Artificial intelligence and medicine: Is it overhyped?

Artificial intelligence raises exciting possibilities for healthcare, but are companies promising more than they can deliver?

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AI could possibly fuel the future of medtech, enabling such thrilling innovations as implanted devices that instantly react to minute changes, software that can identify the best treatment options for individuals facing life-threatening conditions and fully-functioning autonomous surgical systems.

But artificial intelligence’s potential also comes with an incredible level of hype.

“AI has the most transformative potential of anything I’ve seen in my life, and I graduated medical school 40 years ago. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever seen by far,” prominent cardiologist and author Dr. Eric Topol told our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing. “But it’s more in promise than it is in reality.”

Get the full story on MDO. 

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How NeuroMetrix seeks to better relieve pain with AI

NeuroMetrix Quell 2.0 AI artificial intelligence pain relief

NeuroMetrix’s Quell 2.0 [Image courtesy of NeuroMetrix]

NeuroMetrix plans to add artificial intelligence to the latest iteration of its Quell transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device.

AI will allow Quell 2.0 to tailor treatment to each individual user, according to the Waltham, Mass.–based based company.

Launched in September 2018 Quell 2.0 is 50% smaller and 20% more powerful than the original Quell, which debuted in 2015. Quell is worn on the leg regardless of the site of pain and is designed to send neural pulses to the brain that trigger a natural pain relief response in the central nervous system. Patients control the device and track their pain using a smartphone app. Quell 2.0 is available over-the-counter for about $300.

So how could AI help patients who use the device? NeuroMetrix chief commercial officer Frank McGillin recently discussed the decision to use AI and the future of Quell with our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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Can AI take medical device manufacturing to the next level?

Artificial intelligence could improve medical device manufacturing efficiency and reduce risk, but it’s still a work in progress.

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[Image from Unsplash]

Artificial intelligence is driving the world and our habits. Some of the world’s most well-known companies are using AI: Apple in Siri, Tesla in self-driving cars, Amazon in Alexa and even Netflix.

Now companies like machine-learning and AI consulting company Wovenware are bringing AI to medical device manufacturing and other advanced industries to make the process more efficient while reducing risk.

Artificial intelligence is the capability of a machine to perform tasks that would normally be done by a human. Through machine learning, computers are taking in troves of data and learning mistakes while enhancing the jobs of engineers in the manufacturing process.

“Engineers have more time to do the important work,” said Carlos Meléndez, COO and co-founder of Wovenware (San Juan, Puerto Rico). “They don’t have to worry about things that they will not be able to fix.”

For example, a predictive algorithm can gather data about a medical device that was taken out of a production line because of a problem with the device. Using data and performance records, AI can determine the probability of that particular device being scrapped. If the algorithm shows a 99% chance that the device is going to be scrapped, it won’t be sent to the engineering department. Engineers then have more time to dedicate to more important processes, said Meléndez.

Get the full story on our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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5 top stories that mattered for medtech in 2018

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[Image by managing editor Chris Newmarker]

The medical device industry faced some major challenges over the past year, from increased media scrutiny to regulatory uncertainty in both the U.S. and E.U.

It’s worth noting, though, that many things have been going right for medtech.

More than half of the roughly 100 largest medical device companies in the world saw their stock prices increase during 2018 – not a bad record considering the slumping Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500.

Medical device companies spending a large amount on R&D compared to revenue – including Dexcom, Abiomed, Atricure, Edwards Lifesciences and Insulet – saw their stock prices skyrocket as they marketed innovative devices in fields including diabetes management and cardiology.

Artificial intelligence is playing a larger role in medtech innovation, medical device companies are increasingly forging partnerships with high tech companies, and there’s even a chance that the device industry might help combat the opioid epidemic.

Here are five trends that mattered for medtech in 2018 – and are bound to influence the future of the industry this year.

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Could AI be the next big thing for medical device manufacturing?

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[Image from Unsplash]

Officials at machine learning and artificial intelligence consulting company Wovenware think AI could boost the quality of medical device manufacturing.

The San Juan, Puerto Rico–based company already has clients in a variety of industries including airlines, education, food, financial services, insurance, telecommunications and utilities. Now it’s working with a number of medical device companies to test proof of concept at plants on the island, according to COO and co-founder Carlos Meléndez.

Get the full story on our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing. 

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The top 10 medical disruptors of 2019

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The Cleveland Clinic for the past 16 years has predicted what the top 10 medical disruptors will be for the following year.

The health provider seeks input from 150 to 200 of its physicians, hailing from each of its institutes. The result is 300 to 400 suggestions, which the clinic then narrows down to 150.

After that, 20 physicians meet and vote the list down to the top 10. The criteria to be considered a disruptor is that it has to be so innovative that it could change healthcare in a significant way in the next year.

The Cleveland Clinic announced this year’s top 10 list at its Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit, which took place Oct. 22-24 in Cleveland. From RNA-based therapies to alternative pain therapy to fight the opioid crisis, here are the Cleveland Clinic’s predictions of medical technologies that will prove disruptive in 2019.

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MedyMatch, Samsung NeuroLogica bring AI to stroke care

Artificial intelligence is continuing to make its mark in the healthcare field.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based MedyMatch Technology and Danvers, Massachusetts-based Samsung NeuroLogica have joined forces to use artificial intelligence to assist patients in prehospital environments.

MedyMatch is an artificial intelligence company. “Our business is based on machine learning,” MedyMatch CEO Gene Saragnese said in a phone interview with MedCity.

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Samsung NeuroLogica is the healthcare subsidiary of Samsung Electronics. “NeuroLogica has been in the CT business for many years,” Saragnese said.

The alliance, which brings together MedyMatch’s AI clinical decision support tools and Samsung NeuroLogica’s medical imaging hardware, was a smart move for the companies, according to Saragnese. “There’s a strong overlap between the two companies,” he said.

Initially, the companies plan to focus on assessing stroke patients. MedyMatch’s AI technologies will be integrated into mobile stroke units and other emergency vehicles that have a portable Samsung NeuroLogica CereTom CT scanner. Through this, the care team will more easily be able to assess whether the patient’s stroke is due to a hemorrhage or a blood clot.

Many of the nearly 800,000 Americans who experience a stroke each year have an ischemic stroke, which can be treated with a tissue plasminogen activator. The tPA must be administered to the patient within three hours of initial signs of stroke, but “it can take an hour after a stroke patient arrives in the emergency department to receive treatment because of the time needed to determine which kind of stroke the patient is having,” the companies point out in a release. By collaborating, MedyMatch and Samsung NeuroLogica are hoping to quicken the treatment process for stroke patients en route to the hospital.

“In stroke care, time is absolutely critical,” Saragnese said. “We want to improve the confidence physicians have in making these decisions.”

But MedyMatch’s goal goes farther than that. Saragnese told MedCity that MedyMatch strives to improve clinical outcomes and ultimately save money. “What we want to do is improve the quality of diagnosis and speed of treatment, and more people will recover from stroke,” he said. “There will also be fewer people in long-term care, and then there will be cost savings.”

MedyMatch launched in February 2016. Though it’s a startup, the company has already begun to make its mark in the healthcare field. Last June, it partnered with Capital Health in New Jersey. Capital Health vowed to help MedyMatch develop a clinical decision support tool for stroke care.

Photo: John Lund, Getty Images