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Speaker Interview

Dr. Angelika Eksteen, Director, AI Directions

How is artificial intelligence revolutionizing the patient experience in healthcare?

There are a number of areas where AI can and will revolutionize the patient experience in healthcare!

We believe that AI can add the most value is through amplified intelligence—the idea of AI shouldering the big data burden and working in concert with human intellect, empathy and creativity to solve medical problems and find better ways to do things. Therefore, we support hospitals in implementing solutions that work together with the doctor, in areas such as pain management and diagnosis.

Another important area is computer vision, where AI can really add value: In a typical inpatient setting, clinicians make incremental observations of patients at regular intervals, then use this data to guide treatment decisions. However, incremental observations only generate limited data points, increasing the risk a patient might deteriorate because something was missed. In contrast, the combination of AI and video can provide a complete picture of the patient in real time. By applying AI to streaming video, second-by-second statistics can be analysed. When synthesized with physical movement and periodic observations, AI can alert clinicians to check on patients and detect problems before they become critical.

As a fast-growing company, how is AI Directions, improving patient experience?

AIDirections provides own solutions in the area of computer vision and sentiment analysis, which are extremely flexible and can be adapted to the infrastructure and requirements of the hospital applying it. Therefore, solutions can be put in place fast and easy. AIDirections also has a set of tools that can be used to ensure that the hospital is in the position to successfully implement AI solutions, which helps to ensure the success of AI projects.

AIDirections also has a number of extremely powerful partners for individual healthcare solutions, which can contribute to completing the picture of excellent patient experience.

How has technological solutions helped in transforming patient care?

There are already many, many different solutions in place for healthcare, the list below is only a sample, there are many more:

    • Detecting eye problems
    • Virtual nurse
    • Detecting and preventing strokes
    • Pain management
    • Robotic surgery
    • Diagnosis (cancer, fractures, and much more) – improvement in accuracy and speed

In your opinion what are healthcare leaders in the Middle East doing to embrace and positively lead the disruption of AI and robotics?

AIDirections has seen a very positive approach to AI from leaders in the healthcare industry in the Middle East! There is a lot of interest across the board to identify and use suitable AI solutions in hospitals. There is an active participation in conferences to learn more about the possibilities of AI, and a huge interest in solutions to be implemented to make a good patient experience real. This is possibly also due to the generally positive view of new technologies in UAE.

What are some of the challenges that businesses need to overcome before they can realise the true potential of AI?

There are some challenges related to AI in healthcare, and awareness about them is necessary to overcome them:

  • AI is data-hungry – not all patients’ data is yet available in electronic form, and if it is, it might not be structured enough for AI to make optimal use. Therefore, before implementing an AI solution, hospitals should ensure that their digital transformation and data governance maturity is developed enough. AIDirections has a tool to support this.
  • Fear of the unknown – not all patients are happily treated by AI or robots; it is important that doctors and nurses are always within reach and support a good patients’ experience when interacting with AI and robotics.
  • Transparency – AI solutions often work as a black box, and people using it have to trust that this box behaves as intended. There are efforts to increase transparency, but these are only at the beginning.
  • Regulation – the medical sector is highly regulated, and other areas, such as GDPR, also play a role, there is also a requirement to keep sensible data within UAE. Care needs to be taken to ensure that all applicable regulations are complied with.


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