LOADING...

Category "Technology"

30Nov

Vancouver company unveils latest handheld ultrasound scanners

by admin

A Vancouver company has launched a line of ultrasound scanners that combine artificial intelligence and a pocket size to make medical ultrasounds accessible to medical professionals whether they’re in an office, an ambulance or a remote refugee camp.

Clarius Mobile Health pioneered the shift from cart-based ultrasounds to portable scanners when it introduced its first portable ultrasound scanners in 2016.

The company recently unveiled its second generation lineup, reducing the size of the devices by almost half and improving the image quality to that of a much more expensive traditional system. Known as point-of-care ultrasounds for their ability to be wheeled to a patient’s bedside, ultrasounds have traditionally been costly, clunky and needing an electrical outlet for power.

“When you compare our solution to traditional point-of-care solutions, it is basically 20 per cent or less of the cost of those machines and our scanners are much more portable, they fit in your pocket and they’re wireless,” said Clarius CEO Laurent Pelissier. “And they are driven by artificial intelligence.


The Clarius ultrasound scanner has a rechargeable battery and works with an Android or iOS mobile phone or tablet.

Submitted photo

“You have an AI assistant that replaces the need to adjust the 15 to 30 buttons that you have to adjust on a traditional machine.”

The Clarius ultrasound scanner has a rechargeable battery and works with an Android or iOS mobile phone or tablet. The new lineup includes two multi-purpose scanners and four scanners for specialities such as sports medicine and anesthesia. The scanners cost $6,475 each, with the exception of the EC7-endocavity scanner at $8,975. Pelissier said the onetime cost, with a three-year guarantee and no subscription or user fees, the scanners are much more accessible, both in terms of price and usage, than traditional systems.

“Not only are traditional systems big, but they cost $25,000 to $50,000 and they’re not easy to implement, especially in private practice,” he said.

Pelissier said the market for Clarius scanners is North America and western Europe, where they’re used by medical professionals ranging from sports medicine specialists, to emergency physicians and paramedics.

“Paramedics can use them to look for internal bleeding or heart distress and function, for example,” he said. “They can bring a technology to an ambulance that otherwise would have to wait until they got to a hospital.”

Dr. Kevin Zorn, associate professor of urology, minimally invasive urological-oncologist and Director of Robotic Surgery at the Research Center of the University Hospital of Montreal, has been using a Clarius portable ultrasound scanner for the past two years performing more than 1,000 ultrasound exams on his patients.

He sees the portable device as a breakthrough technology, delivering the kind of transformative change to patient care that the stethoscope once did.


Dr. Kevin Zorn, associate professor of urology, minimally invasive urological-oncologist and Director of Robotic Surgery at the Research Center of the University Hospital of Montreal.

Submitted photo

“As a urologist I think this is a simple, easy and applicable tool that can greatly accelerate patient care, reduce the already long wait times in our patients’ care and make the experience for both the physician and the patient infinitely better, at a low cost,” he said.

In describing patient care before the arrival of the handheld scanner technology, Zorn outlined a process that started with the patient’s initial examination, followed by a request for an ultrasound, a wait for that appointment, a scan carried out by a technician, followed by a radiologist’s report. The report would go back to Zorn’s office where the patient would have to be seen again for the results and a treatment plan. The process was time consuming, expensive for the medical system and stressful for the patient.


Clarius CEO Laurent Pelissier.

Submitted photo

By comparison, the Clarius ultrasound scanner lets Zorn carry out ultrasounds in his office, bypassing the lengthy process of sending a patient to a radiology clinic and ensuring faster treatment. In one example, with a patient he was seeing who had a testicular mass, Zorn was able to carry out an accurate assessment of the cancerous lesion and arrange for prompt surgery without the patient having to wait for an ultrasound appointment at a clinic or hospital.

“This lets me do the ultrasound myself,” said Zorn. “I expect to see more and more ultrasound taught to medical students as part of their anatomy experience. You can actually see the anatomy and not have to wait and rely on radiology to do that for us.

“I think this technology has come of age and should become a standard part of our physical exam.”

Zorn said the Clarius handheld is relatively inexpensive compared to other scanners and medical devices.

“To me it’s a no brainer,” he said. “We buy our stethoscopes for $200 to $500 for some of the higher end ones. A bladder scanner, a vital tool that you find at most nursing stations and in emergency rooms, costs $10,000 to $12,000 CDN.”

Dr. Zorn said a Clarius scanner can carry out the same function as the bladder scanner, plus much more (Doppler, Power Doppler, other advanced features), at about half the cost.

The portability, battery power and wireless capability of the scanners has transformed patient care in remote areas.

Dr. Reinhard Schernthanner, an anesthetist with Austria’s ARCHEMED, on a mission to Eritrea was able carry out ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia to more than 40 children undergoing surgery.

“For me as an anesthetist, an ultrasound is necessary to provide good analgesia,” he said in a release announcing the new scanners.

 

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division.

 

 

25Sep

LoginRadius: The anatomy of a modern Canadian tech office

by admin

https://vancouversun.com/


Ian Bell of LoginRadius outside the tech firm’s new head office in Vancouver on Sept. 24, 2019.


Arlen Redekop / Postmedia News

At LoginRadius’s Canadian headquarters, there’s a tiki bar with a row of booze bottles on display in a social room; floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Canada Place, Vancouver’s harbour and points east, south and west; and then there’s Leo, a 15-week-old Cane Corso-Bullmastiff cuddling up against a visitor’s legs.

It all adds up to what a burgeoning tech firm hopes is the kind of work environment that will attract the best and brightest in a Canadian tech landscape increasingly crowded by giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.


Leo the dog inside the offices of tech firm LoginRadius in Vancouver.

Arlen Redekop /

Postmedia News

LoginRadius, a developer and manager of online customer identity platforms, recently ended its challenge of finding a new and larger office space in Vancouver. The company also has a small branch office in Toronto and several small global satellite offices.

In Vancouver, its 52 staff now work in an 11,000-square-foot space on the eighth and top floor of 815 West Hastings, a building in the downtown financial heart. They moved in just two months ago.

Postmedia recently toured the office and heard from management and staff who helped to distil down a few of the important office elements and amenities they think will attract and keep the best tech workers. (Management says the average age of the staff is younger than 30, and 70 per cent of the staff use a company-provided transit pass to commute to work.)


Sally Maeing and Ajoy Anand enjoy a quick game of foosball inside LoginRadius’s Vancouver offices. The popular (but not overused) tiki bar can be seen in the background.

Arlen Redekop /

Postmedia News

Social space

The tour starts in what the staff call the fun area. It’s a spacious room with broad windows facing West Hastings Street below. A couple of video game chairs (without the video games) are set next to the window near a row of pub-style high tables. There’s a foosball set and table tennis nearby. There are a couple couches. The pride and joy clearly is the well-stocked bamboo and thatch tiki bar on display against the western wall.

“Research does say that every couple of hours you (should) move around and interact with other people,” says Ajoy Anand, LoginRadius’s vice-president of finance and operations. “That is how you’re more productive.”

He says they want people to use the fun area to decompress, while it also provides the various departments a place to mingle. “Everybody knows each other,” he says.

Yeah, but is having an open bar a good idea for a workplace?

“We don’t have a lot rules, but I don’t see people taking advantage of the laxness of that,” says Ian Bell, the company’s marketing director, and Leo’s dad.

He says they don’t have to babysit staff or monitor the tiki bar throughout the day.

“If somebody was knockdown drunk at 2:30 in the afternoon, that would be a problem,” he says. “We haven’t had that happen.”

Anand quickly adds that they have two people on staff who are certified to serve alcohol and they often hire professional bartenders for events in the space.


Inside the open-concept offices of LoginRadius in Vancouver.

Arlen Redekop /

Postmedia News

Open concept

After the company leased the space, Anand says they removed roughly 15 offices and 30 walls.

They wanted an open concept without cubicles or walled-in offices so staff could discuss work without moving into meeting rooms. Staff work in such close proximity that you can lean over to see your neighbour’s screen.

“(Staff) can communicate to each other,” he says. “It is a team environment. Our teams sit together, whether it’s the sales team or marketing team, so we skip a lot of meetings that way — if it’s a five-minute (discussion).”

The office has a small, typical kitchen in the core of the space.


Ian Bell and Sally Maeing talk with Rakesh Soni (on screen) inside LoginRadius in Vancouver.

Arlen Redekop /

Postmedia News

Equal access

“The big difference (from the old office) is this openness and collaborative approach,” said Rakesh Soni, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “People are all sitting together with accessibility to everything. No walls.”

All of the workstations are positioned along the exterior of the space, giving full views and access to the natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The team hasn’t forgone separate offices for the bosses. Three corner offices are reserved for finance, the CTO and CEO. However, the offices are glass-walled and transparent.

There are several small, nondescript “phone booths” located in the centre of the L-shaped main office room. There are also a handful of meeting rooms with screens for video conferencing. Various other screens are set up around the space. One has sports highlights on it, the others show real-time metrics central to LoginRadius’s objectives, including website traffic and sales leads — for everyone’s eyes.

Everyone in the building has access to a pleasant rooftop patio with picnic tables and barbecues and views of the city, although there’s nobody up there at 11:30 a.m. on what turns out to be the first nice day in what feels like weeks.

“We also have lots of places where you can sit and be quiet by yourself,” Bell says. “That is to counteract the downside of the open office, which is if you ever need to sit down and concentrate and write something and not be bothered, you need a place to go.”

evan@evanduggan.com
twitter.com/EvanBDuggan


CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email vantips@postmedia.com.

22Jun

Changing health care one app at a time

by admin

When Mari-Lynn Cordahi was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 21 years ago, she would have welcomed someone to talk to who knew from experience what she was going through.

Today, she fills that role for others newly diagnosed with MS, thanks to her role as a peer mentor on Curatio. Dubbed a ‘social health prescription,’ Vancouver-based Curatio is the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Lynda Brown-Ganzert.


Mari-Lynn Cordahi is a peer mentor on Curatio.

Handout

“I’ve connected with people through the Curatio app,” said Cordahi. “One person in the UK, I connected with her within days of her being diagnosed.

“If I put myself back 21 years ago, I know what she is going through. I sure would have appreciated it if something like this had been available then.”

Using a combination of artificial intelligence and private social networks, Curatio’s mobile app fills a gap in our healthcare system, creating personalized support networks for patients and caregivers who are newly diagnosed or navigating their way through an illness or chronic condition.

The idea came to Brown-Ganzert when she was undergoing fertility issues and complications in pregnancy.


Using a combination of artificial intelligence and private social networks, Curatio’s mobile app fills a gap in our healthcare system, creating personalized support networks for patients and caregivers who are newly diagnosed or navigating their way through an illness or chronic condition.

“It was when we were having our second child and there were some complications and issues around that,” she said.  “I became  a patient and found, ‘oh my goodness, there are some really broken pieces here.’

“Being an entrepreneur you’re always thinking how you could fix it. The genesis of Curatio came from that – looking at the isolation, the difficulty patients have navigating, the lack of curated information you can trust that is personalized to you, connecting with others who are similar to you or have gone through the same thing.”

Brown-Ganzert, whose background is in digital media, had spent the previous 10 years building private mobile social networks. Her experience with the healthcare system convinced her that the idea of private social networks could be applied in the healthcare field.

“A good friend of mine had a heart attack and became our first use case,” she said. “With him and together with Alireza (Davoodi), my co-founder, we built a prototype in 40 days, went on to win a global challenge and our first customer and we were off.”

That was five years ago. Today Curatio is used in more than 85 countries and in four languages.

“Where I started from was recognizing social was a missing piece in healthcare transformation. When you start to connect patients, and we have clinical evidence to show this, you have improved outcomes,” said Brown-Ganzert.

When you sign onto the system, an AI agent helps you navigate to find what you need. There are currently three active communities: in heart, multiple sclerosis and thalassemia, an online community ThaliMe, plus you can sign onto the general Curatio network, or as a caregiver.

Along with the social support, the app provides everything from medication reminders to self-assessment, helping patients manage their disease or chronic condition.

Brown-Ganzert  took the concept to the Dragon’s Den, winning over three dragons from the television show who are among investors who so far have put US$1.6 million into the company. Curatio counts a number of non-profit patient advocacy organizations as clients, delivering a means to reach patients that complies with privacy and regulatory requirements. The platform is also being used in research, providing a social plugin that helps research teams connect to participants in their community.

For Beverly Sudbury, of Charlottetown, PEI, Curatio creates connections to a global community of people who share a diagnosis of MS.

“For me I like connecting with people and I like finding new sources of information or bouncing ideas off people,” she said.


For Beverly Sudbury, of Charlottetown, PEI, Curatio creates connections to a global community of people who share a diagnosis of MS.

Handout

Sudbury, who is also a peer supporter on the network, said she checks daily to see what’s new.

“It’s building an online community of people you can get support from when you’re having a crappy day,” she said. “They’ll say ‘keep going,’ or they’ll help out with a different perspective.”

Users create their own profile on the app, but they don’t have to use their real name and can choose what information is publicly displayed.

There is also a private chat function.

“For me the chat functionality is fantastic,” said Sudbury.

Unlike friends and family who can’t really understand some of the issues facing people with MS because they haven’t lived with the disease, Sudbury said other patients will know exactly what she is talking about.

“I’ll say ‘I’m tired,” and a friend will say, ‘I know what you mean, I was up really late last night,’” she said. “But it’s not the same.”

Cordahi, who was an elementary school teacher before MS forced her to stop teaching 15 years ago, likes to volunteer since she can’t work and Curatio provides that opportunity to engage.

“When you talk to someone who has gone through this journey, there is definitely a sense of comfort and trust that they understand and are going through something similar – even when it’s difficult subjects or personal things,” she said.

gilliandshaw@gmail.com

Related


Source link

22Jun

Using artificial intelligence to combat acne

by admin


While artificial intelligence won’t replace your dermatologist it shows promise as a diagnostic tool, in everything from acne to skin cancer.


Getty Images

Nobody wants to be called in to see the doctor and find a robot wearing a white coat.

You may not have to worry your GP will be replaced by a droid anytime soon, but artificial intelligence is playing a growing role in health care, diagnostics and the delivery of services.

Skin care and cosmetics brand La Roche-Posay is among companies turning to AI as a diagnostic tool.

La Roche-Posay, a L’Oréal brand that specializes in products for sensitive skin, recently introduced the Effaclar Spotscan – a scanning tool that uses artificial intelligence to diagnose acne. It’s the latest in data-driven skin care that uses AI to develop personalized solutions for skin health. AI won’t take the place of your dermatologist, but  it shows promise as a diagnostic tool, in everything from acne to skin cancer.

Othman Bennis, head of marketing for La Roche-Posay said a need for early intervention among acne patients was identified by dermatologists. That was the catalyst for a product that could help patients identify early on the level of their acne, measured on a scale from zero to 4+.

“They were telling us one of the main pain points they have in the management of acne patients was that most of the time acne patients were not going soon enough to see a dermatologist and when they were coming, many times it was too late,” said Bennis.  “Even if they had the right treatment at that time, they would still have marks and scars because they hadn’t gone earlier.”

Dermatologists wanted a way for patients to get an early screening to diagnose the severity of their acne. They also wanted patients with moderate to high acne levels to be directed to a dermatologist for treatment.

That led to research into a digital tool that could provide an early and accurate diagnosis of acne, ranking it on the same scale used by dermatologists seeing patients in person.

It started with data collection, with some 6,000 photos, three for each patient, with varying degrees of acne. Photos had to be taken on both an iPhone and Android phones since the calibration of pictures isn’t the same across the different operating systems.

La Roche-Posay, a L’Oréal brand that specializes in products for sensitive skin, recently introduced the Effaclar Spotscan.The photos had to encompass skins types from all over the world. Dermatologists provided the photos and each photo was graded by three different dermatologists.

In the case of a disagreement on the numbers, something that’s not unusual in real life practice, the majority determined the deciding grade. So, for example, if two dermatologists said an acne was a grade three and one said it was a grade two, it would be counted as grade three.

The photo analysis focuses on pimples, blackheads and acne marks, like pigmentation of the skin.

Once that data collection and analysis was complete, the AI process began with the data fed into supercomputers. Machine learning resulted in a system that could define and grade acne with an accuracy on par with having two dermatologists deliver a diagnosis.

“Basically it is as precise as seeing a dermatologist face to face,” said Bennis.

Response to Spotscan, which launched three months ago, exceeded expectations, said Bennis. It is now available in 50 countries and two million people have used the online tool to evaluate their skin.


La Roche-Posay, a L’Oréal brand that specializes in products for sensitive skin, recently introduced the Effaclar Spotscan.

Handout

There is a professional version of the online tool as well as a consumer version.

Eighty per cent of people under the age of 25 have had acne at least once and 40 per cent of adult women have issues with acne.

“Acne is huge,” said Bennis. “It is a very widespread problem.”

The online tool has a number of functions, not all related to promoting La Roche-Posay skincare products. For ratings of zero to two, users are offered a skincare analysis with both generic suggestions and La Roche-Posay product suggestions for a skincare regime. At higher levels, it recommends a visit to a dermatologist.

Bennis said users don’t have to be La Roche-Posay customers to benefit from the online tool. Another function is a timeline simulation for people who have low to mild acne to show the effect of following a recommended skincare regime for eight weeks. For severe acne there is no such simulation because users are advised to see a dermatologist.

A second function is useful to all — the ability to track progress though a digital diary that compares early results to later ones as treatment is followed.

AI is also being used to screen for skin cancer and some research results are promising. Research published in Nature, the International Journal of Science, demonstrated artificial intelligence could be trained to achieve an accuracy in classifying skin lesions that was on par with board-certified dermatologists. There are consumer screening apps but some of the more popular ones, like SkinVision, haven’t yet been approved for availability in North America.

In recent research published in the Lancet machine-learning algorithms were more accurate in diagnosing skin lesions than a group of human viewers, which included board-certified dermatologists, dermatology residents and general practitioners.

shaw.gillian@gmail.com

Related


Source link

1May

May is Speech and Hearing month, Yat Li addresses that

by admin


Yat Li of the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, in Vancouver on May 1. Li was born with tiny ears and now has prosthetic ones. The hard-of-hearing refer to deafness as the invisible disability, Li, communications and marketing manager with the WIDHH, said.


Arlen Redekop / PNG

In a way, suffering from hearing loss is worse than many other physical ailments because, for one, it’s not particularly visible.

In fact, the hard-of-hearing refer to it as the invisible disability, Yat Li, communications and marketing manager with the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WIDHH), said.

“Growing up in the ’90s, I was very self-conscious,” Li said. “I had lots of problems, without wearing hearing aids I am not able to function normally.”

He was born in Hong Kong with microtia — tiny ears, one of about 40,000 born every year with the condition worldwide — and his family moved to Coquitlam when Li was five.

There was practically no Chinese culture in Coquitlam then, Li didn’t speak English well (nor, for that matter, did he speak Cantonese well). It’s hard to learn to speak when you have profound hearing loss.

About 157,000 people report being deaf or hard-of-hearing in B.C., according to WIDHH figures. Hearing loss affects social skills, learning and mental health.

“Many of us take our ability to communicate for granted, but the ability to speak, hear and be heard is much more vital to our everyday lives than most of us realize,” says Speech-Language & Audiology Canada. “For those who have difficulty communicating, everyday interactions can pose significant challenges.

“A communication disorder may prevent an individual from performing well at work, asking for help, hearing instructions at school or even saying. ‘I love you’.”

And whereas poor eyesight is corrected by something that’s become a fashion accessory — eyeglasses — hearing aids don’t enjoy the same panache.

Li has prosthetic ears (they look great). The ears are attached magnetically to small posts inserted into his skull, sitting where his tiny biological ears used to be. He had the surgery to install them when he was 21 by Vancouver doctor Jack Zolty at the Realistic Prosthetic Studio. The procedure cost $5,000, as did each ear, a cost not borne by the Medical Services Plan because he wasn’t considered deaf enough.

Li can swim with his ears on. He takes them off at night. And the hearing aid is hidden behind his right, attachable ear.

Growing up, Li wore his hair long in embarrassment, classmates made fun of him. He was an ethnic minority, he was small, he had those tiny ears, he was easy to pick on. Even today, folks who should probably know better make jokes at his expense: Things like, when it’s raining, cautioning Li not to get electrocuted.

“It’s funny to them, I guess, it’s not funny to me,” he said.

Li worked in marketing in the hotel industry up to 18 months ago when he got tired of hiding his hearing loss, tired of faking it like he was “ordinary.” He was scared people would look at him differently, feel he was weak if they knew the truth.

“It took me a long time of trying to live with who I am and what I am. I’ve only become open to sharing myself, sharing who I am, recently,” the 30-year-old Li said.

Besides his work with the deaf and hard-of-hearing institute, which by the way isn’t government funded but that relies on charitable donations for its work and to pay for its staff of 40 or so, Li markets his Acoustic Wear line, clothing with sayings such as ‘Pardon Me?’ and ‘Hear I Stand’.

And, in his quest to be an inspiration for others, he addresses conferences around the globe.

“I want others to feel empowered and inspired and motivated by someone who went through what I faced, because I did not think I would be here right now,” Lee said.

“For parents, I want you to know you can love your kid with no barriers. You know the cards you’ve been dealt is not the perfect hand. It’s about how you play them. Show affection to your kids, love them for who they are. That’s when they’ll realize, ‘Hey, it’s OK to be me.’ ”

gordmcintyre@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordmcintyre

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email vantips@postmedia.com.




Source link

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.