Amsterdam, 21th March 2018  Every year about 50,000 people in the Netherlands are affected by a stroke. About 10,000 of these patients die and this number continues to increase. In order to reduce mortality, it is crucial to start the right treatment as soon as possible. Innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain can help improve the outcome of a stroke.

For this purpose, Nico.lab, a spin-off of the Academisch Medisch Centrum (AMC) and developer of medical artificial intelligence, in collaboration with Tymlez, a provider of enterprise blockchain technology, have joined forces. Both companies are starting a pilot this month with a number of hospitals for superior treatment of strokes. They received funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and climate, which underlines the importance of these innovations.

Stroke is the leading cause of death after heart diseases and cancer in our country.

Rapid treatment crucial
Every hour that doctors are going to treat earlier, the number of patients who will recover without major problems increases by 15%. This means not only a significant improvement in the quality of life, but also a decrease in the economic cost of stroke. These amounts are currently more than EUR 1.7 billion per annum for the Netherlands.

A doctor can only choose the right treatment if there is a lot known about the problem in the patient’s brain, as with an infarction, the exact location of any blood clot. Viewing the scans by a doctor is however complex and time-consuming. Moreover, in practice, the analysis of the brain scan does not always lead to the correct diagnosis, which can have major consequences for the treatment and how the patient eventually recovers from the stroke. This also leads to unnecessarily high costs.

Artificial intelligence: fast and precise
The use of artificial intelligence in the treatment of stroke is an important improvement. These algorithms are, by applying the latest computer technology, not only fast, but also precise due to their learning ability. Nico.lab also makes the artificial intelligence solution available via the cloud, allowing hospitals to use it in a low-threshold way. These savings are estimated at over € 200 million on an annual basis, in light of the current costs of € 1.7 billion per year.

Because the computer for this artificial intelligence is not in their own hospital, the scans are encrypted and sent to Nico.lab via an internet connection at lightning speed. After analysis, the specialist receives the notification that he can log in to view the scans and the result itself. It is not important whether the neurologist is in a hospital or in a foreign hotel room while visiting a major medical conference or enjoying a day off at home.

Blockchain technology guarantees patient data confidentiality.
Naturally, confidentiality must be guaranteed when exchanging patient data. Because this is an exchange of privacy-sensitive data in a chain of medical professionals, the use of blockchain technology is the solution. Where many blockchains are known for cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, the power of blockchain is security in data exchange. Tymlez ensures that all parts in the chain of people and machines are connected to the system via an unbreakable and safe process. The brain scans are then uniquely coded, so that they can only be shared with chain participants who are authorized to do so. The security of patient data is fully guaranteed in this way.

Note for editors:
For more information please contact:
Robert A. Kuipers, CEO Nico.lab: 06 1258 6631.