Cardiovascular disease is the world’s number one killer, responsible for 18 million deaths per year. Three-quarters of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and most are preventable. The massive quantity of health data around the world combined with increasing AI and machine learning capabilities offers new opportunities to fight cardiovascular disease and save lives. Unfortunately, these data often sit in isolated sets, spread across countries or health facilities. These small, isolated sets of data are difficult for computers to learn from, and difficult for AI to use to develop insights that can complement human expertise.
To unlock this puzzle, a new type of partnership is needed. This is why the Novartis Foundation, Microsoft AI4Health and partners launched AI4BetterHearts, a global data collaborative on cardiovascular population health. By pooling heart health data from different sources and then applying machine learning to draw insights from these data, we aim to increase our understanding of population heart health and find better ways to help predict who is most at risk from acute events such as strokes and heart attacks.
We will develop new models for using data – models that protect patient privacy and security, and are integrated into existing health systems. Our goal is to help policy makers, health system managers, health workers and patients to make better decisions around health and ultimately improve the heart health of entire populations.