Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cleveland Clinic's Top Ten Innovations for 2010

Preface: The original purpose of this blog was to highlight medical innovations, Then the all-consuming subject of health reform took over. I return here to medical innovations with comments of the Cleveland Clinic's top ten technological innovations for 2010. Medical innovations come in all forms – individual, social, governmental, and organizational. These happent to be technological.

10. Whole-Slide Imaging for Management of Digital Data In Pathology: A technology for creating digital pathology slides with excellent image quality that can be viewed, stored, streamed over the Internet, and analyzed on a computer.

<strong>Comment: As a pathologist, I can tell you this is useful – not only in making onsite decisions, but in reducing errors by having multiple pathologists look a slides, but in cutting transit times when referring slides.

9. Devices for Occluding Left Atrial Appendage to Reduce Stroke Risk: Device alternatives to long-term warfarin use that can prevent clots from developing in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Comment: Anything that reduces stroke risks in atrial fibrillation has value.8. Oral Thrombopoeitin (TPO) Receptor Agonist That Stimulates Platelet Production: A recently approved drug that stimulates production of cells in bone marrow that form platelet cells in the blood.

Comment: Finding receptors that stimulate has become an innovative branch of medicine – whether the cells being stimulated be osteoclasts, hair root cells, or cells depleted by disease.

7. Outpatient Diagnosis of Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders: Self-contained, reliable, at-home sleep-monitoring devices for screening, diagnosing, and treatment assessment of sleep-related breathing disorders.

Comment: No one need go breathless at home any longer.

6. Forced Exercise To Improve Motor Function in Patients With Parkinson's: Pedaling at 90 RPMs on a tandem bike to dramatically improve motor functioning of patients with Parkinson's disease.

Comment: Parkinson’s patients need all the help they can get to improve motor function.

5. Fertility Preservation Through Oocyte Cryopreservation: A rapidly-improving technology that allows eggs of a healthy woman to be safely frozen and stored, ready to be thawed and fertilized at a later date.

Comment: Preserving fertility until when the time is right sounds like an innovative idea.

4. Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants: Predictable and well-tolerated alternatives to the oral anticoagulant warfarin that provide a more convenient -- and safe -- way for patients to dose themselves and prevent blood-clot formation.

Comment: An alternative to warfarin and troublesome time-consuming routine of measuring prothrombin times is welcome.3. Continuous-Flow Ventricular Assist Devices: Tiny 3-ounce devices surgically attached alongside the heart that quietly and effectively take over the pumping ability of the heart.

Comment: Tiny can be mighty.

2. Low-Volume, Low-Pressure Tracheal Tube Cuff To Reduce Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia: A device that dramatically reduces the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia and death in the hospital ICU by providing continuous effective airway seals.

Comment: Ventilator-related pneumonia deaths are among the most common preventable hospital deaths.

1. Bone Conduction of Sound For Single-Sided Deafness: A new non-surgical, removable hearing and communication device designed to imperceptibly transmit sound via the teeth to help people with single-sided deafness.

Comment: It has got to be a relief not to have to turn one’s head every time to hear something on the leeward side.

About 1,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers at Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida represent more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2008, there were 3.6 million outpatient visits to Cleveland Clinic and 48,300 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 80 countries. Cleveland Clinic's Web site address is

Dr. Richard Reece is author, blogger, speaker, and innovation and reform commentator. Dr. Reece’s latest book, Obama, Doctors, and Health Reform ( is available at,, and for $31.95 (hardcover), $21.95 (softcover), and $6.95 (electronic). For information on speaking fees and arrangements, call 860-395-1501.


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