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Toshiba’s AI Offers Advice on Improving Habits Toward Reducing Risk of Lifestyle Diseases

Supporting with/after COVID-19 health promotion with partner companies, with the aim to launch a health advisory service in Japan in April 2021
15 Oct, 2020

TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) has developed AI that uses know-how gained from deep analysis of data from health checks, personal habits and health insurance claims data*1 to reduce the risk of contracting lifestyle diseases. Used in combination with lifestyle disease risk prediction AI*2 announced by Toshiba in October 2018, the new AI makes it possible to go beyond predicting risk to offer personalized advice on how to reduce that risk by improving lifestyle habits.

Toshiba proposes to deploy the new AI by partnering with healthcare companies to co-develop personalized services, such as diet and exercise plans, and will conduct demonstration projects toward starting a health advisory service in Japan in April 2021.

Minoru Yonezawa, General Manager of Toshiba's New Business Development Office says, “By using AI technology, Toshiba Group has cultivated over the years to analyze medical data, we have developed a solution that can propose disease risk reduction plans tailored to specific individuals. We hope people will use this technology to make behavioral changes that adds to their quality of life.

Our lifestyles have been deeply affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. People now go out less on business or pleasure, commute less, and work at home more, and more and more of us are not getting enough exercise. Weight gains associated with this scaling back of daily activities are raising concerns about increases in the number of people contracting lifestyle diseases, and of health declines among the elderly.

This is not only an issue for governments, which have to handle rising medical costs, but also for companies. While many organizations already make efforts to reduce lifestyle disease risk, to ensure healthy employees, maintain productivity and manage health costs, a lot of corporate measures assume that employees are in the office regularly. The fall-off in commuting and other work style changes due to COVID-19 are new factors. Now, and after the pandemic, companies must rethink their approach, put more emphasis on employee health than ever before, and create systems that support employees in managing their health and improving their lifestyles.

AI developed by Toshiba in October 2018 uses big data analysis technologies to predict lifestyle disease risk. This July in Japan, working with a partner company, Toshiba started to offer services using the AI, allow clients to visualize the possibility of future illness, and to review their own health and lifestyle habits. Client feedback quickly centered on requests for health improvement plans specific to them as individuals, with many people saying that they weren’t sure what part of their lifestyle needed improvement, or just what to do.

Toshiba has responded by focusing on weight, a widely index in the field of health guidance, and developed AI that provides advice on how to improve health and cut the risk of lifestyle diseases (patent pending). Drawing on the analysis of data from hundreds and thousands of people, the AI suggests a weight loss target, and ways to reach the target through changed lifestyle habits that can reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Users of the combined AI system must first provide the results of their most recent health check, which the AI uses to evaluate the risk of the onset of a lifestyle disease over the next five years. The figure is presented as a percentage. With this result in hand, the user then enters a weight reduction or risk reduction goal, and the AI generates lifestyle improvement advice for each one. For example, the results can indicate what impact a 3-kilogram cut in body weight will have on the risk of each disease, or how much weight needs to be lost to lower the risk of a disease by 10%. In both cases, the AI also suggests lifestyle improvements to help meet the goal. The AI can also produce advice that includes lifestyle items that users do not want to change, thereby delivering results that respect individual lifestyle choices and values. The AI can also be used by physicians and healthcare workers as a communication tool in interviews with patients.

Figure 1: Lifestyle Disease Risk Prediction and Risk Reduction Simulation Flow

Figure 2: Results Screen (currently available in Japanese only)

Figure 3: Example of a lifestyle improvement suggestion screen
(currently available in Japanese only)

The lifestyle disease prediction AI will be presented at Toshiba’s virtual booth*3 at CEATEC 2020 ONLINE from October 20-23.

Moving forward, Toshiba will collaborate with partners such as healthcare companies in developing and conducting demonstration projects of lifestyle improvement measures, including diet and exercise improvement plans, with the aim of starting a commercial service in Japan in April 2021.

Toshiba is committed to creating value by providing optimized individual therapy, and to realizing precision medical care that delivers ultra-early detection and personalized treatment.


*1   health insurance claims      
Treatment information contained information that medical institutions provide to insurers

* 2  Joint Development of AI for Prediction of Risk of Lifestyle Diseases Including Diabetes, Etc. Toshiba Corporation press release, October 19, 2018