April 25, 2017

Celebrating Innovation: 5 Oncology Technology Trends That Are Changing Medicine

When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, their first concern is likely not about the specific technology they'll be treated with—they just want the chosen treatment to work. Oncology executives and clinical leaders, though, understand that emerging technologies offer new options for recovery. Staying on top of the latest oncology innovations can help cancer care centers establish, or maintain, their status as leaders in cancer care.

#1 Instant Cancer Diagnostics

What if an oncologist could promise to minimize the loss of healthy tissue, decrease time under the knife and remove more cancerous cells than through traditional means? Claims such as these could attract cancer patients from around the region. As it turns out, this is possible with the intelligent scalpel, also known as the iKnife.

Doctors already have scalpels that heat surrounding tissue to minimize blood loss, but the iKnife uses a mass spectrometer to analyze the vaporized smoke. As the iKnife “smells” the smoke, it is able to instantly identify malignant tissue, which can reduce surgery time and increase effectiveness of the surgery.

#2 Robotic Surgery

Robots seem to be a constant fixture in the news these days. While it’s unlikely humanoid robots will walk into a surgical room and perform solo surgery anytime soon, robotic devices are still a powerful tool and one of the most impressive oncology tech trends.

The da Vinci system, for instance, allows surgeons to work within an incision with an exactness they could never accomplish on their own. This reduces the risk of complications, minimizes any scarring and results in quicker recovery. Once again, these benefits create an opportunity for hospital management to provide superior care and build their industry leadership.

#3 Improved Laparoscopic Imaging Systems

Laparoscopic surgery is one of the most powerful medical tools that surgeons have at their disposal, and as oncological technology continues to evolve, the imaging systems used in the process become ever more efficient at getting the job done. The PINPOINT endoscopic fluorescence imaging system is the culmination of this evolution.

Through a single laparoscope, the PINPOINT system offers "true HD white light and on-demand HD fluorescence imaging." The system can do everything from allowing assessments of vessel blood flow to bile duct and hepatic artery visualization. Additionally, medical journals are consistently releasing research on newly discovered oncological possibilities with the PINPOINT system.

#4 Promising Innovation in Immunotherapy Trials

Some of the most promising technology related to oncology is not currently in widespread use, yet. This is because the treatments are still going through clinical trials to measure their efficacy. Targeted therapies, rather than chemo or surgery, are currently one of the biggest trends in this area.

One promising targeted therapy is CAR T-cell therapy. It uses blood filtering technology to alter T-cells that are then capable of better fighting cancer. One-third of trial participants saw complete remission, and 80 percent saw their cancers decrease by more than half following only one treatment.

While this therapy is still in its trial phases and researchers are rushing to find a way to counteract potentially dangerous side effects, it simply goes to show that some of the most promising tech trends aren't related to fancy robots and shiny tech objects.

#5 Technology Enabling Precision Medicine

Improved treatment options aren’t the only innovations that oncology professionals should be aware of—there are now technology and data solutions that can enable the delivery of precision medicine by making EHR data useful. Here at Cota, we’re biased, but the patented Cota Nodal Address™(CNA) is a recent innovation that is changing the way leading cancer care centers understand precision medicine. Cota creates CNAs by extracting and transforming structured and unstructured data from the EHR, and assigning a numeric code that classifies groups of medically-identical patients. Every patient with a CNA is able to be given the right care at the right time, minimizing variance in treatments and outcomes while reducing overall costs of care.

From robotic assistants to precision medicine analytics, oncological technology is quickly changing both the ways doctors work and medical facilities operate. While there will undoubtedly be new oncology tech trends to "wow" the world in a few years, the aforementioned are currently some of the best tools in the fight against cancer.

Next Article:
The Promise of Big Data for Cancer Patients and Practices
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