With the kind support of Human.technology Styria GmbH, Know-Center GmbH and BioNanoNet Network hosted the first Life Science Event about "Life Sciences in Digital Transformation" on 5th April 2018 at Know-Center, located at the Campus Inffeldgasse of Graz University of Technology.

The event was officially opened by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefanie Lindstaedt (CEO Know-Center GmbH), Mag. Susanne Resch (BioNanoNet) and Dr. Ing. Johann Harer (CEO of Human.technology Styria GmbH).

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Dr. Roman Kern (Head of Knowledge Discovery, Know-Center GmbH) held a talk titled “Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare” with an introduction to the field of Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning, Deep Learning, etc.) He explained the wide range of Artificial Intelligence applications for the health sector and pointed out that “the market around AI in health care would explode in the next 5 years”. However, he also pointed out that expectations are very high and that Artifical Intelligence is currently being promoted as a “panacea” for the healthcare sector. In particular, this is the case because many celebrated successes had been more “low hanging fruits”, and the real challenges are actually still ahead of us. However, let’s not forget that AI will not establish itself in every area, according to Kern. Nonetheless, Artificial Intelligence offers a great deal of potential, “but it is hard work; and needs in particular one thing: Competence “.

Development of patient-oriented medical software

Dr. Bernd Schandl (CTO, mySugr) presented the success story behind mySugr (an app-based diabetes all-round care for the daily hurdles and problems in everyday therapy) in his talk on “Development of patient-oriented medical software”. mySugr started with the basic idea that “apps are just right for people with diabetes”, and now there are even tattoos with the company logo on satisfied customers. Patient-centered development is the message of many companies; Schandl explained in a clear and catchy way how mySugr integrates “User Centered Design” into all its corporate processes. For example, there are interviews with end users several times a week. “Know your users” – and success proves them right.

Sensors – the digital new eyes of physicians – current sensor concepts

The next talk took the listeners into the field of sensor technology. DI Robert Holzer (Project Management and Business Development, RECENDT – Research Center for Non-Destructive Testing GmbH) highlighted some not so well known current sensor technologies in his talk with the title “Sensors – the digital new eyes of physicians – current sensor concepts, eg: for interoperative imaging or point-of-care diagnostics “. OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography), for example, provides cross-sectional images of optically semi-transparent objects without contact and in a non-destructive way, with short measurement times and high precision. As technology combinations often open up completely new possibilities, OCT has been very successfully combined with photoacoustics (imaging, opto-acoustic method for the display of e.g. biological / medical samples) or with Raman spectroscopy (spectroscopic investigation of the inelastic scattering of light on molecules or solids). The combination of new technologies opens up completely new possibilities, but “without digital evaluation and preparation of the raw measurement data, all these measurement methods remain virtually toothless”.

Digitalisation in Medicine: Beautiful, New Medical World?

After the break, Mag. Caroline Schober-Trummler (Vice Rector for Research & International Affairs, Medical University of Graz) presented a picture of digitalization in the health sector and its effects on patients and doctors and us as a society in her talk “Digitalisation in Medicine: Beautiful, New Medical World?”. For the technical aspects of “digital medicine” – be it digital medical records, tablet visits, wearables, telemedicine, robotics, personalized medicine or a modern, digital research portfolio – are just one side of the coin. What kinds of challenges all these new technologies bring to patient (eg increasing health awareness and self-responsibility versus coercion for self-optimization), physicians (education, prediction of disease probabilities, prenatal diagnostics, liability issues with diagnostic (assistance) systems) and us as a society (Cost pressures, data protection, desolidarization, dealing with and health care of the elderly) is an equally interesting and socio-politically relevant issue.

Digitalization in Intensive Care Medicine – Biosensors as Forerunners for Automated Therapy Systems

To conclude the series of talks, Dr. Martin Ellmerer (Head of Development Office Graz, B. Braun Melsungen AG) gave a talk about “Digitalization in Intensive Care Medicine – Biosensors as Forerunners for Automated Therapy Systems” with insights into applications of biosensors, for example in insulin therapy or the fluid balance. The generation of medical data is extremely complex due to security and quality standards, privacy regulations for the protection of patients, etc. Data are usually collected for regulatory purposes only, but remain largely unused therapeutically. The ever-increasing volume of data is increasingly overburdening the nursing staff, opening up new, faster therapeutic decision-making channels and, in turn, requiring faster diagnostic procedures and, as a result, decision support systems and sensors. Conventional blood glucose management, for example, is still based to a large extent on manual processes and individual decisions and thus offers a high potential for automation and savings potential with regard to the nursing workload. Added to this is the lack of standardization in manual processes: The approach here is to also use infusion data for therapy control. The B.Braun glucose management therapy system is already CE approved and is currently undergoing clinical trials.

Hermann Stern, Business Area Digital Life Sciences led through the varied and informative afternoon.

The program was rounded off by a World Café about the topics of the talk (“Artificial Intelligence in the Health Sector”, “Digitalization in Medicine: Beautiful, New Medical Technology?”, “Sensor Technology for Physicians, Where does the Journey go?” Patient in focus “) and followed by networking at the buffet.

In connection with the event, the product “med360” of Know-Center’s Life Science division was also advertised.

med360 is an information corridor that daily serves up-to-date new publications about the areas of interest of scientifically active physicians.

For further questions please contact Melanie Mayr, Product Management med360.

Here are a few impressions from the event:

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