News round-up (18 December)

man looking at online news headlines
18th December 2020 about a 3 minute read
Merry Christmas + Happy New Year from all at Future Care Capital

In the last news roundup of 2020, here are some of the stories that have caught our eye this week… 

7 predictions for what lies ahead for health tech in 2021

US website Fierce Healthcare gazes into its crystal ball and offers its predictions for the health tech sector in the New Year.

It believes virtual care services will expand, but a new ‘hybrid model’ combining telehealth check-ins and in-person visits will become the norm.

And it sees 2021 as being pivotal for machine learning and artificial intelligence, with hospitals getting the smart speakers and smart cameras widely in use in people’s homes. 

Meanwhile Walmart will “redesign” healthcare by establishing healthcare facilities in a “reliable, low-cost no-frills environment.”

And Amazon and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) will also expand their presence in healthcare.

Year of the Nurse – Microsoft’s CNO reflects on 2020 and tech in nursing

Digital Health website interviews Microsoft’s Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Molly McCarthy, who believes new technology brings new roles for nurses.

Speaking as the World Health Organisation Year of the Nurse draws to a close she acknowledges technology in nursing is nothing new.

But she points to how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital tools and the opportunities they bring with them.

Virtual patient training platform launched

A virtual reality and augmented reality tech provider, built by an NHS trauma surgeon, has launched a new training programme focusing on interactions with a ‘virtual patient’.

Health Tech Newspaper reports that the new programme aims to support medics and trainees to interact with AI-powered ‘patients’, either through their tablet, desktop or VR or AR headset. 

They then role-play life-like, interactive scenarios.

The tool has been adopted by West Suffolk Hospital as a way to train staff recruited to work in the intensive care department at the hospital.

It takes a lot of energy for machines to learn – here’s why AI is so power-hungry

Training neural networks burns through a lot of energy.  As the AI field grows it’s working to keep its carbon footprint from growing with it, says The Conversation.

UK invests $330m to “lead the world” in healthcare AI

Dr. James Somauroo, host of the Health Tech podcast, considers the question “Can AI help clear the healthcare backlog?” 

His conclusion in an article for Forbes is “possibly”. But he sounds a warning to the optimists to “keep their feet on the ground and a realistic view on timelines”.

AI needs to face up to its invisible-worker problem

“Machine-learning models are trained by low-paid online gig workers. They’re not going away—but we can change the way they work.” 

So says Saiph Savage, director of the human-computer interaction lab at West Virginia University where she focuses on issues such as fighting disinformation and helping gig workers improve their working conditions. 

She says many of the most successful and widely used machine-learning models are trained with the help of thousands of low-paid gig workers. 

Millions of people around the world earn money on platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk, which allow companies and researchers to outsource small tasks to online crowdworkers. 

According to one estimate, more than a million people in the US alone earn money each month by doing work on these platforms.