With the Covid-19 pandemic around us, there is more focus on healthcare today. Now, AI-based solutions are also making their way into the healthcare system. This will not only create digital patient data, but also help in early detection and treatment.
Here, Manoj Vallikkat, Research Manager for Healthcare Insights, IDC Asia/Pacific, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: Why are healthcare organizations expecting a rise in demand for AI-based solutions now?
Manoj Vallikkat: AI-based solutions in healthcare have been penetrating in the Indian healthcare organizations, even before Covid-19, mainly triggered by the challenges the country faces. Though, the pace was a bit slow.
Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of intelligent technologies in the Indian healthcare sector, with hospitals and pharmaceutical companies looking at artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the accessibility and automation. As part of resiliency measures, hospitals have adopted telemedicine, robotics, chatbots and image-based diagnosis to redefine care delivery.
This trend will create digital patient data. Hence, many of the systems are set to embed AI solutions to further leverage the technology. Though the current focus is in ensuring remote care accessibility, fast diagnosis and contactless screening, as part of crisis management, AI adoption will find surge in early detection, prevention and more accurate targeted treatments, moving ahead.
DQ: How many of them are already working on a solution? How many had a solution ready, earlier?
Manoj Vallikkat: Healthcare providers, who are already into emerging technology-based solutions, have better resiliency in responding to Covid-19. Though IoT leads in the adoption of emerging technologies in India, AI adoption is gaining momentum. Healthcare providers in India are strategizing the technological adoptions, and considering to increase the IT budgets than earlier planned, to accelerate digital adoption.
DQ: How can human-machine collaboration and AI-driven interfaces address future care needs in the country?
Manoj Vallikkat: IDC foresees that human-machine collaboration and AI-driven interfaces are revolutionizing the future of work in healthcare systems and hospitals. Such human-machine collaboration will become more relevant to Indian healthcare delivery system, with the country suffering from less than one doctor for 1,000 people. Future needs in India, such as faster and accurate diagnosis, remote patient engagement, and early diagnosis, will get strong support from AI in augmenting physicians’ efficiency.
DQ: What are the new standards for AI in healthcare that act as a trigger?
Manoj Vallikkat: Moving forward, Indian healthcare system will witness increased adoption of EMR as the private care constitutes more than 70% of the market. They realize the need for digitalization. Of course, apt government policies would complement these efforts.
Leaders of healthcare providers will have to give priority to data governance, data ethics and data trust to ensure efficient, outcome-based care delivery system. Government needs to firm-up policy frameworks for better control of the digital data. Investors have started mandating that health tech providers establish codes of ethics as they develop AI solutions, by leveraging the most sensitive data. Data ethics concept adds confidence of the stake holders, resulting in increased adherence.
The CIOs of healthcare providers will start prioritizing data excellence, as their organizations migrate from fee-for-service model to value-based care. Data stewards will have critical role to play in ensuring the ‘trust’ factor, enabling integration and interoperability of data.
DQ: EMRs have been around for long. How has been the adoption in India right now?
Manoj Vallikkat: EMR adoption in India is at its nascent stage, currently. The healthcare organizations in the country are now prioritizing digital assets. They have seen increased focus on electronic medical records (EMR) to encourage the adoption and scalability of digital health solutions.
With the digital health drive demanded by the pandemic, healthcare leaders in the country will focus on the adoption of EMR to strengthen the digital platform. Enhanced awareness, incentivization, lower cost of adoption, adaptability, upskilling and strict data policies would drive the EMR adoption in the country. The recently announced national digital health ID will encourage organizations in the adoption of EMR.
DQ: What is the status of the clinical decision support system (CDSS)?
Manoj Vallikkat: CDSS is being used in certain hospitals and yet to attain widespread acceptance and adoption in the country.
The government drive towards the deployment of digital health ID is set to revolutionize the creation of digital patient data and boost the EMR adoption. This initiative will have long-lasting benefit as the patients will be the primary owners of healthcare data. This could lead to the creation of common platform for patient data. Anonymized data could further be leveraged for CDSS kind of solutions, with strong algorithms.
As the complexity of diseases increases, to ensure value-based care system, physicians would look for support on CDSS, leveraging on the power of patient data. Preference from the care providers would be cost effective CDSS tools, with proven accuracy.