3:03 pm, Mar 15, 2011 | Written by lbaverman
Jonathan Richman was a marketer for the Delaware biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca before joining Possible Worldwide (formerly Bridge Worldwide) four years ago as the firm’s group director of strategic planning in Cincinnati.
One of his passions is for the ways in which technology can be used to aid our ailing healthcare system, costing the government billions of dollars annually. Some of that knowledge is relevant for the digital branding and marketing work Possible does with Abbott Nutrition, Johnson & Johnson and some of Procter & Gamble’s health-related brands.
Sunday at South by Southwest in Austin, Richman gave an hour-long talk titled Your computer is the new drug, sharing new technologies to better predict and prevent disease and death. He also showed the glaring opportunities that exist for more innovation.
Here are some cool new technologies he shared:
Vitality GlowCaps, a pill bottle with a wireless chip that sends an alarm and blinks a light when a person is to take a pill. It records that the pill was taken, or, if a pill isn’t taken within two hours of the alarm, it prompts a phone call to the person. The bottle sends a weekly email update to a loved one and a monthly update to the person’s physician. It also automatically places orders for refills.
San Ramon Valley fire department app, lets residents of the California town who are trained to provide CPR be notified along with the department when someone is having a cardiac emergency. If in a public place, the app would direct those residents to the nearest location with access to an automated external defibrillator. Richman shared that 353,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest each year, and less than 8 percent of them survive. But among those who receive assistance within 10 minutes of the arrest, survival jumps to 80 percent. The app could use citizen support to reduce treatment times.
NeoNurture. an incubator made of automobile parts. Design that Matters created the device after learning that the high infant mortality rate in developing nations was often due to the lack of incubators for infants born premature. They needed incubators made of parts that were easily accessible and that could also be fixed with ease, and so they made one out of car parts. Mechanics are prevalent in most developing nations.
AliveECG is software for a mobile device like an iPhone or Windows Mobile smartphone that lets it become a cardiac recorder for doctors, nurses or physicians. The product was developed by Alive Technologies of Australia, which is focused on bringing wireless health monitoring, screening and diagnosis systems to market.
CureTogether lets users enter the details of their health history as well as any symptoms associated with a sickness or disorder, and then weighs that information against 2.6 million data points from other users. It can predict the likelihood of a person suffering from a disorder and suggest possible diagnoses and treatments. It also puts those suffering from conditions in touch with each other.
IBM Watson, a powerful computer that among other things can analyze every clinical trial that has ever been completed to help diagnose health problems
The goal of all of these things, Richman said, is to help people understand the actions they take with regards to health in real time, which should help them change their behavior.
Richman’s team at Possible also drew up some cool images of some futuristic products. One is a food and health dashboard that compares all of the data of a person’s health, diet and fitness routine in real time to predict life expectancy and risk factors for disease.
Another futuristic invention called HeartBots would use nanotechnology to create “bots” that continuously travel through our bodies measuring everything.
The key, Richman said, is for the newest technology to automatically record our health, fitness and nutrition information rather than requiring us to take the steps to do it ourselves. Only then can we truly monitor what’s happening within our bodies at any given time, and then use that data to make change.