Image credits: Gerd Altmann
News Article

Cloud, AI, IoT and Algorithms Changing Healthcare

By Jan Hogewoning | Wed, 07/29/2020 - 16:59

One of the sectors where digital transformation is having a major impact is healthcare. In today’s webinar, titled “The Role of Alliances in Boosting Access to Critical Health Services” and hosted by Mexico Health Review, participants referred in several instances to the importance of new technologies in helping address the Mexican health sector’s priorities.

One of the participants, Ricardo Rentería, Sales Management Enterprise Lead at Amazon Web Services Latin America, stated that some of those watching could be wondering why he was being asked to participate in a panel on health issues. He pointed out that Amazon’s cloud infrastructure and services are helping clients in different ways, for example in medical research and medicine development. “Bigger computing power and data processing allow faster and more cost-effective medical research,” he stated. The power of information processing and the ability to do it faster are key for medical companies, which will spend years in the development of new medicines. Another participant, Fernando Cruz, President of Novartis Mexico, highlighted the effect of other technologies. "AI, IoT and mathematical algorithms are allowing faster molecular development of medicine.”

Cloud infrastructure is speeding up computing power, it is also allowing an interconnectedness between different companies and institutions never seen before. Already, hybrid multi-cloud systems can effectively act as collaborative spaces between organizations of all kinds, national or international, overcoming the spatial or ‘cultural’ barriers that may traditionally have set them apart. While not solely referring to digital collaboration, Fernando Oliveros stated “new solutions can erase some of the imagined divisions in the health sector.” David Kerschenobich, Director General of INCMNSZ, emphasized that collaboration had been extremely necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This pandemic has demonstrated the importance of collaboration at the institution, sector, country and global levels,” he stated.

Rentería believes the health sector should steer towards more interconnectedness. “We need to create an ecosystem, combining the public and private sector, to meet the health needs of everyone in this country.”, he said. Meanwhile, Kerschenobich mentioned one example of a collaborative effort that would provide a greater ability to attack diseases effectively at the national level. "We must create a biobank with samples of different pathologies of viruses, as well as of chronic diseases.” A medical ecosystem, in a digital framework, in Renteria’s view, should not just include medical research and knowledge. Cloud software can also facilitate a far wider reach of digital healthcare with greater capacity. “Our cloud infrastructure could facilitate the growth of remote diagnosis and treatment, through remote clinics,” he said.

Mexico is a country where access to healthcare can be seriously inhibited due to a range of factors. Fernando Oliveros, General Manager of Medtronic México and the fourth participant in the panel, echoed this concern. “This pandemic has demonstrated that even though services exist, it can be hard for a patient to reach them.” Digital healthcare can offer serious solutions. While the use of the aforementioned technologies is showing promising results, that has certainly been accelerated by the urgency brought about by the pandemic, technology is not the magic wand. "With so much focus on technology, we sometimes forget that there are very simple collaborative measures we can implement to advance healthcare," said Oliveros. This is a reminder that there are still very rudimentary steps to take to get ahead in providing good healthcare to all Mexicans.

Photo by:   Gerd Altmann
Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst