Given the rate of deaths in South Africa caused by prostate cancer in my age group, any articles on the subject are bound to attract my attention. So earlier this week I was attracted to an article about a robot that is being used to perform prostate gland removal in a fashion that allows the patient to leave hospital in a day or two and be back at work in a few weeks. This got me thinking about one of the really bright spots in local healthcare – our capacity to innovate through harnessing technology.
A quick look around and here are some of the interesting and encouraging technology-driven innovations and healthcare improvements I unearthed.
- The progress of the Digital Health Cape Town accelerator;
- A new oncology diagnostics facility in Johannesburg;
- Also in Gauteng, a new tech diabetes management system;
- The acquisition by Equra and Lenmed of the Elekta Synergy Platform – a radiation therapy that promises to revolutionise oncology in the North West;
- The use of high tech by Life Healthcare to treat multiple brain tumours;
- Netcare’s harnessing of robotics to tackle superbugs;
- Samsung’s healthcare digital village in the North West;
- Eskom’s mobile clinics;
- Nokia’s use of Blockchain to secure patient data;
- Mediclinic’s Baby app that supports expectant mothers through their pregnancy.
Perhaps one of the signal successes achieved in 2017 was what is being called the biggest cardiology breakthrough since the heart transplant when researchers at the University of Cape Town identified a new gene called CDH2 that is a major cause of sudden death among young people and athletes. You can read the article here: http://ehealthnews.co.za/breakthrough-since-heart-transplant/
Add to this quick-fire list this perspective on the top 10 medical breakthroughs from https://www.health24.com/News/10-big-medical-breakthroughs-of-2017-20171127 and this list of the top 10 advancements expected in 2018, also from Health24: https://www.health24.com/News/10-medical-advances-we-can-expect-in-2018-20171213.
It is clear that medical advancements are speeding ahead and that South Africa features prominently in the innovation stakes.