I downloaded the app, IDA, to my phone for free, and I was ready for a medical diagnosis, or “pre-diagnosis” — a term carefully chosen by the company that made the app, IDA Healthcare, to avoid legal trouble. Since then, I’ve had a chatbot ready to advise me on any health issue, with a diagnostic system full of medical knowledge behind it.
I started using this app because my Achilles tendon would hurt after every jog, as many runners have. What do chatbots have to say about this? I answered dozens of questions about the duration, location and severity of the pain. Four minutes later, my history was complete and I was given a diagnosis: plantar fasciitis was the most likely, followed by calcaneal spur, a bone proliferation that turned out to be the correct diagnosis — Achilles tendinitis — in third place. If an orthopedic surgeon gives such an ambiguous diagnosis, then either he or I should be ashamed — if it’s because I can’t accurately describe my pain.
“Medically, our product is the most reliable on the market.” So says Martin Hussey, founder of Alda, in his office building on Aldalbert Strasse in Berlin’s Cruciate Hill district (hence the name). Hussey, 56, comes from a scientific family. His maternal grandfather was Nobel Prize-winning physicist Werner Heisenberg. Aida can constantly learn on its own, with a large number of medical experts constantly providing information to make its functions more intelligent, flexible and comprehensive. Mr Hussey has reason to be confident that competition in the field is not fierce yet. In All of Europe, perhaps only Ask Babylon, a British consulting service from Babylon Health, can rival his software.
These days, almost everyone turns to a “Google Doctor” for advice and searches for health-related information on the search engine. According to a study by the German Association for Information Industry, Telecommunications and New Media, 45 percent of German smartphone users have at least one health management software installed on their phones. The content of these apps extends beyond traditional nutrition and fitness diaries. Artificial intelligence is the basis for new smartphone health services that can identify incient symptoms. “Ai improves medical conditions and strengthens disease prevention.” Said Dr. Erwin Pottinger of the Center for Digital Health at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam.
The biggest digital medical experiment to date comes from Apple, which has a new smartwatch with an electrocardiogram sensor and software that can identify atrial fibrillation by measuring its pulse. If left untreated, atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke. Both apps have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as medical products. In a clinical study involving more than 400,000 people, three Stanford cardiology professors tested the heart-monitoring capabilities of smartwatches. Products like Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 offer similar services, but no major company is as committed to digital health as Apple. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that Apple’s biggest contribution to human happiness will be in the area of health. “We’re empowering everyone to take control of their own health.” Mr. Cook said.
Dr. Thomas Denecker, a medical director specializing in cardiac electrophysiological interventions, supports the trend. Denek praised the Apple Watch series 4’s heart disease monitoring feature, saying it would be “a valuable monitoring tool to help patients and their doctors gain vital information.” Cardiologists often get angry with patients who ignore medical advice and hide symptoms of illness. A study in The US state of Michigan found that 81 per cent of patients hid important medical conditions from their doctors. In Germany, it is estimated that at least a third of patients do not take their medicine as prescribed.
| long-term monitoring, more healthy? |
A three-centimeter-long sensor is implanted in a patient with heart failure and carried through a catheter from the groin to the pulmonary artery to monitor their heart 24 hours a day. The procedure takes only 20 minutes. “The sensor is connected to the hospital through a receiver. “If there is an increase in blood pressure, we will record it, contact the patient and suggest a change of medication or lifestyle.” “Explains Tinasi Lasaful from Essen University Hospital. Currently, lasafur has 15 patients undergoing remote monitoring of heart function with implants. Preliminary studies have confirmed its effectiveness, with a one-third reduction in hospital admissions and a 20% reduction in mortality.
At the Charite Medical School in Berlin, researchers compared 1,500 patients with chronic heart failure and gave some of them four different instruments to monitor their blood circulation at home. The Telemedicine Center at Charite Medical School gets test values and sends them to patients when necessary. Study director Friedrich Kohler said the results showed that patients using measurement devices at home spent an average of 3.8 days in “unplanned hospital stays” per year, compared with 5.6 days in the control group.
Sensors could also help prevent risks for people with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Matthias Steiner, the 105kg world champion in 2010, was born with type 1 diabetes. He is currently using a device that continuously measures blood sugar levels. If a sensor implanted under Steiner’s skin indicates that his blood sugar level is abnormal, a receiver in his arm vibrates, reminding him to inject insulin with an insulin pump. From time to time, his doctor will analyze the recorded measurements and give him advice.
Few people seem to question the practice. Thomas Danner, chief physician at the Children’s Hospital in Hanover, said most parents of children with diabetes were happy with the remote care and were not worried about their child becoming a transparent “glass patient.”
Even when it comes to mental illness, where careful care is especially important, big data doctors can be preventative. Professor Pottinger has been working in Potsdam to predict the recurrence of mental illness in a study called “Predicting psychic earthquakes”. Under Pottinger’s leadership, Hannah Delimara, a young psychologist and computer scientist, developed an automated diagnostic system for mobile phones. It can read changes in a user’s speech style, expression and time allocation as they go about their daily lives, helping doctors detect earlier the progression of a patient’s condition, such as whether a bipolar patient is going from manic to depressive or vice versa, and adjust treatment accordingly.
Meta’s software scours social network posts and comments for clues that indicate suicidal tendencies. If the system alarms, employees offer help or contact a nearby suicide intervention agency. The anti-suicide app has sounded the alarm thousands of times. The web giant didn’t reveal details, but the software is clearly based on artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms.
Neotiv, based in Magdeburg, Saan, Germany, is looking for volunteers to download its app and record their mental state on a weekly basis. Has won the state supports the “civil research” project to collect enough information – is confidential, of course, so that the researchers in the field of neuroscience from analysis of alzheimer’s disease and other dementia new cognition of the disease, and for early diagnosis, and hope can be realized as a treatment for heart disease and diabetes “recording monitoring closely”.
| | algorithm is better than a doctor
In some areas of expertise, algorithms based on swarm intelligence performed better than an experienced doctor. Studies proving that algorithms are more accurate than doctors are increasingly common in international professional journals.
Recently, in the journal Nature Medicine, American and Chinese researchers described a computer program that can diagnose pediatric diseases. The scientists entered medical history, laboratory values and research results into the program, and the diagnosis was correct 79 percent of the time. Others, by contrast, are closer to perfection. In one study, software based on photographic analysis of the brain identified all seven alzheimer’s patients in their early stages. Doctors and computer scientists from Israel, the United States and Germany have developed an image-recognition system that can find signs of rare genetic diseases based on the shape of a baby’s face. Based on photographs of the cervix, algorithms were more likely than doctors to spot the early stages of cervical cancer. The algorithms were also better, or at least “even” with doctors, in trials comparing skin, lung, eye and breast metastases.
Most doctors don’t find this shameful. The amount of data that a well-trained AI system could process was unmatched, so they decided to use algorithms. Michael Forestine, head of radiology at Essen University Hospital, has long been an active user of “software solutions”, especially for early detection of breast and lung cancer. He always looks to AI for help in analyzing photos of tumors and making disease predictions.
Who can read x-rays better? Medical professionals are looking to big data and artificial intelligence to improve diagnosis speed and accuracy.
At Essen University Hospital, known as the “smart hospital”, the diagnostic app Aida helps triage emergency patients to determine whether they can wait longer or are better off seeing a doctor right away. Whether and how quickly an accident victim needs a CT scan to determine the exact extent of the injury also depends on the assessment of the condition by the Berlin Cross Mountain digital medical product.
Hussey, the founder of Aida, believes Aida has the ability to diagnose rare diseases after patients correctly enter symptoms. Inevitably, a doctor can identify only a few hundred of the 10,000 or so diagnostic photographs of diseases in the world. In this case, he thinks, doctors would be remiss to refuse computer help.
Aida has a global vision, and the app is available in English, Portuguese, French and Spanish as well as German, with swahili, the lingua franca of East Africa, to follow. Hussey says demand for medical advice from smartphones is particularly high in places with a shortage of doctors. In developed countries, when every citizen can decipher his or her own genome, demand for personalized medicine will rise. “IDA will then be able to give precise advice on what to do and what not to do to stay healthy, based on genetic testing and the latest medical knowledge,” Hussey said. That would be true preventive medicine.
Save a life | | networking
Of course, every user of a digital information system leaves a trail of data that risks falling into the wrong hands. “There is no such thing as 100 percent security,” said Klaus Lupu, who manages electronic health documents for Germany’s TK public health insurer. In 2019, 14,200 names and addresses of PEOPLE infected with HPV were leaked online in Singapore, possibly motivated by revenge.
In Germany, where there was a massive protest movement against anonymous censuses in 1987, 80 per cent of citizens now regularly go online to find ways to prevent and information about their illnesses. After studying 17 smart wristbands in 2015, Ahmed-Reza Sadeghi of the System Security Laboratory at the Technical University of Darmstadt concluded that “the vast majority of wristbands can be hacked immediately.” Since then, the companies that make the bands have generally raised the safety standards of their products.
Clemens Gill, director of the Essen Emergency Medical Centre, believes being connected could save lives. He wants emergency services to be able to learn a patient’s medical history from the first phone call and call it in later. In Austria this is already happening, he says, while in Germany “data is often better protected than life”.
The digital health market of the future
Make medical diagnoses based on fitness apps, telemedicine and artificial intelligence:
Networked digital medicine is growing in scale, revolutionizing the relationship between doctor and patient.
[Compiled from Deutschland Focus]
Editor: Zhou Dandan
Modern blood pressure meters — like the wrist one here — represent a typical trend: people can monitor how their bodies are functioning anytime, anywhere.
■ Smart clothes
Scientists are already working on the next generation of wearables: clothes that record and analyze core body functions.
■ Body fluid safe
Fifteen million samples – blood, urine, saliva and other body fluids – from half a million subjects are stored at -80C at the UK Biobank in Stockport, in the Greater Manchester region. Almost everything here is automated, with robots roaming back and forth. In the near future, such banks may be able to support everyone. The researchers used the latest technology to analyze the subjects’ information and transmit the important results to the subjects’ smartphones in a timely manner.
■ Deeper sleep
Manufacturer Philips promises that sensors in the 449 euro smart sleep headband can identify sleep stages and produce specific sounds to prolong and deepen sleep.
■ More sensitive sensors
Most sensor patches can help measure blood sugar, some can release something useful, and a new technology can analyze sweat for professional training.
■ Control your health
Fitness bracelets (from 20 euros) can help people adopt a healthier lifestyle. They measure pulse, record movement, and monitor sleep.
■ Sensors on the wrist
The new smartwatch has sensors on the back that measure the pulse and work with special software to detect abnormal heart rates.