Al Is Transforming The Face Of Healthcare

WHO Warns Against Untested AI-based tools; Could Harm Patients

Artificial Intelligence (Al) is transforming the face of healthcare, making it more patient-centric and reducing the burden on health care professionals.

With adoption and implementation of AI in the health care sector, medical experts are now being able to deliver customised and more precise health care services to the patients. Tech companies have been devising AI and machine learning tools that can assist in healthcare, both preventive and curative.

Artificial Intelligence is applied for early disease diagnosis, drug design process, drug trials, diabetic retinopathy, cancer treatments, cardiovascular disease, and eye care.

Al – CVD, for instance, is an intelligent platform to predict heart attacks― designed specifically keeping Indians in mind. Similar AI-based algorithms are being developed for diabetes, cancer and other non- communicable diseases, too.


AI expenditure in India is expected to reach $11.78 billion by 2025. It is expected to add $1 trillion to India’s economy by 2035. The huge growth in investment, particularly in AI is being done due to a lot of reasons. India has just 64 doctors available per 100,000 people compared to the global standard of 150 doctors per 100,000 people. Primary Healthcare centres in rural areas lack infrastructure. This translates to a lack of high-quality diagnostic services in rural India, which is home to more than 70% of the population. Even in urban areas, the impact of technology has been modest.

Medical colleges and teaching hospitals of India have to increase funding in artificial intelligence
We need surgeons and doctors who are well versed in AI.
Often a doctor spends time and resources for 99 patients who do not need it.
A radiologist can go through 30 CT scan in a day but a computer can look at 2,000 and point out the anomaly. AI can also make surgeries safer.


Integration of AI into healthcare is not a one-day dream. It requires the government to introduce AI Courses and AI-based curriculum in medical and health science colleges. MBBS students must be introduced to cutting-edge technologies

Leveraging predictive analysis using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for early detection or diagnosis can become an asset in the healthcare industry, especially in rural India where there is a lack of basic infrastructure and even healthcare professionals.

AI is already being integrated into diagnosis and early detection methods. NITI Aayog, a public think tank, policy, and program framework for the Indian government has been testing the application and implementation of AI in the early detection of diabetes and is currently working on the use of AI as a screening tool in eye care. The aim here is to integrate AI-based technologies with portable screening devices that can accelerate eye screening and early diagnosis, especially in rural and remote areas.

Predictive analysis using AI is also used in the drug design process. AI has the potential to accelerate the hit-to-lead stage of early drug discovery and provide accurate results of the drug target.

The primary requirement to integrate AI in healthcare is public health data, which is also one of the potential risk factors. AI-based tools and technologies require massive amounts of patient data. Fragmented or inaccurate data can increase the risk of inaccurate decisions like inappropriate drug prescriptions or disease detection. Thus, patients need to realize how their data is being used to train the AI models and they must provide accurate data.


The healthcare industry should also realize that the integration of AI in healthcare is just not the end. A high level of automation based on AI could compromise the ability of physicians to accurately detect mistakes in any stage of AI integration and lead to an overreliance on AI-based tools.

AI should support healthcare decision-making, not be used to automate decision-making. AI-based tools should never be replaced with primary healthcare, but should instead help in providing advanced tools and infrastructure to rural populations.

AI integration into healthcare requires critical investments in the workforce, infrastructure, regulatory mechanisms, stakeholders, and business models.

India’s adoption of AI into healthcare can enable it to bridge the imbalance between the increasing rural population and the lack of basic healthcare infrastructure. India can become a front-runner among emerging markets and can meet its sustainable development goals in the near future.

(Dr Naresh Purohit  is Executive Member- Federation of Hospital, Administrator

– Principal Investigaor for the Association of Studies for Healthcare. The views expressed here are of the author)


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