Top Stories Of 2018 In Digital Health – The Medical Futurist


At the end of each year, we gather the most
important stories and trends in digital health. This year was a major step forward for the
digital health revolution, and these were the headlines we thought are worth revisiting. Digital Health Policies We were glad to see more and more countries
developing their own digital health strategies. From countries like Denmark where they are
building a robust digital healthcare system, to countries like Rwanda where despite all
the challenges, a modern, innovative system is about to be born. What we see is that wherever
the ideas of the digital health revolution appear, healthcare becomes more feasible,
sustainable and adaptive to innovative solutions. But we’ve also seen obstacles in other countries.
For example in the US, it was kinda frightening to see Mark Zuckerberg’s Congress hearings. If regulators can’t wrap their head around
what Facebook is about, how are they going to regulate things like gene editing, or artificial
intelligence in health care? We need to elect people who understand these things and are
able to lead us in the digital health revolution. AI at the FDA AI has already cemented its place in healthcare,
and the FDA has started to clear software that leverages it to provide more precise
medicine. For example, in February, Arterys touted an FDA clearance for its Artyrys Oncology
AI suite. Their platform helps clinicians analyze CT scans among others for signs of
potential liver and lung cancer and uses deep learning algorithms to expedite interpretation
of these images. The year of the blockchain Unless you lived in a cave these past two
years, you heard about the bitcoin boom and the following crash. And by now you probably
heard about the underlying technology, the blockchain too. It’s clear that from banking
to supply chain logistics, blockchain is going to change things for the better. But healthcare,
in particular, is ripe for disruption by it. With electronic medical records, blockchain
has the ability to give patients authority over their entire medical history and to provide
a one-stop access for patients and physicians as well. In pharmaceutical supply chains, blockchain
can work as a highly automated and cost-effective logistics solution. It allows pharma companies
to monitor their products securely and transparently while reducing time delays and human mistakes. And in the up and coming genomics market,
blockchain will enhance genomic data protection, while helping to create an efficient and transparent
market for it. AR in the OR This year, Novarad’s OpenSight Augmented
Reality System made waves too, when it received FDA clearance for pre-operative surgical planning.
Their AR system is the first one to be cleared by the FDA and to put it simply, it lets surgeons
see previous 3D scans as they look at their patients. It allows internal visualization
without ever making an incision. It’s truly a big step forward for more precise medicine. CRISPR CRISPR also made headlines as it has the potential
to be the biggest game-changer in the history of medicine. It’s a relatively easy to use
tool to “edit” our DNA and in theory, we could eradicate all kinds of disorders.
But one thing Jurassic Park ought to have taught us is that we should be really careful
if we want to play God. That’s why it was widely condemned when a Chinese scientist
revealed that for the last two years he has been working in secret to produce the world’s
first CRISPR-edited babies. We’re still waiting for independent verification, but
according to him, HIV resistant twin girls were born. This early in CRISPR research this
trial has the potential to have catastrophic unwanted side-effects, but it shows that the
technology is at our doorsteps and humanity has to sort out the ethical and legal issues
around it as soon as possible. Big tech marches into healthcare And last but not least, we’ve probably witnessed
the beginnings of the biggest tectonic shift in healthcare ever, with Google, Apple, Amazon
and other blue-chip Silicon Valley companies, starting to assume a bigger role in medicine.
Google and Amazon invest tons in healthcare businesses and bring the biggest minds in
medicine to help them achieve their goals. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few years from
now we would be talking about Amazon hospitals. These were the top stories from 2018, and
if you want to know more, keep on following our channel. Cheers.

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