SUITA, Japan – Researchers from Osaka University and Nara Institute of Science and Technology have developed a dementia detection system that uses interactive computer avatars and machine learning. Their research showed that it was possible to detect dementia from conversations in human/avatar interaction, where a machine learns the characteristics of sounds of elderly people who answered questions from avatars on a computer. “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 conversation with computer avatars at home on a daily basis,” said Takashi Kudo, one of the researchers, in a statement. “It will encourage them to seek medical help, leading to early diagnosis.” The researchers created a model for machine learning based on features of speech, language and faces from recorded dialogues with elderly participants. Through machine learning, a computer was able to distinguish individuals with dementia from healthy controls at a rate of 90% in six questions. It was found that dementia could be distinguished with high accuracy by combining features of dementia, such as delay in response to questions from avatars depending on the content of questions, intonation, articulation rate of the voice and the percentage of nouns and verbs uttered.
CORALVILLE, Iowa – IDx has raised $33 million to accelerate market adoption of its autonomous artificial intelligence diagnostic system. The system, cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, does not require a clinician to interpret the image or results. “We expect this investment to accelerate the adoption of IDx-DR, a unique and much-needed solution for the 30 million people with diabetes in the U.S. alone who need to be tested for diabetic retinopathy each year,” said Stefan Abrams, vice chairman at IDx, in a statement. The FDA-cleared IDx-DR system enables health care providers who are not normally involved in eye care to use the AI system to test for diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness. In June, IDx-DR was initiated into clinical practice at University of Iowa Health Care, marking the first time patients have received a medical diagnosis from an autonomous AI system in the United States, Abrams said. The company is currently working on implementations at several additional health care systems that plan to go live with IDx-DR in 2018. IDx is also developing AI-based diagnostic systems for the detection of macular degeneration, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke risk.
‘The future is here with AI and robotic technology’
YARMOUTH, Maine – Artificial intelligence could help address the issues of loneliness and isolation in older adults that cause related health issues.
AARP has reported that 14% of older adults enrolled in Medicare have insufficient social networks, which translates to about $6.7 billion in added Medicare spending each year. AI-powered conversational robots, like ElliQ from Intuition Robotics, are helping to address those issues.
“Loneliness and isolation are huge issues for older adults,” said Dor Skuler, CEO and co-founder of Intuition Robotics. “There are many health risks like an acceleration in dementia and depression, as well as heart disease. There’s also a problem with the amount of stress on the caregivers.”
The Intuition Robotics AI platform that powers the ElliQ robot won this year’s Innovation Award for Cognitive Robotics from AI Breakthrough, an independent organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies and products in the global AI market today.
Conversational robots use voice technology to make interaction more natural and leverage AI to learn about the user’s everyday activities. They can synthesize the data to alert caregivers to an emergency situation and to predict the possible onset of diseases or serious health conditions. They can also make seniors aging in place feel less alone.
On a recent edition of the Digital Health Today podcast, Skuler said that the robots currently being developed incorporate interfaces, voice technology and body language that people can understand to make the interaction with them easier.
“It’s not so much about the interaction with technology, but interaction with the world,” he said.
AI-powered conversational robot technology has the potential to ensure that more people can live and age well at home, according to a study published recently in Public Policy & Aging Report
“The future is here with AI and robotic technology,” the report’s authors wrote. “The idea that older adults are technophobes needs to be rethought. An increasingly aging population necessitates the design and use of innovative technologies that are easy to use, affordable by most and have multiple uses.”
CHICAGO – Biosensor provider PhysIQ has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its atrial fibrillation detection analytics engine. “Since day one, our mission has been to enable a world where real-time patient data continuously streams to the cloud and artificial intelligence performs the hard work of detecting when health problems are arising among monitored patients,” said Gary Conkright, chairman and CEO of PhysIQ, in a statement. “With this approach, clinicians can identify who within their monitored population may require additional care to avoid poor health outcomes. This clearance of our AFib detection algorithm, when paired with our groundbreaking and previously cleared personalized physiology analytics, is a huge step toward realizing that goal.” The AFib analytic will be available within PhysIQ’s pinpointIQ monitoring solution, which combines clinical-grade wearable biosensors, mobile cloud computing and FDA-cleared analytics to provide clinicians with continuous insight for at-risk patients. The solution is currently being used by payers and providers to better care for patients recently discharged from the hospital, recovering at a skilled nursing facility or enrolled in a home health program. The AFib analytic is also available to pharma and medical device companies that are integrating wearable biosensors into their clinical trials.
PALO ALTO, Calif. – While connected health technologies are helping to provide more efficient and quality home care of people with chronic conditions, they can also support senior and caregiver issues like isolation and other unmet needs. Gene Wang, CEO of People Power, providers of artificial intelligence-powered smart home solutions, discussed how these technologies are providing the home health care industry with a more holistic view of patients.
HHTN:How can technology support the unique needs of seniors who are aging in place and their caregivers?
WANG:Important research unfolds almost daily that tells us about the critical health issues related to isolation and a lack of senior connectedness, along with the needs of caregivers often under a tremendous amount of stress. Intelligent eldercare services begin with great IoT sensors and devices, important only to the extent that they generate high-quality data to facilitate perfectly designed services. Central to every modern senior care service is the ability to recognize important changes in living and daily activities through these sensors.
HHTN:What are some of the challenges to a wider adoption of home health technology by health care providers and consumers?
WANG:Even with the intense need, the health care industry has been slow to adopt supportive technologies on a mass scale. To address a large and expanding global market opportunity, there needs to be a customized service that will target the critical needs of family caregivers, including personal safety, health, daily activity monitoring and social integration. We believe that creating an intelligent care-monitoring product that requires no wearable technology and that can be easily and inexpensively deployed has the potential to revolutionize the in-home care industry.
HHTN:How is technology impacting the way home health care is being delivered today?
WANG:With recent announcements from companies like Apple and Amazon, it’s clear the next horizon for technology is the health care industry. It’s been our position for several years that there is a need in the industry to assist seniors and caregivers with their challenges. Our goals remain lofty because the need is tremendous and, like everyone in the technology industry focusing on the health care market, we have more work to do
LONDON – Babylon Health is investing $100 million to double the size of its London team and develop the next generation of artificial intelligence-powered health care technology. “The challenge we’ve set ourselves is to further evolve our technologies and services to tackle a health care problem endemic to both developed and developing nations, namely: chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and mental health challenges,” said Ali Parsa, CEO of Babylon Health, in a recent blog post. The company’s AI research will build on technology the company introduced earlier this year. “We believe that at least some of the cost burdens associated with chronic care management can be eased by augmenting existing delivery and support models using proactive AI,” Parsa said. “To this end, we’re on our way to developing AI health assessment, planning, coaching and monitoring functionalities to enable patients to compile a more holistic view of their health and manage their conditions in ways that are most personalized and appropriate for them.”
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Breakthrough Device designation to AliveCor’s artificial intelligence-powered KardiaK software platform.
The designation means that the FDA will consider the technology on an accelerated clearance track designed specifically for medical devices that demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs for life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions.
“We are gratified that the artificial intelligence work we’re doing at AliveCor has been deemed so meaningful that it has achieved FDA Breakthrough Device status,” said Vic Gundotra, CEO of AliveCor, in a statement. “We view it as a key milestone in our corporate history and look forward to the further development of our non-invasive Hyperkalemia detection tools.”
The KardiaK Platform screens for hyperkalemia—elevated levels of blood potassium—without requiring blood from the patient. The technology uses a proprietary deep neural network trained to detect hyperkalemia using data from electrocardiograms.
AliveCor aims to use the platform to enable home-based hyperkalemia detection for patients with kidney disease to record an ECG and use KardiaK at home.
“Noninvasive and convenient, the bloodless KardiaK platform has the potential to revolutionize the standard for diagnosis of hyperkalemia,” Gundotra said.
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Jefferson Health and InTouch Health have joined PATH, the Partnership for Automation and Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare. “Jefferson is a distinguished health system and InTouch a prominent leader in digital health, so this is in keeping with PATH’s goal to form an alliance of industry and health care providers,” said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of PATH, in a statement. Jefferson Health is a regional health system whose flagship hospital is Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City, Philadelphia. InTouch Health is a telehealth services company that currently supports more than 2,150 care locations around the world.
DUBLIN AND CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Medtronic has teamed up with IBM Watson Health to develop the Sugar.IQ smart diabetes assistant, an intelligent app designed to simplify and improve daily diabetes management. The app leverages artificial intelligence and analytic technologies from IBM Watson Health to continually analyze how an individual’s glucose level responds to their food intake, insulin dosages, daily routines, and other factors, including information provided by the app user, and reveal patterns that give actionable insight. The Sugar.IQ app is available to users of the Medtronic Guardian Connect continuous glucose monitoring system.
CHICAGO – Experts are applauding the American Medical Association’s recently issued policy on how to incorporate artificial and augmented intelligence into health care.
“The new guidelines get at one of the core challenges of integrating new technologies into health care—how we develop things that are actually going to be used,” said Dr. Cory Kidd, founder and CEO of Catalia Health, providers of the Mabu digital health platform.
The policy on AI states that the AMA will: leverage its ongoing engagement in digital health and other priority areas for improving patient outcomes and physician professional satisfaction to help set priorities for health care AI; identify opportunities to integrate the perspective of practicing physicians into the development and implementation of health care AI; encourage education for patients, physicians, medical students, other health care professionals in the promise and limitations of health care AI; and explore the legal implications of health care AI.
When new technologies like AI are introduced to health care, it’s important to ensure their proper use and safety, said Rich Berner, CEO of telehealth provider MDLive.
“We’re pleased to see the AMA is taking proactive stance to advance the use of AI to do what’s best for the patient and to provide quality care,” he said.
AI can be a big component in helping the industry rethink and disrupt health care by helping to automating routine clinician tasks, thereby making providers more efficient and able to see more patients, Berner said.
“AI will help us solve our physician shortage problem and make health care better for the patient and the provider, as well as lower costs and improve quality,” he said.
Guidelines like those developed by the AMA can also bring a greater understanding of AI’s potential, said Kidd.
“A lot of health care technology comes from developers trying to create solutions at a high level, but not from a day-to-day perspective,” he said. “Guidelines like these help connect the opportunities that technology can provide for automation and efficiencies with the clinicians who are actually going to use them.”