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 email@example.com cc firstname.lastname@example.org