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  • Writer's pictureMaria Flori

Neolook’s and UMCG’s Nominated for “Oscars for Dutch IT”

The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and the company Neolook AI (Artificial Intelligence), who collaborated on the Early Moves Project, have been nominated for a healthcare award known as the “Oscars of Dutch IT.”

Neonatology intensive care UMCG © Campus Groningen

AI company Neolook has been working with the UMCG for almost a year now on the development of a smart system for premature babies and vulnerable children in intensive care. Neolook developed a camera system with additional sensors for movement, sound and light.

As the care for these children in hospitals is an exhausting and complex task, the system they created works as an extra pair of eyes and ears at a distance, helping both parents and medical staff. AI is used to detect abnormalities in babies heath, based on motion analysis, of video images.

University Medical Center of Groningen © Maria Flori

‘’It makes live remote consultation possible and transmits live streams after alarm signals to monitors and care telephones,’’ explains Marco D’Agata, CEO of Neolook. Parents can take their children home and still be safe and under supervision.

Video images are collected and analyzed at the UMCG using AI and recording equipment developed by Neolook. With just a few minutes of video, researchers can determine whether there are normal or abnormal movement patterns and whether further investigation by health professionals is needed.

This work can be done without the use of AI, only by humans. What really makes AI special in any case is that it is useful for helping hospital staff cope with a piece of the intelligence work when math doesn’t add up. ‘’Imagine having two thousand children in intensive care and ten doctors on call,’’ D’Agata says.

D'Agata is sure that AI will improve care for vulnerable children. He is therefore very pleased that the project has been nominated for the award. “We have come a long way in a short time with these digital techniques together with the UMCG and local partners. It is very honorable to now also receive this recognition,’’ he says.

Future potential of AI in healthcare

Kanoulas is a strong supporter of AI in healthcare because he foresees many needs that could be covered. ‘’Unfortunately, there are some barriers for AI in healthcare, especially in Europe,’’ he says. AI works with data, at the same time, by respecting human rights for privacy, all hospitals cannot share patients' history with one another.

Maria Flori taking the interview from professor Kanoulas © Jurriaan Dupuis

Moreover, because AI tools are not included in insurance packages for medical care, AI companies are hesitant to invest money creating apps for hospitals. “If you want an X-ray, a hospital has the machine, does the job and insurance is covering the payment. For an AI tool, who is going to pay?’’ Kanoulas wonders.

“These problems exist and need to be resolved because AI has so much to offer in healthcare,’’ Kanoulas concludes.

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