What’s new in healthcare: Introducing The Health Check Chair
Lorraine, 55 y.o. is on her way to the doctor’s clinic. Living far away from the city, and not really fond of the traffic, she finds it to even go to the clinic for the checkup. “It’s such a hassle,” she likes to say. If regular checkups weren’t necessary, she wouldn’t go through all of these disturbances, but then, in her age, they are. So, yes, she should stop whining and just get this done and over with.
She looks at her watch, annoyed at how much time she already spent in the road when a thought hits her. “If only checkups could be held in the living room, it would be much easier. I’d feel a lot happier.”
Going to the doctor’s clinic for a checkup, despite its benefits, can be very time-consuming especially if you’re just there for a quick physical exam or follow up. You have to wait for hours just so your doctor could see you for a couple of minutes. But what would you say of you can now administer all necessary tests from home, then remotely communicate with a doctor for analysis? Sounds great right?
Sharp, a Japanese electronics company, has designed a chair for patients to use at home, specifically, a healthcare support chair that can measure a user’s blood pressure, pulse, temperature, body motion, and other vital signs just by having the user sit in the chair.
This data is then stored in the cloud, where it can be accessed remotely doctors, allowing physicians to examine a patient without actually needing to meet them in person. In a way, it is like having a doctor at your beck and call 24/7.
The chair’s design
This chair is equipped with multiple sensors that can measure a user’s vital signs all at once and save the data to the cloud for physicians to reference. Particularly, the working concept consists of a recliner with measurement-taking sensors embedded into the seat and armrests, which has been built into a circular frame that supports three display screens. The system is also equipped with a camera, which allows for videoconferencing with a doctor if the user needs to consult with one in real-time.
According to a developer behind the project, Makoto Nakamura on the inspiration behind and potential impact of this device: “When we talked to people, they often said that measuring each health indicator separately is time-consuming and bothersome. If possible, people want to obtain all their health data in one go. The equipment needed to do that is still large, but we’ve made it as compact as possible. Our idea is that people could check their health data regularly, in places they often visit, and consult a physician promptly if there’s any change.”
“We’re considering a system that enables people to videoconference with a physician if they’ve detected anything abnormal. Because the data is all saved, the physician can give suitable advice, while looking at the information the user has obtained so far. Rather than people who are ill going to the doctor, our idea is for healthy people to think about how to stay healthy, prepare for any emergencies, and improve their day-to-day lifestyle,” he adds.
Though still a concept, the company is aiming to make an impact on the way patients seek treatment and interact with their doctors. One potential application would be to create Support Chair ‘stations’ in easy to access locations, with fewer staff, which would result to patients getting their readings taken automatically, followed by contact from their doctor to learn more about their condition and potential treatments.
The device would also benefit people who live far away from a medical facility, or are unable to travel beyond short distances. It will help them receive the ongoing care they need, freeing up more time for doctors to spend time with the patients who most need their attention. Another possible benefit of this project is that this technology could make in-person visits less expensive and easier to schedule for everyone.
There are hospitals which are already seeing potential in this technology inventions just like this and some have even adapted devices like such. For example, in 2015, the new self-health check chairs was introduced by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) at its primary healthcare centers (PHC).
This chair uses a non-invasive technology through infrared rays and screens a range of disorders such as blood pressure, heart rate (stress rate) and also analyses blood circulation as well as body composition analysis. All parameters are described in the results that are printed out and described in an easy way for a layman to understand. Also, the distributor claims that the results are 99.98 per cent accurate.