Google’s parent company, Alphabet, plans to leverage its artificial intelligence (AI) expertise to reinvent the healthcare industry.
The company is exploring the use of AI for an end-to-end approach to healthcare, from monitoring, to detection, to lifestyle management, according to a new report from CBI Insights.
In practice, this means:
– Data generation — Collecting data produced by wearables, imaging and MRI, among other methods, to feed in to AI systems.
– Disease detection — Using AI to detect anomalies in a given dataset that might signal the presence of certain diseases.
– Disease/lifestyle management — Developing tools to help people who have been diagnosed with a disease or are at risk of developing one go about their day-to-day lives and/or make positive lifestyle changes.
The report identifies five specific conditions that the company is tackling with the use of AI: eye disease, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
For instance, Alphabet’s healthcare research unit Verily is working on detecting diabetic retinopathy (a condition when high sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the eye) through a partnership with Nikon’s subsidiary Optos, which makes machines for retinal imaging tests and eye disease detection.
In earlier research, Google proved that its algorithms were equally as good as trained ophthalmologists in detecting the condition, CBI Insights said.
Verily also recently patented a smart syringe to help diabetics monitor their injections, and the company is rolling out a virtual diabetes management programme that combines sensors and coaching.
And in another project, Verily is working to create a dataset from 10,000 voluntary participants who will track their everyday activities and sleep over a period of four years.
“In short, Google seems to be going after the healthcare space from every possible angle,” CBI Insights says.