How can we ensure that the benefits and innovations enabled by health data are equitably shared? How can we mitigate the risk of health data being used for harmful purposes? What do health professionals need to work with AI-enabled tools instead of duplicating the efforts?

At “Building bridges between innovation and impact on AI in healthcare” last March, experts and representatives from numerous partner organizations held presentations and participated in a panel discussion on these and many more questions regarding innovation and the impact of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in healthcare.

The event organized by the gdhub together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Swiss Embassy to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain took place at the Swiss Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai. The experts provided insights to challenges that come with leveraging digital transformation for health equity – regulation, for example, is crucial to mitigate the risks associated with harmful use of health data, just one aspect of why data security must be ensured. This platform for dialogue established by the Embassy of Switzerland to the UAE and Bahrain, with Novartis, Roche and Unilab, will continue to support knowledge sharing and mutual learning from local strategies and existing digital expertise with partner countries to emphasize systemic approaches and technologies that are part of comprehensive packages.

The event started with a welcome by Ambassador Massimo Baggi (Video, 2:10), who said in his opening remarks:

“Switzerland supports a global digital health governance system that can better manage risks and seize opportunities offered by digitization and AI in health. We aim to promote systemic approaches to digital health and AI and lay emphasis on the fact that technologies are not isolated tools but part of concerted efforts and comprehensive packages to strengthen health systems and the health of the population.”

Followed by an introductory speech from SDC’s Head of Global Health Program Erika Placella (Video, 9:10), and the University of Geneva’s Vice-Rector Prof. Antoine Geissbuhler (Video, 14:45).

Prof. Christian Lovis (Video, 20:35), who is Chairman of Medical Information Sciences at the University Hospitals of Geneva highlighted the promises and challenges of AI for health with a focus on knowledge engineering in his keynote speech ‘Big Data is good for machines, Small Data is good for humans’.

Dr Bassam Mahboub (Video, 45:10), Consultant Pulmonologist and Head of Pulmonary Medicine at the Dubai Health Authority discussed Artificial Intelligence in Health Care Delivery.

The keynotes were followed by the presentation of four applied AI-tools:

  • “Pneumoscope: Intelligent Stethoscope to better diagnose pulmonary diseases”, Prof. Alain Gervaix (Video, 1:01:05), Director of Department of Women, Child, and Adolescent, Geneva University Hospital
  • “Leveraging AI to optimize patient journeys. Why is pharma embracing digital health?”, Daniel Raduan (Video, 1:14:05), Director Digital Health Solutions, Novartis ME
  • “My food repo: an AI tool for food tracking”, Prof. Marcel Salathé (Video, 1:27:50), Professor EPFL, Co-founder AIcrowd
  • “openIMIS: AI-based Claim Adjudication”, Dr. Simona Dobre, Researcher; & Dr. Dragos Dobre (Video, 1:40:20), IT Systems Architect; Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

This was followed by an expert discussion (Video, 1:51:05), which provided insights to the challenges that come with leveraging digital transformation for health equity – regulation, for example, is crucial to mitigate the risks associated with harmful use of health data, just as data security must be ensured. The expert discussion was composed of Dr. Amandeep Gill (CEO, I-DAIR), Klara Jordan (Chief Public Policy Officer, CyberPeace Institute), Claudia Juech (Vice President Data and Society, The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation), Daniel Raduan (Director Digital Health Solutions, Novartis ME), and Prof. Marcel Salathé (EPFL, Co-founder AIcrowd) and was moderated by Prof Antoine Geissbuhler.