Accenture and Japan’s National Center for Global Health and Medicine Collaborating to Build a Risk-Prediction AI for Lifestyle-related Diseases in Japan
 
Research project designed to health awareness and behavior improvement through interpretable AI

TOKYO; Feb 12, 2021– Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and the National Center for Global Health and Medicine (“NCGM”) are collaborating on a research project to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based model that predicts a patient’s risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia.
 
According to the Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, lifestyle-related diseases account for about 30% of domestic medical expenses and about 50% of deaths in Japan.1 An AI that can identify early risk factors and encourage healthier lifestyles will be an important tool in the prevention of such diseases, promoting good health and easing the strain on tight medical resources.
 
The joint research project will construct an AI model using anonymized medical data from the J-ECOH study2, a multicenter study conducted by NCGM. The data includes approximately 120,000 annual health checks of employees from participating companies spanning nearly 10 years. J-ECOH data, such as medical history, medication status, blood work, and lifestyle risk factors — such as exercise, smoking and drinking habits — will be analyzed3 to create an epidemiologic risk model for lifestyle-related diseases. The aim is to build a predictive AI model with interpretable results, as black-box AI decisions have been an issue in the medical field.
 
Accenture and NCGM plan to publish the model in future papers and to collaborate with the national government, local governments, and private-sector partners in Japan to develop solutions that promote healthier lifestyles, such as healthcare apps for individuals and health guidance tools for healthcare professionals. NCGM is one of six national centers for biomedical research and innovation and is at the forefront of emerging medicine, as well as a major player in international cooperation and human resource development in the medical field.
 
"Many lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, develop without subjective symptoms and thus can become severe,” said Dr. Tetsuya Mizoue, a leading expert in preventive medicine for lifestyle-related diseases and director of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the Center for Clinical Sciences, NCGM. “Predicting the risk of such illnesses and encouraging appropriate behavioral changes can help prevent them. In collaboration with Accenture, which has a great track record in utilizing AI to solve problems in a wide range of industries, we hope that our interpretable AI model will promote the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, thereby improve patients’ quality of life."
 
Dr. Gakuse Hoshina, a managing director at Accenture who leads its Applied Intelligence practice in Japan, said, "In collaboration with Dr. Mizoue, a leading researcher in preventive medicine and diabetes in Japan, we can increase data utilization in preventative medicine and help raise awareness about the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases. We aim for an AI model that is not only accurate but also highly interpretable, so we can gain a better understanding of what factors contribute to the risk of lifestyle-related diseases. This will allow us to support the increased use of responsible AI in the medical field and intervene early, reduce medical expenses and, hopefully, improve health outcomes."
 
Accenture is committed to Responsible AI and the use of AI to public health issues as it works to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity. The company’s recent healthcare projects include the co-development of a patented AI-based medical underwriting solution with Daido Life Insurance Company and a joint research project with Tokyo Women’s Medical University to analyze kidney transplant test results to foresee side effects and recognize early-stage kidney transplant rejection.
 
About Accenture
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About National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM)
National Center for Global Health Medicine (NCGM) conducts research on infectious diseases, immunological diseases, diabetes, and metabolic diseases, and provides advanced comprehensive medical care, as well as international cooperation in the field of medicine and human resource development for medical professionals. Its diverse organizations include the Center Hospital, Kohnodai Hospital (Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture), Research Institute, Center for Clinical Sciences, Bureau of International Health Cooperation, and National College of Nursing, Japan (Kiyose City, Tokyo).
 
1 Japan Preventive Association of Life-style related Disease, "Life-style related Diseases and Their Prevention," www.seikatsusyukanbyo.com/prevention/about.php. The figures are from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s 2016 Overview of National Medical Expenses and 2017 Vital Statistics (Confirmed Number) Overview.
 
2 J-ECOH study is a large-scale cohort study conducted by NCGM since 2012 in cooperation with about a dozen participating companies in Japan. Its data were collected from the annual health checks of 150,000 employees. The main purpose is preventing lifestyle- and work-related diseases in the working generation and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of occupational health examinations. For more information on J-ECOH study, refer to epid.ncgm.go.jp/research/#001
 
3 Data utilization will be carried out in accordance with the J-ECOH Study Research Plan approved by the Ethics Review Committee.

 
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Contact:
Kazumi Yamada, Junko Yoshino
Accenture Japan
+81 45 330 7157
accenture.jp.media@accenture.com 

Tatsuki Nishizawa
National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM)
+81 3 3202 7181 (9am – 5pm Japan time)
press@hosp.ncgm.go.jp