As a healthcare professional, you might agree that something has to change in our healthcare system. While we could debate public policy, insurance carriers and the law, I’ll make a case there are significant steps in technology, which could fundamentally change healthcare in the US and the rest of the world.
These days Artificial Intelligence/AI has become part of popular press articles. You might have seen the singer Common talking about AI on a recent Microsoft TV ad. As consumers we experience the power of Siri, Alexa or Google to recognize speech and if you’re on Facebook, we’ve how well facial recognition can work. Recently an AI powered application beat a human at the game of Go, which many thought would take another ten years.
In the world of medicine we are seeing similar advances in the potential for AI to provide the precision diagnostic capability of the world’s best ophthalmologist. One of my former students, Dr. Anthony Chang has taken his considerable knowledge and network and launched the AIMed conference series because he believes it’s time to bring the world of healthcare closer to AI, Big Data and Cloud Computing.
Each Siemens, GE, Beckman, Abbott, Illumine, Phillips machine speaks it’s own language. If you’ve been in computing a long time you’ll recognize we used to be this way.
But anyone in the world of machine learning and AI will tell you the more data we can learn from will result in more accurate analytics. So where is all of this data?
Most hospitals have over 1000 machines: MRI scanners, CAT scanners, gene sequencers, drug infusion pumps, blood analyzers, etc. Unfortunately these machines are all balkanized. Each Siemens, GE, Beckman, Abbott, Illumine, Phillips machine speaks it’s own language. If you’ve been in computing a long time you’ll recognize we used to be this way. Our AS/400, Unix, Mainframe, client-server applications existed in their own world, able to only communicate with their own tribe.
There are today about 500 hospitals around the world and on average there are 1,000 machines in each hospital. What if we could connect them all?
In the 1990s this all began to change. The creation of the Internet based on TCP/IP changed everything because finally we could have different kinds of machines talk to each other. In the mid 1990s when the Internet had roughly 1,000,000 machines connected companies like Netscape, eBay and Amazon were created. At 10,000 machines no one would have cared, but at 1,000,000 it mattered. Fast-forward to today with billions of machines connected our experiences with buying books, making travel reservations or moving money is dramatically different.
Now consider the small world of pediatric hospitals. There are today about 500 hospitals around the world and on average there are 1,000 machines in each hospital. What if we could connect them all? Maybe like the consumer Internet with 500,000 machines connected healthcare could become dramatically different. Sadly, most of the attention today is on EMR/HER applications, where doctors spend their evenings and weekends typing data into these ancient pre-Internet applications. But the massive amounts of data, which will power AI applications is not there. The data is in the machines: the blood analyzers, gene sequencers, CAT scanners, and ultrasounds. Maybe if we could just start by connecting the machines in all the pediatric hospitals we could make a difference in the lives of the 2.2B children in the world.
By TIMOTHY CHOU, PhD – Lecturer, Stanford University
Tim has been lucky enough to have a career spanning academia, successful (and not so successful) startups and large corporations. He was one of only six people to ever hold the President title at Oracle. As President of Oracle On Demand he led the cloud business from it’s very beginning. Today the Oracle cloud business is over $2B. He wrote about the move of applications to the cloud in 2004 in his first book, “The End of Software”. Today he serves on the board of Blackbaud, a $600M vertical application cloud service provider.
After earning his PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois he went to work for one of the original Silicon Valley startups. Had he understood stock options he would have joined earlier. He’s invested in and been a contributor to a number of other startups, some you’ve heard of like Webex, and others you’ve never heard of but were sold to companies like Cisco and Oracle. Today he has invested in several new ventures in cloud computing, big data, machine and the Internet of Things.
Finally, he was lucky enough to be able to start teaching at Stanford University in 1982. He taught introductory computer architecture for fifteen years and only stopped because one day he had to fly to Bali, do a sales kickoff and fly back in 24 hours to teach class. Since leaving Oracle he launched Stanford’s first course on cloud computing. He also has delivered keynote speeches on all six continents, most recently for Telefonica in Mexico City. He has also recently published a 3-volume book on cloud computing and co-authored a paper for the Journal of the American Medical Association.