CIOs believe industry convergence is the biggest trend on the horizon. Lines between industries are blurring, and new opportunities and threats are emerging, according to IBM’s “The CIO Point of View.” One of the greatest convergences is between technology giants and healthcare.
As a trends writer, I talk to many stakeholders, including leaders from technology giants, all of whom have designs on the future of health. While healthcare is trying to come up with standards, tech giants are creating their own ecosystems in health.
At the center, I see cognitive systems and advanced AI technologies making connections between everything, and fundamentally changing the way healthcare is delivered, and quicker than many may imagine.
Advanced artificial intelligence technologies will be the on-demand Uber of healthcare, enabling real-time action at the point of care – wherever that may be in the ‘mobile medical’ world. Many think Uber’s disruption was replacing the taxicab industry. Uber is actually replacing the need to own a car. Uber has replaced my car, and I am not a millennial. Technology giants and startups will use machine learning, cognitive computing, deep learning, and virtual assistants to replace many aspects of healthcare delivery.
Google’s DeepMind Health
Google bought DeepMind in 2014, and recently brought its artificial intelligence capabilities to health starting in the UK. Dr. Chris Laing, Associate Medical Director of Patient Safety, Royal Free London NHS Foundation, says DeepMind brings a welcomed problem-solving capability,
“It’s been very interesting to have a collaboration between hospital and DeepMind. We’re very interested in streaming and speed for clinical data to mobile platforms because most of our teams spend a lot of their day on the move.”
AI will connect the Internet of Everything
AI is no longer science fiction. It is not only automating many human tasks, it is now more sophisticated in decision-making. Decision-making algorithms already in use can determine who is a terrorist.
Google’s DeepMind-based program, AlphaGO, recently demonstrated the power of machines to learn by defeating one of the world’s strongest GO players in history, not once, but four out of five times. In “Is AlphaGO Really Such a Big Deal?”, Michael Nielsen says yes, “The Go-playing program captures elements of human intuition, an advance that promises far-reaching consequences.”
Much has changed recently, and “Artificial intelligence and language” is a great primer on the evolution and different subsets of artificial intelligence.
According to Professor Barry Dwolatsky, we will be living in a different world in only five or ten years. However, he says, right now is really about the Internet of Everything, “We should see results from AI and big data, in fact so much so, there should be real disruption that challenges traditional industries to either reinvent or shut their doors.”
According to Gartner, by 2020, 25 billion devices will be generating data. Making sense of all this data will be the trick, and that is where cognitive systems and AI come in.
Cognitive Computing and the Internet of Everything
In this very interesting video, Sudha Jamthe from Stanford interviews Mounir Shita of Kimera Systems and Toby Ruckert of Unified Communications about their collaboration. Kimera has a technology called Nigel, described as not just smart, but intelligent. So instead of the ‘if this, then that’ way of communicating between sensors and devices, Nigel makes and communicates a decision by aggregating multiple data points and devices. For example, when the sensor on your refrigerator detects you have run out of milk, Nigel would not automatically add milk to your shopping list, but would actually contact your wife – who Nigel knows is near a grocery store – and tell her to pick up some milk.
The Virtual Assistant is Tracking Your Health
Natural language processing (NLP) is a field of computer science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages. – Wikipedia
“The next step is to get online services to understand natural language, not just the meaning of words, but entire sentences and even paragraphs,” says Cade Metz in Wired. And that is what all tech giants are trying to do. The race is on for the best virtual assistant. Amazon Echo’s Alexa was already showing promise for healthcare in 2014. But analyst James Cakmak says Alexa is now ahead of Apple’s Siri and Google’s ‘OK Google’ because it is open to third party integration. Alexa is used in Google’s Nest and Honeywell’s thermostats.
The Google Cloud Speech API also just opened to third party developers, and Google is said to be going head-to-head with Nuance, a voice-recognition technology popular in healthcare.
Online search is still a major source of health information. The 2016 Pulse of Online Search survey found consumers ranked ease-of-use ahead of trust for health information searches. As more health searches are made through voice recognition technology, Google is gaining an edge here as well. Not only does Google track your search history via desktop and mobile, it also archives your voice searches, and is poised to learn a lot more about your health.
Natural Language Processing and Health IT
Aegis’s Touchstone Project features an NLP engine in the FHIR Test Script Resource. According to Mario Hyland, “Previously, only testing tool developers were able to contribute and advance healthcare related testing. With this new FHIR resource, Touchstone is able to utilize test cases written by business users in a format closer to natural language than computer code.”
SyTrue is another healthcare solutions company using NLP, in part, to deal with unstructured data in the EHR, and to drive clinical insights at the point of care.
There are numerous possibilities for how machine learning, cognitive computing, and advanced AI will transform the future of health and Health IT. What are your ideas? Join me and guest moderator Corinne Stroum of Caradigm for a discussion on Machine Learning in Health IT at #HITsm, Friday, April 1 at 11 am CT, and explore the future of health and technology!
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