Using A.I. to Increase Health Care Access

Hi everyone!

A recently published academic article describes the potential for A.I. to increase health care access in low- and middle-income countries.

The authors define three broad categories of implementation, summarized as follows:

  • Portable diagnostics: Low-cost devices in community centers and households.
  • Clinical decision support: On-demand knowledge for specialty and subspecialty tasks.
  • Population health: Data for cause-and-effect analysis and policy-making.

What are some other ways that A.I. can be used to expand health care access in developing countries? Please provide a citation and/or link to any relevant research.

ntroduction We investigated the burden of surgical conditions, level of unmet needs and reasons for non-utilization of surgical services in a slum of Ahmedabad, India. Methods A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out from August to December 2019. Inclusion criteria was age [ 14 years; any type of injury/condition that requires surgery; subject has had surgery in last 1 year, and death information of family members. Data were stored and coded in Microsoft excel and exported to IBM SPSS statistics version 25 software for data analysis. Frequencies and proportions (categorical variable) are used to summarize utilization of surgical services and understanding surgical need. The Surgeons Overseas Assessment of Surgical was used to identify surgical met and unmet needs translated into local language. Open Data Kit software was used to install questionnaire in the ‘‘Tablet’’ to collect information and stress-free workflow in field. Results Out of 10,330 population in 2066 households, 7914 were more than 14 years of age. 3.46% (n = 274) people needed surgery; 116 did not avail surgery and were categorized in ‘‘unmet need.’’ Fifty percent of individuals with surgical needs had abdominal- or extremities-related problems followed by eyes surgery need (14%); back, chest and breast surgical need was 13.5%. Seventeen percent of participants with surgical needs had wounds related to injury or accident while 63% had wounds that were not related to injury. Almost all participants had gone to a physician to seek healthcare, however 42% did not avail surgical care needed for a variety of reasons. Forty-six percent of participants needing surgical care underwent major surgical procedure, while 11% had minor procedures. Financial reasons (34.5%) and lack of trust (35.3%) were major reasons for not availing surgical care. Conclusions and Relevance Ahmedabad is a relatively high income metropolitan city, has universally free health care and multiple healthcare facilities. Despite this, we have shown that there is significant unmet need for surgical procedures in the low-income population. A unique finding was that most patients sought a consultation but approximately 50% did not avail of the free surgical procedures under the universally free health care system in this city. We propose creation of community healthcare workers focused on surgical conditions.

@RahulJindal Thank you for sharing this, Dr. Rahul. We will review and follow up with any questions.