Industries across the board are watching the developments of artificial intelligence in recent weeks with interest, and that includes the health care industry and telemedicine company Reliq Health Technologies Inc. (RHT:TSX.V; RQHTF:OTCQB; A2AJTB:WKN).
The company, which just picked up six new contracts and more than 3,000 new patients for its iUGO platform in Pennsylvania and California, uses AI algorithms in its software — although it won’t chat with you or even be visible to users.
The platform draws on data from fall detection devices, medication tracking, and vitals data to flag patients at home or in facilities who need more monitoring, Reliq Chief Executive Officer Lisa Crossley told Streetwise Reports.
"There are all kinds of fall prevention protocols that can be put in place for those patients to reduce falls and hospitalizations," Crossley said.
While AI has yet to be widely deployed in health care, a recent report from McKinsey & Co. and Harvard researchers said that AI adoption could result in savings of 5% to 10% of health care spending, or US$200 billion to US$360 billion annually.
"We, therefore, stay long," Maund wrote in Streetwise Reports on Nov. 30.
"For hospitals, the savings come largely from use cases that improve clinical operations . . . and quality and safety," the report’s authors wrote. "For physician groups, the savings also mostly come from use cases that improve clinical operations."
Reliq said it expects to accelerate its growth “significantly” this year after its cash intake went up 485% to CA$8.6 million from the fiscal year 2021 to the fiscal year 2022, and gross profits increased YOY by more than 515%.
Technical analyst Clive Maund of CliveMaund.com recommended the stock shortly after it jumped from CA$0.52 to CA$0.62 when the revenue news broke last fall.
"We, therefore, stay long," Maund wrote in Streetwise Reports on Nov. 30.
The global telehealth market is anticipated to reach US$380 billion by 2023, according to Research and Markets.
"The COVID-19 pandemic had an overall positive impact on the market," Research and Markets said. "It led to increased awareness about telemedicine solutions, propelled the adoption rates among patients and providers, and increased the investment activities in the market."
The Catalyst: Reliq's Expanding Telehealth Platform
The AI in Reliq's platform will have a lot of data to work with. Crossley said the company now services more than 100,000 on the iUGO platform and expects to have as many as 200,000 patients on it by the middle of 2023.
The average practice can generate new revenue of more than US$400 per patient per month with the platform while paying US$40 to US$100 per patient per month to subscribe to iUGO.
The company also does the pre-screening and pre-authorizations with Medicare and Medicaid and electronic submissions for payment.
Diseases the company aims to manage at home include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, and others. Patients get audible reminders to step on a scale, take their blood pressure, or prick their fingers for glucose monitoring. The information is automatically uploaded to the cloud.
Crossley said the company’s focus for the first part of the year will be improving the adherence of patients so they interact with it enough for Medicare reimbursement.
"What we found is (doctors' offices) will get patients onto our platform, they'll get hardware to them, but then they won't follow up," Crossley said. "And the patient thinks they're not supposed to do anything until the doctor calls them. So, we've taken that over."
Is AI Ready?
The buzz on AI has reached a fever pitch with ChatGPT, which is also being used to power a new Microsoft search engine. The chatbot interacts in a conversational way with users, answering follow-up questions and admitting mistakes, and challenging incorrect premises, according to its creators.
ChatGPT can be used to generate large blocks of readable text from short prompts. According to Reuters, it's even being used to write e-books being sold on Amazon — as many as 200 by mid-February. It has even passed the U.S. medical licensing exam.
But there has been a downside to the technology, which works by scanning millions of pages of text.
There have been reports of inappropriate responses by ChatGPT. Google and its parent, Alphabet, are also pursuing their own bot, Bard. Alphabet lost US$100 billion in market value in one day earlier this month when its chatbot shared inaccurate information in a promotional video.
According to Reuters, AI is even being used to write e-books being sold on Amazon — as many as 200 by mid-February. It has even passed the U.S. medical licensing exam.
"The technology is simply not ready to be used like this at this scale," Melissa Heikkilä wrote in MIT Technology Review on Feb. 14. "AI language models . . . often (present) falsehoods as facts. They are excellent at predicting the next word in a sentence, but they have no knowledge of what the sentence actually means."
But none of that matters when AI is being used for some healthcare applications. Crossley said it comes down to the information being fed to the software.
"What's key in artificial intelligence is that you're feeding these programs, these algorithms, with really good data," she said. "Ideally, the more data the better because you get better statistical significance, and better predictive algorithms out of large datasets. We're in the fortunate position where we keep a copy of all the data we collect . . . It helps our software learn."
Streetwise Ownership Overview*
Ownership and Share Structure
About 8% of Reliq’s shares are owned by insiders, including Crossley with 1.61% or 3.22 million shares. About 0.3% of the company is owned by institutional investors, including FNB Wealth Management with 0.02% or 0.03 million shares, according to Reuters.
Other top investors include Eugene Beukman, who owns 0.11% or 0.23 million shares, and Brian Storseth, who owns 0.07% or 0.14 million shares, Reuters said.
Crossley said 91.7% of the company is retail.
The company has 199.5 million shares outstanding, with about 196 million free-floating. It has a market cap of CA$98.3 million and trades in a 52-week range of CA$1.09 and CA$0.36.
1) Steve Sobek wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports. He or members of his household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. He or members of his household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None.
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5) This article does not constitute medical advice. Officers, employees and contributors to Streetwise Reports are not licensed medical professionals. Readers should always contact their healthcare professionals for medical advice.