Can an iPad save my life?

22 March 2017

Modern technology is rapidly evolving. Within a week of learning how to master a piece of technology, it updates itself to a newer and better model. However, we cannot deny the positive effect it has had on the world. As a society, we are using resources better, we are more efficient and productivity is growing, all because technology is making life easier. But can we go as far to say it can save lives? Believe it or not, we actually can.

Technology has engulfed all aspects of our lives, from working on-the-go to checking in with friends and family over social media to even ordering dinner over an easy interface. Healthcare is no exception to this. Technology has found a market in the healthcare industry and has seen it reach new levels.

We as a society are far more health conscious than we were a decade ago. We have equipment such as the FitBit, Apple Watch, iPads, and iPhones with thousands of health apps, and let’s not forget the all-powerful internet. These gadgets all motivate us to exercise more and record our progress. They provide so much data on things we actually neglect such as daily steps, calorie intake, heart and blood pressure, heart rate and hours of sleep. We all know we have to look after these aspects but as humans, we need a fancy gadget to actually make us work on this. These gadgets ensure we work on these health measurements every day, rather than just that one January where we promise we will go to the gym every day.

But are these just fancy accessories or do they actually make a difference? Technology is very commercialised with everyone wanting the latest gadget for show, but is it justified with these health tools? I think the following examples can answer this.

Mr B, a man from Australia, woke up one morning feeling a bit odd. He felt it was nothing too serious, and was put down to a bit of discomfort, maybe nothing more than that Monday morning feeling. He proceeded to put the kettle on but felt an unusual pulse in his wrist. He strapped on his Apple Watch and immediately went to the Heart Rate app. It initially showed 50 beats per minute, but following another review, it showed 150 beats per minute. To double check this, he used the Cardio Heart app on his iPhone which confirmed the result. The iPhone and Apple Watch then synced this data and displayed the results on the Health and Fitness app dashboard. It showed great irregularities. Mr B called his doctor, who after doing his own checks, immediately called for an ambulance. 30 minutes later, he was admitted to the cardiac unit for treatment of atrial fibrillation followed by an angiogram. The next day a stent was installed into a fairly blocked artery, a problem he was never aware of. Had the Apple Watch or iPhone not shown this, cardiac arrest was around the corner for Mr B.

Mr N relied on the auto pilot function in his car to save his life. Mr N was driving his Tesla, a revolutionary car company which has developed the luxury brand of electric cars, with most models competing against the high brand petrol cars. As he was driving, he felt great pain in his abdomen and chest. Knowing he had to get to the hospital urgently, he set his car to auto pilot to take him to the nearest hospital. He knew this would be quicker than waiting for an ambulance. The car took over all controls and drove itself 20 miles with Mr N only needing to touch the steering wheel to let the car know he was still there. The brains of the vehicle took control of the situation and drove itself, saving Mr N’s life.

The recent focus of degenerate brain disease and brain and head injury in football has also led to technology potentially saving the day. With head and brain injuries becoming more apparent in football (and in sports in general), researchers are turning to a virtual reality headset to diagnose these injuries more effectively. The Oculus Rift system can help doctors detect subtle changes in players. The virtual reality technology helps to establish whether a player is concussed by testing their ability to balance at the same time as following instructions.  With this virtual balance test, the brain is doing one thing and then challenged by tilting the room. Any subtle changes are noted that may not be seen in a standard neurocognitive test. Indications are then raised regarding the player's neurological safety.

We as a society need to adopt these technological advancements if we want to live a healthier life. There is amazing progress being made and it should be embraced.

At Kingsley Napley, we deal with many medical negligence cases, including head and brain injuries, cerebral palsy claims and spinal injuries, as well as many more. We endorse the positive effect technology has on our clients, all of whom benefit from it. We make sure we keep up to date with technology and understand what our clients need to help their life.

As such, Kingsley Napley will be exhibiting and speaking at the Naidex Conference on 28-30 March 2017.   Naidex is Europe’s biggest and most far reaching trade, professional and consumer show dedicated to the care, rehabilitation and lifestyle of people with a disability or impairment.

We understand how important this is to those affected by an injury, and we strive to keep up to date with technological advances which helps us to consider the future needs of our clients.

For more information on this subject please email Satvir Sokhi. 

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