5 Ways to Provide Consultations with Telemedicine

telemedicine usb technology

Telemedicine is one of the best things that has ever happened to medical plans and outpatient care. It is often difficult to get plan members and patients to come in for appointments, especially follow-up appointments and check-ins to keep track of their recovery progress. For those in post-acute care at home or suffering from severe conditions, regular check-ups may not be a viable option. Others simply won’t make appointments or arrive for them because they don’t care to come in or cannot remember to do so.

Telemedicine allows medical care to come to the patient using a combination of wireless and USB technology. Doctors and healthcare providers both can keep tabs on patients and make sure they are recovering according to plan without having to worry when patients don’t check-in or make appointments.

In fact, with modern technology, telemedicine is more versatile and accessible than ever.

 

Telephone Check-Ins

The most traditional type of telemedicine is the classic phonecall. Just talking on the phone with a patient can reveal a lot to their healthcare providers. Tone and quality of voice can tell a doctor whether the patient is hoarse, if they are feeling strong, and even something of their emotional state which can be affected by their health.

From the telephone, patients can report their symptoms, ask for advice, and discuss the progress of their health plan. Doctors also have the opportunity to help patients make appointments or schedule in-home visits.

 

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is the natural evolution of the telephone check-in because it solves many of the problems doctors have encountered treating patients over the phone. Both patients and doctors use USB cameras and microphones to connect over cloud video software. Doctors can examine skin tone, clarity of the eyes, and match visual to audio cues to determine how a patient at home is progressing. They can let a patient know when they seem to be at risk of becoming ill or relapsing and they can confirm that patients are genuinely doing better not just say they are doing better.

Video conferencing through cloud platforms has transformed telemedicine and is now the primary way to provide medical consultations and care from a distance.

 

Live Chat Consultation

However, non-video and even non-voice communication has its own essential uses in modern telemedicine. Live chat has become an incredibly useful way for patients, their families, and their care providers to stay in touch with doctors and health plans. Live chat provides a quick, easy, and low-connectivity way to ask questions and get answers.

Through live chat, patients can get updates on their existing treatment and recovery plan, order their medications, and schedule other services. This is a great telemedicine channel not for actual check-ins, but for all the little communications that patients often put off until they make it to an appointment. Live chat is ideal for helping patients stay on top of an ongoing plan and prevent self-neglect caused by procrastination or lack of answers.

 

Smart Home Communication

The cherry on top of cutting-edge telemedicine is smart home communication. With the right setup, a patient’s voice-controlled smart home can connect through their phone numbers, internet phones, and health plan mobile apps to keep patients connected without even picking up a device or sitting at a computer. Smart home telemedicine has an incredible amount of potential, most of which has yet to be realized. Patients who are bedridden can talk to their doctors without getting up, and health plan providers can make calls without patients having to reach the phone.

In fact, with a smart homes’ other features like timely reminders and as a voice information resource, they can be programmed to provide patients with automated telemedicine assistance as well as connection to doctors and care providers.

Telemedicine has a long history of helping outpatients manage their own care and doctors stay connected with their patients outside of appointments. And with modern technology, the quality and variety of telemedicine care continues to expand and evolve. Contact us today for more medical communication insights and ways to upgrade your medical practice with USB communication technology.

Safe Charging Is Vital to the Medical USB Infrastructure

USB charging doesn’t always get much attention, but it’s an important part of a medical facility’s IT infrastructure. When employees don’t have adequate options for charging their devices, they may bring in their own cheap chargers or use whatever they find on the road. Charging stations of poor quality and unknown provenance can shorten device life and even endanger security.

The quality of chargers has been steadily increasing, letting users replenish their devices more quickly while maintaining a reliable voltage level. Gallium nitride is one of the newest advances, providing greater efficiency and more compact devices.

When people can leave the medical office with their devices fully charged, they don’t have to hunt for charging stations. They’re less likely to run out of power at an inconvenient time, and they won’t have to expose their employer-issued devices to risky power sources. As with all medical USB devices, insisting on quality pays for itself.

The complexities of charging

It seems that USB charging should be a simple thing. You plug your device in, it draws power, and it charges the battery. In reality, it’s surprisingly complex. With modern USB, a device negotiates the rate it will get power with the source. The USB Power Delivery Specification dictates how this happens, but not all charging ports follow it strictly. Wall chargers typically don’t have any negotiating capability and just deliver 500 mA or less. Some devices require proprietary chargers and won’t draw power from anything else.

The maximum amperage for charging ports depends on the protocol level they support. USB 2 gives a maximum of 500 mA, while USB 3.1 expects devices to make 900 mA available. When both sides can handle it, a device can deliver as much as 5 amperes at 20 volts, i.e., 100 watts.

The USB power specification supersedes Qualcomm’s proprietary Quick Charge, which can deliver up to 20 volts. Traditional devices expect 5 volts. Imitation Quick Charge devices may deliver high power to devices that can’t handle it, risking serious damage or fire.

Drawing more power than a device was designed to take can be wasteful and shorten its life. On the other hand, a needlessly slow charge wastes time. Employees may have to go out with partially charged devices and will need to find a recharge sooner.

USB outlets and security

When security is an issue — for example, with devices holding ePHI — plugging into random USB outlets is risky. Malicious ones can pull information off the device or infect it with malware. The term “juice jacking” refers to attacks through USB charging stations. Some criminals leave chargers loaded with malware in public places. Others have managed to deposit malware into charging stations in shopping malls and airports.

The best approach, from the standpoint of both security and quality, is to use only known, well-made chargers and not let others use them. Carrying a portable charger is safe, not to mention offering more opportunities to plug in. It’s a reasonable investment for employers to include good chargers with devices issued to their staff. In the office, they should have ready access to charging hubs. Replacing old, slow chargers with new, more efficient ones will further improve safety and productivity.

Don’t skimp on hubs and chargers. Good ones safely keep your devices ready to use. Giving medical staff access to them saves them from the temptation of using public chargers or poorly made ones. At the computer, a high-quality hub with surge protection will give users a reliable power source for all their phones and tablets. Ask about all the medical-grade USB devices we have to offer. They’ll give your staff the best experience and protect your investment in equipment.

10 Cutting Edge USB Vehicle Technologies to Make Passengers Feel Like Royalty

Vehicle technology is an incredibly wide band of innovation. From engine efficiency to self-heating cupholders, there’s no end to the ways that driving has been improved in the last twenty years. As connoisseurs of USB technology, we’re especially excited to see the many different ways you can enhance your vehicle with just a few extra ports and a little innovative integration.

Most of the time, we focus on how technology is making life easier for businesses and fleet drivers. We understand just how important it is to have everything at your fingertips and supportive technology to optimize routes. But what if your fleet’s job is to carry passengers? At that point, passenger comfort becomes part of your signature, and USB technology has some incredible potential for transforming your passenger experience.

Let’s take a closer look at the many different ways that cutting-edge USB technology can make your fleet passengers feel like royalty.

 

Passenger Entertainment

1. Movies: Built-In Passenger Screens

Entertaining your passengers is essential for happy campers on long rides. Especially if your riders are young. Being able to put on a movie, television, or a news broadcast during the drive can truly relax passengers and take their minds from the road. You can do this by integrating backseat screens for your passengers, powered and receiving signal through USB.

This is the perfect opportunity to show off your smart-television technology.

2. Music: Backseat Speakers and Headphones

Not only might your passengers enjoy a surround-sound movie, but they might prefer to relax to some music or an interesting podcast. You can enhance their audio experience beyond the tinny backseat speakers by building a small ring of USB-powered speakers for your passenger’s listening pleasure.

3. Games: Secured Game Consoles

Games are no longer just for kids. A well-placed console and an overtly hung game controller can truly make the day of your passengers, especially if there’s a long ride ahead. A little Mario or Minecraft is enough to lift anyone’s spirits.

 

Passenger Comfort

4. Warming Seat Covers

There are tons of USB vehicle technologies for making a car more comfortable. Starting with the miracle of the warming seat cover. For fleets in cold regions, your passengers won’t even realize why they’re so happy to be in your vehicle. Warming seat covers powered by USB both make your passengers comfortable and protect your seats from spills.

5. Accent Lights

Want to make the backseat glow like a soft-lit wonderland? Add a few additional LED lights where passengers will enjoy them most. Put a soft strip of lights on the ceiling, add safety lights to the door and footwells, and perhaps provide a small center console light for a little focused backseat illumination.

6. Hot/Cold Cup Holder

One of the best inventions of USB vehicle technology is the hot-cold cupholder. Putting a normal cupholder to use, you can plug in a USB power source and suddenly your passengers can keep their beverages at optimum temperature throughout the ride.

7. Backseat Mini Fridge

If you have room, and one of those fold-down center consoles in the backseat, consider a tiny fridge. Yes, you can USB power a tiny refrigerator with a USB port. At least a fridge large enough to hold a few candy bars and complimentary drinks.

 

Passenger Convenience

8. USB Charging Station

Finally, there are things that your passenger will find infinitely useful, especially when their running from one appointment to the next. A USB charging station, for example, can be a literal life saver. Help passengers get their phones, tablets, and laptops charged on the road so they don’t have to desperately search for an outlet and fumble with chargers later on.

9. Charging Phone Mount

Passengers may want to mount their phones, and you can provide the perfect spot: a USB-powered charging mount for passenger phones in the back seat.

10. Signal Repeater

Finally, don’t forget your wifi hotspot and a signal repeater. A USB-powered signal repeater can help your passengers get better reception for cell and bluetooth services inside your vehicle. And this alone will make your business passenger fleet stand out.

Want your fleet to be head and shoulders above the rest? Want to build a gold-standard reputation for providing luxurious cutting-edge passenger experiences? USB vehicle technology is the answer. Contact us today for more awesome insights into what vehicle USB upgrades can do for your business fleet.

5 Cool Tech Features Every Company Vehicle Can & Should Have

Fleet Car Tech

Company vehicles are a significant investment. Even leased company vehicles still represent a great deal of time, effort, maintenance, and insurance poured into a single purpose: having vehicles that work for the sole purpose of the company. Whether you are running a service fleet or need passenger vehicles available for corporate purposes, there are more than a few ways to protect your investment and your employee drivers at the same time.

Available vehicle technology is vast, and while everyone has pin-point accurate GPS on their phones, there are a few excellent tech features that every company vehicle should have directly installed before the first employee driver takes it for the first corporate-sponsored spin. These tech upgrades may seem simple on the surface, but you’ll soon realize just why every single company-owned vehicle on the road should have had them included in the after-market installation suite.

 

1) USB Device Charging Ports

Most vehicles, surprisingly, do not yet come with a rack of USB charging ports yet but they do still sport the traditional cigarette-lighter power source. Installing an after-market USB charging hub is not difficult and you don’t even have to permanently alter the vehicle. All you need is an adapter that morphs the cigarette lighter into a power source for a USB charging hub. Then every one of your employees and any guests or clients you might be transporting can charge their devices in comfort and style. No dead phones in the field ever again.

 

2) GPS Tracking and Geofencing Alerts

Just because your team members are equipped with GPS-capable devices doesn’t mean the vehicles shouldn’t be as well. There is an endlessly long list of reasons why it’s useful to know where your company cars are at all times, especially if they are not meant to go home with employees. Make sure each of your vehicles has it’s own constantly-powered GPS locator combined with Geofencing.

The GPS allows you to track the vehicles intentionally. The Geofencing will send alerts should one of your company vehicles ever stray outside of your service area. If it’s a planned route, fine. And if it’s an employee gone astray or a stolen vehicle, then you’ve got them on the map the moment it happens.

 

3) Direct Communication with Dispatch

On-Star and other vehicle safety services made some pretty good points about how useful it is to have a helpful dispatcher able to call into the car at any time. But you don’t need On-Star to do that with today’s smart vehicle technology. It is worth your while to choose one of the many routes to enable direct hands-free communication with dispatch from inside the car. Whether or not an employee’s phone is charged and working.

Whether you embed a hotspot in each vehicle or choose more proprietary technological solutions, giving dispatch the ablity to call in and hold a quick conversation with the driver at any time, and vice versa, can be incredibly useful. Especially in the event of emergencies and other unusual situations where the driver could really use the assistance outside of the normal fleet routine.

 

4) Authorized Employee Driver Detection

One feature we have seen implemented rarely but ought to be much more popular is authorized employee driver detection. Company vehicles, naturally, should primarily be driven by company employees. Particularly those employees who have been screened and approved as safe and reliable drivers of the company vehicles. Through the use of RFID, smart spoken passwords, or even biometrics, you can implement authorized employee driver detection with surprising ease.

This is a great way to keep track of which driver is in each vehicle and ensure that when a vehicle is powered on, an authorized employee is in the driver’s seat. If they aren’t, that would be a good time for dispatch to chime in and ask what’s going on.

 

5) Front and Rear Dash Cameras

Finally, every company vehicle should have both front dash cam and a rear camera constantly recording the adventures of the vehicle. Any fleet manager can see the incredible use in having a record of where the vehicles have been and what happened around them. If there is an accident involving the company vehicle or even just witnessed by the vehicle, for example, the company can quickly pull up the feed from the dash cams to get a video record of what happened.

If the GPS data is odd or even if a vehicle is stolen, those front and back cameras will serve as excellent proof of anything that happens (or doesn’t happen) around your company vehicles. This is liability protection for drivers and the company, along with an interesting chance to simply record “day in the life” of a company fleet vehicle.

Interested in optimizing your business fleet with cutting-edge technology and practical protections? Contact us today!

 

USB4 is coming! What you need to know

Just as USB 3.2 products are coming out, the next generation is on its way. USB4 was announced in March 2019, and the USB4 specification became available in August. Note that it’s “USB4,” not “USB 4.0.” It must be following the trend of names like HTML5.

Products supporting the new version will offer more speed than ever, doubling the bit rate of USB 3.2. To get that speed, you’ll need a cable rated for it. It will have to use a Type-C connector; support for the old Type-A connector is gone.

The evolution of USB

For a quarter of a century, the USB protocol has been one of the most popular ways to connect devices. Its simplicity has helped it to outlast protocols like SCSI and RS-232. The first version appeared in 1995, and it has stressed backward compatibility ever since.

In 2014 the Type-C connector was introduced. It has a smaller profile, making it better suited for thin devices. Also, it’s symmetric and can be plugged in “upside-down” without making a difference. The Type-A connector, following Murphy’s Law, was always the wrong way up on the first try to plug it in.

The newest version which is available on the market is USB 3.2. It was announced in 2017, and devices have become available in 2019.

What’s new in USB4?

The biggest news for USB4 is its convergence with Thunderbolt 3. The specification says that USB4 devices may support Intel’s protocol, which uses the Type-C connector. Support is optional, and the cheapest devices will omit it. Thunderbolt is a proprietary protocol and Intel requires certification, but it doesn’t demand royalties.

USB4 requires a Type-C connector. You’ll be able to connect an older computer to a USB4 device with an adapter, but it will fall back to an older version of the protocol. It isn’t clear at this point whether mini and micro ports will be able to support USB4.

The speed of the new version will double the previous maximum. USB 3.2 Gen2x2 goes up to 20 Gbps, but USB4 will reach 40 Gbps. Achieving this speed will require new cables which are rated for it.

What will you do with all that speed? 20Gbps is plenty for all but the fastest devices. But USB4 supports multiple simultaneous display and data protocols. A USB4 hub will talk to multiple high-speed devices at once at their full speed. Having some older devices in the mix won’t slow it down.

When will it be available?

Before any devices can support USB4, chips have to be available in production quantities. For peripherals to be useful, there have to be computing devices and cables that support it. If any part of the chain isn’t rated for the latest version, communication will fall back to an older one. This makes for a waiting game. Fortunately, some people are eager to adopt leading-edge technology, even if it takes a while to make full use of it.

Some companies have announced development work on USB4 products. The earliest we should expect to see any on the market is the second half of 2020. They’ll probably be widespread before 2021 is over.

What does it mean for engineers?

Product developers have to stay a few steps ahead of currently available technology. The time to start planning for USB4 products is now.

The announcement confirms that Type-A connectors are obsolescent. New computers will all support Type-C to connect to peripherals.

It doesn’t make sense, in the near term, for every device to support USB4. Sticking with older versions will provide plenty of speed for most purposes. Initially, computers and hubs will get the most advantage out of the increased speed and parallelism. Over time, the cost of USB4 will go down and it will become the de-facto standard. By the time that happens, USB5 will undoubtedly be on the horizon.

As new USB products become available, Coolgear will have them. Get in touch with us to learn about all our latest offerings.

 

The Future of Medical Technology: What New Diseases and Conditions Will Arise?

When it comes to technological advancement, there are always a few unexpected side effects. And while the cons may not outweigh the pros when it comes to technology’s growing pains, they are important to acknowledge, and treat. Especially when you consider that a new frontier of medicine will also, in some ways, create a new frontier of issues we’ll have to deal with.

Virtual Trauma

The goal of virtual reality technology is to immerse us into another world so that everything feels real. Whether it’s being used for entertainment like movies and video games, or for more practical purposes like physical therapy or business meetings, the point is to make someone feel like they’re really there. Even though they aren’t, it tricks the brain into thinking they just experienced something… because that’s all experiences are; electrical impulses fed to our brains via our senses. So even if we are tricking ourselves into feeling things, we still feel them. Which can have repercussions. As an example, realistic enough virtual experiences could still cause people post-traumatic stress. We see this already with military drone operators. Even though the pilots themselves were safely on the ground, they were still flying a combat mission, with all the mental stress and strain that comes with that. Though they were never in any physical danger, that doesn’t mean they didn’t experience something that could still give them a disorder. And as virtual reality grows more advanced, and as it’s used in even more applications, this kind of psychological response may become more common. Because your brain can’t tell the difference between the real world, and the fake world you’ve tricked it into thinking is real, as Medical Futurist points out.

Technological Addiction

Addiction has been an issue for the entire length of human history, and as the experts have so often pointed out, addiction is just as much (if not more) in the mind than it is in the body. So there will be people for whom reliance on technology, and the worlds it opens up to them, becomes a serious psychological dependency. While we’ve seen this talked about in fiction with novels like Ready Player One, it’s also a reality in some ways already. There are individuals who begin to feel anxious or depressed if they haven’t logged on to see what’s going on in the world. People who will play video games for hours and even days on end, ignoring the responsibilities in their lives in favor of the hits of serotonin they get from leveling up or completing a level. And as technology grows more advanced, and what was once thought of as science fiction becomes part of our daily lives, we’ll need to learn how to deal with the impacts it has on us, our minds, and our social constructs.

Other Conditions

Technology doesn’t always create new conditions on its own… sometimes it just exacerbates conditions that already exist. It’s been argued, for example, that the widespread use of in-home entertainment has contributed to America’s obesity epidemic. People who have used unregulated vaping juices have been grievously injured or killed as a result. The list goes on. However, it’s important to remember that for every problem there exists a solution. Whether it’s modifying the technology to correct a flaw, or studying how it affects us as users over time, we can overcome these new challenges. And, in some cases, we may simply need to do it by inventing alternative technological approaches to deal with our issues. For more on the latest changes in technology, and how they could affect your upcoming project, simply contact us today!

The Future of Medical Technology: Holographic Data Input Will Change Everything

Data entry is one of the biggest aspects of the medical industry that no one thinks about. However, every piece of information that you provide, from your name and address, to your blood pressure and heart rate, needs to be recorded and filed away. While old school clinics still keep paper records, most of the forms you see filled out are also entered into a computer system in order to create digital copies as well. However, even healthcare professionals who consider themselves on the cutting edge of technology still use keyboards and tablets to input their patients’ data into their digital system.

In the future, though, it’s possible that we won’t need keyboards and tablet computers to input data. It’s even possible that we won’t need screens to view that data. We’ll just need a flat surface, and a tiny projector to show us everything we want to see.

Are Holograms The Way of The Future?

Holograms are by no means a new idea. Generally speaking, a hologram is when a projector scatters light so that it creates the illusion of a 3D object. And, according to The Medical Futurist, these holograms might be the way of the future when it comes to inputting the data that we need in our files.

How does a projected image allow you to input data, though?

Well, holographic keyboards already exist, and the technology is fairly simple. The projector puts an image of a keyboard on a flat surface (a wall, a table, etc.), and when you break the light beams it registers that the same way it would you pushing down a key on a traditional keyboard. This sends a signal to the computer (if the projector is attached to a machine like a traditional keyboard would be), and the keys you “press” show up on the screen.

That’s something we can do right now. In fact, holographic keyboards are something of a relatively cheap, niche item thought of as little more than a curiosity. But the potential they represent is huge when it comes to future possibilities. After all, the projectors take up practically no room, so they save a lot of space in often cramped environments. They don’t gather dust or germs like traditional keyboards, so keeping the area clean is a breeze. Best of all, these projectors are small enough they can travel in a pocket, and be set up nearly anywhere. This allows both the data entry side of the medical field, as well as healthcare professionals, to have the tools they need pretty much anywhere there’s a flat surface to use them on.

What Could Be Coming Next

While the application of holographic data entry tools is impressive, it does beg the question of what we might see in the future from using these constructions of light as technology improves, and projectors become smaller, and even more portable.

Imagine, for a moment, all of the devices that would no longer be necessary in your average clinic, or hospital. All of the keyboards just gone, replaced by tiny projectors that never have to resist the impact of someone’s fingers, and will last significantly longer. But why stop there? What if the screens we see could also be recreated as a projection? Even better, as a three-dimensional projection, allowing us to simply see floating directions, text documents, or even 3D video conferences like something straight out of a sci-fi novel or Marvel movie.

Holograms are already seeing increased use in the medical field. Projectors that can overlay an image of where someone’s veins are so that nurses don’t have to guess are becoming more commonly used for drawing blood, for instance. Projectors can be used to show the condition of broken bones, or other damage done to internal parts of a patient’s body, providing a 3D image of what’s happening, and the problem that doctors face. So it’s entirely possible that, as holograms and projectors become more common tools throughout the medical field, that they might replace everything from wall screens, to keyboards, to tablets; because they just can’t compete with an all-in-one projector.

Are you working on innovative medical technology? Get in touch with our product specialists to help you find the right solutions. Contact us today!

 

Kiosk & Self Service Technology – Increasing Popularity Means Increasing Sales

If you’ve been out shopping sometime in the past few years, you’ve no doubt noticed that self-service kiosks are becoming more and more popular in all kinds of stores. They’ve even debuted in the fast-food industry, allowing patrons at McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and others to place their orders without once needing to speak to someone at a register. While there have been varying opinions regarding this technology and its application, an important trend has emerged according to Forbes.

According to recent numbers, over 65 percent of people said they would be more likely to visit a restaurant if it offered a self-service kiosk for placing their order. Given that roughly a year ago the numbers indicated that 78 percent of people would be less likely to visit a restaurant that offered a kiosk, that’s a rather impressive turnaround.

Younger Demographics, and Screen Familiarity

One of the points recognized by Forbes is that the adoption of self-service kiosks in restaurants in particular, and in the retail industry in general, is that the younger generations of consumers are the ones who are taking up more room in the markets. Millennials and Gen Z grew up with technology in their hands, and generally speaking, they’re far more comfortable using a digital ordering space than Baby Boomers are; an advantage when one considers those younger consumers are becoming the bigger target demographic for companies the world over.

That generational shift can be thought of as the proverbial rock tossed into a pond; it was the point of impact, but the ripples of change are still spreading out from it. With these kiosks becoming more common, they’re also becoming more functional, and more affordable for smaller businesses to adopt. While they haven’t supplanted more traditional cashiers and check-out lanes, they are going through a similar transformation to what credit cards once did. Which is to say a new technology that was first only used by a small number of people, but which quickly grew to become the standard for how business is conducted.

Kiosks Make More Sales

While these kiosks make checkout faster and easier for customers in many cases (particularly those who don’t have the social energy to engage with a flesh-and-blood cashier at that particular moment), they also provide a sales advantage for businesses who use them according to Storis. These computerized stations can offer customers a full range of current coupons and deals, in addition to making last-minute add-on suggestions that a customer might not have thought about. The digital equivalent of, “Would you like fries with that?” A strategy that’s remained popular in retail because even if only one in every ten customers says yes, that’s a lot of additional fries sales by the end of the business day.

The other, major advantage of these self-service kiosks is that they take the pressure off of other sales associates. If there’s a long line, it’s possible for someone to just check themselves out. Or, alternatively, an associate can continue on with the task they were in the middle of (stocking, altering signing, clean up, etc.) instead of shifting to checking customers out at the register in stores where associates have to handle all the duties on their own. When you combine those advantages with the upswing in popularity these devices have experienced recently, it should come as absolutely no surprise that they’re cropping up all over the retail landscape.

For more information on the latest information about self-service kiosks, as well as the changes and latest technologies being integrated into these retail solutions, all you have to do is contact us today!

The Future of Self-Driving Smart RVs

For decades, people wondered what happened to the predicted reality of the futurists and cartoonists of our times. Asimov suggested we’d have robots at home by now and even people who adhere to the Jetsons are looking around for the signs of flying cars. While we did seem to get smartphones instead of cyber-augmentation or robots and electric hybrids instead of actual hovering, one has to admit that technology is once again moving forward at an impressive clip.

Solar panels are cheaper, more efficient, and easier to work with than ever, the smart home is starting to make controlling your house as easy as having a conversation, and self-driving cars are already seeing practical (if not completely successful) road tests. It’s only a matter of time before these three innovations come together to change our world and our roads more than anyone thought to see coming.  With AIs in cars and the advent of the tiny house craze… can self-driving smart RVs and the lifestyle they promise be far behind?

The Self-Driving Smart RV

To understand the future we’re predicting here, and you can bet it’s on the way, let’s just do a quick overview of the product that will be gracing our highways not that long in the future. Start with an RV, cozy, convenient, all the amenities of home as long as you stop at power and water hookups about once a day. Add an electric engine powered by a huge array of solar panels on that wide roof. Now you don’t need gas or a power hookup, you can drive as long as your water tank lasts.  Add self-driving. Now you can sleep while the RV takes you to your desired camping destinations. Add smart-home capabilities so the RV actively takes care of you, keeps track of you, and keeps you entertained if you’re all alone.

Oh, The Places You’ll (Automatically) Go

RV travel is already an incredibly appealing life for a large portion of the population. Many people spend every vacation driving and camping where they please and even more choose to retire to the comfortable, easy to maintain RV lifestyle. However, without the classic limitations like needing to stop and recharge or drive for hours across the country, imagine how many more people can take to the road, and where they’ll go! Families can go on vacation, spending quality time together on the drive with no risk that the children’s antics will distract the driver and cause problems. Elderly couples won’t have to worry about maintaining driving capabilities to vacation or visit grandchildren. All you have to do is set the RV to a destination and you can sleep or recreate while it drives.

The RV That Takes Care of You

Now let’s talk about the smart-home RV. Only considering features available today, you can program the lights and HVAC to be responsive, along with a comprehensive door and window security system, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and water tank monitoring to remind you when to make a stop. Then, with a custom-built vehicle, it would be simple to incorporate an oven and microwave that responded to the smart home hub, along with the entertainment center and possibly even a few self-watering plants. Finally, the spooky bit. Add a simple fitness monitor to the mix and give one to every occupant. Now the smart-RV knows if someone’s sick or injured and can drive itself to the nearest hospital. You can not only trust it to take care of your elderly parents, but they might also even get an insurance discount for living in one.

Considering the potential for comfort, convenience, freedom, and even very low expenses, many people with remote jobs, trust funds, retirement plans, and a pure wanderlust won’t be able to resist the draw of a solar-powered, self-driving smart-home RV. Could you?

If you’re on the front line of innovative automotive technology that will take us into the future, contact us.

Our team of specialists will help you find the right solutions for your project.

Telemedicine is Improving Prisoner Healthcare Quality

Providing sufficient healthcare in prisons has always been a special challenge for law enforcement and prison staff because running a prison involves a variety of overlapping responsibilities. On one hand, it’s important to make sure all prisoners remain healthy in terms of diet and exercise, treatment for illnesses, and addressing long-term medical conditions like diabetes or cancer. On the other hand, there is always a certain amount of risk involved in bringing providers to the facility. Many healthcare providers are uncomfortable working inside prisons because of this increased risk, making it a constant effort for prisons to keep healthcare visits scheduled regularly and increasing the expense of bringing doctors in.

Unfortunately, any hurdle involved in bringing doctors into the prisons can cause delays and gaps in healthcare. There are many times when a prisoner is sick or injured and a doctor simply is not available and won’t be around for another few days.

Prison Healthcare Has Been Ailing

All this has culminated into a terrible scarcity of available healthcare providers for prisons. It’s difficult for prisons to find doctors who are willing to do the job and often they wind up sharing, with doctors driving hours between locations to see a few dozen patients every couple of days. This is hard on the prisoners who can’t get the medical attention they need, hard on the few overworked doctors who are willing to work in prisons, and hard on prison budgets to afford those few helpful professionals. Fortunately, the recent tech trend of telemedicine is changing the way medical professionals can interact with prisons to create a much more complete healthcare plan for prisoners. Telemedicine reduces the necessity of in-person visits by making it possible for prisoners to have face-to-face consultations, checkups, and even have local procedures overseen by ranking doctors without the travel time and expense of in-person visits.

What is Telemedicine?

Diagnosis and treatment is something that cannot be done purely over the phone. Often, human language and our ability to communicate concepts simply aren’t efficient to convey medical truths like exactly what color a wound has turned or how much an injury has swollen. Remote consultations almost always result in the doctor deciding that they need to take a look at you after all. Because of this, prisons have been limited to providing periodic in-person treatment for centuries but the age of video chat has made it possible to do things differently with telemedicine. Doctors can now take a look at their patients, listen to their voices, and get qualitative diagnostic information without leaving their practice offices.

Live Video Checkups

Telemedicine is the ability to examine and converse with patients over a live video call. Because cameras, microphones, and internet reliability have all improved drastically in the last ten years, doctors can now provide the vast majority of their routine care duties remotely. With the help of on-site staff, they can even complete comprehensive examinations and assist in recommendations and treatments.

Rising Trend in Medicine

Telemedicine has become a popular rising trend as doctors and patients simultaneously realize that they can use advancing communication technology to achieve a large number of checkups quickly and efficiently across multiple prison facilities through remote appointments. Doctors can take a look at injuries, inspect swollen lymph nodes, and make definitive medical recommendations for the on-site staff to administer all through modern communication software that any modern teenager or business professional would recognize and understand.

Expansion of Technology

Some telemedicine practices are also already advancing to better tools for remote examination and methods for on-site and remote healthcare providers to collaborate. Healthcare equipment made to send wifi signals or mobile apps that interact with telemedicine platforms continue to move the cutting-edge of remote healthcare forward.

Providing Better Care for Prisoners

Most prisons don’t have a full-time doctor and instead hire one to make visits a few days out of each week, often sharing with other nearby prisons. There may be medically trained staff on-hand, but a prisoner who gets sick or injured will need to wait in the infirmary, sometimes for days, before a real doctor can see them and seeing a specialist is even more difficult to arrange. With telemedicine, both delay of treatment and unavailability of doctors is a much lower risk.

As telemedicine networks form, there may always be a few doctors on call in case of a remote emergency that could use expert examination and advice. Telemedicine essentially removes the logistical, safety, and travel concerns from traditional prison healthcare methods, particularly for regular check-ups and emergency response. Prisoners can now be seen by a doctor faster, receive treatment recommendations, and be on their way to recovery in the time it used to take to just get a doctor out to the location for an examination.

Prison Telemedicine From the Doctor’s Point of View

Of course, the prisoners aren’t the only ones benefiting from telemedicine. Because internet communication isn’t limited by distance, now a much larger pool of doctors are able to take prison physician roles, at least in a fully remote capacity. Local doctors who still make the necessary in-person visits can augment their trips with regular check-ins from the office. Those who live further away can help to provide more constant and on-demand care through remote consultation. Telemedicine may even open the doors to medical student volunteers helping with remote prison consultations for early career experience.

When the state takes responsibility for a prisoner, they also accept responsibility for any health problems that occur during their imprisonment. Telemedicine allows prisons to provide quality healthcare and regular checkups even though they have faced doctor shortage problems in the past. With zero personal risk or even drive time, more doctors will be able to contribute to prison health programs and patients will have greater access to the care that they need.

Telemedicine is already becoming increasingly popular both in prisons and throughout the healthcare industry. From checking in on elderly patients aging at home to vacation check-ups with the home doctor to emergency consultations with prisoners, telemedicine has a lot of promise for the healthcare communities.

For more insights into the current technological innovations in medicine and the future of medical technology, contact us today!