This post is part of our new Future of Medical Industry series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Prasanth Madavana, Co-Founder of FEDO.
1. What’s the history of FEDO? Where and how did you begin?
PM: The journey of Fedo.
It all started when I lost the “most favourite uncle” tag when I struggled to keep pace with my 5-year-old nephew at the park thanks to the few pounds of weight that I collected over the last few years.
Made me think about health for the first time in life, I maybe not be invincible anymore.
Shortly thereafter I was shocked to hear the news of a classmate suffering from heart attack, a disease I thought happens only to the old and rich. His lifestyle was similar to mine and that made it scarier.
I did what every shocked netizen do, a Google search.
Google showed that “Heart attack kills one person every 33 seconds in India”. Further reading showed that around 14.2 Million people die of lifestyle diseases among the age group 30-69
The average customer, like me, is unaware of his/her risk till an uncalled situation gives us a jolt.
An early warning system is clearly missing.
And this led to the Fedo.
2. What specific problem does FEDO solve? How do you solve it?
PM: We at Fedo wants people to be aware of their health risks and take preventive action at the right time.
Fedo is leveraging cognitive computing to predict an individual’s risks of lifestyle diseases. To predict this, we collect the individual’s demographic, lifestyle and environmental data. This could be collected through a short questionnaire.
The predicted risks are profiled into a holistic health score. We want Fedo Score to be the health benchmark like the credit score for financial transactions.
We build this score by looking into 52 different medical studies and applying this over 30 million unique global records.
As the next steps, we have developed a deep learning module which ascertains smoking, drinking and disease symptoms from photographs.
The score can be enhanced by asking more questions or connecting to any wearable devices.
3. What’s the future of the medical industry?
PM: Artificial intelligence has entered into our daily lives, be it Siri or the driverless cars. Childhood fantasy “KITT of Knight Rider is now available for a price or rent through Uber.
We would like to look into Artificial intelligence in healthcare, as it is a matter of life and death.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is paving its way towards the medical line in an attempt to provide cheaper, precise and assessable medical care to people around the world. From diagnosis to prediction of contagious diseases in a specific location, AI has been inducted in the medical industry and is here to stay.
MIT students, through machine learning, have developed a system that detects and diagnoses skin cancer with just one picture. A diagnosis is a feat achieved by storing and analysing large amounts of data, but what about surgery? Surgery is a complicated process that involves decision-making skills as well as good eye-hand coordination. Not to mention, the know-how of performing a surgery with complex knowledge about the human body. But, AI surgery systems are on their way. A robot surgical system called Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, or STAR can perform soft-tissue surgery by using 3D imaging system and a near-infrared sensor.
The physically challenged too have their stories of independence to tell. The visually impaired have a system called Kapten PLUS GPS that allows them to navigate themselves from point A to B. Not stopping at that, engineer Dennis Hong is developing a car that can be driven by blind people. Even individuals who suffered a loss of limb have a reason to look towards AI for prosthetic implants that can perform functions as commanded by the brain.
This is what medical care of tomorrow looks like.
Prediction #1: Personalised Medicine/healthcare. By integrating data from a variety of sources, including EHRs and wearables to create a more accurate and enriched patient records and use this as a referral point to the doctor.
Prediction #2: Preventive healthcare. Integration of wearable device/IOT to predict disease occurrences before the actual incident.
Prediction #3: Cybernetics . Smart prosthetics
The future of medical care is here. Are we prepared to accept it?
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you're seeing in the medical industry?
Trend #1: AI for Remote consultation and surgery.
1. Health Assistants
AI-powered chatbot one of the very effective tools that save a lot of doctors’ as well as patients’ time. The bots ask users about their symptoms and provide easy-to-understand information about the patients’ medical conditions.
These platforms have a vast network of information that links symptoms to causes. They use natural language processing and generation to provide a rich and fluid experience, and machine learning algorithms to create a complex map of the user’s condition and provide a personalized experience.
These chats suggest steps and measures to remedy the illness, including warning users when they need to see a doctor.
This could be based on health kiosks where doctor to patient ratios are skewed like in India same number of doctors can treat more number of patients, and even in remote locations.
2. AI-based surgery technology
This technology supports the surgeon workflow, identify tendencies and correlations, and build predictive modelling to drive intelligent strategic decisions and create personalized implant solutions for surgery. The solutions are patient specific.
Trend #2: Genomics.
Data mining will allow you (your AI or your physician) to know in advance which diseases threaten you, and make your healthcare proactive and preventive.
Trend #3: Cybernetics.
1. Smart prosthetics: which could help physically challenged to lead a normal life.
2. Implantable IOT devices: harnessing the advancement of bio-signal measuring sensors constantly monitoring patients, or managing medications and emergencies.
5. Why is the medical industry ripe for disruption?
PM: Platforms, networks, machine learning and artificial intelligence have enormous potential to solve problems that have plagued the medical industry for decades.
1. About one third of the money spent annually on health care across the world is wasted — presenting an opportunity for disruption by tech startups
2. Additionally, patients that frequently access various data on their mobile devices are demanding access to their health-care information as well. Rise in wearables is indicative of emergence of technology in health care and of health awareness
3. Rising demand for remote health monitoring will increase the partnerships between healthcare and tech companies
Some of the areas in the health care that are being disrupted already:
a) Preventive Healthcare. Enable patients to access validated and shared healthcare data and information, followed by convenient interaction with a network of available doctors through online platforms or video conferencing
b) Health Informatics & Information Sharing. Taking treatment to the patient’s bedside using the health information will reduce manual errors. Not a small impact as even in an advanced market like the US 98,000 are attributed to medication errors.
Create tools to input and store integrated health records across the entire cycle of care, easily accessible to practitioners engaged in a patient’s care, but with privacy safeguards.
c) Keeping up with the advancement in medical research. Doctors attempt to keep up with a burgeoning pile of medical literature and then advise patients to seek multiple opinions. But creating machine learning and artificial intelligence systems can improve the accuracy of diagnoses and customize treatment, or even create platforms for doctors to crowdsource insight from more experienced peers for challenging cases
More “care time” than “walk time” through dynamic real-time data capturing and sharing.
About Prasanth Madavana
A self-starter and a strategist, I have worn many different hats in my career spanning 12 years across three continents and three different sectors.; I have handled finance, operations and change management in various roles with fortune 500 companies.
Adopting unconventional methods to bring together resources to achieve the end goal helped me succeed in the two entrepreneurial stints previously.
With FEDO, an abbreviation for ‘FEel good, DO better, I have embarked on an entrepreneurial journey with a vision to touch lives by creating an awareness about your health. I want to make communities lead a healthier happier life.
My life motto is to tread the untrodden paths and to sum up at the end…
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.