Facebook furthers its suicide prevention efforts with AI
Following from a number of pilot studies at the start of the year in the US, Facebook is set to roll out its AI technology to monitor user posts and undertake significant suicide prevention. With suicide being the second leading cause of death for those aged between 15-29, the tech giant’s focus on this subject will be positively received by many.
If a user expresses suicidal thoughts, Facebook will now be able to provide increased support, asking whether the user is alright, but the AI will also feed back to a team member who can look at the information given and provide support in a matter of minutes, or contact local services in the user’s area.
“Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for young people, and this is a new approach to prevention,” explained Founder Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post.
“We're going to keep working closely with our partners at Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline '1-800-273-TALK (8255)', Forefront Suicide Prevent, and with first responders to keep improving.
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If we can use AI to help people be there for their family and friends, that's an important and positive step forward.”
Although not available within the European Union as a result of complex data privacy laws, the AI technology will look for patters in language, and has enabled the team to connect with first responders over 100 times in recent studies, according to Guy Rosen, Facebook's Vice President for Product Management.
Facebook seems to be the leading company in its commitment to suicide prevention, and is proactively working with a number of worldwide support agencies, alongside those who have experience in this area, in order to further support its users.
"Speed really matters. We have to get help to people in real time," adds Rosen.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
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.”