AI in healthcare: How to build a technology ecosystem
AI in healthcare: How to build a technology ecosystem
Interview with Dr. Chii Wann Lin, Industrial Technology Research Institute, Vice President and General Director, Biomedical Technology and Device Research Laboratories, Taiwan
Taiwan has long been a model for the implementation and use of new technologies. It is thus only natural that Taiwanese companies are forerunners when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare. This is also one of the topics of this year’s MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM.
Dr. Chii Wann Lin
In this interview with MEDICA-tradefair.com, Dr. Chii Wann Lin talks about the impact of AI on Taiwan healthcare. He will give two presentations on this topic.
Dr. Lin, how does AI currently influence the healthcare sector?
Dr. Chii Wann Lin: Implanting AI into healthcare systems, such as IoT, 5G, Algorithm and machine learning, has created positive and significant changes in medical fields. AI improves the efficiency and accuracy of diagnosis, reduces the load of medical personnel, and is cost effective at the same time. The influence of AI can also be seen on personalizing the healthcare plan. Through the analysis of PHR (Personal Health Record) and recognizing the risk factors for health, AI can assist doctors to predict potential diseases and prevent the emergent danger from patients.
Since the collaboration between BioTech and AI has opened the age of smart medical care, Taiwan's ICT industries, such as Foxconn (Honhai), ASUS, Quanta, Acer and Wistron, are working with medical-related organizations too. Their cooperation has been accelerating the improvement of Taiwan’s smart healthcare. For example, ASUS has been investing into medical care for years, they established their own AI R&D center called AICS, and innovated "Miraico" which is implementing ICD-10 codes and NLP (Natural Language Processing) to categorize and structure EMR (Electronic Medical Record). The solution now is used in 15 medical centers and hospitals in Taiwan to improve the efficiency on the EMR management. The collaboration of medical fields and technology industries is influencing the entire medical environment thoroughly, and Taiwan’s government also takes these cross-disciplinary integrations as the major approach to the plans of future smart healthcare.
Where is this development heading, in which areas will AI contribute even more to healthcare in the future than it does already today?
Lin: AI has contributed throughout the entire healthcare ecosystem, the applications could generally be categorized in four phases of medical care: Prediction, Detection, Diagnosis and treatment advice. A successful use of AI and smart MedTech consist of the efforts from medical sector, information technology industry (Algorithm of big data, IoT, machine learning, etc.) and supervising organizations. They worked together, have extended the possibility of MedTech innovation and also created more opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation.
Through the development of smart medical care in recent years, it is not hard to predict the future transformation of healthcare will move forward to precision and prevention medicine, to use telemedicine to transform hospital to "homspital". More cross-disciplinary collaborations will be required, then ideally to form an ecosystem. Taiwan is working on this vision as well. The advantage we have is integrating the big healthcare data from our medical system via the ICT industries, and also we have been actively working on international cooperations and striving to make contributions to the world’s smart healthcare development.
The Health2Sync app supports people in Asia in the management of chronic diseases.
Can you tell us about examples where AI is already successfully used in healthcare in Taiwan?
Lin: Given the mature development of high-tech industries in Taiwan, we are having a profound capability from the technology industries to support building a smart medical care system, and we are glad to see there have been many remarkable collaborations between IT and Medical industries. Use Acer as an example. Acer has done cross-industry work with the global healthcare company Novartis and National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) and invented the AI-assisted diagnostic software which now is already used for diagnosing diabetic retinopathy. The software was created and adjusted by AI learning models over the data of 100,000 patients and retinal images from both from inside and outside of Taiwan. It analyzes the level of diabetic retinopathy. The accuracy is over 95% which is very close to the diagnosis by ophthalmologists. This effectively helps doctors to identify the patients that may potentially have diabetic retinopathy at the early stage.
Another successful case is the Taiwan's start-up company Health2sync which has the biggest digital healthcare platform for chronic disease in Asia. They not only attracted AstraZeneca to invest in the smart medical management platform, but also are working with Sanofi on implementing a mobile app for diabetics personalized health control into 300 hospitals and health centers in Taiwan. The app can help to increase patients' glucose control and improve their understanding of insulin. Also, the patient-consented health data can be analyzed and managed via the Health2sync platform. Due to the benefits of the app, the Japan insurance company Sompo Himawari Life has also invested in the app. Its users now can purchase the insurance directly via the app and integrate the health data with the calculation of insurance fee. Furthermore, Health2sync's solutions are starting to apply on assisting more patients with chronic diseases in their daily healthcare.
Smart medicine is expanding rapidly in Taiwan, our research organization National Biotechnology Research Park has been collaborating with Amazon Web Services and AstraZeneca for the project called “Beyond MioMed Accelerator” to support local companies that focus on the AI sector and smart medical devices, and to help them to speed up the process of the products or solutions, and ultimately enrich Taiwan’s industrial supply chain in smart MedTech markets.
What will you talk about in your presentation at MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM?
Lin: I will have three key points to deliver: The first one is to explain the unique potential of Taiwan's medical industry, and examples of the cooperation with medical MNC to show our capability of innovating and manufacturing smart medical devices. Second, I will share how Taiwan’s government and industries committed to build a health ecosystem, and the milestone cases to help the audiences to visualize what AI and smart MedTech applications would look like in reality. Furthermore, as innovative companies have raised rapidly in medical field, I will talk about how to join hands with the start-ups to enable a health ecosystem.
What are you looking forward to, regarding this event?
Lin: COVID-19 has for sure changed the international trade mode, and created certain level of boundary for business interaction and networking. I am glad to join this grant event and look forward to promote Taiwan's smart MedTech industry in person. Through this great platform, I hope to assist Taiwan's companies open more business opportunities with other international industries from different countries, and work together in smart MedTech market, digital medical care and telehealth development to prepare a better future for human beings.
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