//AI in news

Dementia – Developments In Care

 

New developments in Healthtech are happening all the time. Here is one which has hit the news headlines recently that really sounds very interesting.

 

Dementia Research

Researchers at a Japanese University have developed an AI system that can help to diagnose dementia.

The system that they have devised is able to detect the very early signs, much earlier than traditional methods. This means that patients can be made aware of potential problems very early on. Giving them more time to take  full advantage of treatment options, and so have a better long term outcome.

 

Currently, diagnosing dementia can be time consuming, expensive and distressing for patients. Traditional scans are used in conjunction with cognitive function tests, to check the function of the brain.

A global ageing population means that now more people are developing dementia, so there is a real need for quick, effective diagnosis that can lead to an earlier intervention.

New Developments

A group of researchers who are based at Osaka University and The NARA Institute of Science and Technology have discovered that it is indeed possible to detect the very early signs of dementia . And that  it is possible to do this with AI, quickly, effectively and in a non invasive manner. This helps patients save time, money and more importantly have a much less stressful experience.

 

This  technique uses machine learning in such a way that it is possible to study the way that elderly people speak when answering simple questions from a computer avatar.

The AI system is able to create a dialogue with elderly patients. It then records  their speech patterns, language, and faces. From this information it is then able to complete an evaluation from analyzing gaze, response times,  intonation, and language used.

After just six questions, the AI system was able to identify which patients in a control group did suffer from dementia, with a success rate of over 90%.

 

Future Potential

The senior research author Takashi Kudo said, “If this technology is further developed, it will become possible to know whether or not an elderly individual is in the early stages of dementia through conversations with computer avatars at home on a daily basis. It will encourage them to seek medical help, leading to early diagnosis.”

 

One of the main advantages here, is that not only is the success rate of the test already high, with a potential for early and accurate diagnosis,  it can be a test which is very easily conducted at home. There is no need to visit any medical center, or Doctors office. This convenience can only be a positive thing – often travelling  can be a factor in determining whether an elderly patient feels well or confident enough to undergo traditional methods of testing.

 

This is an excellent example of how advances in the health tech industry mean  that healthcare is now becoming much more accessible. And more importantly, here is a major improvement in diagnosis and treatments for a whole range of issues. Patient care with regards to dementia is one of these areas which can benefit hugely.

 

By |2018-10-03T22:18:14+01:00Oktober 3rd, 2018|AI in news, News|0 Comments

Why Japan, the Tech giant, still needs to improve Health Tech

When it comes to biotechnology, Japan is leagues ahead of the western world. They have devices for delivering medicine, patches, nasal sprays that are unlike any other. However, when it comes to Healthtech, Japan sadly is not yet there.

Japanese Healthcare industry

At $472.6 B, Japan ranks third in the world when it comes to the healthcare expenditure, following the USA and China. A sizeable proportion of this is on healthcare delivery – medicines, operational costs, palliative care. However, the spendings on preventive healthcare are limited due to budgeting constraints.

The overall IoT market in Japan is forecasted to reach about $ 143.2 B. A sizeable portion would be healthcare IoT. The overall Healthcare IT market is projected to grow by 12.3% by 2020.

Despite these statistics, the tech giant is struggling, albeit ironically, with IT in healthcare. The market penetration of smartphones and connected devices is high (81.7%). However, the IT literacy among the healthcare workers is low, leading to an effective delivery of healthcare.

Opportunities for HealthTech in Japan

The tertiary care facilities are concentrated in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures (Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama). Delivering uniform healthcare across the country thus becomes a challenge. Although the adoption of health tech by individuals is high, there is no notable use of this data to delivering health care or amending the public policy in any way.

Japan has a simplistic healthcare cost coverage model. Everyone needs to have an insurance. The state covers 70% of the cost, and individuals cover the remaining. The cost-to-patient for procedures is capped, leading to lower spendings. That said, doctors, hospitals, and patients do not coordinate optimally, leading to lost opportunities.

This is a brilliant opportunity for integrating the existing healthcare systems under a single platform. The tech-savvy patients are already capturing their wellness parameters on a daily basis. This is not seen by the doctors though.

Japan has a sizable ageing population, with over 40% over the age of 55. Currently, the elderly in Japan are considered healthy and wealthy, with a significant number of them committing to their personal health. This explains the lower expenditures on healthcare, (about 7% of the GDP as against 17% in the USA.

That said, with a wider adoption of m-health and connected devices by the ageing population, monitoring of health will become easier for that country, easing the burden on preventive expenditures. As in the other developed nations, there is a scope for adoption of healthtech by the elderly, not limited to fitness trackers, m-health devices, remote diagnostics, and other means to track health and wellbeing, like digital scales and sleep trackers. In addition, AI and robotics have a role to play in diagnostics and screening, especially in the remote areas of the country.

Aimedis : what Japan needs right now

The core of Aimedis is connecting the stakeholders in healthcare with each other without a loss of information. Patients can seek a medical consultation, doctors can exchange notes, Hospitals can connect with each other for a seamless data transfer, in the event of a transfer of a patient. In addition, the Pharmaceuticals can plan their clinical trials effectively, and the insurance companies can improve their services.

Countries like Japan, with an ageing population, existing IT infrastructure, as well as a tech-hungry population could use such a seamless integration.

Also, read Why diagnosing leprosy in the Philippines is not a big problem any more: Learns

 

By |2018-07-07T22:55:16+01:00Juli 7th, 2018|AI in news|0 Comments

Why diagnosing leprosy in the Philippines is not a big problem any more: Learns

If you are in the Western world, you might have heard about leprosy. The incidence of Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, is so low in the USA and Europe, that it has fallen out of the public notice. However, more than 200,000 people suffer from this disease, mostly in South East Asia.

It is a bacterial disease caused by an organism similar to the one causes Tuberculosis. The patient can contract the disease and can go for years without displaying any outward signs. In the advanced stages, the disease is not contagious. However, it deforms the body of a person – fingers, toes, nose, and these may just fall off. An early diagnosis and a prompt treatment can prevent all this. However, diagnosing Leprosy is challenging, especially in a country like the Philippines.

Leprosy in the Philippines

The Philippines is a beautiful country made of 7641 islands, out of which, some 2000 are inhabited by about 103 Million people. The pristine beaches, scrumptious cuisine, and warm people make it an attractive place for tourists. However, the geographic makeup of the country poses operational challenges for the delivery of healthcare.

As it has so many islands, it is difficult for a healthcare visitor to conduct screening procedures. And if it is Leprosy, the patients may not even see a doctor until it is too late. The social stigma of the disease keeps them away from the civilisation, and the patients often are neglected by the family as well.

As the bigger hospitals and diagnostic centres are located far away, even the support staff in smaller clinics have a difficulty in getting things diagnosed. And even though there were just about 2000 odd cases of leprosy diagnosed in 2010, not everyone received an early treatment. There might be a fair share of undiagnosed cases due to various factors, including remoteness of diagnostic facilities, lack of training in diagnostic skills, and pure social stigma.

Learns: The Technological solution to the healthcare hurdle

However, we are in 2018 now! And technology is helping us overcome such hurdles. It did the same in the Philippines, as according to a report by the Guardian, Novartis Foundation teamed up with the department of health and developed a mobile-based diagnostic tool – Leprosy Alert and Response Network System (Learns).

It enables a healthcare worker, say a nurse, to click a photo of the lesion, and send it to a specialist. The specialist may be 100s of miles away, but he can diagnose it right away and chart a treatment pathway. This results in early diagnosis and prompt treatment, avoiding disfiguration.

The quality of life of such a patient will improve drastically, preventing a life of hardship and misery.

Aimedis for patients

At Aimedis, this is the core of our philosophy – an access to healthcare, wherever you are. We have tailored plans for patients – they can opt for the subscription-free plan and avail a pay-as-you-consult model, that, for a nominal fee, lets you interact with a specialist without the wait. There is a premium subscription where a patient can access a doctor round the clock, and also get a second opinion. He can also request for a prescription using the Aimedis medical team.

We hope that someday, technology and AI will help the standards of healthcare to become uniform all over the world.

Also, read How Aimedis is adding value to the Trillion Dollar Healthcare Industry

By |2018-07-03T16:01:44+01:00Juli 3rd, 2018|AI in news|0 Comments

AI in Healthcare: Bedside robots could soon be a reality in hospitals in the UK

Bedside robots could soon be a reality in public hospitals in the UK.

NHS, the body governing the operations of the public hospitals in the UK is considered to deliver one of the best healthcare in the world. About 243 million patients are seen each year by the NHS. According to the latest figures, NHS employs 106,430 doctors; 285,893 nurses and health visitors; 21,597 midwives; 132,673 scientific, and therapeutic and technical staff. However, a lack of funding and a severe shortage of manpower is making this task more and more difficult with each passing day.

AI in healthcare, UK

A report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in April this year indicates that a wide adoption of AI and Robotics by the NHS can potentially free up £12.5B worth of resources annually, easing the burden on the system. It will help doctors and support attend to other patients while bedside robots take over functions like helping the patients around the ward, conducting digital triage, and even helping them with exercises and nutrition.

In addition, the use of machine learning and AI can help the NHS with the screening of diseases like Diabetic Retinopathy, certain cancers without involving a specialist. Acting on the recommendations, the secretary of state for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt, has announced a review into how the current NHS staff could be trained in AI and robotics.
This is a huge news for the AI community as this signals a wider adoption by a dominant publically funded body.

AI goes beyond just treatment

With an implementation of AI in healthcare in the UK, patients would have a better access to healthcare. Even though the healthcare in the UK is quite good, patients often have to wait to see a doctor. In many cases, an experienced nurse, also known as a Nurse Practitioner sees a patient with a minor ailment. In the UK as well as the USA, NPs can see patients, make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment.

With the help of AI, both patients, as well as the Healthcare professionals, will have a better interaction, with easier follow up, convenient prescriptions, and support beyond the clinic. When a patient chooses the services of Aimedis, say in the UK, he has an option to get an e-consultation from a doctor for less, without footing the bill of an expensive private consultation. He can choose to share his data – age, diagnosis, treatment given, outcomes, any side effects, impact on his daily activities, data from his health trackers, with researchers. This helps the researchers come up with better treatment recommendations, Pharmaceutical companies to come up with safer medicines with fewer side effects, and doctors with a feedback for their treatment.

Aimedis welcomes this news and hopes to see exciting developments in the use of AI to shape Public Policy

Also, read: Would you accept healthcare advice from a machine?

By |2018-07-03T15:44:18+01:00Juni 28th, 2018|AI in news, General|0 Comments