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AI In Healthcare, NZ Leading The World

AI is on the verge of making massive changes in New Zealand’s public health system which has been facing structural resourcing issues in the last two years, exacerbated by the covid pandemic.

The AI Forum NZ says pervasive nurse and doctor shortages means Aotearoa needs to find new ways to spend limited resources in the most effective manner. AI, or artificial intelligence, is the answer.

More effective digital tools are needed to help process diagnostics, amplifying the scarce experienced resources the public health sector has on the ground, AIForumNZ executive director Madeline Newman says.

“Let’s give doctors the best digital tools possible to help them do the best job they can. This will result in better, faster, more effective diagnosis, builds trust and better outcomes for patients and their communities.

“We all want better health outcomes for our ageing population. Better use of technology over longer periods for this large group of people will help contribute to economic growth for longer, putting less strain on the public system.

People who report being in good rather than poor health are more than four times more likely to be working between the ages of 50 and 65, and more than 10 times more likely between 65 and 74.

“A mere 0.1 percentage point increase in spending on preventive health measures, as a proportion of each country’s GDP, can unlock a nine percent increase in annual spending by people over 60 years of age.

“New Zealand has a fast growing number of cutting edge AI healthcare companies such as radiologist Dr Hament Pandya’s Sectaur business.

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“AI is about to revolutionise the practice of healthcare and Dr Hament is looking to provide diagnosticians with peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing.

“He is passionate about doctors of the future, combining the best of human intuition and knowledge with the data processing capabilities of computers.”

AI is not about replacing medical specialists. It is how New Zealand can better use of precious resources especially at a time of massive health skills shortages.

The digital, data and artificial intelligence (AI) dividends of the fourth industrial revolution will create better healthcare outcomes.

To gain the trust required for broader adoption, AI in healthcare must follow three principles: responsible use of data and algorithms, functional competence and transparency around technology’s limitations.

Already, AI-driven health solutions have proven more efficient and have become more effective, though the challenge remains in scaling up these technologies.

Eighty percent of doctors say AI in healthcare is useful. It is already there in exam rooms. It’s triaging hospital and emergency department traffic, analysing patient risk scores and identifying potential new therapies by simulating chemistry with computers.

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