Consequence and convolution
Last July we attended an Open Innovation workshop in Tianjin, China courtesy of Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network and the University of Bradford.
No direct collaboration has come out of the visit to Tianjin (yet) though it has led, in an indirect way, to a funding award from the Guangzhou Development District government to support the development of a neural network based software tool to analyse large data sets. We’re collaborating with a Guangzhou-based manufacturer of wearable ECG devices and will share the marketing rights of the tool in China when it’s complete.
Our innovation came about as a result of a recognition that with increasing availability of wearable healthcare technology comes an increased amount of data. For example in detecting serious arrhythmia a 24 hour trace is usually required, which can contain enough data (a Holter Register) to make analysis difficult for clinicians. We also observed that while medical device manufacturers can make software tools available to support their products, those tools are specific for their devices, and not always as flexible as clinicians like.
So we thought about extending the existing, established THERAPYAUDIT monitoring platform to become both device-agnostic (capable of collecting data from any device or source) and more powerful (capable of analysing increasingly large data sets). To do that we needed a more intelligent approach than just writing standard database queries and, as luck would have it, our attention was drawn to an academic paper that indicated promising results in using a convolutional neural network to analyse ECG data. And so the tool was conceived.
We intend to start with the analysis of ECG data, but the technique and resulting tool could be applied to any data set. Artificial Intelligence is very much in the news at the moment as shown when Google’s Deep Mind AI beat Europe’s reigning GO champion.
As is the way with doing business in China, what you start out with is often very different from what you end up with. So we started in Tianjin in the North, and ended up with a project on Guangzhou, towards the South. But there are certainly more projects waiting to be found. It’s a big place, a huge economy and represents great opportunities for those of us prepared to make the investment.