Highlights:

  • It’s time for artificially intelligent robots or humanoid robots to lead the game.
  • ‘Mitra’ – India’s first humanoid robot launched in 2017.
  • Artificial Intelligence is the future friend of the Indian healthcare system.
  • Robotics technology is tomorrow’s driving force in the Indian healthcare industry.

No complaint, no tiredness, no mistake but every morning healthcare assistant ‘Chitti’ is busy with her daily responsibilities. She does not deal with anybody emotionally but taking care of everybody, irrespective of their cultural values (observe and necessary medical test) is her daily duty which she performs with 100 percent accuracy – if needed, Chitti would send a message to a doctor in case of an emergency. Can you recall which ‘Chitti’ am talking about? Yes, you are right, in 2013 former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam formally switched on robot caretaker ‘Chitti’ at Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai. ‘Chitti’ was a robot character in Rajnikant’s movie ‘Enthiran’.

In April 2020 when India is fighting against deadly virus COVID-19, the Stanley Medical College Hospital of Chennai experimenting with another robot caretaker to save our doctors and health caretakers from any possible transmission of COVID-19 virus. This new robot nurse ‘Dokat Aura’ has been introduced to take care of people in quarantine infected with COVID-19. A ‘smart’ or technically smart ‘Dokat Aura’ can support those suffering from mild infection all by herself. She can deliver food, water, and medication to patients admitted to the COVID-19 ward in the hospital. Using robots in healthcare is not new in India. Earlier doctors used robotic arms to do critical surgery. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital technology have given a remarkable contribution to the Indian healthcare industry. Now, it’s time for artificially intelligent robot or humanoid robot to lead the game and the youth of India strongly responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Startup India’ call in 2015. ‘Mitra’ –developed by a Bengaluru based robotics start-up is India’s first indigenously built, five feet- tall humanoid robot programmed for using contextual help, autonomous navigation and facial and speech recognition. ‘Mitra’-was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ivanka Trump in 2017.  

Artificial intelligence to fight against infectious diseases

AI or Artificial Intelligence is the future friend of the Indian healthcare system. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a rapidly evolving technology and has seen widespread acceptance in many fields. Healthcare, especially to fight against infectious disease, is core areas that hold a lot of promise for the application of AI,” according to the experts and government officials of India. In an economically stressed country like India where many people die due to infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, lung infections, tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases, malaria, and increasingly, cardiovascular diseases. Many children die under age 14 primarily due to pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, malaria, and neonatal complications and now the new threat of dangerous virus-like COVID-19 which can create a disaster nationwide.

Over the last year, artificial intelligence, robotics, and biotechnology have all generated a number of new solutions that have the potential to dramatically reduce these problems with a faster time, low cost and accuracy. In India, a new start-up like ‘mFine’, a Bengaluru based healthcare start-up has close to 1200 diseases in the system to give 85% of accurate diagnosis. Another example is ‘ten3T’, a medical wearable startup has developed medical-grade wearable devices to help monitor patient’s health, even at home.

In India, 65.97% (United Nations Population Division 2018) people live in rural India. Artificial Intelligence has the huge capacity to take charge of rural healthcare with a mobile device, without having doctors to travel from village to village. Technology and people’s behavioral information can give a new level to common people’s healthcare in India but it is impossible since a section of old fashioned politicians and intellectuals of India comes out of their self created cocoon of ‘conspiracy theory’.

Robotics technology is tomorrow’s driving force in the Indian healthcare industry

The Indian healthcare sector is booming, both in public as well as private sectors. According to a report by NITI Aayog (a policy think tank of the Government of India), the Indian government will increase public expenditure on healthcare from 1.1% to 2.5% GDP in the next four years (2019-2023) and subsequently to 5% in the following five years. Today in the age of rising cases of lifestyle diseases and rapidly growing demand for affordable healthcare linked with the increased role of government in the healthcare system and unfolding many compartments of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotics technology are the major driving factors in the Indian healthcare industry. AI & ML are becoming increasingly sophisticated at doing what humans do, but more efficiently, quickly and at a lower cost.

In a country like India where we produce only about 50,000 doctors every year – not nearly enough to the WHO recommended minimum of a doctor-patient ratio of 1:1000, India will need 2.3 million doctors and around two million nurses by 2030 when the nurse: patient ratio is 1:483. Considering all these facts and features, the intervention of AI is not only a revolution but an appropriate step for the sector.

India needs it now!

Not only to fight against any outbreak like Coronavirus disease, not only for critical surgery, rural healthcare but artificially intelligent robots are needed for India’s growing elderly population which is expected to 173 million (UN Population Fund and HelpAge India) in 2026. This growing aging population and medical staffing issues must be addressed with compassion and love by introducing Artificially Intelligent robots. That’s the destiny of India’s healthcare industry.

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