The fake news phenomenon and Facebook’s embroilment in the Cambridge Analytica scandal have created a slightly tech-averse contemporary climate. But we shouldn’t forget the many ways that technology makes life easier for millions of people around the world.
One of it’s most worthwhile applications is in the field of medicine — so with that in mind, here are four healthtech startups making their mark in 2018.
1. SWORD Health
Traditionally, physical therapy is delivered in a face-to-face manner by practitioners in a hospital or health center.
But waiting lists and a lack of funds mean that sometimes patients spend significant amounts of time on waiting lists before crucial treatment commences.
So digital physical therapy provider SWORD Health delivers bespoke routines to patients in their own homes and tracks their progress through wearable motion sensor devices.
Remote clinical teams can rapidly analyse the rich data that’s captured, with results from some exercises that are reportedly better than those achieved from one-to-one care.
2. Oxford Heartbeat
Even the most experienced surgeons are required to make educated guesses during complex surgeries, and corrective surgery necessitated by human error costs the NHS billions each year.
But 3D modelling software from Oxford Heartbeat allows surgeons to visualise blood vessels, tissues and bones in fine detail before surgery begins — simplifying planning and making procedures faster and more effective.
The software combines the power of big data and AI so that consultants can choose optimal techniques and accurately predict outcomes.
Through combining human expertise with machine learning, Oxford Heartbeat should help doctors to save lives and make valuable cash savings.
3. Digital Surgery
Training doctors to perform any type of surgery is time-consuming, complex and costly — and there are many factors outwith professionals’ control that can adversely affect performance.
Traditional learning tools like specialist medical books are still sought-after by medics at all stages of their careers.
But firms like Digital Surgery complement paper-based learning with innovations like their Touch Surgery app — an interactive surgery simulator that trains prospective surgeons without the need for cadavers.
And they’re now developing Go Surgery — an app that works as a ‘surgical satnav’, providing qualified surgeons with an intelligent checklist of crucial equipment and possible risks at each stage of a procedure.
4. Apart of Me
Coping with bereavement is challenging at any age — but it can be particularly tough for children.
Grief therapy app, Apart of Me, was created by child psychotherapist Louis Weinstock to help grieving children through a role-playing game that helps them save memories of loved ones, process their emotions and learn coping techniques like mindfulness.
Users are guided around an enchanted island by an Oracle figure who accompanies them through various stages of grief and it can be accessed at any time of the day or night — when friends, family, and counselors may be unavailable.
These four health tech startups have successfully harnessed technology to improve people’s physical and mental health in ingenious ways — and perhaps this is the highest purpose it can serve.