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Will AI revolutionize the next wave of personalized health?

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Egbert van Acht, Business Leader Health & Wellness Royal Philips and future Chief Business Leader of Philips’ Personal Health

 

by Egbert van Acht, Business Leader Health & Wellness Royal Philips and future Chief Business Leader of Philips’ Personal Health

The digitization of health has resulted in an explosion of data, providing a granularity of information that was unimaginable only three years ago. The data of today will fuel the AI technology of tomorrow, empowering consumers to manage their own health and wellbeing and giving them new opportunities to live happier lives.

AI technology is already having a massive impact on our everyday lives. Take the Amazon Go grocery stores for example. There are no staff, the store is full of sensors and you can work your way through the entire shopping experience including checkout, unaware that the AI technology is quietly running in the background whilst you’re doing your weekly shop!

The same is now happening by virtue of these technologies in our daily routines and its impact on our lives will be dramatic over the next few years.

Within the home environment technologies such as advanced analytics and cloud are coming to the fore. Mothers are now able to monitor the health, sleeping patterns and development of their newborns. We can also monitor and improve the air quality inside our homes without even needing to lift a finger as sensors integrated into air purifiers can detect increased allergen/pollen levels and adjust air quality to the personal needs of the user.

More and more these insights will be predictive, enabling people to take pro-active steps in optimizing the environment and the health of themselves and their loved-ones.

Looking to the future

The annual IFA Consumer Electronics show in Berlin gives us at Philips the opportunity not only to showcase our many Personal Health innovations – we are launching several key products again this year – but also to demonstrate how we intend to play our part in shaping the technology of tomorrow.

Take the electric toothbrush. Our new Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart brush is set to help shape the future of oral healthcare as we know it by delivering high performance brushing and personalized coaching from smart sensor technology. A bit like an autonomous car, the brush knows where it is inside your mouth and can interpret your brushing behaviors, pressure applied, spots that are typically overlooked and provide insights that help you brush better.

In the future, we will look to AI technology to give predictive insights based on historic and current data – taking an already extremely sophisticated device to a whole new level.

The benefits for consumers of this revolution in personalized care are boundless. Predictive analytics will increasingly enable consumers to manage their quality of life, mapping both their personal health and clinical history against anonymized correlations and patterns of patient information. Consumers (as well as their GPs and specialists) will be closely and remotely monitoring their health.  AI will be able to predict when we may get sick, remotely alert our GP when a medical intervention is required and, even better, may be able to help prevent some health issues in the first place – oftentimes in a completely natural, non-intrusive way, just as it is quietly ‘helping’ us with our shopping!

Moving from devices to platforms

As Philips we are already on our way, shifting our focus from the devices themselves to the platforms and all-round solutions which open new possibilities to improve people’s daily lives.

This is the case with the oral care platform behind our Sonicare portfolio of products. The Philips Sonicare app is in effect a ‘virtual hub’ for personal oral healthcare, enabling users to manage their brushing and breath quality on a daily basis, share results with their dental practitioners, and have personalized guidance and advice at their fingertips.

Similarly, Philips Care Orchestrator, our patient management solution for people living at home with chronic sleep and respiratory conditions is another example of how Philips is pushing the boundaries of digital health. Powered by Philips Healthsuite digital platform, Care Orchestrator unites patients, homecare providers, physicians and insurance companies within a single, cloud-based platform, allowing care teams to provide personalized support, coaching and education to their patients at home. Care Orchestrator turns raw data into actionable information and delivers it directly to care teams so everyone can work together to make fast, informed clinical decisions.

The aim with all of these technologies is to create truly adaptive environments, but which help people feel in control of their own health and care situation.

Solutions which today are still in the hands of medical professionals, will shift increasingly into our hands as consumers – to the point where we will be monitoring our own vital signs as a matter of course, but always with the comfort of having the professional remotely tracking patterns too. Immersive experiences to improve our overall wellbeing will follow. For example, our AI-powered support systems will nudge us on when to take exercise, for how long, whether low or high intensity, as well as providing personalized dietary and nutritional advice. And all this with both objective and subjective benefits to consumers: for example, healthier and tastier nutrition, better fitness with more fun, or chronic disease management with a responsible lifestyle, reassured remotely by professionals.

In all this, we will be quietly – but extremely competently – assisted by technology!

In my opinion, we are only at the beginning of understanding the opportunities that AI and data technologies can bring in delivering personalized health solutions. The next chapter promises to be even more exciting and we won’t have to wait long!

This blogpost was originally published on Philips‘ Innovation Matters platform.


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