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    How Artificial Intelligence is giving health a checkup


    Data and analytics is part of the engine room that enables Medibank to make evidence based decisions to help drive affordability, improve clinical outcomes and provide a better customer experience.

    Artificial intelligence is transforming and disrupting many industries – including health – and recently we hosted a Melbourne Data Science forum focused on how machine learning and AI are being utilised.

    There is recognition that AI can enhance traditional human services in some cases, such as algorithms that are now better at detecting diabetic retinopathy from scan images than doctors. Dr Sandeep Reddy explored some of the applications and opportunities of AI and in particular Natural Language and Image process in health service delivery. Dr Reddy highlighted the likely growth in augmented AI where more precise and individualised information is provided to doctors so they can make better decisions.

    Finding patients to practice on is very challenging for doctors, most of us are not keen on the idea of being guinea pigs and the availability of cadavers to practice thousands of procedures on is very limited. Professor James Baily, who teaches machine learning and artificial intelligence at The University of Melbourne, shared with us the solution the team have developed using machine learning to provide self-guided surgical training. Focused on precise ear surgery, it uses scanned images and reproduces virtual surgical techniques – think of a flight simulator but with miniscule ear bones and a surgical drill – enabling medics to practice surgery as often as they like. It’s proved to be highly effective.

    Natalie Kelly, our General Manager of Strategy and Analytics shared the work we are doing to ensure that analytics is adding value to our business - the importance of understanding the broader context of analysis and the need to communicate findings in simple, clear messages.

    We consider participation in the broader Data Science community an important part of our development. There are many opportunities to learn from others in health and other industries to adopt new approaches that deliver for our members.