What's Up Doc?

Healthcare is never too far from the headlines. Be it an NHS waiting list or Donald Trump trying to amend the Affordable Care Act, we are constantly tweaking and looking for some gain in how we care for ourselves and our health.

Away from politics and the media sound bytes, change is, in fact, underway. Care is starting to be delivered using targeted treatment strategies rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This is the era of Precision Medicine, where medicine is predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory. The idea is, when diagnosing an individual, is to focus on wellness and not just disease. The driving force behind this is Artificial Intelligence, or AI.

The first step is to unlock data that already exists about a person using techniques like  Natural Language Processing (NLP) to query and learn from hospital patient systems, doctor records, and medical histories. Also, thanks to the growing use of personal wearables and health apps, new data sources are now emerging such as Patient Generated Health Data PGHD. Other data sources include sensors and smart devices that are part of the internet of things (IoT). Last but not least, we have genome analysis where we can start to look at genetic traits and disorders of an individual, even before any symptoms start to develop. This also makes it possible to involve patients in their care delivery. Because there is a higher volume and velocity of medical data, personalized care plans and tailor-made medicines can be an option.

Large technology players such as IBM Watson Health have gone down this route and have made significant progress in the use of A.I. and cognitive computing in oncology and genomics. Others have taken it a step further and you can now have your own Dr AI to join the dots between many diverse data sources and help with discovering new medications, diagnosis and treatment. While Dr AI is a recent graduate, it gets to see thousands of patients and conditions building up the type of clinical experience a human doctor could never accumulate.

This idea of using AI to unlock multiple data sets and focus on the person resonates with the approach to personal development within 110%. We use Natural Language Processing to build thematic analysis, behavioural traits and levels of awareness within conversations. Using other AI techniques can target and track progress in exploring topics, we can match people with personalised inspirational content and support our Personal Accelerators in helping people to achieve their goals and self awareness. Think Precision Medicine, think Precision Coaching.

While all this may seem a little technical and perhaps futuristic, the opposite is true. It is not about the technology, it is about the person. The person being understood, assisted and improved by a new level of service that builds on the experience of millions of records and treatments to deliver better care. Neither is it the future, it is here now. AI is already designing medicines, diagnosing cancer and triaging patients.

If I were in need of a check up and there was a choice between a traditional GP and Dr AI, I’d rather have Dr AI look at my genome, full medical record and current lifestyle and then cross reference that with various treatments and interventions.

Chances are my GP would prefer it too. The GP gets to spend less time pouring over lab results figuring out what could be causing an illness (often in a tight 20 minute consultation) and can instead focus on helping me get better. I can still chat to my GP about the results of my genetic analysis and discuss the different treatments available. AI is not replacing medicine, it is enhancing it. It is taking a valuable empathetic resource like a doctor and accelerating their ability to drive wellness in patients.

That’s how we like to think of the world in 110%, we use AI to achieve real improvements in personal development, not just because we can, but because it’s the right thing to do and it makes a real difference.