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Now Trending: how AI can help make us healthier


From asking Alexa to make a playlist for your next office party, to bots that can write the email invite – even smart fridges that will text you to let you know you’re low on juice – Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now firmly a part of our everyday lives. And while we’re all familiar with AI in our homes and workplaces, AI is also increasingly common in the world of healthcare. We take a look at how this game-changing technology is revolutionising the way doctors diagnose, treat and manage medical conditions, helping us to live the lives we love for longer.

We invite Annie Chan, Head of Business Unit Specialty Medicine & Innovation Lead at Bayer HealthCare Limited, located in Taikoo Place’s Oxford House, to explain more.

“You can expect a future where AI will seamlessly integrate into your everyday life”
Annie Chan
Annie sees AI as something we will all encounter far more often as we manage our health and wellbeing. “You can expect a future where AI will seamlessly integrate into your everyday life, from daily health condition monitoring to earlier disease detection and continuous tracking of treatment effectiveness,” she says, adding, “AI could assist every one of us to be healthier.”

Many of us already own devices with AI technology that monitor our wellbeing, such as smart watches and apps, that can tell you if you've had too many carbs or aren't raising your heart rate enough. What’s more, we benefit from software that is evidence-based and clinically evaluated for treating, managing, and preventing diseases and disorders – known as digital therapeutics. For instance, digital therapeutic mobile app Resony reduces worry, anxiety, and stress through proven Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and physiological techniques. It leverages the power of machine learning to develop personalised intervention, paving the way for enhanced treatment outcomes and improved wellbeing.

Looking further ahead, AI could also assist healthcare professionals to screen for more serious conditions faster, leading to earlier diagnosis and timely treatment. One example is telehealth company Cardiokol. Supported by Bayer’s G4A programme, which partners with healthcare start-ups and tech firms, it has developed innovative voice-based methods that easily screen for heart rhythm disorders. This opens up exciting new possibilities, as Annie explains, “Imagine the potential of using devices like landlines and smartphones to capture and analyse your voice signals, detecting heart arrhythmias.”

“Imagine the potential of using devices like landlines and smartphones to capture and analyse your voice signals, detecting heart arrhythmias.”
Annie Chan

Another Bayer G4A-supported platform is Carenostics, which uses AI tools to help identify undiagnosed chronic kidney disease. AI also supports Carenostics to create more accurate predictions of how the disease progresses throughout the population, including potential hospitalisation figures and complications, enabling better healthcare resource planning. Tools like this have great potential to tackle inequality in healthcare by closing gaps in care for underserved patients.

Bridging the gaps in health inequality, AI has huge potential in streamlining medical check-ups and disease screenings, making healthcare more affordable for all. A recent research programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong developed an AI-based faecal detection system that can help to identify colorectal cancers and some cardiovascular diseases. The new system is significantly cheaper than traditional screening methods like MRI or CT scans, breaking down some of the typical financial barriers to early screening and precision diagnosis.

With the collection of this highly useful, but also confidential patient data in AI, what of the ethical concerns? The World Health Organization recently announced a number of key principles to inform the design and use of AI in future healthcare applications. These include emphasising human autonomy, responsibility and accountability of the healthcare industry, and inclusiveness and equity when using AI.

Another common concern is that AI could make human jobs obsolete — will AI mean the end of doctors as a profession? The WHO's principles address this too, and Annie also emphasises that AI should be viewed as a support, rather than a substitute, for human medics. “As the world faces a shortage of healthcare practitioners, leveraging data technology and automation in healthcare could relieve the growing pressure. While AI can be used to automate tedious tasks, medical expertise is essential to make decisions according to the uniqueness and complexity of a patient’s situation and needs, and to find new innovative solutions to evolving diseases.”

Annie concludes, “At the end of the day, AI cannot replace the human touch that healthcare practitioners provide. Apart from treating diseases, patient care is also about offering empathy, compassion and connection.” Thanks to the merging of AI's strengths with human expertise, we can expect a future where healthcare becomes more accessible and efficient for all.



Interested in health technology? Read more expert opinion from the Taikoo Place community about how innovations from the COVID-19 pandemic have rippled across the health industry here.

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