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Could 2018 Really Be the Year of AI in Medtech?

Pixabay Could 2018 Really Be the Year of AI in Medtech?
A report from Ernst and Young shows that artificial intelligence is not only sticking around for the foreseeable future, but that it’s also going to have a stronger presence in medtech as time goes on.

Has there really been another topic in medtech this year that has generated more attention than Artificial Intelligence? There have been numerous approvals, clearances, and even in some cases praise from regulatory bodies about AI-based medtech.

MD+DI has been on the frontlines covering the recent AI boom. That coverage spawned a webinar titled, How Artificial Intelligence Has Changed Everything for Medtech hosted by Dave Saunders CTO and Co-founder of Galen Robotics. In just a few short weeks at MD&M Minneapolis, AI will be discussed in depth at a session titled, Artificial Intelligence (AI): What You Need to Know to Develop and Launch Your Digital Health Solution.

A recent report from Ernst & Young, titled Pulse of the Industry, shows in detail how AI’s influence is spreading throughout medtech.

Ernst and Young’s report noted that more than 100 start-ups are focused solely on healthcare AI, and that number will only grow. It goes on to say that medical AI must be integrated and embedded seamlessly — even “invisibly” — into devices and workflows already in use today.

“I think the factors driving [AI] forward is the sheer amount of attention its getting and the tremendous success it has had to date,” Jim Welch, life sciences advisor with Ernst & Young, told MD+DI.

The report cites Simon Kos, MD and CMO of Microsoft and his thoughts that AI will have a large role to play in health, especially the analysis of massive data sets. According to the study, Kos saying AI “will also reduce the time physicians spend on routine administration, allowing them to spend more time with patients.”

The report points to the most strides in AI coming from the diagnostics and imaging sector.

“When you think about AI and machine learning and all of these enhanced technologies and what they are able to deliver from the platform throughout imaging and diagnostics, it’s truly remarkable,” Welch said.

This year there have been significant approvals of diagnostic-based products that have incorporated AI. In April, FDA granted a De Novo request to market IDx’s AI-based diagnostic system for the autonomous detection of diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness. The Coralville, IA-based company recently raised $33 million in a series A round.

FDA also signed off on another diagnostic AI application - San Francisco-based’s Contact application, a type of clinical decision support software designed to analyze CT results that could notify providers of a potential stroke in their patients.

In addition to diagnostics, AI is making quite a splash in the diabetes market. Beta Bionics has been getting acclaim in this area as it is creating the iLet Bionic Pancreas, a device that combines continuous glucose monitoring and AI.

Beta Bionics recently received FDA approval for an IDE of the technology. Embedded in Beta Bionics’ device are clinically tested mathematical dosing algorithms driven by machine learning to autonomously calculate and dose insulin and/or glucagon as needed, based on data from a continuous glucose monitor.

Once initialized, the iLet engages its machine-learning, AI to autonomously control the individual’s blood-glucose levels, and to continuously adapt to the individual’s ever-changing insulin needs. Beta Bionics is also one of six companies with an AI-based technology MD+DI said was slated to rock the medtech sector

An innovation that received a nod from FDA in the diabetes space was the DreaMed Advisor Pro, from Petah Tikva, Israel-based DreMed Diabetes and Mountain View, CA-based Glooko.

The DreaMed Advisor Pro, is an AI-based diabetes treatment decision support software intended to help healthcare providers manage people with Type I diabetes who use insulin pumps and CGM.

“We think AI will continue to be a game changer and I think it will continue to move more broadly across the industry,” Welch said. “I think where we go from here is medtech companies continue to understand not just from a product standpoint, but from an overall offering standpoint … the ways in which AI can leverage all the data industry has and [promote] better outcomes.”

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