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Future of medical development lies in AI
From:Shine  |  2019-01-10 02:31

Medical imaging with artificial intelligence technologies is the leading field in the combined AI and medical industry in China, according to a report released yesterday by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The white paper, the first produced by the university’s Artificial Intelligence Institute, reviewed AI applications in the medical area around the world, and looked into the situation in China to find popular fields, major challenges and future development trends.

According to the report, AI is mainly used in five medical areas — medical imaging, auxiliary diagnosis, medicine research and development, health management, and disease prediction.

According to the Global Market Insight, medicine R&D and medical imaging are the two largest segments in the world’s AI medical market.

Medicine R&D has already accounted for 35 percent of the market.

Medical imaging is expected to grow by over 40 percent to US$2.5 billion by 2024 to take up 25 percent of the market.

It said the United States, as the largest economy in the world, showed the quickest response to the development of AI and has used related technologies to predict and prevent complications, to digitalize medical records, to analyze big data in the medical system, and to enforce some of the doctors’ decisions automatically.

In China, AI medical imaging has become the most mature field in terms of combination of AI and medical industry, said the report, adding that “it has eye-catching revenues and financing profile.”

As of the end of last year, 19 provinces and cities in China have issued AI development plans, making the total targeting core AI industrial scale by 2020 around 400 billion yuan (US$58.6 billion), far beyond the country’s plan at 150 billion yuan.

Among them, Shanghai is the most ambitious as it plans to expand its core AI industry scale to 100 billion yuan by 2020, followed by Beijing and the provinces of Zhejiang, Guangdong and Sichuan, each with 50 billion yuan.

The report said it has laid a solid foundation for the development of the AI medical industry, together with encouraging policies that listed medicine and health care as a strategic key application area for AI.

In an AI development plan released in July 2017, China put forward the ideas of developing intelligent diagnosis models, intelligent medical systems, intelligent medical robots, intelligent wearable devices, intelligent multidisciplinary consultations, intelligent gene identification, intelligent medical supervision and intelligent disease prediction.

In a ranking of top 100 profitable AI-related companies in China last year, 10 are from the AI medical area, among which six are doing business of AI medical imaging.

In the first three quarters of 2018, Chinese AI medical imaging companies have announced at least 26 financing deals, raising more than 2.6 billion yuan.

According to the report, the AI medical imaging products in China are mainly used in disease screening, especially in screening of cancer and chronic diseases.

“Most of the companies are working with hospitals and they have already produced mature products for detecting pulmonary nodules, eyeproblems, breast cancer and cervical cancer,” said Jin Yaohui, a professor at the Artificial Intelligence Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The report also pointed out five challenges that China should focus on in the development of AI medical industry.

They are the outflow of talent, the security and ethic disputes of medical data use, strict standards for approval of AI medical devices, development of scientific theories for AI applications in medical areas, and the potential disputes over charges for the use of AI devices.

The white paper also suggested some key areas for Shanghai to win in the development of AI medical industry.

It said Shanghai should rely on the city’s advantage with many universities to cultivate cross-disciplinary talent in engineering and medicine.

As the Shanghai Shenkang Hospital Development Center is a leading player in clinical information sharing, it suggested the city build up various clinical data centers and explore technologies in privacy protection and data security.

The report also said Shanghai should encourage the participation of the pharmaceutical industry in AI development, strengthen medical supervision and develop medical sensorineural technologies, especially for senior citizens and children.