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Eugenio Zuccarelli, an innovation data scientist at Rhode Island-based CVS Health, didn’t launch into a career in artificial intelligence because he wanted to work in it. Health Care. He simply wanted to do something that would benefit people.
“For the past few years, I’ve been working on human-centric artificial intelligence — using and analyzing data to help impact people’s lives and society,” he said. “I’m not only interested in healthcare specifically, but I think it’s a great way for us to have a powerful impact on people’s lives.”
Fortunately, that is exactly what he sees his role at CVS Health, a company that has been around for the past few years Prioritize using data and analytics To transform the legacy of retail and move towards broader services evolving into a ‘one-stop’ experience for healthcare consumers.
Born in Genoa, Italy, this Genoa, Italy-born joined CVS Health — which owns CVS Pharmacy, a retail pharmacy chain, CVS Caremark, pharmacy benefits manager, and health insurance company Aetna — in October 2020. These days, he leads a team leading the AI innovation effort for care Health care across the company, particularly in complex chronic care – including diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
He is currently working on a predictive model that can determine the onset and course of these chronic diseases, and it is already used by dozens of large companies and some federal organizations. The solution helps understand patient risks, monitor treatments, and improve medical decision-making.
“Everything we do on the innovation side is about creating products,” he said. “We commercialize these innovative AI solutions and sell them to some of the largest companies in the world.”
VentureBeat asked Zuccarelli for his thoughts on some of the major trends he sees in healthcare AI. These are the four that he considers to be of the highest interest across the industry:
AI-Driven Personal Healthcare Solutions
There has long been a growing interest in the healthcare industry to move toward personalized medicine, which uses genetic or other vital information to determine patient treatment decisions.
But organizations are using AI to customize solutions based on everything from behavior to lifestyle.
“It’s about how we develop custom solutions that are unique to each individual,” Zuccarelli said. “For example, one person may be more likely to have a worsening of diabetes or high blood pressure due to the wrong diet. Other people may not be taking the right medication.”
The AI-based solution can provide personalized recommendations for each person, depending on where there are gaps in care. Zuccarelli compares it to Netflix, as a solution that offers personalized recommendations for specific users.
Overall, Zuccarelli maintains that personal medicine It will revolutionize healthcare – and AI and data will be the tools that support this transformation.
“I strongly believe that clinicians will always be the most important component of healthcare and the patient’s journey, but it will not be ‘one-size-fits-all’ – it will be about tailored solutions,” he said.
AI applications for ethical healthcare
While the focus on AI over the past few years has been on creating better-performing, more accurate models, Zuccarelli says healthcare organizations are increasingly focusing on how apps relate to and are affected by the people who use them.
“For this Ethical AI It is a huge component, particularly in healthcare, where privacy, fairness and ethics are very important.” “Every day, we see AI applications that can be done better if we think about how powerful they are as tools and how they should have guidelines and an understanding of the cost of bias.”
He adds that even in a regulated industry like healthcare, there is still a lot to work on data from an ethical standpoint, noting that many companies and research institutions can (and do) use models without any oversight about bias or discrimination that may exist, relating to race or age or other issues.
“Finding out these nuances and how to improve the system will be one of the most important components [healthcare AI] He said.
Healthcare data interoperability
Hospitals, businesses, and individuals have a huge amount of health-related data, but this data lacks interoperability. This means that data often lives in different types of systems, through a variety of vendors, or even simply resides on pieces of paper, so the data can’t communicate with each other, Zuccarelli said.
“I think that’s one of the most important components that still need to be tapped and resolved,” he explained. “Once there is a data interoperability solution in place, healthcare AI will get a huge boost.”
AI can help solve these problems – not the algorithms themselves – but how to use and create them. Federal LearningFor example, it is a technology that trains an algorithm across multiple decentralized edge machines or servers containing local data samples.
“Instead of moving the data around and fitting it into the model, you take the model and pass it on to all the locations where the data is stored,” he said. “So the data can stay in place, and the model can still access all of the data.”
The impact of major technology players on access to health care
“It’s going to be very interesting to see,” Zuccarelli said in response to Amazon’s announcement last week that it would acquire One Medical, a network of more than 180 clinics, for nearly $4 billion. after pushing it to pharmacy space He explained that in 2020, the company is clearly trying to become a leader in the health field.
“The more players we can have in this industry, especially tech companies, the more likely it will drive the entire sector forward when it comes to finding healthcare technology solutions,” he said.
He noted that healthcare is an industry historically concerned with privacy and data ownership.
“So it will be interesting to see how Amazon will be able to ensure privacy, possibly help with interoperability and also allow the healthcare system to thrive.”
The Holy Grail of AI Healthcare“
Zuccarelli says that if he can choose his “holy grail” project, he will tackle data interoperability issues in healthcare.
“Maybe I’m trying to work it out because there’s just so much data at CVS Health,” he said. “It is certainly one of the largest healthcare companies in the world, but it is one private company. If we can create a single data framework where we have the ability to share data from hospitals around the world while maintaining privacy, we will have the ability to improve the health and well-being of many of persons.”
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