In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, the integration of Artificial Intelligence has emerged as a transformative force, revolutionizing traditional practices and paving the way for innovative solutions.
At the core of a recent enlightening panel discussion titled 'The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Indian Healthcare System: Exploring Use Cases,' industry experts and healthcare leaders congregated at the DHN Forum Bengaluru. The purpose was to delve deep into the profound impact of digital technologies on patient experiences and healthcare delivery.
Organized by Digital Health News (DHN), the day-long conference attracted leading digital healthcare professionals from both India and the United States.
Moderated by Sayantan Chatterjee, the executive director of PwC India, the panel discussed how AI has been integrated with the Indian healthcare system and reshaping the future of the healthcare landscape.
The panelists who shared insights on the topic included Geetha Manjunath, the founder and CEO of Niramai HealthAnalytix, Shuvankar Parmanik, Dy CIO of Manipal Health, and Praveen Bist, CIO, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad.
It goes without saying that AI holds immense promise in revolutionizing healthcare delivery, from streamlining administrative tasks to improving diagnostic accuracy and personalized treatment plans. In India, a burgeoning healthcare market grappling with challenges of accessibility, affordability, and quality, AI offers a glimmer of hope in addressing these pressing concerns.
The discussion held around practical applications of AI, the significance of contextual relevance, and the critical role of regulatory compliance in driving successful implementations.
Praveen Bist, CIO, Amrita Hospital, emphasized the transformative potential of AI in healthcare delivery. He highlighted how AI, though not a novel concept, has gained traction due to its practical implications.
"We realized the significance of AI, especially with advancements like ChatGPT, which made AI accessible and powerful,"Bist remarked.
He stressed the importance of aligning AI initiatives with the existing digital ecosystem, ensuring seamless integration into clinical workflows.
Praveen Bist, CIO, Amrita Hospital
Geeta Manjunath, CEO of Niramai, reflected on her experience harnessing AI to tackle critical healthcare issues, noting the evolution of AI technologies over the last twenty years.
"Advancements in computing power, algorithmic innovation, and data accessibility have propelled AI into the forefront of healthcare," Manjunath said.
She emphasized the importance of rigorous clinical validation and stakeholder collaboration in translating technology into impactful healthcare interventions.
Sharing thoughts, Shubankar Parmanik, deputy CIO, Manipal Health, underscored the ubiquitous application of AI across the patient lifecycle.
"From appointment booking to clinical diagnosis, AI has permeated every aspect of healthcare delivery," Parmanik noted.
He highlighted the need for seamless integration of AI into existing workflows to enhance operational efficiency and clinician adoption.
Geeta Manjunath, CEO, Niramai
Leading the discussion, Parmanik highlighted the challenges associated with AI adoption. He noted the significant shift in consumer behavior, saying, “10 years back, if I develop something like a patient app, it's a huge thing. But nowadays, nobody uses the patient app; they interact with organizations via WhatsApp channels."
Another key obstacle discussed was the reluctance of clinicians to adopt new technologies, particularly diverse EHR systems; as Parmanik explained, "There are a lot of clinicians on visiting mode... they have to adopt different EHR systems."
Moreover, he stressed the necessity of demonstrating the business value of AI to top management and CIOs, stating, "Convincing them of AI's potential benefits remains a significant hurdle."
Shuvankar Parmanik, Dy CIO, Manipal Health
Despite these obstacles, Parmanik acknowledged the myriad opportunities for AI application in healthcare, including administrative automation and teleconsultations, emphasizing, "Leveraging AI in these areas not only enhances efficiency but also presents new business prospects."
Bist echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the need for cautious adoption of AI technologies. "We must avoid jumping on the bandwagon without considering contextual relevance and workflow integration," he cautioned.
He shedded light on the pragmatic approach to implementing digital solutions within the healthcare sector. This realization shifted towards digital workflows, especially with the transition from pocket-based to insurance-based payments.
Bist stressed the significance of having a robust digital ecosystem to effectively leverage AI tools, citing, "It's one thing to say that we want to implement AI, but unless and until you have a digital ecosystem that you can utilize because AI works on digital data coming in."
He highlighted the importance of identifying low-hanging fruits, such as implementing chatbots for patient engagement, while also acknowledging the complexities involved in automating digital pathology.
He outlined Amrita Hospital's cautious yet progressive approach toward integrating AI solutions into existing workflows, emphasizing the need for seamless integration to ensure clinician adoption.
In the session, Manjunath highlighted the dual applications of AI in clinical and non-clinical operations. She emphasized the immediate applicability of AI in streamlining administrative tasks and enhancing patient engagement.
"AI has revolutionized appointment booking, resource management, and patient communication," She remarked, underscoring its role in optimizing operational efficiency across healthcare organizations.
Manjunath pointed out the need for startups to focus on evidence-based AI development, particularly in clinical applications. "Scientific evidence is crucial in validating AI solutions, ensuring reliability and trust among clinicians and patients," she asserted.
She cautioned against making false promises and advocated for regulatory compliance to uphold data security and patient privacy.
The panelists emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between innovation and implementation in AI-driven healthcare solutions. Parmanik highlighted the significance of understanding consumer behavior and aligning AI applications with user preferences.
"Consumer behavior drives the adoption of AI applications, necessitating user-centric design and seamless integration," he explained.
Further, Bist emphasized the role of academic collaboration in driving AI innovation and adoption. He cited the partnership between Amrita Hospital and academic institutions in conducting research and pilot projects.
"Academic collaboration enables us to develop and validate AI solutions tailored to the Indian healthcare landscape," Bist noted, highlighting the importance of contextual relevance in AI development.
Manjunath underscored the importance of patient-centricity and trust in AI-driven healthcare solutions. She highlighted the need for transparent and explainable AI models to foster trust among clinicians and patients.
"Patient trust is paramount in AI adoption, necessitating transparent reporting and explainable AI algorithms," Manjunath stated, highlighting the significance of clear communication and shared decision-making in healthcare delivery.
The panelists agreed on the pivotal role of regulatory compliance in ensuring the safety and efficacy of AI solutions. They emphasized the need for adherence to regulatory standards and ethical guidelines to mitigate risks and safeguard patient interests.
"Regulatory compliance is essential to uphold patient safety and data security in AI-driven healthcare," Parmanik affirmed, stressing the importance of regulatory oversight and governance frameworks.
Summing up, the panel discussed leveraging AI for clinical decision support to optimize non-clinical operations. They highlighted the diverse applications and inherent challenges in AI adoption.
By prioritizing evidence-based development, user-centric design, and regulatory compliance, stakeholders can harness the full potential of AI to revolutionize healthcare delivery in India.
As AI continues to evolve, fostering trust, transparency, and patient-centricity will be crucial in driving meaningful and sustainable healthcare transformation.
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving senior digital health leaders. CHIME includes more than 5,000 members in 56 countries and two US territories and partners with over 150 healthcare IT businesses and professional services firms. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care throughout the communities they serve. CHIME's members are chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare leaders. The CHIME India Chapter became the first international chapter outside North America in 2016 and is now a community of over 70+ members in India. For more information, please visit www.chimecentral.org