【Industry Can Help】Taking Smart Healthcare to a Whole New Level! Facing COVID-19, DermAI’s Yen-Po Chin and His Team Bring Doctors Right to Your Home

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Dr. Yen-Po (Harvey) Chin

Currently studying in Harvard Medical School, Dr. Chin graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University. He has worked as a doctor in the Taipei Medical University Hospital, and was a McKinsey scholar at McKinsey & Company. As the co-founder of AESOP Technology and DermAI, he is currently serving as the Chief Medical Officer of AESOP Technology and the Chief Executive Officer of DermAI. His areas of expertise are the application of smart healthcare and business management.


This year, 27-year-old Yen-Po (Harvey) Chin was selected as one of the young leaders of Forbes "30 Under 30 Asia 2020." He co-founded the two medical AI startups - DermAI and AESOP Technology - with Prof. Yu-Chuan (Jack) Li, Distinguished Professor at Taipei Medical University.

DermAI has been an important partner of MOST GASE. Representing Taipei Medical University, DermAI attended the 2019 Global Science & Technology Leaders Forum, and presented its outstanding medical AI technology achievements to hundreds of science and technology delegates and distinguished guests from around the world.

Dr. Chin is currently studying at Harvard Medical School in the U.S. While speaking with the GASE team, he expressed great humbleness despite being incredibly talented.

“The milestone of being one of 30 Under 30 recipients is not an end itself, we should see it as a sign that there is still room for improvement.” Dr. Chin says. Full interview below:

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on many industries across different disciplines. Is there any policy that DermAI implemented to minimize the impact?

As DermAI is an internet company, COVID-19 has a less direct impact on the company operation. Our employees have already been using video conferencing and online collaboration tools to work.

In my opinion, the outbreak of COVID-19 is actually a turning point for our company. We had launched a skin medical service system "ASKiN" for online diagnosis just before the outbreak, in which the feature sees an obvious increase of the users' demand during the epidemic.

Nowadays, the means of smart healthcare has become more and more dynamic, just as the vision of DermAI. What role does “smart healthcare” play in this epidemic?

This is a great opportunity to accelerate the realization and application of smart healthcare, it is a vision come true for many of us working in the field.

Smart healthcare and telemedicine are the solutions

In fact, smart healthcare covers a wide range of disciplines and sub-fields, including advanced medical technologies and telemedicine. As COVID-19 quickly spreads across the world, people start to think differently. Take telemedicine for example, people may have the wrong idea that they could not get professional medical advice if they didn’t meet with doctors in person. However, due to the impact of the epidemic, telemedicine treatment is found to be a solution in reducing access to potential high-risk public areas.

Combining AI with medical knowledge, the original intention of establishing DermAI is not to replace doctors, but to provide first-hand assistance to patients. With our modern fast-paced lifestyle, to see a doctor can be time consuming for busy people. If patients failed to have the skin checkup in early stage, the skin conditions might lead to inaccurate diagnosis in later stage. However, by using the apps, patients can get information and consultation from the AI doctors before they make their way to the hospital.

That’s why we launched these two telemedicine APPs -“MoleMe” and “DoeDoe”- for patients to consult and get professional advice when having symptoms, helping them reduce the potential risk during the window period.


皮智股份公司於亞洲生技大展參展

▲ DermAI in BIO Asia Taiwan International Conference & Exhibition.

 

Thinking of Post-COVID-19, is there any policy or strategy your company will implement to sustain your company's mission and operation? Does your company see the potential opportunities for future development?

We can look at post-COVID-19 from two perspectives:

From the operator’s view, as mentioned earlier, the outbreak has a less direct impact on the company operation, so the way of operation will not change too much.

However, the situation is totally different from the users’ stand point. I believe that people's habit of using our online platforms and APPs during this unstable time will continue even when the epidemic is over.

DermAI mainly focuses on smart healthcare APP. By uploading photos and answering relevant questions, people can immediately receive medical advice from AI doctor. For example, “MoleMe" can evaluate the risk of moles; and "DoeDoe" can give advice on how to maintain proper skin treatment based on your current skin condition.

However, with many users expecting to have practical interaction with dermatologists online and ask additional questions, we designed and released a brand new online consultation service "ASKiN."

Through “ASKiN,” users with skin problems can have an online virtual discussion with doctors. The online platform set its goal on giving correct skin knowledge to the people through a team of professional physicians. With that said, by searching or requesting on “ASKiN,” patient can avoid false information and diagnosis.


皮智股份公司新推出之皮膚科醫師線上諮詢平台「皮膚好朋友 ASKiN」

▲ A brand new online virtual discussion APP "ASKiN".

 

If you ask me if the demands of online diagnose will still have a dominant role after the outbreak, my answer will be certain. After all, DermAI focuses on the pre-dermatologic care, which always has its market. This outbreak has exposed the concepts of online diagnose and telemedicine to the general public, giving people who never tried such services an opportunity to experience. Even when the epidemic eases, it is expected that more people will be using smart healthcare than ever before.

What inspired you to get into smart healthcare?

It all comes down to my interest and passion for innovation. When I come across innovative technologies, I always try to understand the theory and principle behind.

During my schooldays, I started to engage myself in relevant research, which enabled me to obtain a good perception on future trends. The development of smart healthcare is at a turning point now. With the development of algorithm, advancement of medical system, and the usage of various medical databases, I believe we can now solve modern challenges with these technology breakthroughs.

It is all about information technology

Professor Yu-Chuan (Jack) Li has been a pioneer in the field of smart healthcare in Taiwan. Although I’m not a graduate from Taipei Medical University (TMU), I was extremely aspired to be under Prof. Li’s mentorship; thus, I approached him and went to TMU for work. Not too long after, the opportunity came knocking to commercialize the technology Prof. Li's lab had been working on. After a thorough discussion with Prof. Li, "DermAI" and "AESOP Technology" were established.

Behind every successful person is a great mentor. How would you describe your relationship with Professor Yu-Chuan Jack Li from being your teacher/advisor to business partner?

I would never have foreseen that today I will be studying at Harvard University, as well as being the Co-founder of two companies. All of these achievements center on one core belief – take every opportunity that comes seriously and try your best to get your job done perfectly. This is my principle.

I admire Prof. Li not only for his solid academic knowledge of the field, but also because even with this high reputation, he still remains humble and is courteous to others. Prof. Li was very willing to give young people opportunities and we often had discussions about feasible new technologies in the future, and what ideas could be implemented and executed. He is a great teacher and leader. It is my great honor to learn and work under him.


靳嚴博執行長(左三)、李友專教授(左四)及其團隊代表臺灣參加美國消費電子展(CES)大展合影

▲ Dr. Chin (Third from the left), Prof. Li (Fourth from the left) and the team representing Taiwan attended International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

 

Please share your thoughts on receiving Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2020.

Winning the award was totally unexpected. I was extremely thankful to a professor at Harvard Medical School for his nomination and give me this opportunity to be part of the amazing lineup.


靳嚴博執行長與其哈佛大學醫學院之指導教授Prof. David W. Bates

▲ Dr. Chin and Prof. David W. Bates, his supervisor in Harvard Medical School.

 

“30 Under 30 Asia” is a milestone

For me,“30 Under 30 Asia” is an honor and recognition for myself for working around the clock even on the weekends for the past two and a half years. Following with this achievement, it comes a higher expectation from people, and I will keep trying to do the best on my work.

You have obtained many remarkable achievements through your hard work and dedication in learning. What advice do you have for young students who want to build future career path in science and medicine?

During college, like most people, I was all at sea and didn't know what I want to do in the future. The only thing I knew for sure was that I am very interested in innovation. I always have curiosity about different things and try to view the world with a unique set of eyes. I want to know the reasons behind everything. While facing a new object, analyzing its causes and reasons is second to my nature.

The future is in your hand when you continue to "explore, attempt, and modify"

I encourage young students to actively explore their own interests and take part in different gatherings and events. Keep in touch with the mentors or speakers at the end of the events. Through connecting with the experts from different backgrounds, you can acquire invaluable knowledge from them and expand your own professional networks. Take advantage of every opportunity to perform well, and make "explore, attempt, and modify" a habit. After knowing what you are capable of, figure out a suitable path for yourself, I believe you can succeed!

Harvard brings new perspective: Think outside the box

At Harvard, I got to experience what it is like to pursue perfection. If I had not studied at Harvard, I would not have realized that things can be done so perfectly. Such realization and personal growth are hard to encounter in a stable and steady life. They give you a whole new definition of limits, perfection and standards. I encourage young students to explore bravely, to listen, to watch, and to learn constantly. Set your goals higher, and the pressure that comes along will be the driving force for your growth.


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