May 17, 2020

Case Western Reserve University partners with Microsoft in new quantum computing health project

USA
Microsoft
Digital health
health services
Catherine Sturman
2 min
quantum computing (Getty Images)
In a recent blog, Microsoft’s Quantum division has announced its partnership with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to further improve patient ca...

In a recent blog, Microsoft’s Quantum division has announced its partnership with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to further improve patient care.

Harnessing Microsoft’s quantum computing capabilities. CWRU will work to further develop existing ways to detect and diagnose cancerous tumours.

Radiology Professor Mark Griswold and his team will work with experts at Microsoft Quantum throughout the project, Cleveland Business has reported.  

Working on revolutionising magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the University has developed magnetic resonance fingerprinting.

“Where typical MRI machines use a series of fixed acquisitions to establish a diagnosis, magnetic resonance fingerprinting uses a constantly varying sequence of pulses, resulting in a single, unified exam,” explained Todd Holmdahl, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft Quantum.

“The final quantitative maps are generated by comparing the response against a lookup table, resulting in a more rapid and repeatable characterisation of tissues.”

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Producing higher-quality imaging capabilities, the approach houses a multitude of advantages over traditional MRI tools.  Through the partnership, Microsoft will support CWRU’s aim to utilise quantum-inspired algorithms, which will lead to a quicker, more accurate diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, and in turn, provide positive patient experiences.

“Once the scan is complete, Microsoft HoloLens will be used for a 3D, holographic model of the results,” Holmdahl added.

“We see incredible possibilities to not only improve the quality of healthcare and medical research, but also demonstrate how quantum computing, machine learning, and mixed reality can be combined to turn challenges of the past into solutions of the future.”

"We are thrilled to partner with Microsoft again on another project that expands our understanding of what technology can make possible," commented Griswold.

"Quantum computing provides an opportunity to find the truly best way to scan patients. We are so excited to explore how far we can push these new quantum and quantum-inspired methods beyond traditional computer algorithms."

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May 13, 2021

Birdie aims to reinvent elderly care with tech

homecare
elderlycare
digitalhealthcare
medicationscheduling
3 min
We take a look at homecare software startup Birdie, who are aiming to transform elderly care in the UK

British startup Birdie has announced it has raised £8.2 million to invest in innovation and scale up the business. 

The company's announcement is timely as it follows the criticism of the UK government over their lack of a plan for social care, despite acknowledging the sector is in crisis - around a quarter of the UK's home care providers are on the brink of bankruptcy due to a lack of funds and staffing. 

Birdie was born with a mission to  "radically improve the lives of millions of older adults", by using app-based solutions, IoT and machine learning to put preventative care at the forefront.  The company was founded by Max Parmentier,  after experiencing his own frustrations with the care system - his grandfather struggled with the impact of life in a care home, but lacked any other option. 

In 2017 Parmentier partnered with venture builder Kamet Ventures to  set up Birdie, in a bid to fix this problem. Since then, Birdie has partnered with almost 500 providers across the UK, and supports more than 20,000 older people every week. In the past 12 months alone the number of people Birdie supports has got six times greater. 

Birdie’s solution is an app to help care providers deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care, by giving them access to digital assessments, medication scheduling and planning tools. By using digital tools to take care of admin, staff have more time to spend with their care recipients. 

The new investment will be used to fund Birdie’s next phase of growth in the UK, as the company scales to meet the rapidly growing demand of the aging population. The company will also invest in product innovation, creating new features to address customer requests.

In addition, Birdie is piloting new care models, including partnering with the NHS to identify COVID-19 symptoms, building predictive pharmacy models with AI, and helping health authorities to detect early warning signs of patients’ health risks.

Internally, Birdie is committed to having a progressive company ethos. All salaries are transparent, and staff work asynchronously to maximise flexibility and equity. Staff members also volunteer in their local community during office hours, and the company offsets all its emissions.

These efforts have led to numerous awards, including having the best SME culture in the UK, an Honorable Mention in the Health category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, and innovation in care at the LangBuisson awards. 

“We believe the future of care for older people should be helping them to live at home for as long as possible through the delivery of personalised and preventative care" Parmentier said. 

"Birdie is already the partner of choice for caregivers up and down the UK, and this new funding will help us rapidly increase the number we partner with and what we can offer them - meaning more people benefiting from more affordable, quality care. We’re proud of our mission and the values we embody to pursue it.” 

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