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Posts Tagged ‘x-ray’

Insights Into the Future of Healthcare From RSNA 2013

Posted by Plish on December 10, 2013

Last week I spent some time at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting, networking, speaking with medical Thought Leaders, scouting new technologies. In particular I enjoyed the posters – it’s an opportunity to see what’s cutting edge in the world of radiology and interventional radiology.  (You can check out abstracts for papers, posters, etc. here.  I will be blogging in the future on their Radiology Cares pledge drive)

Radiology is an unsung hero in the world of healthcare.  Not only are these the people that make diagnoses based upon X-Ray, Ultrasound, MRI, CT and other visualization technologies, they also help heal people – doing certain types of ‘surgeries’ – through minimally invasive techniques that use access holes often much smaller than pencil.

Because these procedures are being done in a minimally invasive manner while viewing the inside of a person’s body on a LED/LCD screen, radiologists of all types find themselves on the cusp of some of the newest imaging and interaction technologies.  It’s no surprise then to see iPads, tablets, display screens and controllers of various types being mentioned in presentations, posters, and being exhibited.

If someone were to ask me what technologies I think will impact future healthcare, based upon what I saw at the conference, I’d mention two: Mobile and Interaction Technologies.

Mobile Tech

Mobile technologies go beyond iPads.  They represent a whole new network of interconnectedness – they enable collaboration and eliminate barriers of time and space.  What is key in this realm is fidelity: the x-ray/ultrasound/MRI/etc. needs to look the same on a handheld screen in Africa as it does on a 26″ or larger screen in Chicago.  While the newer iPads are being used for their high-resolution screens, the general rule is that the smaller the screen/image, the greater the chance of misinterpretation.  For the future, any company that creates a lighter, larger, higher resolution screen (folding perhaps?) will be the mobile device of choice.

Interaction Tech

While Apple may have paved the way for the acceptance of touch sensitive screens (though it is still being used as an interactive e-book platform for educational purposes), the world of medicine is moving beyond the limitations of touch on a 2D surface and diving into the 3D world.  In procedural suites a small screen is not only limiting, but a doctor or nurse that needs to maintain sterility can not easily interact with 2D touch surfaces.  Even when dealing with 3D data sets (CT/MRI/etc. scans), manipulating the data and being able to look in-depth at areas of interest is much easier and intuitive when using game controllers like Microsoft Kinect, Leap Motion and the like. I recorded a video of one such control system: the teistler imager DIAG system.  I played with it and found it extremely simple to use – even in its ‘rough’, prototypical state.

Are these the only technologies that will be impacting the future?  Hardly.  Technologies enabling us to look more accurately into the body without breaking the skin are growing in leaps and bounds.  (In fact, one problem is that certain imaging modalities like MRI can now detect miniscule, suspicious looking lesions. So, what’s the problem?   The lesion is so small, it can’t be found by any other imaging method, so it also can’t really be tested in order to make a definitive diagnosis.)  In addition, newer techniques are extracting more information from diagnostic images so that, in some cases, a diagnosis can be made without even having to take a biopsy. (There are even newer technologies being developed that enable diagnoses with only a small sample of blood.)

With technologies getting better, the world is getting smaller and the world of ‘ the small and unseen’ is becoming more accessible every day.  These are exciting times in the world of healthcare, and coupled with a patient centered approach, Radiology, both on its own and as support for other medical disciplines, will only help people live longer and healthier lives.




Posted in Conveying Information, Design, Healthcare, innovation, Medical Devices, The Future, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Improving the Patient X-Ray Experience

Posted by Plish on February 2, 2011

I had a different post planned for this week, but on Friday, in a freak accident, I snapped my kneecap and went on a whirlwind, 48 hour tour of the emergency and surgical facilities at a local hospital.  Because of  the nature of my injuries, I was required to get x-rays of my knee – a lot of x-rays.  I lost count.  There were at least 10, 14 maybe.  It actually seemed like more!

The X-ray process is very regimented. You get in, you get positioned, you have to hold the position (sometimes also holding your breath), the x-ray gets taken and then you relax until you get repositioned for the next one, and so on…

There are indicators outside the entry doors for those in the hallways to tell them when the x-ray is in use, but nothing in the room for the patient.  When I asked the tech about it he said, “There’s a little beep.  When you hear it, that’s when the x-ray is happening – only during that time.”  He took the next x-ray and I heard a faint beep in the control room.

 “Hear it?”

“Yup,” I said.  But, quite frankly it was next to impossible to hear.  The reason why it’s so important to hear is that, as  a patient, I was lying there with my leg bent in an awkward, and painful position.  I only wanted to hold it for as long as needed.  I needed to know when the x-ray was complete so I could relax.  Now, I know that many techs will actually announce, “You can relax now,” and that’s good.  But what about before the xray?  The patient is patiently holding and is never quite sure when the x-ray is going to come.  All of a sudden it happens and they say, “Relax.”

There needs to be a better way.

So, I started thinking  how other participatory processes are guided.  Drag racing, traffic lights, car washes, dancing games.  They use lights, words, and sounds to  inform people about what’s coming up next. No surprises and everything flows – it becomes a dance of sorts.

Guided by those thoughts, here is a proposed way of improving the x-ray experience for patients.  It’s a way of making the x-ray process participatory.  Using a handheld, wireless remote, the tech initiates an x-ray sequence using colored lights, vocal commands, music and sounds to help the patient better understand where she is in the process and thus give her better feelings of control,  making the  experience more positively perceived. 

Would love to hear your thoughts! (Oh, if you don’t like the choice of colors or music, blame it on the painkillers 😉 )

Posted in Case Studies, Conveying Information, Customer Focus, Design, design thinking, Emotions, Health Concerns, Healthcare, innovation, problem solving, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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