William Kapp, MD, President and Co-founder of Fountain Life explains why the short answer is yes – but it’s all about the right data.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies present a broad array of opportunities to improve healthcare across the care continuum, including longevity. Increasing lifespan has long been an interest for researchers and healthcare professionals, but preserving quality of life throughout the aging process by identifying potentially debilitating diseases early is a more recent focus. The ability of AI to enable innovations around data is making it possible for life-threatening conditions like cancer, cardiac, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases to be diagnosed at their earliest stages.
Detecting asymptomatic disease is challenging because the human body is amazing at masking symptoms, but leveraging AI technologies is helping physicians make key diagnoses earlier than ever before.
Training a new category of AI
AI works by combining information from data sources, processing it, and generating meaningful insights that solve problems or suggest outcomes. The quality and type of data being sourced is crucial as it affects the integrity of the algorithms that use the data. The vast majority of data today is from symptomatic patients, limiting the information AI has to work with. Many chronic diseases and life-threatening conditions are asymptomatic or have no genetic indicators so are challenging to detect because the human body is amazing at masking symptoms. If we could collect quality data from asymptomatic people, AI algorithms would be even better informed and therefore more able to help physicians make key diagnoses earlier than ever before.
At Fountain Life, a preventive health and longevity company, we are actively building a database that will allow AI to move to “what’s next” and change the way medicine is practiced. Fountain Life is building the largest HIPAA compliant and protected, fully quantified database that will be used to train a new category of AI based on information from asymptomatic individuals. Integrating this new category of AI could move the healthcare system from reactive to preventive by identifying potential medical conditions earlier than ever before. Current Fountain Life members, who are asymptomatic and electively undergoing preventive health screenings, are paving the path for this new category of AI.
Today, AI helps medical professionals look for known issues by interpreting CT scans and images to help detect cancer and other potential health conditions. Tomorrow, AI could lead to the identification of new biomarkers for even earlier detection of diseases by using what is learned with data from asymptomatic people.
Changing the way medicine is practiced
Most people (in and outside of the healthcare community) would agree that the current US healthcare system is broken and unsustainable without some fundamental change. We will spend $4.5 TRILLION dollars on healthcare in the US this year – 20% of GDP – for some of the worst outcomes in the world. Why? Because the current model is based on “sick care” with the highest rewards coming from treating conditions that are symptomatic and require acute care. The current healthcare system is paid when you break, but the reality is you want to avoid being broken. Your doctor only gets paid to treat you when you are sick, there is no payment model for keeping you healthy. In fact, the sicker you are the more money the healthcare system makes. The system is predicated on you becoming sicker so they can make more money. The only way to fix the underlying problem in medicine is to get in front of it and that’s what we are aiming to do. The goal is to move the model from reactive to preventive.
Fountain Life is working to change the current healthcare model and move the emphasis from reactive to preventive care by using informed AI technology to detect asymptomatic diseases early. It is a unique and effective approach to healthcare that gives people the opportunity to live a longer, healthier, and more vital life. The results are attention-getting, recent data show that potentially life-threatening or life-altering conditions were identified in more than 14% of 1,000 people who underwent early preventative diagnostic health screenings at a Fountain Life center. This includes asymptomatic cancer findings in 2% of those undergoing early screenings and coronary artery disease in 27% of people screened. These are diseases that would not have been identified until much later in our current system because they are not routinely screened for when there are no presenting symptoms (70% of cancer related deaths are the result of cancers that are not routinely screened for, and 70% of people who suffer heart attacks had no previous symptoms).
Healthcare is the only major industry (the last frontier) that waits for a problem to occur rather than preventing it from the beginning. Changing the current healthcare system in the US by going through the healthcare system may not be the best approach, We believe we need to build a system outside the system (a little company called Amazon did this successfully in the retail industry). Moving to a more proactive approach is a fundamental paradigm shift and will take time, but it must happen. The practice of waiting until you are sick (symptomatic) to provide medical care simply costs too much – in dollars and quality of life.
Making 100 years old the new 60
Experts predict the breakthroughs we are making today will extend the human healthspan by decades. When asymptomatic diseases are identified early, treatment options are less invasive and less expensive. The best way to avoid, mitigate, or even reverse potential diseases and increase longevity is by looking for them early. Identifying and addressing a health condition or potential health issue before it becomes chronic and requires ongoing costly care or develops to the point of requiring emergency or acute care can have a profound affect on both your quality of life and lifespan.
Leveraging the power of AI to help us live longer, healthier lives is within reach. We are collecting the data now that will inform the AI algorithms needed to help physicians more accurately diagnose potential diseases earlier than ever before. In the next ten years we will see more healthcare innovation than in the last 150. It will be revolutionary, and we need to be ready. I encourage each of you to become the CEO of your own health and longevity. After all, life is short – until you extend it.
William Kapp, MD, President and Co-founder of Fountain Life
Bill Kapp is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Fountain Life, a preventative health and longevity company committed to transforming global healthcare from reactive to proactive. Dr Kapp’s passion is finding new technologies and processes that will accelerate that transformation. He served as a flight surgeon in the US Air Force Reserves and is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Global Wellness Institute, an organization dedicated to empowering wellness worldwide by educating public and private sectors about preventive health and wellness. He is also a serial entrepreneur who has built nine Landmark hospitals.