Health & Life Sciences

Technology will make your doctor more human again

Philip Edgcumbe Day 2
June 24, 2019

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In April, SingularityU Canada brought two days of forward thinking to Edmonton. Some of the brightest minds in the world presented a vision for the future that embraced exponential technologies — from artificial intelligence to cellular agriculture to blockchain.

To help you navigate the rapidly changing world, we are summarizing some of that forward thinking for easy consumption.

In Philip Edgcumbe’s presentation, The Doctor’s Challenge, we got a look into the future of medicine from the physician’s point of view. An internal medicine doctor at the Vancouver General Hospital and a member of Singularity U Canada’s medicine faculty, Edgcumbe explained how the digitization of health will completely disrupt the medical profession — leading to earlier diagnosis and better management of chronic disease, but also to a total rethink of the doctor’s role.

The Doctor’s Challenge

Philip Edgcumbe
  • Exponential technology will disrupt medicine, but one constant throughout will be that humans crave to be cared for by other humans.
  • The Chief Medical Officer at Virily Life Sciences, the health-care subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has predicted that the amount of data associated with each patient is going to grow 1,600X (to eight terabytes) in the next 15 years — making human analysis of bedside charts obsolete. One solution to this abundance of data is artificial intelligence.
  • The doctors that are successful at adapting will embrace AI as intelligence augmentation. In fact, Dr. Neil Jacobstein, Singularity U’s faculty chair for artificial intelligence and robotics, has predicted that within five to 10 years doctors will be sued for medical malpractice for NOT using AI.
  • As doctors go through this evolution and adapt to an era of digitized health and exponential technology, they have the opportunity to enhance the medical profession — creating a future of deep medicine and health-care abundance.
Summit mainstage
Summit audience 1

What is deep medicine?

The term was coined by Dr. Eric Topol in his book Deep Medicine. Deep medicine includes a deep understanding of the patient’s digitized health data coupled with a deep personal relationship between the doctor and patient.

  • Today, the latter is often forsaken, given the fee-for-service model most Canadian provinces follow and the amount of time doctors spend filling out paperwork. (In certain specialties this can amount to two hours for every hour spent with a patient.) But certain AI functionalities could help with that.
  • Already companies are using natural language processing to develop products that listen to doctors and patients during visits and records pertinent aspects of the conversation.

What is health abundance?

It’s the provision of quality, timely, efficient and effective care.

  • In Canada we are in a state of health scarcity. Access to health care is heavily rationed. It can take months to get a hip replacement, see a dermatologist, or even secure a family doctor.
  • Innovations such as Vitality — a wearable with intensive care unit monitoring and analysis capabilities from Calgary-based Cloud DX— could potentially allow patients to go home earlier, free up beds, extend the reach of doctors into the community and help us move toward health-care abundance.

What's next?

Many companies in Edmonton are poised to disrupt Canadian and global health-care systems, become one of their first customers or invest in them today.

  • Medo: This startup uses 3D imaging and artificial intelligence to allow all front-line workers access to ultrasound as diagnostic tool for certain conditions, without the need for extensive training.
  • Clynisis: A pioneer in the fields of health data analytics and electronic medical record keeping. Its cloud-based software empowers health professionals to provide better, timely and more effective health care by analyzing patterns within imaging, labs and EMRs, and predicting a patient’s health in the future.
  • Aris MD: This immersive reality company uses augmented reality to enhance surgery. By overlaying diagnostic imaging (MRI, CT, X-Ray, or Ultrasound) over a patient during surgery using high-tech glasses, Aris MD hopes to reduce complications and save lives.

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