5 Machine Learning Startups Revolutionizing Healthcare

5 Machine Learning Startups Revolutionizing Healthcare

The quest to crack the machine learning code has been a dream of scientists since the invention of the computer. In 1950 the Turing Test captivated the public’s imagination with a question that likely seemed more based in science fiction than reality: could a computer ever match human intelligence?

We’ve come a long way since the technology of the 1950s, but the goal for machine learning is essentially the same. And we are living into the age when machine learning is bringing the kind of solutions to life that have previously been relegated to sci-fi.

Computers that can learn and adapt autonomously have fast become the new gold standard. And the startups leading the way into our AI future are answering questions even more interesting than whether androids dream of electric sheep. One of the most exciting industries ripe for an AI makeover is healthcare. Machine learning has the power to revolutionize how we detect and treat illness, and also how we approach patient care. Here are 5 machine learning startups in the healthcare sector to keep on your radar:

1. ID Avatars

ID Avatars recently raised $1M in funding to create emotional intelligence aimed at improving patient care for people with chronic diseases. By using avatars to interact with patients directly, this startup hopes to lead the charge in creating technology capable of providing empathy. This would have a huge ripple effect across the healthcare industry and would be as useful to hospitals and pharmaceutical companies as to patients.

2. Arterys

The mission of Arterys is to make clinical care data driven with a machine-learning based imaging platform. They have developed the first 4D Flow Technology to measure blood flow more accurately and in a non-invasive way than current methods. The blood flow work can be done with any MRI. The tech is integrated with a SaaS platform for doctors to better interpret data on the go, and the potential applications for non-invasive blood analytics span across all kinds of medical needs.

3. Babylon

London-based startup Babylon has raised more than $30M, and it’s easy to see why because their idea is so simple but brilliant: remote app-based medical care. In other words, Babylon is your virtual doctor, nurse and pharmacy in one. Imagine how much more streamlined emergency and on-demand care could be through app-based consultations. It’s already the highest rated service in UK healthcare and aims to expand to areas where healthcare is even more essential, like rural Africa, where doctors are scarce but cell phones are becoming commonplace.

4. Nuritas

Utilizing machine learning to create custom diet plans, Nuritas will be a game-changer in preventative health and overall wellness. Based on AI plus DNA analysis, Nuritas is designed to identify the healthiest ingredients specific to your dietary needs. The future will be full of bioactive peptides.

5. Ginger.io

Developed by MIT scientists, Ginger.io uses predictive models to create a mental healthcare platform. This is a useful alternative model to traditional mental health care, which can be prohibitively expensive and frankly not that convenient for the modern world. App users can arrange a video call with a therapist, text with a health coach, learn coping strategies, and analyze their mood over time with the help of embedded sensors. This is mental health care for the 21st century.

Wearable Tech is Good for Employers. How About for Employees?

Wearable Tech is Good for Employers. How About for Employees?

Fitbits and Apple watches found early adopters with the fitness crowd, but employers have since caught on to their effectiveness as productivity tools in the office. Wearable tech is in incredibly useful tools for employers looking to make informed health insurance decisions, and also to foster wellness, job safety, and productivity.

Employees making use of wearable tech devices has become the new norm. According to research firm Gartner, worldwide sales of wearable tech will rise 18.4 percent in 2016, generating more than $28 BN in revenue annually. Now that wearable tech has gone mainstream,  a new issue has arisen for companies to contend with—how should employers handle the inevitable privacy issues that arise along with so much personal data?

Should employees be required to wear technology that tracks personal info that is made public to their employers? On the one hand, you could argue that the goal of such technology is to foster a healthy work-life balance, and help avoid chronic injuries and health conditions brought on by job-related stress. This is less of a “Big Brother” scenario and more like having a health coach on your HR team. The flipside of the coin is that some consider requiring employees to share personal health data to be a violation of privacy. Still others argue that employees who work in fields where their health may be directly at risk—due to radiation, toxins in the environment, etc.—have nothing to lose and everything to gain from being required to wear devices that track such factors. Clearly, this is not a black or white issue, and one that should be treated on a case by case basis.

One risk of employees having access to workers’ wearable tech data is discrimination. Should an employee be able to access an employee’s sleep and exercise patterns and make business decisions based on those figures, potentially comparing multiple employees in the process? It’s an interesting conundrum that will require new oversight and regulations to ensure that wearable tech data is being used to help everyone at the workplace.

The baby boomer generation will likely face more challenges adapting to this new workplace trend than Millennials, who grew up in an age of oversharing. Regardless of our personal health, the debate on wearable tech and privacy issues is one we’ll likely see hashed out in companies around the world in the coming years. For more insight and an interesting debate on the issue, be sure to read this Wall Street Journal article.