Published on September 26, 2018
- in Blog, Events, Opinion

The Intelligent Health Summit in Basel, Switzerland were two days packed with interesting conversations and presentations on how technology will shape healthcare. If you didn’t make the event, here are our main takeaways from the event.

1. New tools are making their way in

Intelligent Health Summit was all about the potential of new technologies in different areas.

For instance, a university professor from the Netherlands, together with his team, built a smart device that dramatically improves sample prelevation in patients with breast cancer. Previously, medical professionals couldn’t exactly determine tumor location, so patients would get stung multiple times to collect a sample. This professor built a scanner-like device that points out exactly where the tumor is located and where the needle needs to be introduced, making it less painful for patients.

Another interesting tool featured Hololens and virtual/augmented reality. In this case, doctors could perform a difficult operation by visualizing the procedure 3D before the operation.

Also, chatbots are also being introduced. One chatbot allowed patients to describe symptoms and then provide potential diagnostics or connect the patient to a specialized doctor, based on the described symptoms.

2. Using data to make predictions

Hands down, the most popular application of artificial intelligence in healthcare consists of solutions based on patient records. Using historical data, AI applications perform calculations in order to make predictions about potential diagnostics or treatment recommendations. However, this currently serves mostly as advice for doctors. The prediction isn’t conclusive and it’s up to the doctors whether they use it or not.

A strong subset in this area is diagnostic apps based on new correlations – for example, using blood tests to detect serious conditions such as cancer.

In these cases, large volumes of high-quality data are paramount as prediction accuracy depends a lot on data used in the learning phase. To this end, technical expertise in business intelligence and big data are key.

3. Using technology to streamline operations

Besides considerable improvements to diagnostics, new technologies can also be used to streamline operations in medical units.

Here, we ran across various ideas. The first one featured a platform that makes it easy to manage devices. The tool would pinpoint the location of all medical devices within a unit so these can be easily found, and it would also suggest when these devices need maintenance.

Another interesting tool provides real-time notifications to medical staff without needing input from patients. Medical staff would receive notifications about emergencies or medication times, for example, without the patient having to press buttons or without needing to constantly check in.

Still, possibly the largest challenge here still remains patient management. Keeping track of personal history and diagnostic for each patient in order to be able to keep track of the evolution is a big area of interest. Centralizing patient data brings us to the next point on our list…

4. Data security is paramount

Another key issue is data security and compliance. Besides regional regulations such as GDPR, data governance in healthcare also raises strong questions about privacy.

One interesting idea was creating a centralized digital system with all the available health data for a specific country. Even if this is a massive investment, its payoffs would be worth the effort, as medical personnel across the country would have access to a short medical history about the patient.

In such cases, the question of who should have access to what data comes up. Should data be available to the government, only to patients or perhaps a few family members? Once this issue is settled, appropriate measures should be implemented so the data is kept as safe as possible and to avoid unauthorized access issues.

5. Changes in research and product development

Artificial intelligence can also impact research and product development in healthcare.

One big area would be previous research programs. Currently, to pull data from existing research, researchers need to manually check various papers, a process that is both time-consuming and repetitive. An artificial intelligence solution would considerably speed up the time it takes to complete research projects, by automatically scanning for, pulling and using relevant data in various programs created by scientists.

Additionally, in new product development, simulating interactions between different substances and analyzing potential results could help get new drugs on the market faster.

6. Early adoption with considerable benefits

Currently, diagnostic apps or tools are the most popular, but there’s a lot to be improved regarding accuracy. While some exhibitors have increased the accuracy of blood test results from 60% to 80%, doctors need a higher accuracy in order to deliver high-quality services. Meanwhile, to make the most of what artificial intelligence can do, providers are working closely with medical professionals to develop reliable, efficient solutions.

Overall, the solutions and the ideas presented during this event are all about efficiency. By automating mundane, repetitive tasks, medical professionals can actually focus on creating and delivering more value in health care, impacting the overall bottom line and patient well-being.

We’re currently in the dawn of artificial intelligence, but complete automation might not be that far away. To stay competitive, getting started with new technologies and integrating them in day-to-day operations is essential.

To sum up…

Over those two days, we interacted with scientists, investors, IT managers, healthcare directors, researchers, doctors, startup owners, and managers of the biggest national hospitals, as well as healthcare systems from all over the world. Because they are very close to patients, to any potential changes in infrastructure, they have a first-hand idea of what can be improved.

The Summit confirmed our belief about artificial intelligence in healthcare: it has tremendous potential, and even if we’re just beginning, we’re headed in the right direction. Also, the approach presented during the Summit is similar to how we work at Qubiz: research new technologies extensively and find the best way to integrate them in business.

We are thankful for the chance to meet such great people and to learn about how emerging technologies are used, current market trends and future challenges. All this will enable us to develop high-impact solutions in the healthcare industry.

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