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Q&A with Mahfooz Azeez

Updated: 2 hours ago

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Mahfooz Azeez, Specialist, Data & Reporting

Can you highlight some of the most promising emerging technologies currently

transforming the healthcare sector?


The Canadian healthcare system is embracing a wave of innovation, with several

emerging technologies showing great promise in transforming how healthcare is

delivered. Some of the emerging technologies but not limited to include


Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI is being used to analyze

vast amounts of medical data to predict diseases, personalize treatment plans, and even

assist in surgery. ML algorithms are constantly learning and improving, making them a

powerful tool for healthcare professionals. From an academic standpoint, I have done a

project on spatial modelling of Covid-19 data. The opportunity is immense!


Extended Reality (XR): The use of Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are

finding new applications in healthcare systems. Though in early stages, VR can be used

for surgical training, allowing surgeons to practice complex procedures in a safe,

simulated environment while AR is used to overlay medical information onto a patient's

body, helping doctors to visualize anatomy and guideprocedures.


Wearable Health Tech: Devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers are continuously

collecting health data, enabling proactive health management and early detection of

potential issues.


How do you see artificial intelligence and machine learning specifically influencing

patient care and diagnosis?


Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are considered to have significant

impact on patient care and diagnosis in the healthcare system. Some of the ways

include:


Enhanced Diagnostic Accuracy: AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of medical

data, including patient records, imaging results, and genetic information.This allows

them to identify patterns and subtle abnormalities that might escape human eyes

leading to earlier and more accurate diagnoses, improving better patient out comes.

Predictive Analytics: AI/ ML can analyze historical data to identify patients at risk of

developing specific conditions. This allows for early intervention and preventive

measures, potentially preventing the disease altogether or mitigatingits severity.


Reduced Costs and Improved Efficiency: AI can automate routine tasks and improve

overall workflow efficiency in healthcare settings. This frees up valuabletime for doctors

and nurses to focus on patient care.

As a reminder it is important to remember that AI and ML are tools to assist healthcare

professionals, NOT to replace them. Doctors will always play a vital role in interpreting

AI outputs, making diagnoses, and providing compassionate care to patients.


How can emerging technologies be leveraged to enhance healthcare accessibility,

especially in under-reserved or rural areas?


There's a wealth of potential in emerging technologies to bridge the gap and bring

quality healthcare to under-reserved and rural communities. These can be leveraged by

providing:


AI-powered Diagnostics: AI algorithms and language models can analyze medical data

from basic equipment, even in resource-limited settings. This can assist healthcare

workers with diagnoses, especially when specialists are scarce.


Drone Deliveries: Drones can be lifesavers in delivering essential medical supplies,

medications, and even blood samples in geographically challenging areas. This can

ensure timely access to critical resources that might otherwise beunavailable.


Mobile Health: Smartphone apps and wearable health trackers can empower

individuals in remote areas to take charge of their health. Educational apps canprovide

health information, while wearables can track vital signs and identify potential issues

early on.


I strongly believe that by strategically deploying these emerging technologies and

ensuring equitable access to these technologies, we can significantly improve

healthcare accessibility for under-reserved and rural populations from a reactive to

proactive approach.


How can healthcare professionals prepare themselves to adapt to the increasing

integration of technology in healthcare?


The healthcare landscape in Canada and the rest of the world is rapidly evolving with

new technologies emerging all the time. Some of the ways in which healthcare

professionals can prepare themselves to adapt and thrive in this technology-driven

future are:


Embracing Continuous Learning: The key is to develop a lifelong learning mindset.

Professionals need to look for educational resources, workshops, and

online courses focused on emerging technologies relevant to the field. Online

platforms like Coursera, EdX, Udacity, to name a few offer a wealth of courses on

topics like AI in healthcare, telemedicine, and wearable technology.


Stay Current with Tech Trends: Professionals should actively seek out information

on the latest healthcare technology trends. They should consider subscribing to

industry publications, follow relevant social media accounts, and attend conferences or

webinars focused on healthcare innovation.


Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: I advocate people that technology is only a

tool, and professionals need to develop strong critical thinking and problem-solving

skills to leverage it effectively. One should learn to assess newtechnologies, identify

potential biases in AI outputs, and use technology to enhance their clinical judgment.

Lastly, by taking a proactive approach to continuous learning and staying adaptable,

healthcare professionals can ensure they remain at the forefront of this exciting

technological revolution in healthcare.

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