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4 June, 2021 - 00:14 By Tony Quested

CMR Surgical and Microsoft innovation could store health data for more than ten thousand years

Cambridge keyhole surgery robotics pioneer CMR Surgical has teamed with Microsoft to pilot a world first FutureTech innovation to store health data for centuries.

Through a space age initiative dubbed Project Silico, clinical data from Versius procedures was stored in a trial onto a small (75x75mm) proof of concept glass platter, which can be safely preserved for more than ten thousand years.

Through the Versius® Surgical Robotic System and its wider digital ecosystem – including a registry and app – CMR is consistently collecting and analysing large amounts of anonymised data from its minimal access  surgeries. This data has the potential to help standardise surgery and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Project Silica is a new archive storage technology from Microsoft, created specifically for the Cloud from the ground up. Once data is written inside the glass it will not decay and this opens up an exciting opportunity to challenge and completely rethink traditional storage system design.

While regular magnetic media can decay and be destroyed through a number of environmental factors such as EMP (electromagnetic pulse), water damage, heat, or abrasion, glass is not affected by EMP or water damage and is resilient to heat and abrasion. It can survive for tens of thousands of years without the data decaying.

Luke Hares, chief technology officer of CMR said: “Through this exciting trial with Microsoft, CMR has the opportunity to use a ground-breaking technology of the future to store a vast amount of clinical data safely and securely. 
“This is important as collecting data across surgical practice will enable us to learn critical insights over time and realise our mission to make minimal access surgery available to everyone who could benefit.”

Hares added: “Working with Microsoft is a natural fit for CMR as both companies are hugely passionate about realising the potential of data and technology to shape healthcare worldwide.”

Long term archival storage, enabled by Project Silica, permits the preservation of surgery data, including procedural videos and critical telemetric data. Over the long term, for example a surgeon’s entire career, this can be harnessed for future training and clinical study.

Jurgen Willis, VP Program Management, Microsoft, said: “In this trial with CMR, Microsoft was able to demonstrate our innovation in long term archival storage. Long-term medical archival data can improve medical record management, enabling healthcare companies to help their patients more effectively.Working with CMR is an exciting milestone for Project Silica to learn more about long- term archival storage needs within the healthcare market.”

CMR continues to significantly increase its global footprint, with over 1,000 clinical cases completed to date.

CMR Surgical has signed a gold-tier partnership with ParalympicsGB to cover the next four Games in Tokyo later this summer, Beijing and Paris. 

As the team’s official medical device partner, CMR Surgical will launch an internal and external campaign called ‘human skill, redefined’ that aims to challenge perceptions around human ability.  

CMR’s keyhole surgery robotics team will support Britain with a campaign to celebrate the power of human ability.The partnership with ParalympicsGB allows CMR to showcase the inspirational people – across sport and surgery – who redefine skill and those who make the impossible, possible. 

Mark Slack, chief medical officer of CMR Surgical, said: “At CMR, we are passionate about enhancing human skill with technology to deliver the best surgical care. 

“In ParalympicsGB, we see several core qualities that resonate with us as a business, and the surgical community more widely: from their ambition and determination to succeed, to the precision and control in their sport.”

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