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Saykara Medical AI Introduced to Market

Smart home appliance artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for a while, with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home increasing in popularity over the last few years. These services have the power to parse and translate natural language to a query and then answer the question or request. While these are general purpose apps designed for the home, a medical transcription AI is now in the works. This is a bold idea that will have a potentially big impact in the medical industry once it’s officially rolled out.

Medical records are a treasure trove of data that can be mined for machine-learning purposes. This increases the level of reliability and efficiency of record keeping.

Saykara is one of the newest AI on the market, but is designed to handle medical transcriptions. Their CEO Harjinder Sandhu helped cofound MedRemote, a web-based transcription processing system that was sold to Nuance Communications in 2005. Nuance, in turn, is the creator of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, considered as the bestselling speech recognition software in the world. Sandhu spent five years as Nuance vice-president and healthcare research and development (R&D) chief technologist. Saykara has raised $2.5 million in funding, with Madrona Venture Group as the lead investor. The small Seattle-based company has 14 employees who have previously worked for big names like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Nuance.

The main difference between a medical transcription AI and a general purpose AI like Apple’s Siri is that the medical AI is geared towards understanding the language used. Medical AI is more specific about its job, as well as having the facility to differentiate between some words which sound alike. Another reason is the app which goes with the AI, as it can store the transcription as a medical record, and can read the record back to the user.

This is where Saykara has differentiated itself from other AI. It can be used by doctors and other medical professionals to fill up forms, perform medical transcriptions, and recap medical records and history.

Differentiating Saykara AI from the Competition

There is a level of proficiency required for medical transcription, as it is quite easy to make a mistake and misunderstand similar words and phrases. For example, there is a difference between “nitrate” and “nitrite”, or “hyper” and “hypo.” Any mistakes can lead to big problems down the road for the patient and the doctor, especially considering that there might not be any other document to trace other than the transcribed patient medical records.

Medical transcription service is a big business, and this technology can disrupt the model. Besides medical transcription services, doctors have the choice to do their own record keeping, which can take up to half of their regular work time. The time spent by a doctor on patient records has led to outsourced transcription services. In this instance, with a viable and efficient medical transcription app, there is no extra time required for transcribing patient records. Record keeping can be done in real-time while consulting with the patient.

The use of AI and machine learning technologies which are also specifically designed for a doctor’s office or a medical environment allows Saykara to learn and improve. Medical records are a treasure trove of data that can be mined for machine-learning purposes. This increases the level of reliability and efficiency of record keeping. As a continuously learning app, Saykara would be able to correct itself if there is any ambiguity in the word pronunciation. It would be exciting to see how this tech will be accepted and adopted in medicine and health.

Apple, Fitbit, Join FDA to Speed Approval of Health Tech

In a bold move, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) asked Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and a few other important tech companies to become part of a program that will speed up the process of screening new and disruptive health technologies.

The program, called the “Pre-Cert for Software Pilot,” is recognized as a novel and pragmatic approach to accepting digital health technology.

The nine companies were selected for a pilot project that allows for faster approval and integration of medical tech devices in today’s modern healthcare setting.

A Bloomberg report quoted FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb saying: “We need to modernize our regulatory framework so that it matches the kind of innovation we’re being asked to evaluate.”

The FDA has selected Apple, Samsung Electronics Co., Fitbit,  Pear Therapeutics Inc., Phosphorus Inc., Verily Life Sciences, Johnson & Johnson,  Roche Holding AG, and Tidepool.

The federal agency created the program to help companies which develop new health technology continue the rapid pace of their development. The pre-clearance will cut down time and effort spent going through the FDA’s regular application and processes which take months to complete.

The tech companies were tapped so they can provide tech and medical expertise as well as valuable inputs on how their technologies may be used by patients or healthcare providers. Each one of the companies selected are either working on a bold idea or developing a gadget or application which can either be used in the medical field or to improve general health and fitness.

Riding the Wave of Technology for Promoting Good Health

Apple, for one, has been expanding the capabilities and features of its Smart Watch. At first, it was developed to simply track health and fitness, but it has slowly evolved to a monitoring device that can check blood sugar levels. Now, Apple is testing to see if the watch can predict and warn users of heart abnormalities. If they succeed with testing and perfecting the technology, it would be a far more affordable and completely non-invasive monitoring method.

Hand with a health tech watch monitor.

Verily Life Sciences, on the other hand, has partnered with Novartis AG to come up with a pair of contact lenses that can monitor and check a person’s blood sugar on a 24/7 basis. When successful, this is considered a breakthrough as it does not require constant pricking and checking blood samples from patients. It will give diabetic patients a semblance of a normal life while assuring doctors and family members that they won’t crash or go into hypoglycemia.

The FDA decided to come up with the program due to the sheer volume of gadgets and gizmos that are being developed nowadays. Historically, the agency has been slow to approve and implement disruptive technology tools such as this. However, they do admit that it has the ability to transform various aspects of daily life.

The program, called the “Pre-Cert for Software Pilot,” is recognized as a novel and pragmatic approach to accepting digital health technology.  The pilot team is tasked with scrutinizing the software of digital health companies, while the FDA inspects facilities or factories to make sure that the companies meet quality standards.

However, instead of waiting for months, once a company is cleared in the initial audits, it passes pre-certification that may require fewer requirements and paperwork. In special instances, the report said the company or product may not even require getting FDA approval.

The FDA added are holding a public workshop about the pre-certification program by January 2018 to help developers who are not included in the pilot program understand the screening process.