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China launches national association to speed up integration of AI with healthcare

China launches national association to speed up integration of AI with healthcare

According to the State
Council of China
, China set up a national association to promote the
integration of artificial intelligence (AI) technology with medical care to
improve services.

At its inauguration ceremony on 5 May, it was announced that
the Chinese Intelligent Medicine Association will provide a platform for
research, exchange and cooperation in intelligent medicine.

Mr Dong Jiahong, President of the new association, said that
intelligent medicine involves the application of latest technologies, including
the internet, big data and AI.

“Developing intelligent medicine is of great importance in
achieving more balanced distribution of healthcare resources, improving quality
of medical care, efficiency and lower cost,” he said

The President of Chinese Medical Doctor Association Mr Zhang
Yanling will supervise the new Chinese Intelligent Medicine Association.

According to Mr Zhang, intelligent medicine will profoundly
transform the medical care sector and may bring great benefits to both patients
and doctors. He also added that 124 hospitals have practiced intelligent
medicine in China.

While promoting the use of AI in medicine, the association
will also assist the government in formulating standards and regulations for
the development of intelligent medicine, which is still at its infancy, he
said.

President of First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical
University Mr Chen Xiaoming named the shortage of talent who excel in both
medicine and information technology a key challenge in developing intelligent
medicine in China. He urged universities to strengthen education in nurture
such talents.

In China, there is an observable trend that the healthcare
sector is adopting AI technologies. For instance, the ophthalmic center in
Guangzhou, Guangdong province, opened the first AI clinic in China last year to
diagnose cataracts with the help of an AI-assisted platform.

In a clinic at the center, images of patients’ eyes are
uploaded to the platform, and a diagnosis can be given within minutes.
Treatment plans are also offered for doctors’ reference. The hospital claimed
that the accuracy of the AI diagnoses exceeds 90%.

Another example is the Watson for Oncology, a cognitive
computing platform that can provide treatment options to commonly seen cancers.
It has been used at 65 major hospitals in 39 cities in China. The system is
expected to be used at more grassroots hospitals in China to help improve
cancer diagnoses.

As reported earlier, the Chinese Government has been pushing for
integration of Internet technologies with healthcare. A set of guidelines was
released late last month to promote the development of Internet Plus
Healthcare. The idea is
to promote the use of telemedicine systems, allowing patients and doctors from
underdeveloped areas to consult with the country’s best doctors, who are often
based in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. The initiative aims
to help alleviate the problem of inaccessible and expensive public health
services.

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