Healthcare Applications for Artificial Intelligence in Singapore

One year after Singapore launched an initiative to establish itself as a regional leader for artificial intelligence (AI) research and entrepreneurship, the city-state is well on its way to harnessing the power of intelligent computing to tackle some of its most pressing healthcare issues.

Drawing on $150 million in government subsidies, Singapore is developing a nexus of AI technology combining cloud computing, data analysis, and software algorithms that can recognize patterns within data. The goal is to crunch data to diagnose diseases with more accuracy and efficiency, treat illnesses earlier, and ultimately rein in spending on healthcare.

Despite its ambitions, Singapore and other Asian nations lag far behind the United States in the use of artificial intelligence. But that may be about to change. Singapore is lowering barriers that have prevented companies of all sizes from adopting artificial intelligence. And venture capital firms and other company builders are investing heavily in Singapore AI tech startups.

Examples include KroniKare, a Singapore startup developing a mobile application that uses smartphone images to assess chronic wounds for nurses or other healthcare workers. It works by comparing the photos with data in a wound information database.  Another product, Singapore Eye Lesion Analyzer (SELENA), is an automated software developed at the Singapore Eye Research Institute that assesses more than 100,000 retinal images to recognize and score diabetes-related eye problems.

Over the past year, researchers in Singapore have also used AI to predict and localize outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses, improve the accuracy of digital mammography, and forecast the incidence of dengue fever by analyzing seasonal patterns of dengue cases over the last decade.