Complex Made Simple

Forget doc and stethoscope: Healthcare is going

Imagine this: One day you are walking in the street and a car hits you. The paramedics come and instead of a human helping you, it is a robot?

With increasing doctor fees and the time it takes for someone to actually get to a doctor, healthcare in the Middle East has been evolving, putting the operation into your hands, or more precisely your phone.

From the e-waiting room to your e-IV therapy, Medicine has made the leap from physical to digital.

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Health at Hand

Health at Hand can save your life. It only takes you a few seconds on your mobile to set up an appointment and get your ailment solved immediately.

Health at Hand, a brand-new UAE-based app, gives face-to-face access to highly qualified, Western-trained doctors via video consultations for the price of one cup of coffee per month ($9).

This is just a small part of how modern tech (Apps, Internet, mechatronics) is intertwining with modern medicine.

An app is enough to diagnose a patient, but not perform surgery. Here come robo-docs.

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Your life is now in the hands of robots

In the case of robotically-assisted minimally-invasive surgery, instead of directly moving the instruments, the surgeon uses computer controls.

In computer-controlled systems, the surgeon uses a computer to control the robotic arms and its end-effectors, though these systems can also still use telemanipulation for their input, according to BBC.

One advantage of using the computerized method is that the surgeon does not have to be present, but can be anywhere in the world, leading to the possibility for remote surgery.

This employs Internet technology, but it is not alone.

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Monitor the vitals from afar
You might have one of these IoT devices on your wrist right now; a smartwatch.

Sensor technologies, such as wearable sensors and devices, provide many benefits for health management.

Accurate reading and interpretation of indicators with the possibility of connecting sensors to mobile devices enable medical centers to replace heavy medical equipment with smaller devices.

Currently, smart devices like smart inhalers for treating bronchial asthma, syringe pens for the treatment of diabetes mellitus, smart pills, and smart blister packs are being widely developed and introduced on the market, according to iotforall, a tech site.

Such intelligent tech solutions facilitate diagnosis, enhance treatment, and improve customer service, representing a significant step towards the improvement of disease treatment.

While these solutions are interesting they don’t solve the psychological impact that some experience in their everyday lives.

A startup called Woebot can deliver cognitive behavioral therapy that users can access on their phones or on Facebook Messenger.

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Mental health solved by an app?

The app checks in with patients every day, ask how they’re doing, and gives insights like, “Oh, you seem to be anxious every Sunday evening — what’s going on on Mondays?”

The conversational format, backed by a lot of algorithms, can give users in-the-moment resources and advice.

Woebot, according to Business Insider (BI), is not a replacement for traditional therapy but part of an ecosystem in which people have more choice to decide how they want to go about their mental-health journey and when they should seek more intensive care through real-life therapy.

Mental health left untreated, can be a costly endeavor for employers. Serious mental illness currently costs the GCC $70 million according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information America.

“The industry is incredibly opaque, so you’ll Google around for a therapist or psychiatrist and you’ll see a static list of providers with phone numbers, and they may or may not take your phone call,” said BI.

Woebot’s creators believe millennials are becoming more open to talking about mental health issues, which will open the door to better solutions.

“Stigma is being greatly reduced, so employers feel much more comfortable around bringing in tools and solutions that could help their employees become more mentally resilient,” BI concluded.