Dear TechAways readers,
I’m Belinda Delys, a true foodie, and Cambre’s latest senior addition to the healthcare team. Before reading about my passions, check out this great opportunity to join our thriving tech practice. Back to me. I’m curious about anything that impacts patients’ Quality of Life (known as QoL in the industry). One might wonder which industry I actually refer to considering that, at some point in our lives, we’re all either patients or caregivers. And therefore all likely to be impacted by the latest innovation not only in the pharmaceutical or medical devices industry but increasingly also by those in the tech or food and drink arena (bam, managed to include food again)!
Just think of Medtronic’s GI Genius (more on that below) or Pillcam, which is a camera inside a capsule, capturing images at a rate of 2 to 6 frames per second based on capsule speed as it travels through the small bowel. Or self-adjusting insulin pumps, connected to your smartphone and your hospital care team. How crazy is all that? Of course, some of the latest innovations raise concerns from users about data protection of health records. But let’s keep that for another time.
Have a great read!
AI smarts for the GI Genius [Wired]
In the past, the effectiveness of the dreaded colonoscopy was based on the ability of the performing doctor, but Medtronic’s GI Genius has found a way to make the procedure even more foolproof. The GI Genius programme is added to the scopes used and helps doctors spot difficult-to-catch polyps and precancerous growths in the colon. Approved in Europe in 2019, it was trained by watching millions of videos of colonoscopies – starting with easy-to-spot issues, and slowly moving to those that even the most eagle-eyed doctors might miss. Since colorectal cancer is such a common form of cancer, it’s great that this procedure is becoming even more effective with the help of AI.
How not to store data 💾 🤷 [Wired]
On the flip side of tech improving healthcare, is the case of Vastaamo, a family-owned Finnish mental health provider that is at the epicentre of a catastrophic data breach. A young coder and entrepreneur Ville Tapio co-founded this mental health startup with the intention of providing all Finns with easily accessible mental health services. However, the medical record system they developed themselves with the help of developers that they didn’t run a background check on 👀 makes it seem like this data breach was unavoidable. A security flaw in the company’s IT systems allowed hackers to expose its entire patient database to the open internet in October last year. The hackers demanded money from patients and Tapio, but most importantly, this carelessness has unfortunately made patients question their choice to seek help.
Drone deliveries in Uganda [The Guardian]
We’re flipping back to more positive combinations of tech and healthcare – this time in Uganda! A pilot project has started testing the use of drones to deliver HIV medication to 78 community groups and healthcare facilities in the scattered Ssese islands of Lake Victoria, which have the highest HIV prevalence in Uganda. The hope is that these drones can close the “last mile” to remote communities, using technology to overcome geographical barriers. One important aspect these drones can’t solve, however, is the lack of funding to prevent drug shortages.
From the stars with love 🛰🚀🌎 [The Verge]
After a 167-day space journey, four SpaceX Dragon Crew astronauts finally landed safely in the Gulf of Mexico. During their time at the International Space Station, they worked on some pretty cool tasks, like trying to understand the role of microgravity on human health and diseases thanks to tissue chips that imitate human organs. Similarly, two weeks ago we sent our dearest European astronaut Thomas Pesquet to the ISS where he is doing all sorts of experiment too. One of them consists of observing how slime mould reacts while living in a zero-gravity environment. Make sure you follow him in Twitter & Instagram as he regularly post awesome pictures of the Earth from the ISS.
Plan on writing a book? Sudowrite could help you! [The New Yorker]
Nowadays, visual artists and designers have plenty of sophisticated tools such as Photoshop at their hand to perform their jobs. Writers however are still stuck in the past according to Amit Gupta, founder of Sudowrite. This artificial intelligence application makes use of the latest version of a deep-learning neural network called GPT-3 which can auto-generate text. You just have to type in a few sentences or copy a paragraph of an existing piece of writing, press a button and the programme will finish writing the story. It sounds like this could have a huge impact on the jobs of many authors or writers, and it will be interesting to see to what extent such technology could also support the job of PR and communication professionals.
About this week’s editor, Belinda Delys
Variety is the spice of life! I think that sentence gives away a couple of my passions – and according to those who know me well, even obsessions! Privately, I am a true foodie: I think about cooking, ingredients, recipes, spices, ideal wine pairing, cheese (lots of it), and the obvious Instagramability of my dishes almost 24/7! I have worked in communication for over 20 years and spent the last 12 at Novartis, working in the field of oncology. My interest in healthcare was sparked, as you might have guessed, by personal experience. I’m also passionate about patient advocacy and empowerment, and support awareness campaigns in a variety of disease areas. So watch this space for some future “user-generated insights” into wearables, policy changes related to chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer and just general impressions on all things healthcare!
In case you haven’t had enough:
Can’t leave your phone alone? You’re just trying to blend in [The Guardian]
How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously [The New Yorker]