A surgeon gets an electronic notification that an organ is available for transplant. It might be the middle of the night, or while driving to work — and the doctor has an hour to decide if it’s the right match for the patient.
It seems like a lot of pressure (and it is) but, thanks to the online system DonorNet run by the United Network for Organ Sharing, transplant surgeons are notified where organs are, how long they need to travel and can even view images securely online, a STAT.com article details.
The site matches organs of recently deceased persons to patients on the waiting list using algorithms that factor in body size and blood type, but also how long an organ could survive in preservative fluid, packed sterile ice or connected to a pump, STAT reports. Algorithms are designed for specific organs. For example, the kidney formula affords priority to patients whose immune systems are likely to reject most organs.
A computer-generated voice similar to Siri or HAL 9000 (see below) notifies surgeons simultaneously. Nahel Elias, M.D. and director of kidney transplantation at Massachusetts General Hospital, recently distinguished a good kidney from a poor one because of the online image option.
We Were Promised Robots, These Hospitals Delivered
It’s the 21st century, a time when we should be waited on hand and foot by robotic servants like Rosie of "The Jetsons" or Hal 9000 from "2001: A Space Odyssey." We're not, so even though we were promised robotic butlers and maids, a robot receptionist will have to do.
Hospitals in Ostend and Leige, Belgium, have hired humanoid robots named Pepper to greet patients and direct them around the hospitals, in the pediatric and geriatric departments, the Guardian reports. The humanoid has a screen on its chest and supposedly will be the first robot in the world used to greet people in a medical setting, according to the article.
Don’t speak the native language? No problem, Pepper can recognize 20 different languages, according to the Guardian.
More in the world of health tech:
- Genomic data allowed researchers to predict that certain anti-diabetes drugs are unlikely to boost the risk of cardiovascular disease and might actually protect against the disease, a National Institutes of Health blog reports.