CA World: Tech aids prevention in healthcare

The key to quality healthcare lies in using technology to help patients more before they arrive at the hospital's doors, according to CA which is primed to kick off a pilot to test its theory in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Detailing the company's connected health vision, which falls under the umbrella of its emerging technologies division, vice president Chris Stakutis provided a snap shot of how things could be.

"Healthcare costs are going up and care levels are going down. That's not a good formula and something has to change. It's expensive to take care of sick people. What is better is to take care of people ahead of them having a problem taking care of people at the edge," he said during a presentation at CA World in Las Vegas.

"Socialisation, virtualisation, avatars, 3D worlds...A robot head that talks to people and provides entertainment for an elderly person. All this is just as important in our opinion as taking someone's blood pressure."

Stakutis added: "There aren't enough doctors now or enough coming into the system. [The idea is to] get patients on the edge to do a better job of caring for themselves so that doctors are able to reach more people."

A 100-strong pilot based on diabetic patients will kick off in Canada next week, followed by another trial this time focused on reducing heart attack instances in firefighters - in New York in early December.

Those initial forays will be followed by trials in other places around the world, including Belfast and Australia although Stakutis did not provide more specific details with regards to timings.

Commenting on the fact that the likes of IBM and Microsoft are already dipping their collective toes in the connected healthcare waters, Stakutis added: "We have every right to succeed as much as anyone else. We believe we're carving a vision that's a little bit more colourful, a little bit more sensible and better all round."

And the company, which joins fellow industry players Cisco and Intel as part of the Continua healthcare alliance, hasn't ruled out future acquisitions to help bolster this new strategy.

"Our vision is big but we can't do it alone. We're building partnerships aggressively and encouraging other companies to come into our vision We'll see what the gaps are and then do an analysis and do some acquisitions I'm sure," added Stakutis.

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Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.