How is AI changing healthcare in South Africa?

South Africa has long been trying to figure their healthcare system. With many challenges in trying to provide equal healthcare for all, it is no surprise that South Africa is looking to other solutions to resolve this issue. Could artificial intelligence be it though?

More and more South Africans are embracing the use of AI for healthcare purposes. A 2017 research from PWC showed that 55 percent of consumers across Europe, Middle East, and Africa were willing to replace doctors with AI and robots. The research also showed respondents in Nigeria, Turkey, and South Africa were the most willing to undergo minor surgery performed by doctors. So as far as South Africa goes, they seem to be embracing the idea of a healthcare system run by AI.

Technological advancements in South Africa is no surprise. With many startups popping in the technological sector, many people are looking to this sector to try and improve their economy – as well as the healthcare system. In fact, some companies are already starting to embrace this technology.

The parties involved

Many companies today – especially startups – are adopting AI into their line of business. Many are trying to implement it within the healthcare sector as one of the most prominent issues within the region. There is a high market in the healthcare sector as well as in technology. This brings us to the rise of many AI companies within this sector.

Below are just a few examples:

  • SOPHiA

SOPHiA is a health technology company that has integrated artificial intelligence which allows them to analyze genomic data to identify disease-causing mutations in patients. SOPHiA is adopted by 260 hospitals in 46 countries. With the implementation of SOPHiA, the people of South Africa are hoping this technology will help to improve customer care.

  • Medici

Medici is a US app-based healthcare system that is founded by South African national Clinton Phillips. Partnering with Dr Michael Mol and Hello Doctor, this app has helped served around 400,000 patients in South Africa. This app allows patients from Hello Doctor to connect with their doctors and vice versa.

  • Vitls

Vitls is a wireless connect healthcare system that combines wearables and cloud-based data to track a patient’s condition. This technology allows nurses to be alerted when something out of the ordinary happens with the patient. The instant results of this technology make it so much easier to monitor and track patients.

What is next?

Those are just a few of the companies that have emerged within the healthcare sector in South Africa, but we see greater advancements in this sector. Other parts of Africa are already adopting technologies such as the use of drones in Rwanda – as a delivery network for medical aid – and scanning platforms adopted in smartphones. Seeing the rapid development of technology in South Africa and Africa in general, the possibilities of a full-on AI-base healthcare system is no longer wishful thinking. South Africa looks like it just might be on a track of AI-dominated experiences in the few coming years.

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