Oct 6, 2020

Canadian network forms to study big data for aging society

Big Data
Aging population
elderly care
Leila Hawkins
2 min
 Canadian network forms to study big data for aging society
The $6.6 million initiative will train future analysts to provide big data solutions...

A group of analysts have formed a consortium based at Canada's McGill University with the aim of harnessing big data solutions to address the country's aging demographic. 

The Consortium on Analytics for Data-Driven Decision-Making, or CAnD3 for short, will address the potential social and health issues caused by the increase in people aged 65 and over. The consortium hopes to help fill the skills gap by providing training in population analytics that's specific to aging societies.    

Since 2016, adults over 65 in Canada have outnumbered children aged 14 and under. Dr. Amélie Quesnel-Vallée, CAnD3 Director and Canada Research Chair in Policies and Health Inequalities at McGill University, explains how big data can help. “The unprecedented volume, variety and velocity of big data offers tremendous opportunities to provide key insights on urgent social and health issues for our aging population.

“But there is a bottleneck. 65 per cent of employers report a skills shortage in data analytics. There’s also a dearth of people trained to evaluate and analyze all the data produced and communicate findings meaningfully to a wide range of stakeholders."

Canada is one of many countries where the population is aging. In Japan it is estimated that by 2030 one in every three people will be 65 or older . Meanwhile in the UK the number of people over 85 is set to double in the next 20 years. This presents a number of healthcare challenges, such as increased demand for care. 

 CAnD3 has received $2.5 million grant from the country's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and $4.1 million from partner organisations in Canada, the US, the UK and Germany. 

The initiative draws on the collaboration of 32 partners, which include 15 Canadian and international universities, as well as public, not-for-profit and private sector organisations. CAnD3 will provide a one-year skills training program to graduate students called Population Analytics in an Aging Society. 

Over a period of six years, 150 trainees will be funded and trained. A further 360 participants from partner organisations will participate in the training modules. 

“CAnD3 will both prepare the next generation and upskill current population researchers to work in academia, government, policy think tanks, non-profit organisations and private sector companies and help find innovations to adapt to the challenges of an aging population” Dr. Quesnel-Vallée adds.  

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Jun 18, 2021

Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool 

2 min
Skin Analytics uses AI to detect skin cancer and will be deployed across the NHS to ease patient backlogs

An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system. 

NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion. 

Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making. 

In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog. 

Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening. 

DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.

Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges. 

"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”

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