Towards a digital healthcare ecosystem

Towards a digital healthcare ecosystem
by Donald Johnston
Senior Marketing Communication Director, Life Sciences, Clarivate Analytics
IP and Standards

This article is part of an ongoing State of Innovation series exploring global inventions and innovation trends in 12 key industries.  Articles in this series have been excerpted from the 2017 State of Innovation report, so reflect news and analysis at the time of publication.  Download the State of Innovation report on the Medical Devices industrynow, or download the full 2017 report .

Innovation in medical devices still often takes place at the procedural level, with specific small breakthroughs that target a narrow therapeutic purpose. Increasingly, however, it also takes on some of the sweeping issues in healthcare, such as the challenge of integrating different silos of data, which tackles the twin challenges of potentially reducing healthcare costs while also better managing individual patient care.

Innovation in the industry in 2016 continued its uptick, albeit at a considerably slower pace than the year prior. Clarivate Analytics tracked 122,399 patents and other innovation metrics in 2016, a 3.15 percent increase from 2015. The industry had registered a 27 percent jump from 2014 to 2015. The average annual change from 2012 to 2016 has been 7.57 percent.

Clarivate Analytics tracked 122,399 patents and other innovation metrics in 2016, a 3.15 percent increase from 2015.”

The slowdown may have had to do with the uncertainties of a presidential election year in the US, one in which healthcare was front and center as a contentious campaign issue, as well as with the economic confusion rendered in Europe over the 2016 Brexit vote.

Nevertheless, some of the most significant players in the industry continued to drive for innovation in medical technology, especially at the macro level. One of the most prolific innovators in 2016, according to the Clarivate data, was Siemens AG. The Siemens Healthineers unit, for example, debuted a prototype of the Digital Ecosystem, its latest efforts on the integrated analytics front, at the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference in early 2017.

“Our goal is very simple. We want to create an open, relevant digital ecosystem covering all the aspects of the healthcare system,” Siemens Healthineers VP of Marketing in Digital Health Services Marc Lauterbach told Medical Device Daily (MDD), the Clarivate med-tech news service.

 

Our goal is very simple. We want to create an open, relevant digital ecosystem covering all the aspects of the healthcare system.”
– Marc Lauterbach, VP of Marketing in Digital Health Services, Siemens Healthineers to Medical Device Daily

 

The Digital Ecosystem builds upon Teamplay, a cloud-based platform launched by Siemens three years ago. It is intended to encompass a wide variety of digital programs and clinical tools including imaging, in-vitro diagnostics and medical documentation, and even genomics data.

Lauterbach explained the Digital Ecosystem in easy-to-understand terms. He compared it to an app store such as iTunes. A mobile phone, he said, “is not just about a technical device; it makes it easy to use and download apps in a simple and easy-to-approach way.”

Another prolific innovator in 2016, according to the Clarivate analysis of the device industry, was GE Healthcare. GE has unveiled ViosWorks, a cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) solution, which likewise has been designed to address multiple challenges in the healthcare environment. GE’s goal with ViosWorks is to reduce MRI assessment to a fraction of the time it takes for conventional cardiac scans. ViosWorks is expected to provide 3-D cardiac anatomy, function and flow in one free-breathing, 10-minute scan with real-time processing of images.

The GE machines incorporate technology from Arterys Inc., of San Francisco, an imaging innovator, which has launched a cloud-based machine-learning platform designed to deliver fast visualization and quantification with automatic analysis. The two companies collaborated to streamline the technology with GE’s machine to enable “an incredibly rich set of data about the patient that can be used retrospectively and also for future planning for treatment paths,” Sasha Soheili, director of finance, operations and people at Arterys, said in an interview with MDD.

 

…an incredibly rich set of data about the patient that can be used retrospectively and also for future planning for treatment paths.”
– Sasha Soheili, Director of Finance, Operations and People at Arterys, to Medical Device Daily

 

Ioannis Panagiotelis, chief marketing officer of global MR at GE Healthcare, told MDD that cloud-enabled technology was expected to help GE provide value not only by delivering advanced visualization and quantification function, but also by simplifying cardiovascular examinations.

Arterys said its system is designed to acquire seven dimensions of data, including 3-D anatomical data, and the rate and velocity of blood flow. It can also be used to image the entire chest.

 

Possible applications for the system are almost limitless.”
– Sasha Soheili, Director of Finance, Operations and People at Arterys, to Medical Device Daily

 

The company is exploring further innovation in additional clinical applications. “We started first with the heart because it is the hardest to image and the hardest to apply deep learning to,” Soheili said. But, she added, the possible applications for the system are “almost limitless.”

 

Read the State of Innovation report on the Medical Devices industry

 

To learn more, download the full 2017 State of Innovation report here, which showcases latest inventions from around the world and focuses on trends in the top 12 industries.

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