INGLEWOOD, Calif. — It’s been roughly a year since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
Since then, healthcare has changed, with telemedicine going beyond just a chat with a doctor, thanks to the help of technology.
What You Need To Know
- Telemedicine is going beyond just a chat with a doctor, with the help of technology
- A person's cheeks can help take vital signs remotely
- New technology developed by an Israeli-based company works on Works on cell phones, tablets, and more
- Vital signs gathered by the app are then provided to the patient's doctor in less than a minute
"And unless we’re able to leverage the power of technology and bring it to everyday people, I don’t think the healthcare delivery system is going to be sustainable," said podiatric surgeon Dr. Bill Releford.
That’s why Dr. Releford of the Releford Foot and Ankle Institute in Inglewood has created several health apps to help him continue his mission.
“I specialize in amputation prevention in underserved and under resourced communities," he said.
The podiatric surgeon has been treating patients in Inglewood for 30 years. His diabetic patients are at higher risk for having complication from COVID-19.
"The COVID pandemic has been bittersweet," said Dr. Releford. "We know the bitter part very well. But the sweet part is that it has forced people in various industries to optimize technology. In healthcare, telemedicine is being used now more than ever."
He see technology as the future of healthcare and has created several apps, including Black Doctor 24/7 which connects people to Black doctors. It also features integrated cutting edge technolog that can provide medical information to doctors in real-time.
"[The technology] really keeps our patients safe and extracts a lot more information than just a simple telemedicine visit or chatting with your doctor," said Dr. Releford.
The information includes vital signs, as a medical professional typically takes your vitals. But by using artificial intelligence developed by an Israeli based company called Binah.ai in the Black Doctor 24/7 app, Dr. Releford and the other doctors can have their patients check their own vitals remotely.
Patient Daniel Yeager was able to check his vitals during a telemedicine visit with Dr. Releford. Yeager was at his local barbershop while the doctor was at his office in Ingelwood. All Yeager had to do was use the camera on his cell phone to live scan his face. The technology would also work on a tablet, low-end smart phone, laptop, or desktop computer.
Yeager said he had several questions when he first used it, such as, "How was a camera able to know how fast my heart is beating?"
“A lot of the technology is proprietary," said Dr. Releford.
The following is how Binah.ai describes the technology on its website: "Remote Photoplethysmographic imaging (rPPG) is a camera-based solution for non-contact cardiovascular monitoring, proven to be as accurate as traditional PPG devices. Our technology measures the changes in red, green, and blue light reflection from the skin, quantifying the contrast between specular reflection and diffused reflection."
Dr. Releford explained the technology in a more simplified way as “similar to a beam of light coming from your camera and analyzing the blood flow in your cheeks. With just that, the doctors are able to detect your respiration, your heart rate, and O2 saturation.”
It can also detect how much stress you’re feeling, which is what Yeager admitted he can feel when thinking about a medical checkup.
"I’ve never been a fan of doctors," he said.
Yeager added that he doesn’t trust doctors and avoids going to see one if he can help it. Plus, with a virus going around, he said the chances of him going to a doctor’s office is slim.
In less than a minute, however, Yeager was able to avoid all the stress but still provide real-time medical information to Dr. Releford using the camera on his cell phone. It is information the doctor would need to make sure his patient is healthy.
Dr. Releford noted that the numbers, or vital signs, provided through the technology are accurate.
“We’ve been able to test this cutting technology side-by side by the standard technology or standard devices that you see in typical doctor’s office," he said, adding that the technology is a way to keep patients safe and comfortable during a pandemic.
It also helps him stick to his own mission of helping keep his patients healthy and prevent unnecessary diabetic amputations.
According to Binah.ai, the technology has been used by 1.5 million users across the world and is currently in the process of getting medical regulatory approval in several locations globally, including the FDA in the U.S., CE in Europe, PMDA in Japan, and more.
It has than 60 customers worldwide, while being integrated across numerous markets in telehealth, insurance, and corporate wellness.