Medical Sensors Design Conference Insider Interviews: A Pre-Con Preview, Part Two

The premier Medical Sensors Design Conference in Boston continues to ramp up and that’s because medical applications draw upon sensors of every type, from the most common such as temperature, pressure, and motion sensors to esoteric devices that will drive networking, machine learning, automation, and the plethora of emerging IoT apps. To give our readers and attendees, as well as other speakers and exhibitors, a quick pre-conference preview, we will be presenting several Q&A sessions with some of our notable speakers,

In the first part of a series, I spoke with David Putrino, PhD, Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. This time, we will talk with Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, MD.

Dr. Steinbaum is an attending cardiologist and the Director of Women’s Heart Health of Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She has done fellowship training in both Preventive Cardiology and Cardiology and is the author of Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book: Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart Healthy Life.

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Dr. Steinbaum has devoted her career to the treatment of heart disease through early detection, education, and prevention, winning numerous prestigious awards along the way. She was the host of a magazine-like health show, Focus on Health and has lectured nationally on topics of coronary artery disease, Women and Heart Disease, and prevention. She is often cited in magazines and newspapers and is regularly seen on network news health segments for ABC, NBC and CBS, CNN, WPIX and FOX as a leading consultant in the field of cardiology, women and heart disease, and prevention. Additionally, Dr. Steinbaum is regularly interviewed for breaking news in U.S. News and World Report, Healthday, and WebMD.

Dr. Steinbaum is an attending cardiologist and the Director of Women’s Heart Health of Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Gearing up to speak at the conference, Dr. Steinbaum generously took some time to answer some of our questions.

Mat Dirjish (MD): The Internet of Things (IoT), whereby almost everyone and everything will be connected to the Internet, is vastly becoming a reality. The medical community stands to be significantly impacted by this, with more patient monitoring devices connecting to the web and being controlled by smartphones and applications. This also aligns with the popular, and not particularly safe, practice of people self-diagnosing their symptoms using various medical websites. What do you foresee as being the most difficult challenges facing doctors and other frontline medical practitioners as a result of these phenomena?

Dr. Steinbaum: As access to information is changing, the role of data and “The Internet of Things” is becoming an essential part of taking care of patients.  Some analysts are estimating US health care costs can be driven down by up to $300B* while increasing the standard of care for patients.

One of the biggest issues that have happened with the evolution of healthcare delivery is the loss of the doctor-patient relationship.  Technology is a means to bridge this gap in a way that might not only be time and cost effective, but also provide communication on a deeper level, to help re-establish this essential relationship. 

With communication happening in real time, patients may feel more secure and confident.  This data exchange could empower communication and allow for a response from a doctor, which provides concrete answers, as opposed to seeing the patient one month later in the office.

Patients are often constrained by words, but when communicating along with data they are able to provide, might making the diagnosis might become clearer and the communication channels easier because of it.

Not only that, especially in cardiology, we are finding that if consumers are given the tools to proactively self-monitor, they are more than willing to do so and share this information with physicians. This is a true example of a patient partnering with his/her physician in order to assess symptoms accurately and in real time.  Especially in cardiology, these factors are often essential, as diagnosis is often based on the symptoms as they occur.

*SEE: The Digital Revolution comes to US Healthcare, Healthcare represents the next frontier for the Internet of Things.

MD: What technological developments occurring now or are in the research stage that you feel will be most beneficial to patients? For example heart monitoring sensors for remote diagnostics, or other emerging technologies.

Dr. Steinbaum: Tools that allow patients to communicate with their doctor more effectively (i.e. correlating patient symptoms with data that doctors can interpret).  For example, remote ECG monitors allow patients to transmit data to his/her doctor during the time those complaints are being felt. This not only allows the doctor to make a more accurate diagnosis, but provides a higher level of accuracy more quickly.  This allows the patient to feel more secure, and enables the doctor to make assessments more timely, and easier. Technology that provides data in real-time and allows easy exchange of data between the doctor and patient will be the most beneficial.

MD: What technological developments occurring now or are in the research stage that you feel will make doctors and other diagnosticians’ jobs easier and enable faster and more accurate diagnostics and other procedures?

Dr. Steinbaum: For physicians, IoT merged with Artificial intelligence (AI) may be one of the most significant advancements that come to mind.  Systems that can quickly examine patient vitals and provide insights regarding the patient’s status would be incredibly helpful in making accurate and faster diagnoses.  Whether the data is delivered through a self-monitoring device or through an AI platform that the doctor uses in his/her office, this data is another level, which can help provide insight and accuracy.

MD: As a speaker at the Medical Sensors Design Conference, what is the most important concept you want to impart to the medical/engineering/sensor-centric attendees?

Dr. Steinbaum: Build products that are user friendly for patients, improve data accessibility and accuracy for physicians, with a focus on usable data that can change outcomes is essential.  Data for the sake of information can sometimes not only be extraneous and confusing, but has the potential of being detrimental.

MD: If you are attending some of the other sessions Medical Sensors Design Conference, what are the most important concepts and/or revelations you want to return home with a better grasp or knowledge of?

Dr. Steinbaum: I’d like to better understand what challenges engineers are facing as they bring new products to the healthcare market and what the greatest focus of research is.  I would like to know how the new technology is broadening our scope of information and how the increase in the data provided is improving health care outcomes.

Dr. Steinbaum makes some excellent points, particularly in outlining important considerations for the development on future medical devices. And it goes without saying that you will gain even greater insight if you attend her session titled Medical Grade Wearables: Insights from a Practicing Cardiologist on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 2:15 PM, at Medical Sensors Design Conference in the Boston Marriott Newton, 2345 Commonwealth Avenue, Auburndale, MA 02466. Attending will be in your best-health interests. ~MD


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