ANDERSON — A bra that can detect breast cancer was just one of several wearable medical devices that Community Hospital Anderson President and CEO Beth Tharp discussed with the Madison County Retired Teachers Association on Thursday.
Other devices included UV Sense for monitoring your UV exposure, an EKG that works with a smartphone, Aira glasses for assisting the blind and baby monitors that track respirationS and oxygen saturation.
But it was Cyrcadia Health’s iTbra that got the biggest reaction from the more than 70 retired educators at the Anderson Country Club.
Sensors detect metabolic changes in women’s breasts. “It is becoming more accurate at detecting breast cancer than mammograms,” Tharp said.
Tharp also discussed the move to electronic medical records, a change that brings with it a new challenge of keeping patients’ data safe and out of the hands of hackers.
Telemedicine is also changing health care. No longer do you need to go to a doctor’s office; instead you can get a diagnosis over the phone.
Community Hospital Anderson is using the service. The hospital is able to offer evaluations with a psychiatrist in Indianapolis over a video call.
Also on the horizon is AI, artificial intelligence, in health care. For example, in the future doctors could be assisted in evaluating X-rays by computers.
“It’s not going to ever replace us, but it’s definitely going to help us diagnose,” Tharp said.
In our lifetimes we could also see genetic testing to identify people at high risk for certain cancers and vaccines to prevent that from happening she said.
While technology will lead to change, Tharp stressed what will stay the same.
“The bottom line with all this technology is there will always be a heart to health care because there will always be people – the nurses and the physicians and staff we have – behind all that taking great care of our patients,” Tharp said.