Healthcare

Waging the Smart Battle Against Cancer

Create: 06/08/2017 - 14:08
precision medicine All in One Day

Photo: Intel All in One Day infographic

 

Getting diagnosed with cancer is becoming an all too common experience. The American Cancer Society’s 2017 annual Cancer Facts and Figures report estimates there will be 1,688,780 new cancer cases diagnosed and 600,920 cancer deaths in the United States this year. Those are sobering numbers, and the kind of stats that technology innovators have been taking to heart. Intel is leading the charge, working on ways to better facilitate precision medicine—a form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes, proteins and environment to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, and one of the most promising strategies for improving cancer treatment plans and health outcomes. 

Working with healthcare industry leaders, Intel is leveraging the capabilities of IoT to reach its goal of creating a one-day precision medicine program for new cancer patients by 2020. 

All in One Day: Precision Medicine in 24 Hours

When it comes to cancer treatment, one size most definitely does not fit all. Even when it comes to treating the same type of cancer, a therapy that works for one patient often isn’t the best choice for a seemingly similar case. This is where precision medicine comes in. It looks for the factor that makes each individual’s cancer unique, enabling doctors to create a specially tailored treatment plan. Which is amazing—but it requires access to vast amounts of data, as well as the ability to process, analyze and determine actionable insights from it.

Which is why Intel set its sights on developing technology that can accelerate precision medicine, with the goal that by 2020, every cancer patient can receive a personalized diagnosis based on lifestyle, environment and genetics, in addition to a targeted treatment plan—all in one day.

The ultimate goal of the “All-in One Day” initiative is to deliver a precision medicine experience for each cancer patients, from getting a diagnosis from their doctor to receiving a personalized treatment plan.

  1. The personalized treatment component is broken down into 3 steps, which would all be completed in a single day:
  2. Primary sequencing: Patient visits doctor and individual genome sequencing is performed.
  3. Secondary analysis: Disease-causing genes and key pathways are identified through analytics.

Precision medicine: Gene-targeted drugs, if available, are pinpointed, and collaborative knowledge bases of patient sequencing, treatment and outcome data are consulted so that clinicians can recommend individualized treatments.

All of this is built upon and made possible through remarkable advances in genomic coding capabilities. DNA coding that would have taken 13 years and $3 billion 20 years ago can now be done in just 24 hours for only $1,000. Thankfully while that hurdle can now be overcome, other challenges still remain.

To meet the “All in One Day” goal, precision cancer care will require breakthroughs in multiple areas, including computing. These 4 main technical challenges must be overcome before precision medicine can become the norm:

  •  The ability to share/collaborate securely
  • The size/amount of the data involved
  • The speed of sequencing
  •  The scalability of current architectures

Joining Forces

In 2016, Intel partnered with The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The five-year, $25 million collaboration is focused on scaling researchers’ ability to analyze huge volumes of genomic data from diverse sources worldwide.

Researchers and software engineers at the new Intel-Broad Center for Genomic Data Engineering are building, optimizing and widely sharing new tools and infrastructure that will help scientists integrate and process genomic data.

The project is optimizing best practices in hardware and software for genome analytics to make it possible to combine and use research data sets that reside on private, public and hybrid clouds. The goal is to enable researchers across the globe to generate robust results more quickly by accessing data that may have been unavailable to them before.

This and other Intel collaborations involving Oregon Health & Science University, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, focused around The Collaborative Cancer Cloud (CCC), are helping make great strides toward the ultimate goal.

The CCC is a federated analytics platform that uses Intel technology to collectively analyze large amounts of patient genomic, imaging and clinical data from each institute in a distributed way, all while preserving the privacy and security of the patient data at each site—key to hitting the “All in One Day” precision cancer care target by 2020.

Learn more about how Intel is leveraging smart technology to advance healthcare with the “All in One Day” project, utilizing its healthcare solutions, IT and medical devices to make a personalized experience for each unique patient a reality, while its High Performance Computing enables healthcare clients to accelerate discovery and solve the toughest problems with the aggregated computing power that comes from high performance computing.

                                                                                                           

IoT Wrist Sensor Taps into Sweat to Gather Health Data

Create: 04/24/2017 - 16:50
IoT wearable healthcare

Photo: Stanford Medicine News Center

Population health management is a hotspot where data collected from IoT sensors has the potential to bring broad rewards. With a bevy of IoT-based fitness and certified medical devices coming to market, data streams from wearables and health monitoring devices can be used alongside clinical data to provide doctors with a clear, near real-time picture of a patient’s health.  

Wearable IoT devices play an integral role in automatically gathering patient data. So much so that the global wearable medical devices market has been valued at $23 million and is expected to expand at a 6.9% CAGR over the next 10 years, according to Future Market Insights. Solution providers will be tasked with the critical role of collecting vitals—working with hospitals, physicians and medical device manufacturers to gather and process data collected from these millions of health wearables.

Smart Sensors to Fight Expensive Problems

Diabetes management is one of the more expensive healthcare challenges for patients, doctors and healthcare networks. About 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, according to the World Health Organization, and the cost of treating diabetes is estimated to be $500 billion worldwide. Another disease with a similar degree of difficulty to diagnose and treat is cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that occurs in one in every 2,500 white newborns in the United States.

Stanford researchers have developed a wearable that will help with the treatment of each of these conditions. They have built a wrist-ready prototype that generates a few drops of perspiration, just enough for its IoT sensors to measure blood sugar and to automatically monitor other bodily functions.  

One of the goals for the device was to show that it is possible for people to wear lightweight devices that can deliver on the promise of pain-free diagnosis. “You don’t have to stick people with anything. You can wrap it on people’s hands and have them engage in their daily activities and continuously monitor them,” says developer Sam Emaminejad, in an interview with NBC News.

Blood vs. Sweat and Tears

Emaminejad, who helped build the device while at Stanford and is now an assistant professor at UCLA, notes that what a wearable health device needs is enough bodily fluid (whether blood, sweat or tears) to measure something, such as blood sugar, sodium or hormones.

For diabetes, the typical method for measuring blood glucose is using a needle to extract blood samples. Conventional methods for diagnosing cystic fibrosis require that patients visit a specialized center and sit still for up to 30 minutes, while electrodes stimulate sweat glands in their skin to provide sweat for the test. Patients then have to wait while a lab measures the chloride ions in the sweat to determine if the patient has cystic fibrosis.

The Stanford wearable works much faster to grab data, using sweat-stimulating compounds and a low current. It can measure glucose, sodium and other compounds and wirelessly relays data. The platform extracts sweat at a high secretion rate on demand or periodically performs sweat analysis in place.

Here’s how it works. The two-part system of flexible sensors and microprocessors sticks to the skin, stimulates the sweat glands and then detects the presence of different molecules and ions, based on their electrical signals. The more chloride in the sweat, for example, the more electrical voltage is generated at the sensor’s surface. The team used the wearable sweat sensor in separate studies to detect chloride ion levels—high levels are an indicator of cystic fibrosis—and to compare levels of glucose in sweat to that in blood. High blood glucose levels can indicate diabetes.

One Problem, Multiple Solutions

Many other groups are working to develop wearable health tech, including the glucose-sensing contact lens being tested from Google. The contact lens contains an embedded wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor and antenna that can rapidly measure blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.

IoT wearable Diabetologia

Photo: Diabetologia

Another system currently in testing is the “artificial pancreas,” which is really a series of linked devices that monitor blood sugar and deliver insulin as needed for diabetes patients. Developed by Boston University/Massachusetts General Hospital, the artificial pancreas system uses a smartphone to help control a diabetic's blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery. The system includes a wearable blood glucose monitor, a wearable insulin pump and a smartphone controller. The devices communicate wirelessly through Bluetooth technology.

While each of these solutions attacks disease management from different angles, they all rely on advancements in IoT wearables. Healthcare providers, along with solution providers who can deliver and analyze data for clinicians, have unprecedented opportunities to improve patient outcomes and significantly reduce the costs of managing chronic conditions. 

Health IT Resources

  •  Learn more about gathering healthcare analytics from wearables, download the solution brief, “Make Remote Patient Monitoring Simple and Cost-Effective” from Intel.
  • To better understand what’s happening in healthcare analytics, get the solution brief, “Predictive Clinical Analytics Solution Improves Healthcare” from Intel.
  •  Read about the wearable sweat sensor at the Stanford Medicine News Center.  

Solution Provider Insights: Wachter Discusses IoT

Create: 04/13/2017 - 17:28
Wachter IoT solution provider

Photo credit: Wachter 

 

The Channel Co:  Are there industries or sectors that are more open or receptive to adopting IoT technology?

Wachter:  After a lot of research we selected healthcare and energy as our main areas of focus. A lot of people are claiming that manufacturing is going to be an aggressive adopter, but we’re seeing some lag in that.

On the other hand, healthcare is a huge adopter currently and with the uncertainty in the healthcare market—between insurance and government regulations—hospitals are being squeezed to the max, so they’re looking to get any cost savings on technology that they possibly can.

Our observation solution, for example, is made to reduce the need for one-to-one sitters in an ICU environment. Typically, a hospital will deem a patient as needing a one-to-one sitter where they’ll sit a clinician in a room, and that clinician will just sit there and watch the patient. They can have 40 to 80 of these people sitting and watching patients 24 hours a day. It’s not very productive, and 9 times out of 10 instances, it’s not reimbursed by insurance.

With our IoT-enabled solution we’re able to take that one-to-one to about a 1 to 12 or 1 to 18 scenarios, which allow the nurses to do more beneficial things within the hospital.

The Channel Co:  And how about the energy sector?

Oil and gas is another great market. The biggest problem we see there, in this slow growth rate, is the inability or lack of contractors that can work in these environments. These are class I/division I explosion crew hazardous environments, which the typical IT integrator has never experienced. They don’t have the people or the know-how to work in these environments.

We’ve been tremendously successful in finding new ways for these guys to communicate.

Companies that sell point communication solutions have handcuffed this whole market with expensive products that only work within their ecosystem. You can’t do any integration with other manufacturers. Now, with push-to-talk over an IP network and pervasive wireless you can do so many more things with that same type of investment.

In the oil and gas market they say that workers have tools in their hands only 17 percent of their time in the field. With some of the newer solutions we’re looking at, it’s possible to cut a 26-step process down to a four-step process—and it gets them well over the 50 percent mark, as far as time on tools.

We’re being asked to help consult with Fortune 10 companies in the oil and gas sector to help them understand what else these technologies can do.

The Channel Co:  How much of the customer conversations involve the words “IoT”? When you’re building a solution, do they care whether or not this is labeled IoT?

Wachter:  You know, it’s funny. We did a two-hour brainstorming session with a customer recently and we started off by talking about some of the potentials and then we got into some nuts and bolts. We laid out what a three- to four-year roadmap would look like, as far as technology and how it could benefit them. And everybody was pretty pumped up about this meeting. We closed the meeting with saying, “and that’s IoT.” The phrase IoT never came up the entire two-hour session, it just happened to be at the end.

The Channel Co: Tell me a little bit about your relationship with Intel and what benefits you get out of the relationship and the IoT specialization?

Wachter:  Our relationship with Intel is relatively new in that from the outside we’ve always looked at Intel as silicon. Now, we see the new products like the retail sensor platform coming out, and our response has been—we can take advantage of that. That’s not just a product that goes in something else. That’s an end-user product that we can really get our hands on.

We recognized that working with Intel is a good play for us. As integrators, we need to know our customer’s business, and we need to know the manufacturers and the product lines to be able to build the solution.

There are so many different variations, so many different manufacturers out there that we needed someone that could be our matchmaker and help us get these solutions together quickly. Who better than Intel that has this enormous ecosystem of partners that do everything from software to hardware to sensors to this and to that? To be able to have them in your back pocket and say, “Hey, Intel, I need XYZ gateway to do ABC tasks for this customer.”

They’re making matches for us, which is dually beneficial; one, for them they’re selling more silicon and then two, for us, we’re getting relevant solutions to our customers a lot faster with a lot less manpower because we don’t have to do all that research.

The Channel Co:  Does the IoT specialization from Intel give you any advantages that you didn’t have, say as an Intel Gold Partner, for example?

Wachter:  It gives us more credibility. A lot of times if you look at the big guys, and their IoT projects are typically proof of concept. They don’t have a big book of business that’s closed, as far as IoT.

What Intel’s IoT specialization does, is it allows Wachter to be seen by Intel partners, like Dell and HP, as a credible organization in the fact that we’ve proven ourselves. We’ve proven to be able to put together solutions that are relevant to our customers and bring those to fruition. We have 1,500 people across the country with 900 licenses to be able to install this stuff. No other Intel IoT specialized partner has that capability.

The Channel Co: So you’ve already got the seal of approval?

Wachter:  Yep. Exactly.  

Healthy Opportunity in IoT-Enabled RTLS

Create: 04/04/2017 - 16:42
IoT RTLS healthcare

When it comes to leveraging the IoT to improve efficiency, nowhere is that difference more meaningful than in healthcare. A reduction in the time to identify the cause of a symptom or to locate an important device or critical medication could literally be the difference between life and death. But in addition to supporting the best care in those critical moments, myriad IoT-enhanced improvements in healthcare are enabling better, more individually-tuned services, while saving hospitals significant money.

While wearable IoT devices continue to dominate in healthcare, another smart solution is gaining steam. Solutions built around Real-Time Locating Systems (RTLS) are enabling hospitals to increase the efficiency of care, freeing up valuable time for their patients and achieving other pertinent objectives by improving the tracking and management of assets, processes and compliance to regulatory standards.

RTLS solutions provide hospitals and other healthcare facilities with numerous advantages, including integrating and automating healthcare systems (such as EMRs), automating asset, patient and staff workflow, enhancing patient and staff safety, monitoring hand-washing compliance, collecting impartial, accurate patient data and data on care milestones, and much, much more.

A Smart Financial Move

Clients that have implemented RTLS are already experiencing real, substantial return on investment. According to IBM, users of its Versus Real-time Locating System combined with Versus Advantages™ patient-flow solutions have achieved significant efficiencies including:

  • An emergency department customer that grew its volume from 60,000 to 100,000 without adding staff
  • An acute bed turnaround time reduction of 75 minutes per bed per day
  • A clinic that expanded exam rooms from 8 rooms to 20 without adding staff
  • An asset tracking customer that reduced annual equipment loss from $1.5M to $40,000
  • A user who reduced phone calls by 75 percent
  • A clinic that eliminated waiting rooms and reduced registration to rooming times to just over 2 minutes
  • An enterprise that decreased patient stays by 36 percent for adults admitted through the emergency department and increased cash collections by 60 percent.

Results the company says are repeatable and sustainable.

RTLS in Action

Stanford Children’s Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are using the Versus Advantages Clinic, powered by RTLS, to make patient visits less stressful for both the child and parents by improving patient flow and expediting treatment.

The sprawling facility—with 20 subspecialties in its two-story, 77,000-square-foot building—makes it even more essential to efficiently locate assets, staff and patients. The clinic implemented the Versus solution in May of 2016, installing both wireless and wired RTLS sensors, which monitor patient waiting and alone times, the status of patient and staff interactions, the utilization of the hospitals rooms and more.

Patients often have several appointments with different providers, and RTLS is crucial to ensuring the entire care team has visibility into the patient treatment and visit. IoT-connected, automated white boards display patients’ appointment times in addition to their current location (patients are given locating badges on arrival), wait time, alone time and overall length of stay. Since the providers and staff also wear the locating badges, the white boards automatically track who the patients has already seen, such as technicians or medical assistants, keeping the team ready for the next step of care. These workflow cues improve caregivers’ productivity, helping them manage their time much more effectively.

IoT for the Win

The promise of IoT is far reaching. IoT has the ability to increase patient safety and reduce liability while improving patient treatment—and satisfaction. For the staff and facility, IoT can optimize efficiency and productivity, eliminate expensive search and find procedures, simplify regulatory compliance and more. The healthcare industry is full of opportunities for solution providers that understand IoT-enabled RTLS.

Learn how Intel IoT solutions can help you meet your healthcare customers’ RTLS deployment goals by providing them with the building blocks required for a successful implementation.

Healthcare Monitoring Gets Smart with IoT

Create: 03/16/2017 - 16:10
IoT patient monitoring healthcare

Whether you’re a doctor in the trauma unit, a nurse in the ICU or a recovering patient, having access to the most up-to-date technology helps ensure that the best healthcare services are being provided. The IoT is creating endless technological possibilities across numerous industries, but healthcare is one area in particular where IoT is providing life-effecting solutions—and sizable financial savings.

IoT-enabled devices and solutions applied in the healthcare setting are improving bedside safety, increasing patient satisfaction, reducing overall costs and more. The benefits are significant, and so is the growth. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global IoT healthcare market is expected to reach $136.8 billion by 2021, registering a CAGR of 12.5 percent between 2015 and 2021.

The market’s robust growth is driven by numerous variables, including decreasing sensor technology costs, the increasing availability of wearable, moveable and stationary smart devices—in addition to the ongoing launches of technologically advanced devices—and increasingly stringent healthcare regulations. If you combine these elements with the rising rates of chronic diseases creating surging demand for cost-effective treatment and disease management and the greater accessibility of high speed Internet, it’s easy to see the massive IoT opportunities in healthcare.

The patient-monitoring application segment has emerged as a leader in the space, and is expected to continue to dominate the world IoT healthcare market throughout the 2015 to 2021 forecast period, reaching $72.7 billion by 2021.

One company going all-in on IoT-enabled monitoring is Wachter, the U.S.’ leading designer, integrator and service provider of power and technology systems. The company has leveraged the capabilities of IoT in healthcare to develop its cutting-edge Virtual Patient Observation System (VPOS) solution.

Revolutionizing Patient Observation

Trained technicians rely on VPOS to monitor patients through the use of high-definition video, two-way audio and healthcare-specific business intelligence. Care givers are also using the system to intervene and prevent patient falls and other significant injuries. Healthcare providers reduce costs by using VPOS in the place of more expensive one-on-one patient sitting and monitoring. A single healthcare professional, for example, can precisely monitor the status and safety of multiple patients simultaneously. Plus, a hospital’s workflow is enhanced by faster, more efficient communications of patient status, data and other pertinent health information to the staff in emergency situations.

How VPOS Works

VPOS uses high-definition cameras with pan and tilt zoom capabilities to deliver real-time patient video, audio and integrated data to nurses at a monitoring station or to a mobile device. From there, the monitoring software gives a complete view into the patient’s health and safety stats, telemetry and additional patient data. The VPOS can be deployed as a mobile cart, an easily movable wall-mounted solution or if a permanent solution is needed, it can be hardwired into a patient’s room.

The Rubber Hits the Road

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, one of the nation’s top three pediatric hospitals, successfully implemented Wachter’s VPOS solution to address its need for greater visibility into patients’ room, using the pan-tilt-and-zoom functionality to both clarify status questions and to ensure they were able to tilt away, protecting the privacy of its patients.

They also were looking to avoid the addition of any keyboards, mice and mini-towers at the already overcrowded nurse's stations, making the VPOS’ flexibility in deployment options a good fit. Wachter installed IP high-definition PTZ cameras in 21 critical care rooms, and all support hardware was rack-mounted separately, freeing up space at the nurse's stations. The company also specially designed a touchscreen controller that functioned while wearing medical gloves, essential to supporting the highest level of care. 

As a result of the implementation, the hospital administration realized savings and benefits through improvements in nursing efficiencies and requested that the design become the installation standard for all future renovations and additions.

IoT to the Rescue

Whether a hospital is trying to reduce 1:1 patient sitters, improve the treatment of chronic conditions, decrease patient falls and injuries or enhance workflow efficiency, IoT-enabled healthcare solutions are coming into focus as the answer to meeting these challenges.

For more information about IoT healthcare solutions for your customers, visit the Wachter Healthcare overview and Intel IoT solutions.

3D Printing Is New Antidote for Healthcare Costs

Create: 02/16/2017 - 17:13
wheelchair created on 3-D printer

Photo: LayerLAB GO wheelchair

 

With seemingly endless imagination and diverse applications, the 3D printer market is estimated to garner $8.6 billion by 2020, according to forecasts from Allied Market Research. This year, 3D printers are moving rapidly into the healthcare space and already showing value by providing cost savings and customization for a growing number of healthcare needs. According to Intel iQ, healthcare is one of the fastest growing 3D printing industries, based on forecasts from Materialise, a company in Belgium that provides various software, engineering and 3D printing services.

Bryan Crutchfield, the company’s Vice President and General Manager, told Intel iQ that the “uniqueness of each patient’s condition and anatomy lend themselves to 3D-printed solutions.” He notes that 3D printers have tremendous value in improving patient outcomes, adding that radiologists, surgeons and clinicians are coming on board with new uses for the technology.  

Anatomical Modeling

Healthcare professionals are using 3D printers to fabricate anatomical models for visualization, education and planning. That includes creating patient-specific guides to help surgeons in the operating room and designing custom implants that are a perfect fit for individual patients.

Surgeons are beginning to understand how 3D printed models can go beyond imaging and help with enhanced patient care. For example, Materialise offers 3D printing services for patient-specific cardiovascular anatomical models. By having a physical 3D model, the surgeon can better understand a patient’s anatomy and use the model to better prepare the surgical team—and the patient—for a procedure.

The solution offered by Materialise allows the physician to create their own anatomical model using the Materialise Mimics inPrint software. Or if the physician or hospital isn’t 3D equipped, the company’s clinical engineers will help construct and print the 3D models.  

3D Printing on the GO

Medical equipment manufacturers are turning to 3D printing as a way to personalize devices for patients and provide better functionality at a reduced cost. One new usage of 3D printing is the GO wheelchair, which is a made-to-measure custom printed wheelchair developed by LayerLAB in London.

The shape and form of the seat and foot bay on the GO wheelchair is driven by 3D digital data, which is derived from mapping each user’s biometric information. The resulting wheelchair accurately fits the individual’s body shape, weight and disability. The company also developed the GO app, which allows patients to participate in the design process by specifying optional elements, patterns and colors on their GO wheelchair.   

LayerLAB prints the seat of the chair using a semi-transparent resin and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) plastic, providing shock absorption to make the ride smoother. The foot bay is printed out of a more sturdy titanium.

Helping Hands

In addition to medical supply companies, 3D developments in healthcare are appearing organically. An online community of 3D experts, e-NABLE, shares open source, customizable designs for prosthetic hands and arms. This approach has enabled an increasing number of patients—especially children—to get affordable new prosthetics as the child grows.

e-nable 3D printing of prosthetics

Photo: enablingthefuture.org

Devices from the e-NABLE community can be built for as little as $35 in materials, according to co-founder Ivan Owen.  In two years, the e-NABLE network has provided more than 1,500 hands and arms to those in need in 40 countries. The network has expanded to include 3D printable tools for patients who have lost hand function from stroke, disease or nerve damage.

Learn more about e-NABLE 3D printing of prosthetics. See the specs of the GO 3D printed wheelchair.

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