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August 8, 2016

AI Initiative Targets Medical Apps

An artificial intelligence initiative launched last week seeks to weave predictive AI technology into emerging health and “wellness” products.

According to initiative organizers, medAI seeks to move beyond “button pushing and impersonal automation scenarios” to bring a new level of AI-powered personalization to scenarios such as reminders to take medications or check blood pressure.

The medAI initiative launched in partnership with personal AI specialist Neura Inc. also is touted as preserving patient privacy while providing alerts or detecting and describing medical emergencies. The company also said its AI service is designed to learn user context and habits to improve the ability to provide timely recommendations, reminders and updates.

For medical emergencies, the AI-based system would go beyond current services like Life Alert to determine, for example, what a patient was doing when a medical emergency occurred.

Other digital healthcare providers participating in the medAI initiative include: developers of a medication management platform for tying particular reminders and notifications to specific times of the day; a blood pressure monitoring service that determines the best time of day to send a reminder; a wearable diet monitor called “Bitbite” intended to help improve eating habits; and a health monitoring platform used to collect, analyze and distribute medical information to the appropriate physician.

The partners also foresee growing use of medical AI in a range of “wellness” applications such as helping couples determine their fertility rates. The service includes features like a “personal ovulation tracker” and a sensor that monitors users’ habits and routines to provide “fertility-related insights.”

The AI service also includes applications such as a heart rate monitor that can be used for fitness training. Another training application prompts users to sit up straight at work by adopting better posture. A third detects elevated stress levels by monitoring smartphone activity to alert parents of cyber bullying.

Given strict regulatory requirements for protecting patient privacy, medical device and technology providers also are stressing data protection. Neura, Sunnyvale, Calif., said users would decide which products would have access results generated by its AI approach, adding that raw data is “never exposed.” AI insights generated by the medAI platform include historical profiles and user habits along with “real-time insights into a user’s life.”

The company said it seeks to go beyond smartphone access to sensor data by applying machine learning algorithms to analyze data about users’ daily habits. It then develops a framework “that learns and reacts to every individual.” The AI service is designed to “personalize and contextualize” personal data based on activity predictions.

The approach requires users to grant access location data and daily activities as a way to train the system to predict when a user is likely to, for example, wake, leave for work, exercise, return home. For medical reminders, it can suggest the best time to take medicine or take blood pressure.

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