Last Saturday was the RSM’s Annual Medical Innovations Summit and I luckily managed to get a booking for the afternoon session. I will just share with you some of the amazing innovations presented.
- A key theme throughout the day were apps created by healthcare services (e.g. GP practices) in order to allow better communication with their patients, improving access to primary care services. The MyGP app in association with Brook Green Medical Centre allowed patients easy monitoring of chronic health problems, access to their medical history, appointment calendar and the ability to find local healthcare services.
A concern voiced by a member of the audience was about confidentiality and how this would be addressed in case the phone was stolen or hacked into. The GP explained that while this is a possibility, the technology allows for it to be shut down once reported and that there is probably a higher likelihood of valuable information from paper files (as the system currently is) being stolen from a briefcase or on a ward rather than through the app.
- LifeSaver water bottle was designed by Michael Pritchard after he saw that water aid given in disasters was slow and inefficient. It works simply by having a cartridge in the middle of the bottle which has pores 15 nanometres wide so that bacteria, viruses and waterborne pathogens are trapped within. The pump on the lid is operated manually and forces the water through the filter to release safe drinking water.
He even showed us that it worked by pouring in murky water filled with nasty materials (I shall spare you the details) into the bottle and then drinking it afterwards!
- Owlstone presented a microchip chemical sensor that was placed in a breathalyser in order to detect chemical compounds (via mass spec or gas chromatography) found in people with certain medical conditions such as cancer, TB or diabetes. The idea of detecting diseases by chemicals in the breath is not new and Hippocrates was said to have smelt the breath of his patients as a way of diagnosis. The chemical breathalyser is an exciting new way of giving early diagnosis and may be seen in the near future. The sensor technology can also be used in bodily fluids to detect illnesses like Inflammatory bowel disease. This technology will be very helpful as it gives quick results, can be used instead of invasive procedures (e.g. colonoscopy) and at a lower cost.
All in all the day was truly inspiring and showed how technology can be used to aid Medicine and advance healthcare.