It is an odd quartet, but we can thank artificial intelligence, blockchain, hyper-converged infrastructure, and The Beatles that we now can save even more lives in healthcare.
The Beatles became a worldwide success in the 1960s. Their record company EMI, Electrical and Musical Industries, initially engaged in industrial research, made lots of money. And that money made it possible for one of EMI’s electrical engineers, Godfrey Hounsfield, to participate in an independent study.
He invented computed tomography. The tool, which makes it possible to create three-dimensional X-ray images, was launched by EMI in 1972 and revolutionised medical diagnostics. In 1979, Hounsfield received the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine for his invention.
Today, computed tomography save many human lives all over the world, not least of people affected by stroke. But even though computed tomography has evolved tremendously, today being capable of rendering highly detailed images, challenges remain, not least in the fields of analysis and diagnosis. Is the patient suffering from a stroke? And if so, was it caused by a blockage or a rupture? These are questions that specialist physicians must be able to answer with short notice.
”For every hour that passes after a stroke, 120 million nerve cells die. That’s equal to approximately three and half years of memory,” says Jeroen Bronkhorst, Chief Technologist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the Netherlands.
That is why hospitals have set goals to have a diagnosis within one hour after receiving the patient. Treatment must begin as soon as possible.
”This, however, actually succeeds only in half the cases. In every fourth case, it takes longer than 95 minutes. Also, only in 50 per cent of the cases, after the analysis, will the physicians agree on the conclusion and the treatment,” says Jeroen Bronkhorst.
In that respect, Godfrey Hounsfield’s amazing invention has reached the end of the line. To improve the chances of patients and save even more lives, we need to take advantage of the technology at the very forefront: artificial intelligence, blockchains and hyper-converged infrastructure.
”With the aid of these technologies, we can now make a quick, safe and exact assessment. An analysis report is available within three minutes after the X-ray. That decision support makes a world of difference to doctors who need to make qualified decisions about treatment rapidly.”
How is this done? After the completed computed tomography, the information is anonymised, protected and sent, by way of a blockchain developed by the Tymlez company, to StrokeViewer, an analysis tool. That’s a cloud-based tool, created by Dutch company Nico.lab, based on artificial intelligence and trained on enormous amounts of data. That makes it possible to make an accurate analysis much faster than a physician could do it. The report is then sent back with blockchain. During the entire process, it makes sure there is no modified data, and that the right analysis is linked to the right patient when the information has reached the hospital.
”What makes the process so fast and still secure all the way is three elements. The blockchain platform Tymlez, Suse CaaS, or Container-as-a-service, and the hyper-converged platform HPE SimpliVity. Together, these components make the system modular and flexible,” says Jeroen Bronkhorst.
Forty years after Godfrey Hounsfield received the Nobel Prize for his invention, technology has made great leaps forward. Because of a twist of fate, we can thank the odd quartet of The Beatles, artificial intelligence, blockchains and hyper-converged infrastructure for being able to save more lives than ever before.