UPDATE : Monday, June 1, 2020
Australian CEO stresses significant role of digital healthcare
  • By Constance Williams
  • Published 2017.04.17 11:57
  • Updated 2017.04.17 16:30
  • comments 0

Modern, efficient data management not only benefits doctors and patients in overseeing individual cases but also promises a wealth of data that can be anonymized and aggregated for analysis and diagnosis.

Which is why healthcare experts such as David Hansen, CEO of the Australian e-Health Research Center, stresses the importance of the role of information and communication technologies in digital healthcare.

“A lot of people consider digital health to be from electronic medical records, but it’s much bigger than that; it’s about digital disruption of the healthcare system,” he said in an interview with Korea Biomedical Review on Wednesday.

David Hansen, CEO of the Australian e-Health Research Center, poses beside the poster of Bio Korea 2017, held at Coex, southern Seoul, on Wednesday

A lot of health informatics is about collecting data using the same medical concept in multiple places, Hansen noted. Once they’re expected to be able to capture all the images, genomic sequences, and data on wearable devices, there’s a lot of data coming to clinicians and to make sense of it, artificial intelligence (AI) is needed, he added.

“Our work consists of three attributes- data, diagnosis, and services- through genomics to mobile health where digital technology can improve the safety and quality of healthcare as well as the efficiency,” Hansen said.

The Australian e-Health Research Center uses data to process patient, population, health and clinics, to alert clinicians if there is a misdiagnosis, or collect system information to improve efficacy. The center also built AI algorithms to deal with lots of whole genome or whole exome sequences to cohort people based on their genotype for their diagnosis.

The Australian CEO pointed out that the center’s services are mobile health and telehealth, transforming cardiac rehabilitations from fantastic results from randomized and controlled trials. Additionally, there were tests for teleophthalmology (remote eye-screening) in remote Australia to provide diabetic retinopathy (eye disease leading to blindness) where communities normally don’t have specialist doctors.

The Australian e-Health Research Centre is now recently launching a trial with Johnson & Johnson for people receiving knee replacements.

“To make sure we are doing the right preparations for their surgery and rehabilitations, we developed together a mobile-based platform that monitors patient’s exercise, the preparations they are doing before the operation, and how well their knee is functioning,” Hansen said.

Although there are nearly 40,000 health apps on Google Play store and MacBook Itunes Store, very few have data evidence behind them.

“The fact that we conduct trials to show our applications work is what we are proud of doing,” the businessman said.

Hansen high evaluated the speech by Baek Rong-min백롱민, senior vice president of Seoul National University Hospital서울대병원, on Korea’s precision medicine, and on how it will help to advance healthcare in Korea, at Bio Korea 2017 conference in Seoul last week. “It is also a way to building another industry for Korea. With its prestigious digital companies, Korea is well placed to have the digital healthcare sector.”

There is a fine line between needing and welcoming AI in Korea. According to a recent survey by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, patients trust AI more than doctors in accurate diagnosis and prescriptions.

Asked about patient’s attitude in trusting artificial intelligence more than doctors in Australia, Hansen pointed to a phenomenon called “Doctor Google,” in which patients search their symptoms on Google to find exaggerated outcomes of their diagnosis.

“Doctors are concerned that people are googling and not finding accurate information, expecting the worst. That being said, instead of AI replacing doctors, I think there will be a revolution in how the healthcare system is delivered.” Hansen said.

As people increasingly loath to visit hospitals and clinics, Hansen believes there will be an increase in telemedicine. As people are becoming more satisfied with telemedicine, there will be a disruption in the traditional medical flow of patients visiting hospitals.

“Doctors won’t ever be out of work but what we do need to see in Korea is nurses having more responsibilities instead of relying heavily on physicians,” Hansen said.​​​​​


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