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A guide to the latest healthcare innovations and technologies

Health technology is evolving at a rapid rate. Just when you think you’re up to date with the latest innovations, the next gadget or app is released.

Thanks to these advances, we’re all becoming more engaged with our healthcare options, because we now have the technology we need to take control of our own health.

In this article, we explain a few of the latest healthcare technology trends and how they can help keep you and your family healthy and well.

#HealthTech is evolving rapidly. Find out about the latest #healthcare #innovations and how they can help keep you healthy and well. Click To Tweet

New health technology could help decrease skin cancer rates

Sunburn is a huge issue in Australia, with our country having one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. We all love spending time in the sun but often forget to check when it’s time to reapply our sunscreen, which helps protect us from ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

To combat this problem, Australian researchers have developed a wearable sensor that tells you when you’ve been exposed to too much UV from the sun.

This new type of nanotechnology is designed to be worn on your skin like a sticker and uses food dyes that change colour after sun exposure. The patches are even tailored to suit individual skin types.

Developed by chemists from the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at UNSW, the paper-based sensor aims to reduce rates of skin cancer.

“Living in Australia, people really need a simple and inexpensive way to let them know when they are overexposed to UV from the sun,” says UNSW’s Dr Parisa Sowti Khiabani.

“We hope this paper-based, wearable sensor will decrease skin cancer rates by stopping people, especially kids, from getting sunburned frequently.”

– Dr Parisa Sowti Khiabani, UNSW

A number of companies have developed similar types of wearable UV detectors, such as the My UV Patch from La Roche-Posay, which is designed to be used in conjunction with a smartphone app.

#Healthtech trends: Wearable #UVpatches help reduce #sunburn and #skincancer rates. Click To Tweet

Biofeedback devices to help manage stress

Stress is a contributor to a range of health conditions, like high blood pressure, heart disease and depression. Fortunately, there are devices that can let you know when your body is under stress, allowing you to manage it more effectively.

Biofeedback is a technique which makes a person aware of their physiological functions, so they can manage or control them. While the concept has been used by psychologists for decades, in the past 10 years medical researchers and technology companies have used this process to develop sensor devices that track electrodermal activity (EDA) – a measurement of electric activity in the sweat glands of the skin.

Measuring EDA can help track stress levels. It’s also used in health technology devices like wristbands to detect the onset of seizures, and to alert caregivers.

Another example is The Pip Stress Manager – a wireless biofeedback device that’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

By measuring electrodermal activity from your fingertips, the device works with an app on your smartphone or tablet to help you manage stress levels through mindfulness practices. It also includes a cloud-based service, so you can record the results of your sessions and track your progress.

#Healthtech trends: #Biofeedback sensors can help you monitor and manage #stress and related health conditions. Click To TweetWearable health technology can do more than ever before

Fitness tracking to address body and mind

Can you believe that fitness tracking company Fitbit has now been around for more than 10 years? But Fitbits and other wearable fitness trackers are no longer the basic digital sensors they once were. They’re now wellness devices that can monitor key health indicators 24/7.

As well as keeping tabs on your activity levels, heart rate, sleep and weight, their newest features can also help you stay active and focused. For example, some devices include an inbuilt coaching system to ‘help you reach the next level of performance’, while others offer guided breathing sessions to help you find moments of calm in your day.

Digital sociologist Professor Deborah Lupton from the University of Canberra says fitness tracking wearables can help people take control of their health and wellbeing, and encourage healthy competition with family and friends who are also using a device.

“Fitness trackers that allow users to review data in real-time can spur them to work harder to improve their numbers.”

– Prof Deborah Lupton, University of Canberra

#Healthtech trends: #Fitness tracking #wearables help people take control of their health and wellbeing. Click To Tweet

At home blood tests to detect common health conditions

Blood tests are often one of those activities that most people dread. Waiting at the pathology collection centre to have a nurse insert a needle into your arm to take blood can be quite an unsettling experience.

But new pathology testing technology allows some routine blood tests to be done from home – using only a few drops of blood from your finger.

 MyHealthTest is an Australian company offering at home blood test services that involve dried blood spot testing. It’s a technique that’s been used for decades in heel-prick screening for newborns, and the technology has recently expanded so a broader range of tests can be performed for adults.

MyHealthTest’s dried blood spot sampling for diabetes (HbA1c) was developed and validated by scientists at the Australian National University in 2015. MyHealthTest now offers blood tests for diabetes and thyroid related conditions.

The service also allows you to monitor your results over time and share your results with your healthcare provider using a secure website.

This easy and convenient access to blood testing enables people to detect any health issues early and work with their doctor to prevent or minimise the impact of a potentially debilitating condition.

“The move to wellness is important. There has been a historical focus on treating illnesses, and now we’re working to shift the focus to wellness by giving people tools to keep themselves healthy.”

 – Dr Nick Cerneaz, MyHealthTest General Manager

Find out more about MyHealthTest’s fingerprick blood test services

#Healthtech trends: new pathology testing technology enables routine #bloodtests to be done from home. Click To Tweet

Over to you: what do you think about the impact of technology in healthcare? Do you use any of these tools, devices or innovations? Please comment on this post in the box below.

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