The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly increasing with the growth of start-ups and large Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies that offer AI healthcare solutions for healthcare challenges in India.
There is an uneven ratio of skilled doctors to patients in our country. According to the Indian Journal of Public Health (2017 edition), India had 4.8 practicing doctors per 10,000 population. It is expected to grow to 6.9 per 10,000 people by the year 2030, but the minimum doctor to patient ratio recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is 1:1000. AI is an effective measure to tackle challenges like the uneven ratio, making doctors more skilled at their jobs, catering to rural areas for a high-quality healthcare, training doctors and nurses to tackle complex procedures.
How does AI in healthcare function?
AI in the healthcare sector is a range of technologies that enable machines to sense, comprehend, act and learn so that they can carry out administrative and healthcare functions, be used in research and for training purposes. Some of the technologies included in the healthcare sector are natural language processing, intelligent agents, computer vision, machine learning, chatbots, voice recognition etc. These technologies can be adopted at varying levels across the healthcare ecosystem. Machine learning can be used to merge an individual’s omic (genomic, proteomic, metabolic) data with other data sources to predict the probability of developing a disease, which can then be addressed through timely intercessions such as preventative therapy.
AI in the healthcare sector in India
AI in the healthcare sector in India is potentially developing. According to a report by the CIS India published earlier this year, AI could help add USD 957 billion to the Indian economy by 2035. Of the USD 5.5 billion that was raised by global digital healthcare companies in July-September 2017 quarter, at least 16 Indian Healthcare IT companies received funding, the report said. State governments are also providing support to AI start-ups.
AI is capable of solving various healthcare challenges in India. The technological innovation is proving to be beneficial in diagnosis procedure, monitoring of chronic conditions, assisting in robotic surgery, drug discovery etc. Among several companies that are exploring various uses of AI in the healthcare segment, Microsoft is taking a major initiative along with Apollo and other hospitals to expand its use in several segments like cardiology, eye-care, diseases like Tuberculosis, HIV etc.
Healthcare start-ups are majorly engaging themselves in the use of Artificial Intelligence.
A list of six healthcare start-ups that are using Artificial Intelligence in India:
- Niramai, a Bengaluru-based start-up founded in the year 2016, is using AI for pain-free breast cancer screening.
- MUrgency, a Mumbai-based healthcare mobile application is helping people connect in need of medical emergency responses with qualified medical, safety, rescue and assistance professionals.
- Advancells, a Noida-based start-up provides stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative therapy, has a large potential in the field of organ transplantation.
- Portea, a Bengaluru-based start-up offers home visits from doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and technicians for patients. Patients who are unable to visit hospitals can receive assistance from doctors and medical professionals using remote diagnostics and monitoring equipments, point-of-care devices.
- AddressHealth, a Bengaluru-based start-up provides primary pediatric healthcare services to school children where they are screened for hearing, vision, dental health, anthropometry, alongside a medical competition.
- LiveHealth, a Pune-based start-up works as a management information system (MIS) for healthcare providers. It collects samples, manages patient records, diagnoses them and generates reports.
Artificial Intelligence, the next-gen innovative thing will act as an “invisible hand” in revolutionising the healthcare sector and is expected to grow in India to USD 372 billion by 2022.