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2022: The year of AI

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a major theme in the news this year, and not only in health tech.

AI art platform Midjourney sparked ongoing debate about issues of creativity and ownership.

And in recent months, OpenAI’s ChatGPT has raised the bar again. The platform has 175 billion parameters trained on 570 gigabytes of text, enabling it to vastly outperform its predecessor.

In health tech, AI has sped up diagnosis, improved operational efficiency and helped slash waiting times across the NHS.

We take a look back at the highlights from an incredible year of health tech AI.

AI heart monitoring cuts waiting times

Hospitals in England began trialling a new monitoring device that patients wear at home to help improve and speed up the diagnosis of irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia).

In Liverpool Heart and Chest – one of the hospitals where the technology had been piloted – patient waiting lists have been reduced from as high as eight weeks to a matter of days.

Health professionals speak out in defence of AI

Health Tech World took the temperature of some doctors and healthcare professionals to find out their thoughts on the rapid acceleration of AI in the health space.

Among them, Dr Avi Mehra, who said:

“We are still in the early stages of its application and we need to improve data access, quality and diversity in order to train and validate reliable AI systems and generate better clinical, economic and ethical evidence before we will see its true potential unleashed in healthcare.

“One major benefit AI can have is to free up time for clinicians and healthcare staff to focus on delivering high quality patient care, by automating time-consuming, routine administrative tasks and processes.”

AI ‘becomes conscious’. Or does it?

Not health tech exactly, but this story has implications for AI-enabled health tools.

Tech experts were caught up in hot debate after a Google engineer claimed that their chatbot was a sentient being.

Blake Lemoine not only described the LaMDA AI as sentient, but suggested that it had a perception of and could think like a human child.

The engineer told the Washington Post:

“If I didn’t know exactly what it was, which is this computer program we built recently, I’d think it was a seven-year-old, eight-year-old kid that happens to know physics.”

AI ‘predicts mood and emotional state’ in 10 seconds

Earkick launches MoodInsights – a new AI-powered tool that can decipher your mental state from 10 seconds of your voice, and then use it to help you feel better.

The tool works by combining vast sources of data, the algorithm can understand the context in which each individual is situated and identify what influences each user’s mental health.

Earkick’s CEO Herbert Bay told Health Tech World:

“Unlike current approaches that use a single-shot of voice biomarkers only, Earkick’s algorithm innovates by using a multi-shot technology approach that supports text, voice, and even video to generate a rich picture of the user’s mental health.”

Bay: “Earkick’s MoodInsightsTM engine, is a breakthrough in applied AI technology development that truly helps individuals to master mental health.”

AI takes on the global diet crisis

A strategic partnership between AI nutrition technology company Spoon Guru and Google Cloud highlighted the need for innovative, grocery retail solutions in a global diet crisis.

The partnership will bring Artificial Intelligence to health and nutrition, and potentially help with globally poor diet choices.

It is designed to create dynamic, personalised digital nutrition services readily available to people through technology anywhere, and at any time.

AI platform reveals vaccine supply chain holdups

The AI-led 7bridges platform revealed major supply chain challenges around the UK – unveiling  regional hotspots of patients waiting the longest.

The analysis finds that, with around 30 million flu jabs expected to be administered across England, there are areas where vaccine supply and demand are not matching up and leaving people at risk as a result of these delays.

Matei Beremski, CTO and founder of 7bridges, says:

“With the broadening of the annual flu vaccine scheme to 50 to 65-year-olds – an estimated group of nearly 11 million – it was likely that surges in demand would make already complex pharmaceutical supply chains even more difficult to manage.

“But although all of the data used by 7bridges to map supply vs demand is publicly available, it is not currently being used to optimise the flu vaccine supply chain and minimise delays.”

‘Siri for care’ to cut A&E visits by 50 percent

Europe’s largest provider of digital-first home healthcare, Cera, begins trialling a groundbreaking voice assistant nationwide, which plans to cut A&E visits in half.

Cera’s tech has already been proven to reduce hospitalisation rates by 52 per cent using machine learning and data analytics, and anticipates up to 80 per cent of hospitalisations seven days in advance.

Dr Ben Maruthappu MBE, CEO and Co-founder of Cera, says:

“This voice assistant is the innovative next step in our journey to becoming the leader in digital-first healthcare-at-home, as we look to support the NHS in managing unprecedented pressures.

“An automated phone call could save a call to emergency services – critical when staff burnout and waiting lists are at an all-time high – by monitoring health deteriorations through smart machine learning.

“As it’s powered by artificial intelligence, this programme offers a rapidly scalable approach to care, with the scope to be rolled out to millions of patients at low cost.

“We are excited to see how this trial goes and the impact that it has on our carers and patients. Watch this space!”

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