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Microsoft Industry Blogs

The Innovation Race for Improved Cancer Outcomes in December was a huge success, resulting in nine practical projects to transform the prevention, treatment, and curing of cancer.
“It is obvious that this format has great potential for the hospital” says Sune Larsson, Research and Development Director at Uppsala University Hospital. This was the first time that this model was tested in health care.” The potential for improved patient outcomes through innovating with AI is stunning, as outlined this week also in Davos.

Man wearing the Microsoft Hololens and a tv screen behind him with a graphic of a human head on the screenAmongst the outcomes from the Innovation Race, here are two projects that can radically improve patient outcomes through the natural blending of AI and cloud based collaboration & communication. The RehApp Coach addresses a primary challenge with long-term preventive and post-treatment care, which is maintaining a patient’s motivation to act on his own since recovery can engender a discouraging sense of isolation. During the 52 hours the team developed a prototype bot that offers a more conversational approach and personal experience to engage and activate cancer patients in their rehab.

Sharpened Screening uses the intelligent cloud to pre-screen and identify patients with the highest risk of getting lung cancer, reducing mortality for lung cancer by 20% for certain diagnoses. False positive results cause patient suffering during the actual diagnostic work-up. To circumvent these unwanted disruptions in patient lives and optimize resources, AI will be used to analyse massive amounts of data from lifelong healthcare visits to find a more precise way to assess which patients will benefit from screening.

By infusing intelligence into collaboration and innovation processes, the Race brought to life the benefits of continuous quality improvement. “We are good at delivering health care and taking care of patients, but technology and life science companies know more about drug development, diagnostics and digital solutions that can transform the health care system. At the hospital, we don’t have time to address all our challenges and questions daily,” says Morten Kildal, Manager for Value Based Health Care.

At the same time, AI scenarios raises new ethical considerations on how to use data to foster a public interest in better health and at the same time to safeguard an individual’s values of privacy, security. New unchartered areas are emerging. Microsoft is working with the Oxford Internet Institute (OII, University of Oxford) has taken a proactive approach to start explore these questions and unveil areas in which deeper research is needed.

According to Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford, AI applications are joining nurses, doctors, social workers, technicians and researchers by helping perform functions that, just a few years ago, were considered off-limits for technological disruption. This is good news. We need AI to deal with increasing levels of complexity. We need to remember that the best chess player is neither a human nor a computer, but a human using a computer. This applies to people working in the health sector as well. So there are opportunities, risks, and challenges in how we shall socialize health-related AI solutions and we should tackle them now, to ensure that individual and social benefits are maximized.

Join us at our annual Health Innovation event Jan. 31 – Feb. 1, 2017, in Brussels to learn how your health organization can start delivering on the promise of innovation.

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