Hope everyone is having a splendid day
I have an idea for a hApp - a medical device controller.
I have recently been lucky enough to have a spinal cord stimulator (SCS) fitted. It is essentially a small microprocessor/pulse generator much like a pacemaker which has a wireless rechargeable battery included. It comes with a controller which one uses to turn it on or off, the power up or down or change the type of ‘program’. The controller communicates via a low power radio frequency with the stimulator which is ‘hidden’ under my skin. The controller is a clunky box with limited functionality which can’t be communicated ‘over-the-air’.
It makes perfect sense for the device to be protected from external connections for obvious reasons but its not all that helpful if you don’t live near to the specialits. I asked about the idea of a phone app but was told that there were privacy concerns from both manufacturers, regulators and users. Holochain immediately sprang to mind!! A hApp where all of the data was held by the user and could be shared via an unenclosable carrier with agreed specialists would save pain and discomfort for users who have to travel, save time for specilaists, save money for providers/users and even allow for more information about how the device is operating for the user too. For example should there be a need to do a universal update to all devices at the moment each user/patient needs to return to hospital and have an appointment of approximately 20 mins. If the update could be sent over-the-air to each patient who then have the option of agreeing to the update or not it would save significant amounts of time/money for all involved.
From what I understand tens of thousands of these devices have been fitted by surgeons accross the world. The main manufacturers are Medtronic, Texas Insturments Abbott/St Judes and Proclaim DRG. My device was made by Saluda and its unique in that it is a closed loop feedback system that ‘senses’ the required level of stimulation needed and provides it within a ‘level’ specified by the user much like nise cancelling headphones for pain. Approximately 400 of these have been fitted worldwide and 70 in the UK.
So my imagined hApp would be on my smart phone, it would allow me to see the current charge level, the number of battery charge cycles, program choice (sensing or ‘dumb’ for example), stimulation level, stim. cycle history, data repository etc.
A consideration for a phone app is that I’m not sure bluetooth is secure enough for medical devices and most smart phones don’t have alternative frequencies available. Maybe this could be overcome with an accesory that can be supplied with the device which connects to the phone.
The other alternative would be a hosted hApp that you connect to via a computer and an adapter.
The specialist I spoke to at the hospital was keen on the idea but said he would need to know more about how it works… I can’t claim to have given an indepth explanation of Holochain! If anyone else thinks its a good idea or would want to speak to the Saluda representative I can put you in touch.
If you have made it this far into my rambling I thank you!
Have a lovely day and take care