Oftentimes, in any tech industry, it’s easy to get stuck talking potential rather than what’s in action right here, right now. When it comes to a space that evolves in slow-mo like healthcare, the promises of tomorrow seem doomed to stay in the future tense. We all know our current healthcare system is grossly inefficient; we all know heavy regulation and provider-side risk aversion bog down innovation. Even implementing that innovation is, at least initially, incredibly costly. But, as machine and deep learning applications continue to improve at an extraordinary rate, we have to consider artificial intelligence from industry-wide perspectives of implementation, rather than just addressing mere pockets. And healthcare especially offers a rich interconnection of pain points that AI can solve.

For Part II of our Big Players in AI series, we’ll discuss the companies that are offering groundbreaking solutions to healthcare’s biggest problems.

Virtual Nursing Assistants

If you’ve been following our blog for even a short time, you know how much we’ve been exploring how innovation can help mitigate the current nursing shortage.  While part of this issue stems from career disenchantment, there’s also a lot that can be solved by AI healthcare in the home setting, specifically monitoring the elderly population through mobile health and IoT devices in order to reduce the number of unnecessary ER visits.

San Francisco-based Sense.ly offers, through their smartphone app, “an entire fleet of AI-powered nurse avatars” that maintains constant communication between physicians and patients, while preventing readmission and promoting healthy lifestyle habits. Sense.ly accomplishes this through such technologies as speech and body recognition, telemedicine, medical IoT device integration, all built around its “core, rule-based engine and algorithms built around commonly accepted medical protocols for diagnosing and dealing with chronic diseases.” On the patient-side of things, a nurse avatar interacts with patient’s empathetically, allowing them to communicate hands-free as if they were speaking to their actual physician. Three of Sense.ly’s main treatment areas are diabetes, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Administrative Workflow Assistants

While Nuance offers a host of solutions across many industries, its healthcare products aim to optimize clinical documentation across the continuum of care. The idea is that, because our national healthcare system is transitioning toward a population health model, clinicians will be evaluated more so based on their documented care, rather than the care they deliver. Through a combination of speech recognition, cloud-based computing, and machine and deep learning, Nuance’s software helps both physicians and clinical documentation specialists boost their workflow efficiency.

The Computer-Physician Documentation software:

  • “ensures consistent recommendations”
  • “drives everything from appropriate reimbursement to compliance with regulatory requirements to improved quality outcomes”
  • “reduces distracting retrospective queries”

The Computer-Assisted Clinical Documentation Improvement software:

  • immediately uncovers opportunities to further clarify documentation”
  • improves productivity
  • frees Clinical Documentation Specialists to use their knowledge and skills to focus on more complex cases, review additional cases and expand payer coverage

Mining Medical Records

DeepMind, a London-based AI startup bought by Google in 2014, has been involved in a variety of partnerships with hospitals throughout the U.K.’s National Health Service. One of DeepMind’s current projects involves Streams, a “secure instant alert app” that aims to drastically reduce the number of “failure to rescue” cases–when a nurse or doctor doesn’t respond in time to save a quickly-deteriorating patient. Essentially, here, the warning signs of otherwise treatable illnesses are not detected early enough. Via the Streams deep-learning app, a patient’s test results are speedily reviewed, then compared to that patient’s own medical history as well as to a wide range of other relevant test results and data available in the many IT systems within that hospital’s network. If immediate care is needed, an urgent, secure smartphone alert is sent to the proper clinician, along with a summary of the data that helped the Streams app to arrive at its conclusions. The number one concern for this technology right now, however, is ensuring that the usage of this trove of patient data by Streams does not violate patient privacy rights.

The Future Begins Yesterday

As a nationally-recognized entrepreneurial and innovation center, tekMountain strives to provide game-changing consultation on implementing new technologies within a variety of industries, but healthcare especially grabs our attention. As almost 20% of US GDP, healthcare offers an arena for innovation that can truly alter the course of human history through widening access and reduction of costs.

 

Contact tekMountain to learn more about how your healthcare company can realize the future today.

 

This blog was produced by the tekMountain Team of Sean AhlumAmanda SipesBill DiNome and Beth Roddy with lead writer Zach Cioffi.

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