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article imageQ&A: How AI can improve chronic conditions Special

By Tim Sandle     Aug 29, 2018 in Health
Artificial intelligence offers many benefits to the medial field. This includes using machine learning to discover how the lives of those with chronic health conditions can be improved.
As an example, one application of applying AI to assist those with specific diseases is using AI to automatically titrate insulin for people with diabetes. This achieved with an AI product Glooko. Glooko, Inc provides a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application and accompanying mobile app for diabetes patients and their healthcare providers.
The AI liberates data from over 180 diabetes and exercise devices, correlates it with food, exercise, medication, and other data to deliver actionable insights that improve self-management and clinical care.
To discover more Digital Journal spoke with Glooko Product Manager of Analytics, Vikram Singh to find out how AI can be leveraged to improve the lives of people with chronic conditions.
Digital Journal: How has healthcare changed over the past five years?
Vikram Singh: While healthcare as a whole continues to evolve in many ways, there have been three distinct shifts within digital health. First, adoption of digital health by individuals has grown rapidly. With very broad access to smartphones and the introduction of mobile enabled activity tracking from Google and Apple Health, people are increasingly interested in quantifying their activity and health.
Second, clinicians are starting to adopt digital health tools and data insights to better care for individual patients. And third, the healthcare system is starting to recognize the impact remote care can have. New reimbursement codes for remote patient monitoring and chronic care management are focused on leveraging digital health to provide remote support to individuals in their daily lives, versus just during the 1-2x a year 15 minute appointment.
DJ: Which technologies are disrupting healthcare the most?
Singh: Historically, cloud and mobile technology have been big disruptors because they allow mass access. Technologies that I would consider as emerging disruptors include those focused on analytics, data, and AI because they provide on-demand insights that drive real behavior change.
When we consider the needs of the healthcare system, there is a clear demand for improved chronic care management. Assistive technologies like AI will play a critical role as we move toward a system which better supports those with chronic conditions. When individuals are empowered to better manage their conditions with the insights AI can provide, their health improves.
As an example, Glooko’s AI features include the ability to alert people with diabetes about which day of the week and time of day they at their “best” and “worst” in terms of glycemic control. This alert provides individuals with actionable insights such as when they might need to add in or reduce exercise, stress, or carb intake.
DJ: How can AI help in general?
Singh: AI can help because it understands macro health trends like supporting new product development and research, while at the micro level, it impacts individuals through personalization. There’s a preponderance of data about the health of an individual but it is difficult to understand and analyze.
Giving an individual many different data points without synthesizing and analyzing the information makes it difficult for them to comprehend. AI can conduct the analysis and provide real insights, direction, and even advice, to a patient about everything from how their behavior impacts their health to what activities are optimal for their well-being.
DJ: How about with chronic condition management?
Singh: Chronic condition management is ripe for leveraging data and AI to deliver better outcomes. Chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes can be very data rich. People with diabetes are asked to track their blood sugar and blood sugar readings, combined with medication in-take, diet, exercise, and stress. This data can provide a real and actionable set of insights for both the individual and the clinical care team.
DJ: Are there any specific examples?
Singh: At Glooko we see real impact in terms of outcomes of our digital health users. Those who use Glooko’s mobile health app on average see improvements in their overall blood glucose levels, a reduction of hyperglycemic events, and better overall control of their insulin doses.
DJ: How can such systems be evaluated for safety?
Singh: Safety, particularly as it relates to data, is critical. Glooko is an FDA cleared product and we have developed a full quality management system (QMS) that assures both product quality and security. We also work with some of the largest healthcare organizations in the world, who constantly analyze our platform with data security measures. Finally, since we operate in the EU as well, we have to support GDPR and have taken on the necessary measures to do so. For those looking at solutions, make sure you ask about the company’s data security policies and preventative approaches.
DJ: What is the general response from the medical establishment?
Singh: We have had great response from both individuals and clinicians. We have over 1.5 million individuals (people with diabetes) using our products and over 7,000 provider sites. There is a real hunger for data that is delivered in a digestible and easy to access way. That is what we have set out to do.
In order to improve our platform, we have also created a feedback process that tracks user behavior. What features are they using most? What features are hard to use? We take that data and make changes to our user experience to ensure we get it right and keep users coming back. We also have a medical advisory board made up of doctors and certified diabetes educators. They make sure we are presenting the data in a way that is consistent with industry standards, compatible with patient understanding and consistent with how they talk to patients about their care plans.
DJ: What else do you see disrupting healthcare over the next few years?
Singh: We are seeing a real organic movement by healthcare organizations to make digital health, remote patient support, coaching, and care in-between visits a priority. We believe this will both take some time to really set-in, but also become a priority. Why? Because it is actually better for both individuals and the system because it lower costs. Connecting with individuals in-between visits can reduce acute situations that cause ER visits and hospital admissions, which are both expensive to the system and not something any individual wants.
More about Artificial intelligence, disease management, Disease, Pathology
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