mHealth Could Save More Than 1M Lives In Africa
Mobile healthcare (mHealth) in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa could help save as many as one million lives over the next five years, according to a new report from mobile industry organization GSMA in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Mobile communication is a huge trend across the African continent and has been for a number of years. Poor infrastructure and a high percentage of people living rurally means that communities rely on mobile devices for communication, banking and now healthcare.
The report recognises this trend and states that an increased adoption of mHealth solutions could help save lives across the entire healthcare delivery chain. The report also credits the greater use of mobile connectivity in the fight against malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS/HIV and perinatal conditions in developing countries in Africa, which account for 3 million deaths annually.
Read Related Articles From Healthcare Global
- Mobile Technology Restrenghthens The Health Industry
- Cloud Adoptions Is Big News For The Healthcare Industry
- Emerging Technology For e-Healthcare
- mHealth: Changing Doctor/Patient Care
- Medical Devices Changing Patient/Doctor Communication
“Many of these deadly conditions are relatively simple to treat, prevent or contain,” emphasises the report. “SMS reminders to check for stock levels at the health centers have shown promising results in reducing stock-outs of key combination therapy medications for malaria, TB and HIV. For HIV patients, simple weekly text reminders have consistently shown higher adherence amongst the patients.”
The growing adoption of mHealth also means that families living in rural locations, who would currently have to walk many miles to see a doctor, could connect with a medical practitioner via an application or text message before they made the journey. This level of communication can also allow the doctors to spend more time with patients that need special attention.
When it comes to developed countries, the report finds that mHealth could save $400 billion in healthcare costs over the next five years.
Proactive mobile-based care for patients with sudden health incidents can reduce the number of primary and emergency visits by 10 percent, according to the report. Mobile technology can also be used for home monitoring, thereby reducing the need for face-to-face consultations, which will not only help generate elderly care savings of up to 25 percent but will also improve patient quality of life.
In addition, healthcare providers can benefit via mobile access to electronic health records, which can reduce the administrative burden of hospitals by 20 percent to 30 percent.
Read the PricewaterhouseCooper report in full on Healthcare Global.
NeuTigers: edge AI in healthcare
What is edge AI?
Edge AI is essentially a combination of edge computing and artificial intelligence. Algorithms are processed locally - directly on a mobile device or server - rather than in the cloud. This reduces cost, computing power and energy requirements. There are also claims that edge AI is so fast it is possible to reach near real-time analytics.
Edge AI devices include smart speakers, smart phones, laptops, robots, self-driven cars, drones, and surveillance cameras that use video analytics.
Who is NeuTigers?
NeuTigers is a spin-off company from Princeton University, formed in 2018 to apply edge AI and machine learning to solve challenges in healthcare, energy, productivity, and security.
With offices in Princeton, NJ, the company is based at one of the top AI accelerator programs of FutureLabs in New York, and has also established a subsidiary in Nice, France.
How is NeuTigers applying edge AI to healthcare?
The NeuTigers AI Technology Stack uses deep neural networks that mimic how the human brain perceives and interprets the world. The company has developed the StarDeepTM Smart Health Platform for health monitoring and biomedical imaging, to improve the accuracy and speed of diagnosing diseases.
NeuTigers say the platform has the potential to monitor and screen for thousands of conditions, when used in combination with medical devices and smart sensors already deployed in healthcare settings.
Are there any real world examples?
In January NeuTigers launched CovidDeep, a tool that predicts COVID-19 with more than 90% accuracy, using physiological data from a wristband along with blood pressure and blood oxygen readings. It then analyses the data and gives a prediction within two minutes.
This week NeuTigers announced a new study to detect the early signs of complications with sickle cell anaemia. Conducted at a hospital in Paris, the research will begin by looking at changes to skin response, heart beat, sleep and temperature to predict an acute episode of sickle cell anaemia, and how this impacts on the patients’ disease conditions and quality of life.
The second phase of the project is to expand with prospective studies across different sites in EU, Africa and the US to explore the models' accuracy and clinical effectiveness.
Adel Laoui, CEO and founder of NeuTigers, says: “The best way to deal with a crisis is to avoid it happening in the first place. We are now entering a new era where medical early warning systems have become a reality.
“We are excited at the possibility of deploying a technology that can save lives of patients dealing with sickle cell anaemia. The potential of the StarDeep platform to dramatically improve patient outcomes while slashing some of the highest costs of healthcare makes it one of the most exciting developments in preventative personal medicine.”