Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

AI will transform healthcare, believes Intel VP

Steve Rogerson
March 27, 2018



In the world of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) holds transformational promise, especially in healthcare, where every one has a stake, according to Navin Shenoy (pictured), executive vice president and general manager of the data centre group at Intel.
 
“What if we could predict the next big disease epidemic, and stop it before it kills?” he said. “What if we could look at zettabytes of data to find those at greatest risk of becoming sick, then quickly and precisely prevent that from happening? What if the treatment and management of chronic disease could be so personalised that no two individuals get the same medicine, but equally enjoy the best possible outcome? What if we could drastically reduce the time and cost to discover new drugs and bring them on the market? What if we could do all of that now?”
 
He said these all could be done thanks to artificial intelligence and the work of Intel and its partners.
 
“There's a common myth that AI in healthcare is the stuff of science fiction,” he said. “Think machines diagnosing illness and prescribing treatment without a doctor involved. But that is not only highly unlikely, it's not even close to the best examples of how AI is emerging in healthcare today.”
 
Intel and partners throughout the healthcare industry – including GE Healthcare, Siemens, Sharp Healthcare, Broad Institute, UCSF and Mayo Clinic – are applying AI today, from the back office to the doctor's office, from the emergency room to the living room.
 
A few partners that Intel is working closely with include:

  • Montefiore Medical System: Using prescriptive models to identify patients at risk for respiratory failure, so healthcare workers can act on alerts that lead to timely interventions that save lives and resources.
  • Stanford Medical: Using AI to augment MRI image reconstruction so that a complete image can be delivered in about a minute versus what normally would take about an hour – eliminating risky intubation and sedation in paediatric patients during imaging exams.
  • Icon: Instead of only relying on burdensome clinic visits and paper diaries, using clinical data from sensors and wearable devices to assess the impact of new therapies more quickly in clinical trials.
  • AccuHealth: Using home monitoring along with data mining and predictive modelling to identify changes of concern among chronic disease patients to enable intervention before conditions escalate and become acute.
“But the triumph of artificial intelligence in healthcare isn't inevitable,” said Shenoy.
 
The average hospital generates 665Tbyte of data annually, but most data are not useful. At least 80 per cent of hospital data are unstructured, such as clinical notes, video and images. Electronic medical records are a mandated system of record, but they aren't as actionable as they could be.
 
“Only with AI can we leverage healthcare data to create a system of insights,” he said. “Getting healthcare systems to provide greater access to their data would help. Government also has a role to play by providing appropriate incentives and regulatory clarity for sharing data. We agree with the recent White House proposal to give patients control and ownership of all their health data, bringing it with them wherever they go rather than residing in various doctor's offices, clinics and hospitals.”
 
He said that new technology could help as well. For example, Intel researchers are making strides towards practical methods for homomorphic encryption, a method that will allow computer systems to perform calculations on encrypted information without decrypting it first. Such encryption would enable researchers to operate on data in a secure and private way, while still delivering insightful results.
 
“Indeed, much work is ahead, and Intel is uniquely positioned to help healthcare organisations succeed,” he said.
 
Emerging healthcare data are massive data – images, a growing list of 'omics such as genomics, proteomics and so on, video – and will require a storage plan and a network that addresses speed, latency and reliability.
 
“We have been investing with our partners to build the right systems – data, storage, network, full infrastructure – all the way from the edge to the network to the cloud, and everywhere in between,” he said. “With the advancements in our hardware and optimisations of popular deep learning frameworks, the Intel Xeon Scalable processor has 198 times better inference performance and 127 times better training performance than prior generations. As a result, the Xeon platform is at the centre of many AI workloads that are real today because it is well suited for many machine and deep learning applications across industries like healthcare.”
 
But he said hardware, storage and network alone were not enough.
 
“We need to leverage the unparalleled expertise from data scientists, software developers, industry experts and ecosystem partners to address AI in healthcare end to end,” he said. “As part of the effort to expand expertise across AI, we launched the Intel AI Academy, a place that offers learning materials, community tools and technology to boost AI developments.
 
“I feel very fortunate to work for a company like Intel that is committed to powering AI solutions that will tackle some of the biggest challenges of our time, including healthcare. I'm also proud to be leading the team that will deliver that vision.”
 
Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, one of Asia's leading research-oriented institutions, has chosen Intel Xeon Scalable processors to power its clinical genome analysis cluster and its molecular simulation cluster. These clusters will aid in Kyoto's search for drug discoveries and help reduce research and development costs.
 
The Xeon platform offers performance for all types of AI. Kyoto is one of many healthcare providers and research institutions that are working with Intel and using Intel artificial intelligence technology to tackle some of the biggest challenges in healthcare.