“I thought I had protection under HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) for my psychotherapy notes to be private and I thought only my psychiatrist could see those,” the 42-year-old said, adding that she noticed over the years her physician started entering them electronically.
What she didn’t realize was that her physician’s notes could be accessed by doctors and other health-care providers who worked in the same health-care system (6,000 doctors and nine affiliated hospitals) to have access — information she learned after going to see an on-call physician for a stomach issue and realizing he knew about intimate relationship information only disclosed to her psychiatrist.
In fact, an ABC News investigation found that often medical information is so unprotected, millions of records can be bought online. Because so many people have access, the entire system is vulnerable to theft, experts told ABC News.
Much more at ABC News.
Ramesh Raskar is Associate Professor at MIT Media Lab and head of the Camera Culture research group. He is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2009), a recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty award, the co-author of “Spatial Augmented Reality“, and the holder of more than 50 US patents. He spoke at the TEDGlobal conference in June.
Our current technology allows us to perform an EEG, EKG, or EMG to help in patient diagnosis. The problem is that they are large, bulky machines and a patient has to make an appointment to be scanned and then take considerable time in being scanned. Now, however, there is a new temporary skin tattoo that can accomplish the same tasks.
Modern methods of measuring the body’s activty, such as electroencephalography (EEG), electrocardiography (ECG), and electromyography (EMG), use electrical signals to measure changes in brain, heart, and muscle activity, respectively. Unfortunately, they rely on bulky and uncomfortable electrodes that are mounted using adhesive tape and conductive gel—or even needles. Because of this, these types of measurements are limited to research and hospital settings and typically used over short periods of time because the contacts can irritate skin.
These limitations may be at an end, however. New research published in Science describes technology that allows electrical measurements (and other measurements, such as temperature and strain) using ultra-thin polymers with embedded circuit elements. These devices connect to skin without adhesives, are practically unnoticeable, and can even be attached via temporary tattoo.
All of the necessary components of the devices, including electrodes, electronic components, sensors, radio frequency communication components, and power supplies, are set within an extremely thin (about 30 μm) elastic polyester sheet. The sheet has a low elastic modulus (that is, it’s flexible) and no noticeable mass (about 0.09 g), so you have a lightweight, stretchable membrane.
The authors refer to their approach as an “epidermal electronic system” (EES), which is basically a fancy way of saying that the device matches the physical properties of the skin (such as stiffness), and its thickness matches that of skin features (wrinkles, creases, etc.). In fact, it adheres to skin only using van der Waals forces—the forces of attraction between atoms and molecules—so no adhesive material is required. Between the flexibility and the lack of adhesive, you wouldn’t really notice one of these attached.
Although you wouldn’t notice if one was attached, the authors have also said that the EES can be used as a temporary tattoo, just like the kinds children and sports fans wear.
While this is very interesting technology and the medical applications are wonderful, eventually, these will be used in a sort of big brother-ish way. All you need to do is bump into someone and you can place a nice tracking device on a person that they will be completely unaware of.
If successful, look for these devices to be expanded to the disabled and video game developers. They are already attempting to add wifi to it.
MIT has developed something similar, but it goes into the skin to measure things such as glucose and sodium levels.
You can view the tattoo in different places on the body at c-net.
At TEDxMaastricht, Daniel Kraft offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine, powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient’s bedside.