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Olympic Athletes Need Precision, Now They Can Have Precision Health

A new analytics tool will help provide information to clinicians to help them predict injury and illness and personalize treatment for the 2,900 athletes competing at the Olympic Winter Games

Metrics matter in the Olympic Games – seconds to the finish line, points on the board. Behind the scenes, in the hospitals and health clinics where the athletes are treated, data is equally important.

On a basic level, what is an athlete’s blood pressure, heart rate and temperature? But more comprehensively, what are the results from their x-ray or ultrasound scan, how often and where are they training, and what is the environment in which they compete?

When all of these pieces of information come together, clinicians are able to make informed, rapid and personalized treatment decisions. They are able to achieve precision health.

This vision is part of what drove the development of a new analytics solution that will be launched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and GE Healthcare at this year’s Olympic Winter Games. The Athlete Management Solution (AMS) collects multiple kinds of data, including imaging scans, patient vitals, and venue, event and sport-specific information, and provides real-time dashboards that can help inform medical staff as they personalize treatment for athletes and identify trends in injury and illness across the Games.

The goal is to help support athlete health, performance and safety at PyeongChang, and to help inform long-term improvements to the health and safety of future Olympic Games.

Pyeong Chang Olympic Village

“Through digital transformation, the IOC is pursuing its mission of helping to prevent injuries among our world-class athletes,” said Dr. Richard Budgett, Medical and Scientific Director for the IOC. “With 40 sports across the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games, each athlete requires unique healthcare monitoring and care. AMS will provide information that helps clinicians personalize training and treatment, so Olympians are best positioned to compete.”

The solution reflects GE Healthcare’s commitment to precision health, a holistic approach to patient care which encompasses diagnostics, therapeutics and monitoring to help ensure that appropriate actions are taken at the right time for each individual patient. In the context of the Games, this means considering differences in athlete’s medical histories, training environments and sport.

AMS also represents an evolution of healthcare technology that has been supporting Olympians over the years. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games marked the first time that all athletes at the Games had their health interactions managed by a single EMR – GE Healthcare’s Centricity Practice Solution. Prior to Rio, IOC had to ship pallets of paper around the globe to keep track of medical data from athletes competing at the Olympic Games, leading to incomplete or incorrect records and missed opportunities to take a precision health approach to care.

Pyeong Chang Olympic Village

Now, with AMS, the data will not just be tracked but also analyzed alongside critical operational and sport-related data. It will be available to clinicians anywhere, anytime, making it easy to input and access data regardless of whether medical staff are on the slopes, at the health clinic, or in a local hospital. And, it will support nine different languages, so doctors can review information in the format that is most familiar to them. Because athletes at the Olympic Games present a unique data challenge – biology, biomechanics, training, psychology, nutrition as well as sport-specific information are all important to track and analyze; athletes and the doctors who treat them are constantly on the move; and there is an incredible diversity of patients and approaches to care – being able to combine this information into a single, mobile and multilingual solution is huge.

“Olympians train for many years to represent their nations at the Games,” said Dr. Jorg Debatin, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer for GE Healthcare. “Their Herculean efforts must be matched with superhuman clinical speed and quality. AMS helps clinicians do just that – by making data and actionable insights readily available to the treating clinicians.”