Three big AI projects in medicine to watch in 2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) is beginning to touch medicine in many different ways, from making diagnoses to triaging patients. Many AI enterprises will make headlines in 2020:

GlobalData’s medical devices writer Chloe Kent singles out three big projects to watch this year.

Google’s Project Nightingale: ever so slightly suspicious

Kent says:

Google didn’t exactly come out of 2019 smelling of roses when it comes to patient data privacy. Alongside the clamor in the UK following the news that the tech conglomerate had finally fully absorbed DeepMind, an AI company criticized for its historic handling of sensitive NHS data, its US-based cloud computing deal Project Nightingale found itself under regulatory fire.

All things considered, this makes Project Nightingale an AI enterprise to keep an eye on over the coming year. Perhaps the project is well-intentioned and will make waves in patient care. Or maybe the ads in your Facebook sidebar will start to feel too close to home.”

Abtrace battles against antimicrobial resistance

Kent says:

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest ongoing threats to global health, estimated to cause 25,000 deaths and 2.5 million extra hospital stays per year in Europe alone.

Leading the fight against antimicrobial resistance in the tech world is Abtrace, an AI platform designed to help clinicians prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic for each individual patient they see in their practice. When around 30% of antibiotic prescriptions are inappropriate, this couldn’t come at a more vital time.

The platform makes its recommendations through a process known as natural language processing (NLP), where a patient’s healthcare notes are processed through Abtrace’s augmented decision-making tool. In seconds, it presents a recommendation for whether or not an antibiotic should be prescribed, and which antibiotic would be appropriate if so.

Abtrace is a European Institute of Technology Health (EIT Health) Wild Card Project, and will receive up to €2m from the organization to help commercialize the product.”

Pexxi genetic testing aims to decode contraception

Kent says:

Many women who choose to use hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill, implant or ring, have to navigate several different options through trial-and-error until they are able to find a medication that works for them.

The side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives, such as acne, weight gain, anxiety and depression, can have a huge effect on a person’s life, and it can take months or even years before a woman is able to settle on one with no or only minimal adverse effects.

Healthtech start-up Pexxi is aiming to end the contraceptive roulette wheel through AI-powered genetic testing. Users give Pexxi a spit sample, which contains enough information about where their progesterone and estrogen levels naturally sit, as well as whether they have any genetic predispositions to the potential side-effects of one type of pill over another. Pexxi then provides a list of the contraceptive pills the person is most likely to tolerate, with plans to eventually expand to include the implant and ring as well. Pexxi is currently in beta-testing stages, with a plan to eventually reach customers through a 23andMe-style model where they’ll pay a fee to use its services."

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