Technology has changed the face of many industries. One of the sectors that technology has transformed enormously is the healthcare sector – significantly improving healthcare services and enabling better recovery and early detection of many fatal diseases.
This adoption of evolving technology has further resulted in the cumulative decline of mortality rate among the global population and has enabled the overall improvement health. This process continues to evolve to give greater results to the healthcare professionals.
Prognica Labs is an organization that specializes in providing AI-powered healthcare services. The company is a recipient of multiple awards in UAE including, Best Deployment of Machine Learning in Healthcare, Best Start-up of the Year, Technology Rising Star of the Year, and Top Contribution in AI in Healthcare and Medical Education.
In the following interview, Khalid Shaikh, the Founder and CEO talks about his opinion on the present and future of the HealthTech sector and how his company is positioned to stand out from the crowd.
Please brief our audience about Prognica Labs, its mission, and the key aspects of its stronghold within the healthcare services niche.
Not too many people would know that Breast Cancer is indeed the leading cause of cancer deaths among women today. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. The biggest challenge on that count is the early detection. Therefore, the area where building new tools to diagnose the disease more effectively can have a major impact on large portion of the population.
Radiologists are faced with an ever-increasing number of cases. The actual process of medical image analysis is repetitive and time-consuming as a great deal of time and effort is spent on scrutinizing images, that in the end turn out to be benign, checking lymph nodes for metastases.
Prognica Labs is a Dubai based AI-powered health-tech start-up aiming to improve clinical outcomes in the fight against breast cancer. Prognica analyses medical images and generates information and data to help predict and diagnose cancer using artificial intelligence and deep learning. We are tackling a long-term goal by working on breast cancer screening and diagnostics to make it more accurate, affordable, and accessible.
With our proprietary algorithm, it automatically detects the abnormality in mammogram and breast ultrasound images, detects masses and helps in segmentation, and features extraction and classification of the lesion.
We are developing an adjunct, precision tool for mammography and ultrasound to equip radiologists with the objective, data-driven results they need to support patients and their healthcare team as they make decisions about their breast cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment.
Tell us more about the offerings that give your company a distinct edge to stand out from the competition?
Prognica analyses medical images and generates information and data to help predict and diagnose cancer using artificial intelligence and deep learning.
We identify the abnormalities, triage (differentiates between the normal and suspicious cases), detect masses and help in segmentation, and feature extraction and classification of the lesion.
We also help in calculating the breast density accurately before a radiologist puts their time and efforts.
We provide is a cloud-based application, which can be accessed from anywhere and it also integrates with the PACS system.
The user can upload the mammogram or ultrasound DICOM images and get a pre-formatted report, which has to be approved by an authorized doctor.
What is your opinion on the effects of the current pandemic on the healthcare sector, and what challenges did your company face during the initial phase of the pandemic?
Coronavirus has accelerated the rise of digital health that includes solutions for telemedicine, teleconsultation, remote monitoring, connected devices, digital health platforms, and health apps.
Digital technologies are becoming more critical. They have been used, among other things, for online medical consultations from home and for increasing efficiency in diagnosis and treatment of patients through telemedicine and online education.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deep vulnerabilities and inherent gaps of healthcare system worldwide. The outbreak of COVID-19 posed both a challenge and an opportunity for the HealthTech start-ups.
Besides COVID-19, I think many of the HealthTech start-up founders believe that the government’s efforts to digitize the interaction between consumers and providers like diagnostic centres, doctors, radiologists, and even the pharmacies have also given a big momentum to innovation in digital health.
With continuous development in technologies such as AI and big data, what is your prediction about the future of the healthcare services market?
Artificial intelligence has come a long way since it was started. There are numerous applications of AI on the market today or awaiting approval that can improve patient care and potentially save lives.
Medical professionals also have to consider patient privacy and security when considering AI applications and despite the growing advancement of AI in healthcare, the practitioner-patient relationship and the empathy still remains important.
As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the healthcare services niche?
I would advise entrepreneurs to not be shy to speak as many people and try to validate their idea in terms of technology, functionality, and the market. Surround themselves with other successful entrepreneurs and mentors that can open their network to help them and guide throughout the entrepreneurial process.
How do you envision on scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?
Going forward we plan to screen at least 10,000 women in 1 year. Along with the mammogram, we are planning to do free Ultrasound screening.
We have a wireless ultrasound probe, which can be synched with your mobile phone. We are in a process of appointing and training volunteers to do ultrasound screenings.
Currently we are focusing on UAE, but we have plans to expand to Saudi and other part of GCC.
About the Leader
Prognica Labs was ideated back in early 2019, but the company was officially launched and registered in May-2020
Khalid earlier had a software company “Affaan Technologies,” which offered AI consulting and development services to its client across different industries being experts at writing AI / ML algorithms.
Khalid wanted to develop something, which will directly impact the society, especially in healthcare. And while doing some research, he came across few breast cancer survivors, where he got to know how this particular disease may not just take away the life, but leaves the whole family disturbed and distressed, and it also impacts the family economically.
Khalid says, “that’s where I started thinking that there should be some easy, fast and accurate way to detect and diagnose the disease.”
Fulfilling Social Responsibility
In addition to developing the innovative noble technology, we are also relentlessly working towards spreading awareness and supporting the industry in bringing the innovation in healthcare and start-up ecosystem.
- Occasionally organising free Breast Cancer Awareness & Screening Campaigns http://www.prognica.com/bc2021/
- Written a research-based book “Artificial Intelligence in Breast Cancer Early Detection and Diagnosis” published on Springer https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030592073
- We are continuously writing research papers to published on various journals – http://www.prognica.com/research/
- We have collaborated with the universities to help and guide graduate students and faculty in the area of engineering, medical science, technology innovation, and entrepreneurship – https://magnitt.com/news/51977/prognica-labs-partners-with-ajman-university-to-boost-higher-education-in-the-uae
- We are conducting the Research Paper competition, cohorts, and hackathons
- As a part of our industry support strategy, we are running an interview series, interviewing the prominent industry leaders who share their knowledge and experiences to promote the UAE’s start-up and innovation ecosystem. http://www.prognica.com/evolve/