Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
Picture this. You’re showering and feel an irregular lump somewhere on your body. A lifetime of public service announcements tells you that you should see a doctor. But, your own fear keeps you from making that phone call. Instead of getting it checked out, you let the idea of what it could be become your life.
What if you didn’t need to make that frightening trip to the doctor’s office? What if, instead, you could slip on a glove that could immediately give yourself an accurate diagnosis of the problem from your home? It may seem far fetched, but we’re closer than you think. Recently, two engineers and a Harvard Medical School student developed Med Sensation, a prototype of a glove that aims to quantify touch.
While the current iteration of the glove can detect vibrations, sound and temperature, the team hopes to add micro-ultrasounds that will allow all the information derived from a glove-guided examination to be wirelessly transmitted to an outside device. The first goal for Med Sensation will be to help teach doctors proper examination skills; however the potential for such a device is almost limitless.
The technology might not be there just yet, but eventually a device like this could empower millions of people worldwide to have a hand in their own healthcare. Now, instead of running to the ER for every issue you encounter, a device like this could act as a first line of preventative care. While self-diagnosis should always be followed up by the opinion of a medical professional, this type of device could help determine major problems from minor ones.
There’s even more potential for this when considering the social implications. With talk of EHR’s on the rise, having data from an examination be automatically transmitted to another device is a huge leap toward giving patients access to their own health records.
Additionally, social media is becoming an increasingly big platform for advocacy, and what better story than someone who was able to provide themselves the all-important gift of early detection with this device? Sharing this type of story on social media, with a device to back it up, could inspire other users to check themselves for similar issues.
As we progress to more personal diagnostics and high-tech medicine, do you think our individual health with improve?