Every day, radiologists have to analyze several thousand images. A flood of magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) scans they use to determine which tumors are benign and which are malignant. They must do this as quickly as possible to provide patients with an accurate diagnosis. They often consult another doctor for a second opinion. This all costs valuable time. But what if radiologists were able to look elsewhere for support in analyzing the scans – for example Artificial Intelligence?
The Hamburg start-up Fuse-AI has tackled this question and developed an algorithm that recognizes tumors on MRT scans. The AI analyzes the image data that is sent to the Open Telekom Cloud and marks possible carcinomas. They are classified as benign or malignant and the evaluations are then sent back to the doctor. “The aim is to make the radiologists’ work easier with the help of a computer-aided second opinion and to make diagnoses even more reliable and accurate,” says Maximilian Waschka, one of the four founders of Fuse-AI.
It’s just one example of how digital tools are well on their way to revolutionizing medicine. At the Essen-Mitte Hospital robots support surgeons in the operating theaters, electronic medical records improve the exchange of information between doctors, while patients can consult a physician by app. The opinion polling company Forsa, in a survey conducted on behalf of the Techniker Krankenkasse health insurer, found that 42 percent of those polled would accept a prescription issued online. And one in four would consult a doctor via video.
The Munich-based start-up TeleClinic is responding to this trend by offering medical consultations in the cloud with maximum data security. The start-up’s customers can consult around 200 doctors covering 30 specialist areas – from cardiology to orthopedics – at any time of the day or night. “Trust is the be all and end all in the healthcare industry,” says Patrick Palacin, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and co-founder of TeleClinic. That is why the start-up relies on IT resources from the Open Telekom Cloud, which is hosted in Telekom’s high-security data centers in Germany.
Whether it’s the cloud or AI, it’s clear that digitalization is revolutionizing the healthcare industry. And it’s not only the patients who benefit from telemedicine consultation. Doctors also see the advantages of e-health, for example through the exchange of electronic medical files. According to the Techniker Krankenkasse survey, 67 percent of those polled approved of the transfer of their data. And a full 93 percent considered electronic medical files useful. “Electronic patient files allow for a quicker and more efficient treatment and in the next five years could reduce global healthcare costs by $80 million,” says Thilo Kaltenbach, a partner at Roland Berger.
The start-up BioVariance has also recognized the value of Big Data – and of patient data in particular. Managing Director Josef Schreiber says: “There are seven billion people. Each one reacts differently to every drug.” This makes it all the more important to analyze patients’ biological data accurately. That’s exactly what BioVariance is offering. The start-up uses a cloud solution to analyze medical data and wants to use this to enable the allocation of medicine based on the needs of each individual patient.
Germany’s Federal Ministry of Research is providing financial support for this development. “Our vision is that every doctor, regardless of whether they are clinicians, general practitioners or specialists, will be able to call up all available empirical data and research results at the push of a button and include them in their therapeutic decisions,” says former federal research minister, Johanna Wanka. “This will ensure that in the future patients will receive even better consultation and treatment.”“