How Bespoke Software has Advanced the Medical IndustryArtificial Intelligence, Bespoke Software, Digital Transformation | 0 comments | by Erin Quilliam
The medical industry has seen great success by embracing new technology and the adoption of digital.
For example, relatively simple technical processes such as digitising prescription services have been shown to increase pharmacy efficiency, improve the customer experience, and provide transparency and accessibility for patients. Similarly, providing patients with online portals to manage their appointments and medicines has revolutionised how the public can access healthcare.
Meanwhile, technological advances in AI have spearheaded valuable developments in detecting and treating ailments. And wearables have proven a valuable asset in healthcare, as well as helping us manage our own health.
In this article, we will examine several of the areas of bespoke software development and technology that has had an impact on the medical industry. We’ll also include links to further reading for each topic to satisfy your curiosity.
Artificial Intelligence Will Help us Understand Disease and Develop More Effective Treatment
The advance of AI and the application of network algorithms have been helping us in our daily lives for some time. However, one of the most exciting developments is in the practical application within medicine.
Researchers from the University of Sussex have been working with a team from the Institute of Cancer Research in London. Together, they have successfully created an algorithm that can predict “synthetic lethal interactions”. These are gene relationships where a cell can survive if one protein of a pair doesn’t work, but dies if both fail.
In short, identifying these interactions can help provide targeted therapies that specifically target cancer cells but can leave normal cells unharmed.
The issue previously was that finding these interactions was hugely time-consuming and difficult. However, we know that artificial intelligence can now far exceed humans in identifying and predicting patterns, which is exactly what their specially-developed algorithm does. Using existing data the team’s algorithm, “Slant”, can identify patterns associated with Synthetic Lethal Interactions. It can also scan for similar patterns, and successfully predict where new patterns will occur.
This is a great example of how Artificial Intelligence can help to accelerate the work carried out by researchers. Leading both to a better understanding of diseases, and help uncover new treatment strategies.
Developments in Diagnosis are Thanks to New Technology
Advances in technology have brought about many improvements and new methods of diagnosing various diseases and conditions.
Diagnostic imaging company Micrima hope to evolve medical imaging and diagnoses in relation to breast cancer. They have developed “MARIA”, a new breast cancer detection system. MARIA improves on traditional mammography in that it uses harmless radio waves, rather than ionising radiation, and requires no breast compression. This makes screening more comfortable and safe for the patient.
The exciting part comes in with the data collection, however. The scan collects data from 1770 interrogation pathways across 101 frequencies. It’s a huge amount of data. Bespoke software was needed to handle these swathes of information. A customised system was developed to manage the collection and analysis of the data.
Additionally, Micrima hopes to employ AI to analyse a database of the scan data collected in order to characterise lesions and differentiate cancer types. Once again, AI is playing a part in advancing medical understanding and treatment strategies thanks to its superiority in identifying and predicting patterns.
Another example of bespoke software helping power new diagnostic technology is the Cyrcadia Breast Monitor. The pair of patches are worn for a few hours and measure the patient’s temperature. Monitoring temperature helps to identify instances of accelerated cellular activity, which is associated with abnormal temperatures.
Although still being tested, this product has demonstrated success in identifying malignancy in dense breast tissue more accurately than traditional mammograms. This means that if the device proves successful in further trials, it could help raise early detection rates in women with dense tissue who were previously more difficult to diagnose.
These examples all prove how advances in technology, and the bespoke software that powers and enables it, are helping to provide alternative, accurate diagnostic methods. Moreover, as these alternative tools begin to emerge, it provides means of delivering early detection and diagnosis for patients where traditional technology would have proven inaccurate or ineffective.
Web Portals and Apps Connect Patients and Prescribers to Increase Ease and Accessibility
Web portals and applications have been a part of our digital lives for some time now. From the government gateway to university learning portals. However, they are now being used to foster greater relationships between patients and healthcare practitioners for a myriad of benefits.
For example, there are now web portals and mobile apps available which allow people to order their prescriptions online.
Previously, this was managed over the phone or in person. Digitising the prescription process is far more efficient and saves both the patient and prescriber time. Not to mention, it is now far more accessible, allowing people to manage their prescriptions and view the status of their medications wherever they are, without worrying about the practice and pharmacy opening times.
(We have helped to create these portals. Email [email protected] to find out more.)
Additionally, online portals have increased accessibility to healthcare professionals and empower users with better management of their own health. Not only can these portals be used to book appointments, but users can also access your GP through them with online consultations. This saves both the patient and doctor time compared to a typical in-person appointment.
Wearables and Connected Technology are Empowering Patients and Improving Care
The wearable device itself is a piece of hardware. However, each device is powered by specially made bespoke software.
Wearables have become increasingly popular in recent years in our day to day lives. Specifically, activity monitors. Whilst these wearables are great for personal wellness, in the medical industry, similar devices are becoming available to use for in real-time patient monitoring.
The aforementioned fitness trackers are already benefitting physicians and patients in the cardiovascular field. This is simply because such devices can monitor a person’s heart rate and activity level. However, fitness trackers do not provide medical-grade information.
This is why wearables such as the Zephyr Anywhere Biopatch have come into existence.
These small devices monitor a patient’s vital signs and other important data and deliver this to the care team. This allows unobtrusive patient monitoring, 24/7.
Patients can also wear these devices after discharge. Thus allowing them peace of mind that they are being monitored and should anything decline, care teams can intervene at the earliest opportunity.
Another wearable, TempTraq, is a small patch that was originally designed to be used to monitor the temperature of babies. Temperature readings are monitored for up to 48 hours. When temperatures are outside the normal range, an alert is sent to a smart device. This simple technology can also be used just as effectively for adults, and so has become a useful detection tool and early indicator of fever.
These devices provide an alternative to traditional patient monitoring. And due to the nature of the device, they can monitor patients 24/7 and provide real-time data to a central location, or several. This means that problems can be detected earlier, and enable care teams to work more efficiently.
Many industries are seeing amazing advances thanks to modern technology, and the medical industry is no exception.
In fact, it is one sector that is making incredible investments in bespoke software. The investment is well-founded. It ensures we pave new ground in discovering how bodies and their afflictions work. Plus, the development of new methods of treatment, diagnostic tools and strategies, and ways of empowering both patients and healthcare professionals.
This level of advancement is necessary in order for the survival of the species. For example, the race to discover new antibiotics in the face of antibiotic resistance is one which regularly returns to media attention. To combat this, The University of Birmingham is pioneering new research in engineering an antibiotic derived from honey.
Advances in technology help us to better our lives in far more ways than the latest smartphone or making our businesses more resilient and efficient.
Bespoke software is the technology that powers all of these solutions. And, in turn, empowers us to deliver new discoveries, strategies, and work in new ways.
Do you have a problem you think software could solve?
Give us a call on +44 207 127 4304 today to discover how bespoke software could revolutionise your business.Tags: AI, Artificial Intelligence, bespoke software, bespoke software in healthcare, bespoke software in the medical industry, connected technology, medical industry, smart technology, wearables