MitraClip and CardiAQ could decrease open heart surgeries
Written by Alyssa Clark
Science is getting close to determining a way to amend the world’s most common heart problems, without having to do expensive and high-risk open heart surgery. One of these most common issues that affects populations around the world is mitral valve regurgitation, which causes blood to flow back into the lungs instead of continuously out into the body. This ailment affects more than four million U.S. adults alone, with some never even knowing they contain the defect and others being severely plagued by its shortcomings. These can include but are not limited to: shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and chest pains, since the heart has to pump twice as hard to move the same amount of blood, which can result in heart failure.
Located between the heart’s two left chambers, the mitral valve helps to transport oxygen-rich blood coming from the lungs through the left atrium to the left ventricle, where it is pumped to the rest of the body. When the flaps of the valve do not close properly, the blood is regurgitated in to the lungs, and occurs in about 45 percent of people from a European-based study. Doctors recommended surgery in less than half of these situations, simply based on the fact that the complications of the surgery outweighed the potential benefits of the procedure. This gap presented in patient demographic and surgery requirements makes this demand for an alternate medical device imperative.
Medical devices were hoped to be a savior for this cause for a number of years, and it appears that finally this long-awaited problem is finally seeing some potential results. Researchers have struggled to invent a less-invasive device that can replace or repair the defective valve, instead of instantly resorting to open heart surgery which has been a problem for surgeons and patients for a long time. With over an average of 50,000 operations a year, it is no wonder why a demand for a better way of solving this problem is in high demand, since some patients can also be too frail or weak to undergo the life-saving surgery.
Two companies have pioneered this technology, achieving small victories along the way and tag-teaming the project to continue to improve the chances of this device replacing surgery: Abbott Laboratories and Edwards Lifesciences Corporation. MitraClip was first to be released by Abbott, and was approved by the FDA in October of 2013. It was a short-term success, only serving a small number of those ostracized patients of which open heart surgery was not an option; so it was back to the drawing board. It was then that Lifesciences Corp got behind the idea, and improved the original idea of the MitraClip to release CardiAQ, which will go into second-generation testing later on this year. If the results are positive, the device is said to be in circulation in European markets by 2017 and then soon after in the U.S. in 2020.
"It's been a disappointing field until now," says Michael Mack, a heart surgeon at the Baylor Health Care System in Plano, Texas, who also advises medical-device makers. "I think there will be a renewed enthusiasm over the next year or two that this is an issue that can be addressed and solved."
OMNI: First-ever platform to launch citizen RPA developers
Robotic process automation (RPA) is the fastest growing segment of the enterprise software market due to its many benefits - from reducing manual errors to processing tasks faster. For businesses to truly benefit from this technology, RPA needs democratisation, and this is where citizen RPA development comes in.
Gartner describes a citizen RPA developer as "a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” This could be anyone using IT tools and technology, not limited to IT specialists.
The work citizen RPA developers do spans from identifying automation opportunities to developing RPA architecture and solution proposals, focusing on scalability and extensibility. By deploying citizen RPA developers, organisations can enable enterprise automation and digital transformation on a much larger scale.
This is particularly beneficial for businesses struggling to undertake digital transformation, as a citizen RPA development programme can help drive adoption of automation as a strategic growth driver at multiple levels. With increased adoption, the cost of digital transformation becomes lower, increasing RoI.
Technology needs to be democratised – right from low-code and no-code platforms, business process modelling and identifying automation opportunities to decision-makers at all levels, creating a pool of early adopters. This group could comprise people across different functions, especially those who are aware of customer preferences, industry trends and end user experience.
But how can organisations harness the power of citizen RPA development? Step forward AiRo Digital Labs, a Chicago-headquartered global tech company.
AiRo provides innovative digital and automation solutions for the healthcare, pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors. In 2021 they launched OMNI, a subscription-based, SaaS platform to help clients accelerate their citizen RPA developer program and build digital centres of excellence (COE) within their organisation.
OMNI provides a personal RPA coach and virtual digital playground that helps enterprises rapidly build and scale automation, removing the risk of failure or talent gaps. The latter is key as research has shown that digitalisation is far more successful when championed by internal employees.
This has the added bonus of empowering employees - who will self-learn technologies including robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots, and natural language processing (NLP), reducing the lead time for new applications and technology, as well as reducing technical gaps, making up for skills shortages and enabling their business to respond faster to critical market challenges. The virtual sandbox within OMNI gives access to all the major intelligent automation platforms where citizen RPA developers can build DIY digital prototypes. Additionally, they can access more than 150 digital assets within OMNI marketplace.
The platinum helpdesk of OMNI acts as your personal coach and is available 24 x 7 to address issues during the digital learning, prototype building, and digital governance journey.
Another key benefit is that it enables digitalisation to be bespoke to each organisation, compared to off-the-shelves initiatives plugged into the enterprise. Individual organisation's objectives decide the scope and size of the process.
As Gartner state, in today’s world of SaaS, cloud, low-code and “no-code” tools, everyone can be a developer.