VOYAGER: First real-time tests conclude successfully

After several months of work and remote meetings, due to the contingency caused by COVID-19, the human team behind VOYAGER met on Friday, November 20 at Noi Hotel to participate in a real-time demonstration. The meeting became an instance to analyze the current scope of the project and its future projections.

Álvaro Riquelme, doctor and Product Manager of the system, was in charge of showcasing the proposal’s processing capabilities using speech recognition, deep learning and cloud computing. This technology, applied by UNIT, is responsible for generating a structured electronic medical record for each patient, centralizing and systematizing important information regarding their diagnosis and treatment.

"The creation of this interdisciplinary team has allowed us to shape VOYAGER based on knowledge from various disciplines, helping us to understand the problem and landing a solution concept that is the one we have in the form of a demo today," explained Dr. Riquelme.

VOYAGER: A public-private collaboration

Aldo Diez de Medina, director of San Vicente de Tagua Tagua’s Hospital, highlighted the importance of the collaboration developed by UNIT, Roche and the establishment he runs. "Companies are usually focused on generating profits, so it is pleasant to be able to see the evolution of the system and work with companies that are supporting public health," said the manager.

Alex Pozo, medical technologist and director of Supplies at the hospital, referred to the importance of improving treatment guidelines for these types of diagnoses, a goal that VOYAGER is on track to meet.

“It is a tool that is based on artificial intelligence and machine learning to manage the treatment of chronic patients. We are talking about people over 70 years of age, so it is a patient profile who has a hard time adhering to their treatment and that needs a constant support network to be able to comply with it”, Pozo explained.

For her part, Cecilia Acuña, who is Roche Diagnostics Innovation Lead & Patient Outcomes Consultant, assured that “I was very impressed with the voice data entry system. I think it is a tool that has the potential to revolutionize the work of the clinical area".

“Nowadays a big complaint from doctors is the large amount of time they must dedicate to the administrative area. VOYAGER manages to solve this problem, to allow health professionals to dedicate this time to what really matters, which is, in the first instance, to talk with patients and then, of course, treat them ”, pointed out Acuña.

The project uses artificial intelligence to improve clinical care protocols for patients with multifactorial diseases, whose condition is essentially chronic. Among the most common pathologies is diabetes, which has been one of the major focuses of the project.

"For us, these projects are fundamental because they are a way to innovate and develop a complete and comprehensive solution, something that helps not only the patient, but also the health team responsible for their treatment," said Andrea Vergara, New Business Models Manager of the Diabetes area of ​​Roche.

In this way, the piloting of the system within the Creasphere program is aimed at being a success story worldwide, to benefit millions of patients with diabetes and other multifactorial diseases in adherence to their treatment.

Cielo nocturno estrellado

How to apply AI tools for health innovation?

Since its inception, the development of artificial intelligence has been exposed to much scrutiny and even some mistrust from the scientific communities and especially the general public. However, the constant advances of AI tools have sought to overcome these obstacles to find solutions to the great problems of humanity.

In November 2018, the Duke University Health System Emergency Department launched "Sepsis Watch." The tool was designed through deep learning to help professionals in the area detect the first signs of one of the leading causes of hospital death worldwide: infections and their overwhelming ability to wreak havoc on the human body.

The dreaded sepsis occurs when an infection triggers inflammation throughout the body, which can cause immediate -and multiple- organ failure. Fever, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, fast heartbeat, and mental confusion are just some of its symptoms. Although its effects are extremely harmful, the truth is that it can be treated with an early diagnosis. However, this is easier said than done since its early signs are often confused with other ailments.

Sepsis Watch is the product of three and a half years of development, during which medical records were digitized and 32 million data points were analyzed. Subsequently, the Duke University team focused on designing a simple interface so that the tool could be used in the form of an iPad app. The app checks each patient's information and assigns them a rating based on their probability of developing the condition. Once a doctor confirms the diagnosis, an immediate treatment strategy is put in place.

The result is a drastic reduction in the deaths of patients from sepsis. Currently, the AI tool is part of a federally registered clinical trial. The preliminary results of which will be available by 2021.

VOYAGER: AI Tools solution for the health area made in Chile

Similar to the cases of death due to sepsis, arterial hypertension, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, retinitis pigmentosa, asthma and diabetes mellitus are pathologies with high mortality rates according to the WHO. Due to the complexity of their diagnosis, their treatment normally consists of rigid protocols, the results of which may vary from one patient to another.

VOYAGER, developed by UNIT, focuses on exponentially improving the management of these diseases, known as multifactorial. Through the use of artificial intelligence, the system is capable of processing data collected by voice interfaces to fully understand the status of each patient and perform predictive and automated monitoring of their treatment.

Similar to what happens with Sepsis Watch, this translates into more efficient diagnoses and identification of higher risk cases, directly impacting the fatality rate of these diseases. In concrete terms, VOYAGER's goal is to reduce serious hospitalizations by 50% for those suffering from diabetes, cerebrovascular diseases, hypertension and even obesity, both in public and private health.



Global Initiative: UNIT among the selected projects for Startup Creasphere

UNIT, a company dedicated to the creation of universal intelligence products, is among the eleven projects selected for Batch 5 of Startup Creasphere. The initiative, under the premise "Transforming Healthcare Together", provides the opportunity to develop a pilot project focused on innovation for the health industry.

Currently one of the largest innovation platforms for digital health solutions, Startup Creasphere was founded two years ago in Munich by Roche and Plug and Play, both responsible for the initial growth of companies such as Google, Paypal and Dropbox. In 2019, SANOFI and Lonza joined as partners to continue expanding the scope of the call internationally.

Batch 5, of which UNIT is a part as the sole representative of Latin America, is the most recent selection of projects that will begin this process of development and acceleration under the mentorship of the founding partners Roche and Plug and Play.

One of UNIT's greatest goals is to continue to challenge the limits of artificial intelligence applications in the industry. In line with this objective, they currently use tools such as data science, machine learning, mathematical modeling, deep learning and language recognition to develop products focused on solving the needs of people in a wide range of fields.

“For UNIT, it is essential to participate in this program to carry out scientifically and technologically validated pilot tests. These will allow us to verify the results obtained for the benefit of each patient, as well as to strengthen our business model by being associated with world-class partners ”, explains Jordaj Zuleta, Chief Design Officer for UNIT.

"We seek to establish a solid presence in low and middle-income countries, where the public health systems have similar challenges to those that we experience in Chile in terms of patient adherence and the quality of treatment itself," the executive pointed out.


Did you know that multifactorial diseases are currently one of the main causes of death in Chile and the world? High blood pressure, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, rhinitis, asthma and diabetes mellitus are just some of the pathologies derived from this condition.

These health issues are produced by the combination of multiple environmental factors and mutations in several genes, generally from different chromosomes. One of their main complexity factors is that they do not follow common genetic inheritance patterns, making their diagnosis and treatment even more difficult. Even when it is possible to detect them, they are usually treated through rigid protocols, which do not always have positive results in different patients.

VOYAGER, developed by UNIT, is a product focused on improving the management of these diseases, seeking to reduce the most serious cases and save every human life possible. Its name is inspired by the space probes that have gone further in the Universe. Through artificial intelligence, the system is capable of processing data collected through voice interfaces to fully understand the state of each person's disease and carry out predictive and automated monitoring of their treatment.

This translates into more efficient diagnoses and identification of higher risk cases, directly impacting the fatality rate of these diseases. In concrete terms, its goal is to reduce serious hospitalizations by 50% for those with diabetes, cerebrovascular diseases, hypertension and even obesity. Currently, VOYAGER has applications in the pharmaceutical and clinical world, both public and private.