Philips and Huawei Initiate Cloud AI Healthcare Project
By HospiMedica International staff writers
25 Oct 2017
Royal Philips (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (Shenzhen, China) have signed an MoU for the deployment of a cloud-based healthcare solution. The project targeting China’s smaller urban centers has already completed testing and aims to expand high-quality cloud-driven healthcare to communities that lack advanced healthcare solutions or physicians with specialist skills.
Philips is a health technology company with a focus on diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Huawei is a global information and communications technology solutions provider with a portfolio of end-to-end solutions in telecom and enterprise networks, devices, and cloud technology and services.
Cloud AI reduces work for physicians in the area of clinical processing by allowing them to offload part of their tasks such as diagnostics to computers, which are far superior at observing patterns than humans. It also allows doctors to more efficiently share information and conduct research using massive datasets that can be instantly mined. By using cloud AI to analyze huge datasets, trends can identify potential epidemics, implement constant monitoring, and facilitate AI-enabled research into rare diseases and sub-populations or geographies that are too fine-grained for humans to analyze.
Cloud AI can process vast amounts of data in a much shorter time and with far greater accuracy than a human physician. Ludwig Liang, Head of Population Health Management for Philips in China, points out that this is especially important in China’s tier-2 cities, as many physicians “don’t necessarily have the skills to read image diagnostics like MRI scans and CT scans. If you ask a doctor to process thousands of images a day, he may miss something.” In contrast, AI is adept at spotting patterns in big datasets. In the case of terminal illnesses such as cancer, machine-learning solutions hosted in the cloud can make a real difference in a patient’s prognosis.
Additionally, mobile technology and apps put personal healthcare management in the hands of the individual, moving away from a reactive and sporadic model to one that’s proactive and always on. Apps that log behaviors and sensors that monitor health are not only predictive; they can also help ensure compliance with medication and treatment plans, giving notifications and alerts to optimize treatment efficacy.
“We have to admit that we’re heading into new areas, how healthcare can be extended from hospitals to homes and leveraging apps and connected devices,” said Liang, who believes that the concept of extended healthcare is very important – treatment will no longer start and stop in a hospital or doctor’s office after someone becomes sick. Apps, sensors, smart devices, and the cloud will in effect mean “you have your own health team on call 24/7.”
The Philips-Huawei solution will help in cutting costs and increasing the efficiency, speed, and accuracy of diagnostics and treatments. “Our collaboration basically covers a cloud platform, but it also includes IoT connectivity and solutions,” said Liang. “We’ve tested our solutions on Huawei’s cloud and we’re very satisfied with the results. Now it’s about both companies working together to go to market.”