Article | November 29, 2023
Yes, empathy has become a fad.
Connecting to another human is actually something cool kids do now. If a brand doesn’t have an impact model that includes a practical social issue, consumers tend to not take that brand seriously. In this case, empathy needs to be revisited beyond the trend itself for these strategies to have real, lasting impact.
Practical strategies around compassion meanwhile have similarly become an intrinsic part of social impact organisations. They have become so commonplace that prosocial behaviour has strayed into a kind of tokenism. It is common for instance for consumers to donate their hard-earned money to companies who focus their energies on trying to alleviate real-world issues.
The question then is whether this proxy for compassion isn’t in fact watering down human connections, as well as our positive impact on the issues business and organisations seek to solve with our help.
Postmodern behavioral science
If it is, then we must understand why and how to change that. This is where postmodern behavioral science provides a possible better alternative to social impact strategies. Postmodern behavioral science suggests that the current approach to understanding human behaviour lacks even a rudimentary understanding of empathy, defined in the area of social impact as a discursive strategy that allows us to feel what the group we are trying to help is feeling.
Of course, compassion has very close ties with empathy. Empathy is an innate ability we all have, one that we can learn to develop and fine-tune over time. It is our emotional connection to another human, though one that lies beyond our own ego. It takes the perspective of the person who is struggling and seeks to understand their life, their struggle, and their worldview. It also resolves to value and validate their perspective and experience — something that donating money to a social impact cause does not.
In its broader definition, empathy is a shared interpersonal experience which is implicated in many aspects of social cognition, notably prosocial behavior, morality, and the regulation of aggression.
Empathy has a host of positive after-effects when applied as an interpersonal experience. If a social impact organisation is preoccupied with raising capital, then it is likely to disregard the practical worth of empathy for those who truly want to achieve its mission.
One way that behavioral science can contribute is to utilise tools that can help augment the experience of those in need for those needing to understand those needs. Both AR and VR can help people visualise and follow the stories of those who require compassion. These create virtual environments for partners, governments, and consumers to experience with the people they seek to help.
But of course, much of human behaviour is geared toward seeking pleasant experiences and avoiding unnecessary pain. Our in-built hedonic valuation systems guide decisions towards and away from experiences according to our survival instincts.
This is precisely why business owners who want to encourage empathy in their customers go the easy route, but should seek a more participatory frameworks to inspire and provide experiences for those on board with a social mission.
Then there are issues like financial literacy in underserved populations, access to clean water, education for women and girls, and environmental conservation, to name a few of the problems that social impact companies are attempting to tackle.
If a company is trying to tackle an issue such as access to clean water, then rather than start there, it should first ask exactly how this issue arose and developed. It should question the beliefs that underpin this chronic social inequality, those that inform policies, practices, cultural taboos, and beliefs about water and people’s access to it.
To simply respond to an issue in its developed form is to leave it unfixed. We must be willing to reverse engineer the origins of that issue that got us to where we are. In other words, human behaviour is not the only component to consider in this.
The main behavioral framework public servants should take with them is to develop a nudge unit solely based on the relationship between behavioural science and technology.
This is mainly because technology is an inevitable part of how we now relate to one another. Immersive Compassion meanwhile should embrace tools like AR/VR that seek to create empathetic environments and valuable impact longevity.
To fully embrace empathy as an organisation is to create relevant and rigorous responses that go as far as to alter the infrastructure of its target goals. Optimising social impact comes down to optimising human experience.
Health Technology, Digital Healthcare
Article | August 21, 2023
Over the last couple of years, the healthcare industry has witnessed significant technological advancements transforming numerous procedures and treatments, ranging from magnetic resonance imaging scanners and radiotherapy to antibiotics and anesthetics.
In addition, the introduction of novel technologies (new pharmaceuticals and treatments, new equipment, new social media support for healthcare, etc.) has further provided air to the fire for innovation in the sector, encouraging healthcare providers to upgrade their technological infrastructure.
Medical Computers Paving the Way in Healthcare
Use of modern technology, such as medical computers, is becoming more and more crucial in healthcare institutions, including hospitals, clinics, and specialized treatment centers. These computers are used in hospitals for a variety of purposes, from better laparoscopic, minimally invasive surgical techniques used by surgeons to patient tracking and health monitoring gadgets.
Medical computers are becoming more prevalent as they help medical professionals make faster, more reliable, and more accurate decisions. Additionally, they enable the emergence of new data, integrate advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, and enhance decision-making processes, which are particularly crucial when it comes to medical diagnostics and treatment. New computer and technology solutions in the healthcare sector are enabling a wide range of outcomes that were previously unimaginable. They assist medical practitioners in both data collection and data interpretation, enabling them to make decisions that are thoroughly informed by insight. Here are some of the applications that have experienced immense transformation in recent years
Hospital Information Systems
Medical Personnel and Staff Management
Data Analysis in Medicine
Critical Patient Care
Computer Assisted Decision-making (CMD)
Patient Check-In and Status
Growing Adoption Encouraging Product Launches
With technologies like medical computers becoming essential for processing numerous day-to-day operations in the healthcare industry, the need for these computers is growing at a rapid pace. Hence, a number of medical equipment providers are emphasizing on offering cutting-edge solutions to modern healthcare facilities.
For instance, in 2021, American Portwell Technology, Inc., a world-leading innovator of the Industrial PC, unveiled two certification-ready all-in-one medical computers - MEDS-P2410-P200 (23.8″) and MEDS-P2210-P200 (21.5″) with features such as true-flat capacitive touchscreen and optional hot-swappable batteries.
Health Technology, Digital Healthcare
Article | September 8, 2023
COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change, with the diagnostics industry taking centre stage and rising to the challenge of a global pandemic. One of the silver linings of this mammoth task has been the unprecedented time and focus dedicated to finding new technologies and solutions within the sector.
The lessons learned from the pandemic now need to be taken forward to improve breast and cervical cancer detection, prevention and treatment across the UK over the coming years.
In the more immediate term, the diagnostics industry, alongside public health leaders, faces a daunting backlog as screening programmes for breast and cervical cancer were put on pause for months. These two life-saving tests have been some of the most overlooked during the pandemic and getting back on track with screening is critical as we start to turn the corner. We believe innovation in diagnostics, particularly artificial intelligence guided imaging, is a key tool to tackle delays in breast and cervical cancer diagnosis.
The scale of the backlog in missed appointments is vast. In the UK, an estimated 600,000 cervical screening appointments were missed in April and May 2020. And an estimated 986,000 women missed their mammograms, of which an estimated 10,700 could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer. It is clear that hundreds of thousands of women have been affected as COVID-19 resulted in the reprioritisation of healthcare systems and resource allocation.
Both cervical and breast cancer screening are well suited for digital technologies and the application of AI, given both require highly trained medical professionals to identify rare, subtle changes visually –a process that can be tedious, time-consuming and error prone. Artificial intelligence and computer vision are technologies which could help to significantly improve this.
What does AI mean in this context?
Before examining the three specific areas where digitisation and AI can help, it is important to define what we mean by AI. It is the application of AI to medical imaging to help accelerate detection and diagnosis. Digitisation is the vital first step in implementing an AI-driven solution – high quality images demand advanced cloud storage solutions and high resolution. The better the quality of the input, the more effectively trained an AI system will be.
The first area where AI-guided imaging can play a role is workflow prioritisation. AI, along with increased screening units and mammographers, has the potential to increase breast cancer screening capacity, by removing the need for review by two radiologists. When used as part of a screening programme, AI could effectively and efficiently highlight the areas that are of particular interest for the reader, in the case of breast screening, or cytotechnologist when considering cervical screening.
Based on a comparison with the average time taken to read a breast screening image, with AI 13% less time is needed to read mammogram images, improving the efficiency with which images are reviewed. This time saving could mean that radiologists could read more cases a day and potentially clear the backlog more quickly.
For digital cytology for cervical cancer screening, the system is able to evaluate tens of thousands of cells from a single patient in a matter of seconds and present the most relevant diagnostic material to a trained medical professional for the final diagnosis. The job of a cytotechnologist is to build a case based on the cells they see. Utilising these tools, we are finding that cytotechnologists and pathologists are significantly increasing their efficiency without sacrificing accuracy to help alleviate the backlog of cervical screening we are seeing in many countries.
Prioritising the most vulnerable patients
Another key opportunity is applying AI to risk stratification, as it could help to identify women who are particularly at risk and push them further up the queue for regular screening. Conversely, it would also allow the screening interval for those women at lower risk to be extended, creating a more efficient and targeted breast screening programme.
For example, women with dense breast tissue have a greater risk factor than having two immediate family members who have suffered from breast cancer. What’s more, dense breasts make it more difficult to identify cancerous cells in standard mammograms. This means that in some cases cancers will be missed, and in others, women will be unnecessarily recalled for further investigation.
A simple way to ensure that those most at risk of developing breast cancer are prioritised for screening and seen more regularly would be to analyse all women on the waiting list with AI-guided breast density software. This would allow clinicians to retrospectively identify those women most at risk and move them to the top of the waiting list for mammograms.
In the short term, to help tackle the screening backlog, prior mammograms of women on the waiting list could be analysed using the breast density software, so that women at highest risk could be seen first.
Finding new workforce models
Being able to pool resources will allow resource to be matched to demand beyond borders. Globally, more than half a million women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and the majority of these occur where there is a lack of guidance to conduct the screening programme. The digital transformation of cervical screening can connect populations that desperately need screening to resources where that expertise exists. For example, developing countries in Africa could collect samples from patients and image these locally, but rely on resources in the UK to support the interpretation of the images and diagnoses. Digital diagnostics brings the promise of a ‘taxi-hailing’ type model to cervical cancer screening – connecting groups with resources (drivers with cars) to those who are in need (passengers): this is an efficient way of connecting laboratory professionals to doctors and patients around the world.
It’s going to take many months to get cancer screening programmes up and running at normal levels again, with continued social distancing measures and additional infection control impacting turnaround times. But diagnostic innovation is on a trajectory that we cannot ignore. It will be key to getting cancer screening programmes get back on track. AI is a fundamental piece of the innovation puzzle and we are proud to be at the forefront of AI solutions for our customers and partners.
Article | September 9, 2020
© 2019 American Cranes & Transport Magazine.
Moving over-sized, over-dimensional loads during the day is no easy task. Adding darkness and poor visibility to your trip adds numerous hazards that must be thoroughly identified and mitigated.
When planning a specialized transportation project, there are three primary objectives:
Ensure the safety of the transport crew and the general public.
Protect the integrity of the cargo and transport equipment.
Protection of Infrastructure – roads, bridges, traffic control devices, utilities and the like.
For the most part, specialized carriers perform night transports to reduce the impact on day-time commuter traffic. Route challenges – construction, road closures, lane crossovers, bridges and other obstacles – are often better solved at night. Police and utility support are often more readily available at night.
Night transport hazards include employee fatigue, slowed reaction time and poor visibility for both the transport crew and motorists. Decreased visibility increases potential for trips, falls, runovers, back overs and equipment strikes.
It can’t be emphasized enough how critically important it is to ensure that all transport crew members have had adequate rest for these projects. Workers need complete rest before the transport takes place. A fatigued worker is a danger to himself as well as his fellow crew members. And while impaired drivers can be out on the streets during the day, there is often an increased number of these drivers on roadways at night.
Limited visibility is a given when it comes to night-time transports. Limited visibility increases the chance of going off route and striking objects, and the transport driver’s maneuverability and reaction time maybe be reduced. Road conditions can abruptly change during a night-time transport. Therefore, it is critically important to know the route and to have drivers run it in advance. Statistically speaking, accident frequency increases when the transporter goes off route and attempts to correct itself. While providing the necessary lighting to make night transport is important, artificial lighting can pose visibility hazards, especially to the drivers. Other hazards may include bright work lighting that produces glare.
OSHA has identified the “Focus Four” accident events that make up the most serious injuries and fatalities in the construction business. They are also known as the “Fatal Four.” Many carriers have had employees injured in the past as a result of one of these four incidents.
Caught-in-between hazards are injuries resulting from a person being squeezed, caught, crushed, pinched or compressed between two or more objects or between parts of an object. This is also referred to as “pinch points or entrapment.” As the transporter navigates its designated route the landscape is continuously changing. It is imperative that all ground crew members maintain situational awareness and not place themselves between the moving transporter and fixed objects such as guardrails, parked vehicles, buildings, etc.
Struck-by hazards are injuries produced by forcible contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment. There are many potential struck-by hazards. Guide wires that must be raised can snap and strike workers on the ground. Tag lines should be used to control loads. The primary purpose of using tag lines is to control the load but more importantly give the worker a safe buffer distance away from suspended and the uncontrolled movement of these loads.
Fall hazards are anything that could cause an unintended loss of balance or bodily support and result in a fall. To prevent fall hazards all workers should have either fall prevention or a means of fall protection in place. As a rule, 100 percent tie off is required when using a fall arrest system (FAS). FAS’s should be thoroughly inspected before each use.
Electrocution hazards result when a person is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. Maintaining minimum approach distances (MAD) is a critical safety practice. As everyone knows, equipment does not have to physically make contact with energized equipment or lines to cause serious injuries and even death. Electrical energy can “jump” from lines into equipment that has encroached the Minimum Approach Distance based on its voltage.
As noted above, it is critically important to ensure that crew members have had adequate rest and are not fatigued. Night transports are difficult enough, and the last thing you want to introduce are tired and fatigued workers. Being fatigued creates a risk for anyone who undertakes an activity that requires concentration and a quick response.
All companies should have an “Hours Worked Policy” that clearly spells out the number of hours allowed to work before a mandatory rest period. This policy should ensure that the transport crew has had adequate rest during day, that a fatigue assessment is conducted on all team members, that crews are never allowed to work double shifts and that employees are prohibited from driving long distances to return home.
Dealing with darkness
Visibility and slowed reaction times should be a part of the project planning. A limited amount of ambient light that only projects upward and outward impedes vision and increases blind spots for drivers. Lights cast shadows, increasing the potential for slips, trips and falls.
All transport moves should establish pre-planned Emergency Action Plans. When an emergency occurs, time is of the essence and can mean the difference between life and death. If it is a long-distance move the emergency numbers and first responder information can change. Crews should know when it’s time to seek emergency “safe harbor.”
When approaching overhead obstructions such as guide wires, electrical lines, communication lines and overpasses, travel speed is of utmost importance. Again, pre-route surveys provide advance knowledge of obstructions. At night, visual identification of roadway obstructions is reduced and delayed and last second reactions to oncoming hazards can lead to accidents. Support personnel in bucket trucks also have the challenge of reduced visibility.
In darkness, overhead hazards often require more utility support for height clearances, which means the need for raising energized lines, lifting traffic control devices, trimming tree limbs, releasing tension on guide wires, removing highway signs, repositioning street lights and raising railroad crossing arms.
Traffic control can also create hazards. The general public may ignore pilot car lights at night, so it’s often advisable to also use police escorts. All support vehicles and trucks should be properly marked and equipped with strobe lights.
The configuration of the transport system can also be a hazard. Navigating sharp turns or crossovers is greatly reduced based on the length of transporter. Snake-like maneuvers of trailers pose an increased risk.
It’s important to never allow personnel to take shortcuts by walking through or under transporter while it’s in motion. Stop or have the worker go around.
The transport crew must always maintain “situational awareness” to prevent being in line of fire or entrapped between moving and fixed objects.
All the equipment used in the transport must be deemed safe. You should have procedures to conduct thorough assessment of all new equipment.
Ensure machine guard devices are in place especially around moving components.
Provide secured areas using catwalks/railing system.
All steps should be designed with slip resistant material.
Ensure that all deck openings are properly protected and covered.
Components that hydraulically extend and retract should be clearly posted with DANGER signs.
Roadway conditions are always a bigger concern at night. Assess weather conditions prior to start of the project and don’t take chances. A “Go – No Go” criteria should be developed for each project. Once the decision is made to transport the load there is no turning back. Changing weather can cause the transporter to lose traction. Underpasses that are shaded during the day will likely freeze up more quickly. If the temperatures drop significantly during the move, equipment performance may be affected – especially those with hydraulics.
Because the reaction time of the transport crew is reduced, speeds are often reduced, causing potential for curfew violations. Boarding and deboarding the transporter increases risk for slips and falls. Other potential road condition hazards include grade of road, width of road, shoulder surfaces, railroad crossing clearances and bottoming out, overpasses, tight and narrow turning lanes, parked vehicles and frequent grade changes.
Crew prep is essential and should be a part of the job plan and job training. The team should be briefed each day to identify the responsibilities of all crew members. The crew should know it is empowered; everyone has the authority to stop the transport if something looks unsafe or when someone is unsure. In the event of a complication, crews should be informed of how to regroup and formulata mitigation plan. There should be an established means of communication that is limited only to transport issues. Most importantly, crew should embrace these words: When in doubt, call time out!
A Task Hazard Analysis (THA) should address all scope of work activities, identify hazards and have a mitigation plan for each, clear channels of communication, the traffic control plan and an “Emergency Preparedness Plan.” And finally: Know the route; ride the route and expect the unexpected.
Edwards Moving performs a night move using it’s Goldhofer Faktor-5 transport system.
Keys to a successful night transport
Early planning and attention to detail. Anticipate roadway hazards such as guardrails, poles & hydrants that pose obstruction with travel path or turning radius.
Preparing a detailed traffic control plan.
Thorough due diligence throughout scope of work.
Established contingency plan for equipment.