The Vice-Rector of the H.A. Barceló Foundation Health Sciences University Institute and the Director of Incubando Salud writes about his experience as a participant of the FutureMed program at Singularity University on the NASA campus in Silicon Valley.
By Axel Barceló
Silicon Valley is renowned across the world as a mecca for technological innovation. In February, I had the opportunity to go there to take part in the FutureMed program at Singularity University (SU), an academic institution founded by Google, Cisco and other companies. Located on the NASA campus, its objective is to “gather, educate and inspire leaders, providing them with the tools to face humanity’s biggest challenges.” FutureMed is a personalized program that focuses on the cutting edge technologies that are going to revolutionize the practice of medicine and radically transform approaches to healthcare and the biomedical industry over the next decade.
Excited by what I was about to experience over the next 6 days, I received an unconventional welcome when I arrived at the SU campus: a robot greeted us and gave us our first instructions about the lodging, schedule and other relevant details. The first scheduled activity consisted of a tour of the NASA Research Park, one of the 10 centers run by the organization, where R&D activities have been carried out for more than 60 years to serve the objectives of the United States space program. Since 2002, the center has built links with academic, industrial and non-profit organizations to stimulate innovation and education in the scientific and research disciplines that are fundamental for space exploration, such as astrobiology, computing, biotechnology and nanotechnology.
In the afternoon, we attended a welcome talk given by Dr. Daniel Kraft, Executive Director of FutureMed. This young inventor, businessman and medical-scientific innovator from Stanford and Harvard, gave a quick rundown of the scheduled activities and an introduction to the technologies to which we were going to be exposed over the next few days, which included artificial intelligence, robotics, mobile health, 3D Printing, nanomedicine and genomics. This is the third consecutive year that the program has taken place and of the over 500 applications received, 90 participants were selected from over 35 countries. All of them had an excellent academic record and successful professional careers, representing a perfect opportunity to create a network of contacts and to hear some extremely interesting stories.
The author teaches Financial Behavior for the Master’s Course in Finance at the University of San Andrés and analyzes the success of biotechnological research companies that have had the best results so far.
During the dot com bubble, much fuss was also made about biotechnology companies associated with the mapping of the human genome. The main example at that time was Celera Genomics, which would later be acquired by Quest Diagnostics (DGX).
A question thus arises: are we faced once more with a speculative bubble surrounding biotechnology? Are there concrete advances and improvements or are we just discussing futuristic cures that are impossible to imagine in the here and now?
Reality starts with demonstrating palpable solutions. But most importantly of all the market confirms with its prices that the sector is changing in a revolutionary manner. The index of share prices of biotechnology companies, the Amex Biotech Index (BTK) is currently at a historical high.The index has risen 24% so far this year, making it one of the highest risers of the year, if we disregard volatile and leveraged products.
Based on a study by the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OEDC), a technology expert analyzes the opportunities that ICTs offer in improving healthcare in the country.
By Rafael Orduz, Executive Director of Corporación Colombia Digital
The health of the population is one of the most important indicators that demonstrates the level of economic and social development of a country.
Among the World Bank’s World Development Indicators there are many different indicators related to the health of a nation’s population. Beginning with ‘life expectancy at birth’, which reflects how long an average citizen can expect to live in a certain country. This depends on multiple factors: the healthcare system and coverage, education, the level of political harmony (the presence or otherwise of armed conflicts), the influence of organized crime and, of course, per capita income.
In this context, the differences between countries are dramatic. While Japan, the third largest economy in the world, has a life expectancy at birth of 83 years, there are sub-Saharan and Asian (in this case Afghanistan) countries in which the figure is less than 50 years. In Colombia, according to the World Bank, life expectancy at birth is 73 years, a figure that places the country at a level that might be called ‘upper middle class’ in the society of nations.
Each one of these steps contains critical questions that should be asked during the process that will help you to make the best decision for your business.
By Vinicíus V. Guedes
Commercial and Marketing Manager at TDSA Systems.
This guide presents a decision-making process to help you to select the best software for your office, clinic or hospital. Each of the following steps contains critical questions that should be asked during the process:
Alejandro Mauro, National Coordinator of Clinical Terminology and Computer Standards at the Chilean Ministry of Health, debates the issue on his blog at lanacion.cl.
The real “digital hospital” or “digital healthcare service” is that which manages to guarantee meaning, integrity, confidentiality and availability of the information, allowing continuous electronic care in cooperation with other agents inside and outside the service.
There are two phrases that are endlessly repeated in articles, at scientific conferences, software supplier conferences, blogs, journals and other outlets that I find meaningless: “Paperless Hospitals” or more accurately “Hospitals with less paper” (following the HIMSS modification made upon realizing during its latest stage of development, Level 7, that truly paperless hospitals don’t exist).
These ideas have created a misleading belief about computerization processes in healthcare and created confusion, given that the elimination of paper is not the actual objective. The physical medium; paper, is not the real problem. Our problem is the pencil; an object that in the hands of a healthcare professional has potentially unforeseeable consequences that might lead to all manner of mistakes. Prescriptions which the chemical pharmacist doesn’t know how to fill, instructions for administering a drug that the nurse doesn’t understand, a handwritten file on which other colleagues can’t find the information they need to continue treatment, etc.
Paper is a physical medium that probably won’t be discarded by the healthcare system for several decades, but it doesn’t have to be our enemy. A digitally entered prescription, informed consent granted via an electronic health record, a GES (Explicit Healthcare Guarantee) pathology or ENO (Obligatory Disease Notification) printed out by a patient from an electronic health record and delivered so that the information can be processed, are, and will continue to be necessities.
For Alejandro Elías, Key Account Manager at UBM Medica Spain, S.A. and Latin America, the answer to this question is one of the key decisions that digital hospitals have to make.
This dilemma affects all information managed in hospitals but for this article I will focus on the problems related to the medication databases currently available on the market. I mean the national (in the country’s language) reference (on paper or the internet) vademecums – which provide diffuse, incomplete (because they are financed by the industry itself) and barely structured information. This immediately makes their integration with computer applications difficult, but above all prevents them from being linked to Electronic Health Records in hospitals and other healthcare bodies. When they issue interaction warnings they base these on a compatibility calculation between active substances regardless of the dosage or means of application. Furthermore, solutions that work with structured data do not link to information about the brands sold in each territory and display this information in English which, very often, represents a barrier to clinics who are used to working with information in Spanish.
So how can we overcome these barriers?
Vademecum Data Solutions is a safe complement to the North American Medication Databases used by healthcare professionals. This is due to the fact that it gathers data from official medication catalogues (published for example, by COFEPRIS [Mexico] or ISP [Chile]), linking them with powerful CDS (Clinical Decision Support) modules that can alert the clinic of interactions or side effects related to a prescription of generic or commercial brands (as long as the medications are authorized in the country).
Furthermore, each item of each product is structured according to interoperable codes that allow the clinic to confirm medication interactions with the clinical information available in Spanish and to consult possible side effects based on international codes such as ATC, CIE10 and LOINC.