The European Union is set to invest USD$24 billion into artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020, seeking to catch up with Asia and the United States, which each currently invest more than three times that of Europe. Of the sectors that stand to benefit the most from a boost in AI development is healthcare-a sector becoming increasingly reliant upon what’s known as big data.
As regions like Asia, the EU, and North America invest more heavily in AI and cloud services to handle big data, the investments move downstream towards developers of innovative applications of healthcare-related big data. Companies both large and small are making their rounds, scooping up the confidence of doctors, drug companies, and hospitals alike, including Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET), Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDRX), Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPSI), International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM), and Eyecarrot Innovations Corp. (TSX.V EYC) (OTC:EYCCF).
According a recent report from BIS Research, the global big data in healthcare market is set to reach $68.75 billion by 2025-growing at a rapid CAGR of 22.3% between 2017-2025. The report came out prior to the EU’s $24 billion AI investment announcement; therefore, those expected healthcare-related numbers could even be higher.
Regionally speaking, North America is big data’s largest market in healthcare and is expected to reach $31.12 billion by 2025-with the United States carrying the lion’s share, with 91% of that North American spending coming from the country in 2017.
The market for healthcare data is opening up fast, with several new opportunities arising across many healthcare fields.
IBM, through its IBM Watson Health has been able to study, assess, and rank large healthcare systems. As well, the processing giant has recently secured a $10-million deal with Cincinatti based TriHealth to adopt a portion of IBM Watson Health Enterprise Imaging Portfolio.
But it’s not only in hospitals that patient data is being harnessed and monetized. For instance, the visionaries at Eyecarrot Innovations have developed their Binovi[TM] Cloud to generate data built to assist vision care providers, by tying together patients through a universal screening system that utilized mobile device, and a cloud Saas platform for eye care practitioners to perform necessary examinations. The research data obtained in the screening process could be invaluable to the profession, and to a large portion of the population dealing with ocular issues.
The emergence of cloud-based services and subscription models has significantly reduced the up-front investment and infrastructure development needed in order to manage big data. Thus, with significant investment and advancements to come in AI, an increased adoption rate of wearable devices, mHealth, and eHealth services could only further boost the amount of patient data available for research. Medical information as a whole is set to boom, and transform the healthcare sector as a whole.
BIG DATA GETTING BIGGER THROUGH HEALTHCARE
Big data refers to handling massive amounts of structured and unstructured data, helping organizations improve their decision-making processes, and research and development. In healthcare, that can refer to helping doctors make diagnoses based on similar groupings of patient demographics, drug developers scouring over test data, or medical institutions such as hospitals in maintaining or analyzing patient data.
Healthcare data alone is growing at a phenomenal pace, and is expected to surpass 2,314 exabytes by 2020. This growth is further spurred on by declining storage costs, and the emergence of organizational reliability on cloud-based services and subscription models.
Shazlie Khan, an analyst at BIS Research states, “The big data in healthcare market is going to be driven by an urgent need to control rising healthcare costs and to improve patient outcomes and resource management. Among components and services, analytics services contributed the lion’s share of $5.80 billion in 2017. Clinical analytics will be an investment priority for most of the hospitals due to regulatory requirements to make ‘meaningful use’ of healthcare data, the need to reduce medical errors, and to enhance population health management.”
BIG DATA IN HEALTHCARE DEVELOPMENTS
International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM)
IBM’s Watson Health division is making the processing giant become a household name in hospitals around the world. In particular, the recent announcement of the deal with TriHealth will benefit the healthcare provider’s radiologists and clinicians, through creating a system to store and share image data and connecting it with the patient’s health record in the organization’s system.
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDRX)
Allscripts subsidiary CarePort Health, which specializes in post-acute outcomes management recently began managing the Allscripts Care Management solution and services portfolio. The transition was brought about to accelerate innovation of the Care Management platform, which when joined with the CarePort platform now offers healthcare providers, payers, and ACOs visibility across all levels of care and transitions across the continuum. Care Management currently handles workflow for a built-in network of more than 20,000 providers.
Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET)
Better known as a health benefits company, Aetna also provides data analytics services through its Health Care segment. However, with a potential $69 billion megamerger with CVS Health that could create a new company containing numerous healthcare businesses, Aetna is going to get even more exposure to big data. That is, if it’s not blocked by regulators.
Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CPSI)
CPSI provides healthcare information technology solutions with its software systems that include patient management software enabling hospitals to identify a patient at various points in the healthcare delivery system. Its subsidiary, Evident, was recently declared the highest ranked inpatient HER vendor for hospitals under 100 beds, by Black Book Rankings.
Eyecarrot Innovations Corp. (TSX.V: EYC) (OTC: EYCCF)
Through its visual and neuro-cognitive processing products developed and commercialized for diagnosing and remediating visual perception disorders, Eyecarrot seems to have cornered a niche in the healthcare sector, through adoption by eye doctors. By tackling an issue that’s possibly afflicting 25% of the population, Eyecarrot has the potential to access a massive amount of data for the optometry market through its BinoviCloud[TM] cloud data platform.
EYEING BIG NICHE DATA
Armed with a proprietary, cost-effective screening too, Eyecarrot Innovations Corp. (TSX.V: EYC) (OTC: EYCCF) employs the latest advances in neuro-cognitive training to tackle the rising binocular vision dysfunction pandemic.
It’s been estimated that binocular vision dysfunction effects approximately 1 in 4 humans on the planet. Eyecarrot’s platforms tackle screening and rehabilitating these physical deficiencies that impact patients on a daily basis. However, even the remaining 3 out of 4 eye doctor patients could also use Eyecarrot’s Binovi mechanism to reach higher levels of ocular performance.
Where big data comes in, is how Eyecarrot’s mobile app can measure a user’s daily personal performance. From that usage, data is aggregated in a way that’s not only relevant to the user, but to their healthcare providers, and possibly to researchers who are seeking to advance eye care for the demographics of the user. Big data for eye patients is unique, compared to that for hospitals and pharmacies. Eyecarrot can give the user standardized data on their visual neuro-cognitive performance, and from there it’ll be in their hands to decide what to do with it. Meanwhile, all end users are contributing to the private (read: anonymous) global database.
The company currently generates revenue from its acquisition of Wayne Engineering. However, as more vision care specialists make their patients aware of this pandemic, Eyecarrot believes their products will have a positive effect on hundreds of millions of people. As a goal, the company has posited whether they can generate even $1/year on every one of those people they have using their product-Given that Facebook currently derives approximately $10-15/year on their global userbase, Eyecarrot pulling back a fraction of that for a beneficial therapy comes across as a conservative estimate.
Given that many of the products are accessible through smartphones, which are in the hands of billions of people on the planet, Eyecarrot believes it has a very wide market to strive for. With one in four people in the world having visual performance challenges, many of which can be addressed through therapy such as Binovi, Eyecarrot appears to have found a niche that could benefit greatly from the enhanced interest in AI and big data, coming from places like Europe, Asia, and North America.
For a more in-depth look into Eyecarrot Innovations Corp., visit the company’s website at https://www.eyecarrot.com
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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears
By Colin Packham
CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.
Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.
Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.
Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.
Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.
As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.
“The bill as it stands … meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.
The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.
The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.
While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets, including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
“There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has,” Birmingham added.
A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation, which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate.
A final vote after the so-called third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.
Lobby group DIGI, which represents Facebook, Google and other online platforms like Twitter Inc, meanwhile said on Monday that its members had agreed to adopt an industry-wide code of practice to reduce the spread of misinformation online.
Under the voluntary code, they commit to identifying and stopping unidentified accounts, or “bots”, disseminating content; informing users of the origins of content; and publishing an annual transparency report, among other measures.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes and Hugh Lawson)
GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback
By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont
(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reviving their efforts against the pandemic after a setback in December delayed the shot’s launch.
The British and French drugmakers aim to reach final testing in the second quarter, and if the results are conclusive, hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year.
In December, the two groups stunned investors when they said their vaccine would be delayed towards the end of 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.
Disappointing results were probably caused by an inadequate concentration of the antigen used in the vaccine, Sanofi and GSK said, adding that Sanofi has also started work against new coronavirus variants to help plan their next steps.
Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants of the virus are prompting vaccine developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies.
GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.
“Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked to refine the antigen formulation of our recombinant-protein vaccine,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.
The new mid-stage trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response of the vaccine in 720 healthy adults across the United States, Honduras and Panama and test two injections given 21 days apart.
Sanofi and GSK have secured deals to supply their vaccine to the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States. It also plans to provide shots to the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.
To appease critics after the delay, Sanofi said earlier this year it had agreed to fill and pack millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from July.
Sanofi is also working with Translate Bio on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on mRNA technology.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Matthias Blamont in Paris; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)
Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.
Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists.
“During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”
Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.
“The impact of COVID-19 is creating a huge workload for those considered to be high performers, while the remote environment potentially makes it much more challenging for those who were previously considered low performers to change that perception,” Blunt told a City & Financial online event.
Companies should consider “psychological safety” or ensuring that all employees feel confident about speaking out and challenging opinions.
“We’ve heard varying reports of how successful this has been,” Blunt said.
Pressures in the financial sector were highlighted this month when accountants KPMG said its UK chairman Bill Michael had stepped aside during a probe into comments he made to staff.
The Financial Times said Michael, who later apologised for his comments, had told staff to “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives.
Blunt was speaking as the FCA next month completes the full rollout of rules that force senior managers at financial firms to be personally accountable for their decisions to improve conduct standards.
There have only been a “modest” number of breaches reported to regulators so far as firms worry about being “tainted” but more cases will become public as sanctions are revealed, Blunt said.
“Regulators won’t be impressed by lowballing the figures.”
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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