'Talking' Medical Devices, Apps Continue to Evolve

'Talking' Medical Devices, Apps Continue to Evolve
'Talking' Medical Devices, Apps Continue to Evolve

(HealthDay News) — "Talking" medical devices and apps, among other techy health-focused inventions, can help people manage everyday wellness routines, such as taking pills and checking blood sugar levels, as well as dire medical circumstances, say experts.

Talking medical device technology isn't new, but more and more device makers are using the technology now to create more patient-friendly products, Benjamin Arcand, an engineer and product innovator in the medical devices field, and associate director of the innovation fellows program at the University of Minnesota's Medical Devices Center told HealthDay.

Talking portable defibrillators have been around for years, guiding users through the steps of saving a cardiac arrest victim. A new epinephrine pen follows suit -- it calmly instructs a nervous parent or teacher through the injection process to help stop an allergic child from going into anaphylactic shock. Other high-tech health tools help teach operating room staffers how to assemble the complicated set-ups of rarely used surgical devices. In homes, chatty thermometers tell parents a child's fever reading and an innovative new app lets an expectant mom hear a baby's heartbeat.

"People have been thinking about talking devices for a long time. The technology has been trying to rise up above the surface for a long time," Arcand said. Finally, he said, the technology is sophisticated enough and affordable enough. "What I think you'll see is user-friendliness is going to go up over time," Arcand said. "About 10 or 20 years ago, we saw this huge bloom of all these medical devices. Now that the industry is maturing and there's more regulation and less funding capital, new device development is slowing down."

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