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HOW AI CAN MAKE HEALTH CARE MORE ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE?

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India has huge population which is a combination of healthy and unhealthy people. But we have the problem of doctor to patient ratio.  According to the Indian journal of Public health(sep 2017 edition), India has just 4.8 practicing doctors per 10,000 population. While this expected to grow to 6.9 doctors per 10,000 people by 2030.

Can we have more doctors? Even if we can with our education system focused on quantity over quality, churning out doctors in droves will not guarantee better quality medical services in our country. Besides with most graduates preferring lucrative urban locations.

Essentially, what we need is to fill the gap between the needs of the plenty and the services of the few. AI has the capability to enable solutions that form the critical middle layer of access- making healthcare accessible and affordable to a large population base at the same quality level irrespective of people’s social standing. Let us see how AI is set to impact our health in the coming years.

REACTIVE VERSUS PROACTIVE HEALTHCARE

The usual attitude towards healthcare is, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it”- a reactive rather than proactive approach to seeking medical intervention. However, that has started changing in recent times. Sensors in wearable such as smart watches and Fitbits are already equipped to deliver actionable feedback to apps in our phones and connect to the doctor’s clinic for diagnostic tests and medication prescription. Today for instance, Apple watches can detect a variety of heart diseases including diabetes prediction with an 85% match in known cases.

Interesting AI start-ups like sig-Tuple(digitized blood analysis), Nirmani (Thermal scan for breast cancer)and Ten 3T (portable easy to use electrocardiograms) are currently developing disruptive diagnostic solutions that will significantly bring down costs, while making physical distance a non-issue. They do this via cloud-based linkages to hospitals and clinics, chatbots, smartapps, and AI enable us take pre-emptive charge of our own health, helping us to live more aware, healthier and longer lives.

 

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