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Patients in ICUs Do Better With Telemedicine

Tele-ICU system sets a new benchmark at UMass

4 min read

24 May 2011—According to doctors at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, intensive care units backed up by off-site doctors and nurses, who could remotely monitor critically ill patients and direct the ICU’s on-site staff, had fewer patient deaths and shorter ICU stays. Their trial of a so-called tele-ICU system, which allows intensive care specialists outside the hospital to see and hear patients, monitor vital signs, and access medical records, proves that such a system actually benefits patients.

Over the two-and-a-half-year study, off-site doctors and nurses manned multimonitor computer stations from a nearby building, where they received real-time information on patients. The UMass tele-ICU system is based on Philips’ Visicu eICU technology. The system’s software can detect trends that lead to patient deterioration. Off-site teams could verify these trends and, using microphones and cameras in each ICU room, collaborate with bedside nurses and physicians to treat the underlying causes.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic

Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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