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New Partnership to Create AI-Powered ‘Healthcare from the Eye’

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New partnership to bring AI to eyecare

Topcon Healthcare Inc. (THI) announced a partnership with Microsoft Corporation to deliver AI-powered ‘Healthcare from the Eye’ solutions “to improve healthcare access, cost and quality.”

A cloud-based connected network of healthcare providers using the Nuance Precision Imaging Network and the THI Harmony platform will empower patients and healthcare providers to participate in pre-screening for systemic and neurological disease via a robotic, rapid and non-invasive eye scan, according to Topcon.

“We are committed to making healthcare accessible and affordable through pre-screening using oculomics – leveraging the eye for insights into systemic and neurological health. We call this, ‘Healthcare from the Eye.’ A key element of this effort is Harmony – a vendor-inclusive, secure, connected data management platform,” said Ali Tafreshi, CEO & President of Topcon Healthcare Inc.

Since establishing the Microsoft collaboration in February of 2024, THI has initiated several projects to drive the mission forward. A collaboration with the University of California, San Diego aims to show the value of AI-powered screening and coordinated care of diabetic patients across primary care, optometry and ophthalmology.

“Healthcare from the Eye is no longer just a concept; it is the future of healthcare,” said Robert N. Weinreb, MD, Chair and Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Diego.

To accelerate AI research and innovation for ‘Healthcare from the Eye,’ THI established the Institute for Digital Health (IDHea).

IDHea, a large, secure, population database platform, is governed by an external data access and governance (DAG) committee to ensure fair and ethical access to data. IDHea is engaged in multiple research studies with organizations including Visionworks, Keplr Vision and UC San Diego Health Shiley Eye Institute, integrating Microsoft Azure secure cloud-storage and advanced computing technologies to ensure data security and protect propriety algorithms.

AI technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate. Following best practices and implementing effective policy and safety measures are critical for successful deployment and containment of AI solutions, Topcon notes. “Microsoft’s expertise in safe computing and AI provides a significant boost to our vendor-inclusive Harmony Network as a delivery environment for AI-powered decision support algorithms,” said Hideyuki Takizawa, Topcon Corporation, Senior Executive Officer, and Global Managing Director of the Eye Care Business division.

Additionally, the THI Corporate Venture Capital fund is enabling ‘Healthcare from the Eye’ by investing in science-based AI innovators. “We are providing these AI partners funding, business consulting and the ideal delivery platform to help accelerate commercialization of their AI solutions for healthcare,” said Fumio Ohue, SVP of Topcon Corporation and Chairman of THI.

“Microsoft’s healthcare and AI expertise adds a powerful dimension to Topcon Healthcare’s vision to empower providers with smart and efficient technologies for enhanced patient care,” said Peter Durlach, Corporate Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, Microsoft Health & Life Sciences. “With Microsoft Azure and the Precision Imaging Network, we provide the robust and secure cloud infrastructure essential for developing and deploying real-world applications at scale, integrated directly into provider workflows at the point of care.”

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