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The Future of Diving & Tele-Medicine

Discussion in 'Marine Science and Physiology' started by Akimbo, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    You don’t have to be a futurist to recognize that we are on the verge of a medical revolution in telecommunications-enabled diagnosis and health. It's not likely that many medical device manufacturers will flock to support Scuba divers, but there may be an opportunity for us to help influence their R&D to cover some of our more unique requirements.

    I thought it would be interesting to discuss these technologies. Divers increasingly travel to very remote areas of the world and can be hours or days from general medical help, let alone hyperbaric expertise. Some current and near-future innovations could be exceptionally useful to help diagnose medical conditions if that data could be remotely acquired by a layperson and transmitted. EMTs in ambulances are a good place to look for technologies that could be "dumbed down" so average divers can collect useful data.

    Who would have guessed 20 years ago that AEDs (Automated External Defibrillator) would be simple and automated enough for almost anyone to read the instructions and shock someone back to life. Very minimally trained office staff in my doctor's office can take EKGs (Electrocardiography). Common laptops can be hooked up to:
    • Ultrasound wands
    • Digital stethoscopes
    • Digital spirometer
    • Automated blood pressure cuffs
    • Pulse oximeters
    • USB Endoscope, Otoscopes -- basically small TV cameras that can look in body orifices
    • Ear/forehead thermometers
    I'm not suggesting that someone like me could actually analyze this information, but a video could guide me enough to collect a lot of it so it could be transmitted to people who can. The collection of devices will probably be too expensive for our save-a-dive kits (in the short-term), but liveaboards and dive operators could justify it.

    One thing I would sign up for in a heartbeat is an imbedded blood pressure transducer. My hope is that repeated hyperbaric exposure won't damage the device. Sorry, but blood pressure cuffs are totally primitive and marginally accurate from an engineering viewpoint. I have an auscultatory gap so automated cuffs usually pump up until my hand turns blue and the reading is about 30 points higher than a manual blood pressure.

    Logically, the same device could inexpensively monitor pulse, and temperature. This whole package and more will be an app on our cell phones one day but maybe we can help push them along in ways that can help divers too.
    Bob DBF, Bubblesong and northernone like this.
  2. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    Verizon Commercial: Putting Better Outcomes at Doctors’ Fingertips
    More about bandwidth but it demonstrates the "investor focus" on telemedicine.

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  3. Bubblesong

    Bubblesong Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Massachusetts
    Love this! Last night, 1:30am i got a call from sister at Machu Piccu in emergency room with altitude sicknes. While the doctors there are well versed in this ailment, if it was something else, unusual, this technology would make the difference for the traveler.
    Akimbo likes this.
  4. Roger Hobden

    Roger Hobden Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Montreal
    Great ideas !

    I believe one of the most useful technologies would be to be able to monitor intra-arterial PO2 and PCO2 in real-time, with the information directly sent and analyzed by the dive computer. That would be a tremendous scientific advance.

    Other useful measurements:
    Body temperature.
    Some proxy for nitrogen accumulation in the various compartments
    Bubble formation in the arterial blood stream (another quantum leap in technology, however).

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