AI key to better healthcare

KUALA LUMPUR: A conference on artificial intelligence (AI) in the healthcare industry heard how

AI can play a pivotal role in areas such as aiding doctor-patient conversations, medical imaging and research.

The country’s first conference on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare, organised by Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM), also discussed the challenges with the implementation of AI in healthcare such as data privacy and security concerns.

APHM president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said the conference would give health practitioners the impetus to use technology and data to deliver better services.

“The use of AI in healthcare will not replace the jobs of health practitioners.

“It is basically to make treatment delivery more efficient and effective, reducing errors,” he said at the conference yesterday.

As of now, he said, only elements of AI are being used in the Malaysian healthcare ecosystem due to financial constraints and a lack of awareness about AI.

“The AI technology we have now is developed overseas, so it comes with a significant cost.

“In the long run, however, AI may reduce healthcare costs by reducing errors, allowing doctors to see patients more quickly and make diagnoses easier,” he added.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also spoke on the importance of utilising technology to deliver affordable and quality healthcare services more efficiently.

He noted that 76% of the Malaysian population live in the urban areas compared to an average of 48% in Asia. He said efficient services were needed so that hospitals in such areas were not understaffed or overcrowded.

To enable the healthcare industry to embrace technology, Dr Noor Hisham said certain changes in the health ecosystem need to be made, such as encouraging doctors to visit patients instead of the other way around.

“We want to adopt this concept of ‘uberisation’, providing medical and surgical services using disruptive technologies to be better, faster, cheaper and safer,” he added.

The Health Ministry recently said it was mulling over plans to provide on-demand healthcare services to reduce congestion at public hospitals and clinics.

Also present at the event was Health Advisory Council chairman Tan Sri Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman.
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