We take a look at this week’s biggest developments, research and investment news from the world of health tech.
This week, Amazon announced its new service “Amazon Comprehend Medical”, cloud software that combines machine learning and text analysis to read patient records and extract key data. The aim of the service is to help healthcare providers manage clinical trials, save money and make treatment decisions. Comprehend Medical is set to organise information about diagnoses, treatments, medication dosage and symptoms. This marks a flurry of announcements from Amazon in the health-tech space, having recently paid $1bn to acquire online prescription service PillPack.
A start-up that was launched in 2017, Birdie, this week raised €7 million in its latest funding round. Birdie allows relatives, care workers and doctors to share information about older people that want to remain in their homes. Five thousand carers have already signed up to use the app on their phones, with 50 families taking part in the pilot. The core service offered by the company is the digitalisation of notes taken by care workers during visits, so that they can be shared more easily between professional carers, other health practitioners and family members. The goal of the technology is to help coordinate care and ensure the older generation stay out of care homes or hospital beds as long as possible. As pressure continues to rise on the healthcare sector, due to an ageing population, Birdie appears to address an important and ever more pressing issue.
Samsung has signalled its intent to invest further in AI. An announcement in Chicago this week, saw Samsung Electronics confirm it will apply its artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to its imaging devices in an effort to help improve diagnosis for radiologists. Together with its medical device affiliate Samsung Medison, Samsung showcased various types of diagnostic imaging software including those for ultrasound, digital radiography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A study published by the University of Palermo in Italy from radiology professor Tommaso Bartolotta suggests the introduction of Samsung’s software saw accuracy of diagnosis increase from 83% to 87% for doctors with up to four years’ experience. Samsung intends to invest US$22 billion into the emerging technologies of AI and 5G.
Bright Health, the Minnesota based integrated health insurance start-up, announced an impressive $200 million oversubscribed Series C funding round. Bright Health’s offering includes looking to partners to seamlessly embed its payer services into the patient’s care journey. Bright Health also offers a consumer-friendly technology platform that includes web tools and a mobile app for finding care, as well as a health rewards program. It offers its plans to families, individuals and also Medicare beneficiaries in the US, and the latest round of funds will be used to expand the company into new markets. To date, Bright Health’s total funding now equals $440million, allowing it to maintain strong footing in a competitive market.
A major study of behavioural technology suggests that the Apple Watch could add up to two years to your life. According to the report, those who use fitness trackers linked to awards schemes saw an increase in activity levels of over 30%. The research was commissioned by Vitality and urges the NHS to be at the forefront of a digital revolution in health.
Interesting reads for the weekend:
- Oxford imaging firm lends AI smarts to £50m government initiative
- Researchers offer guidance on monitoring Parkinson’s with wearable sensors, machine learning
- DENTACOIN: The Blockchain Solution for the Global Dental Industry
- Is our constant use of digital technologies affecting our brain health? We asked 11 experts.
- Big Tech Expands Footprint in Health
- China baby gene editing claim ‘dubious’
- Can big data and innovation save the NHS?