Medical care is the beating heart of any society. From hearing aids to rehabilitation, life-saving operations to childbirth, we’ve all seen doctors and clinicians perform incredible acts of healing. But what if, using technology, medical care could prevent disease, injury and/or surgical errors from happening in the first place?
For many of us, a trip to the doctor is restorative, not preventative. We go in with a specific problem, receive our diagnosis, and begin treatment. But technology advancements in medicine are changing the game — helping us get ahead of disease and propelling us into a healthier future.
Innovation at its best
The University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway with a network of cooperating universities, research institutes and other organizations, recently began working on a sports science project, Corpore Sano, which evolved into an incredible, innovative mission to provide early detection of disease in much broader populations.
400 professional football players, including Norwegian National team players on teams such as Real Madrid, Palermo and Groningen originally signed up to a health monitoring project designed to track training load, soreness, sleep quality, mood and a number of parameters that are critical to predicting likelihood of injury and fine-tuning players’ performance. The project uses non-invasive technology, similar to modern day life logging software, to gather data while the players are on and off the pitch. PhD students and faculty at Corpore Sano then store and analyse the data in the Microsoft Cloud, and deliver evidence and insights that can be used in pre- and post-game analytics to help coaches make better decisions.
But as the university team worked on the project, they realized that its application needn’t be limited to this very healthy population of footballers. So they started to apply it to other populations, in the hopes of achieving early detection of diseases such as colon cancer or diabetes. Imagine a patient swallowing a video pill, which travels through the body and reports back to clinicians on what it discovers. It’s all about the data and technology’s ability to analyse and make sense of it through the mighty data crunching power in the cloud.
With access to large sets of data, doctors can more easily identify patterns, and patterns enable predictions that allow us to get ahead of problems before they even occur. It is well understood that early detection is key to saving lives, so it is clear that these types of advancements, made possible through big data and the cloud, are welcome news for us all.
Empowering the clinical care team
Other technologies are also helping advance the state of medicine, including HoloLens, Microsoft’s new holographic computer. Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and The Intervention Center at Rikshospitalet in Oslo, Norway are just two of several teaching hospitals using HoloLens to empower their care teams. At Rikshospitalet, the team is using HoloLens to allow surgeons to dramatically reduce their margins of error by visualizing and planning complex surgeries in a realistic, 3D and risk-free environment – before they ever make a cut. Case Western is using HoloLens to support training across various medical professions and specialisations, allowing student physicians to visualize human anatomy as never before, lowering the risk to patients and enabling doctors to innovate and experiment with new methods of medical care. The innovative research project is a joint initiative by the Oslo University Hospital, the European Microsoft partner Sopra Steria and Microsoft.
A healthier future
We’ve all had a friend or family member saved by medical science. To the layperson, it’s simply magic. Technology is also magical in its own way, and in combining the two, we have even greater possibilities to save and improve people’s lives. The power of new technologies like cloud and holographic computing has the potential to revolutionise medical care, enabling an even greater level of proactivity and prevention. At Microsoft our mission is to empower every individual and organization to achieve more, and we’re proud to empower doctors and medical staff the world over to do just that. By transforming our medical care with technology today, we can prepare for the demands of our society tomorrow.