How AI is transforming healthcare across the world

This technology appeals to those patients who do not want to miss work, get absent from school or travel to a hospital that is 45 minutes away.

By Surbhi

Technology today has permeated almost every domain. One of the most significant breakthroughs, however, has been in the healthcare sector, with modern tech providing efficient ways to improve services.

Take, for instance, GenElek Technologies. The New Delhi-based healthcare startup is working in the field of assistive technology to find solutions to the problems of specially-abled people, both in terms of physical and mental health. It uses high-level technology to build exoskeletons (externally worn robotic support systems), making it possible for people suffering from paralysis, stroke, spinal cord injury and other such neurological conditions to walk or move again. The USP of this exoskeleton is that it has a specially designed system that reads data from multiple sensors and remits it to physicians to analyse a patient's progress. By the use of this, a person will not just get high-level comfort, but will also get integrated support from medical experts, physiotherapists, counsellors, etc. Lightweight and consumer-friendly, GenElek's innovation also helps in improving recovery time for patients with paralysis.

We now also have automated services in managing administration work in healthcare. One of these is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is a type of business process automation technology that allows an organisation to combine human interactions with digital methods for more efficient business processes. McKinsey says that for major occupations, RPA is enabled to do 30% of the work. These robots are capable of reproducing almost any predictable human interaction, allowing them to log in to applications, move files, fill in forms and more. The application of this technology in healthcare presents possibilities that can unload clinicians' time and enhance care delivery, so more patients will get efficient treatment and consultancy with doctors. RPA software can also maintain collected data to generate analytics that offer clinical staff relevant insights to provide more accurate diagnoses and offer tailored treatments to patients. It will even help to streamline the application process by speeding up data processing and concurrently lessening the number of errors.

Another instance of entailing technology in healthcare is in the field of telepsychiatry, or remote psychiatric help. We have often noticed that people in rural areas ignore mental health. This phenomenon results in large depressive cases, which if left unaddressed, result in suicides. Telepsychiatry is a technology that brings mental healthcare to rural areas and underserved communities, where trained professionals are in short supply. A hospital in New York is using this technology to provide care from a distance. This technology appeals to those patients who do not want to miss work, get absent from school or travel to a hospital that is 45 minutes away. According to Northern Light Acadia Hospital, US, 3,200 is the number of emergency psychiatric evaluations completed using video conferencing in 2019, double the number logged in 2018.

We even have several mobile applications and devices that are making the preliminary diagnosis of life-threatening diseases easier, cheaper and far more convenient now. Miiskin and UMSkinCheck, for instance, help in early detection of skin cancer based on pictures taken of a mole or lesion through its interface.

In years to come, we will also see robots performing surgeries under guidance of surgeons. In the future, AI and ML tools are likely to work wonders in the fields of drug discovery, clinical trials and diagnostics. Since AI can probe patterns faster than any human, diagnostics is where the maximum potential can be unleashed.