Amara Nwosu

MBCHB MRCP PhD


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The future of digital health? the King’s Fund Digital Health and Care Congress 2017

Much written about the potential to use digital tools to reform healthcare, concentrate on the short to medium term (i.e. 5- 10 years). However, many of the benefits from digital health will only be fully realised in the longer (i.e. >10 years) term. This is because benefits arising from disruptive technologies may only be achieved following the implementation of cultural, workforce and infrastructural change, which can take time to achieve.

The King’s Fund Digital Health Conference recenty took place across two days in London (11th – 12th July) and provided an opportunity for profesionals from different disciplines to discuss how digital technologies can be used to transform healthcare delivery in the long term. There were several speakers and workstream groups which covered discussion of the opportunities and challenges of these approaches, in addittion to providing many examples of current use of technological and workplace innovation.

Particular highlights for me was Rob Shaw’s (Interim Chief Executive for NHS Digital) talk about the NHS Digital’s perpective on the importance of utilising health data better to provide integrated care. Also, Nicola Perrin (Wellcome Trust) provided an overview of the ‘Understanding Pataient Data’ project, which looks to improve awareness in society (professionals and lay people) about the value of using healthcare data to support patient care. Furthermore, the Wellcome Trust this year will undertake a project which will examine public perceptions of the role of new emerging technology (e.g. artificial intelligence, machine learning) in healthcare.

Many of the talks at the conference had inter-connecting themes; highlighting the importance of forming policy to shape culture through engagement of wider society and professionals. Although there is evidence of innovative work in several areas, a lot of fragmentation is currenty present. Consequently, it is important for collaborations of partners with a shared common vision for digital health.

As an academic palliative medicine physician I am interested in the potential digital health applications to support the management of people with serious illness. If anyone is also interested in undertaking work in this area, please feel free to contact me.

Further information of the King’s Fund Digital Health Conference (and other events by the King’s Fund) can be found here:

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/events/digital-health-and-care-congress-2017

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MyPal podcast: 3D printing in clinical practice – episode 5

In this episode of MyPal I discuss the recent BMJ editorial (by Mahiben Maruthappu) detailing the potential use of 3D printing in clinical practice.

Copyright Amara Nwosu
www.amaranwosu.com

Music by Year of the Fiery Horse
@year-of-the-fiery-horse

Image copyright of endgaget.com
www.engadget.com/2012/09/26/form-…ffordable-price/

References:

Mahiben Maruthappu, Bruce Keogh. How might 3D printing affect clinical practice?
BMJ 2014; 349 doi: dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7709 (Published 30 December 2014)

Surgeon creates pelvis using 3D printer (Telegraph article)
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/106…3D-printer.html

3D printed heart saves baby’s life (article in Independent newspaper).
www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gad…d-9776931.html

3-D printed windpipe gives infant breath of life (Nature)
www.nature.com/news/3-d-printed-…h-of-life-1.13085


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Nanotechnology to diagnose and monitor cancer – can palliative care benefit? The Google X project

Google have entered into the health research arena. They aim to use technology to diagnose cancer early. I believe is exciting and should cause us to question how technology could be used in palliative care.

Computer science has arguably overtaken medicine as the newest academic discipline. Modern applications like the iPhone (only developed in 2007) have irreversibly changed the way we interact with technology on a daily basis. However, it is not common to hear about medics collaborating with computer scientists or undertaking computer science courses or research. This is in contrast with  other academic disciplines such as natural sciences, social sciences and psychology.

The ‘Google X’ project aims to avoid unnecessary deaths. In terms of cancer Google propose a diagnostic ‘smart pill’ that can be swallowed by an individual which. The pull would contain magnetised nanoparticles that would be released into the blood when swallowed. These particles would travel round the body looking for biomarkers, only to return (by action of their magnets) to a wearable device on the wrist to download the results. In addition to cancer Google indicate that other markers (such as sodium) could be monitored.

Google’s aim to reduce unnecessary deaths is admirable; however, should we also be asking how we can use computer science and concepts like nanotechnology to improve palliative care? Or, conversely, should high tech, high cost interventions be avoided at the end of life? This is interesting food for thought. What is certain is that technology and innovation will continue and the role this has in palliative care needs to be considered.

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/07/google-x-sets-out-define-healthy-human

http://online.wsj.com/articles/google-to-collect-data-to-define-healthy-human-1406246214