The Coaction Between AI and Healthcare Explored at 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo

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At the 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo, the Future Tech Theme Pavilion (FUTEX) held by Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology supported by Academia Sinica, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and various other partners, Taiwanese and global leaders of the smart healthcare industry convened to discuss the coaction between AI and healthcare as well as the challenges facing the industry.

Prioritizing interdisciplinary integration

The head of the National Taiwan University Hospital, Dr. Ming-Shiang Wu, pointed out that Taiwan has a head start in the development of precision medicine thanks to its highly innovative technology industry and dynamic healthcare sector highly innovated technology industry as well as its dynamic healthcare sector has given it an edge in developing precision medicine. However, it requires a high degree of integration is needed between different sectors that have been disconnected to ensure competence. According to Wu, it is necessary to find talents with interdisciplinary skills and to overcome the differences in organizational cultures. Huey-Herng Sheu, the superintendent of Taipei Veterans General Hospital, also mentions the need for interdisciplinary integration in addressing unmet clinical needs and accelerating product development.

“A mindset adjustment is needed as the high-tech industry deepens its engagement with the medical industry,” said Chris Kuo, the executive director of medical business development under Wistron Corp., a leading Taiwanese ODM. Chris addressed that the tech industry mainly thinks in terms of products, especially development speed and quantity. In contrast, the medical industry thinks in terms of patient demand and precision. “Technology commercialization is the weak link in Taiwan’s precision medicine industry,” observed Johnsee Lee, the chairman of Taiwan Precision Medicine & Molecular Diagnostic Industry Association. The biotech veteran believed that Taiwan’s broad collection of biomedical data, in combination with its tech prowess, has given it a significant advantage. Nevertheless, it is not sufficient to merely commercialize the data but to commercialize the relevant technologies as well.

Cloud and edge computing

Wilson To, the head of global healthcare, life sciences, and genomics at Amazon Web Services (AWS), also attended the Expo and shared Amazon’s experiences in smart healthcare. According to To, AWS believes that the digital innovations in healthcare should come from all companies and enterprises regardless of size, and Amazon aspires to enable such development. Through its cloud service can process an enormous a tremendous amount of medical data, AWS has already partnered with many leading biomedical companies in drug development, especially with AstraZeneca in the fight against COVID -19, and with Grail in the fight against cancer.

When it comes to processing the growing amount of data associated with the biomedical industry, Nvidia has also become a major player. At Innotech Expo, Mona Flores, Nvidia’s global head of medical AI, pointed out that Nvidia is using Deep Learning to develop customized data processing and analytics for medical AI applications. Nvidia has particularly focused on the convergence of edge computing and federated learning: Nvidia’s GPUs, for example, have been integrated into medical edge devices such as mobile MRI scanners. Through federated learning, for example, Nvidia has worked with 20 medical facilities around the world to collect data for training models without compromising patient privacy. The resulting model can predict with 95% accuracy whether a patient will need a ventilator within 24 hours of arriving in the emergency room.