At the 2021 Taiwan Innotech Expo, the Future Tech Theme Pavilion (FUTEX) held by Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology with the support of Academia Sinica, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and various other partners, Taiwanese and global leaders of smart healthcare industry convened to discuss the synergy between AI and healthcare as well as the challenges facing the industry. Fusionmedium served as the media partner of the event.
Interdisciplinary integration a priority
As the superintendent of National Taiwan University Hospital, Dr. Ming-Shiang Wu, pointed out, Taiwan’s highly competent technology industry as well as its vibrant healthcare sector has given it an edge in developing precision medicine. However, it requires a high degree of integration among various previously unrelated sectors to ensure competence. According to Wu, it is necessary to find talents with interdisciplinary skills and to overcome the differences in organizational cultures. Huey-Herng Sheu, the superintendent of Taipei Veterans General Hospital, also echoes the necessity for interdisciplinary integration in addressing unmet clinical demands as well as speeding up product development.
“A mindset adjustment is needed as the high-tech industry deepens its engagement with the medical industry,” said Chris Kuo, the executive director of medical business development under Wistron Corp., a leading Taiwanese ODM. Chris noted that the tech industry thinks in terms of products, especially development speed and quantity. In contrast, the medical industry thinks in terms of patient demand. “Technology commercialization is the weak link in Taiwan’s precision medicine industry,” observed Johnsee Lee, the chairman of Taiwan Precision Medicine & Molecular Diagnostic Industry Association. The biotech veteran believed that Taiwan’s large collection of biomedical data, in combination with its tech prowess, has given it a significant advantage. Nevertheless, it is not sufficient to merely commercialise the data, but to commercialize the relevant technologies as well.
Cloud and edge computing
Wilson To, the head of worldwide healthcare, life sciences and genomics at Amazon Web Services (AWS), also participated in the Expo, and shared Amazon’s experiences in smart healthcare. According to To, AWS believes that the digital innovations in healthcare should come from all enterprises regardless of sizes, and Amazon aspires to enable such development. Through its cloud service that can process a tremendous amount of medical data, AWS has already partnered with many leading biomedical companies in drug development, especially with AstraZeneca in the fight against COVID-19, and with Grail in the fight against cancer.
When it comes to processing the growing load of data related to the biomedical industry, Nvidia has also become a key player. At the Innotech Expo, Nvidia’s global head of medical AI, Mona Flores, indicated that Nvidia had leveraged deep learning to come up with customized data processing and analytics for medical AI applications. Above all, Nvidia has ridden on the convergence of edge computing and federated learning: for example, Nvidia’s GPUs have been embedded in edge medical devices, such as mobile MRI scanners. Through federated learning, Nvidia has for example cooperated with 20 medical institutions around the world to collect data for model training, without compromising patient privacy. The resulted model can predict a patient’s need for respirator within 24 hours of emergency room arrival, with an accuracy of 95%.