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Elevating Healthcare in India: AI’s Fusion with Traditional Medicine

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In his address at the inaugural session of the “International Patient Safety Conference 2024” in Bengaluru, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh highlighted the transformative impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on clinical medicine. With a focus on the urgent need for integration between traditional healthcare methods and emerging technologies, Dr Singh emphasised the critical role of collaboration within and beyond the healthcare sector.

Image credits: Press Information Bureau

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of integrating various healthcare streams. India’s traditional medicinal practices gained global recognition for their immunity-boosting properties during the pandemic, highlighting the value of integrating traditional and modern medical approaches.

In today’s healthcare landscape, the convergence of allopathic medicine with complementary practices like AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) is essential to achieve holistic health goals. The need for a synergistic approach that leverages the strengths of different medical traditions to deliver optimal patient outcomes is what is needed.

In India, healthcare has gained unprecedented attention, with a particular emphasis on digital health initiatives. The government strongly advocates for digital health, underscoring its commitment to leveraging technology for healthcare advancement.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly revolutionising clinical medicine, offering unprecedented opportunities to enhance patient care. In this context, the importance of optimising integration between existing healthcare practices and the latest technological tools cannot be understated. This integration is vital not only within the healthcare domain but also across public and private sectors, as well as among diverse medical systems.

The integration of AI and other emerging technologies with traditional healthcare practices represents a paradigm shift in patient care. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, collaboration and integration efforts will be critical to realising the full potential of AI in improving patient outcomes and advancing healthcare delivery.

To realise the full potential of AI in healthcare, there is a pressing need for robust public-private collaboration. Good examples of such alliances are interdisciplinary courses in biosciences, which encourage collaboration between academic disciplines and industry partners to drive innovation in patient care.

Initiatives like the Anusandhan National Research Foundation aim to accelerate scientific research through public-private partnerships. The role of such initiatives in catalysing innovation and driving progress in healthcare and other scientific domains is vital.

Moreover, India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem in biotechnology reflects the country’s commitment to fostering innovation-driven growth. The significant growth in biotech and other medical startups signals a shift towards a more innovative and inclusive healthcare ecosystem.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) of India, in collaboration with leading global technology corporations, has embarked on the iMPEL-AI programme. This joint initiative aims to accelerate the growth of Indian startups in artificial intelligence, empowering them to develop solutions with both domestic and global impact.

Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar highlighted the partnership, which aligns with the vision set forth by the Indian Prime Minister during discussions with tech giant leaders. This partnership reflects a shared commitment to fostering impactful collaborations in AI and emerging technologies, with a focus on nurturing startups across various regions of India.

At the launch event, Minister Chandrasekhar underscored the importance of partnerships in driving innovation within India’s thriving tech ecosystem. The iMPEL-AI programme, facilitated by the participating tech companies, aims to identify and support AI talent, particularly in critical sectors such as Healthcare, Financial Inclusion, Sustainability, Education, Agriculture, and Smart Cities.

The programme aims to offer AI skilling opportunities to over 11,000 innovators, startups, and young Indians nationwide. Through the company’s Learning Management System, participants will have access to globally recognised certifications, enhancing their employability and opening up new career avenues in the dynamic field of AI.


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