Sensor-based strategies and AI are going to totally change the way we manage patients: Dr Jagmeet Singh, Harvard Medical School – ET HealthWorld

Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Dr. Jagmeet Singh, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Cardiologist and Principal Advisor of SmartCardia, to figure out the latest advancements in sensor-based technology and AI and how they will be game changers in patient care.

Sensor based technology & AI impacting healthcare
I think medicine in its current form is non-sustainable. I think we’re quite ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable in the way we deliver care. And part of that is that there’s a fair amount of opaqueness in how the transactions between clinicians and patients occur. I think sensor-based strategies and artificial intelligence are going to totally change the way we manage patients. I think we’re able to potentially do that because now we have ubiquitous data, we have unlimited connectivity, and we have massive processing power that allows us the possibility of bringing sensors and artificial intelligence together to actually look after our patients much better.

Sensory strategies can be implantable strategies; they can be variable strategies. There are many variable strategies, which include tattoo sensors, sensors that can go in the ears, sensors that we can wear on our cufflinks, around our necks, and on watches. So those are going to really change the way we acquire data from our patients. But we need to be able to collect that data; we need to be able to curate it, annotate it, aggregate it, and analyse it. And that’s where artificial intelligence really comes into play. I think AI-based approaches will allow us to use these sensors in the most individualised fashion to look after patients better.
AI: Data privacy and security in healthcare
I think data privacy and security issues are a concern that most people have, and I think rightly so. But I take us back to the internet era, which started in the 1990s. And I think we were very concerned that there would be privacy issues and security issues that would really hamper our lives in a big way. But we got together, we developed regulatory barriers that were able to account for those data, privacy, and security issues, and now all of us use the internet. Maybe it still has issues, but it’s still an essential part of our lives. I think the same thing will happen with AI. Obviously, the potential problem can be manyfold higher. And I think it’s important that regulatory bodies and different organisations, including the FDA, really put the constraints aside and help us regulate this so that privacy and security issues are not an issue.

Patch monitors & AI strategies impacting healthcare

There are several clinical conditions, both cardiac and non-cardiac, that require prolonged monitoring. Long-term monitoring can be quite variable; it can be for several days, for weeks, or even for months. And I think now, in modern medicine at this point in time, we have the possibility of using patch monitors that allow us anything from 7 to 14 days of continuous monitoring of patients. There are many elegant products, some like SmartCardia, that can allow us to actually measure many variables within these patch monitors that can help us determine if patients are going to develop arrhythmias. So, when you couple patch monitors with artificial intelligence strategies, it allows you to predict which patients might develop paroxysmal atrial tachycardia in the near future or may even develop ventricular tachycardia or cardiac arrest in the near future. So, I think a combination of sensor-based strategies in patch monitors coupled with artificial intelligence approaches will allow us to provide better individualised care to our patients in the future.Idea behind “Future Care”
I trained originally in India. I did my medical school in India, subsequently did my doctorate at Oxford, then came to the US and have been in the US at Mass General Hospital for over 25 years. I have the opportunity to really look at health care from the perspective of somebody who’s been involved in health care on three different continents. And I can tell you this for sure: on none of these continents does health care work really well. And I think much of that is because we’re not able to provide the personalised care that we really need to be able to provide. And when I was in a leadership role at Mass General Hospital, at that point in time, I felt that we really needed to integrate sensor-based approaches alongside virtual care, powered by artificial intelligence, that were integrated into our workflows that could translate into better clinical outcomes to make our patients feel better. And it was with that intent that I really got down to writing this book called Future Care, which brings all these parameters together. And really, the book is filled with patient stories of how care looks now and how care can potentially look. Not much of it is dystopian. I think it’s much better if it is tangible technology—things that people can relate to and that I think will be able to put into practice.Future of cardiovascular care
I think cardiac care is going to look quite different in the near future. There are already sensor-based approaches that can digitise the heart, both implantable and non-implantable, called variable sensors. I think that coupled with artificial intelligence approaches, be it conventional AI or generative AI, will really allow us to look after patients wherever they are, whenever they want, by whomever they want, in a very personalised way. I also feel that generative AI strategies are going to allow patients to understand their health better and look after themselves. And I think it is these self-management approaches, where patients have some skin in the game, that will make healthcare sustainable in the future.

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I’m very optimistic about how healthcare, in particular cardiovascular care, is going to look in the next few years.


  • Updated On Mar 14, 2024 at 06:53 AM IST
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  • Published On Mar 14, 2024 at 06:53 AM IST
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  • 5 min read
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