- At its annual developers conference this week, Apple showed it aims to be a major player in the artificial intelligence space, describing how AI can enhance Siri or improve memories for users of the Moments photo app, Wired reported.
- “We want to make powerful machine learning easy for you to incorporate in your apps,” Apple software chief Craig Federighi said.
- The company released new APIs will help coders create apps for Apple devices capable of facial recognition or parsing text.
AI is hot and it's no surprise Apple is looking to make a play in the space. At HIMSS17 in February, vendors including IBM Watson Health and Nant Health touted AI’s potential to increase workflow and improve clinical trial matching, among other uses.
While the industry tries to wrap its collective head around what AI and machine learning are, there's been a flurrly of activity in the space. IBM Watson Health, the de facto spearhead of the AI movement in healthcare, has been on a partnering spree. Novartis and IBM Watson Health announced they will use patient data and cognitive computing to look into breast cancer outcomes. IBM Watson is also teaming up with Cota Healthcare and Hackensack Meridian Hospital on a test AI-enabled decision support in cancer treatment.
With the shift to value-based payment models, providers are looking for ways to increase efficiencies and improve patient outcomes, and AI offers many opportunities to do such as streamlining diagnoses and treatments and providing clinical decision support. By 2021, the AI market in healthcare is expected to reach $6 billion, up from just $600 million three years ago.
Apple’s ResearchKit, which uses iPhones to collect health information and then makes the data available for research, is showing promise after scientists published data on seizures, asthma attacks and heart disease using the tool. While Apple still faces challenges applying ResearchKit’s results to a broader population (most consumers of Apple products are younger, well-off and well-educated), the company seems determined to carve out a niche in healthcare and AI could help its efforts.
While on the surface, facial recognition and parsing text don't directly relate to healthcare but natural language processing capabilities and image recognition do fit within areas of need for healthcare such as in medical notes or imaging.