The health coach may be synched with the user’s sleep alarm so it can trigger questions like how they slept and that can prompt questions about their medication.

4 ways healthcare is putting artificial intelligence, machine learning to use

Artificial intelligence and concerns over the long term consequences has come up again in the news week in the form of aScientific American blog musing over how artificial intelligence will evolve — “Is AI Dangerous? It Depends…”  There is a certain amount of hand wringing over AI and, to a lesser extent, its branches such as machine learning and natural language processing. It also drew attention to notables who have voiced concern over AI including Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.

The concerns tend to emerge from worst case scenarios and assume that even though AI can be used for beneficial purposes, what if the technology is turned against us?

But many people applying AI to make healthcare delivery more efficient and automated don’t see it that way. It’s worth a look at the diverse applications for AI across healthcare including biotech and health IT, since these are some areas where it is having a significant impact from informing healthcare decisions to speeding up the selection of targets for drug development.

Medication adherence AiCure uses mobile technology and facial recognition to determine if the right person is taking a given drug at the right time. It uses mobile devices to capture patient data from an application. It uses automated algorithms to identify patients, the medication and the process of medication ingestion. That data gets transmitted in real-time back to a clinician through a HIPAA-compliant network. Clinicians can confirm that the patients are taking their medication as directed. But its technology can also be used to flag adverse events.

Next IT developed Alme Health Coach to get a deeper dive on why people aren’t taking their meds. It is a relative newcomer to healthcare. It developed “virtual assistants” to guide and better understand consumer problems across areas like banking, retail and money management. Part of the AI component involves repeating what users say to verify and clarify thoughts that are transmitted back and forth by users. The health coach is designed to be configured for specific diseases, medications and treatments. The health coach may be synched with the user’s sleep alarm so it can trigger questions like how they slept and that can prompt questions about their medication. The idea is to collect actionable data that doctors can use to better work with patients (providing the patient agrees they can share the data).

Healthy behavior Welltok tapped IBM’s Watson superbrain to support its vision of connecting consumers with personalized activities. Its Caféwell Concierge app uses Watson’s natural language processing abilities to understand users goals and provide the right balance of nudges and alerts so it can meet those targets and reward them. Watson is also part of a broader mission in healthcare to provide more targeted care, such as guiding oncologists on the most appropriate cancer treatment options based on the patients medical history and other data.

Support care givers Automated Insights put its natural language generation platform Wordsmith to work in a collaboration with Great Call — a mobile app developer. GreatCall Link is an app that allows friends and family members to learn about what’s going on with a GreatCall device carrier the app connects with.The app creates a way to notify them when a connected device is used to call for help. The app is equipped with patented GPS technology so it also shows the location of the device (and the user). Underscoring the level of interest in AI, Automated Insights was acquired this week by Vista Equity Partnersand sports data company, STATS.

Drug development Biotech companies are also combining artificial intelligence and big data to identify new drug compounds,such as Cloud Pharmaceuticals and Berg. Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi are using Watson to find new targets for FDA approved drugs.