Highlights From ADVANCE 2022: A Conference on Human-Centric AI in Health

07 July 2022


The ADAPT Centre recently held its annual future technology conference hosting leaders and pioneers in artificial intelligence, healthcare and governance from across Ireland. The event saw an exchange of ideas, insights and research on the topic of ‘Human-Centric AI for Health’. From evaluating the role of technology in responding to the pandemic in the last two years, to peeking into the future for applying these lessons and creating better data-driven healthcare systems, the event touched upon some of the most pressing issues and opportunities in this area. 

The conference began with a welcome address by Prof Vincent Wade, Director of the ADAPT Centre wherein he introduced the work of the Centre in areas of big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive and precision healthcare. Prof Wade also spoke about the Centre’s belief in opting for a multi-disciplinary approach to science and technology where we include sociologists, ethicists, law experts, clinicians and scientists in creating the future we want rather than a future that we may not all benefit from. We live in an age where data is available in abundance. Multimodal data from text, speech, image, video, VR/AR and robotics, is being created all around us. However, the important question he addressed was – how do we empower patients, clinicians, healthcare professionals and organisations with this data through control, inclusion and accountability? 

This insightful talk gave way to the keynote address by Prof Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland on the topic “Data, Data Infrastructures & Models: Lessons from the Pandemic for Irish Health Information”. Prof Nolan shared the challenges, successes and learnings from the journey of bringing together applied mathematicians, computer science professionals, data science experts and clinicians in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Highlights of the talk include the importance of building a stronger data infrastructure to be better prepared for crises such as these in the future, in addition to educating the society on the importance of data-sharing while still keeping privacy at the heart of such efforts. “One of the most important issues to consider is the trade-off between privacy and health safety that we are willing to have, when using patient data to respond to the pandemic”, he said. 

Following this, Prof Dave Lewis, Head of the Artificial Intelligence Discipline, School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin, shared his future forward perspectives on the promises and perils of artificial intelligence inventions in healthcare. The trustworthiness of AI, the ethical implications of such inventions and the Centre’s projects in this area, were some of the key topics covered. 

Soon after, the panel comprising Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Ireland who served during the two crucial years of the pandemic, Mary Day, Chief Executive Officer of St James’s Hospital, Dr Markus Hesseling, Chief Medical Information Officer at Children’s Health Ireland and Dr Lucy Hederman, Director of the Centre for Health Informatics at Trinity, convened on the topic of AI in health. The panel reimagined the future of health through diverse perspectives in data-driven research, hospital management and governance, bridging the gap between what’s theoretically often anticipated from such a future and the real groundwork that needs to be done to turn this future into reality. How much data is too much data? How do we enable better data collection in hospitals even when the priority for medical professionals is to provide impeccable health services in a high-pressure environment? Are we investing enough resources in training clinicians to make the best use of emerging technologies? How do we educate society on the importance of data in building better public health systems? What are the possibilities and pitfalls of health data collection, storage and sharing? These were some of the key questions raised and addressed by the panel. 

The speakers welcomed questions and comments from attendees throughout the conference, leading to a rich exchange of perspectives on the topic. The key takeaway from the conference was wonderfully captured by a comment shared by one of the attendees – the world is moving from just public-private partnerships to public-private-people partnerships in creating human-centric innovations for health. The ADAPT Centre has always strived to create a future where such collaborations are more seamless, impactful and meaningful. Thus, ADVANCE 2022, hosted in Regent House, Trinity College Dublin, closed its curtains bringing to light critical social, medical and technological topics that would prove to be game-changing in the coming century.

Watch the full conference video here.