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“AI will Empower Both the Doctors and Patients”

Dr Sanjay Sood

During the COVID 19 pandemic eSanjeevani has been the prime channel for seeking outpatient health services from government owned hospitals in India. Since its launch in April 2020, eSanjeevani has not only spurred a massive digital transformation in the space of healthcare services delivery in India but is also bridging the rural-urban digital health divide in the country by empowering patients in rural areas as well, writes Dr Sanjay Sood, Associate Director & Project Director (e Sanjeevani), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Mohali.

eSanjeevani has managed the structure of telemedicine during Covid19 pandemic. It has provided patient to doctor consultations for non Covid healthcare services. Covid19 related healthcare services for patients under home isolation. More than 7,700 Practitioners were trained with 25 States in operation. More than 7,29000 consultations have been rendered. For the implementation of AI, we are working towards the enabling it in eSanjeevani, increasing the access of it. AI will show up in a big way in India. The major focus is to reach out to every corner of the country through smart phones and various other medium. AI will empower both the doctors and patients, which will reach out to the majority of population. Creation of health data infrastructure opens the door for innovation and competition within the private sector to fulfill the public aim of interoperable health data.

The potential of AI is well described, however in reality health systems are faced with a choice: to significantly downgrade the enthusiasm regarding the potential of AI in everyday clinical practice, or to resolve issues of data ownership and trust and invest in the data infrastructure to realize it. Now that the growth of cloud computing in the broader economy has bridged the computing gap, the opportunity exists to both transform population health and realize the potential of AI, if governments are willing to foster a productive resolution to issues of ownership of healthcare data through a process that necessarily transcends election cycles and overcomes or co-opts the vested interests that maintain the status quo—a tall order. Without this however, opportunities for AI in healthcare will remain just that— opportunities.

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