There are many pieces of disruptive technologies that are drastically changing the way in which doctors and nurses are conducting their day to day activities. New advancements in medical science are enabling computers to detect diseases, conduct in home screenings, and devise the best treatment options for patients. IBM, Metabolomx, Wize Mirror and a handful of other companies are now developing new innovative ways to improve the healthcare sector. The writing below are some details that I found after my research. Please watch the Youtube video that can be accessed through this hyperlink to gather more information on the innovative technologies.
Watson is a super-computer produced by IBM. A supercomputer takes inputted data, stores and processes it, and then generates a result at a much faster speed than a normal computer. Rather than using serial processing, supercomputers use parallel processing which is faster because it works on many things at once. Serial processing takes data, divides it up into separate pieces, and formulates a result based on what you asked the computer to do. Parallel processing splits problems into pieces and works on many pieces at once which allows for faster processing time. Processors are “the brain of the computer” because it interprets what you want done and relays it back to the computer before sending a response back to you.
Watson understands unstructured data which comprises 85% of the data humans provide to other humans according to IBM. Unstructured data consists of tweets, literature, blogs, articles, Facebook posts, etc. Watson uses natural language, meaning that it not only highlights words similar to how you would type keywords in on a Google search engine, it can read and interpret the words that have been written. It understands context and tries to understand what the user wants. It can search multiple inquiries and responses at once to formulate the best response possible. Watson formulates responses faster than humans ever could and is even finding new solutions to problems. Within the healthcare sector, Watson is now being used to match people for clinical trials which allows patients to take part in experimental theories to move them into practice. Watson takes information taken from patient data and matches the patient with the best clinical trials that currently exist and match the opportunities unique to the individual. Results are listed on the highest to lowest statistical match.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is one of America’s first cancer treatment centers that has paired with IBM Watson. MSK feeds information into Watson and the supercomputer is then able to analyze large quantities of data that would normally be too much for one individual to analyze, and reduces the data down to critical decision points. Watson has access to the most well respected medical reports and cases and is taught by specialists and it learns from the cases that range from patient to patient. Watson is now being further developed to include monitoring patients and gathering more personalized treatments for patients.
Watson is currently being used at:
- Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago;
- BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia;
- City of Hope National Medical Center, Monrovia, California;
- Cleveland Clinic;
- Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, North Carolina;
- Buffett Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska, Omaha;
- McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis;
- New York Genome Center;
- Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, South Dakota;
- University of Kansas Cancer Center, Kansas City;
- University of North Carolina Lineberger Cancer Center, Chapel Hill;
- University of Southern California Center for Applied Molecular Medicine, Los Angeles;
- University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle; and
- Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, Connecticut.
Another company called Wize Mirror which was created by researchers across Europe employs breath monitors, 3D scanners, video cameras, and imaging systems to analyze the healthcare of its users. According to The Daily Beast this machine can detect changes in users’ faces, monitor circulation, search for signs of anxiety, and test breath for heart attack inducing chemicals.” It has the potential for revolutionizing early detection, in home diagnostics, and reciprocating the results of tests to doctors. We use mirrors everyday and this mirror has the capability of detecting what may be wrong with you once out of the prototype stages. Researchers released a video on how Wize Mirror operates, just follow the hyperlink to watch.
Metabolomx is a cancer sniffing device through the use of a small desktop PC with a hose attached to it. It can be wheeled from patient to patient and individuals are instructed to breathe through the tube for four minutes. Organic compounds otherwise known as VOC’s are carried in a person’s breath. The machine can detect VOCs that carry tumor signatures and can analyze the type of cancer a person has. After a study of 229 people, lung cancer was detected in the patients more than 80 percent of the time.
Currently Metabolomx is offering a breath exam after a person undergoes a CT scan which can increase life expectancy by approximately 20%, according to the National Cancer Institute. Metabolomx is also being used to detect tuberculosis and colon cancer. The major benefits of the technology include rapid results, fast to administrate, reliable, and is administered at a low cost.
All three of these technologies have a common theme. They each are working towards the goal of administering personalized medicine through the incorporation of machines that can process data and deliver results much faster than humans can. The issue of privacy with each of these technologies and ones similar to Watson, Metabolomx, and Wize Mirror will be discussed in later blog posts and videos. However, an important factor to recognize is how much medicine will be changing through the use of machinery in future.
Link to Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lZphsp5Acc