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Infosys Consulting global head on the future of AI in healthcare

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John Gikopoulos - Global head for artificial intelligence and automation at Infosys Consulting

The global head for artificial intelligence and automation at Infosys Consulting has spoken to Health Tech World about the future of AI within the healthcare sector. 

Infosys Consulting helps companies find, frame and solve business problems that leverage AI, automation and digital technologies to create measurable business value. 

John Gikopoulos has previously worked alongside Fortune 500 and FTSE 300 C-level execs to test, strategise and understand how AI might work best for their organisation. 

In his two decades in the industry, he has led IPSoft’s Cognitive Intelligence Unit, growing a 100-employee team in just three years, and consulted at McKinsey. 

Gikopoulos outlined the benefits he believes AI brings to healthcare

Machine learning is one area in particular which is providing patients with a more efficient hospital experience. Machine learning analyses data in a completely different way, with machines undertaking repetitive tasks requiring high skillsets. 

“Take a scan carried out on a patient, for example an MRI or X-ray. Thanks to the wealth of data at its disposal, the machine can apply filters to analyse what might be going wrong – prompting you to move the patient slightly or know if there will be a bad output – meaning the machine stands a much stronger chance of spotting health issues.

“These use cases apply to practically every part of a patient’s journey, inside or outside a hospital. It is not limited to static images or scans but involves a total ability to collect data on an ongoing basis in a dynamic fashion.

He added: “A key way in which new technologies are benefitting clinicians is through Intelligent Process Automation (IPA), which combines Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and machine learning. Through data science applications, simple tasks that were once very sequential in nature are now much more intelligent. 

“This is the advent of intelligent automation in healthcare: freeing up doctors and nurses from manually entering details to instead spend their time working with vulnerable patients on the ground and saving precious time and resources in a time when the NHS is more stretched than ever.”

Gikopoulos also spoke about the impact that the outbreak of COVID-19 has had on the implementation of AI. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the healthcare sector to become more agile than ever. 

“However, what people see day-to-day as AI in healthcare isn’t even the tip of the iceberg – it’s a whiff of smoke coming off it. In reality, the use of AI and automation is already much more widespread and accessible and is being used by doctors and nurses on a daily basis. From diagnostics to automating the back office, AI is transforming healthcare for the better.”

The global practice head was also asked what his expectations were for the development of technology within the sector. 

“The trajectory of AI adoption isn’t straightforward – there’s still widespread hesitation to try new things. When we think of AI in the enterprise, the risk-takers are often ambitious start-ups, companies undergoing major restructures, or companies in distress desperate for solutions.

“However, supposed legacy institutions like the NHS are far more advanced in adoption of AI compared to private pharmaceutical companies. The NHS wants to reduce costs where possible, especially after the economic pressure it has faced in 2020, and this necessitates some experimentation.

“Things are changing, and we’re edging towards real innovation. The public may not notice the strides taken in diagnostics and back office activities, and these changes may even fly under the radar of doctors and nurses. 

“Nevertheless, all involved are benefitting. These technologies have significant potential, and we are yet to witness their full, wide-spread impact.”

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