When Dr. Robert Tunks sits down with the concerned parents of a child found to have a heart defect, a 3D model of their child’s heart can go a long way in fostering understanding of the treatment options.
The model, generated from data collected from the child’s CT scan or MRI, gives doctors the ability to study a 3D replica of the heart and blood vessels that is unique to that individual patient. This allows for the medical team and families alike to be as prepared as possible prior to a child undergoing surgery or other intervention.
“This technology improves our ability to counsel families in a meaningful and compassionate way,” said Tunks, a pediatric cardiologist at Penn State Children’s Hospital. “It’s such a valuable resource for us and one that directly benefits the patients we care for.”
Rapidly evolving 3D technology was one of several timely topics presented at the 8th Annual Innovations in Healthcare Technology Conference sponsored by the Technology Council of Central PA (TCCP) and hosted by the Center for Medical Innovation at Penn State College of Medicine on Oct. 8.
In addition to surgery planning, the highly accurate 3D models are excellent tools for teaching anatomy to College of Medicine students and residents, said Dr. Randy Haluck, who has been involved with the center’s Surgery Innovation Group for the past 10 years and spoke at the conference.
The conference also highlighted cybersecurity and artificial intelligence applications in health care. Speakers and panelists came from Penn State University, Highmark, Select Medical, Materialise, Genoa Telepsychiatry and Wellsheet, among others.
Matthew Snyder, Penn State Health’s vice president, chief information security officer, said that he is continually amazed at how misunderstood the issue of cybersecurity is among businesses—namely, that’s it’s a one-time problem that can be addressed and solved.
“Cybersecurity will continue to be a challenge for years to come,” he said “We are encountering risks that didn’t exist three years ago, and next year we’ll encounter new cyber risks that did not exist previously.”
The plethora of information generated in the health care sector is a treasure trove of digital information, he said.
“We have seen health care information being targeted by a wide spectrum of attackers from cybercriminals to nation states,” Snyder said. “In some cases, we still don’t know the motive of specific attackers and how they intend to use the information they have stolen.”
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