25 million for Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a partner in healthcare. Researchers, tech businesses and the government are joining forces to make this happen. Together they are setting up 17 laboratories, two of which will be at Erasmus MC. ‘The impact of AI on healthcare could be enormous.’

A computer that helps the doctor decide. Futuristic for some, but in ten years, it may be reality. Philips Healthcare, General Electric Healthcare, Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), and Erasmus MC will realize two AI labs with their funding and an investment of 25 million from NWO. Erasmus MC professor Wiro Niessen tells more about the lab that will eventually join the Convergence.

From 911 to rehabilitation

For one of the two labs, Erasmus MC, in collaboration with the EUR, will enter into a new partnership with Philips Healthcare. Together they will improve the patient journeys of patients suffering from a stroke. ‘A stroke is an acute problem,’ says Niessen, ‘but it has a long aftermath. We want to use artificial intelligence to help the patient from A to Z. That starts with dialling 911 and ends with rehabilitation.’

From the very first moment during the patient journey, choices have to be made. Niessen: ‘The patient enters the hospital. You need to diagnose them correctly with imaging by a CT scan. After that, you want to offer the patient the best treatment and ultimately the best rehabilitation.’

Over the next ten years, a total of 10 PhD students will work in the laboratory with Philips to make those choices easier. ‘They will create an environment in which data collection is possible along the patient’s entire timeline. They then can use AI to extract information from this data. For example, which type of patient is better suited for which treatment. We can eventually use that information to provide personalized treatment to improve patient outcomes.’

For now, this lab is starting with the patient journey for stroke. Eventually, this initiative will include other patient journeys by joining the Convergence.

Daily practice

The ROBUST consortium will establish a total of 17 ICAI labs, led by the principal applicant and UvA professor Maarten de Rijke. NWO is providing 25 million euros, and participating companies and UMCs will invest the remaining sum. ‘It’s a huge investment in AI,’ says Niessen. ‘That’s because the impact of AI in healthcare and society will be enormous, provided we can rely on it properly. We need to make sure that this powerful technology is used responsibly in daily clinical practice. That’s what we’ll be working hard on over the next 10 years.’

Read more about the other lab on Amazing Erasmus MC.