Author: Abinaya Helbig Edited by: Ruchi Maniar
For the first SIUConversations event of the new academic year on the 12th of October, our SIU Katowice team welcomed Dr Krysztof Jakubczak, Piotr Krajewski, Dr Zbigniew Nawrat, and Dr Oskar Kiwic. The event focused on how artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are shaping our society and the medical world, and what this will look like for future physicians and scientists. The event also introduced new technologies and their ultimate functions in the society as well as encompassing the various aspects of how AI affects identity and our perceptions of life.
Our first speaker, Dr. Krysztof Jakubczak, an experienced R&D engineer and optoelectronics domain manager, addressed key challenges in the current healthcare settings and discussed different perspectives for AI in medical devices to compensate for the shortage of nurses and full-time physicians in the years to come. The significant gap between medical staff supply and the market demand calls for a need to utilise new med-tech solutions such as medical robotics supported by an AI component. These aim to assist medical staff to enhance overall care efficiency. However, the biggest challenge with AI equipped medical devices is ensuring patient safety and as a result, companies often face obstacles in receiving CE mark (Europe) or FDA approval (USA) leading to slow-paced commercialisation. Regardless, Dr Krysztof strongly believes that efforts in AI in med-tech are constantly growing and it will soon be a vital component of the medical world. The only question is how fast.
Moving on from challenges that the current healthcare system faces, our second speaker, Mr. Piotr Krajewski, CEO and owner of Cancer Center AI, discussed how his company is able to improve and accelerate cancer diagnoses. Currently, hospitals and diagnostic centres experience difficulties in making the proper diagnosis based on the image data from histopathology, MRI or PET. As a result, two of the key challenges Cancer Center AI is trying to address are: (1) making a clear-cut distinction between cancer grades, which are difficult to estimate because different doctors can have different opinions, (2) technical challenges in sharing and analysing the images in a cost-effective manner. The platform intends to help people and other physicians to get the second opinion about their image data and pre-evaluate the diagnosis before the real one is made. They are achieving this by implementing their cutting-edge algorithms with AI components to create a sharing platform for doctors and patients to pre-diagnose the histopathology, MRI, and PET images automatically. This way the diagnosis could be made quicker and at a lower cost.
Our third speaker of the event, Dr Zbigniew Nawrat, a theoretical physicist, director of Institute of Heart Prostheses, discussed the up and coming advances in the field of cardiac surgery. Dr. Nawrat provided the audience with a behind-the-scenes look at what really goes into funding and creating innovative medical technologies by giving us an insider look on how he approached the process of creating the first Polish and European telemanipulator for heart surgery— the Robin Heart surgical robot. Dr Nawrat also elaborated on the importance of bringing engineering and medicine together by discussing the process behind creating POLVAD, the Polish Ventricular Assist Device.
Finally, our last speaker of the event, Dr Oskar Kiwic, the CEO and owner of the start-up CardioCube addressed the issue of high readmission rates in cardiac patients through CardioCube. It is an AI-equipped heart disease home treatment support, expected to cut complications by 75%, thereby optimising costs for hospitals and insurance companies. CardioCube AI software consists of a patient interface, working through a range of voice-first devices and a doctor’s interface, which presents medical data as web-based visual actionable insights and suggests how to reduce adverse events. Simply put, it will act as an everyday companion for patients helping them with home treatment and as a decision support for doctors to optimise patient therapy. Currently, Oskar is taking actions to integrate Amazon Echo, a more sophisticated voice-first device with CardioCube and he is hopeful for its certification and sales in the next two years. Oskar proudly states that "CardioCube means safety for patients and savings for the healthcare system."
As we already know technology has an impact on almost every aspect of our lives, however the healthcare setting was largely unaffected by the rapid pace of technological innovation that is characteristic of the Digital Age until recently. The various talks of the event emphasised the fact that technology in medicine is here to stay and it is changing medicine by enhancing care efficiency and diagnostic accuracy. Hence, during our Q&A and Panel discussion, it was very clear that the speakers sparked new interests within our future physicians of the audience about the concept of implementing AI systems and robotics in the healthcare setting. So we, the SIU Katowice Team, thank our speakers for taking their time to bring our audience up-to-date with some of the promising med-tech advancements and to inspire future healthcare professionals.