Thursday, September 28, 2017

MDDI: Machine Learning in Healthcare getting some well deserved love

MDDI, a versatile source for healthcare industry news has some good news for AI/ML fans. This morning they provided news on two different companies that got funding for Machine Learning (ML) news. I cringe a bit when people keep confusing ML for AI. However, since ML is a focus area of AI, it is all good. I have provided the link to the article below.

Low Hanging Fruits

Healthcare cost prediction is tough. However, it is ripe for innovation with huge amounts of data and of course Machine Learning, now gathering steam through new technologies and paradigms. MDDI is reporting that Cardinal Analytx Solutions, here at home in Palo Alto has raised $6.1mn to do exactly this. I haven't had time to research the specifics of this company yet, having woken up to this news, but if I find something interesting, I will get back to you.

Analytics 4 Life, another company that is in the same article, is aimed at diagnostics, another area ripe for disruption through Machine Learning. It is apparently aimed at being a low-impact cardiac diagnostic, eliminating the need for radiation, angiography or other invasive techniques. This is intriguing, given how it will lower costs and be less intrusive to the potential patients. Accuracy is a concern, but reviewing some of the other ML based diagnostic projects through the O'Reilly AI Conference archives from NY earlier this year, I can say there is every possibility that a diagnostic can be created to be accurate enough using ML. Plus, when you are sitting atop $25mn from several investors, I say, you can do it.

Some Thoughts

1. I believe we are still in the pre-bubble stage of AI based investments in healthcare. This is really good!

2. Commonsense is still the norm in investments and that is also very good news.

3. Investments and start-ups are still mostly scratching the surface. It would be nice, if we saw investments in companies with deeper ambitions and technologies before the mad rush begins.

4. If start-ups don't pick up the pace, there will be an unfortunate stranglehold on AI by companies such as Google, Apple, IBM etc., especially on the analytics side of things. Overall, this is not good for competition or for innovation. Moreover, when the larger economy slows down, or at a minimum, when "tech" slows down, there will be a slowdown in the implementation of AI in Healthcare. This would not be good, should it come to pass, as, given political intractability and general cost increases are making healthcare expenditure rates go up.

5. Still no sight of innovation in medical devices or pharma, and this is also not very comforting.

There is of course, much more to be seen as data-intensive companies, use Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL) and eventually Artificial Intelligence (AI) and try to democratize healthcare. Of course, there will be a bubble, small or large to go through along the way, as it is in every changing industry, and yet, these are amazingly exciting times ahead! We are still taking baby steps!!

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1. The MDDI+QMED Brief:

2. Image, Courtesy Pexels:

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