Health Tech Puts You First

6/28/2011

Healthcare. We all need it at some point or another, and we all have our ideas about how it can best fit into our lives. Connected-health technology—an especially hot topic in M2M (machine-to-machine) circles—is part of that plan moving forward. But the debate among healthcare providers, technology solution providers, and consumers, is this: How can we best leverage M2M to put the patient first?

According to David Nichols of Healthy Heartland, www.healthyheartlandinc.com, a patient-centric approach is crucial to M2M technology in healthcare as we move ahead. This was a major theme at the “Empowering the Patient” panel at the 2011 Connected World Conference, which Nichols moderated.

GE Healthcare, www.gehealthcare.com, is putting this into practice by announcing the release a new mobile x-ray platform that will be revolutionary in its compact form factor and ability to service patients in a host of settings. In essence, x-rays will soon be able to come to you.


“This new mobile platform represents yet another step toward more patient-centered, user-friendly medical imaging,” says Anne LeGrand, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare’s x-ray business. She says the company developed the idea based on listening to what customers really want: “… a one-size-fits-all approach to x-ray no longer fully satisfies users or best serves patients.”

The platform features what GE calls FlashPad technology—a wireless digital detector that operates on a dedicated frequency spectrum, thereby avoiding the Wi-Fi congestion of busy hospital networks.

The increasing number of wireless healthcare devices is resulting in an unprecedented amount of Wi-Fi traffic at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. GE says FlashPad is the only wireless detector to operate with UWB (ultra-wideband) connectivity, so it can theoretically communicate with more speed and reliability.

The machines will also feature touchscreens, immediate start up, and the ability to display high-quality images. Most importantly, the new platform will bring digital x-ray technology directly to the patient— whether the test needs to be completed in an emergency room, intensive care unit, or other setting.

Mobility is especially important when it is not safe or practical to move a patient from his or her bed to the radiology department, the company says. In many ways, innovation in healthcare does not matter much if the technology does not enable tools that directly impact patients and their ability to manage their health. But technology innovations that keep patients’ needs at the center are a win-win for everyone. 




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