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VWN Resource Database: Augmenting Hospital Care
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Resource Database > Augmenting Hospital Care
The cost of healthcare is far more than it should really be. Centralisation is a good thing for grouping specialities together, only if it remains necessary. It is a good thing for rapid response patient carem, but not when monitoring is all that is required. With the growth of superbugs in hospital wards, there are strong reasons to separate patients from one another, or to maintain an impeccable standard of cleanliness.

Often, doctors and surgeons, operating under increasing pressure, dealing with ever more limited resources and funding, with wards strained to the limit, find their natural faculties simply not enough to cope with volume, and mistakes are made.

Augmenting the hospital environment, taking the workload off the most stressed individuals wherever possible, reducing the need for patients to go to the hospital, making data transfer easier. All these and many more augmentations combine to make centralised healthcare more productive, superior results and ultimately per patient, cheaper.


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Robotic Surgery (9)

We are at the limits of human dexterity. But who says a surgeon's skill should be lost if their hands have started to shake with age, or if an operation is just too complex for human hands? Augmented Reality is here to help.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Stereotaxy
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Da Vinci gains Gaze Assist
A short supplimental artcle concerning the Da-Vinci surgical system, and an incremental improvement to it.

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Autonomous Shrapnel Remover
We are still a long way from an autonomous robot surgeon in general surgery, but perhaps not as far removed as it was believed. Bioengineers at Duke University have developed a laboratory robot that can successfully locate tiny pieces of metal within flesh and guide a needle to its exact location, without any human assistance.

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Intelligent, Sensitive Surgical Drill
Boring small holes in the head is a common occurrence for surgeons working on delicate surgical procedures for the senses. Dentists drilling teeth, surgeons drilling into the nose, ear, or drilling holes into the head. Delicate, tiny movements where one slip could slam the drill into soft tissue, rending arteries rearing ligaments, driving shards of bone into the brain.

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Podcast: Catherine Mohr: Surgery's past, present and robotic future
This podcast comes from TED 2009, where Catherine Mohr, a surgeon, engineer, and inventor of the LapCap, spoke at length about the history and future of surgery. She discusses where new technology is taking all of medicine, with special focus to Da Vinci's robotic surgery technology.

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Robotic maneuvers render shorter scar, recovery time after heart surgery
Industry News

Industry news, originally posted 10-08-2004, deemed too important to allow to fade. WESTON -- Doug Sherman had coronary bypass surgery on a Friday and was home by Monday. A week later, he went back to work as an optician in Boca Raton. This unheard-of recovery time is all thanks to AR (Augmented Reality) surgery.

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Speedy 3D X-rays in the operating room
ORBIT, a new motorised arm X-ray system is being trialled at a surgical unit in Germany, where it is successfully allowing surgery to continue uninterrupted whilst millimetre-precise 3D X-rays are taken of the surgical site, as often as the surgeon requires.

The da Vinci System is called "da Vinci" because Leonardo da Vinci invented the first robot Leonardo also used unparalleled anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details to bring his masterpieces to life; thus the robot was named after him. First cleared by the American FDA in 2000, the DaVinci surgical robot is designed to enable minimally invasive, complex surgery.



ViRob, or Virus Robot, is a bit of an oddity at the moment, but it is one of the first of a new trend for swallowable robotic systems. At just 1mm wide, powered by twelve bristle 'legs', three on each side, this cuboid robot, is designed to go up the nose, down the throat, up the colon, or any other cavity that is desired, and bring with it a pharmaceutical payload designed for pinpoint delivery.





Robotic Porters (1)

Porters. Those who carry materials, valuables, organs and tissue across the hospital, from one side to another. In a large organisation such as a hospital, finding a porter who has been around long enough to be absolutely trusted with vital organics can be a difficult task, especially when many other staff will be new.
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Wageless Workers: Robot Porters
A hospital porter is a much-overlooked, but invaluable staff member. They are essentially the beasts of burden for the hospital. Carrying everything from highly sensitive medical data, to trolley loads of towels, medicine carts, chairs, bedding, toiletry and hygiene supplies? literally anything and everything. Unfortunately, they are also a security issue, as they fade inti the background, and are easily impersonated.



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Robotic Cleanliness (1)

There is an old saying, that cleanliness is next to godliness. It is a very very good idea that places with a great number of sick people in them, be kept clean at all times. In these days of superbugs, a quick mop round once a day is just not enough. It needs to be done much more often, and in greater detail. That means either hiring more staff... or finding a better way.
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HyGreen - Intelligent Hygiene Sensor web
A novel take on the sensor web has been unveiled by US firm Xhale incorporated, consists of a wireless network of soap dispensers, which contain sensors capable of detecting whether the hand waved under it, has recently been sanitized or not.



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Robotic Rounds (2)

For doctors, doing the rounds and meeting the patients can be one of the most beneficial things they do, from a human standpoint. From a time-management standpoint, it is often a very different matter, and can be the most time consuming element of an already-stressed day. It still has to be done, of course, but maybe there is a way to get other matters done, at the same time?
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Encroachment of the Computerised Doctor
After decades of future predictions that came to naught, it looks like the medical community is finally; very begrudgingly accepting that computerised physicians might actually be a desirable thing.

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Human Interaction with Personally Invasive Non-Lifelike Robots
In all the work we have done towards integrating robots into the health system and care systems respectively, one fundamental question has never really been asked. "How will humans in general react to their physical manipulation or space invasion by clearly intelligent, yet alien machinery?" Long overdue, its time to not anly ask that, but answer it as well.



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Augmented Sight (4)

Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Pervasive Healthcare
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Book Quotes: Medical HUD
Medical HUD systems, that overlay different spectral frequencies on top of normal vision. Came out of a novel, does not exist yet today. Doable? Absolutely.

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IPhone, Android Telehealth for Health Professionals (Part 4)
Telehealth applications are not just telehealth based any more. The same techniques that have helped the powerful computer/mobile phone hybrids like iphone and Android turn telehealth on its head in the past few months, are now starting to turn back in upon themselves, and affect in a positive way, how healthcare provision inside the hospital is carried out.

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Looking Inside a Patient's Living Skin
A look at a new means of low-cost, high effectiveness under-skin imager, designed for use in the doctor's office and in the field, that offers a low-cost, high-precision alternative to CT.



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Electronic Records (16)

Linked resource
X-ray technology in the 21st century
A mainstream article from the BBC looking at the spread of PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications Standard) in UK health centres in mid 2007, and the profound positive impact it has had on those health authorities it has been adopted in.

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Augmented Telehealth
The problem with implementing telehealth is that it cannot be deployed alone. In order to use remote delivered health care effectively, the entire health care system needs augmenting with other aspects of the same technologies, and methodologies changed slightly to be more time efficient and much more digital.

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Augmenting Medical Records: OpenMRS
OpenMRS, or The Open Medical Record System, is a free, open-source attempt at creating a distributed electronic patient records system. It is web based, written in Java, and is under active development.

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Avatar Based Health Records
IBM has been working on a system of medical records using visual avatar inspection to aid doctors in increasingly busy health environments.

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Radiotherapy in the UK benefits from virtual reality training
All trainee radiographers in the UK will learn how to treat cancer on virtual patients using Virtual Environment Radiotherapy Training (VERT), a development by the University of Hull and the Princess Royal Hospital.

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Standards > DICOM
DICOM, which stands for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine is the main set of standards currently in use by medical communities for medical data handling.

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Standards > MedX3D
The Medical Working Group of the X3D consortium is developing an open interoperable standard for human anatomy representation. This standard works with multiple types of scans (CAT, MRI, PET, and others), and allows equipment manufacturers to be able to export data collected from the scanning machines into a shared data format.

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Standards > PACS
Picture Archiving and Communications System, or PACS is a digital image standard, used increasingly in medicine. A basic level standard, it is often in place before more advanced standards like DICOM.

Linked resource
The Future of Clinical Computing: A Vision from Panasonic
An interview between Medgadget and Panasonic, on Panasonic's 2008 vision for the future of clinical computing.

Created at the end of 2008, the MediClient was the brainchild of Kontron AG, in Munich, Germany. It is a Medical Clinical Assistant device or MCA. Unlike most of its competitors, MediClient does not have a convenient carry handle moulded into it. Instead, it is more designed to be carried under one arm on short distances rather than carried about all day, or frequently passed around a busy lab.



Medislate, released early 2009 by TabletKiosk, integrates so many of the features of the devices that came before it. It is a Medical Clinical Assistant device or MCA. It was designed as a medical tablet PC, that could be taken anywhere inside the hospital, rested on one arm or a bed whilst notes are entered in via a touchscreen, whilst maintaining a continuous wi-fi link to the hospital itself.



MedTab was created in 2007 by Emano Tec, Inc. it has the notable distinction to date of being the only Medical Clinical Assistant device or MCA, that's not a clinical white for easy cleaning. Instead, the case is jet black.



Created in 2007, then updated several times throughout 2008, the C5 remains on the market at time of writing. This MCA or Medical Clinical Assistant device was the brainchild of a partnership between Intel and Motion Computing.



One of the first mobile clinical assistants to hit the market, was the Philips MCA in 2006. Created as a partnership between Philips and Intel, this relatively primitive wireless data input unit, was designed to be held in one hand, and interacted with by a stylus in the other.



ProScribe was an early MCA or Medical Clinical Assistant device, created by Philips in 2006. It was designed as a medical tablet PC, that could be taken anywhere inside the hospital, rested on one arm or a bed whilst notes were entered in via a touchscreen, whilst maintaining a continuous wi-fi link to the hospital itself. The Scribe could also be docked at a nurse's station or doctor's desk to commune data through wired channels, and to recharge.



The Toughbook H1 was created by Panasonic at the end of 2008. Very much alive and kicking, this Medical Clinical Assistant device or MCA, is a sturdy bdside point of care computer for hospitals.





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Biochip Diagnosis (5)

Biochip laboratories are one of the most promising diagnosis methods, now emerging. A tiny chip, a mix of electronic pathways and fluid channels. Each programmed to spot maybe 250, maybe 500 variants on a condition. Each costing just a few pence to make. Take a sample of blood, just a in-prick, and let a single drop fall onto a biochip. Place in biochip lab, to power it. In the first models, processing took two hours. It is coming down, and swiftly so.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Pervasive Healthcare
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BioChips: A Hospital in a shoebox
A biochip is a computer chip, that is a mix of circuits for electrical signals, and tiny canals for fluid, usually blood. There are many different definitions for a biochip. Some class biochips as those RFID chips injected into humans and animals. A few consider a petridish full of lab-grown rat brain cells hooked to a pc as a biochip. Others regard prosthetic interface chips as biochips, whilst still others lab-on-a-chips to be biochips. So who is right?

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Hospital in the Ambulance, Chip in Your Hand
A counterpart to the hospital in the home, this article expands that concept, to have a hospital in the back of every ambulance, already diagnosing and beginning hospital care, on the ride in - everything short of surgery.

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Using Biolabs With Interchangable Chips
Currently, there are several biochip lab devices available. Each takes a small number of compatible, disposable biochips. The lab powers the biochips, maintains a sterile environment, and controls the fluid gates for each sample. The only problem is, each can only handle one condition, so hundreds of labs are required for every condition. Surely there is another way?

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When a Biochip Lab is not enough: Massively parallel Biochip Labs
Biochip laboratories are a long way from standard equipment in every doctor's office, of course. The technology has left the lab, but only just. Still, there is plenty of room for improvement. After all, what do you do when testing hundreds of samples all at once, is just not enough? Why you increase the throughput!



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Health Monitoring Fabrics (5)

Why is a bed just a bed? Is there any reason it cannot actively monitor a patient's vitals? The same goes for gowns, wrist bands, general clothes. If there is active monitoring around a patient, and a network to support it, doctors are alerted anything from seconds to minutes earlier, again, depending on how hectic things are, right then.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Pervasive Healthcare
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First European Bio-Monitor Beds
The LifeBed is an intriguing take on wearable healthcare. The patient lays on a double mattress - the Hoada one completely covers the old, existing one and contains medical sensors and is hooked up to the diagnostic network. This frees up any necessity to wear sensors whilst in bed, and frees up the necessity for trailing wires.

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Ubiquitous Lifesigns Monitoring
Embedding electronics directly into fabrics, and weaving intelligent clothing is quite possible these days. Thus, it is not a great step to envisage clothes which continuously monitor your vital signs, and relay that information to a computer system, also located about your person, or in your house or vehicle.

The LifeShirt is a garment (not necessarily a shirt) developed by VivoMetrics, which monitors tyhe wearer's vital signs. Collecting a continuous stream of respiration flow, heart rate, breathing regularity, sweat production and other key metrics.



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Wearable Diagnosis
Diagnosis of any illnesses, sudden injuries, or deterioration of conditions is something traditionally done in a doctor's clinic or in a hospital. Yet, with the proliferation of technologies to imbed computer components in our clothes and bodies, it is perfectly feasible to slip into your daily health check when you don something from your wardrobe at the start of the day.



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Printed Healthcare (2)

The humble printer is oft-overlooked as a medical tool. Yet, they are capable of manufacturing stents, needles, even prosthetic body-parts, all en situ, saving precious time when a patient's well being is paramount.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Pervasive Healthcare

Mass production of any item, lowers the production cost. Mass production of prosthetic limbs has never been possible in the past, due to the niche nature of replacement limbs ? just not a large enough market to justify traditional mass production facilities. Now, there are signs that that is changing, as it becomes possible to ?print? any structure in three dimensions, in almost any material, without customised facilities. The cost of mass production is disappearing from mass production.




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Augmented Diagnosis (22)

Proper utilisation of both VR and AR techniques and technologies into medical units, can create diagnostic machinery capable of multiple diagnostic or visualisation modes at once. That translates into both swifter diagnosis, and lowered costs.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
ICEIntegrated Clinical Environment
Pervasive Healthcare

These are the proceedings of the first international medical imaging and augmented reality conference, held in Hong Kong, 10-12 June 2001.



These are the proceedings of the second international medical imaging and augmented reality conference, held in Beijing, China, August 19-20, 2004.



These are the proceedings of the third international medical imaging and augmented reality conference, held in Shanghai, China, August 17-18, 2006.



These are the proceedings of the fourth international medical imaging and augmented reality conference, held in Tokyo, Japan, August 1-2, 2008.



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Digital stethoscopes: A Beginning
What if the traditional stethoscope could be improved? If the sounds of a healthy body's internal processes could be removed, and only the crud remained, cleared up for the benefit of the doctor?

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Fast Adaptive Optics for 3D Medical Imaging
One of the greatest problems with tomography based medical scanners, is what happens when the patient moves (breathes, or pumps blood). The distortion that occurs in each slice has long been correctable, but takes a long time to correct. With near-instant correction now possible, real-time medical scanning is starting to look like a true possibility.

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Medical Clinical Assistants
An overview of Medical Clinical Assistant computers, from their birth in 2006 to the models coming out at the start of 2009.

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Medical Implant Powered by Music
It is certainly an odd idea, but a rather effective one: Power a medical implant, with the beats of whatever song you happen to be listening to at the time. That in a nutshell is what Purdue university researchers have done with their latest prototype sensing device.

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PET Resolution Increases by Leaps and Bounds
ET scans suffer quite a bit when they image moving tissue, such as a beating heart. No scan is instantaneous, and as the slices move down, the beating of the heart causes distortion that is hard to remove from the result, as pieces do not line up correctly. A solution to this, that increases the resolution as a side-effect, may have been found.

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Philips Wireless Detector
The wireless X-ray machine which brings X-rays to the patient, rather than the other way around.

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Plug-and-Play Medical Interlink
For the last 25-30 years, physicians and engineers around the world have been envisaging an interconnected medical network, of which every device is a part. That is what the standards of DICOM and PACS work towards. But what about going further? Not just making the data compatible, but the devices themselves?

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SimBaby Being Used to Train Medics
Baby Gertrude lays in her cot, in St Mary's Hospital, within London in the UK. She moves about a little, her chest rising and falling with her breath, and starts to cry, then coughs. She behaves just like any other nine month old baby, save she's not like any other nine month old baby. She is an embodied AI.

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Standards > MedX3D
The Medical Working Group of the X3D consortium is developing an open interoperable standard for human anatomy representation. This standard works with multiple types of scans (CAT, MRI, PET, and others), and allows equipment manufacturers to be able to export data collected from the scanning machines into a shared data format.

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Ultrasensitive Imaging: Hunting Every Photon
As the demands for precise imaging in fields such as medicine, astronomy, and real-time machine vision in hostile environments continue to increase, so the demands placed on imaging equipment become ever more stringent. An imaging method based on Single Photon Avalanche Photodiodes (SPAD) offers the potential to ease this bottleneck greatly.

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Using the Wii to View Patient Images
When you stop and think about it for a moment, the most logical and intuitive way to view a collection of pictures - which is what most radiology scans consist of - is to reach out with your hand and sift through them.

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Using VR and Phased Imaging to Track Alzheimers Disease Progression in New Ways
In mid 2012, Swiss researchers turned the world of alzheimers plaque imaging on its head: by combining a phased imaging source and an integral VR model generator, for the first time ever we can now track the formation of Alzheimers plaques in real-time in living patients.

The Alcyone type scanner is a new technology being created by GE Healthcare. It's actually in several of their medical scanners not just one, specifically in the the Discovery NM 530c and the Discovery NM/CT 570c. It cuts scanning time down to a quarter of the traditional time for nuclear scanners, and outputs natively in 3D.



Toshiba's leviathan of a computed topography scanner, Aquilion ONE is an attempt to go beyond the need for multiple scanning tests. The plan is to replace x-rays, CAT scans, nuclear studies, and other visualisation based diagnosis techniques in one swoop.



VRIxp is a medical diagnosis device using what is perhaps a novel form of 3D visualisation. It uses audio analysis of vibration deep inside the body to assemble precise structural detail.