Monday, April 25, 2011
Robotic surgery is on the increase and for good reason. Its not just the ability to control movement more precisely but with the ability to create small instruments that are able to achieve the same function as larger more invasive instruments. As this interview with Dr Fernando (a colleague and alum from the Royal Free Hospital) highlights a Thymectomy would typically require a large incision down the front of the chest (Sternotomy) but with the use of Robotic Surgery the same result was achieved with three small incisions the largest being 1cm (less than 1/2")
<p style="width:640px">Robot helps performs surgery in Boston: MyFoxBOSTON.com</p>
You can get a sense from this marketing video for DaVinci Robotic systems
As they point out - 7 degrees of freedom make procedures that would be impossible for a human to perform.
This vide from the University of Maryland demonstrating Cardiac Surgery using Robots
It is probably not lost on readers the similarity that these controls have with our current slew of game controllers and those skills are related. In fact with the advent of the X-Box Kinect system that requires no controllers you have to wonder if we will see concepts that have more in common with the concepts many will remember from Minority Report
Technology enhancing our abilities not replacing them.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Cloud computing is on a target to generate billions in revenue and is experiencing something of a revival. It's a revival when you consider that historically our access to computers used to be in the cloud...albeit the cloud was some data center and we were wired to that cloud with a hard wired terminal. Just look at this picture and the terminal behind me (circa 1980's when I was worked as a COBOL programmer and used machine language and JCL to submit these to the mainframe that was hundreds of miles away from my desk)!
This recent article in the NY Times (The Business Market Plays Cloud Computing Catch-Up) highlights the catch up on the part of the business market and predicting significant growth:
I.B.M., a bellwether in the corporate technology market, forecasts that it will have $7 billion in cloud revenue by 2015. Of the total, $4 billion will be customers shifting to cloud delivery from the company’s traditional software and services, and $3 billion is expected to be entirely new business.
and Dell is invest $1 billion over 2 years "largely for cloud offerings". Healthcare, while often a laggard in technology is also marching towards cloud based services realizing that complex software solutions can be delivered more cost effectively in a Cloud Based strategy. This 2009 paper on Cloud Computing and Healthcare; Bad Weather or Sunny Forecast? (pdf) makes the point that this is an almost irreversible trend and entrants such as Microsoft and Google (HealthVault and Google Health) suggest this will be an increasing trend. Offering more solutions, more processing power and more storage at lower prices will provide a slew of choices and accelerate technological innovation in healthcare IT and while there are challenges and concerns relative to security and reliability the overall trend will have a positive impact.
In line with these trends is the announcement of the Nuance Dragon Mobile SDK and the Nuance Healthcare Development Program (NHDP)bringing Speech to the Cloud is significant offering a simple way for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and healthcare providers to integrate Nuance value added functionality directly into healthcare applications in the cloud. This brings streaming speech to the cloud allowing mobile devices and think clients to offer fast and accurate real time medical speech recognition. Integration is a snap and possible on multiple platforms including
- Apple IOS,
- Windows browsers : IE7 / IE8 / Chrome / Firefox,
- MacOS browsers: Safari / Firefox,
- Windows .NET
Calgary Scientific have already shown this integration off in the ResolutionMD mobile product and interest since the announcement has been great. Like many others we are
“We’re moving to where the puck is going in this industry,”
Cloud computing will impact so many different areas in healthcare and technology in general and voice enabling these interactions will be key for some of these interfaces and given the level of interest will likely be offered soon.