"One of the things you immediately find out is that there's tremendous possibilities in extracting insights from how health data lead to better outcomes in what doctors do," Dr. Peter Lee, corporate vice president, AI & Research, at Microsoft told PTI after he announced the initiative in Las Vegas on the sidelines of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference and exhibition.
The team is already working on an AI-powered Cardio API (application program interface) platform, he said, adding that AI Network for healthcare aims to democratise artificial intelligence by empowering healthcare providers with faster, intuitive and predictable solutions and reducing the disease burden.
"The systems of intelligence we create can change the lives of patients and the work of medical practitioners enabling accessible healthcare to all," Lee said.
"We see tremendous possibilities where we can provide more intelligent tools to healthcare providers," he said.
AI or artificial intelligence can be a great asset in improving healthcare services in India. For example, over a quarter billion people are visually impaired globally; 60 million of those people are in India. More than 80 per cent of these clearly would have been avoided if they had been diagnosed and treated early, Dr Lee said.
Microsoft had earlier tied up with L V Prasad Eye Institute to bring in AI in the eyecare sector. It obtained high images and medical outcomes of some 400,000 patients.
"Using that we were able to bring that data on a cloud in a way that is very secure... We were able to predict what the progression of refractive error would be six months from now, a year from now, two years ago," he said.
"So then what we've done is we've created tools that allow doctors and nurses to understand and parents to understand what the progression of refractive error would be and that would be very motivating for early treatment, thereby reducing," he said, adding that that model has been very important.
This successful partnership with L V Prasad Eye Institute, he said, has motivated other top tier eye care organizations all around the world to join this kind of data.
"As we get more data, the machine learning models get better and better as the tools get better and better and more precise in predicting the visual outcome. So that model we want to apply to other domains," Dr Lee said.
AI Network for healthcare, he said, is part of Microsoft Healthcare NExt aimed to accelerate healthcare innovation through artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
"The idea is to bringing together existing partnerships in the healthcare arena, out great product in cloud and engineering and the power of Microsoft research and try to bled all of those together" to do cloud AI and transform the healthcare sector.
Microsofts partnership with Apollo Hospitals will be a major step in the journey towards providing accessible healthcare to everyone, said Anil Bhansali, corporate vice president, Cloud and Enterprise, managing director, Microsoft India (R&D) Private Limited.
According to Dr Lee, discussions are in very very early stages to scale this up to the national level.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)