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這些醫療創新填補了關鍵的空白

2017-12-23


《大眾科學》(Popular Science)發布了第30期年度“百大創新發明”(The 100 Greatest Innovations)榜單——而名列前茅的都屬于醫療創新。其中包括一些廣受報道的突破,例如癌癥免疫療法中的定向殺手T細胞,以及基因編輯技術CRISPR,我之前曾撰文討論過它們。不過,在這一長串顯眼的創新之中,還有一些新穎而少有人知的發明——它們是一些設備,目的是解決從未有人嘗試解決或至今無人能夠解決的問題。

Aeroform組織擴張器就是其中之一。以下是《大眾科學》的作者克萊爾·馬爾達雷利和切爾西·哈維對它的描述:

“當一位女性經歷乳房再造時,外科醫生會在植入的囊體中注入生理鹽水,讓現有的組織伸展開來——這個過程非常痛苦,需要醫生的關照、針管注射和止痛藥。Aeroform可以讓女性自己控制整個過程,整個節奏更能讓人忍受。患者可以用無線裝置控制二氧化碳容器,讓它一點點地向硅脂植入體中釋放氣體。”

我愿意相信《大眾科學》的描述,認為它會取得理論上的效果,不過這個想法本身就很棒:這種個性化的治療方法取代了“適合所有人”的一刀切式解決方案,而且后者從來就無法適合所有人。

上榜的還包括可以幫助中風患者恢復手部活動和敏捷度的智能手套;讓癲癇患者更容易監視夜晚發作情況的輕型可穿戴設備;還有一個無線母乳泵,榜單作者寫道,它“足夠安靜,讓女性可以在電話會議期間使用”。

所有這些發明的共同點是什么?就是以用戶為核心。這些產品的設計都是為了簡化消費者和患者的流程(中風康復、癲癇發作監控、吸母乳),而不是為了幫助醫療系統中的其他參與者(內科醫生、醫院、保險公司)。如果數字醫療革命可以繼續向這個方向前進,那帶來的益處對我們所有人來說都意義重大。

這里還要強調另一件事:《財富》在網上發布了一篇關于直覺外科公司(Intuitive Surgical)的有趣文章。正如我們所說,這家致力于機器人手術的先驅公司正在把“科幻小說中的醫療手段變成現實”。直覺外科公司是《財富》全新“未來公司50強”(Future 50)榜單中的創新公司之一。在這份榜單中,我們與咨詢公司BCG合作,衡量了公司的DNA,也就是他們的文化、投資、專利、員工和其他內在指標,來尋找那些有望在未來幾個月或幾年里出現爆炸性增長的公司。

與榜單上的許多其他公司一樣,直覺外科公司不斷革新手術工具的秘訣,是一種不斷自我革新的內在驅動力。而這個欄目的作者——頭腦風暴健康日報的穆克吉——在捕捉這種本質上做得很棒。

這篇文章不可不看。 (財富中文網)

譯者:嚴匡正

Popular Science is out with its 30th annual list of “The 100 Greatest Innovations” of the year—and the top dozen are in the category of health. The list includes some well-covered breakthroughs, such as targeted killer T cells in cancer immunotherapy and the gene-editing DIY’er CRISPR, which I’ve written about here and here. But among the litany of stand-out innovations are some novel and little-known inventions—devices, moreover, that set out to solve a problem that either no one had set out to solve before or that no one had been able to solve until now.

One of those is the Aeroform Tissue Expander System. Here’s how PopSci writers Claire Maldarelli and Chelsea Harvey describe it:

“When a woman undergoes breast reconstruction, surgeons stretch the existing tissue by injecting saline into implanted bladders—a painful process that demands doctor visits, needles, and analgesics. The Aeroform lets women control the process at their own, more-tolerable pace. Patients use a wireless controller to signal a CO2 cartridge to release air that stretches a silicone implant, bit by bit.”

I’ll take PopSci’s word for it that it works as promised, but the idea itself is brilliant: a personalized approach to healing designed to replace a “one-size-fits-all” solution that never was.

Also on the list is a smart glove that helps stroke victims recover hand movement and agility, a lightweight wearable that makes it easier for those with epilepsy to monitor night seizures, and a cordless breast-milk pump “that’s quiet enough for a woman to use while on a conference call,” the authors write.

The commonality to all of the above? User-centrism. These products are designed to help make a process (stroke rehab, seizure monitoring, breast milk pumping) easier for consumers and patients, not the myriad other players in the health system (physicians, hospitals, insurers). If the digital health revolution can keep moving the dial toward that notion, the dividends for all of us will be profound.

One more great story to highlight: Today, Fortune published online a fascinating read about Intuitive Surgical, a robotic surgery pioneer that, as we said, is turning “medical sci-fi into reality.” Intuitive Surgical is one of the innovative companies featured on Fortune’s brand new “Future 50” list, which we developed with consulting firm BCG and which analyzes companies’ DNA, so to speak—their cultures, investments, patents, workforces, and other internal metrics—to find those that are poised for explosive growth in the coming months and years.

As with so many other companies on the list, Intuitive Surgical’s secret sauce is an intrinsic drive to continually reinvent itself as it reinvents the tools of surgery. And the author of this feature—Brainstorm Health Daily’s very own Sy Mukherjee—did a terrific job of capturing that essence.

It’s a must-read.

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