May 17, 2020

Tumour growth measured via microchip implant

microchip
implant
tumour
growth
Admin
2 min
Microchips could be used to measure tumour growth
A team of scientific researchers have developed a microchip which, when implanted into the body, can monitor and measure the growth of tumours, BBC New...

A team of scientific researchers have developed a microchip which, when implanted into the body, can monitor and measure the growth of tumours, BBC News is reporting.

The device apparently works by tracking oxygen levels in the tissue surrounding the tumour, which indicates if and how the tumour is expanding.

The microchip is able to drastically reduce the need for frequent trips to hospital for scans as the results are wirelessly transmitted back to the patient’s doctor.

A severe drop in oxygen levels would indicate a growth spurt and delivering this information directly to doctors gives them the opportunity to decide if the tumour is increasing in size.

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It is hoped the microchip implant will eventually be able to carry drugs directly to the site of the tumour and in turn make way for more specifically targeted but less aggressive treatments for cancer.

Scientists from Munich’s Technical University believe the method is ideal in treating hard-to-reach growths.

BBC News have quoted the project manager, Sven Becker, as saying: “There are some tumours which are hard to remove - for example, close to the spine.

“You run the risk of cutting the nerve if you remove them surgically, or the problem may be that the tumour is growing slowly, but the patient is elderly.

“In these cases it's better to monitor the tumour, and only treat it if there's a strong growth phase,” he added.

Becker also described how the microchip treatment would benefit patients: “In traditional chemotherapy you put drugs into the whole body - which can have awful side effects.

“We want to add a pump to our chip, so if the sensor detects growth, you can apply microscopic amounts directly to the tumour.

“Patients can be treated more quickly and with fewer side effects, because it's local.”

Although the microchip is in the first stages of development, the researchers believe there is the potential for it to be available to use in a medical setting in 10 years time.

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Jul 25, 2021

Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare

Data
healthcare
CloudComputing
Technology
 Joe Gaska
4 min
Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare
 Joe Gaska, CEO of GRAX, tells us how healthcare providers can become cloud-based and data-driven organisations

As healthcare continues to recognise the value of data and digital transformation, many organisations are relying on the cloud to make their future-forward and data-centric thinking a reality. In fact, the global healthcare cloud computing market was valued at approximately $18 billion and is expected to generate around $61 billion USD by 2025. 

At the forefront of these changes is the rapid adoption of cloud-based, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), applications. These apps can be used to handle patient interactions, track prescriptions, care, billing and more, and the insights derived from this important data can vastly improve operations, procurement and courses of treatment. However, before healthcare organisations can begin to dream about a true data-driven future, they have to deal with a data-driven dilemma: compliance. 

Meeting regulation requirements

It’s no secret that healthcare is a highly regulated industry when it comes to data and privacy – and rightfully so. Patient records contain extremely sensitive data that, if changed or erased, could cost someone their life. This is why healthcare systems rely on legacy technologies, like Cerner and Epic EHRs, to manage patient information – the industry knows the vendors put an emphasis on making them as secure as possible.

Yet when SaaS applications are introduced and data starts being moved into them, compliance gets complicated. For example, every time a new application is introduced into an organisation, that organisation must have the vendor complete a BAA (Business Associate Agreement). This agreement essentially puts the responsibility for the safety of patients’ information — maintaining appropriate safeguards and complying with regulations — on the vendor.

However, even with these agreements in place, healthcare systems still are at risk of failing to meet compliance requirements. To comply with HIPAA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 11 and other regulations that stipulate the need to exercise best practices to keep electronic patient data safe, healthcare organisations must maintain comprehensive audit trails – something that gets increasingly difficult when data sits in an application that resides in the vendor’s infrastructure.

Additionally, data often does not stay in the applications – instead healthcare users download, save and copy it into other business intelligence tools, creating data sprawl across the organisation and exposing patient privacy to greater risk. 

With so many of these tools that are meant to spur growth and more effective care creating compliance challenges, it begs the question: how can healthcare organisations take advantage of the data they have without risking non-compliance?

Data ownership

Yes, healthcare organisations can adhere to regulations while also getting valuable insights from the wealth of data they have available. However, to help do this, organisations must own their data. This means data must be backed up and stored in an environment that they have control over, rather than in the SaaS vendors’ applications.

Backing up historical SaaS application data directly from an app into an organisation’s own secure cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, makes it easier, and less costly, to maintain a digital chain of custody – or a trail of the different touchpoints of data. This not only increases the visibility and auditability of that data, but organisations can then set appropriate controls around who can access the data.

Likewise, having data from these apps located in one central, easily accessible location can decrease the number of copies floating around an organisation, reducing the surface area of exposure while also making it easier for organisations to securely pull data into business intelligence tools. 

When healthcare providers have unfettered access to all their historical data, the possibilities for growth and insights are endless. For example, having ownership and ready access to authorised data can help organisations further implement and support outcome-based care. Insights enabled by this data will help inform diagnoses, prescriptions, treatment plans and more, which benefits not only the patient, but the healthcare ecosystem as a whole. 

To keep optimising and improving care, healthcare systems must take advantage of new tools like SaaS applications. By backing up and owning their historical SaaS application data, they can do so while minimising the risk to patient privacy or compliance requirements. Having this ownership and access can propel healthcare organisations to be more data-driven – creating better outcomes for everyone. 

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