May 17, 2020

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is on the rise

Catherine Sturman
2 min
A new law in China has thrown Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) into the spotlight.

With the infiltration of Westernised medicine, the use of TCM h...

A new law in China has thrown Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) into the spotlight.

With the infiltration of Westernised medicine, the use of TCM has had a revival. From the start of July, the Chinese Government aim to enable practitioners to qualify as licensed physicians in the practice of TCM, in order to raise awareness and the establishment of new TCM medical facilities. At present, there are nearly 4,000 TCM hospitals and over 40,000 TCM clinics across China.

This emphasis has led to the establishment of the Beijing Xingchen Hospital of Chinese Medicine, for example, with the plan to raise awareness and support traditional medicine within the region. At present, TCM accounts for nearly 30 percent of China’s pharmaceutical revenue.

Growing concerns

However, with the costs of TCM being far lower than westernised medicine and ongoing treatment, it will be interesting to see whether TCM grows in prominence despite government backing. A chemist in China, Tu Youyou, won a Nobel Price for creating an anti-malaria drug through the use of TCM, putting the practice back into a mainstream focus.

There are also concerns globally surrounding the lack of quality control and standards within TCM, in comparison to westernised medicine in which clinical trials are rigorously undertaken and documented.

Tough crowd?

With younger generations also adopting westernised medicine from a young age, and seeing rapid results from the use of prescription drugs and treatment, they would not have used Chinese medicine as much as older generations. The younger generation could therefore be a hard audience to win over.

Despite this, TCM is surprisingly seeing a surge in Australia amongst the medical profession. With over 5,000 medical clinics focusing on Chinese medicine, the practice is fully supported by the government, and students can study TCM at university in Australia, where students can spend a year in China to blend their knowledge of westernised medicine with the advantages of TCM.

Ongoing discoveries

Overall, TCM has seen a rise in popularity in areas such as cancer, cardiology and respiratory diseases. With limited awareness in areas such as Pulmonary Fibrosis, the use of TCM has shown an improvement in targeting fibrotic processes in the study  “Pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic assessment of pulmonary rehabilitation mixture for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis,” which appeared in the journal Scientific Reports.

With only two known westernised drugs which help treat pulmonary fibrosis, no cure has been found. It is clear to see that patients are looking to new alternatives which could give them a higher quality of life throughout ongoing treatment. The same can be said for heart disease, which has become one of the largest causes of death globally.

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Jun 24, 2021

Data de-identification - why it matters in healthcare

3 min
Riddhiman Das, co-founder and CEO of data privacy startup TripleBlind tells us why data de-identification is important in the healthcare sector

Large amounts of healthcare data is generated yet goes unused due to privacy concerns. To address this, data privacy firm TripleBlind has created Blind De-identification, a new approach that allows healthcare organisations to use patient data while eliminating the possibility of the user learning anything about the patient’s identity. 

We asked Riddhiman Das, co-founder and CEO to tell us more about data de-identification. 

Why is data de-identification important in healthcare? 
Blind De-identification allows every attribute of any given dataset to be used, even at an individual level, while being compliant to privacy laws, rules, and regulations by default.

Governments around the world are adopting global data privacy and residency laws like GDPR, which prohibit citizens’ personally identifiable information data from leaving the borders of the country. While great for data protection, data residency laws result in global silos of inaccessible data. TripleBlind allows computations to be done on enterprise-wise global data, while enforcing data residency regulations. 

In the US, HIPAA compliance has relied on what is called the Safe Harbor method, which requires removing 18 types of personal patient identifiers like names, email addresses, and medical record numbers. The Safe Harbor method can be too restrictive with the data or can leave too many indirect identifiers, which puts the patient data security at risk. Getting de-identification wrong could make an organisation liable for a costly mistake.

What does TripleBlind's solution do? 
With TripleBlind, data is legally de-identified in real time with practically 0% probability of re-identification. Our solution allows analytics on data containing personally identifiable information and protected health information  with zero possibility of re-identifying an individual from the dataset. This allows healthcare organisations to access more meaningful data, creating more accurate and less biased results.

For example, a healthcare drug researcher in a rural, predominantly white area, would only have patient data that would reflect their local population. With TripleBlind’s de-identification, they could more easily leverage third-party data from another healthcare facility in a more diverse region, creating a more complete data set that more accurately reflects the larger population. This has the possibility to create more accurate diagnoses and better drug results for more diverse populations.

How can healthcare organisations use this in practice? 
TripleBlind is blind to all data and algorithms. That means we never take possession of customer data. We only route traffic between entities, enforce permissions, and provide audit trails. The enterprise’s data remains under their control. TripleBlind does not host, copy or control their data, algorithms or other information assets, ever. 

We facilitate a connection to an encrypted version of their information assets. Our technology allows the algorithms and data to interact in an encrypted space that only exists for the duration of the operation. Organisations use their existing infrastructure, so it’s not hardware dependent.

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