March 8, 2022

The Digital Health Revolution

The Digital Health Revolution:

Technion and Rambam Inaugurate a New Center for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

The “Technion-Rambam Hack: Machine Learning in Healthcare” conference will be held on March 9 at Rambam Health Care Campus at 08:30

The Technion and Rambam Health Care Campus are setting up a new joint Technion-Rambam Center for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare (CAIH) that will signal a revolution in medical decision-making. The CAIH, the first joint academic-hospital center in Israel and one of the first in the world, will develop advanced artificial intelligence systems to analyze a patient’s condition. The center will focus on developing tools that will help physicians select, in real time, the most appropriate and accurate medical treatment for a patient. These tools will be based on a complex and rapid analysis of all the relevant medical information that has accumulated in big medical databases over the years.

The center’s opening conference, which will be held at Rambam Health Care Campus on March 9, will be attended by about 250 people, and will feature leading researchers from the Technion, Rambam, MIT, the Ministry of Health, Clalit Health Services, and industrial companies including GE and Roche. The opening remarks will be delivered by Technion President Professor Uri Sivan, the General Director of Rambam Professor Miki Halberthal as well as Prof. Shie Mannor, head of the Technion MLIS center and Prof. Noam Ziv, leading the THHI initiative. The first part of the conference will deal with current trends in machine learning in healthcare; the second part on access to medical databases in Israel; and the third part on the prospective evaluation of machine learning models in the clinical environment.

One of the most prominent speakers at the conference is Prof. Leo Anthony Celi, senior researcher and director of the MIT Laboratory of Computational Physiology (LCP), the organization behind SANA – that supports technological innovation for the benefit of all mankind, including developing countries. Prof. Celi is a founder of MIMIC – a huge database serving more than 2,000 researchers in around 30 countries, creating a global community of medical researchers in the field of medical data science.

Other prominent speakers include Prof. Ran Balicer, Chief Innovation Officer at Clalit Health Services, founding director of the Clalit Research Institute, a member of the Management Team for Epidemics at the Ministry of Health, and Head of the National Covid-19 Experts Advisory Team.  Also Prof. Rafi Beyar, former director of Rambam, and one of the early visionaries at Rambam in establishing data science facilities.

The Technion-Rambam Center for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare is the brainchild of the two institutions and jointly funded by both. It will operate initially in the Meyer building at Rambam and will later be transferred to the soon to be completed Helmsley Health Discovery Tower on the western campus of the hospital. The center will initially run three flagship projects in the areas of cardiology, intensive care, and bone marrow transplants. In the second phase, the center will initiate and support new joint Technion-Rambam research projects. In the words of Dr. Joachim Behar of the Technion, the CAIH aim is to “create the leading Israeli academic center for medical AI committed to advanced medical and clinical research, resulting in significant and actionable benefit to patient care.” According to Dr. Uri Shalit of the Technion, “The Center will serve as a significant collaborative platform that will connect doctors and researchers from Rambam with scientists and engineers from the Technion, with the aim of promoting diagnosis and medical treatment through artificial intelligence.  We, as data scientists, need above all a huge amount of data – Big Data – and the clinical world needs experts who will analyze this data and derive useful insights from it. For us as scientists, this is an important connection to the field and a significant means of influencing human well-being.” 

A joint study by Prof. Shai Shen-Orr of the Technion Faculty of Medicine and Dr. Oren Caspi of the Cardiology Department at Rambam will form the basis of further research, in which patients with cardiac problems will be examined not only according to their chronological age but also according to their “immune age”.  According to Prof. Shen-Orr “It is possible, for example, that a healthy 60-year-old man will have a balanced and strong immune system similar to that of a man aged 40, while another man his age would have an immune system more like a man aged 80. Here, too, the patient’s clinical condition will be added to all existing big data on similar situations and an optimal decision will be made on how to treat him.”

 The development of these tools will involve doctors, researchers, and engineers from Rambam and the Technion who have harnessed the field of big data and computational learning to improve diagnosis and treatment. “This is the great innovation,” says Dr. Oren Caspi, Director of the Heart Failure Unit at Rambam, a researcher at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion and one of the leaders in establishing the center. “We all know the usual procedure – the patient is hospitalized, undergoes diagnostic tests and receives treatment to the best abilities of the medical staff. The new vision presented by the center is one of diagnosis and treatment based on extensive information from a huge number of patients. As a result, the doctor will be able to ‘tailor’ the patient’s treatment to be optimal, accurate and customized. The center’s uniqueness will help us convert academic achievements in artificial intelligence and big data into therapeutic tools that are immediately available at the patient’s bedside in the spirit of personalized medicine.”

In addition, the Technion’s Faculty of Biomedical Engineering is hosting an information-based development competition (Datathon) on March 7 and 8 with the participation of 50 students from various Technion faculties. Students will develop different technologies related to the analysis of medical information, under the guidance of 20 mentors from the Technion, Rambam and the industry. 

The conference is organized by Dr. Joachim Behar, Dr. Danny Eytan, Dr. Ronit Almog and Prof. Leo Anthony Celi.

For full details on the conference click here