How Tiny Sensors Are Driving Innovation in Medicine
KQED Science for Personalized Medicine reports on a multitude of new sensor technologies that are being used to monitor medical issues, which would otherwise be time-consuming for hospital staff to manage. Hanmin Lee, M.D., Professor and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Surgery at UCSF as well as Medical Director of Surgical Innovations was interviewed for the article, offering his insights about the huge potential of the nascent field.
“I firmly believe that the next 50 years are going to be the stunning revolution of health,” says Hanmin Lee, professor of surgery and director of the Fetal Treatment Center at UCSF.
Many new sensor technologies are being used to monitor medical issues that were otherwise time-consuming for hospital staff. For example, a team of researchers and bioengineers at UCSF has developed a Band-Aid-like pressure sensor to monitor which patients might be at risk for bed sores. Nurses are able to check patients on a digital health platform that monitors patient vital signs.
“Nobody thinks of pressure as a vital sign,” Lee says, “but if you have pressure on a body part that leads to huge complication, or in some instances death, why wouldn’t you monitor for it.”.....
Other applications for pressure sensors include monitoring the strain put on orthopedic devices, or monitoring the force a child puts on their teeth when wearing a retainer. Plus, Lee adds, a sensor that’s small and robust enough can help a patient avoid the risks associated with surgery.
“Pressure’s being monitored invasively in medicine,” he says, “sometimes underneath the skin or body cavity or brain, which is inaccessible and requires invasive surgical measures.”