From artificial intelligence, fake data, 5G to digital twins
“Raise your voice! How voice tech puts patients in the center” — This is the call that launched this year’s MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM (MHIF) on 18 November 2019 at the world’s largest medical trade fair MEDICA in Düsseldorf into the first session of its consistently English language program (MEDICA run time: 18–21 November 2019, Monday to Thursday). The stage in Hall 13 (Stand E82) will then be the venue for digitized voice recognition: “What sounded futuristic just a few years ago, has now entered the health care sector and has already become the standard in many countries,” explained Dr Nana Bit-Avragim, digital health expert at Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, in the runup to the session. This trend is being fueled by the triumphant progress of virtual assistants and apps like Alexa and Siri, which are now to be found in a growing number of everyday fields. Bit-Avragim believes that the significance of voice recognition will continue to grow for health care applications in Germany following the planned Digital Services Act. This act is to help simplify patient access to digital health services, e.g. via apps prescribed by doctors.
Zana, for instance, offers a good mix of voice recognition and innovative technology. This German-Albanian startup has developed an interactive health assistant based on AI (artificial intelligence). Zana interacts with the user over various channels such as internet chats and speech. At the MHIF in Düsseldorf, cofounder Dr Julia Hoxha will be illustrating the extent to which data, e.g. from cardiology, can be collated from various sources like continuous ECG, heart rate measurements, and non-invasive blood pressure measurements. Intelligent voice recognition gives the patient in their correct order the right answers to key issues, specifically to auricular fibrillation.
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On the other hand, “My Diabetes Coach” (from macadamian) is an example care management platform that uses Amazon’s Alexa to help people to manage their diabetes properly. Timon LeDain, Director of Emerging Technologies at the company, will be reporting in Düsseldorf on the current progress this has made.
Data coupling for recognising emotions
Besides the latest news and innovations, MHIF is also, of course, providing a look into the future of voice recognition in the health care sector. “It will develop continually in line with other technologies. Key fields are the recognition of emotions and faces,” predicts Bit-Avragim. She mentioned examples in the USA and China where face and voice recognition are being coupled. Technologies like these, she concluded, are particularly important in the field of mental disorders. The potential benefits offered by this linking of various data are shown in Ipsilon, a Japanese-Dutch-German-US startup project that attempts by means of a music algorithm to detect the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia. According to this, the first symptoms would be detected as early as ten years before its manifestation in about 85% of cases. Dr Bit-Avragim sees in this a trend towards preventive health care.