Emerging technologies will bring massive change to healthcare: Future Crunch

Doug Hendrie

11/10/2018 2:59:54 PM

Artificial intelligence and gene editing have been described as emerging technologies that will directly change how GPs work.

Dr Angus Hervey and Tané Hunter from Future Crunch.
Dr Angus Hervey and Tané Hunter from Future Crunch.

AI-driven technological upheaval is coming to healthcare – and fast.
That was the message from Dr Angus Hervey and Tané Hunter from Future Crunch, who gave the keynote address on ‘Disruptive Technologies and the Future of Healthcare’ at the RACGP’s GP18 conference this morning.
Technological change, they told a packed auditorium, does not have to make people feel fearful.
‘We know about IQ and EQ. Now we have AQ. Adaptability quotient is the ability to adapt and thrive in changing environments – and it’s beginning to be a necessary skill,’ Mr Hunter said.
‘Embrace the changes around you. Get some young graduates to learn about AI or try it yourself. Start engaging with these technologies. Try out genetic testing yourself so you can pass on the information to your patients,’ Dr Hervey said.
‘Technology is fundamentally human. Technology is to humans as nests are to birds – it’s made by us, for us,’ Mr Hunter said.
‘AI will not replace GPs. GPs using AI will replace those who don’t,’ Mr Hunter said.
He gave the example of radiologists working in conjunction with pneumonia-detecting AI CheXNet who saw a 33% reduction in error rate compared to radiologists working alone.
‘We are seeing an AI explosion. Training our machines to learn dynamically from the environment, to listen, to see, to analyse and predict in ways we once thought were completely impossible,’ Dr Hervey said.
Mr Hunter described AI as a godsend for cancer research.
‘Stanford [University] now has an [AI] app that can diagnose skin cancer better than dermatologists. You can catch it early and then go get proper care,’ he said. ‘Google just unleashed [AI agent] DeepMind … to look at the eye to catch eye disease. This code can catch 50 eye diseases.
‘AI can spot invisible tumours in X-rays. We can create algorithms to find things we didn’t know were there.’
Mr Hunter gave examples of AI advancements, such as an AI agent able to read faces of non-communicative patients and estimate their pain, or a new algorithm able to select healthy eggs during the IVF process at a rate 40% better than top fertility doctors.
The duo covered the development of the brain connectome, the importance of the microbiome, and the use of CRISPR gene editing, which has recently been used to cure the genetic disease phenylketonuria in mice, and cure of a canine version of muscular dystrophy.
‘If the big medical breakthrough last decade was the sequencing of the human genome, this decade it’s being able to edit the genome with CRISPR. This technology allows us to cut and paste our own DNA,’ Dr Hervey said.
‘It freaks many people out – but if your unborn child had a debilitating disease and you could do something about it, what would you do?’
‘Technology lets us believe that people can live longer, happier lives and that a better future can be built. That belief is an explosive force in healthcare and the world in which we live, work and play.’

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Chris D Hogan   12/10/2018 9:36:08 AM

Another thing of interest said was that "Technology is an extension of our humanity , not a replacement for it"
General Practice generates an incredible amount of data but it has been too hard to analyse previously. In the past we had to change the way we recorded data to make it easier for our machines.
This AI technology allows us to change our machines so that it is easier for us.
If a process can be standardised it can be delegated , automated or computerised- this is one of the key tenets of occupational health