Artificial intelligence is virtually everywhere right now, especially in medtech. But are companies investing in AI just because all the cool kids are doing it, or because of what the technology could ultimately do for healthcare? What is the current state of AI in medtech and what is standing in the way of the technology reaching its full potential?
Industry experts will tackle these questions and more at MD&M West in Anaheim, CA on Feb. 11 during a panel session dubbed, "Are AI-Powered Devices Really the Future for Healthcare?" As moderator, I had the opportunity to chat with the panelists this week and I can promise you that this is one discussion you won't want to miss.
While nobody would deny the enormous potential of using AI in healthcare, today most applications of the technology are on the administrative side for things like scheduling patient appointments, Beth Andrews pointed out. Andrews, vice president of managed accounts at Moving Analytics, is a global innovation and visionary growth leader in fields including medical devices, software, informatics and AI. Figuring out how to seamlessly incorporate AI into the clinical workflow is one challenge she sees with this emerging technology.
"I found when I was working in Silicon Valley there was a lot of 'we're going to build a platform with tools.' Well, a nurse taking care of patients is not going to be using tools in [their] busy workflow, so I think it's important to talk about what needs to happen or what those clinical needs are," she said.
Dave Saunders, a veteran panelist at MD&M events, sees several other obstacles that stand in the way of AI being used to its full potential in medtech, from uncertain regulatory issues to technical challenges impacting specific sectors of the industry. Saunders is the chief technology officer and co-founder at Galen Robotics, a company developing a single-platform solution to aid surgeons across several disciplines with minimal disturbance to existing workflows.
"Right now there is absolutely no regulatory pathway for putting a weapon in the hand of a robot and cutting a patient on purpose with it based on machine-learning algorithms. Right now that's not possible," Saunders said. "It will be, and the FDA is clearly working on it ... and what the FDA has released so far gives us an idea of what it's going to look like in five to 10 years when we do have a good solid regulatory path, but today, I can't bring machine-learning in surgical robotics to market."
Joining this panel discussion at MD&M West will be Abdul Hamid Halabi, global business development lead in healthcare and life sciences at NVIDIA. With nearly 15 years of experience in advanced technologies, he partners with thought leaders and world-class organizations to transform healthcare through the application of deep learning and high performance computing to enable precision medicine initiatives and evidence-based medicine.
We'll also hear from Ron Kamienchick, a senior director at Teva Pharmaceutical’s digital health group, responsible for AI and analytic products. In his current role, Kamienchick is the product owner for Teva’s machine learning initiative in the respiratory space, focused on the development and strategy of a predictive model for asthma and COPD exacerbations.