At this week’s Bio-IT World Conference AI use cases are set to take center stage. For several years – not only at this conference, but also at HIMSS – there’s been a lot of pressure on technologists and researchers to demonstrate that Artificial Intelligence can bring demonstrable benefits to healthcare organizations.
According to David LaBrosse, NetApp Global Solutions Manager, Genomics, healthcare provides an ideal proving ground for the potential of AI. “Healthcare has a phenomenal amount of data that is being collected and is ripe for analysis and application in AI solutions,” he shared in a recent conversation. “In so many ways AI is accelerating discoveries and making what was once impossible, possible.”
The integration of AI and machine learning into healthcare applications is not only reducing the time to diagnosis, but it is also enabling pharmaceutical companies to bring new drugs and tailored therapies to market far more quickly than ever before. “Speed really is the key to the value proposition of AI in healthcare,” said LaBrosse. “At this year’s Bio-IT World I expect to see the most mature use cases in genomics, telemedicine and telehealth, and medical imaging.”
After Bio-IT World 2018 we interviewed LaBrosse along with the co-founders of PetaGene, Vaughan Wittorff and Dan Greenfield. At the time In PetaGene had just won the 2018 Bio-IT World Best in Show award for Storage Infrastructure and Hardware for PetaSuite Cloud Edition which showcased why speed is essential to genomics and precision medicine. Not only does AI accelerate the research, but by taking the secondary analysis tier in genomics throughput and analyzing the data, it enables researchers to identify mutations and biomarkers much faster. “AI is accelerating discoveries,” LaBrosse tells us. “And those discoveries are paving the way to personalized treatment pathways and the practice of precision medicine.”
The second area where LaBrosse expects to see many specialized AI applications is in medical imaging. “Today, thanks to digitization, we can take almost unlimited images to help pinpoint the presence of disease or analyze a tumor, but with so many images – and, moreover, so many highly detailed images – radiologists are almost hampered by their tools,” he said. This is where AI delivers real benefit to radiologists by helping them triage stacks of images to find that ones that show the anomalies or other indicators of disease.”
“AI tools can be used as an augmentation,” according to LaBrosse. “It’s very exciting because you are taking an existing practice such as imaging, and you are enhancing it with another layer of AI – either with the use of computational algorithms or imaging comparison — which allows clinicians to identify and diagnose faster.”
So, what did LaBrosse choose as his third AI use case?
Surprisingly he chose telemedicine and telehealth; a field that’s so far failed to reach deliver on its promise to patients and clinicians alike. “There’s a real opportunity for AI to make an impact in this area of healthcare,” LaBrosse assured us. “The telehealth technology is improving and the Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing value, and AI will bring it all together by aggregating and analyzing all the information that’s reporting in from the patient, from their at-home healthcare devices, and comparing it to baseline health information from their physician’s office.”
According to LaBrosse AI will bring it all together by aggregating and analyzing the data, trigger alerts, and take the next step to give information on what might be wrong. “The value of AI can be seen clearly in its computational power, it’s ability to analyze multiple sensor reads and add intelligence to the data to determine if there is an error with the device, or if it’s a real issue like an elevated heart rate.”
These are just three AI use cases that LaBrosse sees as bringing immediate and tangible benefit to healthcare. But what LaBrosse looks forward to at Bio-IT World is the sharing of ideas that leads to new opportunities. “We come together to share ideas, but we also come together because each of us has a piece of the puzzle to help AI achieve its promise and deliver better healthcare for all of us,” he concluded.
A version of this article first appeared on GovDataDownload.