Cloud and AI can fuel advanced healthcare in rural India: Microsoft

Cloud and AI can fuel advanced healthcare in rural India: Microsoft
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India has a huge opportunity to design systems for advanced healthcare in rural parts of the country with the help of cloud and artificial intelligence (AI), according to Microsoft Healthcare corporate vice-president Peter Lee.    

“There is an opportunity here in India, that’s unique in the world, to leap ahead by designing systems that enable better reach for healthcare in rural parts and to bring the power of cloud and AI to the broader world,” said Lee, in a release issued by Microsoft.  

“The country is transforming in important ways and as that transformation happens, there is an opportunity to rethink cloud and AI-powered healthcare systems,” he added.

Microsoft has been associated with a few healthcare activities in India through its partner organisations — Apollo Hospitals, Forus and SRL Diagnostics.  

Lee also said that, through these associations, Microsoft was developing new ways of predictive analytics to gauge the risk of cardiac disease, or to predict children who might be at risk of blindness.

“These ideas are taking root here in India and they can reach far-off world communities,” he said.

With advances in genomics, immunomics and new kinds of imaging, there is an increased ability to extract data from wearables and social media in real time, which could help in personalised and targeted diagnostics and therapeutics in the future, the release said.

Lee also justified the hype around AI with advances in the field of deep learning and reinforcement learning, and how the technology would help make healthcare affordable to people in remote areas.

Speaking on the issues of data collection and privacy, Lee stated that Microsoft had one of the best frameworks for data compliance regulations in the industry and had a commitment to not owning data but using it as a foundation to create working models.

Lee also said that Microsoft was working on how AI could work on most of the mundane and less creative work that a doctor has to undertake, and hence help them focus on what matters most.

“We have Project EmpowerMD that uses AI to assist in the creation of a medical note of the conversation between a physician and a patient, which enables the physician to focus on taking care of the patient,” said Lee.