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MedTech

Apps, gadgets, and other innovations that are advancing health and health science.

1 / Wound analyzer

patient care

Health practitioners usually measure the size and shape of chronic wounds (bed sores, skin ulcers) with a ruler. Not an exact science. Tissue Analytics’ Mobile Wound app, available for iOS and Android devices, turns a phone into a medical imaging system. Snap a photo of the wound, and the app’s algorithm accurately measures its dimensions. The images are uploaded to a secure portal that can be accessed by physicians, who can track the wound.

illustration of a bandaid
Peter Ryan

2 / Handheld STD test

sexual health

MobiNAAT (mobile nucleic acid amplification testing), designed by Johns Hopkins biomedical engineers, is a low-cost diagnostic tool to quickly detect chlamydia, an often symptomless sexually transmitted disease that, if untreated, can cause serious and permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system. The 6-inch-tall, battery-powered prototype features a disposable cartridge for a genital swab and a heating unit to incubate the DNA sample. An associated mobile app processes test results within 30 minutes.

3 / Social services finder

consumer service

Designed by former Johns Hopkins students, Healthify is a subscription-based mobile platform to help health care staff locate social service agencies and connect patients to them. It’s basically Yelp for health. Instead of querying for restaurants or hotels, users search for nearby temporary housing, drug treatment centers, mental health counseling, and other services that can also be rated.

illustration of a medical staff person pointing a patient to a service location
Kevin Whipple

4 / Before it kills

patient safety

For a patient with sepsis—which kills more Americans every year than AIDS and breast and prostate cancer combined—hours can make the difference between life and death. Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a computer-based method called TREWScore that has correctly predicted septic shock in 85 percent of cases, a 60 percent improvement over existing screening methods. The time saved allows clinicians to intervene with antibiotics. Researchers want to program the algorithm into electronic health record systems to better alert doctors and nurses about a patient at risk of septic shock.

5 / Healing hearts

cardiology

A sticky, protein-rich gel created by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers appears to help stem cells adhere to hearts and survive long enough for them to improve cardiac function after a heart attack. The study, which used rats as models, showed that without the gel, most of the injected stem cells would die or be pushed out into the lungs by the force of heartbeats. The novel substance also rapidly restores metabolism of the encapsulated stem cells, thus increasing the number that survive transplantation.

illustration of a heart
Ana Yael

6 / Eye on stroke

neurology

ER patients who complain of dizziness often get evaluated for stroke, which involves expensive and time-consuming CT or MRI scans that don’t always accurately diagnose. Looking for a faster and better way to examine patients, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University uses portable video-oculography to gauge eye movements. The device, which looks like high-tech swimming goggles, can track minute differences in eye movements that are hallmarks of a stroke, inner-ear problem, or other condition that requires further investigation.

illustration of eyes
Stephen Eric Thomas

7 / Wrist monitor

neurology

Johns Hopkins neurologists have introduced EpiWatch, an app designed to collect data from patients with epilepsy before, during, and after their seizures. The app, which runs on Apple Watch and iPhone, uses the open-source ResearchKit framework designed by Apple and the device’s built-in movement and heart rate sensors. The data gathered—including physiological changes and altered responsiveness—will be used by researchers to better understand and manage the disorder which afflicts more than 2.5 million people in the United States.

Apple Watch
 

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