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David Kerr: Silicon is the new black

1 Jul, 14 | by BMJ

david_kerrRecently the big four titans of technology (Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Google) have, almost simultaneously, thrown their hats into the wearable sensor ring. Apparently, consumers now want to wear devices to record personal physiological data, which can then be synchronized with their smartphones. Through cloud computing, this can then be shared with their doctors and nurses as well. The early adopters of wearable technology are, unsurprisingly, young, wealthy, and tech savvy—while also fashion conscious enough to want the technology to resemble jewelry. more…

Rhys Davies: Reinventing the Watch—The Longitude Prize 2014

22 May, 14 | by BMJ

“Relax! It’s not calculating longitude at sea.”

In the 18th century, before the advent of either rocket science or brain surgery, this is what folk would say to put the difficult and complicated problems of their peers in perspective. Described as the great scientific challenge of that century, the problem of knowing longitude at sea, and thus where your ship is, caused frequent shipwrecks and hampered the emerging global trade of goods. In 1714, the British government put a price on the problem—£20 000 for a method of determining longitude within 30 nautical miles. Half a century later, the Longitude Prize was won by Yorkshire watchmaker John Harrison and his H4, the marine chronometer.

Three hundred years later, the Longitude Prize is being reborn. Styled as the Longitude Prize 2014, with a reward of £10 million, it aims to find and tackle the greatest scientific challenge of our time. Exactly what that challenge is will be decided by a public vote. more…

William Cayley: “If you build it, they will come”

6 May, 14 | by BMJ

bill_cayley“If you build it, they will come!” So went the catchphrase of Field of Dreams, in which an Iowa farmer is inspired by voices to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. And, indeed, “they” do come—the movie ends with an endless line of people in cars coming to see a ball game in his remote cornfield. While an inspiring story of seeing a dream through to fruition, it also raises serious questions of practicality—is a remote corner of Iowa really the best place for a historic baseball diamond?

Rhys Davies touched on a similar issue in his recent posting about the Imagining the Future of Medicine conference, where he was rightly skeptical about the true benefits of many of the new, high tech (or in development) medical gizmos that were on display there. more…

Rhys Davies: Imagining the Future of Medicine—not just robots and old people

29 Apr, 14 | by BMJ

On Monday 21 April, the Royal Albert Hall played host to a curious event. Imagining the Future of Medicine was an afternoon filled with a variety of speakers and artistic performances. Its goal was, in equal parts, to challenge and inspire its audience—a melange of doctors, students, and the greater public—to consider novel ways of thinking and innovative new avenues for healthcare. more…

Glyn Elwyn et al: Crowdsourcing health care—hope or hype?

29 Apr, 14 | by BMJ

The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science

How does the increasing interest in the use of crowdsourcing platforms, as a way to help patients, fit into the debate about personal health information and the desire for confidentiality? Social media platforms have redefined how people interact with each other, but could it be that health issues might need to be handled differently? There might well be wisdom in crowds, but how can this be safely harnessed when dealing with health problems? We convened a seminar at Dartmouth, where three short case studies of crowdsourcing relevant to health care were debated. more…

David Payne: Happy 13th birthday, (scary) Google

27 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

David Payne In Washington DC last week Google CEO Eric Schmidt defended the company’s business practices when he appeared before a Senate antitrust panel. Down the road at Georgetown University the following day, his colleague Darcy Dapra was doing a similar thing to an audience of scholarly publishers.

Mr Schmidt’s appearance was to reject claims that Google, which celebrates its 13th birthday this week, gives its growing portfolio of online business preferred placements in search results. more…

Oliver Ellis: Health records in the cloud

6 Jul, 11 | by BMJ

Oliver EllisOn my first ever hospital placement the thing that most struck me was just how antiquated the records system was. Junior staff were writing with pen and paper; the grander ones used a tape (an actual magnetic tape!) to dictate letters to a secretary. To find something in a patient record you couldn’t type a few terms into a search box, you had to flip through the pages and decipher scrawl. more…

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