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AI and Telemedicine in Emergence and Disasters

Professor Stephen Mashingaidze

AI and Telemedicine in Emergence and Disasters

By Professor Stephen Mashingaidze

In the last article, I looked at AI and Cybersecurity, and in the first few articles, we explored generative AI and its relevance to our  Zimbabwean and African Entrepreneurs.  There is much talk of AI Investments and the investment in microchip manufacturing by all key  players like  Tesla, Open AI , Google , IBM, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft  these are  key  drivers to the  future  of  Generative AI. There are plenty of medical challenges in emerging nations  and  climate  change issues.  With the increased focus on generative AI, and the pervasiveness of virtual care, it is important to understand how the two together can enhance and improve health plan member outcomes and experience. It  is  now clear  that  the future  of  AI in Telemedicine is very  promising , it  has  the  potential  to revolutionalise telemedicine by making it more  accessible, efficient, and effective. The following are some of the uses of AI in telemedicine today and the  future:

•       Virtual assistants: AI-powered virtual assistants can provide patients with 24/7 access to medical advice and support. These assistants can answer questions about common medical conditions, provide symptom tracking, and even connect patients with a doctor or other healthcare provider if needed.

•       Remote patient monitoring:  AI can be used to monitor patients’ health remotely using wearable devices and sensors. This can help to identify and manage chronic conditions early on, prevent complications, and reduce the need for in-person visits.

•       Image analysis:  AI can be used to analyze medical images, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, to detect diseases and abnormalities. This can help to improve the accuracy of diagnoses and reduce the need for invasive procedures.

•       Triage:  AI can be used to triage patients, prioritize their care, and determine the best course of treatment. This can help to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery and ensure that patients receive the care they need when they need it.

•       Personalized medicine: AI can be used to analyze patients’ genetic and medical data to develop personalized treatment plans. This can help to improve the effectiveness of treatments and reduce the risk of side effects.

It’s now pertinent to know that AI is now utilised in a number of areas in in  telemedicine  and  I see  this  as an  opportunity  for  healthcare providers,  pharmaceutical companies and  the  Civil  Protection  Unit  in emergence and  disaster situations. There is an urgent drive to solve these disasters and emergencies that AI became handy. In my current role, I work  with  tech4life Canada Enterprises Inc in the  provision of  the sorjro telemedicine equipment and  the sorjro drones to  assis the emergency and disaster situations in  Africa and globally. The  technology  is being  utilised in the middle east  and  Africa region succesfully. This has the advantages of being fast, convenient, and increasing  accessibility to remote areas and therefore reducing the disaster management  costs and increasing the speed in the emergence response  value chain. The power of AI is based on machine learning that helps in the processes of automation and compatibility of the telemedicine technologies. I still believe that technology cannot not  a substitute for  strategy  formulation and  development  of  disaster  and climate  change emergencies in a more  structured manner. 

Our Civil Protection Unit badly needs a national   AI and Telemedicine Disaster Response policy framework. The popularity of Generative AI and its impact on telemedicine cannot be underestimated for now and the next  3 decades. The University  of  Zimbabwe  and all  Universities School  of medicine should revamp  their  curriculum to address these issues of national  importance  and  healthcare  issues  in  the wake  of  the  poor  health  care delivery  and  response strategies.

In the recently  ended World Economic FORUM telemedicine and AI as a response to  emergencies and disasters  is not  only  for the World Health Organisation  to  worry  about. robotics exhibitions in China , Sophia a humanoid is a real This  now  requires all  partners  involved  to  prepare in terms upskilling  in  AI and telemedicine including allocation of  critical  resources  to this  vital  area.    AI and telemedicine Innovations a great opportunity to earn revenues for the  struggling  SMEs exposed harsh trading environments. This then calls for a strategy for change –forging life –long relationships with enablers and partners to make a difference. For  Zimbabwe  this  a real driver  for  dealing  with  the  current  disaster  and emergency situations given  the  vagaries of  climate change  in Africa.

The  Government  of Zimbabwe  has a big  role  to play  in Generative AI and telemedicine development  policies to  ensure  risks are minimised and more positive approach  is adopted in SMES  nationally . I am running an online information awareness Seminars with our Canadian, UK and Australian offices on the use of AI and Telemedicine in Africa an evidence based approach lead  by  Dr  Sharik koja and Ashan Abbas.

•       Professor Stephen Mashingaidze, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Springbok Consulting (Pvt) Ltd & Team Leader at  Scotel/Tech4Life Africa. Email him for feedback on mashiconsultinternational@gmail.com cc stephen@aartec.com

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