AI Brings Quality Healthcare Services to Rural China

AI Brings Quality Healthcare Services to Rural China

The Guihuali Village Clinic, one of the two organizations running the iFLYTEK Smart Medical Assistant System pilot project in Lianshan, has been utilizing the Assistant System to provide comprehensive medical treatment since August.

For rural doctors like Deng Xianxiu, paying visits to local residents and providing adequate healthcare had been a demanding task. For example, many rural doctors would carry thick pile of medical records with them on their medical visits to have health records on-hand. “I attend to about 3,000 residents from 12 villages, and I have to visit each of the villages at least every quarter. I used to spend two to three days checking all the members of one community. Now it takes only about half a day.”

With the iFLYTEK Smart Medical Assistant System, data collected from patients can now be automatically uploaded, reducing the need for manual filing. In the future, it is expected that the data will be integrated with the system of higher-level hospitals, so that doctors can retrieve the health data of patients by simply inputting their names, significantly improving the efficiency.

Furthermore, the Smart Medical Assistant has made grassroots healthcare services more precise. Deng recalled an instance where a man in his 60s asked for a cardiovascular examination. “He told me that he had got chest tightness recently, so I gave him an electrocardiogram. As soon as the check was finished, the Smart Medical Assistant alerted me to a possible myocardial infarction that requires immediate treatment. So, without any delay, I took him to the local hospital that night.”

The Smart Medical Assistant System, acting like a team of general practitioners, is able to provide scientific suggestions on various conditions ranging from myocardial infarctions to colds. As a result, Deng is better able to give consultations and treatment while the misdiagnosis rate has significantly decreased. Additionally, as health checks are more convenient and the treatment more precise, rural patients are beginning to pay more attention to their health conditions. Now, the Guihuali Village Clinic receives more than 20 villagers a day, more than double the amount since the introduction of the system, to give them consultations and routine checkups.

AI Brings Quality Healthcare Services to Rural China

Medical workers conduct checkups for villagers

In 2017, the iFLYTEK Smart Medical Assistant became the first AI-supported system to pass China’s National Qualification Examination for Medical Practitioners and was placed in the 96th percentile of all applicants. As of now, the Smart Medical Assistant System and robot have been put into use in 240 districts and counties around the country and have provided grassroots doctors with 290 million suggestions on practical diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, the Smart Medical Assistant also promotes the medical training and education doctors, facilitating better distribution of quality medical resources.

Currently, there are around 3 million certificated medical practitioners in China, among whom only 300,000 are general practitioners. The Smart Medical Assistant System has effectively eased the doctor shortage while playing a significant role in promoting the prevention and control of the COVID-19. For example, the iFLYTEK Smart Medical Assistant was adopted in June for COVID-19 control in Qingyuan City and greatly assisted by making over 100,000 automatic follow-up calls in less than an hour.

It is believed that as smart healthcare develops and expands, the cost of health care for urban and rural residents will be effectively reduced which will lead to a more equitable development of rural and urban healthcare services. In the future, everyone will have access to enjoy high quality healthcare services, whether in cities or rural areas, as other regions continue to adopt AI solutions to medical needs.

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