Fraunhofer IGD is leveraging its expertise in visual computing to drive digital transformation in healthcare. Its solutions include a visual control center that autonomously captures, analyzes and visualizes all available data. In addition, Fraunhofer IGD has developed a method that harnesses the experience of medical staff and information extracted from images and patient data to simplify decision-making.
Patients want their doctors to provide advice and treatment tailored to their unique situation. However, in today’s healthcare industry there is often simply not enough time to do so, particularly as each patient is associated with immense amounts of data. Medical professionals must also contend with fluctuating, erratic workloads—after all, emergencies and hospital stays are unpredictable in nature. At the same time, implementing truly personalized healthcare means providing patients with made-to-measure, endto-end support—from preventive measures, to diagnosis and therapy, to follow-up care.
In this context, Fraunhofer IGD is focusing on its core competency: visual computing. Big data—a phrase on everyone’s lips—has the potential to open up entirely new opportunities in healthcare, and enable personalized medicine. And that means capturing, processing, analyzing and visualizing data.
The goal is to make personalized medical care in Germany a reality in the near future. But what will that require? A key element will be identifying the treatment with the greatest chance of success for each individual patient. And medical imaging will have a pivotal part to play.
Within the scope of their VA4Radiomics project, researchers at Fraunhofer IGD are working on a diagnostic imaging method that can be deployed, for example, in oncology, i.e., cancer treatment. In the future, in place of surgery to remove samples from a tumor, it will be possible to draw conclusions on tissue attributes using radiomics. This will enable a virtual biopsy based on quantitative analysis of images obtained via radiological examinations. As a result, the patient will no longer need to undergo an invasive procedure, as CT or MRI scans can provide the information needed for a diagnosis.
Visual computing has benefits for doctors and patients beyond conventional medical treatment. These technologies can be harnessed to better organize care facilities—enhancing efficiency and delivering a more personalized service. Currently, many systems within hospital infrastructures are completely siloed, meaning they cannot communicate with each other. Consequently, patient data must be recorded manually in each room. In the future, this laborious process may no longer be necessary. Physicians, nurses and care staff would simply require a single endpoint, such as a multi-touch table or a tablet, to view all patient data at a glance. The key to this approach is the visual control center Health@Hand.