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CMR Surgical engages with Microsoft in a first for health data


Global surgical robotics company, CMR Surgical (CMR), has announced a collaboration with Microsoft in a pioneering new trial for health data storage. Clinical data from procedures with CMR’s next-generation Versius® surgical robot has been stored onto a small [75x75mm] proof of concept glass platter, which can be safely preserved for more than ten thousand years, as part of the new ‘Project Silica’ trial by Microsoft. 

CMR is dedicated to transforming the future of surgery and data is central to this mission. 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 (MAS) – otherwise known as keyhole – 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 (pictured above), Chief Technology Officer of CMR commented: “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. 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, commented: “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.”

This trial with Microsoft comes at an exciting time for CMR Surgical having recently announced the introduction of the Versius Surgical Robotic System into two new major robotics markets, Australia and Germany. CMR continues to significantly increase its global footprint, with over 1,000 clinical cases completed to date. 

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