A temporary tattoo that brings hospital care to the home | Todd Coleman

Please meet Jane. She has a high-risk pregnancy. Within 24 weeks, she’s on bed rest at the hospital, being monitored
for her preterm contractions. She doesn’t look the happiest. That’s in part because it requires
technicians and experts to apply these clunky belts on her
to monitor her uterine contractions. Another reason Jane is not so happy
is because she’s worried. In particular, she’s worried
about what happens after her 10-day stay
on bed rest at the hospital. What happens when she’s home? If she were to give birth this early
it would be devastating. As an African-American woman, she’s twice as likely
to have a premature birth or to have a stillbirth. So Jane basically has one of two options: stay at the hospital on bed rest, a prisoner to the technology
until she gives birth, and then spend the rest
of her life paying for the bill; or head home after her 10-day stay
and hope for the best. Neither of these two options
seems appealing. As I began to think
about stories like this and hear about stories like this, I began to ask myself and imagine: Is there an alternative? Is there a way we could have
the benefits of high-fidelity monitoring that we get with our trusted
partners in the hospital while someone is at home
living their daily life? With that in mind, I encouraged people in my research group to partner with some
clever material scientists, and all of us came together
and brainstormed. And after a long process, we came up with a vision, an idea, of a wearable system that perhaps
you could wear like a piece of jewelry or you could apply
to yourself like a Band-Aid. And after many trials and tribulations
and years of endeavors, we were able to come up
with this flexible electronic patch that was manufactured
using the same processes that they use to build computer chips, except the electronics are transferred
from a semiconductor wafer onto a flexible material
that can interface with the human body. These systems are about
the thickness of a human hair. They can measure the types
of information that we want, things such as: bodily movement, bodily temperature, electrical rhythms of the body and so forth. We can also engineer these systems, so they can integrate energy sources, and can have wireless
transmission capabilities. So as we began to build
these types of systems, we began to test them on ourselves
in our research group. But in addition, we began to reach out
to some of our clinical partners in San Diego, and test these on different patients
in different clinical conditions, including moms-to-be like Jane. Here is a picture of a pregnant woman
in labor at our university hospital being monitored for her uterine
contractions with the conventional belt. In addition, our flexible electronic patches are there. This picture demonstrates waveforms
pertaining to the fetal heart rate, where the red corresponds
to what was acquired with the conventional belts, and the blue corresponds to our estimates using our flexible electronic systems
and our algorithms. At this moment, we gave ourselves a big mental high five. Some of the things we had imagined
were beginning to come to fruition, and we were actually seeing this
in a clinical context. But there was still a problem. The problem was, the way
we manufactured these systems was very inefficient, had low yield and was very error-prone. In addition, as we talked to some
of the nurses in the hospital, they encouraged us to make sure that our electronics worked
with typical medical adhesives that are used in a hospital. We had an epiphany and said,
“Wait a minute. Rather than just making
them work with adhesives, let’s integrate them into adhesives, and that could solve
our manufacturing problem.” This picture that you see here is our ability to embed these censors
inside of a piece of Scotch tape by simply peeling it off of a wafer. Ongoing work in our research group
allows us to, in addition, embed integrated circuits
into the flexible adhesives to do things like amplifying signals
and digitizing them, processing them and encoding for wireless transmission. All of this integrated
into the same medical adhesives that are used in the hospital. So when we reached this point, we had some other challenges, from both an engineering
as well as a usability perspective, to make sure that we could
make it used practically. In many digital health discussions, people believe in and embrace the idea
that we can simply digitize the data, wirelessly transmit it, send it to the cloud, and in the cloud, we can extract meaningful
information for interpretation. And indeed, you can do all of that, if you’re not worried
about some of the energy challenges. Think about Jane for a moment. She doesn’t live in Palo Alto, nor does she live in Beverly Hills. What that means is, we have to be mindful about her data plan
and how much it would cost for her to be sending out
a continuous stream of data. There’s another challenge that not everyone in the medical
profession is comfortable talking about. And that is, that Jane
does not have the most trust in the medical establishment. She, people like her, her ancestors,
have not had the best experiences at the hands of doctors and the hospital or insurance companies. That means that we have to be mindful
of questions of privacy. Jane might not feel that happy about all that data
being processed into the cloud. And Jane cannot be fooled; she reads the news. She knows that if the federal
government can be hacked, if the Fortune 500 can be hacked, so can her doctor. And so with that in mind, we had an epiphany. We cannot outsmart
all the hackers in the world, but perhaps we can present
them a smaller target. What if we could actually, rather than have those algorithms
that do data interpretation run in the cloud, what if we have those algorithms run
on those small integrated circuits embedded into those adhesives? And so when we integrate
these things together, what this means is that now
we can think about the future where someone like Jane can still
go about living her normal daily life, she can be monitored, it can be done in a way where
she doesn’t have to get another job to pay her data plan, and we can also address
some of her concerns about privacy. So at this point, we’re feeling very good about ourselves. We’ve accomplished this, we’ve begun to address some
of these questions about privacy and we feel like, pretty much
the chapter is closed now. Everyone lived happily ever after, right? Well, not so fast. (Laughter) One of the things we have to remember,
as I mentioned earlier, is that Jane does not have the most trust
in the medical establishment. We have to remember that there are increasing
and widening health disparities, and there’s inequity in terms
of proper care management. And so what that means
is that this simple picture of Jane and her data — even with her being comfortable
being wirelessly transmitted to the cloud, letting a doctor intervene if necessary — is not the whole story. So what we’re beginning to do is to think about ways to have
trusted parties serve as intermediaries between people like Jane
and her health care providers. For example, we’ve begun
to partner with churches and to think about nurses
that are church members, that come from that trusted community, as patient advocates and health coaches
to people like Jane. Another thing we have going for us is that insurance companies, increasingly, are attracted to some of these ideas. They’re increasingly realizing that perhaps it’s better
to pay one dollar now for a wearable device and a health coach, rather than paying 10 dollars later, when that baby is born prematurely and ends up in the neonatal
intensive care unit — one of the most expensive
parts of a hospital. This has been a long
learning process for us. This iterative process of breaking
through and attacking one problem and not feeling totally comfortable, and identifying the next problem, has helped us go along this path of actually trying to not only
innovate with this technology but make sure it can be used for people
who perhaps need it the most. Another learning lesson
we’ve taken from this process that is very humbling, is that as technology progresses
and advances at an accelerating rate, we have to remember that human beings
are using this technology, and we have to be mindful that these human beings —
they have a face, they have a name and a life. And in the case of Jane, hopefully, two. Thank you. (Applause)

92 thoughts on “A temporary tattoo that brings hospital care to the home | Todd Coleman

  1. "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

  2. America needs to nationalise it's health care. It's an absolute disgrace a wealthy country like that hasn't already. Ooooh but you middle and upper class people don't want to "pay for other people's health care" right? No wonder Europe pisses itself laughing at you.

  3. The situation is to talk about preventive measures. Healthcare? What is the real definition? Take care so that people needing doctors are set to a minimum? Or you get sick and we take care of you? In innovative ways? This man simply got his priorities wrong… if you don't or won't talk about the money…

  4. Partnering with churches… I don't know about that, are you sure their pro-life agenda won't effect your direction? hard to say… also I think that is the reason for the dislikes

  5. This is a brilliant example of asking questions and looking at all the sides of the problem, and never resting and feeling like you are done. Always be pushing for better ways to to everything.

  6. Jane is white, then at the end she is African American…now thts an amazing chip!! too bad Michael Jackson didn't have this, he could've went from black to white in 9 mins flat!!

  7. Many lies spoken here among truth to deceive. Note how they use a PREGNANT WOMAN to introduce their technology. focus on the broad application of this technology because this is their intent, do not be deceived by them and your emotions.

  8. I was literally so confused about the "paying for it for the rest of her life" and then I remembered that America has private healthcare

  9. I'd love to see the data transmission he's talking about being included in patient records so that it can be analysed with DM tools.

  10. There was a presentation about this technology at my college last year. It was fascinating. I can't wait for this technology to be perfected and become widespread.

  11. What if, you don't actually have the technology you claim to have. tattoo size sensors with wireless running on what power source? I'm going to need to see some proof of all this.

  12. It is a very bad idea to mix medical care with church. At least that's what my gut tells me. Maybe, just maybe, you can repair the mistrust between the medical establishment and patients by being excellent examples of how it should be, rather than tangle everything up in boondoggle. Also, maybe stop pushing a narrative of racial divide so hard.

  13. This is all beautiful, until you face the problem of privacy. The irony is that in this video when privacy was addresses, he managed to make it even worse!

  14. Yeah still watch that medical confidentiality with partnering up with churches etc. Particularly in small towns. People love to gossip about things they shouldn't. Someone in my family was congratulated on her pregnancy by some random in the grocery store the same day she got her results back. She hadn't told anyone, not even her husband, yet it was apparently public knowledge within hours.

  15. Why is Jane so sceptical of the government when it comes to her medicinal data? Is she a native American whose ancestors got pox blankets from the white devil?

  16. Does the tattoo circuit have a tiny battery in then? Wouldn't it run out of energy if it's constantly monitoring?
    Sending out a wifi signal even if only for a short period would also surely use tons of energy

  17. maybe you should fix the health care system, so a several months stay in the hospital doesn't bankrupt a person! *(just saying…………….)

  18. Give the information to the pacient and educate her in how to evaluate her own condition in a data base.
    Transparency and information are the best ways thru trust.

  19. African American? Jane looks Italian or some kind of Spanish to me … but who am I gonna believe — Dr. T. or my lying eyes?

  20. that's either not a temporary tattoo or it's not a computing device. If it's just a sensor, it always needs to be connected to something, and if it's a standalone computing device it needs metal parts in it and needs some thickness

  21. What an Orwellian type of concept… and he presents it with a straight face as a real solution… my god… let's not only track your communications (NSA), your whereabouts (surveillance cameras and blimps everywhere), your social life (social media scam) your money and financial activities (digital money, Bitcoin, Monero, etc) or your choices (mind control) BUT let's also track your organs, your cells, your bodily fluids (sterilization?) and your DNA.

    Do you people understand that THIS IS NOT ABOUT HEALTHCARE? It's about control and full spectrum dominance.

  22. the most exciting part wasnt the tech, but how they learned to use it more effectively because of the problems they had

  23. Guys for people like me with auto immune disorders this is a potential huge relief off of my everyday life and many others too. I think it has a long way to go through the FDA but this just gives me hope for an easier everyday life and overall is a really great idea in action.

  24. no think you not that i think its the mark of the beast.its that i don't want a tattoo and theres alot of ppl that don't want one too

  25. Mark of the beast or not it is really creepy the technology integrating into the body. We are humans not robots 🤖. God loves you and you are perfect the way you are.

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