How AI is transforming healthcare in China

China’s healthcare industry is poised for an AI revolution. Driven by government mandates to provide the best medical treatment possible, Chinese healthcare practitioners have invested heavily in artificial intelligence solutions with the ultimate goal to improve patient care, streamline operations and strengthen organizational revenue.

Although Silicon Valley may be synonymous with software development, China is in position to become the foremost innovator in AI technology. The New York Times reported in 2017 that the Chinese government plans to spend billions of dollars in the coming years to develop AI solutions for a wide variety of applications. The most impactful innovations, however, have emerged out of China’s public sector. Technology leaders such as Tencent Cloud have paved the way for AI to be incorporated into every aspect of China’s medical community, irrecoverably changing healthcare in this all-important international marketplace.

 

Making faster, more accurate diagnoses

One of the AI applications that could have the most profound impact in China is the ability to diagnose illnesses faster and with more accuracy than a human counterpart. AI software can analyze medical imaging scans to spot illnesses and ailments that might otherwise slip by even experienced radiologists.

Tencent Cloud has been a significant innovator in this field, launching the AI Medical Innovation System (AIMIS) in 2017, rolling the system out to 10 hospitals across China. In addition, nearly 100 facilities plan to implement AIMIS in the near future.

Tencent Cloud is in a unique position to develop high-quality, AI-based diagnostic solutions because of its status as the leading internet provider in China. In particular, Tencent Cloud has access to more than 1 billion images on its social network, providing ample data to feed AIMIS and finetune its diagnostic capabilities.

Overworked and sleep-deprived radiologists can make costly mistakes when analyzing medical scan imagings, missing signs of disease or illness. AIMIS is not burdened with such external factors, able to diagnose various serious ailments with an extremely high degree of accuracy.

For instance, Tencent Cloud’s AI tool has been able to successfully diagnose esophageal cancer with 90-percent accuracy, lung sarcoidosis with 95-percent accuracy and diabetic retinopathy with 97-percent accuracy.

AIMIS’s human counterparts are highly accurate in their own right, but require a great deal of time to review medical imagings and reach a diagnosis. Tencent Cloud’s solution works extremely fast, processing CT scans and other images in less than 4 seconds.

The ability to supplement traditional radiology procedures – or replace them altogether – would allow Chinese medical facilities to diagnose more ailments in far less time and ultimately treat more patients without compromising the quality of their treatment.

 

Improving the digital healthcare experience

 

China’s population increasingly demands more digitally-focused healthcare options: online portals, telemedicine, etc. We Doctor, the Tencent Cloud-backed online healthcare services platform provides various digital solutions that are primed for AI enhancement.

For instance, paired with AI algorithms, We Doctor’s online appointment booking feature could automate and streamline the process of setting up office visitations, creating the most optimal patient schedule possible. Physicians would get the most out of their valuable time and medical facilities could treat more patients with fewer administrative bottlenecks — and shortening the long lines often found at Chinese hospitals.

We Doctor’s insurance features could also be significantly enhanced with AI technology. AI solutions could assess and process insurance claims almost instantaneously, significantly reducing the amount of clerical work required to carry out these tasks while also improving the patient experience. With more than 150 million registered users in China, We Doctor could drastically change the way Chinese patients interact with their physicians.

Tencent Doctorwork – a joint venture between Tencent, Medlinker, GAW Capital and Sequoia China – has similarly explored the medical applications of digital platforms – specifically, with mobile applications. The Tencent Doctorwork WeChat app functions as a monitoring service, tracking patients’ vitals along with their sleep patterns, diets and exercise routines. The software can also automatically test for conditions like pregnancy and diabetes.

Tapping into this wealth of data, AI algorithms can drastically improve patient care in China by identifying early signs of serious illnesses as well as risk factors for significant health problems in the future. This approach to patient care reduces the need for expensive and risky medical procedures and improves patients’ overall health and wellbeing.

 

Tencent Cloud supports China’s medical future

Tencent Cloud has already made significant advancements in AI-based diagnostics, and the continued commitment to data-first strategies will pave the way for more developments in patient care, hospital workflows and healthcare experience.

Tencent Cloud, with its massive network and cloud infrastructure and access to some of the most widely used consumer platforms in China, is in a very strong position to support AI innovation in the Chinese healthcare industry.

Artificial intelligence is the future of China’s healthcare system. Tencent Cloud is leading the way to realize this technology’s potential as soon as possible.