What Earth’s health systems can learn from space health


By providing care in potentially dangerous areas on Earth, outer space can serve as an “ultimate borderline case” to accelerate remote health care on Earth.

In the main panel “Blastoff! Powering Digital Health with Lessons from Outer Space ”at HIMSS21 APAC Conference, Dr. Aenor Sawyer, Director of the University of California Space Health, explained how innovation in space health can be used to accelerate digital health on Earth.

Dr Sawyer noted the “great parallels” between health care needs on Earth and in space. “We have resource constraints, limited supplies, limited power… We experience the same things as remote or low-resource settings. “

In the attempt of Earth’s health systems to deliver care in untapped environments, there is a “real need” to expand the capacities of distributed or remote health care, which includes validated detection and detection capabilities. good quality and “as closed as possible” information to guide patients in their decision-making. Beyond telemedicine, there is also a need for quantification.

According to Dr. Sawyer, there is a “cosmic” shift underway in human space exploration and medical and health planning as missions grow longer and further away. Given the “significant” logistical issues and challenges that accompany these missions, such as the lack of real-time communication, evacuation and resupply capabilities, the focus is now on an Earth-independent model or on an autonomous augmented to autonomous model (A2A). health and medical management model and on prevention and precision health.

Dr Sawyer explained, “We have to come to an understanding, as well as the detection of early states, preclinical states, [or] asymptomatic conditions which could predispose an athlete (referring to astronauts) to a medical condition. And if we could intervene early, we could prevent [those]. We also need to have a much better understanding of individual differences and work on predicting risks up front so that we can understand what they will need on board. “

For example, in space, upstream medical conditions such as dehydration, stress, and energy imbalance, which are also of concern on Earth, are being monitored through an integration of data and devices between there and here. . “We want to watch you everywhere here, so we want to prevent [those conditions] catching it early, ”said Dr. Sawyer.

It’s part of a sense of health matrix for space that Dr. Sawyer and his team are working on in their lab. It is an integrated system that can provide dynamic, multi-parameter health sensing to generate user-specific actionable information and provide evidence-based decision support where possible. “It must also be a high value, low nuisance system. It cannot be intrusive to the astronaut or disrupt their work flow,” she added.

With the precision health and health sense matrix, it is possible to evolve to A2A self-health and health management system.

Dr Sawyer said there are already efforts on Earth on this. The US military, for example, has begun integrating multiparametric data feeds from the battlefield to rehabilitation centers.

UC Space Health and Johns Hopkins University have collaborated on a project in which data feeds are integrated, helping to reduce the seven leading causes of morbidity.

NASA has also started to combine databases on human health and performance, as well as medical systems. He built a platform that monitors the responses of exercising astronauts during missions. “[The agency] also studies decision support and real-time point-of-care training support and [it’s continuously] testing remote technologies in the ISS, ”explained Dr Sawyer.

The HIMSS21 APAC conference took place on October 18-19. All sessions are available on demand by registering here. if you are already registered, go here.

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