Harnessing the power of cloud computing
When Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft announced a deal earlier this year to use cloud computing to support digital surgery, executives on both sides spoke with Medical Design & Outsourcing about how the partnership could advance medtech.
That started a series of conversations with leaders at cloud computing giants Google, Microsoft and Amazon — and on the device side at Johnson & Johnson, Philips and GE Healthcare. We consistently heard that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated cloud adoption not only for medical records and telehealth, but also for manufacturing operations, supply chain management and making new vaccines, therapies and devices.
What’s most exciting is medtech’s cloud-enabled future, where increasingly connected devices with smarter, smaller sensors will collect and share more data than ever before — all through remote servers. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will yield new ways to predict, diagnose, manage and even cure diseases like cancers and other conditions once thought unbeatable.
Perhaps even a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic like COVID can be tamed. Could the cloud power a test-and-trace effort to identify the latest variants and develop rapid vaccine responses to counter this fast-moving virus? Can we ramp up data collection to better understand and mitigate COVID’s immediate and long-term effects?
Only if we try. Those who can pull it off will be greatly rewarded. Look no further than this edition’s ranking of the top-selling pharmaceuticals of 2021, three of which are helping reduce the risks of COVID before, during and after infection.
This edition features other innovative technologies with the potential for wide-ranging applications. You’ll read about a catheter-delivered brain implant that lets paralyzed ALS patients control a computer with their thoughts and could open up a new way to tap our brains for other treatments and therapies. Another device developer just won FDA clearance for its proprietary plastic and coating formula to embed antibiotics in implants, which might lead to many more drug-device combinations in orthopedics and other implantable devices.
Digital therapeutics is yet another area where groundbreaking advances seem closer than ever. Associate Editor Sean Whooley reports on the efforts of DeepWell Digital Therapeutics and three other medtech companies developing software-based products to help patients manage a variety of conditions.
Many challenges remain as the medical industry explores and embraces cloud computing, but the opportunity is real. I can’t imagine an industry better suited to the task.
– Jim Hammerand, Managing Editor