“Telemedicine has great potential to increase the availability of quality medical services and the effectiveness of Russian healthcare. But this requires the liberalization of legislation: permission to remotely make certain diagnoses and prescribe therapies, prescribe drugs, open and close sick leave. This is an important prerequisite for the further development of telemedicine, which experts often talk about, but in my opinion, it is far from the only one, “says Maxim Chernin.
The technologization of medicine in Russia began not so long ago: only in the last 10 years, computers began to appear on doctors’ tables, electronic cards were introduced. For many doctors, especially the older generation, this meant an additional inconvenience: they had to master hardware and software, learn to enter data into the system, and keep records in electronic format. Many were not prepared for this.
“Instead of helping and freeing up time, digitization has increased the doctor’s workload at the moment. And if we talk about telemedicine, then for many doctors this technology, in turn, also seems incomprehensible, requiring a restructuring of the work, new skills against the backdrop of a high load of appointments and face-to-face reports”, notes the expert, “In addition, if there are no changes in the legislation, the load on the system will increase completely: while the number of appointments face-to-face are maintained, patients will receive requests remotely”.
Another difficult area of digitization is the use of artificial intelligence in diagnostics, which also began to develop rapidly at the peak of the incidence of coronavirus infection, when a large number of CT and CT scans needed to be performed and processed. MRI in one place. Little time. At the same time, the AI helped to intensify the diagnosis (the description of an image was reduced to 15 minutes), but the doctor still made the final diagnosis.
“Until now, no project has delegated a diagnostic decision to an algorithm and a machine. Any medical error can result in serious reputational risks and legal costs. And the basic principle in medicine (“Do no harm!”) is there. literally sewn into the DNA of a medical worker. Medicine is an extremely conservative sphere, so the introduction of innovations in this area is and will remain very slow,” Chernin notes.
Another problem of the slow development of the direction of AI is the lack of access to large amounts of evidence, and this is a necessary condition for training models and algorithms, the expert points out.
“Public clinics have the most information, but with a few exceptions, they don’t have their own IT departments, and startups that can build AI models don’t have access to this data,” says Maxim Chernin.
Another major medical technology problem, according to him, is a significant underfunding of the segment as a whole. “This becomes especially obvious in comparison with the banking segment, the financial sector and online commerce. Both market participants with large business volumes and investments “work” for these areas, as well as numerous start-ups that supply them with their developments Entrepreneurs and investors are constrained by the lack of noticeable demand for technological developments from medical companies And most players in the medical market have a significantly smaller share of investments in digital technologies than players in the mentioned industries,” emphasizes Chernin.
And, of course, one of the main limiting factors is the shortage of qualified personnel in the field of modern digital technologies. Furthermore, medicine as an industry continues to lag behind in terms of opportunities to offer professional development to specialists.
“Despite all these limitations, technology will penetrate faster and faster in the health sector. The habits and expectations of patients are changing, new specialists are entering the industry, the state has begun to pay more attention to the digitalization, new original and promising technologies are emerging, especially in the field of AI, the industry will move towards the emergence of new formats, in which a hybrid omnichannel model of interaction between patient and clinic will become the central place ( online and offline interaction will complement each other), Chernin concluded.
In his opinion, algorithms and artificial intelligence will not replace the doctor for a long time, but may soon become his important assistant. In addition, online technologies, the use of electronic resources and applications increase patients’ management of their health, including, very importantly, prevention.
“Digitalization will turn healthcare into daily medicine, just as in the recent past, visiting a bank became a daily banking format with the help of convenient apps. And, of course, the patient must, first of all, benefit from all this”, Maksim concluded Chernenko.