AI and Big data analytics It allows healthcare providers in the Middle East to make faster and more cost-effective diagnoses, according to a broad cross-section of healthcare professionals. Along with the increasing use of artificial intelligence and big data, security concerns about data privacy are also on the rise.
Artificial intelligence is one of the fastest growing segments of the global healthcare market today. According to the forecasts of Frost & Sullivan, it will reach $6.6 billion by the end of this year. These growth rates are possible thanks to the massive amounts of data generated by a variety of devices, which can be analyzed and acted upon.
Healthcare professionals in the Middle East attest to the effectiveness and increasing use of AI.
“We started our digital transformation journey last year with a focus on technology as the core of the foundation of the American Hospital. We have teamed up with some big names like Oracle and Microsoft to build a new level of intelligence when it comes to models,” said Ahmed Yehia, CIO at American Hospital Dubai. “.
The hospital’s IT team has created a new COVID diagnostics application built on its own clinical database and modeling from Cerner. It was customized and validated by clinical staff in the hospital’s intensive care unit, and helped identify risk factors for patients, as well as decide who would go to the intensive care unit.
Two other AI-based diagnostic applications aim to identify asthma patients and predict whether emergency patients will go to the inpatient ward.
“We are currently working on all of these AI models with one of them, COVID, and it has already been validated, while the other two are about to be validated. Earlier this year, Yahya revealed at Arab Health 2021 in Arab Health 2021, that we are also working on going live early next year with real-time monitoring of patients’ sentiment, satisfaction, and (hospital) capacity, which can help allocate resources to Dubai.
With a wealth of historical medical records available for analysis, AI could be useful in making a diagnosis and selecting the appropriate treatment, providing the clinician with a “third opinion,” healthcare professionals say. Artificial intelligence applications are able to analyze all available medical information about a particular disease, and find out the most effective treatments and drugs in the entire history of medical practice.
Big data is driving the growth of AI applications
Medicine is a data-rich field in which accuracy is perhaps the most important factor. The more data the algorithms process, the more accurate and correct they will be able to draw conclusions based on. Meanwhile, different types of technology in use today are generating an increasing volume of health data, according to Massimo Canizzo, CEO of Gellify, a venture capital firm that in October launched a $50 million fund with management group Azimut to invest in companies that provide care. health. and emerging technology in the Middle East.
There are, for example, many wearables that are gaining popularity and are generating health information, including portable heart rate and blood pressure monitors – devices that can constantly monitor your heart rate or blood sugar.
As their cost decreases and the functionality of already popular fitness bracelets expands, AI-based diagnostic systems will receive more data about each individual patient’s health, giving the clinician the opportunity to prescribe a treatment plan more accurately and efficiently.
The emergence of so-called enhanced healthcare is evidenced by the wearables market growth figures in the Middle East and North Africa, where 25% of the adult population is expected to be using a wearable device by 2022, according to Cannizzo.
Artificial intelligence for diseases and workflow improvement
Algorithms and AI models — programs or groups of algorithms that use a set of data to recognize patterns and perform tasks — are constantly improving, and this progress is already finding expression in specific applications in the medical field.
AI will not only help with clinical assessments, but it will also streamline processes and workflows, according to Kentaro Suzuki, general manager at medical equipment maker Canon Medical. For example, it could shorten the time of an MRI scan, Suzuki said.
“We believe that AI is a tool for the medical profession to improve the current capability of imaging equipment,” said Suzuki.
AI applications can analyze medical images and find early signs of a disease that a doctor might not notice. “It will not replace humans and will not diagnose patients directly,” Suzuki said. However, the “third opinion” that AI can offer is of particular relevance to oncological diseases, as early initiation of treatment can dramatically improve prognosis for a speedy recovery.
The role of artificial intelligence in genomics
AI can also change the way we think about genetics, pushing the frontiers of genomics research. Recent research shows that an artificial neural network is able to identify and detect patterns with large amounts of genetic data, thus revealing the combinations and sequences of genes associated with specific diseases.
Because diseases are “coded” into a person’s genetic sequence, being able to understand genetic information at the most detailed level is currently the key to determining how to treat them.
Advances in genomics have been difficult due to the complexity of genetic data. Thanks to the ability of artificial intelligence to classify and analyze a wide range of data in a short period of time, practitioners are now anticipating breakthroughs in the study of genomes.
“I think we are all shifting towards more automated workflows and smart technologies, including in genomics virtually because we are producing a large amount of data that is impossible to manually evaluate and understand,” said Professor Walid Mohamed Abu Hammour, a clinical molecular geneticist, director of the Genomics Center at Al Jalila Children’s Specialist Hospital, and Associate Professor of Genetics at Mohammed bin Rashid University.
Artificial intelligence, in particular, could make progress in helping treat rare diseases. Joshua Simmons, director of data strategy at Genomics England, noted that about 80% of the so-called rare diseases are genomic diseases, and 50% of them are found in children.
“We want to integrate the combination of AI and genomics into routine medical care to approve outcomes and treatments for patients to discover new drugs and improve lives nationally,” Simmons said.
These types of approaches, integrated into routine clinical medicine, Simmons said, will enable decision support systems to determine the best treatments for patients, who, for example, can now do diabetes blood tests at home. He said technology is developing that will allow cancer patients to take their own blood samples and analyze tumor DNA (ctDNA) to determine if they are responding to treatment.
AI security concerns are increasing
With an increasing number of companies applying emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics in healthcare, concerns about security and patient privacy are growing.
“We have a lot of companies in digital health and many of them use artificial intelligence. We also have companies that use surgical robots or make robots. Marwan Janahi, managing director of the Dubai Science Park (DSP), which was set up to position the UAE as a major R&D destination, said, “The number of these companies is increasing.”
Janahi said there are more than 400 companies in DSP, employing more than 4,000 people, and the healthcare sector is constantly evolving. He said that the role of AI in healthcare is becoming increasingly important, but at the same time healthcare professionals must be very careful about information about patients and how to secure their privacy.
There are a variety of ways to handle the security of patient data. For example, Janahi said that the UAE ICT law issued in January 2019 requires patient data to be stored in the country, where there are very strict data protection laws.
Janahi noted that the data should be owned by the patient, but at the same time flexibility is needed because sometimes there is a need to share information with other parts of the world to enhance healthcare knowledge and get other opinions.
Yehia of the American Hospital said healthcare officials should take a variety of approaches toward data security. “We use a typical approach when it comes to cybersecurity, like having firewalls, etc. But the weakest link is your people and what really matters is [security] Awareness, which is extremely important to us, he said.
As a precaution, the hospital is doing some mock trial attacks to raise awareness among its personnel within the institution, he said.
More AI training is needed
Khaled Galwa Adin, Marketing Director of Solutions for Digital Healthcare at Etisalat, said that while healthcare has evolved into one of humanity’s great success stories due to advances in medicine and technology, it is at the same time going through a crisis due to the challenges it faces. Digital.
While life expectancy is higher today than ever before, there is a huge shortage of healthcare professionals to cover the demand. There is also concern about how costs are managed and controlled. This is why healthcare professionals are looking for new technologies that can improve costs and support human care providers, he said.
To prepare for the challenges ahead, more data scientists, data governance engineers, and other types of roles are needed. In addition to CEOs, “Why not be head of AI?” Asked Adin.
He suggested that healthcare organizations look to the skill sets they need to possess in the future.
“Over the past 20 years, we’ve generated data that will need a large number of people to process it. If we don’t have people with the right set of skills to interpret and model that information, we won’t be able to overcome those challenges,” Aden said.