Everywhere you look, smart technology is making exciting leaps in healthcare, changing how people are cared for and their health issues treated. When it comes to teeth, we tend to take them for granted. We might only think about them when we’re in pain with a tooth cavity and need a dentist urgently. And yet, our teeth give us insight into our overall health: what we’re eating, if we’re healthy, and if we’re at risk of disease. Teeth could even reveal bullying, with research published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation showing that teens who are the victims of bullying tend to grind their teeth. Smart technology for teeth could help us to better understand the link between our teeth and overall health, completely changing dental care and encouraging healthier lifestyles. Here’s a study worth looking into about smart technology and teeth.
In the study, scientists glued sensors onto eight volunteers’ teeth. The sensors were devices known as accelerometers that can recognize movement in the mouth. They were connected to wires to collect data from the participants’ teeth. The participants of the study were told to drink a bottle of water, cough, read a section of an article, and chew gum. They had to spend less than a minute on each of these tasks, and their actions were recorded.
These activities were important to study because they make the teeth move in different ways, and can therefore shed light on someone’s health, for instance why they’re coughing so much or if they’re chewing their food enough. Coughing could signal a health condition in the body, while not chewing food enough can cause plaque buildup that leads to cavities because not enough saliva is produced in the mouth to eliminate bacteria. Another oral health issue that such smart technology could help to spot is if the teeth aren’t positioned well. This puts a patient at greater risk of experiencing chips and wear and tear, as explained by Vibrant Dentistry. Advancements in smart dental technology could pinpoint issues such as the above, making dental care much easier.
Guest post by Chris Strammiello, Vice President of Global Alliances & Strategic Marketing, Nuance.
The growing use of smart devices at the point of care exacerbates the dual, yet contradictory, challenges confronting hospital IT directors and compliance officers: Making patients’ health information easier to access and share, while at the same time keeping it more secure.
A major problem is that there are just too many touch points that can create risk when sharing protected health information (PHI) inside and outside of the hospital. In addition to securing communications on cell phones, tablets and laptops, these tools can send output to smart multi-function printers (MFPs) that not only print, but allow walk-up users to copy, scan, fax and email documents. This functionality is why the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology now defines MFPs as workstations where PHI must be protected. These protections need to include administrative, physical and technical safeguards that authenticate users, control access to workflows, encrypt data handled on the device and maintain an audit trail of all activity.
Accurate, Effective and Secure Use of Patient Information at Point of Care
Hospitals need to adopt an approach that automatically provides security and control at the smart MFP from which patient information is shared and distributed. This approach must also support the use of mobile computing technologies, which are helping to bring access to patient information and electronic health records (EHR) to the point of care. Advanced secure information technology and output management solutions can help hospitals protect patient health information as part of achieving HIPAA-compliant use of PHI with software by adding a layer of automated security and control to both electronic and paper-based processes. These solutions can minimize the manual work and decisions that invite human error, mitigate the risk of non-compliance and help hospitals avoid the fines, reputation damage and other costs of HIPAA violations and privacy breaches.
With this approach, vulnerabilities with capturing and sharing PHI are reduced with a process that ensures:
Authorization — only authorized staff can access specific devices, network applications and resources with password or smartcard based authentication. Network authentication is seamlessly integrated with the document workflow and to ensure optimal auditing and security, the documents containing PHI are captured and routed to various destinations such as email, folders, fax and EHR systems.
Authentication — user credentials must be verified at the device, by PIN/PIC code, proximity (ID), or by swiping a smart card access documents containing PHI. Once authenticated, the solution controls what users can and cannot do. It enables or restricts email or faxing and prohibits documents with PHI from being printed, faxed or emailed.
Encryption — communications between smart MFP’s and mobile terminals, the server and destinations, such as the EHR, are encrypted to ensure documents are only visible to those with proper authorization.
File destination control — simultaneously monitors and audits the patient information in documents, ensuring PHI is controlled before it is ever gets to its intended destination.
Content filtering — automatically enforces security policies to proactively prevent PHI from leaving the hospital by filtering outbound communications and intercepting documents – rendering misdirected or intercepted information unreadable to unauthorized users.