Japanese Doctors to Design AI Devices for Medical Use
Wed, April 21, 2021

Japanese Doctors to Design AI Devices for Medical Use

Japanese hospitals are focused on using AI for medical use / Credits: KPG_Payless via Shutterstock


Japan is among several countries that are leveraging artificial intelligence to improve its healthcare system. AI and other technological advances have been used by Japanese hospitals for better use of accumulated medical data. These institutions are popular for having quality data due to the widespread use of X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans. Thus, it is expected that it will be easier for them to develop AI-based devices. 

However, Japanese hospitals are actually finding it hard to develop AI-based devices using the data gathered because they are private and tightly controlled. This explains why the US and China are way ahead of Japan in this area. As of now, there are not that many AI-based medical devices that have been approved for sale in Japan. For instance, “EndoBrain” aims to screen large intestine images taken by Olympus Corp.’s endoscope and tells real-time whether a polyp is neoplastic or non-neoplastic and less likely to become cancerous.

Even medical professionals in the country are focused on using AI for medical use. One of them is Sho Okiyama, the chief executive officer of startup Aillis Inc. According to the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong English-language newspaper, the doctor is focused on creating AI-based medical devices to help medical professionals make diagnoses. For instance, its startup is developing a device that can tell whether a patient has contracted an influenza virus by analyzing images of the throat or follicles that are unique to influenza. 

“The obvious follicles are easy even for trainee doctors to tell. But there is a huge gap [in the ability to make diagnoses] between a doctor who has 10 years of experience and a veteran doctor when it comes to ones that are too close to call,” Okiyama said.

The Japanese government has also recognized the importance of digital health and medical care since it is projected that there will be an increase in diverse medical needs due to the rapid aging of the country.