Category Archives: HealthTech

How Close Are We To Having Mind-Controlled Bionic Prosthetics?

How Close Are We To Having Mind-Controlled Bionic Prosthetics?

Mind-Controlled Bionic Prosthetics

In the previous article, I introduced you to the advancements that we have seen to date with 3D-printed bionic prosthetics. In spite of significant advancements in reduced cost and functionality, there is still a lot that needs to be optimized in order to validate the technology as something that healthcare practitioners will use as the default standard for replacing lost limbs. Even if all the progress that needs to be made is magically completed, there is still a major gap that needs to be addressed: Will we ever be able to have conscious control over the movement of bionic prosthetics? Moreover, will patients be able to ‘feel’ objects with these prosthetics like they did with their normal limbs?

Bionic Realities

Star Wars IoT CESYes, I’m talking about the kind of phenomena that you commonly see in science fiction movies. When Luke Skywalker had his hand cut off with a lightsaber during the “Star Wars” saga, it was instantly replaced with a robotic hand that he was able to consciously control with next to no effort. Are we getting there, or are we a long way away from living this reality? Let’s see the progress that science has made to this date in the fields of robotics and neuroscience.

The first name that comes to mind is Össur, an innovative prosthetics company in Iceland that made breakthrough progress when they were able to have two amputees control their prosthetic legs with their own minds. How was this possible? These legs were operated by implanted myoelectric sensors (IMES) that were inserted into the residual muscle tissue of the patient. When the patient wants to move the limb, the entire process begins subconsciously. This results in the release of electrical impulses that are then received by the IMES, which instantly triggers the desired movement through the use of a receiver that has been planted in the prosthetic limb.

This allows for movement that is both intuitive and integrative in nature. Össur claims that their technology can adapt to walking conditions and the walking style of the user in real-time, but this needs to be developed further in order to successfully give the patient complete and unconscious control of their limbs. Preliminary results indicate that the two subjects still have to consciously think about which limb they want to move and how they are going to move it in order for the technology to work.

Electrode Implants


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

That’s not the only significant development that has arisen in recent years. Researchers at John Hopkins University have developed a prosthetic that allows for independent control of each of its five fingers using nothing but the mind. Electrodes were implanted in the male subject’s brain, followed by instructing the subject to attempt to move individual fingers. It took a long time to do the necessary brain mapping in order to see which parts of the brain lit up when the patient was instructed to think about moving a particular finger. After the prosthetic was re-programmed with this new information, they found that the fingers could be individually controlled with 76% accuracy! The gap remains from the fact that there is significant overlap between parts of the brain that control each finger. This makes sense when you consider that we tend to move multiple fingers at once.

So, what’s next for the development of mind-controlled bionic prosthetics? For starters, there needs to be a shift towards non-invasive methods. It is extremely risk to surgically implant electrodes in a patient’s brain, and there lies the hidden assumption that the brain activity required to activate the muscles from the missing limb are still functioning normally.

Another major advancement that needs to happen is two-way communication between the limb and the user. As mentioned in the introduction, we do not currently have the technology to allow patients to feel a sense of touch with these limbs. This is relevant towards those who suffer from paralysis and would heavily rely on this advancement in order to feel the objects that they are grabbing.

Lastly, there would have to be 100% accuracy in the control of these limbs. If they are going to be truly useful to the patient, there should be no room for any mis-interpreted communication signals between the user and the limb. The experience should feel completely normal to the patient, as if they had normal limbs to begin with.

We have only scratched the surface of the capabilities of mind-controlled bionic prosthetics. Future developments will allow for these limbs to be regularly used in the healthcare and military sectors. Science fiction isn’t too far away from being real life!

By Tom Zakharov

Tom is a Master’s student at McGill University, currently specializing in the field of Experimental Medicine. After graduating from the University of Ottawa as a Summa Cum Laude undergraduate, he is currently investigating novel indicators of chemotherapy toxicity in stage IV lung cancer patients. Tom also has 4+ years of scientific research in academia, government, and the pharmaceutical industry. Tom’s first co-authored paper investigated a novel analytical chemistry method for detecting hydrazine in nuclear power plants at parts-per-billion (ppb) concentrations, which can be viewed here.

Conquering Disease with Artificial Intelligence and IBM Watson

Conquering Disease with Artificial Intelligence and IBM Watson

Artificial Intelligence and IBM Watson

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is growing increasingly pervasive in today’s modern world. Perhaps the most publicized and recognizable application of AI to date, IBM’s Jeopardy-winning computer, Watson, is now being used to help cure cancer. IBM announced the development of Watson for Genomics on Wednesday at the National Cancer Moonshot Summit. The supercomputer aims to analyze gene structures of cancer patients to determine where mutations occur and in turn figure out potential causes and treatments.

Watson differs from other supercomputers because it is able to answer questions in natural language, not just binary code or technical inputs, making it extremely practical for busy doctors on the move. Currently, coming up with cancer treatment plans for specific patients is a time-intensive process. First, the entire genome of a patient must be analyzed, then a team of doctors must convene to figure out the best treatment plan. Watson can do all of it in under three minutes by tapping into massive data sources of medical literature and the sequenced DNA of patients on file.

(Image Source: Kaesler Media / Shutterstock)

This is just the latest in a series of healthcare applications IBM is looking to use its Watson supercomputer. Watson has already worked with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and CVS to improve patient care and predict future health issues. Healthcare is just one potential vertical for IBM, and they are looking for creative ways to use their super-computing power to help industries across the board. The software giant even developed an LED-light filled dress worn at the Met Gala that changed based on the mood of the event on social media.

Watson is even teaming up with doctors at the Veterans Affair Department (VA) to provide treatment suggestions to 10,000 US veterans over the next two years. That means 30 times more patients will receive care than by using the current doctor-by-committee approach.

It is time-intensive and it is not scalable,” says Dr. Michael Kelly, national program director of oncology at the VA. “One human couldn’t do it, it takes a panel.” Or one Watson. Watson will look at a DNA sequence and explore potential causes for the cancer, known as deidentified genetic alteration files. Watson will cross reference the DNA sequence of each patient with other patients’ DNA and contemporary medical literature to formulate what gene mutations have occurred and potential treatments to those.

Watson and IBM also aim to benefit from access to 3.5% of the country’s cancer patients and their data. But working through genome sequences is only half of the equation for Watson. Stephen Harvey, vice president of Watson Health at IBM says, “The other half of the job is filtering out things that wouldn’t be clinically valuable for doctors like Dr. Kelly.” In other words, Watson may be able to take orders in practical language, but it will need to give them to doctors as well, a challenge now at the core of all AI developers world-wide.

By Thomas Dougherty

Curing Cancer With Big Data

Curing Cancer With Big Data

Cancer & Big Data

The fight against cancer has been going on for centuries. Many leaders have tried and failed to bring about change to cancer treatment. Richard Nixon famously declared a War on Cancer with the National Cancer Act of 1971, and while the Nixon administration certainly increased research funding, they ultimately fell short of eradicating this horrible disease.

The new Cancer Moonshot championed by Vice President Joe Biden has a much better chance of making good on its lofty premise because of the extensive collaboration promised by all stakeholders in an effort to finally and permanently cure cancer.

The Cancer Moonshot aims to develop new ways to treat cancer that can be in use by 2020 (Infographic provided by This will be achieved by bringing together each and every part of the healthcare process to ensure that information is shared by anyone who may have ideas about how to cure cancer. Never before have research institutions, government agencies, academia, big pharma, doctors, and even patients themselves banded together in hopes of ridding the world of its most recognizable and ubiquitous disease.


This effort is exciting for all those affected by cancer and is especially invigorating for people afflicted with rare cancers like mesothelioma. With only 3,000 people diagnosed every year, the disease is largely an afterthought when it comes to cancer funding and large-scale research projects. However, by targeting specific tumor signatures patients can be cured, not with a disease-specific treatment, but by personalized therapies that calibrate the patient’s immune system to fight off diseased cells. Cancers of all types would be permanently impacted with this new method of treatment.

For all initiative of this magnitude to realize success, all resources possible must work together to achieve a common goal. How data is securely stored, analyzed, and shared will have an incredibly significant role in the effort. A large step towards breaking down the silos in data sharing was taken with the announcement of the National Cancer Institute’s Genomic Data Commons (GDC). When completed, the GDC will be an interactive and searchable database that allows doctors to access the most recent information about treatments from around the country.

DarenThe GDC platform is the first of its kind and represents an innovative way to share and analyze information. Because of the nature of the disease, sharing results of these genomic trails will be integral to this data resulting in clinical advancements. For the moonshot to work it must have sound and significant data to tell the story of its success. As Daren Glenister puts it, “Big data and learning algorithms will enable researchers to identify patterns and anomalies that, for instance, may help to identify patients who can benefit from standard treatments, or whose tumors require a different approach.”

Landing on the moon was once thought impossible. Finding the cure for cancer can be viewed with some skepticism. However, with the advancements in genomic medicine of the past 20 years combined with a revolutionary collaboration of ideas and data, we have never been positioned better to finally beat cancer once and for all.

By Sarah Wallace

IoT & Predictive Analytics In Healthcare

IoT & Predictive Analytics In Healthcare

IoT & Predictive Analytics

In a report by Grand View Research Inc., it’s predicted that the global Internet of Things (IoT) healthcare market will reach nearly $410 billion by 2022, with mobile penetration, software automation, and innovation medical devices promising rapid testing, greater accuracy, portability, and user-friendliness. Chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart failure, and hypertension specifically can be better addressed with IoT devices, offering users greater personal independence while still having their vital signs monitored, activity and safety measured, and medication supervised.


IoT Healthcare Solutions

We already have a host of IoT solutions available in the healthcare sector, possibly most prevalent the fitness monitors. But such personal activity trackers are really just a taste of what IoT technology can offer the healthcare industry. Infusion pumps, lighting and heating automation, and record keeping utilizing IoT tech already aid hospitals and healthcare providers, but pioneering organizations are taking a leap forward. Boston Medical Centre, for instance, uses sensors which prevent newborn babies from being removed from the hospital without being signed out, and monitors for patients in the neonatal ICU alert nurses via cell phone when significant changes to vital signs are detected.

Little known and future possibilities include Asthmapolis, an asthma inhaler with built-in GPS-sensor, which records the data of time and location of use. This provides specific environmental information that can help asthma sufferers avoid problem areas. Google and Novartis have teamed up, and a prototype digital contact lens that measures blood sugar levels through tear liquid has been developed, proposing easier management of diabetes. And Vitality’s GlowCabs addresses medication monitoring, an area in which the WHO believes 50% of patients are not correctly following doctors’ advice. Using light and sounds, the GlowCabs system signals users when it’s time to take medication, and once a week a report is sent to GlowCap users containing information about medication use to date.


IoT Security Concerns in Healthcare

The question of security is still being answered by innovators, though, with the medical data collected being particularly sensitive. Notes Anura Fernando, who has served on the FDA Medical Device Interoperability Council, “It’s very challenging in this rapidly moving market. They have to balance safety and effectiveness and innovation. It seems clear-cut but sometimes it’s not. It’s truly a tough balance.” Inappropriate access to or sharing of such data should be addressed not only by the makers of IoT devices but by the organizations that implement them. Data privacy and security policies already in place will have to be updated to include the broader data landscape that IoT devices touch, and adequate encryption and virus protection systems for individual devices will require continuous evolution and updating to ensure new threats are obstructed.

IoT, Predictive Analytics & Healthcare

With the over-abundance of medical data available, and increasing exponentially day by day, predictive analytics tools offer a better way to quickly unearth relevant insights. Infection surveillance systems are growing in popularity, helping prevent hospital-acquired infections, monitor surgical risks, and predict outbreaks of deadly diseases. Already a $260 million market, analysts forecast a growth of 14.1% CAGR to 2021. Moreover, with healthcare providers taking on the responsibility for longer-term patient outcomes, and often trusted with a single patient’s care over many years, predictive analytics technologies are helping change and improve systems. Using predictive analytics tools, predictions can be made for particular patients, based on their individual information. This method doesn’t rely on the bell curve, and doesn’t have to group a range of patients for accuracy, and so predictions are more precisely suited to particular patients. Additionally, preventative medicine advanced with predictive analytics, impacting favorably on public health.

From wearable sensors to telemedicine applications to medical smartphone applications, the health sector has an influx of tech assistance. The talented, benevolent, and shrewd all have a role to play.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is the acceleration of business activities, processes, and operational models to fully embrace the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. The concept is not new; we’ve been talking about it in one way or another for decades: paperless office, BYOD, user experience, consumerization of IT – all of these were stepping stones along the path to digital transformation.

Today, digital business transformation is driven by technology innovation and user/customer behavior. Technology innovation leads to disruption. But transformation is also about how these technological innovations are adopted and used, and how they improve upon a process, to help the user get work done.

The IT organizations and line-of-business managers charged with making digital decisions must ask:

  • Do these innovations bring value to the organization?
  • Are these innovations easily adopted, or is the organization struggling to implement change?
  • Are we factoring in regulatory compliance, security, and business partner demands?

Digital transformation is not just the domain of the “big guys” anymore. Smaller organizations are often more nimble and can realize huge efficiencies by digitizing processes that have historically been a drag on productivity. Organizations of all sizes and operational budgets are looking at digital transformation strategies as a way to improve a process, and ultimately, better serve their customers.

Going digital to break boundaries: Three Rivers Legal

Three Rivers Legal Services of South Florida is a great example of a small organization that made huge improvements though going digital. Three Rivers is a nonprofit law firm dedicated to delivering quality legal assistance to the poor, abused, disabled and neglected, offering empowerment through preventive legal education.


A large segment of the clients they serve are homeless. As you might imagine, keeping track of paper documents when you have no permanent place to store them is almost impossible. While living on the streets and in shelters, the clients of Three Rivers experience theft, weather damage and incidental losses to vital paperwork. These are documents they need to receive medical care, veterans’ benefits, public assistance, or to apply for jobs – essentially, everything that helps them build a path to independent living.

Digital Documents

The firm was storing legal documents and other files belonging to homeless clients on an internal case management system, but it couldn’t be accessed beyond the boundaries of the office. For legal aides in the field working with people at libraries, parks, shelters and government offices, this was a frustration point that slowed down productivity. And because of the situation many of their clients were in, mailing copies of documents to people with no permanent address wasn’t feasible. The firm realized that they needed a reliable, secure and easy way to access these important documents – and digital was the way to go.

Initially, the firm considered storing client documents through consumer file sync and share tools, but became concerned about the security and privacy issues. Today, the firm uses an enterprise-grade, secure collaboration platform where they can quickly and easily store digital versions of sensitive client documents. The legal team and their clients can access these documents from a smartphone, tablet, or from a computer at a local library.

Transforming lives

By going digital, Three Rivers’ clients have a portable but secure solution they can use to share documents with medical professionals, government entities and others. With online access to digital medical records and patient history, the legal aides at Three Rivers can work in real time with the psychiatrists who are serving their clients, collaborating to make better-informed diagnoses and prescribe medications that help clients stabilize to the point where they can get jobs and housing. Collaboration also decreases the chance of psychiatrists prescribing medications that produce bad reactions in their patients that could result in loss of housing or jobs.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

This change in process has freed the organization to deliver better quality service, on a faster timetable, to people who really need it. Since making the change, the legal team at Three Rivers has seen the waiting time for their clients go from up to two years to less than one month – all because the clients have secure, anytime access to digital versions of their documents. So far, 25 percent of the firm’s homeless clients have moved out of shelters and off the streets into stable living situations – and once they’ve completed the digitization of the rest of their client documents, they expect this number to increase.

Digital transformation is a challenge – and businesses must ask the right questions and make the right decisions about which technologies they’ll implement, and which processes must change. But as this use case illustrates, even a small firm can make incremental changes that yield significant improvements.

By Daren Glenister

Is 3D Printing The Technological Advancement In Bionic Prosthetics We’ve Wanted All Along?

Is 3D Printing The Technological Advancement In Bionic Prosthetics We’ve Wanted All Along?

3D Printing Bionic Prosthetics

The field of bionic prosthetics is a hot topic in the healthcare industry that has seen a rapid increase in attention and awareness over the past few decades. It is a bold solution to the long-standing problem of improving the quality of life for amputees. Whether through an unfortunate accident at home or through something devastating like war, these individuals find that life has become much harder with a limb that we take for granted is suddenly non-existent.

Sure, we cheer on and value those amputees who don’t let their circumstances get in the way of living their life to the fullest. We are bombarded with examples of these brave individual on a daily basis thanks to the advent of social media. With that said, we can agree that fully functional prosthetic limbs would do wonders to make life easier for these individuals.

3D Printing

One of the most promising advancements in the field of bionic prosthetics is the application of 3D printing towards the creation of customized and durable artificial limbs that patients can use to resume their quality of life. As great as this is, why is there a need for a new technological advancement in this niche of medical technology?

3D Printing_10

(Infographic Source:

Currently, bionic prosthetics take an extended period of time to make and can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars per limb. Even with co-pay and insurance, many families simply do not have the funds available to cover these incredibly high costs. This creates a huge problem that is in high demand of an affordable, fast, and safe alternative to the creation and distribution of bionic prosthetics.

Much like the space race between USA and Russia to see who could reach certain space discoveries and achievements first, there is a similar race going on between multiple individuals and organizations to be the first to make a difference in the world with 3D-printed prosthetics while making a significant profit from it. The game-changer, however, is the accessibility of 3D printing. Anybody can buy the equipment and materials, only needing their own imagination & creativity to be competitive.

A shining example of this principle in action is Joel Gibbard, an engineer in his 20s who has used his company Open Bionics to achieve several ‘world firsts’ in this niche. Late last year, he has successfully fit a person, Daniel Melville, born without a hand with a prosthetic socket that was 3D scanned and printed. This socket was then joined by a robotic hand that provided Daniel with complete autonomous control of it. He could even ‘feel’ as it was a normal limb!


Open Bionics has since moved on to create bionic hands that are customized and entirely 3D printed for the patient in mind. For the children out there who often have to go through painful physical rehab, Walt Disney has paired up Open Bionics to provide bionic hands that are made after their favourite movie characters!

What you and I are seeing right now is just the very beginning, and indeed the scientific community has praised innovators in this niche for the progress that it has made. However, the battle is not over yet. The fact of the matter is that the technology is merely exploratory in development, and more work needs to be done in order to fully validate this technology. Factors such as functionality, benefits, durability given repeated use over a long period of time, and ‘rejection’ by an individual’s anatomy need to be studied in further detail. It is at this moment that innovators are tinkering with every last detail of these 3D printed bionic prosthetics in order to make them a regular practice in your nearest hospital.

Expect to see developments in 3D printed prosthetics for the legs, followed by individual digits on the hands and legs. Some people are even trying to go as far as to create 3D-printed organs that can replace missing or defective organs in the human body, but this is a far more exploratory idea within 3D printing that needs serious research and development before human testing can be done.

In conclusion, 3D printing may very well be the next big thing in the field of medical technology that we are looking for. With the unbelievable amount of promise it has shown to date and the potential it has to save costs on the patient’s end and the hospital’s end, we can expect to see rapid advancements within this field over the next 10 years.

By Thomas Zakharov

Cloud Computing Then & Now

Cloud Computing Then & Now

The Evolving Cloud 

From as early as the onset of modern computing, the possibility of resource distribution has been explored. Today’s cloud computing environment goes well beyond what most could even have imagined at the birth of modern computing and innovation in the field isn’t slowing.

A Brief History

Matillion’s interactive timeline of cloud begins with the first stored-program computer, the Manchester Baby, developed in 1947. Quickly, time sharing became necessary as the 250 computers available in 1955 were rented to users in efforts to ensure as little downtime as possible. When packet switching was introduced in 1960, the foundation for resource sharing and the internet was laid and shortly thereafter, in a speech at MIT, John McCarthy suggested that computer resources would one day be shared like any other service.


Through the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, the world saw the development of the internet and mainstreaming of computers, and in 1996 the term cloud computing was first used by George Favaloro and Sean O’Sullivan, executives at Compaq Computer. During the 2000s mobile and smartphone technology took off and very quickly access to the cloud was common. Of course, the last five years have seen the greatest advances in cloud computing, as seemingly with all technology, it develops exponentially. Global giants such as Amazon, Google, and Apple rely heavily on the cloud, and in 2013 it was estimated global spending on cloud services reached $47 billion.

The Evolution

From digital assistants to smart cars to virtual reality to the internet of things, all of the latest modernizations rely on cloud technology. But so too do most of the traditional services individuals and organizations rely on. Although we’ve seen new products and services focused on managing money, the traditional banking institutions are developing their own services and the environment is nearly unrecognizable to that of ten years ago. Who can even imagine a world without internet banking?


Healthcare similarly has advanced, and not only in the laboratories and offices of pioneering doctors and scientists. Large hospital and patient management institutions are taking up the reigns and following suit, albeit more slowly, and patient care programs are being implemented to combine the benefits of modern devices such as wearables with healthcare regimens. Already two years ago, an HIMSS Analytics survey of cloud adoption in healthcare organizations found 83% of those surveyed were using cloud services. Common uses included the hosting of clinical applications and data, health information exchange, and backup and data recovery.

And the benefits cloud computing promises education are immense. Already, cloud technology is changing the way students learn and extending access to schooling into remote and impoverished areas. Though schools and universities are adopting cloud technologies themselves, many startups such as Education Modified, Kiko Labs, and HSTRY, are coming up with new methods and platforms which enhance and further learning.

Into the Future

It’s predicted that the cloud service market will be worth around $108 billion next year, and by 2020 the number of connected devices worldwide is expected to reach 25 billion. Further estimates suggest cloud computing offers green benefits too, and US organizations moving to the cloud before 2020 will save $12.3 billion in energy costs. Gartner points to a hybrid cloud infrastructure in the coming years, and says Ed Anderson, “I start to think of a multi-cloud environment as a foundation for a next wave of applications.” And according to Forrester Research, we’re on the cusp of the second wave of cloud computing, with service providers focused on next-gen applications that require omnichannel support, time-based analytics, and micro service support. The barrier to entering the cloud seems likely to shrink significantly due to adjusted compliance requirements and regulations, and although security already is a primary focus, with the expansion of cloud, its importance will be magnified. Finally, due to the high demand for cloud services, service providers will soon, if not already, be building next-generation architecture on hyper-converged platforms further reducing maintenance costs and speeding up scalability.

By Jennifer Klostermann

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

The Cancer Moonshot: Collaboration Is Key

Cancer Moonshot

In his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama announced a new American “moonshot” effort: finding a cure for cancer. The term “moonshot” comes from one of America’s greatest achievements, the moon landing. If the scientific community can achieve that kind of feat, then surely it can rally around the goal of finding a cure for cancer. President Obama put his second-in-command, Vice President Joe Biden, in charge of “Mission Control” for the cancer moonshot efforts.

Though this is certainly an ambitious undertaking, what’s encouraging is that the project isn’t starting from scratch. Researchers and clinicians have already made remarkable progress in the forms of research, clinical trials, drug development and more. There already have been many masterful achievements that propel this effort to its goal. For example, the successful mapping of the human genome nearly two decades ago provided a tremendous jumping-off point for customized cancer treatments and potential cures. But in order to land this moonshot, there must be significant innovation in how all of these stakeholders communicate, collaborate and share important information.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Silo-breaking: as vital as funding?

Two of the biggest challenges of this project are to provide increased funding to the strategic participants, and to increase collaboration and information sharing among the numerous research teams and clinicians all around the world. Vice President Biden has said that he wants to “break down silos and bring all the cancer fighters together—to work together, share information, and end cancer as we know it.” The goal is to double the pace of progress, or as he put it: “to make a decade worth of advances in five years.

Those of us in the cloud computing community are especially invested in the efforts to increase coordination, eliminate silos and open up access to information. These things can only be done through improving upon and innovating technology solutions, so that storing and managing data doesn’t kill productivity. Let’s consider some of the issues that will affect what underlying technologies can be utilized to further drive collaboration and support access to information.

Protecting massive amounts of private data

A project of this magnitude will have massive amounts of data, generated by a multitude of sources. These large data sets must use common data elements (data descriptors, or metadata) to ensure that researchers are comparing apples to apples. Toward this end, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has developed the Common Data Elements (CDE) to serve as a controlled vocabulary of data descriptors for cancer research. The CDE will help facilitate data interchange and inter-operability between cancer research centers.

Big data and learning algorithms will enable researchers to identify patterns and anomalies that, for instance, may help to identify patients who can benefit from standard treatments, or whose tumors require a different approach. Given that these large data sets will contain highly personal patient health information that can’t be anonymized, they will need to be protected with the strongest measures for data privacy to protect patients‘ rights and to maintain HIPAA compliance.

Preserving data integrity through controlled access


Of course, data integrity is of paramount concern. The data and other forms of information will come from numerous sources, and technology solutions will be needed to ensure that it maintains its consistency—that it isn’t inappropriately accessed and changed or corrupted. This means that access control to research information is critical. Yes, the project aims to increase sharing of data, but it needs to be shared with the right people in the right ways. Much of the information will be in documents, not databases, and this means access control, version control, and document retractions and expirations are important features for the underlying collaboration technology. And of course, all this must be done with strict HIPAA compliancy and patient privacy.

Setting content free to get work done

The time spent on collaborating and sharing information has ballooned by 50 percent or more over the last two decades, according to Harvard Business Review. Too much time is wasted trying to piece together disconnected information among team members who are scattered across the globe, leaving little time for actual work to get done.

Teams need virtual workspaces built for specific business and clinical research processes. Think in terms of flowing content across the extended ecosystem, instead of just improving systems of record behind the firewall. To take on this initiative, the clinical research community requires what some industry analysts call “systems of engagement,” meaning information only comes to life when it is put to use and acted upon. But many technologies fail to account for specific use cases (such as global clinical research) or the security and compliance needs of information in motion (such as confidential patient data).

In this race to exterminate cancer, the first challenge that must be resolved is to control the flow of information across the complete content lifecycle — even after external sharing — while also setting that information free so those who access it can increase productivity. Solving the collaboration challenge will ultimately allow researchers to remain focused on the important work of the cancer moonshot initiative.

The countdown is on…

By Daren Glenister

CloudTweaks Comics
Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

DDoS Knocks Out Several Websites Cyber attacks targeting the internet infrastructure provider Dyn disrupted service on major sites such as Twitter and Spotify on Friday, mainly affecting users on the U.S. East Coast. It was not immediately clear who was responsible. Officials told Reuters that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau…

Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms Above DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms, malware is the most common incident that security teams reported responding to in 2014, according to a recent survey from SANS Institute and late-stage security startup AlienVault. The average cost of a data breach? $3.5 million, or $145 per sensitive…

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Security, Security, Security!! Get use to it as we’ll be hearing more and more of this in the coming years. Collaborative security efforts from around the world must start as sometimes it feels there is a sense of Fait Accompli, that it’s simply too late to feel safe in this digital age. We may not…

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

A New Era for Cyber Crime Last September, the website of a well-known security journalist was hit by a massive DDoS attack. The site’s host stated it was the largest attack of that type they had ever seen. Rather than originating at an identifiable location, the attack seemed to come from everywhere, and it seemed…

Update: Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

Update: Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

DYN DDOS Timeline This morning at 7am ET a DDoS attack was launched at Dyn (the site is still down at the minute), an Internet infrastructure company whose headquarters are in New Hampshire. So far the attack has come in 2 waves, the first at 11.10 UTC and the second at around 16.00 UTC. So…

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Achieving Network Security In The IoT

Security In The IoT The network security market is experiencing a pressing and transformative change, especially around access control and orchestration. Although it has been mature for decades, the network security market had to transform rapidly with the advent of the BYOD trend and emergence of the cloud, which swept enterprises a few years ago.…

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Governance, Risk and Compliance Businesses are under pressure to deliver against a backdrop of evolving regulations and security threats. In the face of such challenges they strive to perform better, be leaner, cut costs and be more efficient. Effective governance, risk and compliance (GRC) can help preserve the business’ corporate integrity and protect the brand,…

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin  How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future. In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global…

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

Cloud Services Providers – Learning To Keep The Lights On

The True Meaning of Availability What is real availability? In our line of work, cloud service providers approach availability from the inside out. And in many cases, some never make it past their own front door given how challenging it is to keep the lights on at home let alone factors that are out of…

Micro-segmentation – Protecting Advanced Threats Within The Perimeter

Micro-segmentation – Protecting Advanced Threats Within The Perimeter

Micro-segmentation Changing with the times is frequently overlooked when it comes to data center security. The technology powering today’s networks has become increasingly dynamic, but most data center admins still employ archaic security measures to protect their network. These traditional security methods just don’t stand a chance against today’s sophisticated attacks. That hasn’t stopped organizations…

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation Digital transformation is the acceleration of business activities, processes, and operational models to fully embrace the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. The concept is not new; we’ve been talking about it in one way or another for decades: paperless office, BYOD, user experience, consumerization of IT – all of these were stepping…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…


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