Intelligent Revolution

The healthcare industry is charging forward when it comes to artificial intelligence applications and attracting investment globally. Germany’s research institutes are among the world leaders in this field.

October, 2019

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The healthcare industry is undergoing a sea change some observers are already comparing to the discovery of penicillin. Today’s revolution, however, has been triggered not by a single, ground-breaking invention but by a multitude of smart digital technologies and their application to medicine. Above all, two trends are driving the change: big data and artificial intelligence (AI).

Breakthroughs in sensor technology combined with ever greater processing power make it possible for increasingly large amounts of patient health data to be recorded in real time. Information can now be automatically collected, transmitted and evaluated. It can also be incorporated into electronic health records and used by medical professionals or smart apps.

AI searches for relevant information

Artificial intelligence in the form of self-teaching, pattern-recognition software can filter out health-relevant data from this mountain of individual information. The applications compare this data with other medical findings, for example from imaging procedures such as X-rays or computer tomography, analyze them in light of medical literature and recent studies, and then make diagnoses and recommendations for treatment. Smart algorithms also help to discover and develop new drugs and therapies faster and more efficiently.

The development of concrete applications for AI in medicine is swift compared to other industries. Great leaps in performance and quality of care can be achieved if medical specialists and research personnel are able to access relevant up-to-date information quickly and analyze it with the help of smart assistants.

Strong on research

In Germany today, institutes aligned with the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the 29 research clusters of the Fraunhofer institutes are working together with private companies to turn the theory into reality. With five sites around the country, the DFKI is currently the biggest AI research center in the world in terms of number of employees and volume of external funds.

6 bn

estimated annual global market value of AI systems in healthcare in 2022

Source: Frost & Sullivan

Importantly, machines are not being used to replace doctors and nursing staff. On the contrary, smart data analytics and AI apps are revolutionizing processes and procedures in hospitals and surgeries to help physicians.
With medical professionals in short supply around the world, and an aging population putting greater pressure on healthcare systems, the need for smart helpers will grow exponentially. Assisted by self-teaching assistants, physicians can not only maintain but improve quality, while patients will benefit from faster and better treatment.

Japan-Germany Industry Forum

This year’s conference on December 3 in Tokyo focuses on AI in healthcare. Japanese companies are invited to learn how AI is shaping the medical sector and to meet potential industry partners.

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