Amara Nwosu

MBCHB MRCP PhD


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Robotic technology for palliative and supportive care: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

How could robots help us at the end of life? Check out this open access article I published with some great co-authors.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0269216319857628

What is already known about the topic?

  • Medical robots have mainly been used to support surgical procedures and for a variety of assistive uses in dementia and elderly care.
  • There has been limited debate about the potential opportunities and risks of robotics in other areas of palliative, supportive and end-of-life care.

What this paper adds?

  • The potential opportunities of robotics in palliative, supportive and end-of-life care include a number of assistive, therapeutic, social and educational uses.
  • There is concern that robots will exacerbate healthcare inequalities, disrupt the workforce and reduce face-to-face human interaction.

Implications for practice, theory or policy

  • Future work should evaluate the health-related, economic, societal and ethical implications of using robotic technology in palliative, supportive and end-of-life care.
  • There is a need for collaborative research to establish use-cases and policy recommendations to guide the appropriate use of robots for people with serious illness.

CLICK below to access the artilce

Nwosu AC, Sturgeon B, McGlinchey T, Goodwin CDG, Behera A, Mason S, Stanley S, Payne TR. Robotic technology for palliative and supportive care: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Palliative Medicine 2019.

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Sensor City: Connected cows and better mousetraps

This evening I had the pleasure to attend a networking event at ‘Sensor City’ Liverpool. Sensor City is a Liverpool-based technical innovation centre and University Enterprise Zone; it aims to support the creation, development, production and promotion of cutting edge sensor technologies for use in a wide range of sectors.

http://www.sensorcity.co.uk/

Sensor City

The event was entitled ‘Connected cows and better mousetraps’ and detailed myriad potential  ‘use-cases’ for the application of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in industry.

http://www.sensorcity.co.uk/event/connected-cows-better-mousetraps/

The session was led by Mark Maidman, a representative from Actility (https://www.actility.com/) a company specialising in IoT devices.

As a palliative care doctor interested in technology my immediate thoughts are about the potential uses of IoT to support care of people with advanced disease and complex needs. Events like these are excellent in fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration which will hopefully lead to innovation through sharing expertise and resources.

Further information about sensor cities events can be found here:

http://www.sensorcity.co.uk/events/

Are you interested in the role of emerging technologies in facilitating supportive and palliative care for individuals and populations? If so, please free to comment and get in touch with me.


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The new MyPal podcast: technology, innovation and palliative care. Episode 1 now available.

This is the first episode of an exciting new project that I’m undertaking. This podcast blends discussion of technology, innovation, health, palliative care and research. This first episode provides an overview of the project and outlines what you can expect in the coming weeks.

MyPal is a podcast about technology, innovation and research relevant to Palliative Care. Come and join the conversation about these issues in a way you just might like.

Copyright Dr Amara Nwosu, KingAmi media 2014.www.amaranwosu.com

Original music is performed by ‘Year of the Fiery Horse’ (YOTFH). Soundcloud link: @year-of-the-fiery-horse


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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