Little Known Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Impact Healthcare

There’s no doubt about it – the digital revolution has begun. If that statement surprises you, you are not alone. Although it is occurring at an increasingly rapid pace, there are still many people and areas that the revolution has not reached, especially in the healthcare section.. Here is  a major reasons why -technology.

Technology

Health data is broken down into centralized organizational silos. This sounds great in theory but the problem lies in the exchange of individual health records. Most of the time spent on individual records is the actual process of trading them between silos. In order for the exchange of health data to become useful it must:

  • be normalized into a more  uniform method
  • be collecting from every source possible
  • breaking down the obtained data with distinctive patient/provider identifiers

How is this connected to Artificial Intelligence?

If the three points mentioned above were to be successfully actualized, this means the data would be aggregated and doing such would eliminate much of the time wasted when exchanging data. Aggregated data would eradicate the need for data translation and data bridges; instead it would connect everyone to a central standard programming. It would also be used as the foundation for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

A new breed of apps can be developed  to assist useful recommendations provided by AI. Such aps will be simple to understand, use, and will be connected to the aggregated data powered by the AI analytics engines.

So, yes, the revolution has begun, but when will it pick up the pace?

 

How Can Virtual Reality Help Healthcare?

The ability to connect virtual reality technology to smartphone devices has unsurprisingly made the trend more popular than ever. For the most part, virtual reality is used by the general public for entertainment purposes by way of video game play. However, an increasing number of researchers and physicians believe virtual reality can have therapeutic uses as well. In fact, virtual reality uses in the healthcare market has grown from $525 million in 2012 to $976 million in 2017.

How is virtual reality is currently making an impact on the healthcare industry? Here are the top potential uses for virtual reality technology in healthcare:

PTSD

PTSD, also referred to Post-traumatic stress disorder, is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the United States and may very well be one of the most difficult conditions to treat. This disorder has become more widely known since 69,000 new cases were reported in 2013 from diagnosed Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Research also shows one in three people who experience any type of traumatic experience will experience PTSD. Unknown to many, PTSD disorders can be inactive for many years and be triggered by any event that makes the individual with the condition remember their traumatic experience.  

How can virtual reality help? Virtual reality can assist those who suffer from PTSD by placing them in pleasant environments and regulate the stimulus provided to them.  

Fitness

It’s no secret that much of the U.S. population is becoming more fitness conscious. There has been a significant increase in fitness apps and devices and by the looks of it, virtual  reality will have a huge impact as well. More and more people are researching and purchasing equipment that will virtually transport them to the destination of their choice for their workouts. Anyone who has ever imagined taking a jog on the beach or doing yoga in the rain forest would be better now have the ability to do so.

Quit smoking

For years, we have seen a surplus in ads that detail how bad smoking is for our planet and our individual health. While there have been products on the market such as nicotine gums, patches, and e-cigarettes virtual reality is seems to be a promising alternative.

Through the use of biofeedback, mindfulness, and psychological techniques – virtual reality can connect current smokers with non-smokers to help them bring an end to their smoking habits.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

If you’re a gamer, know a gamer, or have children who are gamers you must know of the motion sensory additive to the popular xbox 360 and xbox one devices known as the Microsoft Kinect. The original purpose of the Kinect was to allow players to interact and control gameplay without using controllers and instead rely on spoken commands and gestures. Virtual reality can transcend gameplay and help those in need of physical therapy and rehabilitation by helping them achieve their therapeutic goals without even knowing they are participating in physical therapy.  

 

Digital Health Unit to be Created by the FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently announced that they will be allocated funds and resources to a new centralized unit focusing on mostly on regulating medical devices. This unit will be a branch within the Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

The goal of this unit, in conjunction with its larger department, is to basically maintain a certain level of consistency when it comes to applying effective health policies. The functions of this digital health unit range has two main areas which are outlined below:

  • Creating software and developing assistance programs for software as medical devices or other digital health technologies before they reach the public.
  • Integrating useful metrics to track, evaluate and report pre-market health submissions.

In order to diversify the efficiency throughout this new centralized digital health unit, the FDA has confirmed that the agency will be hiring experts from the private sector instead of bringing in talent internally.

“The world of digital health has a lot of expertise that we need to supplement our organization with,” Bakul Patel, associate director of digital health in the FDA’s CDRH states. “If we had to do it all internally, then it would defeat the purpose.”

However, it will be quite difficult to hire professionals with particular expertise in complex areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and cybersecurity. While the salaries for these types of positions are quite high, Patel is hesitant with regard to hiring fresh, young talent right of college.

In other words, retention an area of concern within the FDA recruitment process He is aware that this type of position at the FDA is an experience booster, making these young professionals even more marketable, leading them to leave within a few years for another opportunity.  

In this competitive market, it is possible that the above factors will make it hard for even new centralized health units to retain talent when there are a wide spectrum of incoming opportunities in the private and public sectors.

3 Digital Healthcare Trends That We Can Expect To See More Of In 2017

Last year, we saw a lot of disruption of the healthcare industry that improved the patient experience for the better. In 2017, we can expect a continuation of this as the industry shifts to a more value-based model. Many of the new technological advances used in hospitals have brought on a greater emphasis on preventative medicine, reduced costs and patient-centered and patient-powered care. Other aspects that have been making an impact are telemedicine, wearable remote monitoring and Electronic Health Records. Here are a few changes that we can expect to see in 2017:

 

1) Clinical Trials

Medical devices can be used to monitor the patients who are participants in clinical trials for new drugs and other therapies. Pharmaceutical companies rarely have the ability to monitor trial participants on a 24-hour basis. If electronic data can be sent via devices around the clock, researchers will be able to come to conclusions much sooner. According to a 2016 survey by digital device enterprise Validic, devices are being used more and more for clinical trial data collection. When data is generated by patients and streamed directly to clinical trial managers in real time, the information is much more accurate than it would be if patients visited periodically and relied on memories.

 

2) Digital Monitoring

Wearables are able to monitor aspects of a patient’s health like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, weight, mediation and levels of activity. When a patient uses any kind of wearable, whether it is a small device or a patch, a steady stream of data can be sent to healthcare providers and used to evaluate a patient. Recent research shows that in 2015, the medical device industry market totalled approximately $5.1 billion, and it will probably triple by 2020 and more healthcare providers will begin to take the concept on board.

 

3) Consumer Use of Digital Health

Consumers are gaining awareness of the need to monitor their own health to prevent future health conditions. Digital technology is being used in a much more abundant way than it was before. In 2016, a venture that invests in health-related startups called Rock Health released its annual survey about summer trends in healthcare. The survey found that 56 percent of respondents were utilizing at least three types of digital health, a huge increase from 19 percent in 2015.

Only 20 percent of respondents said they did not use any digital health technology. Of the respondents, 10 percent of them were considered avid users of digital health technologies such as telemedicine, wearables, electronic access to medical records and more. Unsurprisingly, millennials dominate the digital health market. In a constantly changing world, technology is truly altering the healthcare market for the better. Advances in digital healthcare changing the world, and we can expect this to continue in 2017.

Stanford Is Changing The Digital Health Sphere With Launch Of New Digital Health Center

stanfordOn January 17, 2017, the Stanford University School of Medicine announced the launch of the Center for Digital Health, which is dedicated to supporting collaborations between Stanford’s faculty and tech companies in Silicon Valley. These collaborations will have the potential to result in the development, testing and implementation of new digital health tools. The Center for Digital Health works to advance the field of digital health by conducting clinical research, promoting partnership and spreading education to the next generation.

Stanford has been working to improve patient care through precision health, and Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, feels that the Center for Digital Health will be able to further this mission. Because Stanford Medicine’s faculty are equipped with biomedical expertise and are located in Silicon Valley, Stanford Medicine has immense potential to become a leader in digital health. The Center for Digital Health uses the most advanced digital tools and technologies to tailor care to individual patients. For this reason, Minor states, the choice to open the Center aligns with the mission of the biomedical revolution in precision health at Stanford.

According to Sumbul Desai, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine and executive director of the center, the idea for the center came from the need to provide guidance and support to faculty who were being contacted by tech companies and startups with offers to collaborate. Stanford’s faculty wanted to give the faculty more opportunities by providing the resources and infrastructure necessary for these relationships to develop. The center will be able to help connect faculty with people in the tech industry, and vice versa.

There are currently a lot of digital health startups in existence. It’s important that doctors, hospitals, patients, insurers, investors and regulators are aware of which solutions will work. Mintu Turakhia, MD, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine and senior director of research and innovation at the center, stated that high-quality evidence is necessary for making informed decisions.

He leads efforts to advance research in digital health. This can involve anything from implementation studies to technology assessments to multicenter trials. Turakhia is also the principal investigator for five trials in the field of digital health. Of these trials, the largest one is a randomized trial to test whether digital interventions combined with health coaches improve adherence to medication in people with atrial fibrillation. The trial involves 400 patients at 25 sites. This is an important trial since atrial fibrillation affects 4 million U.S. adults.

Turakhia says that even after evidence has been found, there are a number of questions that need to be answered. The faculty members need to figure out the best way to make new digital tools a part of health care. They need to determine if the new advances will actually make patient care better and whether they are worth the costs.

Lauren Cheung, MD, BMA, clinical assistant professor of medicine and senior director of strategy and operations for the center stated that there is not much evidence that can determine how to incorporate digital tools into practice. This is where Stanford’s faculty members come in. With their experience they can help design and implement digital health tools.

Training will be provided to physician in digital health medicine through the center’s fellowships, conferences, internship opportunities and traditional classroom material. Educational programs will also be offered to industry members.

It is clear that the center has the power to truly change the way medicine and tech collide. With the launching of this new center, Stanford will be able to make strides in digital health, which will have a large positive impact on patient care.