In the era of ChatGPT and at a time when the conjunction between technology and medicine is alive and bristling with innovation, it is hardly surprising that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come to the rescue of the physician.
If ChatGPT mimics actual conversations, intelligently, then Apollo Hospital’s Clinical Intelligence Engine (CIE) is designed to mimic a doctor, serve as a physician’s assistant and interact with the patient and doctor to suggest a list of probable conditions based on symptoms and past history with a panoply of appropriate treatment options.
To be unveiled for the public on Sunday, on the occasion of the institution’s Founder’s Day, the CIE has been fed with millions of clinical data points from Apollo’s clinical knowledge base and real world clinical data, acquired over nearly four decades of the hospital’s experience and depersonalised before it was uploaded.
“Great transformation is to come, and along with that we will have challenges as well,” said Prathap C. Reddy, chairman and founder, Apollo Hospitals.
The CIE, he said, was the institution’s attempt at making the services available across the board. “This is the biggest gift I can give the people, without any charge. It bothers me that though we are cost-effective in offering the same technologies available in the West at 10% of their costs, it still is unaffordable for a good number of people. We are using AI, data and robotics to take state-of-the-art healthcare services to every one with the CIE.” Does the medical community not feel that technology, however useful it is, might put distance between it and the patient? With emphasis on physical examination coming into vogue again, will the CIE be an impediment to that? “The fear that technology might distance us from the patient is real, and that is one of the challenges that we will have to face. But we have started out with the ideal of preserving and guarding the four Cs of medical practice: Clinical excellence, clinical outcomes, care and compassion, and cost effectiveness, irrespective of whichever mode we try.”
The advantages, he says, are many. It enhances the scale of operations by many times, instantly, and assists the physician in a diagnosis by analysing the symptoms and presenting the doctor with a set of options he could consider. “What it does is crunch all the medical textbooks being used today, and captures the most probable diagnoses. It is not definitive diagnosis. The doctor will decide,” Dr. Reddy explained.
Great attention has been paid to preserve security of data, to ensure that there is no compromise to personal data, explains Chaitanya Bharadwaj who heads the Clinical AI Products division at Apollo 24/7. The CIE, he said, is built using local, Indian data, and currently understands over 1,200 most common to uncommon diseases prevalent in the region, along with 800 unique symptoms. “All data is anonymised before use. We also have robust security measures in place to protect patient data including encryption and secure storage,” he added.