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World Health Day - How AI Can Improve Preventive Healthcare

April 07th is World Health Day! On this day, the World Health Organization (WHO ) commemorates its founding in 1948 and defines a new health topic of global relevance for World Health Day each year. Let's take this as an opportunity to talk about health prevention through AI.

For the last decade, selfie cameras have accompanied us as part of our mobile devices. The integration of these cameras on the front of our phones has been primarily driven by the rising popularity of social media. Users desired the convenience of taking selfies without the need to awkwardly flip their devices. Initially used for capturing and sharing selfies or video calls, front-facing cameras now play a more everyday role, from sending a quick photo to your best friend, to enabling technologies like Face ID. So let’s consider the broader implications and envision the integration of selfie cameras for health prevention — imagine the possibilities! Could selfie cameras serve as a scalable, cost-effective, and daily tool for promoting health prevention?


The Prevention Problem

In Europe, over 90 percent of deaths result from non-communicable diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Prevention and early detection could significantly reduce this number while also saving costs. Unfortunately, these measures are underutilized and underprovided. Prevention remains one of the major challenges in the German healthcare system, primarily due to resource constraints — be it personnel or financial. Priority is often given to healthcare provision, leaving limited time and resources for prevention.

The Role Of Artificial Intelligence (AI) In Health Prevention

Today, AI is already being researched and partially implemented in various areas of health prevention. Some of its applications are:

  • Algorithms are being trained to identify abnormalities in images from imaging techniques such as MRI.

  • Utilizing data analysis, AI can identify risk factors for specific diseases by processing health data, including genetic information, lifestyle factors, and medical history, thus creating individual risk profiles.

  • AI can provide personalized recommendations for health-promoting behaviors. By analyzing individual data such as dietary habits, physical activity, and sleep patterns, AI can offer advice to improve lifestyle choices and develop personalized prevention strategies, particularly in conjunction with wearable devices.

  • AI is also being utilized in dermatology, for example, to detect pathological skin changes better than the unaided eye can. This is especially helpful for the field of telemedicine, which is gaining more and more importance.

More than half of all Germans are already open to medical diagnosis using artificial intelligence.


Challenges Ahead — And How We Overcome Them

However, certain challenges need to be addressed for the successful implementation of AI in health prevention:

  • AI systems must be inclusive and consider various ethnicities. — Therefore, we only release an algorithm to the market when it works reliably across diverse populations.

  • Users may not always adhere to optimal conditions when using AI-driven health prevention. — Considering the long-term perspective, as cameras continue to improve and with techniques like Video Live Object Detection (similar to Face ID), errors due to factors such as lighting or motion blur can be minimized.

  • People fear they need to be technologically savvy to use AI, or don’t use it because they don’t understand it. — Companies developing AI-based services need to make them as easy to understand as possible for the user. That way, the technology can become a daily companion. In this context, data security is probably the biggest driver of adoption.


The Exciting Progress

Now, let’s circle back to our selfie example. What if we could undergo dermatological early detection multiple times a year using our selfie camera? This way, any changes can be swiftly identified, right in the midst of our daily lives.

The exciting part is that we have already begun implementing this concept in various markets, establishing different points of sale and platforms.

Consider the integration of skin analysis in webshops by cosmetic brands. Customers could simultaneously undergo health assessments while exploring beauty products, providing a seamless integration of health and cosmetic aspects. This not only increases the success of the brand, but also promotes prevention and early detection among the general public.

The integration of selfie cameras for health prevention represents an innovative and promising approach to addressing the challenges of prevention and early detection. With the aid of AI and advancements in camera technology, this concept can revolutionize how we proactively manage our health. By leveraging these tools in an easy-to-use and inclusive way, we can improve health outcomes and make prevention an integral part of everyday life, while always maintaining the highest security standards when processing personal data. The possibilities are immense, and it’s time to embrace this new frontier in health prevention.


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