Artificial Intelligence will help address the HealthCare Challenges in India

Srinivas Prasad, CEO, Philips Innovation Campus, BangaloreMedicine is entering an age of democratization as power shifts from hospitals, doctors and other caregivers to patients. This has the potential to transform the way health care is delivered. Given the digital technology adoption trends, the increased awareness among providers and consumers, the time is right for the healthcare industry in India to aggressively embrace this digital revolution. But the true power of digital lies in providing end to end solutions to patients across the care continuum, extending from healthy living, prevention, early diagnosis, treatment to managing the patient at home or in the community. This could be applicable across care settings also extending to patients with chronic disease. In India, we are already seeing the benefits of leveraging these digital technologies. This is helping in several ways - in extending the accessibility and quality of care to areas that were not accessible before and helping hospitals improve their efficiency, which in turn can provide a platform to bring down the cost of care. Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence(AI), IoT and Machine Learning are playing a big role in making this happen. AI is not new and in some form is already being used in several industries. The potential role that AI can play in addressing the Healthcare challenges in countries like India is highly underestimated. As per a research conducted across 12 countries (Europe, Middle East and Africa), 55 percent were willing to receive attention from advanced technologies.
The effective use of AI in healthcare can help connect the patient’s health journey, by adding context to information in every care situation at the hospital, at home, or in the community. This can help both the clinicians and the patients, make better decisions on their health. Another area where AI can make a difference is in hospitals. There are several tasks that are performed by the administrative staff in a hospital which are repetitive. As an example deploying an AI based model to learn the steps related to filling up a form or steps during patient admission can be automated to a large extent, thus increasing the efficiency of the hospital staff. This is nothing new and is already being embraced by the BPO industry where several tasks are being automated using Machine Learning. Let’s take another example where AI helps in increasing accessibility to healthcare. For instance, a cardiologist diagnosing a potential cardiac condition by reading ECG’s. If the cardiologist has the help of a model trained on thousands of ECG data sets, it can help the cardiologist make faster and better decisions. The model can continue to learn and becomes more accurate over a period of time. This helps a cardiologist to improve their productivity, and also a less experienced cardiologist in making better clinical decisions as the case may be. This can be done even remotely as long as the ECG is in a digital form. This is the basic concept based on which Philips is deploying Chest Pain Clinics in India and other countries.

The potential role that AI can play in addressing the Healthcare challenges in countries like India is highly underestimated.

Another example we have worked at Philips is in the detection of Tuberculosis with a high degree of accuracy based on Chest X rays. This automatic screening solution which is based on Deep Learning algorithms helps reduce the work load of Radiologists and makes their work less subjective. The model having been trained on close to a million image sets,using Deep Learning techniques, uses Machine Learning Algorithms to generate classifier models that can distinguish a Chest X-ray that contain TB traces from the normal ones. AI will play an important role to be the game changer for the healthcare sector not just in India but across the globe. I already see several startups in India using various AI tools and techniques to address healthcare problems. I believe that many of the AI solutions, if developed keeping the local context in perspective, the vision of “anywhere, anytime intelligent healthcare’ will be a reality in India!