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#HealthTech: AI-led transformation for accessible, efficient and affordable healthcare services

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Indian healthcare is one of the country’s largest sectors, both in terms of revenue and employment. As the COVID-19 pandemic redefines the new normal, healthcare organizations are accelerating their digital transformation journeys to be able to address the growing demand for:

  • Virtual consultation services
  • Remote diagnostics and monitoring
  • Customer support chatbots
  • Accelerated drug research

Healthcare organizations are struggling to balance between the three interlocking factors of the classic healthcare iron triangle of cost, quality and access, where not all the factors can be improved simultaneously. For example, cost-reduction efforts may come at the expense of quality or access, similarly, quality healthcare may not be accessible to remote locations and may not be affordable.

Organizations in the healthcare space are now leveraging digital technologies, especially AI to digitally transform and break the iron triangle of healthcare by simultaneously reducing cost, enhancing quality and improving accessibility of services, which is even more critical in these trying times.

AI transforms the rigid iron-triangle into a fluid model

By deploying AI, the iron-triangle would no more be a rigid zero-sum game, which means if we reduce cost of healthcare delivery, it doesn’t necessarily mean that quality or accessibility will have to be traded-off. The AI-enabled triangle parameters are those where addressing one factor will not negatively affect the other factors. In fact, it can also simultaneously benefit other factor(s).

One thing that is critical for successful AI deployment is data. Healthcare organizations are increasingly collecting more data as they are moving towards electronic health records, safely handling exchange of data between hospitals and insurance companies, protecting patient privacy, collecting immense data from IoT sensors, wearables, etc., medical equipment in labs and patient bedside that can be fed into AI engines that lead the way in breaking the iron triangle.

Healthcare is emerging as one of the biggest beneficiaries of AI

Number of healthcare organizations have acknowledged that AI can yield great results with right tools, talent and partners. They have evolved to become more proactive than being reactive to the challenges faced by the industry today (such as COVID-19), with AI being at the forefront.

Globally, the integration of AI into healthcare is being seen as a key technology towards enabling anytime, anywhere care. Delivering quality services in a diverse market like India at scale and at affordable price is immensely complex, especially with the large underserved population, rising disease burden and variation in quality of care across different public and private players.

In such a scenario, AI can play a pivotal role in addressing the unique challenges across the healthcare value chain and thereby enable modernization of healthcare practices in India.

Watch out my next article for AI opportunities in the healthcare space. Download our full report for more details: Unravelling AI for Healthcare in India

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