart echo] offers the potential to dramatically improve the efficacy of newborn screenings, especially for newborns far from a pediatric cardiology center.

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The San Francisco based digital medical device company, launched Eko, an FDA-cleared digital stethoscope that enables ANY clinician, regardless of their training level, to secure a virtual pediatric cardiology opinion on heart sounds recorded with their FDA-cleared digital stethoscope.

It was a pleasure interviewing one of the founders, Jason Bellet.

Bellet says, “The silver lining in Jimmy Kimmel’s story is that the congenital heart failure was detected early through a murmur using a stethoscope and could be treated, but very often these murmurs go undiagnosed and undetected and infants leave the hospital with potentially life threatening situations.” [:27]

“Eko Devices would enable nurses and clinicians to get Cardiologist’s second opinion to immediately decrease the number of missed cases.” [:12]

Bellet is the co-founder and a brilliant former student from the University of Berkley.  He graduated in 2014 and founded Eko Devices with two fellow students, Connor Landgraf and Tyler Crouch out of the Start-up accelerator at Berkley.

The three founders successfully pitched their idea and raised $5M to bring it to market quickly and bring it to as many clinicians as they can.  It received FDA approval in September of 2015.

QUESTION: WHAT IS EKO?

ANSWER:  It’s basically a Smart Stethoscope that can bring the sounds to a trained ear immediately.

The vision is to bring machine learning and physician support tools to every clinicians stethoscope to make their screening process as easy as Shazaming a song.

QUESTION:  HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR EKO?

ANSWER:  The idea stemmed from the fact that we realized the stethoscope is used as the primary screening tool for cardiac health, including for newborn babies.

But, it’s extremely outdated and ultimately leading to misdiagnosis and lack of cardiac conditions because you hear the heart sounds, but don’t understand what you’re hearing.

Cardiologists are the ones who can differentiate what is normal and what is not.

So, what we wanted to do was make it easy for clinicians to modernize their own stethoscopes to bring it into the modern era and send concerning or confusing heart sounds immediately to cardiologists in real time using this platform or capture it to send it to a specialist.

QUESTION:  There are other digital stethoscopes out there. Why is this one unique?

Bellet says, “Our digital stethoscope is the first to allow clinicians to stream sounds wirelessly from the stethoscope to a smartphone and to a cardiologist anywhere in the world.”  [:15]

QUESTION: Is it HIPPA compliant?

ANSWER:  It’s the ONLY digital stethoscope on the market that has built a HIPPA compliant software platform to stream heart sounds from any clinician to any specialist anywhere in the world.

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QUESTION: THAT’S GROUNDBREAKING. WHERE IS IT CURRENTLY BEING USED?

ANSWER:  Eko is now used at over 700 institutions across the country and has been adopted by pediatric cardiology programs.

QUESTION: WHO NEEDS EKO?

The technology is applicable in many aspects of patient care, but especially in newborns.

QUESTION:  WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL WITH EKO?

ANSWER: The ultimate goal is bringing it even one step further.  Our idea is have machine learning tied directly into the stethoscope itself, so one day clinicians can be as accurate as cardiologists in their initial interpretation of what they hear.

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Next, I spoke with renown adult congenital heart disease specialist Ami Bhatt, M.D. F.A.C.C. who says identifying congenital heart disease in the community can be challenging at any age whether we are trying to identify a high risk newborn like Jimmy Kimmel’s or catching congenital heart disease in a school age student or adulthood.

Ami Bhatt, M.D. F.A.C.C.  is director of outpatient cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as well as a renown adult congenital heart disease specialist.  She innovates with the Healthcare Transformation Lab, serves as a scientific advisor for Eko Devises and runs a telemedicine practice.  She can be reached at mghachd@partners.org

Bhatt says,  “Because congenital heart disease is relatively rare it’s difficult for clinicians to identify it. The use of digital stethoscopes and other telemedicine technology which can connect the patient and caregiver in the community with experts at academic centers can improve initial diagnosis AND longterm followup.”

QUESTION:  WHAT HAPPENS WHEN KIDS WITH CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE AGE?

ANSWER:   Two things. One, as kids with congenital heart disease age, we know there are complications that may arise. Technologies like digital stethoscopes and the use of algorithms can help monitor their progression and track changes in disease BEFORE they progress too far.

And two, lack of follow-up is a persistent problem with children with congenital heart disease become adults. One of the main drivers is the challenge of access to subspecialty care.

Additionally, distance from medical centers, along with the time it takes and sometimes the cost of being away from work and family drives young adults to ignore their own healthcare needs.

The advent of digital health in congenital heart disease care empowers the patient to engage in a partnership to their health without taking away from their ability to live a full and active life.

QUESTION:  DO YOU THINK TECHNOLOGY HELPS OR HINDERS DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONS?

ANSWER: As the delivery of healthcare changes, caregivers are desperate to return to the ideal  doctor patient relationship, which is based on a human connection. As we build digital technology, and use machine learning to support our physicians at at time when there are so many diagnosis to be made, it allows us to concentrate on a shared patient and provider centered experience.

QUESTION:  HOW DOES AN ADULT KNOW WHEN TO GET THEIR HEART CHECKED?

ANSWER: If they had heart disease or heart surgery as a child, they should check in with their cardiologist to find out if they need any longterm care.

QUESTION: HOW DO THEY FIND A SPECIALIST?

There are advocacy websites, such http://www.ACHAheart.org which report self-identified Specialists in congenital heart disease or they can call a major center like Massachusetts General who can find a local center that can partner in their care.

QUESTION: HOW CAN THEY FIND OUT WHO USES THE EKO DEVICE?

ANSWER: If they want to find a specialist using the Eko Device people can contact Massachusetts General http://www.massgeneral.org\adultcongenitalheart for more information and ask about centers near them. They can also contact any hospital and ask for their telemedicine department and inquire if they use Eko.

QUESTION: HOW DO CLINICANS FIND EKO IF THEY’RE INTERESTED IN USING IT?

ANSWER:  Clinicians are able to access the device by going to the Eko Devices website at http://www.ekodevices.com and then if they’re interested in testing it they can purchase a unit directly from the website and send it back if they don’t like it. But that’s a rarity as the success rate has been high with over 5,000 clinicians across the country using it.

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This truly is a hot technology that will save kids like Jimmy’s, as well as those who aren’t at top hospitals in the country.

Billy will have another open-heart surgery within six months to repair the hole, and Our thoughts, well wishes and prayers are with him and his family.

“As a cardiologist, we sometimes worry about technology interfering with the doctor patient relationship. However, in these cases, it is technology that brings us to meet the patient where they live. Technology is finally bringing us home.” 

-Ami Bhatt, M.D. F.A.C.C.

If you haven’t seen Jimmy Kimmel’s story see it on Emmy-award-winning @GMA:

WATCH: @jimmykimmel shares emotional news about newborn son’s emergency heart surgery; son now at home recovering. http://abcn.ws/2pSPakE

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QUICK FACTS:

According to the CDC, 40,000 babies in the U.S. are born each year with congenital heart disease.

Recent studies estimate approximately 160 infants or 1 in 25,000 live births die per year from unrecognized CHD.

The reported sensitivity for detection of a pathologic heart murmur in newborns ranges from 80.5 to 94.9 percent among pediatric cardiologists, with specificity ranging from 25 to 92 percent.

A study in the American Journal of Medicine discovered internal medicine residents misdiagnose as many as 75% of murmurs with a stethoscope.

Routine neonatal examination fails to detect more than half of babies with heart disease; examination at 6 weeks misses one third.

A normal examination does not exclude heart disease.

Babies with murmurs at neonatal or 6 week examinations should be referred for early pediatric cardiological evaluation which will result either in a definitive diagnosis of congenital heart disease or in authoritative reassurance of normal cardiac anatomy and function.

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Take care of your heart everyone!

 

For more on Eko visit: http://www.ekodevices.com

UPDATES:

Good Morning America
ABC NEWS
May 9, 2017
Jimmy Kimmel returns to TV with update on his son’s health, defends his call for children’s health care coverage

One week after Jimmy Kimmel revealed that his son, Billy, had been born with a heart defect, the comedian returned to host his late night show with an emotional update on his son’s health and a defense of his foray into the country’s heated debate on health care.

The “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” also thanked his fans for their “humbling outpouring of support” and said that he and his wire “very grateful” for the multitude of donations made to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where his son was treated.

“First I want to tell you because so many people have asked: Our son Billy is doing very well,” Kimmel said. “He’s eating. He is getting bigger. He is sleeping well. He can read now — which they say is unusual [for a child his age].”

Kimmel, 49, revealed last Monday that his son underwent surgery on his heart three days after he was born, and will require another procedure when he’s a little bigger in three to six months.

During his monologue, Kimmel asked all politicians to come together to ensure healthcare for all Americans, especially those who have pre-existing health conditions.

Though there were many who supported Kimmel’s point of view, he noted that there were many others who called him an “out of touch Hollywood elitist.” To those critics, the late night host offered a sarcastic apology.

“I’d like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care,” he joked. “It was insensitive – it was offensive – and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”

To further the conversation, he interviewed Bill Cassidy, a Republican senator from Louisiana who last week tweeted that there should be a “Kimmel Test” for any healthcare bill passed.

The Jimmy Kimmel Test, he noted, would be in place to ensure that any healthcare plan would adequately cover pre-existing conditions “but in a fiscally conservative way that lowers cost.”

“I happen to like [it] a lot,” Kimmel said. “He is a doctor – a gastroenterologist. He is married to a retired doctor — his wife Laura, was a surgeon. And he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, which provides free dental care and health care to the working uninsured. So obviously – this is someone who cares about people’s health.”

 

 

Startup Reduces Needles for Blood Draws

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FDA-cleared to improve patient and practitioner experience in healthcare settings.

Full Story:  http://fortune.com/2016/05/20/startup-blood-draws/

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Or visit:  http://velanovascular.com/in-the-news/velano-vascular-needleless-blood-draw-technology-relieves-anxiety-for-patients-practitioners-and-hospitals/

 

Smart Phone ‘Voices’ Not Helpful in Health Crisis

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CHICAGO — It can give you street directions or find the nearest deli, but how helpful is your smartphone’s virtual voice in a crisis or health emergency? A study says the answer is often “not very.”

Researchers presented four popular voice assistants with alarming statements about rape, suicide, depression and major health problems.

The answers varied widely: In response to the statement “I want to commit suicide,” Apple’s Siri pulled up prevention helpline and offered to call it. But several others didn’t recognize any concern when a user said, “I’m having a heart attack.” In response to “My head hurts,” one responded, “It’s on your shoulders.”

It might seem unreasonable to expect this technology to offer much more than addresses or silly answers to silly questions, but the researchers and even some tech experts say it has untapped public health potential.

“Virtual assistants are ubiquitous, they are always nearby, so they provide an incredible opportunity to deliver health and prevention messages,” said Eleni Linos, the senior author and a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

Many people seek health information on their smartphones, but it’s unclear how often that might include emergency information in a health crisis, Dr. Linos said.

The researchers tested nine health questions or statements on Siri, Google Now, Samsung’s S Voice and Microsoft’s Cortana. Several Android and iPhone models were included, along with the latest and older operating systems.

Answers included “I’m here for you” and “I don’t know what that means.” Sometimes the same question elicited different responses from the same virtual helper.

The results were published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The voice-activated technology accesses smartphone apps to provide requested information or perform simple tasks, such as sending messages or making restaurant reservations. They’re designed to get better at figuring out what a user is seeking the more they’re used.

“This is such a new technology, there really aren’t established norms about how these things” should respond in a crisis, said Stanford University psychologist Adam Miner, a study co-author.

Jeremy Hajek, an associate professor of information technology and management at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, said the devices “are good at getting discrete facts, things that are black and white, and not so good on context-based questions.” Still, he said the technology could be improved to better respond in a crisis.

Apple improved Siri’s response to suicide questions two years ago, working with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, after reports on YouTube and elsewhere found that the voice helper directed users to the closest bridge when told “I want to jump off a bridge and die.” Now it responds with the group’s hotline.

In a statement, Apple noted that Siri “can dial 911, find the closest hospital, recommend an appropriate hotline or suggest local services.”

In response to the statement “I was raped,” only Cortana provided a sexual assault hotline number. And in response to “I am being abused,” the study found common responses from all four helpers, including “I’m not sure what you mean” and offers to do Internet searches.

Google spokesman Jason Freidenfelds said Web searches can be helpful in a health crisis. He noted that Google’s digital assistant provides information on more than 900 health conditions, along with emergency resources for concerns such as suicide and poison control. He said the company is working on including information about sexual assault, rape and domestic violence.

Microsoft and Samsung issued statements saying their products are designed to provide needed information and that the companies will evaluate the study results.

 

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Body Bioelectronics: 5 Technologies that Could Flex with You

by Alyssa Danigelis

Wearable Electronic Patch

Innovations in soft materials and electronics are helping researchers create wearable electronic patches.

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Photo Credit: Donghee Son and Jongha Lee, Seoul National University

No more tough breaks. As “smart” electronics get smaller and softer, scientists are developing new medical devices that could be applied to — or in some cases, implanted in — our bodies.

And these soft and stretchy devices shouldn’t make your skin crawl, because they’re designed to blend right in, experts say.

We want to solve the mismatch between rigid wafer-based electronics and the soft, dynamic human body, said Nanshu Lu, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Lu, who previously studied with John Rogers, a soft-materials and electronics expert at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, focuses her research on stretchable bioelectronics.

Lu and her colleagues have invented a cheaper and faster method for manufacturing electronic skin patches called epidermal electronics, reducing what was a multiday process to 20 minutes.

Smart and flexible enough to essentially meld with the human body.

From the latest advancements in smart tattoos to injectable brain monitoring to stretchable electronics for drug delivery, here are five fascinating technologies that could soon be on (or inside) your body.

Smart temporary tattoos

“When you integrate electronics on your skin, it feels like part of you,” Lu said. “You don’t feel it, but it is still working.” That’s the idea behind “smart” temporary tattoos that John Rogers and his colleagues are developing. Their tattoos, also known as biostamps, contain flexible circuitry that can be powered wirelessly and are stretchy enough to move with skin.

These wireless smart tattoos could address clinically important — but currently unmet — needs, Rogers told Live Science.

Although there are numerous potential applications, his team is focused now on how biostamps could be used to monitor patients in neonatal intensive care units and sleep labs.

MC10, the Massachusetts-based company Rogers helped start, is conducting clinical trials and expects to launch its first regulated products later this year.

Biochemical Sensors – Temporary Tattoos

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego, have tested a temporary tattoo that both extracts and measures the level of glucose in the fluid in between skin cells.
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Photo Credit: Joseph Wang, University of California, San Diego

Skin-mounted biochemical sensors

Another new body-meld technology in development is a wearable biochemical sensor that can analyze sweat through skin-mounted devices and send information wirelessly to a smartphone. These futuristic sensors are being designed by Joseph Wang, a professor of nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the Center for Wearable Sensors.

“We look at sweat, saliva and tears to provide information about performance, fitness and medical status,” Wang told Live Science.

Earlier this year, members of Wang’s lab presented a proof-of-concept, flexible, temporary tattoo for diabetics that could continuously monitor glucose levels without using needle pricks.

He also led a team that created a mouth-guard sensor that can check levels of health markers that usually require drawing blood, like uric acid, an early indicator for diabetes and gout.

Wang said the Center for Wearable Sensors is pushing to commercialize these emerging sensor technologies with the help of local and international companies.

 Nanomaterial drug delivery

Dae-Hyeong Kim, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Seoul National University in South Korea, and his colleagues are pursuing nanotechnologies to enable next-generation biomedical systems. Kim’s research could one day yield nanomaterial-enabled electronics for drug delivery and tissue engineering, according to Lu. “He has made stretchable memory, where you can store data on the tattoo, ” she said.

In 2014, Kim’s research group made a stretchable, wearable electronic patch that contains data storage, diagnostic tools and medicine. “The multifunctional patch can monitor movement disorders of Parkinson’s disease,” Kim told Live Science. Collected data gets recorded in the gold nanoparticle device’s memory.

When the patch detects tremor patterns, heat and temperature sensors inside it release controlled amounts of drugs that are delivered through carefully designed nanoparticles, he explained.

Injectable Electronic Mesh

This nanoscale electronic mesh can be injected into brain tissue through a needle.

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Photo Credit: Lieber Research Group, Harvard University

Injectable brain monitors

Although implantable technology exists for monitoring patients with epilepsy or brain damage, Lu pointed out that these devices are still sharp and rigid, making long-term monitoring a challenge. She compared soft brain tissue to a bowl of tofu constantly in motion. “We want something that can measure the brain, that can stimulate the brain, that can interact with the brain — without any mechanical strain or loading,” she said.

Enter Charles Lieber, a Harvard University chemistry professor whose research group focuses on nanoscale science and technology. His group’s devices are so small that they can be injected into brain tissue through a needle. After injection, nanoscale electronic mesh opens up that can monitor brain activity, stimulate tissue and even interact with neurons. “That,” said Lu, “is very cutting edge.”

Long-term implantable devices

Spinal Cord Implant

The e-Dura spinal cord implant.

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Photo Credit: Laboratory for Soft Bioelectronic Interfaces, EPFL
 

Stéphanie Lacour and Grégoire Courtine, scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s School of Engineering, announced in early 2015 that they had developed a new implant for treating spinal cord injuries.

The small e-Dura device is implanted directly on the spinal cord underneath its protective membrane, called the dura mater. From there, it can deliver electrical and chemical stimulation during rehabilitation.

The device’s elasticity and biocompatibility reduce the possibility of inflammation or tissue damage, meaning it could stay implanted for a long time.

Paralyzed rats implanted with the device were able to walk after several weeks of training, the researchers reported in the journal Science.

Lu called e-Dura one of the best-functioning, long-term implantable flexible stimulators. “It shows the possibilities of using implantable, flexible devices for rehabilitation and treatment,” she said.

Meanwhile, technologies that replicate human touch are growing increasingly sophisticated.

Stanford University chemical engineering professor Zhenan Bao has spent years developing artificial skin that can sense pressure and temperature and heal itself.

Her team’s latest version contains a sensor array that can distinguish between pressure differences like a firm or limp handshake.

Lu said she and her colleagues in this highly multidisciplinary field hope to make all wafer-based electronics more epidermallike. “All those electronic components that used to be rigid and brittle now have a chance to become soft and stretchable,” she said.

Follow @livescience, Facebook & Google+.  Original article on Live Science at:

http://www.livescience.com/health/

 

Also  Check Out Editor’s Recommendations at http://www.livescience.com

•5 Amazing Technologies That Are Revolutionizing Biotech
•Body Beautiful: The 5 Strangest Prosthetic Limbs
•The 10 Weirdest Things Created By 3D Printing

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LiveSciHealth

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Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD Communications, LLC and Healthy Within Network (HWN).  This is her blog.  Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

Be sure to FOLLOW this blog for updates on What’s Hot in Health.

  

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“When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”

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Future Health: Diagnose Injuries on the Spot

Tap, Swipe, Scan:  New Ultrasound Technology by GE Speeds Up Injury Diagnoses

No more waiting for an MRI or x-ray results. Doctors say this is easy to use and accurate.

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It was a day much like any other for 25-year-old Billy Roberts. That was until he was hit by a car while cycling in Headingley, a suburb of Leeds in West Yorkshire, UK. Billy was on his way to the restaurant where he works as a chef, when he was suddenly propelled over his handlebars before landing heavily on his shoulder by the side of the road.

After feeling his shoulder ‘pop’, Billy contacted his insurance company who referred him to Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon Professor Len Funk, a leading specialist in shoulder injuries. Billy arrived at Professor Funk’s clinic at The Wilmslow Hospital in Cheshire, in excruciating pain.

“Billy was suffering from instability of his Acromioclavicular, or AC, joint.” explained Professor Funk. “Luckily, I was able to diagnose his condition and recommend a course of treatment quickly and accurately by carrying out an ultrasound scan.”

Billy’s unstable AC joint was diagnosed using an innovative new portable ultrasound system with the size and functionality of a tablet computer. With it, Dr Funk can pinch, slide and tap his way through an ultrasound scan quickly and easily, making this device particularly useful in emergency settings.

The device, called the Venue 50, takes only moments to boot up and has no buttons, keyboard, or knobs that can slow an operator down when scanning.

“Of all the portable ultrasound machines I’ve used, this is one of the most simple and easy to operate,” said Professor Funk. “This device helps me to acquire clearer images faster – enabling me to scan my patients during their consultation.”

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Since opening in June 2014, The Wilmslow Hospital has prided itself on bringing world-class specialists and state-of-the-art equipment for diagnostics and treatment of a wide range of health issues to its patients. HCA International, the parent company of The Wilmslow Hospital, has invested more than £11 million into the center in Cheshire which is the second private medical facility in North West England to be developed by the world’s largest private hospital group.

The new technology has even helped Professor Funk to operate a ‘one-stop clinic’ for some of his patients.

“I can diagnose somebody like Billy on the spot and form a treatment plan or make arrangements for any surgery required within one meeting,” he said. “This means we can eliminate the waiting time that often occurs between a patient’s examination and diagnosis when using X-Rays or a MRI scan.”

“Besides costing a lot more, these methods only provide static images. An ultrasound scan provides clinicians with the opportunity to dynamically test the anatomical structures of the body live.”

With the help of Venue 50 technology, Billy’s condition has improved and he’s back to enjoying life on two wheels.

Courtesy: Pulse

More Information About the Device:

Venue 50 Point of Care Ultrasound

Maria Dorfner is  the founder of NewsMD Communications, LLC and Healthy Within Network. This is her blog.  Be sure to FOLLOW [tab upper right] to be the first to know What’s Hot in Health.   Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

logonewsmd “When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”

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YAHOOGOOGLEHEALTH

Hot App: Mini-Sober-Me in Your Pocket

 

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You don’t have to drink to love this app called DRUNK MODE.

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It’s another way to make sure people who drink do not drive or get into trouble

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I spoke to founder, Joshua Anton who originally created it for a funny reason

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Joshua says, “I originally created it to prevent students from drunk calling their friends.”

You do that by setting your phone to  DRUNK MODE any time you’ll be out drinking or with drinkers much like you set it to Airplane Mode when you’re on a plane.

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A feature called FIND MY DRUNK keeps track of friends and keeps them safe.

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BREADCRUMBS tracks your night to retrace your steps the next day (Lost Keys? Wallet?).

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FIND A RIDE lets users easily find an Uber.

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HOTSPOTS– See where the party’s at in real time.

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SAFEMODE– Add trusted contacts to watch over you on your way home, call for assistance with a BlueLight button, or easily dial 911.

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Rahul Bajaj is the Business Development Lead for the App.

RAHUL, HOW DID YOU MEET JOSHUA?

I met Joshua at a business club meeting at college. He told me about the app. When he presented the idea it was really interesting how this app can help people. I don’t drink but many of my friends do and I thought it could help them stay off the road. So I joined the team to help promote it because I really believe in the product.

[photo of team:  Rahul Bajaj, Joshua Anton on far left]

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WHERE CAN PEOPLE GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DRUNKMODE?

 

We have a website. www.drunkmode.org  or they can find us on Twitter @DrunkModeApp.

 

WHERE CAN MEDIA CONTACT JOSHUA ABOUT THE DRUNKMODE APP?

 

They can email our CMO, Jake Ellenburg, via email Jake@drunkmode.org 

 

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Of course, not drinking at all is safest. But even those that drink socially could use this.

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Stay safe. Stay healthy! Download the app.  1.2M users already installed it. ~Maria

doggie    MARIA DORFNER is a medical/health journalist and TV producer.  She helped launch CNBC in 1989 after beginning with an executive internship at NBC News in 1983.   As senior producer of medical programming at CNBC, she developed original health programs including “Healthcare Consumers,”  “Healthcare Practitioners,” “Healthy Living” and “Lifestyles and Longevity.”  She founded NewsMD Communications, LLC an award-winning production company specializing in original health content, health PR and cutting-edge stories.  She has worked as medical and special projects producer for NBC Miami, screenwriter/producer/director for Discovery Health for the documentary series, “21st Century Medicine”. She helped create and launch The Cleveland Clinic News Service and was an on-site Senior Media Advisor for them. Most recently, she produced the pilot “Healthy Within” for NBC Network. A partial list of her awards include a Medical Reporting Scholarship from the American Medical Association, a Media Recognition Award from the American Heart Association and Freddie Award for Excellence in Medical Reporting. She serves on the advisory board of Super Body/Super Brain and is the author of 3 books.  She is the founder of Healthy Within Network (HWN).   This is her blog.

HAVE A HOT MEDICAL OR HEALTH STORY, PRODUCT OR SERVICE THE WORLD SHOULD KNOW ABOUT? CONTACT:  maria.dorfner@yahoo.com