Blockchain enables fast treatment after stroke
Rapid treatment crucial in emergency case
Stroke is the leading cause of death after dementia and cancer in The Netherlands. Every hour that doctors are able to treat earlier, the number of patients who will recover without major problems increases by 15%. This means not only a significant improvement in the quality of life, but also a decrease in the economic cost of a stroke. These amounts are currently more than € 1.7 billion per annum for the Netherlands alone. A doctor can only choose the right treatment if there is a lot known about the problem in the patient's brain, as with an infarction, the exact location of any blood clot. Viewing the scans by a doctor is however complex and time consuming. Moreover, in practice, the analysis of the brain scan does not always lead to the correct diagnosis, which can have major consequences for the treatment and how the patient eventually recovers from the stroke. This also leads to unnecessarily high costs.
Artificial intelligence: fast and precise
The use of artificial intelligence in the treatment of stroke is an important improvement. These algorithms are, by applying the latest computer technology, not only fast, but also precise due to their learning ability. Nico.lab also makes the artificial intelligence solution available via the cloud, allowing hospitals to use it in a low-threshold way. These savings are estimated at over € 200 million on an annual basis, in light of the current costs of € 1.7 billion per year. Because the computer for this artificial intelligence is not in their own hospital, the scans are encrypted and sent to Nico.lab via an internet connection at lightning speed. After analysis, the specialist receives the notification that he can log in to view the scans and the result itself. It is not important whether the neurologist is in hospital or in a foreign hotel room while visiting a major medical conference or enjoying a day off at home.
Blockchain guarantees patient data confidentialityNaturally, confidentiality must be guaranteed when exchanging patient data. Because this is an exchange of privacy-sensitive data in a chain of medical professionals, the use of blockchain technology is the solution. Where many blockchains are known for cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, the power of blockchain is security in data exchange. TYMLEZ ensures that all parts in the chain of people and machines are connected to the system via an unbreakable and safe process. The brain scans are then uniquely coded, so that they can only be shared with chain participants who are authorised to do so. The security of patient data is fully guaranteed in this way. In partnership with TYMLEZ, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and SUSE, Nico.lab is leveraging the “Blockchain in a box” solution which comprises of a complete integrated hard- & software stack for optimal security, scalability and performance.
One cause of blockchain implementation delays is its (perceived) technological complexity, which has a negative effect on its adoption. Among the technical challenges are legacy integration, labor-intense deployment, and scaling, as well as insufficient application performance and data protection. To minimise this burden, TYMLEZ, SUSE, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are partnering to provide Nico.lab and its partners each with a blockchain-in-a-box setup; the hardware and software are pre-integrated into a ready-to-go blockchain platform.
Strokes can have an immense impact on individuals and the families who love them. Anything that can be done to improve the likelihood of survival and recovery is a welcome thing.
Better treatment of stroke: Lessons for leaders
Recently, several heads of neurology from hospitals in the Netherlands expressed their support for AI-supported neuroimaging assessments. The reasons are clear:
- Enable faster treatment time: Faster treatment for stroke victims dramatically improves the patient outcome and reduces the number of hospitalisation days.
- Ensure the right treatment: Selecting more patients for the right treatment, based on better quantitative results acquired through AI algorithms, also leads to improved outcomes.
- Prevent adverse drug reactions: Avoiding selection of patients for the wrong treatment reduces unnecessary costs and surgery risks.
- Save lives: Healthcare providers want to pay for AI-supported neuroimaging assessments because it reduces costs, ensures the right treatment, and saves lives.