Reducing Diagnostic Errors, Role That Technology Will Play

Technology has touched upon everything and diagnostics is no exception. Experts upon the technological advancement India’s health system has seen so far and will see soon down the line

According to reports, the building blocks of healthcare sector on which WHO stands firm, India has not paid much attention till date. However, during recent time steps have been taken to strengthen the pillars of healthcare sector. Technology has touched upon everything and diagnostics is no exception. Experts upon the technological advancement India’s health system has seen so far and will see soon down the line. 

Former Deputy Director General & Senior Scientist, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) Dr. Deepika Saraf discussed about how the government enabled us to attain digital transformation in India’s health space. She said, “The telemedicine guidelines were released on 26 March 2020 which enabled all the doctors to do consultation on digital platform which no one engaged ever. This was a big change for India which other countries like UK, US does not have. And this technology was a great enabler in improving access.” 

Mr. Sanjeev Vashishta, MD & CEO, Pathkind Labs, discussed that error is a big problem in diagnostics and 65 to 70 per cent errors occur during the pre-analytical stage. In a quest to reach out to the masses, most of the large companies are creating a ecosystem called as a network of labs and collection centres. “Errors can occur at various stage ranging from practitioner’s end to patient’s end. In pre-analytical stage most of the errors occur and technology can play a big role to contain this.” 

Dr. Arjun Dang, CEO, Dr. Dang’s Labs, who also moderated the panel discussion said, “Sheer communication can only be enabled by effective training hand in hand with technology. Also, very effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to track the journey from reaching out to giving feedback to the doctor can be improved next time.” 

Dr. Tathagato Rai Dastidar, Founder & CEO, Sigtuple stated that, “What Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can help do is basically point out true positives to the Radiologists and Pathologists and enable them to spend more time on sick people and not on samples which would be normal or near normal.” 

He believes that while building AI, sensitivity must be kept in focus to reduce the ‘false negatives’ maybe at the expense of having a few ‘false positives. “Digitised images of pathology are not common, however it’ll reach in next five to ten years.” 

Dr. Kabir Mahajan, Associate Director, Mahajan Imaging spoke on how AI can help in screening keeping timeliness a factor increasing the quality and accuracy of reporting Radio Analogist. He said, “. Studies in west shows for screening program 62 per cent of the Radiologist’s time can be reduced and 25 per cent reduction ‘false positives’ be achieved if AI is implemented.” 

Adding to it he said, “It is not perhaps a challenge now to install MRIs, CT scans across the country and technicians are there to operate such machines. However, it is still a challenge to get quality radiologists to read those machines. Such machines are now producing high quality images and we need someone to analyse them, that is where AI for lung cancer screening, breast cancer screening can play huge role.”