Apps, chatbots and AI are set to play key role in future healthcare system

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Apps, chatbots and AI are set to play key role in future healthcare system

Published: Wed 11 Apr 2018, 10:06 PM

Last updated: Thu 12 Apr 2018, 12:18 AM

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made significant strides in various industries in recent years, however, it is still a very long way away from replacing human doctors in hospitals and clinics, experts at a conference noted.
Speaking at the inaugural edition of the 'Annual International Conference on Role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare and Medical Education', Dr Bassam Mahboub of the Dubai Health Authority, said that the roadmap of future healthcare is a system that is a mix of mobile applications, chatbots, and smart computer analytics that will provide patients with their diagnosis.
"This will significantly cut down on patient wait times," he said. "However, if the system fails to reach a solution, then it will immediately put the patient in contact with the doctor that is best suited to treating them. When you look at technologies such as IBM Watson, then you realise that there are great AI systems already out there that are being refined, but through all of this it is important to keep the human touch present. The future, as I see it, is not going to be doctors versus AI, but it is going to be augmented intelligence where doctors will use AI to help provide patients with the best care possible."
Organised by Thumbay Technologies, the event brought together more than 300 leaders and experts from healthcare, academic, and artificial intelligence industries. The event shed light on new and emerging practices, and the role that AI technologies can play in providing better universal healthcare to patients in a more immediate and effective manner.
Hamish Clark, partner, consulting-health industries at PwC, noted that current healthcare is very hospital-centric, but that this will change in the future. "Our research showed that around 62 per cent of business leaders feel that AI and robotics will have an impact on healthcare. It is also very encouraging for us to see the focus that the UAE has on innovative technologies that will impact various industries. The UAE has an opportunity to be a leading research hub for AI and its effects on healthcare. We need to get companies to encourage innovation, and think strategically. There is also a greater need for collaboration and partnerships between different specialised players in this sphere."
Through all this though, Clark, noted that it was vital for companies to put patients at the centre of their plans.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Dr. Thumbay Moideen, founder and president of Thumbay Group, said: "Our core business is education and healthcare, so we are trying to bring in the best technologies and modern applications into the business. AI has a lot of potential; we can see it being used in various places within the healthcare industry to make things more effective, more cost effective, and accurate. Right now, it is a matter of deciding which technology will be a good fit to the business."
Akram Moideen Thumbay, director of Thumbay Technologies, noted that AI was still in its infancy, but that it had the potential to result in better patient care. "CPU processing powers and speeds are increasing, so we will have better access to information and data that can be properly utilised. When you have a large amount of medical reports, you need AI to help you put it into a form that is relevant to a case that you are working on. However, security is a major concern that many companies have when it comes to this sort of data, so it is necessary to take the proper precautions to ensure that sensitive data is well protected."  -


Rohma Sadaqat

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