May 17, 2020

[VIDEO] The Coming Crisis of Antibiotic Resistance

3 min
The problem of antibiotic resistance is a global issue that is affecting both rich and poor countries.
Ramanan Laxminarayan is a health economist and professor. He recently hosted a TEDMED discussion where he applied lessons learned from the energy crisis...

Ramanan Laxminarayan is a health economist and professor. He recently hosted a TEDMED discussion where he applied lessons learned from the energy crisis to the rising challenge of antibiotic drug resistance.

According to Laxminarayan, “It has been a long time since people died of untreatable bacterial infections and the prospect of returning to that world is worrying.”

Antibiotics have been used to treat deadly diseases throughout time, but they have also been used on a smaller scale for treating the flu and cold-like symptoms. Laxminarayan additionally noted that antibiotics have been used on a large scale sub-therapeutically, to increase the sizes of chickens and hogs faster.

Due to this massive use of antibiotics around the world, it has imposed such large selection pressure on bacteria that resistance is now a problem because “we’ve now selected the resistant bacteria.”

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“I really want you to appreciate the significance of this problem,” Laxminarayan stressed during his presentation. “This is serious.”

The problem of antibiotic resistance is a global issue that is affecting both rich and poor countries. There is something fundamental about antibiotics which make them different from other drugs.

“We don’t consider, and we including individuals, patients, hospitals, entire health systems, do not consider the cost they impose on others by the way antibiotics are used,” said Laxminarayan.

That’s similar to the problem of fuel and energy use as this use leads to local pollution and climate change.

Typically in the case of energy there are two ways to handle the issue. One is to make better use of the oil that we already have and that’s analogous to making better use of the existing antibiotics, the other option is the “drill, baby, drill” option which in the case of antibiotics is to find new antibiotics.

“These are not separate, because if we invest heavily in new oil wells, we reduce the incentives for conservation of oil and the same way that’s going to happen for antibiotics,” Laxminarayan said.

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The reverse is also going to happen where if we use our antibiotics appropriately, we don’t actually have to make the investments in new drug development.

If you think these two options are fully balanced, you might consider the dynamic of a cheetah and a gazelle.

“This is really a game that we’re playing. The game is really one of co-evolution,” Laxminarayan said.

In the scenario of the cheetah and the gazelle, cheetahs have evolved to run faster because if they didn’t they wouldn’t get any lunch, and gazelles have evolved to run faster because if they didn’t they would be lunch.

“This is the game we’re playing against bacteria,” Laxminarayan said, “except we’re not the cheetahs, we’re the gazelles.

According to Laxminarayan, this is not a game we can win by simply innovating, we have to slow the pace of co-evolution down.

“We need to completely rethink how we’re going to use measures to control biological organisms,” stated Laxminarayan.

Watch Laxminarayan’s discussion on this topic below and his ideas on how we can use lessons from energy to solve this global issue. 

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May 24, 2021

Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know

2 min
We take a look at Schneider Electric's new smart patient room. 

Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly? 

Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution. 

What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room. 

The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place.  A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff. 

All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”

Why:  Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.” 

“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”

Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.  

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