IoT Agenda

Dec 8 2016   11:41AM GMT

Artificial intelligence disruptions in healthcare

Sudha Jamthe Sudha Jamthe Profile: Sudha Jamthe

Artificial intelligence
Deep learning
Internet of Things
Machine learning

When you visited the doctor the last time, do you remember meeting her AI helper? No, I don’t remember either. But guess what, artificial intelligence (AI) is looking at our biometrics and combing through millions of past patient history and medical research papers to make predictions about our health.

Read on whether you are a healthcare provider, work in a hospital or clinic or health insurance or pharmaceutical company or you are an entrepreneur aspiring to bring AI to any of these industries.

Value from healthcare data

U.S. healthcare could make $300 billion with healthcare data

Hospitals are losing $300 billion yearly just in the U.S. from the lost opportunity of creating value from healthcare data. Healthcare data is growing in volume to reach a new measurement unit called yottabytes, one of which is the equivalent of 280 bytes.


Artificial intelligence technologies are beginning to be employed on healthcare data to make sense of patterns of fraud, improve clinical inefficiencies and coordinate care processes to reduce healthcare costs by 80%.

AI disruptions in healthcare has begun.

Top AI disruptions in healthcare

Connected hospitals with intelligent messaging
In today’s hospitals, pacemakers, defibrillators and oximeters are all connected to the internet and share vitals immediately with doctors, in turn speeding response times. Hospitals have technicians, nurses, staff, billing departments, insurance providers, patients and patients’ families as stakeholders, each with different requirements of information about the care given to patient.

Unified Inbox offers an AI-based unified cloud IoT messaging platform for internet of things devices to connect various stakeholders, giving them the freedom to receive different messages at different frequency, with different senses of urgency in different mediums of their choice. Unified Inbox launched this at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore as “CUBE,” the IoT-secured messaging gateway for healthcare. The artificial intelligence makes the hospitals connected, giving peace of mind to patients and their loved ones while improving efficiency in the overall hospital management and interaction with all stakeholders.

Unified Inbox AI disruptions

Drones as a service
Artificial intelligence is used in the form of machine learning and computer vision to train drones to drive autonomously. Drones are now deployed as a service and have begun disrupting healthcare industry.

Zipline, drone AI disruptions

Zipline makes a drone that delivers medical supplies in Rwanda. Delft University in the Netherlands has piloted the Ambulance Drone, which can drive autonomously to an emergency site on-demand and will act as the eyes of remote emergency personnel while acting as a connected defibrillator.

Robotic haptic feedback toys and robotic surgery
Robots are driven using artificial intelligence. BigAu makes robots in the form of toys for kids in long-term care in hospitals. BigAu uses IBM Watson’s AI technology to teach the robot biomimicry social skills to collect information about how the child is feeling from biometrics and haptic feedback to get optimal care for the child.

Robotic surgery is another area where robots are used to perform remote surgery with a skilled surgeon at a console in the operating room, manipulating the wristed robotic instruments in real-time. DaVinci Surgical Systems have performed robotic surgery on three million patients. Robots are not only used for remote access, but also for precision during the surgery.

Robotic Surgery DaVinci System

Robotic arms are also being developed to act as prosthetic arms for disabled patients, but with the help of AI they allow the patient to move the robotic arm using their mind by mapping the electric pulses from their thoughts.

Deep learning algorithms
AI algorithms can comb through large volumes of patient data to look for patterns to make a personalized prediction about whether a patient is likely to get certain diseases. DeepMind, a Google company, has partnered with NHS in the UK with an app called Streams to apply deep learning AI algorithms to patient data to predict kidney failures or eye problems before they occur. DeepMind also uses AI to help doctors separate out cancer cells from non-cancer cells for radiation therapy.


DeepMind, AI disruptions

IBM Watson AI took 10 minutes to comb through 20 million cancer research papers, and helped a patient in Japan get the right treatment by spotting a rare type of leukemia. IBM Watson has partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and created Watson Oncology to augment the physician’s experience to identify the type of cancer in patients. IBM is making this AI available for their employees and their families fighting cancer starting in January 2017.

IBM Watson, AI healthcare

AI is here to save lives now!

Wearables inside us
Wearables are becoming available as pills to swim inside our bodies. This seems far-fetched, but the applications from such pills are also equally amazing.

Proteus offers a FDA approved pill that can track our biometrics from inside our bodies. Nanobots are tiny devices that swim inside our body and share pictures of our cells. This creates a huge volume of images, which are processed by artificial intelligence using machine learning to identify cancer cells. The nanobots can then be used to kill the cancer cells.

Nanobot, AI in healthcare

Which AI innovation will disrupt the world?

Which of these AI disruptions do you think will change the world of medicine, extend life and change our interaction with intelligent machines? Which AI do you see disrupting your industry? Where do you see the opportunity? Do you see any challenges for your industry?

I am excited to meet my doctors’ AI helper soon. Are you?

I look forward to your thoughts and continuing the discussion.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

4  Comments on this Post

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  • BrianBuntz1
    The possibilities are fascinating as AI takes hold in healthcare. Two questions that come to my mind are: How supportive will clinicians likely be of this transition? Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson stopped producing its Sedasys machine, which was designed to automate anesthesia. The reason? It was partly resistance from doctors and nurses.

    Proteus Digital Health, whom you mention, has developed a very novel technology as well. Earlier this year, however, FDA declined to clear its Proteus-Otsuka sensor pill for the time being.
    I'm all ready for technology to disrupt the healthcare landscape. One of the themes that I saw from covering the medical technology field as a journalist is that it it can be extraordinarily hard to create a truly revolutionary product in this industry. It will be interesting to see how the consolidation of the industry will affect innovation in the long term. Will it make it less innovative? That's a tough question because there is clearly room for improvement in healthcare systems across the world — many of which are battling increasing costs and inefficiencies. 
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  • Sudha Jamthe
    @Brian both are excellent questions.

    1. Healthcare industry resists changes from the FDA with strict compliance and from the clinicians seeing adoption or lack there of by patients,

    Strict FDA approval is good as it will make the business innovate within the limits of patient safety and privacy. In the Sedasys machine case I haven't seen the clinical trial data or adoption data. Administering anesthesia is a complex process and will affect lives so there I am guessing must been low adoption out of fear for lives.

    2. To your second question about speed and need for adoption in Healthcare I'd say this. The innovations I am seeing in IoT are not just tech innovations for the sake of cool technology because it is possible to make devices connected. Continuous care products reduce readmission rates bringing the cost down. The same is true for remote patient monitoring. It helps in cases like diabetes. I am optimistic that it will work to reduce costs motivating the healthcare business in partnership with patients who get to see their own data and see the impact of taking responsibility for their own health.

    On the AI front, the innovation will happen only when we allow the AI to learn using large volume of data. That has begun with IBM and Deepmind so we'll see results. What business model it takes and who will bear the cost is something we have to wait to see once it takes off mainstream.

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  • karthi1975


    Using Probabilities and Other Methods to deal with Uncertain Data and Knowledge"

    AI is all about dealing with uncertanity. I believe it will help the future Doctors (Always the younger generations are advanced in Technology in older generations) with effectively use Smart AI agent for their assistance . We can also  explore the possibly use of NLP AI in the clinical environment for staff to augment their day to day job.Getting docs buy in tough cookie to crack but clinical staff buy in will be easier.

    Another upcoming talks are AI can leverage the use "neuroprosthetics" describes the use of electronic devices to replace the function of impaired nervous systems or sensory organs.

    AI can be very smart and intelligent but without human if AI alone exist then humans are
    irrelevant. Lets stop hero worship. Here is a case
    In 2011, people playing Foldit, an online puzzle game about protein folding, resolved the structure of an enzyme that causes an Aids-like disease in monkeys. Researchers had been working on the problem for 13 years. The gamers solved it in three weeks." Humans solved
    this problem in few weeks that an algorithm could not. So we are capable of beating AI as collectively. It is time for us humans to evolve how to leverage AI to keep us in top of the game.

    Some of my random thoughts.
    My Biggest concern is when all are done using Smart AI agent what we are going to do ? Is that Artificial intelligence decides the fate of the human live. There is always smart people and more followers as per human history. Are we going to follow the AI? or ride along the AI. We compete for human resource as usual and will AI compete for computing resources.?


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  • Sudha Jamthe
    @karthi you make a good point about clinicians being more receptive to change in Healthcare than doctors. I wonder why.

    Re: your point about AI taking over humans.  I don't see a 'being done with Smart AI' coming any time soon.  We are in very early stages of getting data to build out Machine Learning to solve problems which are hard for humans to do manually by writing computer logic. AI in healthcare is doing quick classification, pattern matching and anomaly detection to scan research documents and images of pathogen or cells at a faster rate than humans to augment the experience of healthcare professionals. This is nowhere near a 'Smart AI' that can act autonomously let alone take over humans.

    My prediction is that once we solve the problem of disease detection with AI, and prosthetics to augment lost parts and access to global health expertise with Robotic surgery and telepresence, our horizons will expand and we will get visibility to the next set of problems and innovate to improve our quality of life.
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