Once a notion of fiction novels and sci-fi movies, Artificial Intelligence today is becoming a way of life. What with smart devices, intelligent machines, virtual assistants, fitness apps, and so on and so forth. Smart technologies have already seeped their ways across virtually every industry. But Healthcare is one area where they are most rapidly being applied. When it comes to developing countries like Pakistan, the healthcare sector can particularly reap benefits through implementation of Ai.
Ai Healthcare for Developing Countries
Smart fitness apps and health monitoring software have been in use for some time now. But Ai has proved its importance in healthcare in much more complicated avenues. The drug development for the recent 2014 – 2016 outbreak of Ebola Virus (EBOV) in West Africa is the prime example of Healthcare Ai. The process that previously took months was completed in just days with the help of Ai. Another example is the drug discovery for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which has already been licensed to a British pharmaceutical company.
While this is just the beginning for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare, there is no looking back now. We can see how it can further help to save valuable lives in developing countries where resources are strenuous. This lack of healthcare infrastructure is most evident in rural areas. Dr. Sana Farid, a qualified surgeon herself and a Simulation Expert, is particularly interested in bringing Ai innovation to improve healthcare in developing countries, “In the face of the unprecedented challenges that developing nations are faced with in healthcare sector, Ai-based innovation is the key to providing better access to healthcare services, faster diagnosis, cutting-edge medical treatments, and an overall patient-centered service delivery.”
Let’s see how Ai can assist in delivering healthcare services where they are most needed.
Emergency Response, or ER, is one of the most critical areas necessitating implementation of smart technologies. There are already four important areas of ER process where Ai can instantly help bring pivotal changes.
- Training paramedics in delivering crucial first aide to the patients
- Directing the nearest ER staff to the emergency location within seconds of call received
- Directing ambulances on their way back to medical facilities with room for patients and equipment for required medical treatment
- Assisting medical staff in determining the shortest route to recovery and most suitable treatment for the disease/injury
These primary Ai assisted services alone can help save thousands of lives in Pakistan every year.
Delivery of Medical Services in Rural Areas
Just as in ER, medical staff can be trained to use Ai in delivering timely services to critical patients. In rural areas, medical staff is either hard pressed with providing timely treatment to an overload of local patients or is not trained enough at all. Ai assisted treatments can help save time and lives without patients having to rush to other advanced facilities in closest cities.
Once materialized, this will not only provide great relief for patients but also unburden emergency facilities in cities of a major load. Ai is especially helpful in remote rural areas, where it can take several hours to get to the nearest medical facility.
Allopathy is a science of trail and error. It can sometimes take months to discover suitable oral treatment for the patients which can lead to complications later. The defective and time-consuming manner also results in deaths as the patient’s health continues to deteriorate over time. Ai is godsend for precision medication. Ai systems can quickly match patient history with available options for treatment and suggest the most appropriate course of action. Here’s how Ai helps uncheck major delivery process milestones instantly:
- Diagnosing patient data for genetic medical history
- Matching available drug options for cures and eliminating the ones with undesirable side effects
- Suggesting most suitable and accurate dosage for a patient’s treatment
- Suggesting accurate length of time for medication required
- Determining future course of action for the patients
Trauma therapy is a demanding profession but more so is the patient data monitoring associated with it. Therapy is a slow process for majority of patients. And it can be hard to keep track of patient’s progress as human judgment is highly subjective in nature. Ai helps keep track of patient data and also point out nuances of progress that are undetectable by human observation. Technology can also objectively determine the length of time a patient may need to take therapy or even if the therapy is working. These insights make a therapist’s job a lot easier and help them focus more on patients rather than on diagnostics.
Diagnosis and Imaging
Diagnosis and image analysis are complicated, exhaustive branches of medical science. It is humanly impossible to assess mounds of patient data for accurate progress reporting. But using machine algorithms makes it easy work to study the data and detect minutest of changes in a short amount of time. For this reason, Ai has huge significance in the fields of radiology, cardiology and pathology. So much so, that the ability to predict disease patterns makes Ai tremendously useful as a preventive technology.
Like precision medicine, precision surgery is only possible through the use of Ai. Ai assisted surgery is beneficial at many levels both for the patient and medical facilities. For starters,
- Ai can help reduce the length of operating procedures significantly by accurately highlighting problem area requiring to be operated on.
- Shorter incisions lead to minimal risk of infections and scarring as well as reduced blood loss and need for transfusions.
- Precision Surgery, as such, also results in reduced recovery time for the patients hence shortening their stay the hospital.
- The reduction in pre, during and post-surgery procedures free up resources for more patients.
Developments in Healthcare Sector
Healthcare ecosystem in an under-developed country like Pakistan is still in its early stages compared to developed countries around the world. But luckily, many organizations and startups have been turning their attention towards using latest technologies in healthcare.
With the vision to reshape technology infrastructure in healthcare sector, VRXOne is focused at transforming clinical services through Ai. The leading innovation company in the region specializes in using latest technologies for innovative development and sustainable growth. Focused at training healthcare professionals through Ai and VR applications, VRXOne is inexorably transforming healthcare ecosystem on multiple levels such as Emergency Response Training, Medical Simulation Labs and Scalable Monitoring Solutions.
With a strong focus on Impact Programs, VRXOne is revolutionizing healthcare practices in third world countries using immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality. These breakthrough technologies extend the quintessential opportunity to address and resolve critical challenges such as infant mortality and women health issues.
Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (RCAI)
Sensing the need to bring medical facilities at par with the world, NED University has developed the Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (RCAI). The center is a state-of-the-art facility working to promote Ai in Pakistan while providing training and consultancy at many levels. RCAI targets application areas such as Building Infrastructure, Robotics, Decision Support Systems for national and international planning and policies among others.
The Artificial Intelligence Advisory and Incubator, ADDO AI, is the first Artificial Intelligence based company in Pakistan. ADDO Ai is working to implement Ai across multiple industries including healthcare. In healthcare, ADDO AI seeks to innovate infrastructure and services optimizing clinical processes.
Ai based Healthcare Technology
Pakistani youth has very actively stepped into the filed of Ai-based healthcare services. Although, still at their early stages these startups hold a promising step in the direction.
GOBEE Wheelchair – Pakistan’s First smart wheelchair, aimed at facilitating differently-abled, which is operated through a smart phone app as well as voice. The wheelchair was developed by Faaiz Arbab, CEO at Ayub Yaqoob Engineering Company (AYECo).
Marham – A healthcare platform, developed by Ehsan Imam, that uses technology to help people find, book appointments, and consult with doctors online. Marham is one of the finalists for Google’s Demo Day Asia to be held in Shanghai this year.
Ai technology has a lot of untapped potential to help bring innovation to inefficient healthcare systems in developing countries. By leveraging the power of Ai, public and private medical facilities can transform healthcare delivery services for the masses. Healthcare Ai will prove to be a game changer in dramatically saving and improving lives across Pakistan.