How AI is creating efficient and effective healthcare systems

Six experts comment on the growing use of technology across healthcare and how the industry is set to change

Pharma IQ

Advanced technologies have accelerated the pace of change within the healthcare industry. 

Artifical Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) offer new abilities for practitioners across research, daignosis and treatment. The scope of applications are wide-randing, from the simple automation of critial but reptitive tasks to the creation of complete synthetic control arms for clinical trials. 

With 75 per cent of healthcare enterprises planning to execute an AI strategy in 2020, we asked six members of the Pharma IQ community to share their insight on how technology is set to change the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare practitioners.


Francesca Cormack PhD, Director of Research and Innovation at Cambridge Cognition

Cormack: "Digital biomarkers are the new frontier. The upward trajectory of digital capabilities over the last decade, combined with the widespread adoption of devices, has augmented biological markers with digital measures of disease progression.

In our field, it is now possible to use AI to enrich cognitive test scores with metrics that indicate cognitive effort, such as the unique features of a patient’s voice that reveal when they are finding it particularly challenging to perform a task. Patients who are ostensibly performing within normal ranges but struggling to maintain that performance are likely suffering with the early stages of decline and could benefit from interventions that might slow or prevent further neurodegeneration.

Over the next year, we expect to see improvements in the precision of digital biomarkers for rapidly detecting neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. The ultimate goal is to integrate digital biomarkers into clinical care and improve patient outcomes." 


Mario Nacinovich, Global Head of Communications and Marketing at AiCure 

Nacinovich: “The greatest challenges in deploying AI solutions in healthcare vary widely by application. In 2020 (and beyond), it comes down to ensuring that back-end processes gain greater efficiencies. From an administrative standpoint, making it easier for AI to integrate with existing technology infrastructure will certainly help adoption. From a societal standpoint, building greater trust in AI and protecting personal healthcare data will continue to be among the omnipresent challenges. 

Within the clinical trials industry specifically, we can expect to see a number of key challenges in 2020 which technology - including AI - will help address. 

Once identified and recruited, one of the biggest challenges in clinical trials are keeping subjects engaged and optimised to treatment. Medication non-adherence has been shown to increase variance, lower study power, and reduce the magnitude of treatment effects. AI will play a critical role in understanding how a drug is performing in real-time and how patients are responding in clinical research including medication adherence and their behavior. 

The adoption of new technologies in 2020 and beyond have the potential to provide clinicians with improvements in overall patient engagement, outcomes, quality of life, practicality in use, and reduce clinical development time and associated costs.”


Dr Steven Chance, CEO at Oxford Brain Diagnostics

Chance: “Dementia remains highly complex in nature and requires extensive collaboration for treatment to succeed. Urgent action to address these challenges is needed today as by 2050, 152 million people will have the disease globally.

Unlocking new biomarkers, leveraging smarter science and deploying funds where they are needed most may give the industry a chance to defeat this terrible condition. We must re-focus our efforts and move quickly now towards examining the disease much earlier, allowing novel biomarkers to measure the progression more accurately and develop specific and targeted drug treatments for the range of dementias that exist.

National level support to develop holistic brain health and screening programmes will help to demystify the brain, rationalize the fear of dementia, and ensure patients and families have the opportunity to embrace interventions in clinical trials earlier in their lives.”


Eyal Gura, CEO and Co-Founder at Zebra Medical Vision 

Gura: “With two billion people joining the middle class, a rising aging population and a growing shortage of medical experts, AI will be critical in enabling communities to provide effective and consistent health services. From medical imaging analysis to sensors and smart alerts, we are going to witness improved and personalized care.

In 2020 we will see AI deploy across hundreds of health networks globally, impacting millions of patients. AI has the power to transform patient care and empower efficient patient diagnosis. For example, the Zebra software can automatically interpret and formulate insights from a variety of medical images. Having a single AI solution integrate seamlessly into existing workflows at an affordable rate will be key for delivering better patient care, identifying at risk patients and initiating preventative treatment.”


Dr Michalis Papadakis, CEO and Co-Founder of Brainomix

Papadakis: “As highlighted earlier this year, the UK NHS aims to become a world leader in AI and machine learning in the next five years. In 2020, we expect to see this become more apparent in practical terms with AI technologies becoming the predominant driving force behind imaging diagnostics. 

With around 780,000 people suffering a stroke each year in Europe, and 7.4 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, it is imperative we find ways to reduce the burden on healthcare organisations and improve time to disease detection. 

The number of MRI and CT scans for example is already on the rise, and AI has the ability to read scans as accurately as an expert physician. Utilising these new technologies to review scans for any disease can reduce patient wait time and ease the burden on medical staff. There will be greater recognition next year of the value of AI in augmenting human performance.” 


Charles Taylor, Founder at HeartFlow

Taylor: “For me, 2020 will accelerate the development of the digital healthcare industry; a hybrid sector where medicine and cutting-edge technology converge to propel patient care forward. We’re starting to see more interest and investment in this fascinating field. For example, HeartFlow uses medical imaging and AI to give physicians unprecedented insight into potentially life-threatening restrictions on blood flow within the body.

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what integration between information technology, computers and healthcare can achieve, and the expectations are high. I look forward to seeing how these challenges are met in the year ahead.”