Artificial intelligence in the service of preventive medicine

According to a recent study, 66% of Greater Montreal residents trust AI, and 83% believe that health innovation can help reduce congestion and make better use of health network resources.

These numbers are from the results of a survey conducted by Biron Groupe Santé in December, released on January 25, and sent to chambly newspaper. The survey was conducted as part of the launch of the Phase B competition, the Biron initiative that showcases the latest innovations in preventive medicine, including artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. But how can AI actually be used in medicine?

Detect disease early

AI has many virtues, including the possibility of establishing a medical diagnosis at an early stage. An expert in the field, Zilia won the latest edition of the Phase B competition, has developed a technology platform that aims to detect serious eye diseases even before damage to the eye appears, using a retinal camera, which allows continuous measurement of oxygen in the eye.

66%
This is the largest percentage of Montreal that trusts in artificial intelligence

“The majority of diagnoses to prevent eye disease occur late, and current clinical tools only allow assessment of damage that has already occurred to the eye, the company reports. With the aim of preventing these conditions, Zilia offers a technology platform that combines imaging, spectrometry and artificial intelligence, allowing measurement of vital signs early in the human eye.”

Along the same lines, we can soon detect dozens of different cancers even before the first symptoms appear, just through blood tests, an innovation that many researchers are working on.

sorting help

In terms of basic artificial intelligence solutions accessible to everyone, we can think of bot applications, offered on the Internet or on mobile phones, which, although basic, allow their user to obtain an initial diagnosis. By answering the questions of the robot or the software by choosing a simple answer in relation to your symptoms, i.e. if you have a headache, stomach aches, joint pains, or if you are experiencing any other sensation, you can thus get a suggestion for diagnosis, without bias . However, it is recommended to consult a real doctor for an official diagnosis.

AI can also, for example, assist in triage in hospital emergency situations and enable the selection of who will receive care in the face of resource shortages.

Benefits, according to respondents

Some of the major benefits of medical use of AI that survey participants mentioned include faster diagnosis (66%), faster access to treatment (60%), and improved access to healthcare and services in general (51%). Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents said they trust AI in predicting or preventing health problems.

“We have very much welcomed the results of this survey, which have been very encouraging. They have come to assure us that we are in the right place to continue spurring innovation in health, particularly with initiatives like Phase B, which are more relevant than ever. It is about providing new solutions. For patients,” this is advocated by Dr. Nicholas Tetro, clinical biochemist, and director of science and innovation at Biron.

stronger trend

These findings are part of Quebecers’ desire for faster and more efficient care, a trend noted, in particular, with the advent of telemedicine at the beginning of the epidemic.

“Telemedicine has settled here faster than it should have, without actually being developed, because of the pandemic, when transmission really started in western Canada,” Isabel evokes in an interview. Bowers, Champlain and medical secretary.

Dr. Sarkis Mittersian, a surgical oncologist at McGill University Health Center (MUHC), considers telemedicine to be overrated despite the enthusiasm it elicits. According to him, “One should not be too enthusiastic about telemedicine. You cannot do a breast or prostate examination over the phone!”. But it is clear that due to the number of patients not receiving care by a family physician, the increased interest in medicine that requires fewer face-to-face interventions, fewer contacts, and fewer human consultations is not close to running out.

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