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Some Interesting Mobile Developments

I have recently come across a couple of interesting applications of mobile technology. As the platforms become more capable, networks more robust and developers’ imaginations more far reaching, we will be seeing more of these, I am sure.

The first is work done at the Stanford University School of Medicine. It is an application using an iPad to quantify blood loss during surgery. The traditional method of weighing sponges and towels is accurate but time consuming. With attempts to increase efficiency, the burden on overworked nursing staff is increasing. Attempts to visually estimate the amount of blood on objects tends to overestimate blood loss when compared to gravimetric measures. This new technology aims to quantify blood loss to a high degree of accuracy and precision in real time. It is hoped that this information can proactively better predict transfusion needs. An optical scanner for the iPad tablet computer reliably estimates blood loss during surgery, according to a pilot study evaluating the technology in both experimental and clinical settings. The investigators believe that this technique might even be more accurate compared to weight-based techniques by quantifying only blood and disregarding confounding fluids. The scan technology performs particularly well with high volumes of blood. The designers have designed the platform to be extremely easy to use and intuitive so that it fits seamlessly into the workflow of a surgical procedure. The group has placed special emphasis on building an intuitive interface that displays highly accurate data and also provides anesthesiologists with a "seamless user experience". The Stanford group has created a company, Gauss Surgical, Inc. to develop and market this device.

Another example of a serious mobile healthcare app is one developed by Nuvon, a company that has focused for nearly a decade on delivering real-time medical device data to healthcare personnel. They are working on technology designed to provide a care giver-focused mobile platform. It is dubbed the Nuvon Mobile Device Manager. Both the hardware and software are provided as a packaged device by Nuvon. It collects critical patient data and transmits it to wherever it is needed within a hospital. It provides doctors, nurses and other clinicians with real-time data that is wirelessly captured and transmitted.

Nuvon strives to deliver data that is 100 percent accurate. There are estimates from the healthcare industry that as much as 25 percent of patient data is inaccurate. Such a level of inaccuracy is very dangerous for any patient. Nuvon’s goal is to take that percentage down to zero.

The mobile app and hardware combination is easily attached, securely and directly, to devices or platforms providing data. It supports both wired and wireless secure, encrypted data transmission. The data can then be accurately exported to any mobile device, including iPads. The device is interoperable with a large collection of the devices and networks typically found in hospitals.

All data is completely traceable through a detailed audit trail. Not only data, but whatever actions may have been taken by a given caregiver are also available through the audit trail.

Both of these sound like promising directions for mobile devices. These are exciting times.