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Hong Kong seeing MedTech revolution

In June 2018 a report announced that a Ph.D. student in the Department of Bioengineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology developed a portable breast cancer detector. The device allows women to self-test and detect cancer cells early from home. Thus, improving the cure rate.

Using technology is the medical profession has been an important marker in human history and has saved millions of lives. Now, Hong Kong has recently seen a surge in the application of AI to the medical profession.

Telemedicine solution and chatbot

According to a recent report, a Hong Kong medical insurance firm has launched a new telemedicine solution, as well as an AI-powered chatbot.

The new telemedicine service enables customers to book virtual consultations with network doctors and receive medical consultations through video to take advantage of medicine delivery or speciality service referral.

The firm has partnered with a Hong Kong-based group of medical professionals from who have in-depth knowledge of the medical field and extensive network for the service. This makes the firm the first medical insurer in Hong Kong to tap into telemedicine.

A recent survey conducted by the company suggests that 45% of Hong Kong respondents are likely to use telehealth if there is an option to consult and obtain a diagnosis from doctors through their smartphone or computer.

It was noted that with Hong Kong in the bottom five the firm’s global Well-Being Index, and stress continuing to be a major issue, the company hopes to collaborate with the aforementioned group of doctors to make life simpler for customers, according to the firm’s Country Manager.

“We want them to have timely advice and access to quality care, when and where they need it.”

Meanwhile the new WhatsApp chatbot, developed in collaboration with local start-up Clare.AI, will initially allow local group customers to ask for information about Cigna’s in-network doctors, locating doctors by name, location or speciality.

Cigna already offers services through WhatsApp including a claims process for local group customers, and plans to add full service for the group and individual customers by the end of 2019.

CUHK to use AI for therapy

Hong Kong-based insurance firm, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) – a top Hong Kong university with strong research emphasis, and firm that is a pioneer of the use of virtual reality technology (VR tech) to understand and treat mental health problems, announced the signing of a first-of-its-kind agreement to pilot automated virtual reality-based therapy for mental health in Asia.

The pilot focuses on a clinical trial in Hong Kong using a VR technology platform for managing mental health issues such as social avoidance, anxiety and depressive symptoms.

A variety of specifically designed scenarios will be offered in both English and Cantonese for the trial, which is expected to commence in June and be completed next year.

The tech firm’s VR technology is already being used by the UK National Health Service (NHS) for mental well-being services.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice President Professor noted that the trial aims to contribute to overcoming the high level of stigma surrounding mental wellbeing in Asia, as well as the lack of resources and trained workforce to cater to mental health needs.

She stated that the CUHK and its research team are delighted to establish a collaboration with the insurance firm and the VR tech firm that integrates scientific research with innovative technology and training of talents in service delivery, to provide a new solution to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Ultimately, the of the collaboration is to contribute to the promotion of mental health across the globe as well as a deeper, more nuanced understanding of mental health and illness.

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