Automation, AI, and Digital Technology are Revolutionizing Diagnostics Space

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Dr. Sujay Prasad, Medical Director, Neuberg Diagnostics


Synopsis: Recent usage of AI and automation in the healthcare space across the revenue cycle is well known. But still, it is relatively limited in total adoption. Automation will increase efficiency and requires changes to laboratory infrastructure and workforce training. AI and automation together will support the move to personalized medicine. Improvements in lab and clinical scientist training will be necessary to participate fully in these changes.


  1. How is technology contributing to the development of the healthcare sector?

Ans – Technology is one of many means to an end. In healthcare, Patient care is the ultimate end. Technology as a tool has constantly been evolving to do the same work in a better, faster, and easier way. Every aspect of health care, be it processes, science, or management, all areas have embraced technology to solve problems, create value adds, and serve the customer better. In recent years, data science as a technology-driven tool has been used extensively to make better sense of existing and newly created data.


  1. How are AI, Automation, and digital technology bringing a paradigm shift in the industry?

Ans – As mentioned above, AI, Automation, and Digital technology are a means to serve the customer. Over the last few decades, a paradigm shift has resulted from evidence-based medicine for physicians to confirm their hunch of a particular diagnosis. Consequently, tools like CT, MRI, and Lab Automation have evolved to complete large work volumes. The same extends to therapeutics with robotics, precision medicine, and data-driven clinical decision support systems.


  1. AI is disrupting several sectors, but how is it addressing complex challenges in health?

Ans – AI is a tool. There is much hype around it, some justified, some not. As long as we know that AI is meant to answer and support the physician, it will be a helpful tool. The moment there is an expectation that AI will replace the existing human interface, there is turbulence and anxiety. So the disruption is happening from AI assisting physicians in a better way to feeling anxious and insecure that the AI will replace the physician. Complexities in healthcare are usually in terms of large amounts of data. While human cognitive capabilities can discern the complexities, it needs to be more consistent within and between individuals. That is where machines with learning abilities can assist humans to consistently and quickly analyze and provide interpretation from large sets of data. Word of caution – the presence, and occurrence of BIAS in AI, arises from data and the way the AI is constructed.


  1. Future of the Diagnostics Sector, any new research

Ans – The future of Diagnostics will come from data-driven support systems. Not to say that research in and of current automation will reduce. Large amounts of data are generated, stored, and analyzed. Its everyday use has been to create a one-page report for patient consumption. However, there is a realization that such data is valuable for gaining insights into disease patterns, early identification of disease states, identifying outliers, and predicting future occurrences. Current and new research, I believe, will be in this direction.


  1. Role of IT in diagnostics in the future.

Ans – IT has been the backbone of information management. It is the foundation for data science ever to be practiced. There will be better and faster ways to manage information through innovations in IT.


  1. How do you plan to use technology for Next-Gen diagnostics?

Ans – Next-Gen Diagnostic is a term that relates to newer ways of doing the same work. The paradigm shift will happen when our work has a multidisciplinary approach rather than working in isolation. Such teams will cut across professions to include, apart from diagnosticians, and IT processes, data scientists, epidemiologists, and Engineers, both hardware and software. It is a fascinating journey to take.


  1. What are company expansion plans in 2023?

Ans – Our company is growing holistically. While we may grow more in some aspects, there will be areas where our laboratory physicians will adopt next-gen technologies and pioneer newer approaches to disease and preventive medicine. The outcome of such technologies will be seen years later. Expansion continues to more contemporary geographies, with a better presence in rural settings, in areas where technology makes sense, both patient-facing and science-based.

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