Information technology, AI, IoT for better healthcare: an analysis
Frontline warriors battling the Covid 19 pandemic have been courageous and selfless, but some have lost their lives in the line of duty. Doctors and nurses cared for patients beyond their capacity 24/7 in suffocating masks, gloves and PPE kit. Due to the constant number of deaths and burnout, frontline workers have turned to therapy for help. A soldier cannot go to war if his ammunition is not loaded; Likewise, frontline workers cannot tackle this pandemic on their own without the help of technology.
Technological aids will help frontline and healthcare workers take care of more patients in less time, which will allow them to save the lives of others and themselves. Few technologies such as cloud monitoring and quantum computing reduce the need for a physical doctor to care for the patient, thus keeping the patient away from the risk of infection. The ratio of doctors per 1,000 Indian citizens in 2017 was 1.34, which means Indians are not getting good health care through their system.
With such a low number of healthcare professionals, any health emergency will expose and cripple the system, we’ve all experienced it in one way or another. To avoid such a crisis, apart from an increased number of health professionals, technological assistance is the need of the hour.
Technologies like artificial intelligence, big data analytics, internet of things, blockchain technology, robots, automation, cloud and quantum computing, etc. can change the face of the Indian healthcare system and, if used wisely, make it world class.
Let’s talk about how big data analytics can help you?
The massive amount of data collected by humans, such as body temperature, febrile symptoms, co-morbidities, flu symptoms, health issues, etc., requires rapid analysis to provide effective results. For faster analysis, data analysis software is used to discover the results, which is where big data analysis comes in.
It is the process of recognizing patterns, correlations in a large amount of data, and discovering trends to make an informed decision. It is quite similar to statistical analysis tools mean, regression, correlation, etc., but the sample size is millions of people / data. If used wisely, big data analytics can help predict crises, detect disease early, and improve healthcare.
Patient records from each hospital in a particular region / country; with their prior authorization, can be used to discover disease patterns, demands, drug supply, purchase of healthcare machinery, etc. It will also help analyze the impact of human-made problems such as pollution, AQI, industrial influence, climate on the health of individuals.
The data collected from genome sequencing for the delta variant can go a long way in controlling the spread of infection and understanding the nature of the attack by a variant on the human body.
What is IoMT and how do AI and IoMT help healthcare?
AI is the process by which machines are programmed to behave like a human brain and perform tasks like humans do. The Internet of Things or the Medical Internet of Things is a system in which devices such as ventilators, patient monitors, blood pressure machines, etc. are connected via a network.
These machines are programmed to identify information and share it with each other without human influence. So if a patient’s stats like saturation level or blood sugar get out of hand, the machine alerts the system and a doctor rushes in to attend to the patient.
IOMT and AI help provide better patient understanding, accurate data collection, correct diagnosis, efficient work, and improved patient experience. It also helps predict whether the current condition of the human body (s) will catch a particular disease in the future. Thus, a minimum of doctors can take care of a maximum of patients without being physically present and eliminate the risk of infection.
How do autonomous medical systems help?
Autonomous medical system is primarily a robot or implanted device working on a complex algorithm that works on data such as sodium level in the body, glucose level in the body, etc. For patients who need a lot of assistance, machines like the Automatic Intensive Care System can improve healthcare delivery in a diverse and complex environment.
ACCS integrates seven medically assistive technologies – supplemental oxygen therapy, sedation, mechanical ventilation, physiological monitoring, fluid and fluid warming, fluid and drug therapy, and patient data storage and transmission in a single case. By monitoring the patient, the software provides rapid data on interventional therapies.
Other aids such as autonomous intubation, autonomous interventional procedures and autonomous cricothyrotomy will reduce the burden on physicians.
Cloud computing and Cloudphysician-
Cloud computing in layman’s language is the storage of a series of applications delivered over the Internet. The best way to understand it is Google Drive which is cloud based storage, the user can access the drive from anywhere, collaborate with others and the changes will be reflected in real time.
Cloudphysician Led by Doctors of Karnataka is a Smart ICU technology that helps detect abnormalities in ICU patients using information technology, visuals, machine learning and AI. With the help of cloudphysician, these doctors were able to manage five intensive care wards in five different hospitals in Karnataka by sitting in an inhabited center.
What is the CHU?
UHC is the concept of ultimate social equality and justice. It recognizes the human beyond gender, race, nationality and strives to provide equal public health services. The Covid 19 pandemic has shown the world that UHC is still on paper and a utopian dream.
Information technology combined with transparent data sharing, human, financial and organizational integration will help realize the dream of UHC. To promote transparent data sharing, Blockchain technology could be used to create a distributed ledger. Blockchain protects against tampering, hacking and duplication of data. The examples above have shown how digital technology can reduce the burden on physicians to care for more patients. The constant analysis and sharing of data will help develop vaccines, drugs and create an optimal health infrastructure.
In order to achieve UHC using technology, the first gap that needs to be filled is digital inequality. AI, IOMT, cloud computing, and autonomous systems require a fast and functional internet. Existing tools like Ayushmann Bharat should be updated to adapt to digital technology.
Use of local knowledge and bridge between Ayurveda and the mainstream –
When Patanjali first introduced Coronil, the Indian Medical Association categorically denied its usefulness in the fight against coronavirus as there was no approval system in the IMA for Ayurvedic medicine. Local knowledge has proven effective in controlling health crises like Ebola in Africa and bird flu in Indonesia, where traditional knowledge has been used by modern healthcare to find a solution.
A system full of scientific ethics should be established to determine the usefulness of Ayurveda. Constant experimentation, research and development in Ayurveda will make it as reliable and trustworthy as allopathic medicine. To deny an alternative system simply because there is no existing strategy to infer its validity is absurd.
What should the government do to promote health assistance?
The government needs to strengthen its Internet infrastructure to reach all corners of our country, as Indian postal services are doing. The government should step on the accelerator to increase digital literacy in India. Technologies like big data analytics, AI, IoMT, etc. require the prior authorization of patients as it is a violation of privacy. The mechanism must be designed in such a way that confidentiality and innovation exist simultaneously. Possible obstacles can be data security, data theft, high investments, organizational bottlenecks, etc.
When researching, one thing should be kept in mind that data from Americans and Europeans will not be similar to health data from Indians and Africans due to their different geographic locations. Information technology will not only help increase the number of patients treated, but will also increase employment opportunities.