13 Nov 2019 – At the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) x the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH) Conference, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat unveiled the “National AI Strategy” which maps out the deployment of AI to improve lives of citizens.

The key approach of the national strategy is to adopt a human-centric approach and focus on delivering tangible benefits to citizens and businesses through AI. Healthcare, specifically on Chronic Disease Prediction and Management is 1 of the 5 projects that has been identified for roll-out.

Specific to healthcare, Mr Heng said, “AI will also be tapped in the protection and management of chronic diseases. The Singapore Eye LEsioN Analyser (SELENA+), which analyses retinal photographs to detect major eye diseases, will be rolled out for diabetes retinopathy screening here in three years’ time.”

“Its capabilities will be extended to develop a predictive risk assessment model for cardiovascular diseases by 2025,” he added.

Raising this as an example, Mr Heng said: “Many seniors suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension. Many might be unaware of their conditions, which, if left untreated, can lead to serious medical complications.”

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Early screening is highly effective in helping to prevent blindness from a range of eye diseases. SELENA+ is an intelligent deep learning system that can detect eye diseases: this system was jointly invented by researchers at NUS School of Computing (NUS-SoC) and the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) to perform automated image analysis of retinal images. The analysis results will be used to provide early detection of eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy (DR), glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

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