The Role of AI in Healthcare Entrepreneurship In Africa

Hamza Asumah, MD

The use of machine learning (ML) algorithms and other cognitive technologies in medical situations is referred to as AI in healthcare. In its most basic form, artificial intelligence (AI) emerges when computers and other machines mimic human cognition and are capable of learning, thinking, making decisions, and performing actions.

Artificial intelligence employs computers and technology to imitate the problem-solving and decision-making abilities of the human mind. John McCarthy defines artificial intelligence as the science and engineering that goes into producing intelligent devices, particularly intelligent computer programs

It is similar to the objective of using computers to understand human cognition, but AI does not have to be limited to physiologically observable ways.

Deep learning and machine learning are both artificial intelligence subfields, with deep learning being a subfield of machine learning. AI in healthcare is defined as the use of machines to review and act on medical data, typically with the goal of predicting a certain outcome.

Photo by Intellectys

The use of AI to healthcare data can be the difference between life and death. AI can assist physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers with routine duties. AI in healthcare has the ability to enhance preventative care and quality of life, as well as provide more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans and lead to overall better patient outcomes. AI can assist predict and track the spread of dangerous diseases by analyzing data from government, healthcare, and other sources.

Disease detection and treatment have been at the center of artificial intelligence AI in healthcare for the last 50 years. Early rule-based systems were capable of diagnosing and treating disease, but they were not generally employed in clinical practice. They were not much better than humans in diagnosing, and their integration with physician workflows and health record systems was less than ideal.

The most challenging obstacle for AI in healthcare is ensuring its adoption in daily clinical practice, rather than whether the technologies are powerful enough to be beneficial. Therapists may be drawn to careers that need specific human talents, such as those demanding the highest level of cognitive function, over time. Those healthcare practitioners that refuse to engage with AI may be the only ones who miss out on AI’s full promise in healthcare.

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The benefits of AI to a developing continent like Africa include:

In underdeveloped countries across the world, a lack of qualified healthcare workers, such as ultrasound technologists and radiologists, can severely limit access to life-saving care. According to the session, more radiologists work in the half-dozen institutions that line Boston’s famed Longwood Avenue than in all of West Africa.

Artificial intelligence may assist mitigate the consequences of a large scarcity of competent clinical personnel by taking over some of the diagnostic tasks traditionally given to humans.

AI imaging systems, for example, can scan chest x-rays for TB symptoms, often with accuracy comparable to humans. This capability might be made available to clinicians in low-resource areas through an app, reducing the need for a qualified diagnostic radiologist on-site.

Second, EHRs have played a significant role in the healthcare industry’s digitalization journey, but the transition has resulted in a plethora of challenges such as cognitive overload, endless documentation, and user burnout.
Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used by EHR developers to provide more intuitive interfaces and automate some of the routine processes that consume so much of a user’s time.

Third, antibiotic resistance is becoming a growing threat to people all around the world, since misuse of these essential medications encourages the growth of superbugs that are no longer curable. Multi-drug resistant microorganisms have the potential to wreak havoc in hospitals and claim hundreds of lives each year.

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Smart devices are taking over the consumer market, offering everything from real-time video from inside a refrigerator to autos that detect when the driver is distracted.
Smart devices are essential in the medical sector for monitoring patients in the intensive care unit and elsewhere. Using artificial intelligence to enhance the ability to identify deterioration, diagnose sepsis, or detect the development of complications might significantly improve outcomes and perhaps cut costs related with hospital-acquired disease penalties.

Lastly, collecting and analyzing this data – and complementing it with information supplied by patients via apps and other home monitoring devices – can provide a unique perspective on individual and public health.

The value of artificial intelligence in healthcare is gaining a lot of traction in recent days. This traction is not limited to only the developed countries but is especially becoming more important in developing countries. It is therefore important to start researching and adopting initiatives that benefit us as a continent.

If you have any experience with the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare, please leave your insights in the comment section below.

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