What Matters April: MedTech News You Need To Know

3 min read

Overheard at GMM HQ

“Same dog, new tricks.” - Holley Miller on how companies should be rethinking sales drivers in the face of Coronavirus

What the Industry is Buzzing About

This Old Thing? Had It Since I Was a Kid.

Boston Children’s Hospital has developed a prosthetic heart valve that can be used in pediatric patients and adapt over time as they grow, instead of requiring replacements via open-heart surgery. The new valve has shown in studies, simulations and animal testing that the design works throughout a range of sizes and retains functionality when expanded by a minimally invasive balloon catheter procedure.

Why It Matters

The updated design, which is geometrically designed to maintain closure and one-way flow even when veins expand in diameter, could potentially reduce the need for numerous invasive surgeries, and also demonstrated favorable blood flow, reducing the risk of blood clot formation that may accompany valve replacement devices. For a family dealing with a pediatric congenital heart disease diagnosis, this is a heart-warming development indeed.

Secondhand Smoke: Still on the Sh#t List

This just in: Secondhand smoke is still the worst confirmed by a recent report showing that one million people worldwide die every year from inhaling smoke in their immediate environment. The report only looked at secondhand smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco pipes, not cannabis.

Why It Matters

To scale the numbers back, we’re looking at one secondhand smoke death per 52 smokers from the 2016 data, versus per 31 smokers in 1990. This improvement (if you want to call it that) is likely due to the increase in smoking bans in restaurants and businesses. Guess what? 2016 cigarette smoke is still putting out the same 7,000 chemicals—70 of which are known to cause cancer—as 1990 cigarettes. And a million people dying is a lot.

Can Facebook Predict Your Next Er Visit?

If you think those mind-reading sponsored ads are creepy, get a load of this: A new study reveals that the language people use on Facebook subtly changes before they make a visit to the emergency department. As patients got closer to their eventual ER visit, researchers found that Facebook posts increasingly discussed family and health using more anxious, worrisome, and depressed language and less informal language such as "LOL" or swearing.

Why It Matters

Yes, your phone knows everything about you, but that’s not the main takeaway here (FYI: Study subjects all consented to share their medical records and Facebook posts). Social media is often an unseen signal of medical distress and could be used to better understand the contexts in which patients seek care. While this is early-stage research, it could potentially be used to both identify at-risk patients for immediate follow-up or facilitate more proactive messaging for patients about care. Get ready for your next physical to include an SEO review of your social media profiles (not really).


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