The past weekend we spent at Stanford Medicine X, listening to interesting and inspiring talks, and interacting with a diverse group of people and the ideas they brought with them. The event is designed to bring people from all aspects of medical care, including doctors and nurses, patients and caretakers, insurance reps, hospital administrators, policy makers, product designers, and many others. It was somewhat overwhelming, but because different rooms were used to host presentations in parallel we were able to choose which discussions to attend.
Being a medical technology site, we were particularly interested in hearing from the finalists of the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize. C3 stands for “Changing Cancer Care” and the goal is to sponsor ideas that improve how patients experience cancer care. This is not a “find a cure” prize, but it springs from the sober assessment that cancer is and will be with us for a long time and we need to get better at helping patients get to and through their therapies. ……..
We heard from five finalists who were chosen from more than 100 applications that came in from all over the world. The winner will receive $50,000 while two runners up will receive $25,000 each. Each of the winners will also get to be involved in a program at a Chicago medtech incubator called Matter.
The first was Mark Harrison, the CEO of Australian Prostate Cancer Research, an organization that supports Australian men living with prostate cancer. The organization built an online platform called PROSTMATE that helps men in rural settings to connect with and assist them through receiving medical care………..
Next we heard from Diane Jooris who came from Brussels, Belgium and was representing a new company called Oncomfort. They develop virtual reality games and experiences to help people, particularly women undergoing breast cancer treatment, preparing for surgery, chemotherapy, and other procedures to calm their nerves and even fight pain…………
Kevin Linn out of Vancouver, Canada came with an idea that’s looking for implementation. He’s been working with cancer patients for a few years and noticed the widespread problem these folks experience of getting to and from their scheduled chemo and radiation therapy appointments. What he also noticed is that there are lots of people willing to help with transportation, but there isn’t an easy platform to link willing drivers with needy patients. ……….
Eric Luellen of Boston, MA presented Rx&You, an online platform that utilizes artificial intelligence to address medical compliance, coordination of care, prevent dangerous drug interactions, and provide targeted educational tools for patients. Additionally, it can potentially identify unknown side effects of drugs and discover which patient populations are the most susceptible to the treatment. And it has already been built and is ready to be used.
The platform is attempting to connect patients, providers, pharma, and payers so that everyone is on the same page. It uses an artificial intelligence concept called “complex event processing” to run a drug event system that automatically screens for possible drug interactions as soon as a prescription is issued, and creates personalized reminders to take those drugs. It also offers information on those drugs so patients are clued in on their therapy. If the patients choose not to take their drugs at certain instances, the system uses its AI skills to figure out why not. …….
Wrapping up the presentations we heard from Larry Pederson of The Litebook Company who has been working on making light therapy more accessible and useful even for cancer care. It isn’t news that people living in the far North can suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and bright lamps have been used for decades by people from Alaska to Finland to fight off symptoms of depression. Larry himself experienced acute SAD when he fairly suddenly became suicidal after moving to Canada in the winter for a few months. His physician prescribed him a large light box in front of which he sat on a regular basis and in just a short amount of time his suicidal thoughts simply vanished away. …….
DCL: We have featured examples of CEP applied to the medical field in past articles here, and in our books. The one deployed in Rx&You is new to us. The combination of AI and CEP to develop a drug event system that screens for drug interactions in real time and issues alerts etc. is innovative. It offers an interesting opportunity to develop standards for event abstraction hierarchies for this area of medical monitoring.
I would add that although I was working at the Stanford AI lab at the time, CEP is not an AI concept. But it is employed here in combination with AI techniques.