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While large parts of the world still does not have access to most basic of medical facilities, these catchy headlines promise of a post doctor world. NHS of UK still has pen & paper as a data entry tool, quite a few technologies a decade old. Medical personnel is in short supply. Carefully crafted AI intervention can make a difference to health the world over IBM Watson brought AI to the world centre stage when it won Jeopardy in 2011. From winning Jeopardy game it is today making serious strides in the health sector. It is already being used in the one of corporate hospitals in India for cancer treatment. Singularity University predicts AI would post a serious challenge to large number of average jobs in the next 7/8 years. The AI genie is out, level of research and adoption would decide the fate of humanity. Health will be the first AI used case.

The challenge is in the open. Babylon, an AI company, claims to have created AI product which performs better than an average doctor. It claims to havescored 81% where the average doctor scored just 69%. Without scientific validation it is difficult to deliver a judgement. While the jury is still out, this brand under name Babyl is doing wonders in Rwanda. First level diagnosis is being done by this AI tool, a chat bot. Created on Western research it needs customisation for African needs. Malaria is one of the additions required. Still nascent it can revolutionise health care in Africa.

World’s poineering AI company, with over 250 doctoral / post doctoral researchers, DeepMind has created DeepMind Health Project only for this purpose. While the initial research has delineated the trajectory, the brick & mortar has to happen. A big hospital has around 200 databases, which generally don’t talk to each other. It is a siloed crude system.Standardization in data creation & interoperability is the first step. Mutliple patient pathways; monitoring paramters, diagnosis, investigation, medication, data access, timely clinical or surgical intervention can happen only with a matured AI system at a dynamic & real-time level. Efficient radiology can be a low hanging fruit if big data can be put on the right tool.


Sanjay Sahay

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