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HHS Names Accelerators for Artificial Intelligence Innovation

The eight chosen accelerators will develop artificial intelligence tools to solve challenging problems in health security and daily patient care.

HHS names accelerators for artificial intelligence innovation

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- HHS has selected eight accelerators to drive artificial intelligence innovation to enhance health security and patient care.

The chosen accelerators include the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center of Lowell, First Flight Venture Center of North Carolina, MedTech Innovator of Los Angeles, New Orleans BioInnovation Center, SUNY Research Foundation, Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute, University City Science Center of Philadelphia, and Life Science Washington Institute.

“Accelerators are part of a new business-friendly approach,” said Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan. “This approach will help startups and other businesses shape the next generation of lifesaving technology and transform health security. That innovation is crucial to protecting Americans and saving lives.”

Accelerators will seek out innovative artificial intelligence tools and products that can be developed to solve challenges in healthcare that go beyond traditional vaccine and drug development.

One of the first challenges is the need for earlier detection of infection in patients. Organizations should have access to technology that can alert providers when patients have been infected with a virus before they even begin to feel sick.

The second challenge is the pressing need to detect sepsis, a top cause of hospitalization in the US. Sepsis is a life-threatening response to infection or traumatic injury, and the condition leads to 250,000 deaths and costs approximately $24 billion annually.

After a bioterrorism attack or pandemic, the number of sepsis cases could increase dramatically, which increases the need for new tools to combat the condition.

Artificial intelligence tools have already shown promise in predicting sepsis in patients, and the eight chosen accelerators are expected to bring further improvements to sepsis prevention.

DRIVe, a new HHS unit that is part of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), will oversee the accelerator network.

DRIVe is also working to recruit a nonprofit partner that will collaborate with private investors to fund innovative technologies and products that will solve these and other critical health security challenges.

Accelerators will connect startups and other businesses with essential product development and business support services to assist them in creating their technologies.

These support systems could allow innovative technologies and products to receive follow-on investment from the public or private sectors.

With the help of the accelerators, startups and other businesses can bring new ideas together, develop them with knowledgeable partners, and then direct them to BARDA’s experts to effectively take these new ideas to regulatory approval.

HHS anticipates that the development of artificial intelligence tools will accelerate solutions for some of healthcare’s biggest challenges.

“At a time when artificial intelligence and personalized medicine are not just conceivable but attainable, the time is uniquely now to solve some of the most daunting, far-reaching health security problems,” said BARDA Director Rick Bright.

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