Following the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare is being transformed through AI and technology, improving patient care in the NHS and beyond
Providing the best patient care is the top priority for healthcare professionals. However, with limited staff and resources and a high number of outpatient visits to medical facilities, the ability to access quality medical care has been hampered. At the same time, the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have further aggravated the situation.
Waiting lists are at record highs, with more than 6 million people waiting for treatment according to recent NHS figures. Receiving treatment quickly and effectively is vital, especially for people with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. The reality, however, is that these patients don’t even get their first meeting with specialists or consultants for 16 to 20 weeks, no matter how urgent their condition. The healthcare industry has tried various ways to address this problem, but little has changed for patient care.
Digital solutions in containment
In the wake of the pandemic, digital solutions have become more prevalent with children learning via Zoom, and the medical field has been no exception. Videoconferencing technology has revolutionized the way medical appointments are conducted. However, digital adoption in healthcare needs to be accelerated much more than that. Investing in other technologies can also help reduce waiting lists, as the need to improve access to medical care becomes increasingly evident.
Investing in artificial intelligence (AI) tools is one way for the healthcare industry to tackle waiting lists, which we are already seeing happening in some healthcare facilities. At the Walton Center in Liverpool, for example, headaches make up the highest number of referrals, with an average waiting period of three months to be seen by a consultant.
In response, The Walton Center has partnered with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to develop an AI chatbot for clients suffering from headaches to collect preliminary details of the patient’s symptoms, which are then relayed to a doctor. to progress and refer the patient to a competent service. specialist.
Correct the treatment by personalized patient care
The chatbot will guide patients through structured questions to gather information about their symptoms. Clinicians can then review this information before the first appointment in conjunction with patients’ medical history to spend more time providing the right treatment.
AI, sensors, and analytics are being used in multiple ways to improve medical care and reduce the burden on clinicians. For example, AI is being used to quickly and accurately analyze medical images to identify abnormalities and examine critical areas such as the gastrointestinal tract. This is especially important for identifying serious diseases such as cancer. Technology can also help track the progress of wound healing, easing the workload of radiologists, and further reducing variables and outliers that eliminate diagnostic subjectivity.
AI is also being developed to support surgical preparations and serve as building blocks for remote surgery. These include automatic instrument positioning during eye surgeries, tool detection and identification, smoke detection and surgical visualization. All of these capabilities can benefit patients and healthcare professionals by reducing surgery time and minimizing possible complications.
AI, sensor and analytics technologies have advanced significantly and are now at a point where they can non-intrusively and cost-effectively identify key indicators of serious medical conditions. The patterns identified by these technologies track signs of developmental and brain disorders, mental illnesses, and degenerative neurological diseases at an early stage, helping physicians and patients better predict, monitor, and track these ubiquitous conditions at an early stage. dramatically lower cost than before – revolutionizing the way screening and rehabilitation can be performed.
Healthcare providers must take the leap
With an already expansive healthcare system in the UK, the adoption of digital tools and solutions could be a game-changer. It’s time for healthcare providers to step up and lead a healthcare revolution, leading to better patient care and better clinician experience and outcomes.
Shalini Mathur, Vice President and Head of Utilities Business Unit for UK, Europe and ANZ at Tata Consultancy Services, helps public sector organizations on their digital transformation journeys. She believes that innovation in the public sector is the key to improving the user experience and improving the quality of service, bringing efficiency, transparency, convenience and more security in service delivery. One of his current responsibilities is leading the development of the AI chatbot service for patients at the Walton Center in Liverpool.