Exclusive: Full body health scanners chosen for UAE trial to aid early diagnosis
Full body scanners to help diagnose health problems at an early stage are the subject of a new trial that could result in the technology being rolled out into everyday life.
Tech firm Bodyo’s health analysis pods have been selected by the Dubai Future Foundation for the Future Accelerator programme, an intensive nine-week project pairing the world’s most exciting engineering companies with leading government organisations.
The company is one of just four out of 677 applicants selected by Dubai Health Authority to create solutions for problems facing society.
Although not yet clear if or how many of the AiPods will be taken up by the DHA, it is a technology the authority is taking a serious look at to manage population health.
If successful, the AiPod health kiosk could become a common sight in shopping malls, gyms, hospitals and clinics around Dubai in the near future.
“We have developed products that enable us to detect and monitor community and population health data using our own algorithm and Artificial Intelligence,” said Bodyo General Trading founder Patrice Coutard, a sports scientist and head performance coach of the UAE national football team.
“This enables us to monitor happiness, health, fitness and early detection of serious health conditions such as chronic heart disease and early detection of diabetes.”
The pods could reduce the need for people feeling unwell to visit their GP or pharmacy.
By visiting their nearest shopping centre or government building, a quick seven-minute AiPod scan detects a host of biomarkers to indicate wellness, or the onset of illness.
Health data from pre-registered patients is then passed on to doctors, who can make further recommendations or arrange a consultation.
“We want to change the mindset of doctors and patients, in which this technology is non-invasive and it is a self-service interaction, without feeling like a medical process – to encourage people to want to return to improve their own health,” said Tariq Hussain, Bodyo’s chief executive.
“There is an initial set-up process that can be time-consuming as it’s new. After that, once people are familiar with the pods, they will become very recognisable and user-friendly.”
Investment bank Alpen Capital recently warned of a shortage of nurses in a growing healthcare market, with Bodyo’s developers claiming the AiPods could help to fill the void.
About five nurses would need to extract the kind of health data produced from a short Bodyo scan, with a single nurse required to operate one of the pods.
The technology promises to bring down overall healthcare costs, and empower individuals to take responsibility for their own health by giving access to their personal biometrics.
Companies could even offer employees financial incentives to improve their health, with regular monitoring of their progress to reduce the spiralling costs of future care of long-term chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.