Autonomous labs aren’t far, says Microsoft chief researcher at Medlab Middle East



According to Dr. Junaid Bajwa, Chief Scientist at Microsoft Researchs, we live in an age where technology, data and consumer demand are reshaping the healthcare marketplace and redefining how value is defined and captured. This convergence of technology and medicine today, by offering increasing levels of automation and soon increasing levels of artificial intelligence (AI), will lead to an autonomous future for healthcare.

Speaking at the Lab Management Conference at Medlab Middle East, Dr Bajwa looked at the role of AI in the lab. He said more and more data in the healthcare space, such as increasing data on genetics, environments, public health settings and social circumstances in which we live, and data portable devices, are becoming more freely available.

“Combining all of these data assets is an IT challenge, but leveraging them for healthcare purposes is the next frontier in healthcare,” he explained.

With the World Health Organization predicting a shortage of 14 million healthcare workers by 2030, he asked the public to think about the role technology can play in bridging this gap. “Health care is exorbitant, with 5% of the population taking between 25 and 60% of these resources from the most vulnerable in society. We need to move to a health system that is not only about diagnosis and treatment, but also recognition and prevention, and ultimately personalization and personal health care, ”he said.

In the lab, there are many areas for innovation in terms of automation advancements in home collection, home testing, point-of-care testing, all ultimately leading to better patient experiences. Huge technological changes are also happening around genome sequencing, digital pathology, and automated test systems.

Dr Bajwa said, “In terms of the role AI can play, AI requires access to data, access to domain expertise, and access to massive computing power. Today’s story is about automating processes, aggregating data, moving to intelligent analytics and AI, and then repeating that cycle. If we get this right, it really has the potential to cut costs and support clinicians by unmasking occult types of disease, generalizing new associations, and perhaps even generating new hypotheses and mechanisms with which we. diagnose the disease in a way we could only have imagined in the past.

Process automation, digital integration, extended access, data management and sharing, logistics and personalized analysis are just a few things that enhance the lab experience. “We are already today creating the ‘stand-alone laboratory‘ of the future – stand-alone laboratories are not far off,” added Dr Bajwa. “However, AI today is only really used in specific use cases, but fundamental advances in infrastructure are needed to achieve autonomous and AI-driven experiences in the future. “

Coinciding with Arab Health, Medlab Middle East will run from Wednesday June 23 to Thursday June 24 at the Dubai World Trade Center, attracting a range of key laboratory and commerce professionals from across the region for the live and in-person event and presenting lectures and scientific conferences, industry briefings, product demonstrations and networking opportunities, as well as a series of pre-organized one-on-one meetings, with a focus on building lasting relationships.

Rejoy Penacerrada, Conference Director for Informa Markets, said: “Over the next few days Medlab will see the return of the highly anticipated Clinical Microbiology Conference focused on the latest developments in microbiology and immunology and the role of the medical laboratory in both the management of infectious diseases and the epidemiology of infections. Scientists, researchers and consultants from across the Middle East region will also be able to exchange knowledge and views on current developments at upcoming conferences on clinical chemistry, blood transfusion and molecular diagnostics at Medlab Middle East. . “

A virtual Medlab Middle East showcase will run until July 22.

For more information, please visit www.medlabme.com.


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