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The Need Of AI In Healthcare

For the companies operating in the Indian healthcare AI space to grow at a rapid rate, they have to first identify the gaps in the system and then come out with AI-based solutions to bridge these lacunae.

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Ayushman Bharat

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting increasingly sophisticated and is doing what humans do with more efficiency, quickly and at much lower cost. In recent times, rapid progress in technology has seen AI making steady inroads into the healthcare segment as well upending the outcome of medical procedures dramatically. It makes analysis of complicated and vast quantity of medical data simple, fast and precise. In the healthcare universe predictive analysis is one branch which can help medical professionals tremendously in their profession. The prowess of AI makes their work much easier. Hence the use of AI in assisting medical professionals with additional human inputs is advancing fast in the healthcare ecosystem.

The appeal for AI-based solutions has been growing in leaps and bounds in the healthcare space with demand increasingly coming from not only professionals but also from consumers as well. And the supply pipeline looks robust with product offering growing at a fast and furious pace. 

From a user perspective, AI-based applications help medical professionals analyze relationships between prevention or treatment techniques and patient outcomes. Their applications are finding their way from assisting medical professionals in practices and procedures such as diagnosis, treatment protocol development, personalized medicine, and patient monitoring and care. Additionally, hospitals are looking to AI solutions to support operational initiatives that leading to substantial cost saving and improve patient satisfaction. Besides, companies are developing predictive analytics solutions that help healthcare managers improve business operations through increasing utilization, decreasing patient boarding, reducing length of stay and optimizing staffing levels. There are AI based healthcare solutions that not only assist users in seeking and getting appointments but also provides assistance to healthcare professionals. It is said that the use of AI-based solutions can reduce operational costs of clinics and hospitals up-to 40% per annum.

Since AI is a relatively new concept which is finding its utility in the healthcare space, the upside for the technology in the segment is said to be huge. The Indian healthcare market, which was worth $100 billion in 2016 is forecast to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% to hit the $280 billion by 2020 and $372 billion by 2022. And the medical procedures and diagnostic tests alone will account to $128 billion by 2022. Therefore, the addressable market for AI based healthcare solutions providers looks huge and relatively untapped.

The vast upside for AI in the healthcare space has been luring investors and companies to the segment alike. Technology firms like Apple and Google have been already expanded their footprint into the segment. The allure of AI in healthcare has seen funding in the segment hitting a record of $ 700 million in the second quarter of last year spread over 75 deals.

The tremendous upside for AI in the healthcare eco-system has been drawing technology companies to the segment in droves. These companies are putting their best foot forward to get the first mover advantage in every vertical in the healthcare space. They are developing AI which acts like an assistant to the professionals by automating appointments, providing predictive analysis for faster evaluation of medical data along with intelligent cloud solutions for electronic medical records. These technologies come with compelling services and features which ensure doctors and medical professionals find curated, validated, cost effective and instant solutions to medical concerns with one click. It also provides the cost and price for services such as medical procedures, diagnostic tests and even for medicines.

For the companies operating in the Indian healthcare AI space to grow at a rapid rate, they have to first identify the gaps in the system and then come out with AI-based solutions to bridge these lacunae. For instance a serious gap in the services currently offered by available platforms is their lack of focus on high value services like medical procedures, medicines and diagnostic tests since they have their eyes on low value services like online consultations and appointments. However, only 4% to 5% of the medical expenditure is spent on these services while 95% of the total amount spent on medical expenditure is going to high value services like medical procedures, and diagnostic tests. Therefore, firms with a larger focus on the latter segment will grow in size and value in the future.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Chander Verma

The author is Founder, Plunes

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