Technological innovation is being deployed to health systems in all sorts of ways.
I’ve now encountered a range of health apps, and heard of even more either available or in the last stages of development. My GPs and specialists consult with me over the telephone or via a video meeting, and they can now send me a QR or barcode link to prescriptions to my mobile phone that the pharmacy just has to scan and fulfil.
I also have an app that tracks prescriptions, warns me when they’re due to finish and prompts me to either get a repeat or consult my doctor, orders the next repeat for me and tells me when I can pick it up, allows my doctor to send prescriptions to my pharmacy through the app as an alternative to the slightly clumsy link/barcode/scan method.
- Apps are either available or close to completed that can diagnose a range of conditions just from me coughing towards the microphone.
- Another app under development can take my SpO2 or blood sugar by placing my finger over the camera.
- Smart watches can send similar information plus a reasonably accurate blood pressure and even a very basic ECG plot to the medical practitioner.
And now, there’s the new receptionist / triage nurse bot:
The above is using the “Spot” robot from Boston Dynamics, a not so cheap option given that Spots can only be leased at the moment and can’t be purchased outright, nor would they be cheap if and when they become purchasable.
But it could also have been done with any number of other inexpensive robotic platforms on wheels or tracks, given that they only need to operate on smooth floors such as are in waiting rooms and triage rooms.
It could also have been done five to ten years ago.
Because almost all the technology was available then – mobility platform, infrared and colour cameras, contactless thermometers, tablets, wireless link equipment.
So the question is – why wasn’t it done?
I’m guessing because it wasn’t a sudden priority back then. But as usual, the bearish tech companies, while being very progressive and techie on the one hand, weren’t prepared to risk a lot of development on something that would have been seen as “nice to have, but . . .” a few years ago.
As it is, tech companies are now pelting after these “nice to have, but . . .” technologies and trying to bring them to market in haste. Mistakes will be made.
Is Ronaldovich McDonaldovich watching you?
In Russia, McDonalds’ have installed thermal imaging / face recognition cameras, and quite a few tech companies are developing tech to recognise that the user is wearing a mask and offering alternative authentication to face recognition.
As for spotting criminal and terrorist types from surveillance video, I bet the first tech company that comes up with an ID system that reliably uses more than just facial features to successfully identify people will be sitting on a goldmine.
In Russia, burger take your temperature…
By now it’s old hat the number of countries / nations / corporations that are developing ‘promising vaccines’ for SARS-CoV-2. It’s a bit of a conundrum isn’t it?
I mean – influenza is a virus similar in its behaviour and symptoms to S-C-2. It’s been around for millennia and a lot of organisations have attempted to find a cure for ‘flu. In fact, a hundred years of research have come up with nothing.
And I mean – alongside vaccines specifically aimed at influenza, there’s also been a search for a general antivirus vaccine. Again, for decades, and with little result.
Now all of a sudden we’re led to believe that a dozen organisations have ALL developed promising vaccine programs and they’re ALL *this close* to being perfected. . . Here – don’t believe me? Look at this search result:
Highly suss, mate, highly suss. . .
Before I leave the subject of vaccinations, I want to mention the subject of influenza – as I said it’s been around forever we don’t mask up against it or sanitise, what’s the story then?
The short version of that is that influenza mutates just as readily as SARS-CoV-2 does, and it also kills people, the difference being that most strains don’t achieve quite as high a result as the newcomer. Influenza A and B both got mortality rates high enough to start a furore at the time.
And for everyone who mentions ‘the flu jab’ that we can get every year – yes this is indeed a vaccination against a virus but it’s always a year or two behind the current states of mutation of all the strains of influenza out there. SARS-CoV-2 mutates just the same as other viruses do, and any S-C-2 vaccine would have to be added to and administered annually in the same way.
And of course that doesn’t take into account the whole ‘SARS-CoV-2 damages pretty much every organ in the body and has a much higher mortality rate than influenza’ thing.
Just my 2c worth:
Don’t be thinking that a vaccine will come along any day now and save us from needing to use proper sanitisation practices. We need to learn a whole new way of life.
Don’t be thinking that ‘herd immunity’ will save us from needing to use proper sanitisation practices. S-C-2 does too much damage, and not all of it kills you immediately. . .
(Just think – this year, thanks to proper sanitisation and wearing of masks and distancing, we’ve made a dramatic – I can’t stress this enough, how big of a dent we’ve made – reduction in the number of cases of flu. So we do know that these practices WORK.)
And don’t be thinking that with a combined approach of proper practices and medicines and vaccines we’ll get S-C-2 to just die away to extinction point. S-C-2 has other reservoirs than just us, it can jump back to other animals.
EVENTUALLY, we’ll have a combination of people with acquired immunity (and that aren’t dead) and people protected by vaccines in a similar way that flu is now a nuisance disease. But it took us generations to achieve even that limited result.