Seeing Through the Skin – New Phlebotomy Technology

Great strides in medical technology sometimes come out of amusing experiments. But recent developments in medical gadgetry would leave the patients not only amused but relieved. As a patient who is exhausted with the endless blood collection procedure because the phlebotomist keeps stabbing on the wrong veins, would it be a relief to learn that seeing through the skin – new phlebotomy technology is now available to make the procedure quick and relatively painless? 

This development came out of a research that associated humans’ color vision evolution to the ability to perceive social signals from the same human species through changes in the levels of oxygen in their blood. These changes in turn can be seen through the skin. The research posits that early human ancestors who passed this predisposition to modern humans had to be perceptive when it comes to discriminating changes in the moods or physiology of other beings of the same species. This contributed to the ancient human’s ability to survive by identifying aggression and similar emotions from possible threats.

This natural ability has not been lost to modern humans, but only weakened. As this discovery was made, researchers realized that this could have immense implications in the field of medicine where accurate evaluation of a patient’s physiology could prove life-saving. In phlebotomy, the ability to see vasculature non-invasively is a huge step forward in making the procedure more patient-friendly. What better way to ease patient anxiety than to tell them that you can see their veins through their skin?

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The result of this discovery is oxygen-monitoring glasses that could do three things: find veins, detect hemoglobin concentration (as what happens in trauma) and aid medical professionals in clinical setting so they are better able to evaluate the internal condition of the patient. 

Phlebotomists will be interested useing the vein-finder oxygenation-isolator glasses.

These “oxy-iso glasses”, as they are called, enable phlebotomists to see veins through the skin, which is crucial among patients whose veins cannot be easily located (as in the case of obese patients). When these oxygen-amplifier glasses are used, phlebotomists could see the veins glow under the skin, thus enabling them to make quick scans of the vasculature and decide where to make a venipuncture. This will tremendously improve patient experience in terms of the blood collection procedure. Phlebotomists are no longer left to intelligently guess where to ‘stab’ the patient for a blood draw. (Multiple punctures are always the bane of patients, sometimes to the trauma of young children and infants.)

Seeing through the skin – new phlebotomy technology also has promising applications in the field of security, social relationships and even gambling. But researchers are hopeful that these high-tech glasses (which are presently being tested in various clinical settings) would instead save lives than aid the user win a poker game.

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