In this age of AI, various fundamental areas of our lives are being transformed. Sometimes this transformation sparks concern, and sometimes, especially when it comes to our health and wellbeing, it ignites tremendous hope.
These days, it seems that hope is the prevailing emotion: a growing number of AI based innovations are clearly improving healthcare, allowing for smarter, faster and more accurate services based on mind-boggling technologies.
Today, 59% of US healthcare executives believe that AI is either “very effective” or “often effective” in improving clinical outcomes. Doctors and researchers are using AI tools as well as large databases and revolutionizing medicine in unprecedented ways.
Many giants in the US healthcare system are already making a difference.
K Health, for example, leverages AI, the knowledge and experience of hundreds of affiliated board-certified clinicians, and digital remote care technologies. It is working vigorously to close the gaps in primary care that are plaguing millions in the US. Initially, the company built its platform based on data collected over a 30-year period by Maccabi, a leading Israeli health care provider.
Maccabi’s KSM is a research institution that has an extraordinary anonymous big data platform and a Biobank that span decades and was collected from over 2.7 million members of Maccabi. Collaborations with a variety of startups worldwide are leading to advanced technological solutions in medicine and new tools for patients and caregivers.
Dr. Tal Patalon, head of KSM, is cherry picking the Center’s partners in order to ensure the most effective outcomes for future patients. “We are choosing companies based on their ability to make a significant clinical impact, as well as on their vision, experience and human capital,” she explains.
Along with her team, she is working with dozens of international startups on the development of products and services, which she believes will be available soon. “Real developments in this area traditionally take years,” she says. “Thanks to our databases and rapidly growing AI capabilities, we’re able to work much faster than before.”
A Healthier Future
Viz.ai is one startup working with KSM. It aims to provide a “safety net” for patients suffering from rare cardiac diseases that may have not been spotted by non-specialists when interpreting ECGs.
“The goal of the collaboration is to develop algorithms for early diagnosis of unknown cardiac conditions which are often overlooked in a routine exam, thus dramatically altering the course of the patient’s disease,” says Patalon.
MetaSight Diagnostics is a health technology company with proprietary technology on a mission to develop cost-effective liquid biopsy diagnostics for diverse chronic and acute diseases.
“Our joint partnership goal is the early detection of different diseases and improving health worldwide,” Patalon explains. “We see opportunities for the development of diagnostic signatures for chronic liver diseases, oncology and cardiovascular disease.”
MetaSight Founder and CEO, Prof. Tomer Shlomi, adds: “Optimizing patient care requires non-invasive tests for disease diagnosis, monitoring, and prognosis. Liquid biopsies are transforming cancer care (using genomics to assess circulating DNA); however, this method is both limited to cancer and too expensive for population screening. We address the challenge of developing accurate, affordable, and accessible diagnostics for diverse conditions, ranging from chronic liver and kidney diseases to cardiovascular and neurological diseases. To achieve this goal, we use our unique technology to generate the world’s largest multi-OMICS datasets, integrating molecular profiles and de-identified electronic health records of hundreds of thousands of patients. This innovative collaboration is unlocking new possibilities."
PrognomiQ is a healthcare company focused on harnessing the power of multi-omics-based data to transform the detection, early treatment and monitoring of complex diseases, including cancer. It uses leading-edge biomarker discovery technologies in proteomics, metabolomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics and genomics methods, combined with leading machine learning and AI capabilities, to develop multi-omics based products that improve human health. With KSM, it is collaborating to identify and develop cancer biomarkers.
"Maccabi’s innovative research will enable modeling of a more comprehensive and multi-dimensional patient journey,” said Dr. Patalon. “By interweaving the clinical course of diseases with biological changes throughout time we redefine diseases and are able to tailor treatment and prevention specifically to each patient."
CEO Philip Ma, Ph.D., adds: "Our partnership significantly increases the size and depth of data and sample sets available to us. The biobank has collected over 1 million samples to date across multiple disease areas, including cancer. Our collaboration starts with lethal cancers where earlier detection can make a significant impact on patient survival in terms of total lives. These cancers include pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer, but may expand to include other cancers, and potentially other diseases beyond cancer, where our multi-omics based biology approach can potentially have a major clinical and scientific impact."
AI Helps Fight Depression
KSM aims to assist AI based startups develop solutions to various health concerns, with special emphasis on mental health. “The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are more than 250 million people across the globe living with depression, rendering it a major mental health issue worldwide,” notes Dr. Patalon.
Treating depression requires an arduous trial-and-error approach: only about 30% of patients respond to the first medication that they are prescribed. Each medication can take between four to six weeks to take effect in the body, so searching for the right treatment can take months and even years. In addition, there are tremendous implications pertaining to quality of life as well as significant financial and social burdens involved.
Genetika+, another startup that is collaborating with the research institution assists physicians in finding the optimal drug therapy for their patients by conducting the trial-and-error process outside of the patient’s body, entirely in the lab.
Through data and AI, they are aiming to optimize the treatment process so that physicians can treat patients more efficiently and effectively. “We are conducting large-scale state-of-the-art analyses on real-world, anonymized data from Maccabi patients suffering from depression in order to expand on the company’s AI-based algorithms and support physicians who seek to treat their patients’ depression based on individual characteristics.
Longevity is also a priority, Patalon emphasizes. That's why they’ve recently joined forces with Longevity AI, a platform that allows hospitals, insurance providers, and other medical organizations to track and monitor the health of their patients in real time. Together they model the aging process and explore the possibilities of slowing it down, utilizing AI.
With many more collaborations already in the works and many more in the pipeline, these AI- Big Data collaborations will probably not only benefit the healthcare system; they will literally change our lives.
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