Future Tense examines emerging technologies that may shape the future of care delivery.
Technology: ActiPatch, a drug-free, anti-inflammatory patch with embedded microchip.
Manufacturer: BioElectronics Corp
Purpose: To release electromagnetic pulse therapy to speed healing in post-surgical injuries.
Early adopter: David Genecov, MD, director of the International Craniofacial Institute and Cleft Lip and Palate Treatment Center, Dallas, will lead four randomized double-blind studies with area physicians. The studies will measure patch effectiveness in cases of breast augmentation, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprain, and C-section.
What Patch Does: The wearable device emits a low-level electromagnetic pulse, which causes changes at the cellular level over a one- to two-week period, says Genecov. "They can inhibit the development of a feedback loop that is associated with pain and inflammation."
Potential Improvement: The wearable device could replace bulky, nonwearable machines that deliver electromagnetic therapy. "We know the concept works, but not how to deliver it to a larger number of people outside the physician's office," says Genecov.
If It Works: The patch could free patients from oral pain medications or pain pump catheters. "We want a clear message on where the technology can be helpful," Genecov says.