Find out how eHealth sector deals with nowadays challenges

Insights from final ATHIKA conference in Kaunas

Recent pandemic year has underlined the need to strengthen primary care, disease prevention and the resilience and preparedness of health systems. On 18 of November, ATHIKA final international conference “Would you let a robot be your doctor?” invited key Lithuanian health industry leaders and project ATHIKA experts to share their insights on innovations that will revolutionize medicine soon.

The biggest challenge – data management

Today, artificial intelligence is playing a huge role in strengthening and transforming industries around the world. The global AI market is expected to reach a market value of more than €168 billion by 2025. The healthcare industry is no exception, where AI solutions will bring significant changes.

Tomas Lapinskas, Director for Public Health, Research and Education Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Kaunas Clinics presented digital solutions to be applied in Lithuania hospitals. A five-year reform for the development of an advanced healthcare system is planned to start this year.

“Modern hospitals around the world are already using digitalized data management, IoT solutions for smart diagnostics, and telemedicine to help doctors exchange information more quickly. Some smart solutions have also started to be implemented in Lithuania. For example, a pilot telemedicine project that helps doctors in twelve medical institutions to exchange information more quickly on patient transfer to tertiary level hospitals, appointment of tests and other important issues”, – says T. Lapinskas.

The presenter pointed out that one of the biggest challenges in the health industry today is the management of large amounts of data. This issue can lead to delayed and more complex treatment of diseases. In response to the need for better medical services, Kaunas Clinics was the first in the Baltic States to sign a scientific cooperation agreement with technology giant Siemens Healthineers.

In the nearest future, Kaunas Clinics plans to introduce a machine learning and AI-based tool for analyzing images of patients’ internal organs. One single application would allow doctors to reach archive of examinations, segment data as needed and perform many other timesaving and more precise functions.

Reducing disease risk

Antanas Montvila, a radiologist and vice-president at European Junior Doctors Association, adds that digitized data analytics is vital in the health industry. It enables earlier assessment of health risk factors and prevention.

“One of the key steps for effective prevention programmes is wider application of data science and artificial intelligence in medical practice, identifying patient risks based on the results of different diagnostic tests. The first of these computerized diagnostic assistants are already in practice. I believe that in three to five years’ time, we will be able to discuss about even more advanced and unavoidable solutions, analyzing increasing volumes of tests,” says Mr. A.Montvila.

Vilnius university hospital Santaros Clinics is currently using the latest diagnostic technology, which enables more accurate and faster assessment of radiological images and better clinical decision-making. In the nearest future, more devices based on artificial intelligence principles are planned to be introduced.

Virtual consultants are becoming more popular

Both speakers have pointed out the importance of personal healthcare, which is becoming much easier nowadays, as both sports and dietary progress can be tracked via smart apps.

This was demonstrated at the conference by Nikita Panajok, Chief Data Officer at Tyler Health, who presented a self-driving glucose measurement device with integrated app. According to him, avoiding spikes in glucose levels is crucial in the daily diet, and this is exactly what the smart app helps to do. Nutrition is one of the key factors directly influencing a person’s health, he said. And high glucose levels, influenced by fast food, sweets, alcohol and even stress, can cause of many diseases.

ATHIKA course: multifaceted perspectives on technologies

Final conference culminated with presentation of the project ATHIKA results and exchange of knowledge, and the lessons learnt between the partners, the students and external health sector stakeholders all across Europe.

Open and freely available online course was presented by Alan Briones Delgado, ATHIKA project coordinator, and all project experts. Partners were enthusiastic to share more detailed information about course: the basis of the eHealth sector from a perspective of real challenges, as well as the technologies: Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning leading the evolution of the sector.

The importance of humanistic perspective and ethical reflection of the technological solution was stressed: Andreu Ulied, Engineer and entrepreneur, head of urban planning and consultancy company MCRIT have shared his insight that “engineers like doctors have to think not only about the usefulness of the innovation, but also about the meaning it creates to our society”.

Its part of the international conference WOULD YOU LET A ROBOT BE YOUR DOCTOR?