Review of the Digital Health Connect Conference in Sierre« Back
Digital assistants (already) make life easier for patients and medical staff
"I don't want to take your place, it's too stressful. We, the health companions, are complementary to humans. But mentalities still have to change for that to happen": these are the words with which the Pepper robot opened the 7th edition of the Digital Health Connect conference. The latter took place on June 7 at the TechnoArk in Sierre. About fifteen speakers from different regions of the world showed the new capabilities and especially the progress made by the connected assistants, which are already very useful for patients and health professionals.
Nearly 200 specialists in the fields of health and digital technology attended this reference conference organized by The Ark Foundation and Swiss Digital Health with the support of the Institute of Information Systems HES-SO Valais-Wallis. "Titillating curiosity and understanding the technological trends in tomorrow's health care: these are the aims of this event. These two objectives were achieved again this year," said Sébastien Mabillard, Director of Swiss Digital Health and moderator of the day.
The head of the Valais health service, Victor Fournier, introduced the theme. According to him, digital is a response to aging, scarcity and health financing. "However, digitisation must be part of a whole. Laurent Sciboz, Director of TechnoArk's research institutes and member of the Ark Foundation's commitment committee, pointed out that Valais has a real ecosystem linked to digital health. More than 100 projects are carried out each year in this field at the HES-SO Valais/Wallis.
Frédéric Ehrler, from the R&D department of the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), detailed the efforts of his hospital to promote "Patient Empowerment". According to him, this includes a digitized patient record and patient portals. He took the example of an application that uses gamification to promote medication use.
The devices adapt to humans
For his part, Yariv Adan of Google highlighted the potential of Google Assistant in the health field. "The goal is to no longer have to turn on the devices or learn how to use them. We are in a new era where devices adapt to humans to interact with them. According to Yariv Adan, this breaks down all barriers (age, language, technology). Live demonstrations showed the impressive progress made by the Google Assistant application. The dialogue with the machine is becoming more and more precise and intuitive.
A series of concrete and digital solutions were presented by the speakers. Guillaume Dupasquier detailed the home support solution for elderly people developed by Domosafety. Connected objects, such as alarm buttons or sensors, are installed in the home. At the prevention level, data are collected (sleep, respiratory rate). The devices are connected directly to doctors or emergencies.
Thierry Perronnet, director of Avatarion, explained how a humanoid robot can be the assistant of the health personnel. Health companions also help to re-socialize sick children. The sick child is connected in his or her classroom using a Nao robot. Robots are also very useful for entertaining children before surgery.
A multitude of aids for patients and health professionals
Sword Health, a start-up based in Portugal, has developed a tablet application to help physiotherapists. In concrete terms, this digital solution allows patients to do the exercises at home and physiotherapists to follow the exercises and interact with their patients. "This is the first cloud rehabilitation centre," says André Eiras Dos Santos, COO of Sword Health.
James Wyman presented Pillo, developed by his start-up Pillo Health, based in Boston (USA). This small domestic robot helps patients take their medication. He sends notifications and distributes the pills to be taken day after day. All controlled by voice and based on facial recognition. "On average, patients interact with this robot 4 to 5 times a day. The rate of drug use continues to increase and reaches 90%," according to James Wyman.
Figure1, a Canadian company, has created a social platform that facilitates exchanges between physicians based on photos. "This encourages curiosity among doctors," said Benjamin Errett. The application already has 2.5 million users in 190 countries.
A chatbot to stop smoking at an application to relieve pediatric emergencies
Roland Savioz and Michael Schumacher explained the principle of their chatbot (conversational robot), which has enabled a large number of Swiss cigarette addicts to be weaned. The first prototype was developed during the Arkathon 2018. This robot learns, through questions, to know people, including their emotional state, before helping them forget about the urge to smoke. The success rate is impressive: 25% after six months. The robot doubled the success rate compared to the previous campaign. "The only method that works best is intensive medical counselling with medication," says Michael Schumacher, professor at the HES-SO Valais-Wallis.
Maddalena Di Meo, founder of Baby & Kids Care, created the "What the paediatrician says" application. It allows parents to receive medical information via teleconsultation. An immediate response at any time is thus given to the parents, who are directed as quickly and as well as possible. "This application is intended to be the parent's companion and, above all, to prevent parents from going to the emergency room for cases that could be treated remotely.
The FOCA, the Swiss pharmacists' cooperative, has also developed a tool called Abilis. It is intended for the general public, especially those with chronic diseases. Prevention advice, online medical appointment booking, live product ordering, online consultation: the platform provides a complete overview of the current medication plan. It will be launched in November 2019.
In the same vein, Soignez-moi.ch is a Swiss telemedicine platform. This service is possible thanks to a digital platform, developed in open source. "Doctors can thus challenge the answers given," notes Romain Boichat, co-founder of Soignezmoi.ch. It offers consultations within the hour at the single rate of 39 francs.
Seniors and technology in debate
A round table discussion, dedicated to technologies applied to the daily lives of seniors, concluded the day. It brought together Christophe Büla (CHUV), Delphine Roulet-Schwab (Haute école de santé La Source), Dominique Germann (CMS Sierre), Anne-Gabrielle Mittaz (HES-SO Valais-Wallis), Guillaume Dupasquier (Domosafety) and Giovanni Joerger (OFAC).
The 8th edition of Digital Health Connect will take place on May 29, 2020. The detailed reports of each intervention of the 2019 edition will be published soon on this blog. Stay connected!
Videos of the conferences are available on http://watch.klewel.com/digital-health-connect-2019