Advanced Human Imaging (AHI) is an Australian-based company that uses smartphone-based human scanning technology to optimize fitness tracking, and accurately predict health risks.
DocWire News spoke with Vlado Bosanac, AHI’s Co-Founder & Head of Strategy, to learn more about this innovative company which boasts a diverse range of data-driven applications, especially in telehealth platforms.
DocWire News: Talk to us about your professional background, and your role with the company, Advanced Human Imaging.
Vlado Bosanac: Sure. Well, it’s sort of two-pronged approach. I’m one of the co-founders along with our CEO, Dr. Katherine Iscoe. We started the company back in 2014. My role in the company at the moment is very strategically fitting into where my skillset, I think works best. And that’s negotiation and strategy to look at the company’s entry to the market, how we work with our customers, how we engage with them from an attraction of our technology point of view, as well as help them engage into the integration of our technology and the use case so that they understand the benefits of what we deliver from the data sets that we collect through the imaging technology we’ve created. So, I think if it was my 30-second elevator pitch, it would be I’m a strategy and revenue guy. I’m in there to build, if you like, the impact of our tech with large pre-existing audiences in our partnerships and help them monetize that with us to get better health outcomes.
How was the company started, and what is the company’s overall mission?
Well, it was actually an idea of mine. Back in 2014, I was with Katherine and a colleague down in our wine country enjoying some fantastic red wine over some locally made cheese. He was showing us some technology he was working with, and it was via recording athletes and, if you like, measuring their gate and their power to see why they were injuring themselves. They were turning that motion capture into an avatar through the video to demonstrate the force against the muscle or joint to then show them how to train different ways to get around how they kept injuring themselves. It was primarily focused on AFL football players, which is probably the equivalent in our country of the NFL over there in the US. These guys get hit hard. They pivot hard. They’re tough athletes, and they were injuring themselves. This technology was set in place, if you like, to measure that and help them avoid these injuries.
When I looked at that capability where it was measuring force angle and, if you like, the trajectory through the joint, I said to the gentleman at the time, I said, “Is there a way to utilize that technology to actually measure a human?” And he very quickly said to me, “I’m a sports scientist. I didn’t create this technology, but I can introduce you to the guy that created it for us.” So long story short, here we are eight years later and $35 million in. And I would be very comfortable with putting my hand on my heart and saying we’ve got the best digital human measurement tool on the planet. We’ve proved it at a multitude of sites around the world with hospitals and universities and so on. And what we’ve really done is created this capturing capability on your mobile phone so we can reach the masses. It’s convenient. It’s easy to us. It’s accurate and can be trusted.
So, it’s getting great gravity around the world. We have 20 customers at the moment, but an ongoing list of over 300 that are talking to us at different levels of their integration capabilities. And even the 20 customers we’ve got today have over 400 million people across their audiences, combined audiences. So, a lot of reach there. You don’t have to get a whole lot of that to prove it works. So, we’re deep into that side of the business now. The technology itself utilizes the GPU and the CPU on the phone. It’s proprietary. We’ve heavily patented it because the way we do this is quite different to the myriad of companies that are trying to do this for lots of different reasons, whether that’s making sure that suit you’re buying online fits, or the dress in a woman’s case, right down to wanting to self-appraise, because you go to the gym and you’re hitting it hard and eating the right food and trying to get the best possible outcomes and wanting to know if it’s working. So, it’s a very diverse technology and being adapted through everything from telehealth all the way down to apparel fitting.
There are the three scans that Advanced Human Imaging offers. Can you talk to us about each of them?
Well, the first one is the body scan. The body scan is very straightforward. We utilize the front camera. So, we position the phone up on a desk or a table around hip height, put it against a cup or water bottle so it just sits it upright. We have inside the phone, an avatar outline that gives the person the right space to stand within. It starts a ten-second countdown when they get into position, and we take a number of front and side images.
From that, our technology has a unique ability to segment that individual. So, it removes all the noise around them, whether that’s photos in the background or just furniture around them or the dog sitting on the floor behind them, whatever it is. So, it uniquely separates them from that background, allowing them to get a very clean outline. From that, on the GPU and the CPU on the phone, we run the diagnostics and measurement capabilities across that shaping that we’ve collected on the GPU and the CPU to bring back very accurate measurements.
So that’s the body scan and that’s used for a lot of things as I said earlier. It could be something as simple as an insurer wanting to know what your waistline is so they can understand the risk you’re at for a chronic disease perspective, or it could be someone trying to fit a pair of jeans and wanting to know what size would fit them. So, it’s quite a diverse capability.
The second component which takes us deeper into health and medicine is our face scan, which is an ability to transdermally image the face and get the blood flow readings from a person’s face, an individual’s face. And from that, we’re able to extract the number of vital signs, whether that be blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, or irregular heart rate. There’s many, many more, but they’re the primary ones we focus on. Because when we blend the body scan and the face scan together so you’ve got dimension, composition, vital signs, we’re able to pick up three of the five chronic disease markers, which is where the bulk of healthcare is spent around the world by governments and insurers is trying to take care of people that are not taking care of themselves with these chronic diseases. So, we’re able to identify who is at risk.
The next two out of the five would be blood based. So, a doctor, a care provider, an insurer gets enough information from us in those two combined scans to give them enough information, so whether they would send you off to get more information to understand your risk profile.
The third piece that’s actually being integrated as we speak — We’ve been demonstrating it since CES this year — is our DermaScan capability, which has 588 conditions across 134 categories. It’s been built out by a company we’ve partnered with in Canada. We’ve done some changes to it to adapt it into our visualization and how we use it with our customer base. That allows an individual to do something as basic as the newborn has got a rash on his butt from too much milk or whatever, and mom gets to understand what it is and how to treat it, all the way through to somebody that might have a cancerous lesion on their face, their hand, their back.
So, with 588 conditions, we are covering around 98% of all conditions that are regularly dealt with by dermatologists around the world. Great piece of tech. It currently has over 15,000 clinicians and dermas around the world using it. It’s not something we’re trying to put into the market to replace a dermatologist. What we’re trying to do is help people identify if they’re at risk of anything on their skin and that they should go to a dermatologist. The way that’s being used by a lot of these clinicians is as a second tool to, if you like, give them a second layer of acceptance on what they’re visually looked at themselves to see if what they’re thinking matches with what the AI is saying. The beauty of that product is we’ve run it up against hundreds of dermas in tests in different segments. And every time, it either is drawing with the derma or beating them in both speed and accuracy of the lesion being dealt with. So, they’re the three, if you like, current components that are being offered out to our user bases.
Is the technology direct-to-consumer or business-to-business?
No, we’re very much a B2B. The reason for that is that it takes a whole lot of noise to get, if you like, found in the app store with hundreds of thousands of wellness, fitness, and nutrition advice apps that are in there around medical and so on. So rather than get lost in that noise, we’re a B2B. so we go to large pre-existing organizations that have big user bases, and people trust them already. They have a digital environment they engage with them with, and we literally hand over our SDKs. Our software development kits go direct into their wheelhouse, so they control the data of the customer and the engagement fully on their side. We don’t have them send anything to us to be processed that would give any information to us or give us any information about their customers.
I think when you look at most of the global offerings … And I’ll preface that with saying there’s nothing else like this on offer at the moment on the planet. Can you get components separately? Absolutely. But to get it in one, if you like, merged wheelhouse that gives you all the data in one place and then cross references the data and augments that data into a single outcome, we are the company that does that.
We really look at these organizations that have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and a lot of them, many, many millions of trusted users already that see this as, if you like, an upgrade or a new feature rather than this new company coming on the scene and making all these claims. Because I can tell you, we go through some DD and testing with everybody that takes us on to, first of all, demonstrate the capabilities, but secondly, to give them the opportunity to see how easy it is to use.
What are the most exciting partnerships the company has recently formed?
We’ve got a couple underway at the moment. We’re public, so I’m free to talk about it, because we’re listed, and we have to make those disclosures. At the moment, we’re finalizing the integration with a company out of Singapore called Nexus-Vita. Nexus-Vita is a doctor booking platform come centralized, electronic medical record application that allows people to actually get all of their medical data in one place and then share it to their care providers from their application rather than you go to a doctor, and then he says, “But I need all these old records of yours, because I want to see historically where you’ve come from.” It gives them that capability. They’re using our technology on their platform to give the doctors real-time data to actually empower those doctors, and especially in these times we have with COVID where the whole telemedicine thing has accelerated.
I suppose COVID has been negative in so many ways. What it has done is created nearly like a bonding between technology and the consumer, because they’re checking in everywhere they go. They’re doing all sort of things that they wouldn’t have normally done with their personal data and engagement with people. Even being able to get into a restaurant where we had to scan, show that we’ve been vaccinated and all of these things that are happening in the world. So, it’s actually created, if you like, a groundswell of acceptance of people engaging this way in their digital health profiles and things. So, Nexus-Vita is a great example.
We have an integration nearly completed in Latin America with a company called Nextmedicall. They work with some of the big telcos down there. They’re providing a platform health solution. Again, really focused on that remote care and analytics capability to drive population health and assist individuals to know if they’re at risk and they should go and see a doctor by giving them real-time data. But then, it’s the outside in as well as the insight out where the doctors want to empower the patients with this sort of data to have a more regular update into their electronic medical records to know if they’re getting better, getting worse, staying the same and so on. So, the way the technology runs and delivers that data is very real time and allows them to do that.
So, there are of the current ones that are great. We are live at the moment. We launched about a month and a half ago in San Diego with a company called Bearn. They have over 60, sorry, over 56 million preregistered users coming into their environment. Now that they’ve got it on the App Store and being used, the guys are using the measurements tools that we give them as a goal setting capability, because they actually reward their consumers across all their environments with an ability to go into an online, if you like, cash repository to buy things and shop. They’ve got over 4,500 retailers on that platform, and they reward you for better health outcomes. That’s a great one for us there in the US.
A couple more coming through in the US at the moment, some in Europe. We’ve got a great one with a company in the Netherlands called InterSci. InterSci actually gets paid by the government to firstly, identify people with obesity risks, and then treat them in the sense of helping them get onto a healthier lifestyle. The government pays up to 800 euro to assist those people in progressing. We will be a very important part of their technology when we launch with them in the next couple of months.
I could go on and on, right? We have about nine different customers building out at the moment. We have six live and growing out. Nearly every week we’re getting new people coming to us as well, so that’s pretty exciting time.
How is your company re-defining remote medical consultations, and insurance assessments?
In a number of ways. If you looked at how insurers have primarily sold insurance, historically they would send somebody out that would be an insurance agent. They would sit down to you, ask you a list of questions, and then rate you, measure your height, your weight and so on to get a BMI score, which we know is horribly incorrect. The problem you’re dealing with there is self-reported data. That’s always got flaws with self-reported data. The flip side of that is over the last probably decade, the insurance sector has got very digital in the sense I can go online today. I don’t have to meet an agent, and I can basically surf the internet for the best policy I can get with the highest amount of cover, at the cheapest price, for the most amount of lies I can get away with. Right? That’s just how it works.
The insurers combat that by consistently, year on year increasing premiums because they see from the year before and the payouts how historically the lies are getting unfolded. It’s a rude way to put it, but it’s a fact. It is how they assess how much they’re going to increase next year, because they look historically at the risk increases that they’ve had to pay out on. The beauty of technology like this is, if you like, it’s not self-reported information. It is giving an accurate analysis of the individual. And from that, what the insurers like is, A, they get the right data so they can insure you properly. Historically — And the US suffers this as Australia does — is people underinsure themselves because they just want to make sure they’ve got healthcare. So, they’re under insuring themselves. They go for treatment, and they end up with these monstrous bills that they have to deal with because they underinsured themselves.
Technology like this empowers the individual to, first of all, understand the risk they might be at, so what they should do to make sure if there is an event. Secondly, it does it in a way where the insurer is happy to gamify and reward the individual for the data and give them a better policy, and then show them why they’re at risk and what they can do to improve that through the data we supply, and then put them on a course of action that if they do get healthier, the premium comes down and the cover can go up. So that’s how it works really well in the insurance industry.
When looking at the growth in telemedicine, and I’ll give you a stat that’ll give you an idea of how telemedicine has accelerated. In Australia from 2013 to ’19, 750,000 telehealth appointments were attended in the country. In the first quarter of 2020, 17.9 million telehealth consults took place in Australia. So, this is what’s happened with the whole digital aspect of wanting to talk to your doctor. The pandemic’s obviously accelerate that, but I think the old saying is, “Do something for 21 days, it becomes a habit.” The beauty of having a technology like this is we can give real time data to the doctor on a call like this, where it can measure your vital signs, get your heart rate, your stress levels, your emotion, your blood pressure and so on, and really understand what he’s dealing with as if you were sitting in his surgery.
The way I always looked at how I wanted to construct this tool was looking at myself and going … When I walk into a doctor’s surgery, he’s going to take a look at me, and the first thing he’s going to look at is my waistline. And he’s going to go, “Right, I’m sending you for some blood tests, because I want to know what your diabetes risk is, your cardiovascular disease risk, and so on is.”
What I’m doing with this technology, or what AHI is doing with this technology is empowering the doctor to get that data remotely so that he doesn’t have to sit in front of you and touch you and feel you. He can see it. It reports. It can give him height, weight. It can give him the waist circumference, their body composition far more accurately than BMI does. Because we know that’s a flawed measure, but it’s 50 years of being used as a very quick way to assess somebody’s obesity risk. This prevents that miscalculation taking place. We give them the vital signs so we can identify the risk and give them that in just minutes on a call. So, there is a real nice fit, an elegant fit within telemedicine for the technology, and it’s being adopted by many doctors booking platforms now around the world to do that and just engage.
What it also does is if doc wants to look after me more regularly, the problem that we have as humans is we react to episodes of need. So, I feel sick, I’m not well, I’m going to go to the doctor. In a lot of cases with chronic disease, that means you’re going into a treatment course whereas if you had technology empowering you like ours, it can identify the risk on your way to the risk. There can be an intervention earlier to stop that risk and that episodic care being required. And it gives you an ability at nickels to be able to even every day give the doctor real data about how you are tracking from a health perspective. It captures all that and can upload that to your doctor’s file with your authority.
So, you can see just from that, in just those two verticals. You asked about how powerful it can be for both the consumer, but also the care provider, the person who’s wanting to take care of you. I’d be lucky to see a doctor once a year, because I’m generally pretty active and I feel fine. I go when I’m sick whereas I should know if I’m going to get sick. 86% of the global healthcare is spent on chronic diseases that are largely able to be controlled and dealt with if they’re seen early enough to get into a controlled manner. So, there’s a real need for the technology, and that’s where our partners come from, because our partners use questions and lengthy conversations to get to a data understanding point with their consumers. This takes two minutes, and it gives them all that information.
What other health applications can your technology provide?
Listen, we are embedding in telehealth platforms. We’re in nutritional applications. One of the partnerships we have is with Conor McGregor’s FAST platform where he’s looking at how to train you, give you nutritional advice and so on. If you’re going to go into that regime and flog yourself, as we say in Australia, on a platform like that, you want to know those outcomes are working. So, this measures you digitally and gives you those outcomes. The insurance market, as I said earlier on. The apparel market, as I said. There are so many ways to adapt the use of this technology.
I must admit, when we first started the company out, it was really looking at the fitting of clothing because I was a ex-body builder. The way I was built, it wasn’t easy to buy clothing that fit me. So selfishly, I wanted to find a way to do that. Because I was training, I wanted to be able to self-appraise. So that was where we started. Now, we have four major business verticals, over $11 trillion in annual spend across those different verticals. And we empower the partnerships to go to their consumers rather than try … I call it trying to win onesies. Going into the app store, trying to convince yourself, Rob or Scott or one of the guys to download the app. That’s expensive. Whereas, if you put it into the hands of a large, preexisting platform of users that’s trusted, they market it as a new upgrade in their technology, and they empower you to use it. And we do that for a few dollars a month to have unlimited access. So, it’s a cheap and easy way to do that.
Any closing thoughts?
Listen, I think you’ve covered it pretty well, right? You’ve hit the nail on the head with the core questions that I get asked. We have a lot of great things happening in the company. We look forward to keeping you updated with that. If anyone wants to look at us a little bit more or look at some of the videos and the functionalities, it’s ahi.tech that they can go to online. There’s a whole plethora of information there they can dig into.